September 10, 2009
In the following video, Obama’s “regulatory czar” Cass Sunstein — who was confirmed by the Senate on Wednesday – talks about the Second Amendment.
Harvard professor Sunstein has odd ideas about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. He is in favor of “reformulating” the First Amendment. The purpose of this reformulation would be to “reinvigorate processes of democratic deliberation, by ensuring greater attention to public issues and greater diversity of views.” Sunstein would apparently have the government apply a sliding scale of importance to First Amendment and free speech issues favored by the state (under the control of ideologically biased intellectuals such as Sunstein) at the expense of those disfavored or deemed less important. The first Amendment specifically prohibits the government from infringing the freedom of speech, infringing the freedom of the press, limiting the right to peaceably assemble, or limiting the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances. It does not say anything about the government creating hierarchical categories of importance for free speech.
Sunstein also misinterprets the Second Amendment. His argument about government restrictions on the amendment — in particular, gun locks — is predicated on the self defense argument. In fact, the founders naturally assumed individuals would use weapons for self defense and they did not include the Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights to ensure self defense against criminal acts — rather, they explicitly crafted the Second Amendment as a bulwark against government tyranny. Armed militia — citizens of a country — were to defend against tyranny and were not organized for hunting expeditions. So-called liberals inherently sidestep this basic principle and insist the Second Amendment is about hunting and to a lesser degree self defense. It is unimaginable to them that the people may one day be required to defend themselves against a tyrannical state.
Sunstein either misunderstands the original purpose of the Second Amendment or stands opposed to an armed citizenry guarding against tyranny. “Your first question involved the Second Amendment. I strongly believe that the Second Amendment creates an individual right to possess and use guns for purposes of both hunting and self-defense. I agree with the Supreme Court’s decision in the Heller case, clearly recognizing the individual right to have guns for hunting and self-defense. If confirmed, I would respect the Second Amendment and the individual right that it recognizes,” he assured Sen. Saxby Chambliss  of Georgia and other senators during his confirmation.
It would seem senator Saxby and the other Congress critters share a dim understanding of the Second Amendment as well. For them, it is all about hunting and self defense, not a tyrannical state.