I try to avoid saying things like "most foolish argument ever," because A) there is a great deal of competition for that "honor"; and B) sometimes I worry that someone will take such a statement as a challenge to come up with an even more foolish one. Still, this op-ed piece in Ohio State University's student newspaper (The Lantern) tempts me to make such a pronouncement.
The piece is in support of Senator Lautenberg's bill (also briefly discussed here) that would allow the Attorney General to deny any firearm purchase, just by putting the prospective buyer on the "terrorist watch list." No conviction, no trial, no charges filed necessary--Constitutional rights denied without even a pretense of due process. How do our collegiate editors justify this police state madness?
If Gonzalez and the Bush administration show any consistency in their policies, they will support the plan to deny Second Amendment rights to terror suspects, because they have had no problem denying other constitutional rights to those suspected of having terror connections. Those of us who pay attention might remember Guantanamo Bay, where it is a matter of procedure to deny due process and other rights to those accused of having terror connections, and sometimes even those who have been exonerated.Ahh--well that makes sense--if we haven't stopped the trampling of some Constitutional rights, we should remain silent when the government comes after the rest. Apparently, two wrongs do make a right--who knew?
Although The Lantern appreciates the NRA looking out for our constitutional liberties, we wonder why all of a sudden gun rights get a special pass.The NRA's stated mission is the protection of gun rights (how well their actions line up with that mission is a matter for another debate)--it simply isn't within their purview to lobby for the entire Bill of Rights. Does The Lantern condemn medical researchers who focus on finding a cure for cancer, because they're doing nothing to cure AIDS?
The Lantern believes the rights guaranteed in the constitution are created equal, and the fact that one might come in the Second Amendment makes it no more important than those in subsequent amendments. It is true that the political ideologies in the United States have latched onto certain rights to call their own. Some on the left have taken freedom of religion to mean absolutely no mention of God in public, ever, while some on the right have taken a well-regulated militia to mean an AK-47 in every home. Still, we should remember it takes a significant majority to amend the constitution, which means at one point in time the issues addressed by the amendments were not simply tools for partisan bickering.
The fact that gun rights activists devote most of their activism to lobbying for . . . gun rights, rather than for other Constitutionally guaranteed fundamental human rights of individuals, does not detract from the legitimacy of their efforts.
By the way--speaking of S. 1237, the text is finally available, and it looks like something that Orwell could have written. It has also picked up four more cosponsors.