I was mentioning the other day that we need to get ready for the meaningless individual rights arguments to start popping up. Here they come in Philly.
As a member of the House Judiciary Committee I received a lot of e-mails urging me to vote against the gun-control bills we considered last week. Many of these e-mails argued, in some form, that the governor’s proposals violated the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. The writers seemed to feel that the Second Amendment prohibits any restrictions on gun ownership. However, that is simply not how the amendment works.
First off: good job Pennsylvania Gun Owners! He knows we’re watching. But while I agree the second amendment isn’t absolute, I worry when a politician starts down this road.
Last week we voted down two bills dealing with guns. The first would have required people to report the loss or theft of a gun they owned. The second would have limited to one a month the number of guns a person could purchase.
People can argue about the merits of these bills from a policy perspective, but there is clearly no constitutional impediment to either bill. The two rights spelled out in the Second Amendment do not bestow a constitutional “right” not to report a lost or stolen gun. Nothing in the wording of the amendment even arguably says that.
Really? So if I passed a law limiting the amount of ink people could buy with an aim to combat libel, that would be constitutionally permissible under the first amendment? Would limiting someone to a certain number of e-mails a month, with an aim to combat spam, be respectful of our right to free speech and free association?
All we insist on is that the second amendment be treated as seriously as other rights protected by the constitution. Daylin Leach is arguing for something less than “strict scrutiny”, because applied to your right to free speech, the laws I described above would be tossed.
Hat tip to Melody Zullinger, of PFSC for the heads up.
UPDATE: I just e-mailed Representative Leach.Â We’ll see if he responds.Â I would encourage everyone to do so as well, because it’s important that he hear from gun owners.Â Be nice, be factual, and stick to the issues.