Friday, May 3, 2013

Great general-purpose JFK quote and its application to gun regulation

John F. Kennedy anticipated the self-flattering mythmaking of the NRA about the Second Amendment when he said:

"For the great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie--deliberate, contrived, and dishonest--but the myth--persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. Too often we hold fast to the clich├ęs of our forebears. We subject all facts to a prefabricated set of interpretations. We enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought."

But even though the notion of the 2nd Amendment the NRA peddles is a pernicious myth, it's also now the law of the land, and will be until President Hillary Clinton can replace a couple of right wing justices with moderates.

However, the Supreme Court's right wing majority didn't roll over for the NRA completely. They did agree that like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.

Nothing in the Second Amendment should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.

And the sorts of weapons protected are those in common use at the time. The government can prohibit the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons.

(taken from the Heller decision)

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