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October 5, 2007

Self-Described Liberal Discovers Second Amendment

Possibly while searching in vain for the part of the Constitution that grants women the right to kill their babies, law professor Jonathan Turley has stumbled upon the Second Amendment:

Like many academics, I was happy to blissfully ignore the Second Amendment. It did not fit neatly into my socially liberal agenda.


Principle is a terrible thing, because it demands not what is convenient but what is right. It is hard to read the Second Amendment and not honestly conclude that the Framers intended gun ownership to be an individual right.

Turley can't help but discard the canard that the Second Amendment only grants the right to bear arms to government militias because it starts with "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state…"

[T]he mere reference to a purpose of the Second Amendment does not alter the fact that an individual right is created. The right of the people to keep and bear arms is stated in the same way as the right to free speech or free press. The statement of a purpose was intended to reaffirm the power of the states and the people against the central government. At the time, many feared the federal government and its national army. Gun ownership was viewed as a deterrent against abuse by the government, which would be less likely to mess with a well-armed populace.
Considering the Framers and their own traditions of hunting and self-defense, it is clear that they would have viewed such ownership as an individual right — consistent with the plain meaning of the amendment.
None of this is easy for someone raised to believe that the Second Amendment was the dividing line between the enlightenment and the dark ages of American culture. Yet, it is time to honestly reconsider this amendment and admit that … here's the really hard part … the NRA may have been right.

No kidding.

On a tip from Byron.

Posted by Van Helsing at October 5, 2007 10:01 AM


'golf clap'

Posted by: furballz at October 5, 2007 10:46 AM

Resounding applause. An honest liberal discovered.

Posted by: Tmac at October 5, 2007 11:44 AM

The truth hurts, doesn't it?

Posted by: Pam at October 5, 2007 11:48 AM

Rights are granted to individuals - NOT GROUPS - PERIOD.

Another thing - just because I like to say it - the second amendment has NOTHING TO DO WITH HUNTING. It is the guarantee that the people can rise up against the government if it oversteps the powers it has been granted by the people. As Fred Thompson recently put it - "It's the Ace in the Hole".

Posted by: bah_humbug at October 5, 2007 1:19 PM

You think we can get him to read the rest of the Constitution now?

Posted by: bobf at October 5, 2007 2:06 PM

I've heard that law schools do not require their students to read the Constitution; this amusing story bears that out. And it does take guts to publicly admit that you've been wrong for a good while.

Posted by: Toa at October 5, 2007 6:54 PM

I also find it interesting that someone that fancied their worldview as enlightened actually found true enlightenment from the NRA. Wonder what other discoveries await his quest for truth as to which political philosophy is actually enlightened.

Posted by: IOpian at October 7, 2007 11:46 AM

Actually sitting down and taking the time to read the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights -- Wow! What a concept!

Maybe you could pick up a copy of the Declaration of Independence and the Federalist Papers next -- talk about "enlightenment"!

Posted by: jc14 at October 8, 2007 7:11 AM

Growing up on Long Island in the 1970's, I was taught in school that the second amendment was an individual right while learning about the Bill of Rights. I never thought anything unusual about that position or the reasoning. These days I am amazed at what they are teaching now. I guess my textbooks were written by people who had served or otherwise learned from WWII and knew a thing or two about rights and freedom.

Jonathan Turley has now joined company with Laurence Tribe. The liberal professors are becoming enlightened.

Posted by: Aardvark at October 10, 2007 7:22 PM

Tmac, bah_humbug, IOpian:

jeez, take it easy guys. you think you're so high and mighty because you're all such "experts" on the constitution and everything else that's great about this country.

cut the guy some freaking slack. you should be supportive and congratulatory that you have another person beginning to see the importance of the second amendment. at least he's being honest about where he comes from and what he's learned.

i haven't read one similar post from any of you. sounds like he's a better person than any of you. it was easy for you. perhaps you were born a gun-loving redneck. it takes more effort to look into the "opposite camp" and realize that there are some truths there, ones that are actually important to all of us.

you're posts just reaffirm your sorry, dogmatic paradigms.

i say "welcome and congratulations" to mr. Turley! why don't you express your new found enlightenment and buy a firearm from one of our country's excellent firearm manufacturers, join the NRA, and pass the word around to your liberal friends.

Posted by: liberal-gunner at October 11, 2007 8:14 PM

i meant to address that to:
Pam, bobf, and jc14

Posted by: liberal-gunner at October 11, 2007 8:20 PM