The text of the 2nd Amendment of the United States Constitution is in clear English, and for anyone who bothers to pay attention to the grammar, it is a robust defense of our God-given, natural rights to self defense and defense against tyranny.
The great question of our day is whether that right can be restricted. And that isn’t intentional hyperbole. The two primary rights of a free society are speech (from which flows other freedoms), and defense, which protects that and all of our other rights. Obviously the various anti-freedom states have gutted the right to keep and bear arms, and even for people who live in Constitutional-Carry states, the hodgepodge of conflicting state laws makes simple travel through America a risky proposition for anyone who wants to exercise that right.
Can society restrict the right to keep and bear arms to certain classes of people? We already prevent those younger than 18 from purchasing rifles (21 for pistols), although possession is a state matter, which mitigates the effect of the federal law. But felons are prevented from purchasing weapons and possessing, even if their felony is non-violent, as a recent appeals court ruling has held.
This isn’t quite a rant, because both sides of this issue make logical sense. On one hand is a right that should be immutable, since Man cannot take away rights granted by God and that are part of the human condition. And felons are still part of society and have served their sentences. Isn’t the point of a legally defined sentence that it ends? Yet preventing presumably rehabilitated felons from exercising their rights flies in the face of that.
On the other hand…felons have demonstrated that they are incapable of functioning in a society of laws, and the assumption that a mere prison sentence has changed that fundamental outlook on society may be naive.
And on the third hand…I want Hunter Biden to go to jail for a very long time, or be offered a plea deal that forces him to rat out his doddering, corrupt, pedophile father! I really don’t care that the justice system’s obvious flaws and ridiculous power over us is being used to coerce a guilty plea. I want maximum pain for all involved!
This Reason article is shockingly coherent…I guess their drug dealer didn’t show up the morning they wrote it. They explain the vile and authoritarian techniques for coercing guilty pleas, and explore how the justice system is…frankly…rigged.
In short, Weiss, who originally thought Biden’s gun purchase did not require prosecution, let alone a prison sentence, is now charging him with three crimes stemming from the transaction, which carry a combined maximum penalty of 25 years in prison. In the span of less than two months, Weiss went from zero to 25. Even allowing for the fact that sentences for gun crimes typically fall far short of the statutory maximum, that is a pretty striking escalation. It cannot possibly be justified by the gravity of Biden’s conduct, which harmed no one. Rather, the dramatic increase in Biden’s legal peril looks like retaliation for his decision to fight the gun charge.
That sort of “trial penalty” is par for the course in a criminal justice system where prosecutors wield tremendous power to coerce guilty pleas by threatening to pile on charges and/or seek stiffer punishment if a defendant has the audacity to make the government prove its case. As David McGarry noted in a Reason article last March, 98 percent of federal convictions and 95 percent of state convictions are based on guilty pleas. McGarry cited an American Bar Association (ABA) report that helps explain why defendants rarely exercise their Sixth Amendment rights.
In federal felony cases, the ABA found, the average sentence for defendants who go to trial is seven years longer than the average sentence for defendants who plead guilty. “Although a modest reduction in sentence is justified in some cases resolved through guilty pleas because a defendant accepts responsibility,” the ABA said, “sentences should not be punitively inflated simply because a defendant exercised a fundamental right.”
Everything they say is true, and I still want Hunter Biden in jail for a 25 year stint in federal prison. We live in a post-law society, so the minuscule possibility that the horrendous system will be applied to one of the elites is too tempting to dismiss as an affront to all of our rights. And…imagine this case going to the Supreme Court, which is then forced to examine our gun laws and perhaps loosen them even more.
Wouldn’t that be a delicious byproduct of the Biden (pseudo) presidency!