You may wonder if your first amendment rights can be exercised simultaneously as your second amendment rights. With the continuous growing tension between the protesters and the police, it can be a gray area. Read about what we think below!
First and Second Amendment Rights: Can They Co-Exist?
As protests continue throughout the country well into their fourth month, new types of stories are emerging. Stories in which both protesters and counter-protesters are ending up dead.
Gun sales in the U.S. have surged since March, and with racial tensions and distrust of police peaking, citizens are arming themselves in self-protection at an alarming rate. This presents several problems:
- Many first-time gun owners have not taken the time to familiarize themselves with their weapons and the proper safety protocols that would make them responsible gun owners.
- Sympathizers to “mostly peaceful” protesters have begun to view open carry at protests as intimidating and a threat to First Amendment rights.
- The use of ethical determinations to assess if both protesters and counter-protesters have a right to bear arms at public protests.
Legal Scholars Fear for Our Democracy
Some law professors, including Timothy Zick, a law professor at the College of William & Mary, feel that the right to bear arms and the right to free speech are “competing in the same space.”
Gregory Magarian, a law professor at Washington University in St. Louis, says that this clash of rights is “starting to produce a real body count.”
Historically, our right to free speech depends on our right to bear arms.
Our First and Second Amendment rights work together to make America the land of the free.
The presence of weapons at protests assures protection for repressed voices.
But now, some worry that U.S. democracy will suffer if guns intimidate would-be protesters from voicing their opinion.
Both Sides Exercise Their Second Amendment Rights
This argument may hold water if only counter-protesters were arriving armed.
However, Antifa, Black Lives Matter, and other anti-racism and anti-police protesters are also arming themselves.
In Portland, Oregon, Michael Reinoehl, 48, a self-described member of the violent left-wing movement Antifa, was charged in the fatal Aug. 29 shooting of Aaron Danielson, 39, who was in a caravan of President Donald Trump’s supporters.
Earlier this summer, in Seattle’s CHAZ autonomous zone, multiple shootings and violent acts took place until police could enter and disband the Progressive group.
In Austin, anti-police brutality protester Garrett Foster was open-carrying a rifle before pointing it at a driver attempting to utilize the street that was overrun by protesters. He was shot and killed by the driver, who is claiming self-defense.
While legal scholars may want to paint a picture of frightened antiracism protesters being silenced by white supremacists, the facts show a different scene: one in which law-abiding citizens seeking to present a different opinion are acting in self-defense in lawless streets.
The Second Amendment is not the enemy of democracy; it is its savior.
Without it, the mainstream media will present and amplify only one narrative today.
The First Amendment and the Second Amendment are far from mutually exclusive.
In fact, the First Amendment fails to exist the day that the Second Amendment dies.
What are your thoughts about exercising the first and second amendment rights together? Is it possible? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section!
- Protesters vs Protectors: Where Do the Rioters Fit in?
- Necessity of 2nd Amendment Proven Amid Rioting, Looting
- Why Is The 2nd Amendment Important?
My rights don’t end where feelings begin. My rights don’t end where opinions begin. My rights don’t end where contrary to the Constitution laws begin. My rights, the rights that I was born into because they are the very rights that scores of people fought and died for, are mine and mine for life. I will fight for these rights with all my being, as those who came before me did, and as my forefathers would have wanted. I’d rather die or be incarcerated knowing I saved a life with a firearm than alive and free knowing I could do nothing to prevent death because I was prevented from possessing one.
– Lyle D. Yates, American, September 23, 2020
“A free people ought not only to be armed, but disciplined…”
– George Washington, First Annual Address, to both House of Congress, January 8, 1790
“No man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.”
– Thomas Jefferson, Virginia Constitution, Draft4 1, 1776
“Laws that forbid the carrying of arms only disarm those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they are serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.”
– Thomas Jefferson, Commonplace Book (quoting 18th century criminologist Cesare Beccaria), 1774-1776
“The Constitution of most of our states (and of the United States) assert that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed.”
– Thomas Jefferson, letter to to John Cartwright, 5 June 1824
“The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the best and most natural defense of a free country.”
– James Madison, I Annals of Congress 434, June 8, 1789
“The Constitution shall never be construed to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms.”
– Samuel Adams, Massachusetts Ratifying Convention, 1788
“The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them.”
– Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, 1833
“As civil rulers, not having their duty to the people before them, may attempt to tyrannize, and as the military forces which must be occasionally raised to defend our country, might pervert their power to the injury of their fellow citizens, the people are confirmed by the article in their right to keep and bear their private arms.”
– Tench Coxe, Philadelphia Federal Gazette, June 18, 1789
Re: Red Flag Laws.
There is something to be said in favor of these, as someone who is mentally unstable can and may cause harm to himself or others……..
In order to discourage false accusations, as often happens, there should be mandatory severe penalties to those who FALSELY ACCUSE a gun owner under a red flag law, and a resolution of any accusation should have a mandatory very short expiration date, after which his guns must be returned to him unless the accusation against him is proven true in a court of law. The accused gun owner should be provided with legal representation, regardless of whether he can or cannot afford to hire an attorney.