Chad Perrin: SOB

7 July 2008

ACLU advocates banning “assault typewriters”

Filed under: Liberty — apotheon @ 11:35

I read the ACLU’s statement, on its official blog, describing its position on the DC v. Heller decision. For those of you who are not aware, the Supreme Court (for the first time ever) heard a case that hinged on whether the 2nd Amendment of the United States Constitution protected an individual or collective right to keep and bear arms. Just for those who chose willful ignorance of the obvious interpretation of the 2A, the Supreme Court’s justices made it official: the RKBA is an individual right. It’s not just a “right” of state controlled militias.

The ACLU position, from the relevant weblog post, is:

The ACLU interprets the Second Amendment as a collective right. Therefore, we disagree with the Supreme Court’s decision in D.C. v. Heller. While the decision is a significant and historic reinterpretation of the right to keep and bear arms, the decision leaves many important questions unanswered that will have to be resolved in future litigation, including what regulations are permissible, and which weapons are embraced by the Second Amendment right that the Court has now recognized.

Not one single comment out of the first 100 (I haven’t read all 800 comments) agrees with the ACLU position. Mostly, they take the ACLU to task for its willful ignorance, its picking and choosing tactic with regard to which rights it supports and defends, its hypocrisy, and so on. There are a few notable comments that stand out above the others, and I’ll quote some of them below. One comment tries to apologize for the ACLU’s hypocrisy without actually endorsing the position itself, and two others suggest ways the ACLU can give itself an “out” so its board members can continue to think whatever they like about the 2nd Amendment without actually making an ass of itself like this in the future.

Of all the comments, though, I think my favorite is this gem from Mark Jaquith — the inspiration for the title of this SOB entry. He said:

A “collective” is a group of individuals. How can a collective have a right that the individuals in that collective don’t have? Which of the members of the group gets to exercise that right on behalf of the others? Who decides who that person is?

What about the First Amendment? It talks about freedom of the press, and “the right of the people peaceably to assemble.” That’s the same “the people” as in the Second Amendment, which you’ve asserted is a “collective right.” Maybe we should limit freedom of speech to registered press members (who will, of course, be required to store their typewriters in a disassembled and locked state, so that they are not able to exercise that collective right at a moment’s notice). We’ll take their fingerprints, run a background check, and make them demonstrate competency at composing headlines. Of course, no press will be allowed to operate within Washington D.C. — to keep illegal typewriters off the streets.

After all, all constitutional freedoms have limits. The government needs to have the power to regulate especially dangerous free speech and typewriters that are capable of performing automatic carriage returns (“assault typewriters”).

Among the other comments are the following winners.

Samuel said:

The ACLU long based its “collective right” interpretation on the Supreme Court’s ruling in US v. Miller.

The Supreme Court has now clarified what was meant by US v. Miller, that the Second Amendment never concerned a collective right, and that those who read US v. Miller to that meaning were incorrect.

In other words, the very basis for the ACLU’s “collective right” interpretation has been invalidated, and the individual right to keep and bear arms has been recognized as a vital liberty of equal standing as all those protected by the Bill of Rights.

I don’t want to hear any more about the ACLU prevaricating on how they “disagree” with this individual right protected by the Bill of Rights. What I (and many other members) now want is for the ACLU to step to the forefront of protecting our Second Amendment rights so that the damned NRA will stop being the only place liberal gunowners can turn to.

Will you just get with the program? Numerous polls show ~ 75% of US voters know the Second Amendment protects an individual right, and ~65% of registered DEMOCRATS agree with that position. We need you to show some leadership and embrace our rights, not leave the Second Amendment neglected for the NRA to continue to wrap in right-wing rhetoric.

Doesn’t your sense of decency demand you treat all of our Constitutional rights equally?

Joe Huffman said:

Fortunately it is the Supreme Court and not organizations such as the KKK or the ACLU that is the binding interpreter of the U.S. Constitution.

We now have the ACLU explicitly denying what the Supreme courts calls a specific enumerated right. This is even more egregious than the KKK demanding segregated bus seating, water fountains, and restrooms since the Constitution doesn’t enumerate the right for integration of public and private accommodations.

I had supported the ACLU in their support of the KKK because I thought the issue was one of free speech. Perhaps I was wrong in my assumption. Perhaps the issue was the ACLU enjoys the company of similarly minded bigots.

Mastiff said:

I am sorry to say that the ACLU has disappointed me. I have consistently defended you to my firearm owning friends. I pointed out that both you and the NRA are defending the Bill of Rights and our civil liberties, both with equal zeal. The NRA was taking care of defending the one amendment you were not defending. While Miller gave you cover, your ignoring the 2nd Amendment was permissible. Your are refusing to accept the Supreme Court decision in Heller, which is now the law of the land. There can now be no reason for this outside of the fact that you do not believe Americans deserve to have the right to keep and bear arms, no matter what the law is. I no longer find it in my heart to defend you guys. You are just as bad as the Bush Administration, picking and choosing what rights protected by the Constitution they will let us have. I used to have hope in the ACLU. I am very sorry to discover that I was mistaken.

Lonnie Wilson said:

I’m sorry to say that I’m ripping up my membership to the ACLU and sending it back to your HQ. By calling the Second Amendment a “collective right” when all NINE Supreme Court Justices disagree with that statement, you completely undermine your organization’s moral authority to attack against the MCA, FISA changes, and so on.

Patrick said:

The hypocrisy of the ACLU apparently knows no bounds. Picking which “rights” you support based on politics is beneath you (well, actually I guess it isn’t).

I’ll stop there. There are far too many scathing indictments of the ACLU’s laughable position to list all the good examples here.


  1. Yeah, the ACLU has disappointed me way too many times, especially wrt the Second Amendment.

    I at one point had thought of joining, now I just have them on a list of organizations I will not support in any way.

    Comment by Joseph A Nagy Jr — 8 July 2008 @ 07:14

  2. […] [From Chad Perrin: SOB » ACLU advocates banning “assault typewriters”] […]

    Pingback by Linked article: Chad Perrin: SOB » ACLU advocates banning “assault typewriters” — 10 July 2008 @ 07:01

  3. Of all the organizations in the world, one would expect the ACLU to uphold the individual liberties guaranteed in all of amendments known as the Bill of Rights. Shame on them for employing doublespeak to deny them in this case.

    Comment by SterlingCamden — 10 July 2008 @ 05:57

  4. One would certainly expect so — if one wasn’t very familiar with the ACLU, I guess. For one thing, the ACLU was formed with specific goals of protecting communists charged by US Attorney General Palmer (there’s probably something about the Palmer Raids on Wikipedia) and supporting the International Workers of the World. The IWW is essentially a worldwide labor union whose ultimate goal is to abolish wage systems, turn all industrial workplaces into models of social democracy, and unite all workers under its centralized management.

    It was something like fifteen or twenty years later that the ACLU purged all members of communist parties from leadership positions and took the position that it didn’t want communists or any other supporters of totalitarian political systems as members, but the entire ethos of Marxist social democracy is still pretty obviously inseparable from ACLU policies, as long as you eliminate the specific requirements for centralized control by a dictatorial government. General requirements, however — such as a national ban on private ownership of firearms — are obviously not at odds with the ACLU’s self-assigned mission.

    Comment by apotheon — 10 July 2008 @ 07:24

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