A Rebuttal to Bloomberg: The Constitution Is Not "Legal Finery"

Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg’s propaganda organ has come out against gun sanctuaries.

Shocking, right?

In a Bloomberg opinion ominously entitled “The True Aim of the Gun Sanctuary Movement,” Francis Wilkinson writes:

Leaders of the guns-everywhere-for-anybody movement tend to dress up their concerns in the legal finery of the Second Amendment (minus the “well-regulated militia” part). Their argument, reduced to its essence, is two words: It’s unconstitutional.

It remains unclear whether Wilkinson really is a village idiot, or whether he just plays one for effect. Either way, his ignor-rant merits correction, lest the lightly-informed take his meanderings seriously.


Let’s notice but set aside the spectacularly reductive “guns-everywhere-for-anybody movement.” That’s juvenile, a preacher’s license when hectoring the choir.

The real kernel here is this: “the legal finery of the Second Amendment.”

Wilkinson lets slip a dirty secret usually kept out of polite conversation: for many liberal-progressives, the Constitution is just old lace. For them, the United States has evolved beyond the need for an armed citizenry or other such dusty civil rights–or any historical constitution at all.

For many liberal-progressives, the Constitution is merely one “argument,” a suggestion Americans should feel free to jettison when it stands in the way of the New Utopia of Victims.

But of course civil rights activists do not view the Second Amendment as an “argument”–any more than American blacks and women see their newer constitutional right to vote as an “argument.” Both groups view their rights as self-evident and unarguable.


Wilkinson seems to have a difficult time believing Second Amendment activists are sincere, that millions really believe weapons serve as a physical guarantee and constitutional check against government abuse. He searches for hidden motives. Where’s the trust?

Indeed, it is TRUE: activists believe weapons prevent the government from abrogating the Constitution entire, including the First Amendment (worship, free speech, peaceable assembly, government petition) as well as the rights to vote, get paid for labor, and own private property.

The Second Amendment does not speak of “guns”; it speaks of “the security of a free state.” Arms guarantee freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of association, freedom to access the government, freedom to vote, freedom from enslavement, and freedom to keep what’s yours absent due legal process to remove it.

The “argument” of Second Amendment activists doesn’t reduce to two words, it reduces to one word: FREEDOM. But freedom doesn’t just happen. citizens must fight for it, and fight to keep it.


Why keep arms to fight? Because governments across the world down through history have a nasty habit of telling citizens who demand freedom: “What are you gonna do if we say no?”

Venezuela told its citizens just this after the government began starving them. The regime in Venezuela had the foresight to confiscate personal firearms shortly before matters got hungry; and so the Venezuelan people ate their desire for civil rights. They couldn’t do a damned thing about the regime’s abuses.

If Wilkinson really does not understand that civil rights on occasion require forceful protection from government … well … his grasp of not only history but current events could use a polish.

Consider: most people who perished from conflict deaths in the last 120 years died at the hands of their own governments.


Wilkinson alludes to the “well-regulated militia” canard. Wilkinson operates under the modern progressive myth–born of presentism and motivated reasoning–that the Founders meant, “If you join the National Guard, you may carry a rifle.” This myth lacks any historical basis.

The Second Amendment descends from the English Constitution of 1689 (as Wikipedia might have educated Wilkinson, had he read up even a little). The English right to arms was–as the Supreme Court said–“clearly an individual right, having nothing whatsoever to do with service in the militia.”

The English right to personal arms was a response to targeted oppression of individuals. Catholic kings Charles II and James II searched houses and seized arms from Protestants who were “suspected or knowne” of harboring anti-government sentiments (the pre-Revolution version of red flag laws).

The Second Amendment was the Founding Fathers’ way of saying, “NEVER … AGAIN.”

But here we are … again: red flag laws; magazine restrictions; prohibition of common weapons; harassment legislation and fees against law-abiding gun owners; and ever-increasing hurdles to those who might want to exercise their civil right to self-protection. One might call these “Second Amendment suppression laws.”


Wilkinson packs a lot of misconceptions into just two sentences. And he later takes his constitutional illiteracy to greater heights:

America is a representative democracy. But the gun lobby and other parts of the conservative coalition are increasingly skeptical of that. Armed with an all-purpose Constitution that means whatever they want it to mean, they seek to block popular government action … What the gun sanctuary movement is seeking is not protection from government overreach, but from democracy.

Ah! Democracy. As Inigo Montoya says in The Princess Bride: “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

America is not a “representative democracy.” The United States is a CONSTITUTIONAL DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC (they *really* need to start teaching this in high schools again …).

The United States possesses a robust Constitution over its democratic-republican mechanisms to restrain majorities from stripping fundamental rights from minorities–like, for example, the right to keep and bear arms (or as political scientist Cardi B says “bare arms”).


(Pardon the free use of emphasis, but lately it seems like the message just isn’t getting through.)

A premium feature of a historical Constitution is that it blocks certain forms of what Wilkinson calls “popular government action.” Perhaps trying the shoe on the other foot will make things clear:

If a solid majority of Americans undertook an unconstitutional but “popular government action” to remove the vote from women or black Americans, should the minority block them, or just get out of the way?

Or taking a more personal case: should a minority use the Constitution to block government from forcibly sterilizing village idiots, even if such a notion were “popular” with the majority?

Ewwwwww … All of the sudden, “Majority can do whatever it wants!” doesn’t sound so appealing, does it?


Has Wilkinson considered moving to China? China practices ferocious gun control. China has gone through four constitutions in the last 75 years, and the Party pretty much ignore the present constitution when it suits them.

Moreover, Wilkinson’s skill set is in high demand: China always needs ill-informed scribblers to parrot the history-, constitution-, and reality-defying policies of Party leaders in the mold of Michael Bloomberg.