The American Civil Liberties Union, an organization that once so rigidly adhered to the neutral principles in the Constitution that it famously defended the right of a neo-Nazi group to march through the Jewish-laden Chicago suburb of Skokie, has been increasingly rejiggering its positions to correspond with the Left’s hard lurch towards cafeteria constitutionalism.
This week, for example, one of its senior policy analysts came up with an imaginative rationalization for limiting gun rights. “The wide availability of guns and their misuse is leading to restrictions on Americans’ freedom,” the organization tweeted this week, “and that needs to be part of the firearms debate.” The piece the tweet links to makes a, “A Pro-Liberty Case for Gun Restrictions,” which, though it’s become a tediously misused cliché over the years, can only be described as Orwellian.
It’s one thing to offer a “collective rights argument” regarding the Second Amendment — the wrong thing, according to the Supreme Court, but still an argument tethered to a legal concept — and another to nakedly rationalize the limiting the rights of law-abiding citizens because bad actors are creating anxiety among voters and politicians who, in turn, abuse their power.
“But we do care about freedom,” writes Jay Stanley, a senior policy analyst at the ACLU, “and I have noticed a growing trend: the wide availability of guns and their misuse leading to restrictions on Americans’ freedom.”
So even before we get to underlying “pro-liberty” case for limiting the rights, it should be pointed out that the foundation of Stanley’s contention is already questionable on two fronts. For one thing, there are already limits on gun ownership over safety concerns. Tons of them. In fact, there isn’t another foundational constitutional right that’s restrained nearly as often or as widely as the right to self-defense. It’s already part of the debate.
For another thing, there is no “growing trend” of gun violence nor does the piece even offer any evidence that that such a growing trend exists. Rather, it rests its case on the supposed unprecedented societal anxiety over gun violence — which often relies on hard-to-quantify measures of emotion, media coverage or shifting attitudes about guns.
In reality, gun crimes have fallen drastically over the past 35 years (mass shootings are also less frequent), while ownership of firearms has spiked. In most respects, the “trend” is a positive one that doesn’t correspond to the idea that props up the ACLU’s case. We don’t know that fewer guns would ease anxieties, because there is no evidence it would even ease crime….
The ACLU abandoned all pretenses when they decided to go along with the domestic face of the fake “war on terror”.