“The truth about the Second Amendment is something that liberals cannot bear to admit: The amendment does confer an individual right to bear arms, and it’s very presence makes effective gun control in this country all but impossible.”
by Daniel Lazare
Harper’s Magazine – October, 1999
Harper’s Magazine, a relatively liberal, mainstream monthly publication has published an essay acknowledging that the 2nd Amendment confers an individual right to bear arms. (To be accurate, the Bill of Rights does not “confer” rights, but guarantees ones that preexisted the Constitution.)
The dogma adhered to by liberals for the past few decades has been that the 2nd Amendment guaranteed only the collective right of States to maintain a militia, and that there is no right of individuals to keep and bear arms.
This is not an admission that the author, Daniel Lazare, makes happily. To the contrary, one can almost hear him grinding his teeth as he writes,
The individualist interpretation, the one that holds that Americans have a right to bear arms whether they’re serving in an official state militia or not, has been more or less vindicated.
Id. at p. 58
Mr. Lazare is also upset that repealing the 2nd Amendment would be virtually impossible (13 states representing as little as 4.5% of the U.S. population could block this) and that Americans must “somehow learn to live within its confines.” Id. at p. 65 Abiding by the Constitution really gets under his skin:
So why must we subordinate ourselves to a 208-year-old law that, if the latest scholarship is correct, is contrary to what the democratic majority believes is in its best interest? They [the Founding Fathers] are dead and buried and will not be around to suffer the consequences. We the living will. Id. at p. 65
The reason Americans and their government just subordinate themselves to the restraints imposed by the Bill of Rights is that without the liberties guaranteed by the first 10 amendments to the Constitution we would not be a free people.
Harper’s Magazine identifies Mr. Lazare as the author of The Frozen Republic: How The Constitution Is Paralyzing Democracy.
The people who wrote our Constitution realized all too clearly how tyrannical a democratic majority might become. For this very reason, the Bill of Rights restrains the power of government to restrict our freedom. But being a true statist, Mr. Lazare does not want to see the growth of government hampered by such technicalities.