The National Rifle Association (NRA) absolutely loves to wave the Second Amendment around when they need to try and defend their indefensible positions on the issue of gun control. They’ll even say the right to own any weapon you want is absolute and cannot be infringed in any manner whatsoever.
But the NRA lies. They also conveniently overlook the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the right to bear arms doesn’t mean that Congress can’t make laws to control what weapons can and cannot be sold.
On his show Monday evening, MSNBC host Ari Melber (who also happens to be an attorney) decided to take a closer look at the Second Amendment and how it relates to the issue of guns in America. Melber began by noting:
“So let’s talk for a minute about the second amendment. The Supreme Court has never ruled the Second Amendment protects AR-15s or any individual right to weapons of war. And it’s not like the NRA crowd has not tried. The Supreme Court has repeatedly rejected even hearing cases trying to get Second Amendment protections for those kind of guns. In fact, it did so three times in the past three years.”
As a matter of fact, in the Heller decision, which is often cited by the NRA as a defense of their extremist view of the Second Amendment, the late Justice Antonin Scalia said in his majority opinion that while there was indeed a Constitutional right to own a handgun, that same privilege didn’t apply to semiautomatic weapons:
“We also recognize another important limitation on the right to keep and carry arms. ‘Miller’ said, as we have explained, that the sorts of weapons protected were those ‘in common use at the time.’ 307 U.S., at 179, 59 S.Ct. 816. We think that limitation is fairly supported by the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of ‘dangerous and unusual weapons.’”
Melber used Scalia’s words to prove that the NRA is not standing on stable legal ground when they say every American has a right to purchase an AR-15 like the one used by the school shooter in Florida:
“[The Supreme Court] did rule for an individual right to handguns. Justice Scalia’s famous 2008 opinion. Even there, the court notes the second amendment does not apply to just any weapon whatsoever. And there’s the keywords. It’s not unlimited. That’s justice Scalia talking, even in the midst of his ruling for handguns. He was clear that other guns can still be banned.”
So the next time you see a spokesperson for the NRA or one of its defenders arguing that the right to own any gun you choose cannot be regulated, keep in mind they’re advocating a position that was too extreme for one of the most right-wing justices to ever serve on the highest court in the country.
— Sean Colarossi (@SeanColarossi) February 27, 2018
Featured Image Via MSNBC Screengrab