The 2nd Amendment Foundation has done great work. They have filed and won lawsuits supporting gun ownership in the United States, and that is always a good thing. But, recently, they released a statement which calls into question their understanding of the purpose of the Second Amendment. Nick Leghorn writes,
Following the riots in Charlottesville where gun control activists had their knickers in a twist about the presence of armed protesters (despite the fact that there were no injuries or arrests involving these individuals), the SAF’s Alan Gottlieb is trying to split the difference and appear to be the “reasonable” voice in gun politics.
“We are not a fan of armed protests and highly discourage that,” said Alan Gottlieb, the founder and executive vice president of the SAF. “Firearms serve a purpose, and the purpose is not a mouthpiece. It’s to defend yourself. If you are carrying it to make a political point, we are not going to support that.”
That distinction — designating firearms for self defense, not political expression — limits the scope of the Second Amendment, not to mention gun owners’ First Amendment rights as well. The RKBA was intended as a guarantee against a tyrannical government. One of the best ways to remind elected officials of that fact: put them on display, normalizing them in the eyes of the public.
While we can disagree with the political position of the protesters on either or both sides of the riots in Charlottesville, to say that bearing arms during a protest is not something to be supported is to suggest that Americans do not have a right to defend themselves when attacked for their political positions.
The 2nd Amendment Foundation may be trying to be considered “moderate” on gun control, but the Second Amendment isn’t a “moderate” issue. It’s an extreme issue because you only have a justification for shooting someone in an extreme situation. Being physically attacked for your political position may qualify as the kind of extreme situation in which you have to defend yourself with your weapon. It’s not a situation anyone wants to be in, but it is a situation which you have to be prepared for, and that means being able to carry even during political protests.
Frankly, the 2nd Amendment Foundation got it wrong on this one.