Sunday, June 17, 2018

Second Amendment Fight Protects More than Guns

People who talk and write about the Second Amendment focus on firearms. There is nothing wrong with that. Some people go off into the weeds on nuclear weapons, but the cost of obtaining one for non-state actors is prohibitive and covered in minute detail by thousands of pages of regulations.

Consider the other end of the spectrum. That end is clearly covered by the Second Amendment.

Consider how much protection the Second Amendment gives to items other than firearms. Items which are used and carried every day by tens, perhaps hundreds of millions of Americans.

This was driven home to me in the months I spent in Australia. The Australian right to arms, which should have come with the Australian Constitution, has been destroyed. It was driven into oblivion by the willingness of the Australian courts to follow the British lead and simply ignore it.

In Australia, the only item in the picture which can be carried without tacit police approval, is the pen, included for scale. A knife dealer assured me that no police official would prosecute me for carrying the Swiss army knife.  I was *not* allowed to carry it into a pub (bar). I could carry it most other places because I was obviously not a shady character, as long as I uttered the magic words that gave a reasonable reason to carry it (food preparation, farm work). That emphatically did *not* include self defense.

The Choat ice scraper was right out; reading the law, it appeared to fit the very broad Australian definition of a prohibited weapon. So are sling shots and cross bows. I probably could have gotten by carrying the Cold Steel with its 5.4 inch blade... but I did not want to risk it. This is how lives are penned in and circumscribed by the regulatory nanny state.

In America, because of incremental restoration of Second Amendment rights, things are different.

We have been in a cultural and legal war to restore Second Amendment rights for over 50 years. We were in a holding action for the previous 40. Progressivism detests the idea of the Second Amendment in its very essence. During the last 30 years, we have been winning the majority of the battles.

The focus has been on firearms. That focus has taken much of the regulatory steam out of attempts to destroy the right to carry items deemed of less lethality.

The Supreme Court ruled unanimously, that electric stun guns are covered by the Second Amendment, in the Caetano decision. Several cities and states have repealed or revised their ban on stun guns. Knife Rights has been wildly successful in repealing or reforming knife laws in numerous states. Typing this in Wisconsin, I have no worries about carrying my Cold Steel XL Voyager virtually everywhere. (It is a wonderful knife. I have used it for everything from a mini-machete to gutting deer, to removing splinters to slicing apples). I can carry it in Wisconsin without worries, because of the efforts of Knife Rights.

When legislators are focused on firearms, it is possible to craft and pass reforms to eliminate stupid knife bans.

I do not know of any state that bans the Choate ice scrapper. Maybe New Jersey, maybe New York City.  Knife reform law passed the legislature twice in New York State, very close to unanimously, but was vetoed by Governor Cuomo.

The American fight to restore the Second Amendment keeps those who wish Americans disarmed from focusing on knives, slingshots, ice scrappers, stun guns and walking sticks. As I read the law in Wisconsin, I may legally carry a sword cane or strap a sword to may belt and stroll through Milwaukee.

It is time consuming, frustrating, and expensive for people to keep fighting to restore the Second Amendment. It has been going on for decades. Doing so, Second Amendment supporters keep the fight focused on firearms, and away from "less lethal" items. That is worth a good deal.

As legislation is passed reforming knife law, and removing bans on other weapons, momentum is built for reforming gun law and restoring Second Amendment rights.  In England, a judge is calling for legislation to remove the point from English knives.

That view is derided with laughter in America. That derision occurs because the Second Amendment fight is focused on firearms, making concerns about knives mockable.

The fight to restore Second Amendment rights is far from over, but there are many positive secondary effects.

©2018 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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1 comment:

Richard Lutz said...

A thought provoking article. Is it not the case that 2A protects the right of Americans to keep and bear individual small arms commonly used by soldiers in wartime like selective fire M4 assault rifles, M67 hand grenades and M72 LAWs?