By: Mark Fitzgerald
A pro-gun rights group says the Chicago Tribune is attacking the entire Bill of Rights — including the First Amendment right of a free press — with its semi-serious call for a repeal of the Second Amendment.
A day after the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark ruling that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to own a handgun for self-defense, the Tribune published an editorial provocatively headlined “Repeal the 2nd Amendment.”
“No, we don’t suppose that’s going to happen any time soon,” the editorial said. “But it should.”
The Tribune argued that the 5-4 majority ruling ignored the Founding Fathers’ intention in the amendment “to protect the authority of the states to organize militias.” The amendment would not have included the opening phrase “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State,” had the authors intended “an unambiguous declaration of the right to possess firearms,” the Tribune said. “But they didn’t, and it isn’t,” the editorial added.
But the Bellevue, Wash.-based Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) said the opinion piece was an “unconscionable attack on the entire Bill of Rights and the freedoms it protects.”
“If (Tribune editors) are so willing to abandon one civil right for an entire class of American citizens, what’s next?,” SAF founder Alan Gottlieb said in a press release. “Perhaps they would strip some citizens of their First Amendment rights to free speech or religion. Heaven help us should the Chicago Tribune editorial board one day decide that they don’t care for the editorial slant of their competitors at the Sun-Times, and call for a restriction on that newspaper’s freedom of the press.”
Gottlieb added that “not once, in all the years that gun rights organizations have been vilified in the editorial columns of the Tribune and other newspapers did anyone from the firearms community suggest we should repeal the First Amendment.”
Unlike “elitist newspaper editors,” he went on, gun owners understand that the Bill of Rights “is an all-or-nothing document, not a civil rights buffet from which we can pick and choose the rights we want to enjoy and those for which we have no stomach.”
The Tribune editorial concludes that, while the Second Amendment won’t really be repealed, “at least we can have that debate,” — in contrast, it added, to meaningful debates about the usefulness of restrictions on handguns by big cities and their suburbs.
“Want to debate whether crime-staggered cities should prohibit the possession of handguns?” the Tribune wrote. “The Supreme Court has just said, ‘forget about it.'”