American Jews have long been staunch supporters of the authoritarian policies of the American Left, none more so than gun control. The peculiar reading of the 2nd Amendment that informs them is easily refuted by the most cursory examination of the political writings of the founders, basic understanding of the vocabulary of the day, and high school grammar. But even the lonely outpost of (relatively) conservative Jewish thought, The American Jewish Committee (the publishers of Commentary Magazine) fall into the lazy patterns of reflexive dislike and mistrust of guns.
These are the people who think nothing of the phrase, “and then the gun went off.” Anyone with any experience with firearms bristles at that construction,” knowing it to be both profoundly ignorant of how they work and cravenly manipulative. But they do not have that experience, and that is no surprise. Gun ownership in the areas in which American Jews live is the lowest in the country. It is understandable that they have no experience, but it is unforgivable that they do not see their ignorance as anything other than evidence of moral superiority.
In an otherwise reasonable article suggesting that the rhetoric of the Left is neither rational nor productive, they explicitly accept that very rhetoric. The text of the 2nd Amendment is plain, yet, in Liberals Need to Be Honest About the Second Amendment, Jonathan Tobin seems content with “common sense” restrictions on the God-given right to keep and bear arms.
Advocates for more regulations, whether background checks for gun sales or more rigorous registration procedures tend to preface their arguments by claims that they don’t wish to take away guns from owners who possess them legally. But this is pure baloney. If the National Rifle Association — the object of most of the attacks of gun control advocates — opposes even regulations that are truly a matter of common sense, it is because the group and its members don’t believe those protestations and they’re right about that.
And this from a writer who claims that he is a firm believer that “the right to bear arms is part of our heritage as a free people.”
The limitations on the 2nd Amendment that are a matter of common sense are obvious. Clearly, those adjudicated as being mentally unstable, whether as threats to themselves or threats to others, should be prevented from possessing firearms. Felons have paid their debts to society, so I am less comfortable with denying them their basic human, natural and God-given rights to self defense. After all, felons get mugged and their houses invaded too. Those found to be involved in terrorism (read: Islamic fundamentalism) shouldn’t be in the country in the first place, so discussing how the 2nd Amendment should apply to them is pointless.
But that is pretty much it. The current hodgepodge of regulations are designed to do nothing other than prevent the law-abiding from exercising their rights, with the end game being the obvious…total confiscation. The data are overwhelming that more guns does not mean more crime….it is quite the contrary. But even accepting the middle ground that gun ownership does not affect crime rate (I don’t), the 2nd Amendment is about more than self defense. We, the militia, are the country’s last defense against despotism, and that is more important than crime.