Wednesday, September 17, 2008

IPOPA's Random Political Thoughts That Might Surprise You - Part III

If the ACLU is devoted to expanding freedom, how in the hell can it be opposed to the D.C. v. Heller decision, which said D.C. cannot constitutionally enact a law banning firearms from the district?

Well, I actually know how because the ACLU says it on its web site. Ahem….

“The ACLU interprets the Second Amendment as a collective right. Therefore, we disagree with the Supreme Court’s decision in D.C. v. Heller. While the decision is a significant and historic reinterpretation of the right to keep and bear arms, the decision leaves many important questions unanswered that will have to be resolved in future litigation, including what regulations are permissible, and which weapons are embraced by the Second Amendment right that the Court has now recognized.”

I see. So has the ACLU changed course?!? It doesn’t sound that way to me, nor to the 1123 people who submitted comments in response to the ACLU's position post. The negative to positive ratio was about 50-1, by the way. This is not surprising given that the ACLU has revealed itself as an organization playing favorites on which freedoms it supports by having whoever its legal counsel is at the moment determine which rights are “collective” and which are individual.

Putting aside that critically flawed "collective right" claim, the Supreme Court has now said gun ownership is an individual right. That IS what the Constitution says now. And now that the law is individual, mustn't the ACLU now oppose ALL restrictions on firearms in the same way it opposes all restrictions on freedom of speech and ALL efforts to interject religion into the public square? That’s a rhetorical question. Of course, it must. But I fear it will adopt another ridiculously-nuanced position by relying on the phrase a "well-regulated militia." (Shhh....here's a little secret for you. The phrase "well-regulated" doesn't modify the militia's weapons or ammunition, it modifies the militia itself).

So now we have to sit back and see if the ACLU will make a mockery of itself. It should be easy enough not avoid. All the ACLU board needs to do on this issue and any in the future is ask itself a very simple question:

“Does this law expand or constrict freedom?”

If the answer is “constrict,” the ACLU goes in and battles it out, even when the freedom is one valued mostly by Republicans and conservatives (i.e., the 2nd amendment, 5th amendment right against government takings). This is how the ACLU cleans its tarnished credibility. The ACLU, after all, worked to protect the rights of NAZIS, and it won’t help gun owners?

The personal irony is that if the ACLU does its job properly, it will end up opposing me on gun regulations I support such as background checks (even at gun shows), restrictions on certain ammunition (cop killer bullets), and limits on the number of guns a non-licensed firearms dealer can buy in a certain period of time (anti-street flooding regulations).

But at least those differences of opinion would be based on a principled stand by the ACLU, not by the "individual" opinions of a select group of ACLU higher ups.


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2 comments:

J. Hagedorn said...

Why are you talking guns when there was a gubernatorial debate last night?

Andy Horning made the most sense, followed by JLT, with Guv Danielsalaam barely reaching the finish line.

iPOPA said...

J.H.,

I didn't get to see it all yet, and I don't want to comment until I have.

IPOPA