Jesse Gordon on Gun Control

Editor-in-chief, OnTheIssues.org


No right to unrestricted ownership of any and all weapons

Q: Why do liberals support gun control?

A: I understand the conservative viewpoint, that guns are needed as a check and balance against the federal government, but I think the NRA’s viewpoint on the second amendment is extremist and disingenuous.

The founders never intended the unrestricted ownership of any and all weapons. The right to bear arms is fine, but not the right to bear any and all arms at any time anywhere. If that were true, we would have the right to carry a loaded bazooka with our fingers on the trigger while walking down the street. That would clearly be too dangerous for civil society; hence SOME restrictions are appropriate even under the second amendment. The NRA pretends that the founders really meant for absolutely unrestricted gun ownership.

So the question then becomes “What restrictions are reasonable?” A reasonable gun rights advocate might argue for no permit & no licensing; I would disagree with those too, but I would consider that a reasonable argument.

Source: Issues2000.org, “America Asks About Politics: Issues” , Aug 9, 2000

Constitution is intentionally vague on gun issues

Q: Should the Supreme Court be “activist” or self-restrained in its application of the constitution?

A: I’m all for judicial activism. I think that justices should decide issues using their subjective judgement, within their interpretation of the Constitution in their times.

“Self-restraint” in the current political environment means the same thing as a conservative interpretation, especially on the issues of abortion and gun control. On both those issues, I believe the Constitution is vague (intentionally so on gun issues, leaving the details to Congress; unintentionally so on abortion, because the issue didn’t exist when the Constitution was written). Vagueness implies that the justices must interpret, and hence be “activist”, rather than “strict constructionists.”

Source: Issues2000.org, “America Asks About Politics: Issues” , Apr 11, 2000

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