Sure, You Can Make That Argument – But the Supreme Court Tells Us to Ignore You When You Do

The ‘40 Percent’ Myth? – Letters – National Review Online

A universal background check is a good idea only if it can pass a cost-benefit test. The benefits in this case are measured in lives saved from prevented homicides and suicides. The costs are the potential fees and inconvenience to buyers who would have to arrange a background check by a licensed dealer before buying a gun from a non-licensed seller.

This sort of thing is a favorite argument of the gun grabbers, and no wonder: It shifts the debate to grounds more congenial to them than to liberty-minded folks who are horrified by what these people wish to do to the right to keep and bear arms that is guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

How so?

Well, note the argument: It boils down to a utilitarian test, basically, do the (purported) benefits of gun grabbing exceed the costs of the gun grab?

Now, imagine applying the same argument to the other rights guaranteed in either the Bill of Rights or the body of the Constitution itself: Do the costs of forcing news journalists to report only the “right” (congenial) sort of news exceed the benefits (to the state)? Should the state only permit the free exercise of religion when it does not inconvenience the powers that be too much? How about voting? Should the right to vote be constricted on a cost-benefit analysis?

If you find these notions fantastic or repellant, then why do you accept a similar argument in regards to an equally fundamental right – and it is a fundamental right. The Constitution certainly says so, and the Supreme Court recently affired it as well.

District of Columbia v. Heller – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Court states, “If all that was required to overcome the right to keep and bear arms was a rational basis, the Second Amendment would be redundant with the separate constitutional prohibitions on irrational laws, and would have no effect.”[47] Also, regarding Justice Breyer’s proposal of a “judge-empowering ‘interest-balancing inquiry,'” the Court states, “We know of no other enumerated constitutional right whose core protection has been subjected to a freestanding ‘interest-balancing’ approach.”[48]

The argument cited by the letter writer at the top of this post is precisely that – an “interest-balancing” approach, and that approach was specifically disallowed by the Supreme Court in Heller: “We know of no other enumerated constitutional right whose core protection has been subjected to a freestanding ‘interest-balancing’ approach.”

So don’t permit the gun grabbers the advantage of that false and disallowed argument. If you want to register firearms, and force various prying inquiries into the nature of those attempting to exercise the RKBA, do so only under the same standards we would apply to any other fundamental, constitutionally-guaranteed right.

The gun-grabbers actually understand this notion, just as they understood that the Second Amendment did guarantee a right to keep and bear arms for individual American people. They just ignored it then, and they are ignoring it now.

Don’t let them get away with it.

About Bill Quick

I am a small-l libertarian. My primary concern is to increase individual liberty as much as possible in the face of statist efforts to restrict it from both the right and the left. If I had to sum up my beliefs as concisely as possible, I would say, "Stay out of my wallet and my bedroom," "your liberty stops at my nose," and "don't tread on me." I will believe that things are taking a turn for the better in America when married gays are able to, and do, maintain large arsenals of automatic weapons, and tax collectors are, and do, not.

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