Have you ever worried that you might be spiraling from ‘Reasonable Center-Right Conservative’ into ‘Psychotic Fire-Breathing Tea Party Stereotype’? Here’s a handy little test: If you’ve ever found yourself thinking, “You know, that Antonin Scalia is just a tad too liberal for my tastes,” this is probably a good indication that your friends and family and possibly the F.B.I. are planning an intervention for you at some point in the near future.
Larry Pratt, the executive director of Gun Owners of America, has apparently reached this point. On Sunday, Pratt told Fox News that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s view of the Second Amendment wasn’t nearly expansive enough.
Scalia, as you might recall, authored the landmark opinion in District of Columbia v. Heller which struck down a D.C. ban on handguns and vastly expanded Second Amendment rights. However, Scalia also said in Heller that the right secured by the Second Amendment was “not unlimited.” (Worse still, Scalia has even said in interviews that the government could ban modern-day weapons like “hand-held rocket launchers that can bring down airplanes,” which weren’t factored in at the time of the writing of the Constitution.)
Pratt was having none of this.
“[Scalia] was not speaking from a constitutional perspective,” Pratt said on “Fox News Sunday” after host Chris Wallace read the quote from Heller. ”The amendment does provide it’s own degree of scrutiny: It says, ‘shall not be infringed’ … This is not something where the government is supposed to be free to tell we the people, the government’s boss, how much — how far we can go with the Second Amendment. The Second Amendment is there to constrain the government.”
So according to Pratt, the Second Amendment right to bear arms is even more expansive than the First Amendment right to free speech, which pretty well everyone agrees allows for limitations against things like slander and libel and plotting to overthrow the government. Wow, so there are no limits at all on the Second Amendment? Sweeeeet!!! Where do we sign up for a projectile dirty bomb?
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Photo: HiggsBoson via Flickr