Wednesday, February 4, 2009

'Forget' something, Brady Campaign?

by Kurt Hofmann

Close to a year-and-a-half ago, I posted on my blog a video clip of Brady Campaign legal director Dennis Henigan discussing the Second Amendment, with his explanation of why, in his opinion (and, presumably, that of the Brady Campaign as a whole), the Bill of Rights was not violated by Washington DC's total ban (since lifted--very slightly) of handgun ownership by private citizens. What makes the clip interesting is the clever bit of editing Henigan worked on the Second Amendment. In so doing, he made his explanation considerably more plausible. Take a look--it's only about 15 seconds long:

Notice anything . . . different about his version of the Second Amendment--a few words shorter, perhaps? It's certainly easier to argue that the right protected by the Second Amendment does not accrue to individual people, when you leave out the inconvenient little fact that it's a right . . of the people.

Before I am accused of selectively editing the video clip in an effort to mislead, I should acknowledge that the above is a shortened version, but I truncated it only to reduce it to the relevant part--I didn't remove "of the people"--Henigan did that. For the full length version (just over 3 1/2 minutes), click here. That full length clip, I should point out, had been on You Tube, before the Brady Campaign realized that their sleight of hand was fooling no one, and that it simply made them look like, well . . . liars, causing them to remove it.

Remember that this clip was made before the Supreme Court's Heller decision (but after the appeals court had ruled against the DC gun ban), and the Brady Campaign was desperate to defeat the notion that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to firearm ownership. When the Supreme Court declined to go along with their inventive "collective right" interpretation, the BC suddenly decided (or suddenly claimed to decide) that recognition of a Constitutional guarantee of an individual right to private firearm ownership was a good thing for the citizen disarmament lobby, because it would assuage gun owners' fears that proposed restrictive gun laws would lead to bans (never mind that we are now being told that Heller poses no obstacle to bans of an enormously popular and useful class of firearms--detachable-magazine fed, semi-automatic rifles).

Some clever folks have pointed out--to Brady spokesman Paul Helmke's discomfiture, that if the Brady Campaign is now pleased about the federal government being forced to recognize the Second Amendment rights of individuals, then they should view the incorporation of the Second Amendment under the Fourteenth Amendment (meaning state and municipal governments would also have to honor the right to keep and bear arms) as being 50 times better, and join with the NRA, the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), and the Illinois State Rifle Association (ISRA) in fighting toward that end in Chicago. I gather he's not interested.

It's almost as if we can't count on the gun prohibitionists' forthrightness, or something.

Original here

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