On Monday, MSNBC's The Beat host Ari Melber lied about the Second Amendment and related Supreme Court decisions, particularly the Heller ruling.
Melber claimed that "2A" has never protected AR-15s or so-called assault weapons, and that politicians deferring to it are cowards for pretending it does. Anyone genuinely understanding Heller knows otherwise.
Melber dishonestly used the 1991 words of former Chief Justice Warren Burger, who said on PBS that "(2A) has been the subject of one of the greatest pieces of fraud ... that I have ever seen in my lifetime," as his lead-in.
Melber didn't note that Chief Justice Burger had retired five years earlier, that he never considered a case directly relating to the Second Amendment's substance on the bench, or that Burger, in that interview, stated a clearly fringe view that "If I were writing the Bill of Rights now, there wouldn't be any such thing as the Second Amendment."
The overwhelming majority of almost 30 Supreme Court rulings during the republic's history through the end of Burger's term implicitly or explicitly supported gun ownership as an individual right.
Here is what Melber said:
ARI MELBER: Groups (like the NRA) have defrauded the public’s understanding of the Second Amendment. Here’s why. The Second Amendment does not apply to AR-15s. It does not apply to assault-style weapons. It never has. Congress may legally ban those weapons without touching the Second Amendment. That’s a legal fact. But it’s hard for many politicians to defend AR-15s. It’s hard to explain why as a policy trade off it’s more important to make it easy to buy AR-15s than to restrict their use as weapons of mass murder. So politicians talk more about the Second Amendment than these weapons.
At least two passages from the Heller ruling refute Melber's claim. Here's the first:
... Just as the First Amendment protects modern forms of communications ... and the Fourth Amendment applies to modern forms of search ... the Second Amendment extends, prima facie, to all instruments that constitute bearable arms, even those that were not in existence at the time of the founding.
What about "all ... bearable arms" is unclear?
Here's the second, which some gun-grabbers think gives them leeway to sharply restrict gun ownership:
... we do not read the Second Amendment to protect the right of citizens to carry arms for any sort of confrontation, just as we do not read the First Amendment to protect the right of citizens to speak for any purpose.
What this means is that one needs to find justifications analogous to the prohibition against yelling "Fire!" in a crowded theater to curb Second Amendment rights. The Heller majority clearly intended that citizens exercising their inherent human right to defend themselves and their loved ones — secured by the Bill of Rights, not granted by it — should have access to strong enough weaponry to fend off well-armed intruders.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.