by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
At CNN, Dominic Erdozain offers up a ridiculous piece titled, “America once valued life more than guns. How did that change?” As one might presume, Erdozain’s essay is chock-full of the usual lies. He writes, for example, that:
“This ‘constitutional right’ to own a gun for self-defense is another product of our times — a right unknown before the ‘dramatic upheaval’ of the District of Columbia v. Heller decision of 2008.”
Really? The right of the people to keep and bear arms was “unknown” before the Heller decision of 2008? That would certainly be news to the American public, 73 percent of which told Gallup three months before that ruling that “the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees the rights of Americans to own guns.” It would also be news to the states, around 90 percent of which had their own constitutional rights before 2008; news to James Madison, who suggested during the debates over the Bill of Rights that the provision be placed next to the other individual rights listed in Article I, Section 9, rather than next to the militia clause in Article I, Section 8, clause 16; news to the architects of the 14th Amendment, who listed the right among the “privileges and immunities” they wished to guarantee; and news to pretty much every 19th-century jurist who examined the issue.
But I’ve been through all that ad nauseam. What particularly bothered me about this one was not its commonplace historical illiteracy, but Erdozain’s cheap framing of the contemporary debate. In his headline, as well as in the text itself, Erdozain repeatedly implies that the only reason that the United States has declined to ban or severely limit the private ownership of firearms in the modern era is that its people — or some of them, at least — simply do not care about the criminal use of firearms. …