by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
“The U.S. was actually founded on gun control. . . . If you study your history, you’ll see it.” So begins the latest attempt to rewrite the republic’s history, and thereby to achieve by revisionist “interpretation” what cannot be achieved via Article V.
The attempt was published in Salon, and one of its authors, Ed Asner, is a 9/11 truther. Given that, the quality of the work is about what you’d expect. Having proposed that Congress, the Supreme Court, and the majority of Americans “claim the Second Amendment is not simply about state militias but guarantees the unfettered right of everyone to own, carry, trade and eventually shoot someone with a gun” — ah, yes, the right to “eventually shoot someone with a gun,” so beloved to those of us who can read — Asner and his co-author, Ed Weinberger, proceed to offer up the most comprehensively illiterate and most embarrassingly researched example within what is, alas, a growing genre. As an example of Second Amendment trutherism, this one will likely never be beaten.
We might start with the purely factual errors. Asner and Weinberger claim that “as written, the Second Amendment follows closely in meaning and in language previous state and national Constitutions — all of which explicitly refer to militias and not individuals.” This is wrong. The Second Amendment was ratified in 1791, which is 15 years after Vermont’s Bill of Rights, which held that “the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the state”; 15 years after North Carolina’s Bill of Rights, which proposed that “the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the State. …”