Comedian Larry the Cable advised those calling for a repeal of the Second Amendment to consider “history” and Judge Alex Kozinski’s succinct summary of the importance of the individual right to keep and bear arms.
Kozinski was a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit when the court refused a request for an en banc hearing of Silveria v. Lockyer. In light of the refusal, a decision stood which interpreted the Second Amendment as protecting a collective right instead of an individual one.
Kozinski dissented from the decision and Larry the Cable Guy is asking Americans to read the dissent:
History, History, History! Learn from it. RT @PoliticalShort: Those wanting to repeal the Second Amendment should read Judge Kozinski’s Dissenting Opinion in Silveira v. Lockyer https://t.co/CgjhjNoSxl pic.twitter.com/AzsMRoCORK
— Larry The Cable Guy (@GitRDoneLarry) March 27, 2018
Here are excerpts from Kozinski’s dissent:
But the simple truth—born of experience—is that tyranny thrives best where government need not fear the wrath of an armed
people. Our own sorry history bears this out: Disarmament was the tool of choice for subjugating both slaves and free blacks in the South. In Florida, patrols searched blacks’ homes for weapons, confiscated those found and punished
their owners without judicial process. …In the North, by contrast, blacks exercised their right to bear arms to defend against racial mob violence.
…All too many of the other great tragedies of history—Stalin’s atrocities, the killing fields of Cambodia, the Holocaust, to name but a few—were perpetrated by armed troops against unarmed populations. Many could well have been avoided or mitigated, had the perpetrators known their intended victims were equipped with a rifle and twenty bullets
apiece, as the Militia Act required here. …If a few hundred Jewish fighters in the Warsaw Ghetto could hold off the Wehrmacht for almost a month with only a handful of weapons, six million Jews armed with rifles could not so easily have been herded into cattle cars.
…My excellent colleagues have forgotten these bitter lessons of history. The prospect of tyranny may not grab the headlines the way vivid stories of gun crime routinely do. But few saw the Third Reich coming until it was too late. The Second Amendment is a doomsday provision, one designed for those exceptionally rare circumstances where all other rights have failed—where the government refuses to stand for reelection and silences those who protest; where courts have lost the courage to oppose, or can find no one to enforce their decrees. However improbable these contingencies may seem today, facing them unprepared is a mistake a free people get to make only once.
Kozinski observed, “Fortunately, the Framers were wise enough to entrench the right of the people to keep and bear arms within our constitutional structure. The purpose and importance of that right was still fresh in their minds, and they spelled it out clearly so it would not be forgotten.” He noted that when the “people themselves” read the Second Amendment, they can understand the meaning “plainly enough.”