President Obama ignited a major political conflagration with his January 16 address to the nation regarding the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that took 26 lives in Connecticut the month before. He proposed what he said are “common-sense steps” that would “prevent gun violence” and “protect our children and our communities from tragic mass shootings.”
President Obama’s program, entitled Now Is the Time, outlined a series of 23 executive actions he said he would take to “make our schools safer” and “enhance public safety.” Predictably, the major focus of his program is aimed at enacting more legislation and implementing more regulation through executive orders that would further restrict the rights of American citizens to keep and bear arms.
And just as predictably, the militant anti-gun lobby was quick to complain that the president’s plan didn’t go far enough. Gun rights advocates, on the other hand, immediately (and appropriately) denounced the president’s program as a blatant attack on the Second Amendment. It would, they pointed out, endanger one of the most important rights enjoyed by law-abiding Americans, while doing nothing to stem the death and mayhem wrought by violent criminals.
However, in their rush to challenge President Obama’s infringement of the Second Amendment, many of his opponents have unwittingly fallen into the trap of supporting other aspects of his program, specifically those falling under the labels of “mental health” and “school safety.” Some gun rights advocates also endorsed President Obama’s appeal for more federal funding of local police. Most appalling in this regard was the response of the National Rifle Association, which decided to practice some one-upsmanship with the president by calling on the federal government to immediately fund a vast new program “to put armed police in every school.” These proposals represent a huge assault on other parts of our Constitution, most particularly, the 10th Amendment, which emphatically restates our Republic’s key founding principle that the federal government has only those powers specifically enumerated in the Constitution.
Gun rights advocates who think they can preserve the Second Amendment while sacrificing other parts of the Constitution are sadly mistaken; it must be defended in toto or it will be lost in toto.
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