When Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association (NRA), spoke at CPAC on February 10th, he predicted that if Barack Obama wins a second term it will usher in an all-out attack on the Second Amendment. In so many words, he said the same people who brought us Fast and Furious, “a criminal enterprise” for which there has yet to be prosecutions, will use four more years to gut constitutional protections on the right to keep and bear arms. And anyone who wonders what this assault on the Second Amendment might look like need look no further than Illinois, where a judge that President Obama appointed has just ruled that we have the right to keep arms, but not to bear them.
That’s not a typo. Rather, it’s an unbelievable decision recently delivered by U.S. Judge Sue Myerscough, in a challenge which the Second Amendment Foundation filed against Illinois’s ongoing prohibition against carrying concealed weapons in that state. Said Myerscough, in rendering her decision: “[Although the] plaintiffs argue that the Second Amendment protects a general right to carry guns that include a right to carry operable guns in public … [the] Supreme Court has not recognized a right to bear firearms outside the home.”
This is troubling for many reasons, not the least of which is the fact that Myerscough has completely disregarded the fact that our natural, God-given rights are not subject to court approval for viability. Rather, our Founding Fathers used the Bill of Rights to build a hedge of protection around those rights with which we were endowed by our Creator. And one of those rights was the right to self-defense, and therefore the right not only to keep but also to bear the arms necessary to defend ourselves. On this point, the language of the Second Amendment couldn’t be clearer: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” (Italics mine)
Moreover, in 2010, after the Supreme Court heard arguments for and against Chicago’s handgun ban in McDonald v. Chicago — a case which grew out of Chicago citizen Otis McDonald’s desire to be able to defend his life and property — the court ruled against the handgun ban, citing the fact that “self-defense is a basic right.” The court also pointed out that “self defense is ‘the central component’ of the Second Amendment right.” (Italics in original)
Clearly, there is a chasm of understanding between the Founding Fathers and U.S. Judge Myerscough, for the Founding Fathers recognized that God endowed us with the right not only to keep arms but also to bear them. Likewise, there is a near-inexplicable gulf between the Supreme Court’s McDonald decision and the one Myerscough just handed down. For the Supreme Court understands that the inalienable right to self-defense — “a basic right” — is foundational to the Second Amendment while Myerscough believes arms are to be kept not borne (a decision which necessarily limits our ability to defend ourselves).
If Obama manages to get re-elected, be ready to see more of these Myerscough-like decisions come down the pike. Decisions where judges give lip service to the Second Amendment on the one hand, while stealthily undercutting it on the other. In doing this, Obama judicial appointees will only be following their master’s lead. (For it was Obama himself who, in 2008, told us he supported both the Second Amendment and gun bans like those we’ve seen the Supreme Court strike down in Chicago and Washington. D.C.)
AWR Hawkins is a conservative columnist who has written extensively on political issues for HumanEvents.com, Pajamas Media, Townhall.com, and Andrew Breitbart’s BigPeace.com, BigHollywood.com, BigGovernment.com, and BigJournalism.com. He holds a Ph.D. in U.S. military history from Texas Tech University, and was a visiting fellow at the Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal in the summer of 2010. Follow him on Twitter and on Facebook.com/awr.hawkins">Facebook.