Julie Lambert: Your Second Amendment rights aren’t what you think they are7 min read
Julie Lambert: This past weekend Wear Orange, a national gun violence awareness organization, joined us in Eugene to observe National Gun Violence Awareness Day and Wear Orange Weekend, which happens every year after the first Friday in June.
[00:00:16] It was created to honor the life of a young student who was shot and killed on a playground. Her friends began a campaign to wear orange, the colors that hunters wear to protect themselves, to bring awareness to the epidemic of gun violence in the United States. Wear Orange Weekend is now observed every year in every state, across the country.
[00:00:39] This is what they’re up against. Here’s Amy Hoggart’s interview about when it is a good time to do something.
[00:00:46] Amy Hoggart: When is the right time? Can we get a date?
[00:00:49] NRA Convention attendee: Uh, I would say, uh, the 2024 election cycle would be a great time to talk about this.
[00:00:54] Amy Hoggart: So in two years we can talk about the shooting this week. What about Parkland? Is it, is it the right time to talk about Parkland?
[00:01:01] NRA Convention attendee: I can’t, I don’t want to talk about, the shootings right now—
[00:01:03] Amy Hoggart: Is it too soon? (It’s too soon.) What about Sandy Hook? Is it too soon now to talk about Sandy Hook?
[00:01:08] NRA Convention attendee: We’re not going to talk about it today.
[00:01:10] Julie Lambert: If not today, when? There will never be a good time. And in the meantime, even more people will die. Clearly the time is now for sensible regulation.
[00:01:21] In the Marine Corps, you have to take two weeks out of your life every year to prove to them that you are still proficient in the weapons that have been issued to you, and you cannot store your firearms in the barracks.
[00:01:33] Your gun would be stored properly and safely in the armory with the correct paperwork, in order. The Marines have an excellent reputation and yet they follow very strict guidelines and regulations on how these firearms can be stored. And these are our best fighters, the average 18-year-old, or really anybody, doesn’t have anything on this level of training.
[00:02:00] But people will say, What about my rights? What about the Second Amendment? Well, the constitution does allow for a well-regulated militia. It does not say that the citizens are necessarily the militia, as we have a group of citizens that comprise a well-regulated militia already, known as the U. S. military.
[00:02:22] And if one were to consider all U.S. citizens as part of a well-regulated militia, well, that simply isn’t happening, as we know by reading the headlines. There’s nothing well-regulated about our gun laws. They vary wildly from state to state. And if they truly want to honor the Second Amendment, then that regulation piece would need to be in place. And it’s not. So proponents of the Second Amendment are not even upholding the tenets that they espouse and the consequences are life and death every day in the United States.
[00:02:58] Here’s what Adrian Fontes, the Democratic candidate for Arizona Secretary of State and a former marksmanship instructor in the Marine Corps, has to say.
[00:03:11] Adrian Fontes: Here’s what the Second Amendment says, it’s: ‘A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.’ Well, guess what? Article One, Section Eight clause 15 and 16. Here’s what a militia is. Here’s what it means. ‘Congress shall have the power to call forth the militia, execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions.’
[00:03:37] The militia in the context of our constitution is enforcing the laws of the union. They work for the government, not against some tyrannical fantasy government. That’s not what it’s supposed to—. It says so right here.
[00:03:51] It also says that the Congress shall have the power to provide for organizing, arming and disciplining the militia. That means you get your militia arms from the government, you don’t buy them yourself. That’s what the constitution says.
[00:04:08] Then it goes on to say, ‘and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the states respectively, appointment of officers.’ So it’s a whole unit. There’s discipline, there’s, they arm it. It’s organized under Congress’s rules, reserving to states appointment of the officers and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress.
[00:04:30] Congress provides the rules for the militia. Congress provides the arms for the militia. Congress calls up the militia. You don’t just get to be a militia on your own.
[00:04:41] Julie Lambert: Our current gun laws, as they pertain to non-military citizens, would not be considered well-regulated, considering how easy it is to get guns and the lack of a paper trail. And in fact, the NRA has lobbied so hard that when gun owner registrations are sent in, they are not allowed to be in a searchable database, such as an Excel spreadsheet. And if the data does come in as an a spreadsheet, it has to be dumbed down, so as not to be made searchable. Our legislators have handicapped our own government’s ability to effectively keep track of guns.
[00:05:21] But let’s move on to Texas, where the sale of dildos is actually banned. They really got in the state legislature and put together laws banning the sales of personal toys. They took away Texans’ rights to buy vibrators for private use on their own home. Owning more than six is considered a felony, but they will not do anything about guns. And this is the state that has had the highest number of mass shootings so far.
[00:05:51] Texas State Senator Cruz had a brief that likened the ownership of what they called ‘obscene devices’ to consensual bigamy, prostitution, autonomous sex, and for some reason, protecting minors. And the brief said that the government had a right to interfere as using devices was not a liberty. The brief states: There is no substantive due process right to stimulate one’s genitals for nonmedical purposes unrelated to procreation or outside of a personal relationship. That is, an individual’s right to the pursuit of happiness has no constitutional standing.
[00:06:31] However, judges on the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found the law unconstitutional and that the Texas statute cannot define sexual devices themselves as obscene and prohibit their sale. However with the GOP majority in the House and the Senate, the law remains on the books.
[00:06:52] Come on, Cruz. If you can put together a 75 pages on literal toys, then surely you can put a few together on lethal toys. And they are considered as toys by many gun owners. Think about the cos-boy wannabe weekend warriors who go out and shoot up watermelons and things, to what end I’m not sure, but it amuses them to do so.
[00:07:19] But we need real solutions and we do need them now. Here are some possible solutions offered up by various government officials and television personalities.
[00:07:32] Multiple speakers: Have one door into an and out of the school and have that one door armed police officers at that door. There should be one entrance in and one entrance out and all of our elementary and all of our middle schools are small enough to do that. It is about the single point of entry. The school was on lockdown. Couldn’t the doors have been locked where he couldn’t have gotten in? Classroom doors should be hardened to make them lockable from the inside and closed to intruders from the outside.
[00:08:01] Julie Lambert: In other countries, they don’t have mass shootings like we do, but they all have doors and they also have mental health issues, porn, video games, abortions, even demons which have been blamed.
[00:08:17] In a recent op-ed in the Washington Post, Jeh Johnson says it’s time to show the real horror of mass shootings and how horrible it is in pictures, as weapons like an AR-15 literally blow human beings apart to the point where they are unrecognizable. The parents at Uvalde were asked to give DNA samples so that proper identification of their children could be determined, due to the extensive nature of their violent injuries.
[00:08:44] He’s asking for an ‘Emmett Till moment,’ which galvanized the Civil Rights Movement. We don’t show images like that because of U.S. broadcast cable standards, but they could be shown in closed hearings to lawmakers who are making the decisions and not regulating and not preventing these tragedies from happening.
[00:09:02] Taking on the NRA is like the Ukraine going up against Russia, but they are showing that it can be done. The classmates of the girl whose death inspired what is now a nationwide annual event in every state is proof of that. If you want change, you can be the change.
[00:09:18] For listeners interested in taking action, Wear Orange recommends that you: Attend an event; hold elected officials accountable; share on social media; print a poster; wear ribbon; use their coloring pages; or request an orange graduation honor cord. A T-shirt might come in handy too, as we are probably going to do this again next year.
[00:09:40] This is Julie Lambert reporting for Eugene’s Resistance Radio.