Did something newsworthy happen on Saturday? BECAUSE I CAN’T TELL.
It was, as we’ve already been told ad nauseum, a Day That Would Go Down In History: Kavanaugh’s appointment to the Supreme Court was confirmed on Saturday, October 6, 2018, by a razor-thin margin. It’s indeed a victory for pro-Second Amendment activism; after all, the seminal 2008 D.C. vs. Heller decision came down to the “swing vote” of Kavanaugh’s predecessor, Justice Kennedy. Many 2A supporters were disturbed by how close that decision, which established precedent that the Second Amendment defends an individual right to bear arms, had been—and so having a firm pro-2A vote in that seat is a relief. But I’m already over it. And here’s why:
1. Supreme Court Cases Move Like Glaciers
Part of the reason D.C. vs. Heller was such a big deal is that cases like it—cases in which we have a Constitutional question to resolve that is both serious, and features arguments that can’t be resolved at a more local level—are both relatively rare, and very slow-moving. The process can take years, even decades. Although one can have quite a bit of actuarial fun handicapping which Justice will be the next to retire or succumb to the inevitability of death, there are no answers about what the next case will be, when it will wend its way through the lower courts, or what the Supreme Court will look like when it does.
2. The Court is the Last Resort
There’s an irritating little concept in Buddhist philosophy expressed by the word “mu.” A loose English translation is “un-ask the question.” It means, essentially, that whatever answer you might have given would have been wrong, because the answer would have delineated a smaller truth at the expense of a much larger one. So when I’m asked if I’m pleased about the Kavanaugh appointment, that’s my response—unask the question. The larger truth is that although once-per-generation Supreme Court cases can potentially represent threats to the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, the threats we really need to worry about are far more common and pedestrian.
Say, for example, the closing of local shooting ranges due to overbearing local ordinances. Or the repeated attempts to criminalize ownership of certain types of guns based on cosmetic appearance alone. Or attempts to criminalize certain types of ammunition based on junk science (if there’s any science at all). Hysterical headlines meant to marginalize the culture of gun ownership in America. It’s entirely possible that any of the above might some day make the basis of a Supreme Court case—but if it does, that means that someone’s rights have already been demonstrably infringed upon for a long time. Essentially, at that point what’s happening is that pro-Second Amendment activists are making a Hail Mary pass.
The real “question” we should be asking is “What can we as citizens do to make sure that we don’t ever need that Hail Mary pass?” And the answers to that question are what’s going to keep the Second Amendment safe for our kids and grandkids.
Editor’s Note: Do you agree? Please share this so your pro-Second Amendment friends know that the fight is local…and ongoing. If you don’t agree, please share it so your friends can be entertained.
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