Gun Ownership and People Power

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.


At a Brady Center event, its Legal Action Project Director asked retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens whether having a right to a cell phone might be a more universal form of self-defense than gun ownership.

“Maybe you have some kind of constitutional right to have a cell phone with a pre-dialed 911 number at your bedside, and that might provide you with a little better protection than a gun, which you’re not used to using,” Justice Stevens mumbled.

Stevens, who often seemed unclear on the difference between a right and an entitlement, had a point. Why bother waiting for the laborious process of using a gun, when you can instantly dial 911 and wait twenty minutes while being murdered for the police to arrive?

There still is no constitutional right to a cell phone, but you’re already paying into a Universal Service Fund that does just that, providing cell phones to any and all, courtesy of Lebanese-Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim’s company, who, when he isn’t making high interest loans to the New York Times, shovels prepaid government cell phones into the ghetto.

Gun control advocates have been digging away at the 2nd Amendment because gun ownership is an individual right. And they don’t believe in individual rights. Their gospel is group rights. If the 2nd Amendment assigned the right to bear arms to each group by its degree of persecution, liberals would find it much more acceptable no matter what the annual death toll was. An LGBT 2nd Amendment would really float their boat.

Justice Stevens and the Legal Director of the Brady Project were pondering how to make an individual right fair by universalizing it and redistributing it to a group right. Some people have guns and others don’t. But everyone can have a government mandated right to a cell phone… except perhaps the Amish.

If you assume that rights belong to the group, rather than the individual, then pre-dialed cell phones are a better solution than guns. Just push 1 if you’re being murdered, 2 if you’re being raped, 3 if your house is being set on fire and 4 if you just realized that your health plan doesn’t provide abortion coverage on all major legal holidays.

The police may not get there in time, but they will get there to government specifications and will take action in line with municipal, state and federal policies in deference to group rights. Governments can issue a directive for how many arrests of how many people they want to see, based on type of crime and race. And that is the kind of enforcement you will get backed by federal grants to local communities and Department of Justice lawsuits. Whether or not the police officer will be there in ten minutes or twenty, whether he will even take your statement or just doodle something while you talk, depends on Washington D.C.

Group rights are the right to wait in a government line to find out whether your request will be filled or not based on your socioeconomic status, race, gender, transgender, sexual orientation and surfing abilities. And the line, in this case, happens to be the phone line to the 911 system, which will send someone to help you at a rate that depends on all the number juggling involving money, crime statistics and votes.

The 2nd Amendment is a very different creature. The controllers would like to turn it into a group right. Replace the home rifle with an IOU for a cell phone from Carlos Slim that will allow you to dial 911. And they would equally like to turn the 1st Amendment into a right to say the things that are socially beneficial, while outlawing speech that is not socially beneficial.

When rights serve the group, or the idealized arrangement of groups meant to provide the perfect statistical balance between skin colors, genders, lack of genders, and choice of partners, then the individual has no rights except as a member of Team White, Team Black, Team Gay or Team Badly Confused.

A gun is an individual thing. It’s hard for a group to own a gun. You can give Team Gay, Team Union or Team Korean Men in Wheelchairs a cell phone link to a central network of law enforcement support services, but a gun is a thing that an individual buys and learns to use. It is not a network, but an object, its power does not come from pushbutton access to a plea for government aid, but from the skill and courage of the individual. Gun power is merit based.

The left shouts “Power to the People,” but doesn’t truly mean it. It would like to replace Power to the People with Pre-dialed Cell Phones to the People and Lines at Government Offices to the People and Write to Your Local Congressman to the People.

The people aren’t supposed to have guns; they’re supposed to have government on speed dial. The people aren’t supposed to have power; they’re supposed to have a hand out to the government which will decide whether to help them or not based on its own priorities. And if the help doesn’t arrive, then they can shout “Power to the People” outside government offices and demand that the rich people give more money to the government so that it can help them faster.

The Director of the Brady Legal Project asked the retired Supreme Court Justice, “The Supreme Court held that the 2nd Amendment assures our right to have a handgun in the home for self-defense as you say. This question’s asked: ‘That protects only gun owners. What about those who don’t have guns? Surely they have a right of self-defense. Instead of relying on the 2nd Amendment and dealing with gun laws, wouldn’t it be more rational to rely directly on the right we all have to self-defense?”

Like all gun control proposals, it would be rational. Just as it was rational in the USSR to move all the farmers to collective farms in order to increase wheat production and just as it was rational to bail out the banks and then spend billions more stimulating the economy. Putting all your eggs in one centrally planned basket is rational. It’s also stupid. Rational is not the same thing as right and it’s certainly not the same thing as individual rights.

The Constitution holds to the irrational idea that power should be vested in the individual and that fairness comes from respecting individual rights, rather than relying on government to level all the playing fields and all the heads. It holds to the notion still that individual rights become universalized through individual power rather than through government power.

The Bill of Rights determines that the people shall have power, while the gun controllers determine that the people shall have a place on a government line.

The Constitution determines that the people shall be armed and the gun controllers determine that each man, woman and child shall have the right to spend the last 30 seconds of their life begging the government to save them.

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  • http://www.adinakutnicki.com AdinaK
    • welldoneson

      The best ally Americans have against gun grabbers is the gun grabbers themselves.
      Their inability to support their position for more than one or two sentences without resorting to name calling and, quite frankly, stupid comments, speaks volumes as to the real reason they oppose gun rights; self loathing.

  • RedWhiteAndJew

    The left shouts “Power to the People,” but doesn’t truly mean it.

    Oh, but they do. They just think that "The People" need to be guided by experts, backed by legislative, judicial, and executive power. So, when they say "Power to the People," what they mean, is "Power to the Government," and they mean it without irony or internal contradiction. For you see, to a leftists, the "People" are not a collection of individuals, but the collective manifestation of the state.

    This is why some leftists make the argument that the Second Amendment refers to the keeping and bearing of arms by the National Guard, to the exclusion of the commoners. The right of the "People" to bear arms, is really the right of the government to bear arms. Never mind that the National Guard did not come into existence for a hundred years after the Bill of Rights was penned.

    • Mary Sue

      Their definitions are so Orwellian I wonder how even they keep their doublespeak definitions straight.

      • RedWhiteAndJew

        They don't have to keep the definitions straight. That's the beauty of it. Words are infinitely flexible for their like. For example, they are pro-"choice" when it comes to killing the unborn, but not pro-choice when it comes to firearms, health care, education, vehicle selection, etc.

        It is why they will argue that taking a picture of a crucifix in a urine-filled jar, or creating a picture of Mary splattered with feces is right of "The People," as elucidated by the First Amendment, but the very same "The People" explicitly mentioned in the Second Amendment are a different "The People."

        Doublethink, Orwell called it.

        • Mary Sue

          yeah, currently their idea of "free speech" doesn't extend to Speech That Makes Other People (i.e. radical Muslims) Kill People. Which raises an interesting question: If the Right/Conservatives went all apescat and ululated and killed a bunch of people, would we get favored treatment and get what we want?

          • RedWhiteAndJew

            Oh, we already do that at every Tea Party gathering! Haven't you heard?

          • RoguePatriot6

            Exactly, I've heard everything, I've seen no evidence (as usual) to point to it. Just like that so-called "racial incident" where a congressman was spat upon and called "n**ger" during a Tea Party rally. They tried to pass it off as a "racial incident" because, by judging from the video, it appeared to be accidental. It happens, I've done it while talking to people and had the same thing done to me, but leave it liberal newspapers to print what they WANT to believe over sound rational judgement. During the incident, no evidence or audio of him calling that man a "ni**ger" can be heard or seen.

      • Herbster

        They don't have to. The state run media through the numblings of the left wing news readers will "Explain" evrerything o the sheeple. After all, we live in a country now that has a government/media complex to handle all propaganda, control what is news and what is not news, etc. To paraphrase Eisenhower, "Beware the government/media complex,"…….it is much more dangerous than the "Military/industrial" complex of Eisenhower's day.

        • Rifleman

          That's why they're constantly explaining what the 'greatest' orators in the world "really meant" when their mask slips and they say something revealingly evil or stupid.

    • Asher

      The Progressives are trying to demonize and embarrass lawful gun owners by publishing their addresses in New York…if they can't get the job done that way…they will try to throw out the Constitution….so they will say we have no rights or Bill of Rights to protect ourselves…this is getting to a dangerous point in history, like they did in Europe, and melted everyone's guns down. This is why they were able to send the Jews to Auschwitz.

    • Smitty

      The leftists you refer to have obviously never had their door kicked down in the middle of the night by ruthless scum. Their tune would go into a different key if their livers were threatened and all they had to rely on was a cell phone and a long wait for the police to arrive. Note that the President and Congressmen and women (among others) have the advantage of bodyguards (armed) for protection. How arrogant. Do they not think that the lives of those who pay their salaries are not as important as theirs? It appears so.

  • davarino

    If you want to see what a disarmed public looks like watch the BBC TV show Luther. If this is really how Brits act when confronted by bullies then they have been truly neutered. There are scenes where a man has just a club and a large crowd of people flee without helping the ones being beaten. I guess they dont want to be seen as violent or they might be called vigilantes.

    Oy

    • Ben Jabo

      The left fears the normal citizens, that why Homeland INsecurity has ordered BILLIONS of rounds of small arms munitons for their own use

  • tagalog

    I have a difficult time conceptually in dealing with the idea of collective rights. Maybe I just haven't thought it through in a properly nuanced manner, but the idea of rights seems necessarily to involve the INDIVIDUAL, not the collective. Of course, in a society composed of groups of people, there is some collective aspect to social life, but it doesn't seem to me that that eliminates or lessens the individual nature of the rights the people who make up those collectives have. Speaking of collectives, the Second Amendment DOES say that "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." That suggests to me that arms that are fit for the mlitia are the very arms that the people have the right to keep and bear. So how does the "assault weapons" ban that is proposed on at least semi-auto firearms that are made to look like military firearms pass Constitutional muster? They are the very arms contemplated by the "militia" language that libbies love so much.

    • drivesguy

      Prior to the Revolutionary War, the commonwealth of Massachusetts passed a law requiring all able bodied men be armed and have those arms in their homes so that in an emergency a militia could be formed to deal with any type of local emergency. Samuel Adams, son of John Adams is even quoted as saying that the militia was composed of able bodied men of the community. Militia's are classified by DC as organizations akin to Al Qaeda.

      • forest

        Sam was John's first cousin.

        • drivesguy

          I stand corrected.

      • tagalog

        Or Robert F. Williams's Black Armed Guard.

  • Asher

    Look at the situation in New York, and Putnam County, where the Journal News has published the names of lawful fun owners. They are saying to the criminals…these are the people with guns, and these are the people without guns.. who have VCRS, TVS, and other valuable…both residents are in danger of being robbed of guns and valuable and lives at threat…and yet the Journal News Hires armed security guards to protect them, since their addresses have been published too….talk about hypocricy..hiring security and Guns while exposing law abiding gun owners for having weapons too. These lists of gun owners and non-gun owners is a shopping list for any criminal. Its the Progressive movement to destroy God and Guns…

    • tagalog

      Some wag posted a post on one of these commentaries that said something to the effect: "Cool, homie! Now that we know where the gun owners live, we can now target the other houses for burglary and general mayhem!"

    • Smitty

      And how many homes have you seen with a sign in front that screams: "GUN FREE ZONE?"

    • tagalog

      The news is now reporting today that the Journal News is going to sue under FOIA for the release of the names of gun owners (whose identity and addresses are not being released by the Putnam County Clerk, largely on the basis of a right to privacy and the risk of injury in the release and publication of the names and addresses). It will be interesting to see what comes of the lawsuit. Greg Ball, a Republican New York Senator, supports the decision of the Putnam County Clerk.

  • Sprinklerman

    This particular article while insightful, misses the larger aspect of the Second Amendment. The SA is intended to keep the government in line, to respect the Individual Rights granted by God to the citizens. It is the final check or balance against a tyrannical government in it's inevitable move toward a repressive one which will always attempt to disarm it's populace. Discussing the SA in any other way provides the progressives with a way to say, "see, that incident at Columbine had an armed police officer there and it didn't make any difference."

    We need to repeat time after time, that one, yes, we all have the right to self defense BUT the SA is about making sure the government doesn't step over that line drawn in the sand by the Founders.

    • tagalog

      The Second Amendment has now been interpreted as permitting the individual private ownership of arms for ANY lawful purpose, from just keeping them to look at, to hunting, to self-defense, to overthrow of tyranny, to whatever the owner wants as long as it's not prohibited by law.

    • LibertarianToo

      Amen, Sprinklerman. And when the 2nd A. was passed, individuals with the financial wherewithal could match firepower with anything the Gov. could put in the field, so to speak.

      • tagalog

        Precisely why it is imperative for it to be determined that ownership of arms that are appropriate for today's militia, i.e., the National Guard,are exactly the arms contemplated by the Second Amendment.

        It's time for us gun nuts to start interpreting on that "militia" language of the Second Amendment our way instead of trying to pretend it doesn't exist or that it doesn't matter.

    • Joel
  • davarino

    We ought to ban squirt guns because they can be used squirt acid in peoples faces.

    And the list goes on. Are there any other mundane items we should ban, toothpicks, spoons?

    • Mary Sue

      Heck, they should just say eff it and throw everybody in rubber rooms with straitjackets ;)

      • Joel

        I hear rubber can be toxic.

  • LibertarianToo

    As the saying goes, When every second counts, the cops are just minutes away.

  • tagalog

    Of course we have a right under the U.S. Constitution to own cell phones: the Fifth Amendment says that no person shall be deprived of his life, liberty, or PROPERTY, without due process of law, and if the government takes your property for public use, it must pay you reasonable compensation for that item of property.

    Also, the Fourth Amendment says that you have a right to be secure in your person and your effects, and the government can't seize it unless the government agent has a warrant supported by probable cause and issued by an impartial magistrate.

  • Drakken

    Gun owners are not going to give one bloody inch to the lib/progressive agenda, which is a complete ban on any firearm. We were fooled once by ole Feinstein, we will not be fooled again. We must make it known to every politician that if they vote for any type of ban, their political career will be over, period. Not one damn inch.

  • Ghostwriter

    Me,I choose not to have a gun. But,that's my choice. I'm not about to force that on anyone else.

  • tagalog

    I (mostly) LOVE it that the gun control crowd is in full hue and cry after the Newtown shootings. In Colorado, the waiting period for a background check was (practically speaking) about one hour. Now the demand for guns is so high that the background check requires the buyer to wait for NINE DAYS. The push for gun control has spurred gun sales for semi-auto guns with high-capacity magazines to record levels.

    There are models of some fairly standard pistols (H&K USP and Sig P226 Elite in 9 mm., for example) that the local gun dealer reports that he can't get from his supplier, and he doesn't have a clue as to when that will change.

    Ammo is also rising in price, and bulk ammo is less available.

    • trickyblain

      Have you tried looking online for 10+ round mags or .223/.556 ammo? Nothing. Anywhere.

      • RedWhiteAndJew

        They are readily available, if you are willing to pay what the market will bear. Try gunbroker.com.

  • Rebas Thgil

    Shall not be infringed.

    Learn what it means, big gov.

  • tanstaafl

    Interesting that the government has been purchasing hollow-point bullets…….

    • Ben Jabo

      BILLIONS OF HOLLOW POINTS, WHICH ARE INTENDED TO PUT AN OPPONENT DOWN WITH THE FIRST ROUND OUT OF THE BARREL

  • Joel

    I left NYC for a firearms friendly state. I was badly beaten up by a gang for absolutely no reason six to one and in another situation was robbed in my building to include being threatened by a monster of a guy who succeeded in intimidating me by the threat of throwing me threw a window. I assure all that none of those bastards would dare what they did if confronted with my CZ 97B .45 ACP x 10. And I sincerely doubt I would have had to even pull the trigger either.

  • Joel

    Hussein + Muslim Brotherhood + Al Jazeerah + no 2nd Amendment = Genocide against Jews and others here in the USA over the next few years and probably less.

  • Ben Jabo

    Semi- Automatic sounds so threatening, to idiots who don't know the difference betwee a revolver & semi-auto
    .
    The fact is that each can only fire one shot per trigger pull

  • Western Spirit

    The Constitution means whatever the Leftist judges says it means however ridiculous their twisted reasoning has to be.

    The fact that the people means the people is incomprehensible to the Left because the government is the people and end all for them even though our founders saw government as a threat to freedom, because it is.

    George Washington likened government to fire. Fire, he said makes a fearful master but a useful servant. This is true and makes a visual word picture of why conservatives want to limit government to being our servant while guarding us from it becoming our master. This requires a truthful interpretation of our Constitution and of reality itself. Solving the problems of a make-believe reality doesn't solve anything but only keeps us busy and occupied with nonsense.

    Instead, reality requires a people given to truth and the rest of the Judea-Christian belief system. So that these truly moral people will then vote for people to lead us who are given to truth and solving problems that are reality based.

    Only such people will interpret the Constitution correctly and not try to rewrite the part they do understand but dislike. Thus preserve our liberty by limiting government, not making it bigger and more obtrusive because they believe government is the answer to everything whatever the question.

  • dr.music

    I'd rather have a gun-toting non-muslim as a neighbor than a "polite" "gun-free" muslim anyday …anywhere…..anytime !! Wait and watch….they're coming for our children and they will have guns. All the guns….and then islam will take our children's minds right in front of us because they will have all the guns.