State Sen. Eric Brakey’s March 28 op-ed, directed at the young people who are rightfully outraged at seeing their friends being slaughtered in school, drips with condescension. He asserts that “too few of the students marching … have been taught the constitutional truth.”

Brakey states that rights enshrined in the Constitution are “clear and absolute,” including the Second Amendment right to “keep and bear arms.” He’s wrong. The Supreme Court made clear, in its 2008 Heller decision, that while individuals have a right to keep a gun in their home for self-defense purposes, the right is not absolute.

Justice Antonin Scalia stated in his majority opinion: “Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever, in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.” The Heller decision also permits restrictions on gun sales in the interest of public safety.

The National Rifle Association and politicians like Brakey have been twisting the truth about this issue for far too long. He goes on to say that gun ownership is “not about hunting or home defense – it is about the ability of people to take up arms should government become tyrannical.” So he believes he could fend off the U.S. armed forces if it were to come to that?

Brakey’s piece is yet another smokescreen created to confuse and to undermine the efforts of the army of young people on the horizon that will eventually be successful in changing this whole conversation. As one of the organizers of last Saturday’s march here in Portland stated in her address to the crowd: “Oh, no, we are done politely asking. We are registering to vote and we are running for office. We don’t need you anymore!”

Mary Ann Larson


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