Horwitz et al.: Stricter Limits on Gun Rights is the Only Way to Preserve Our Democracy


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A recent paper released by Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health not only exposes the real purpose of gun control, but also shows that the school is rather unserious about the promotion of actual public health.

Entitled “Preventing Armed Insurrection: Firearms in Political Spaces Threaten Public Health, Safety, and Democracy,” you’d think the authors would be actual public health professionals, doctors, or, well, anyone with public health expertise. Instead it’s written by three lawyers including Josh Horwitz.

We’ll get to the substance of their opus in a minute, but first it’s helpful to keep some things in mind about the Bloomberg School of Public Health. And Horwitz. First, the school’s name is no accident. America’s most ardent anti-gun billionaire, Michael Bloomberg, has given the school almost $3 billion. That’s why his name is on the door

Last year Johns Hopkins absorbed the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV), formerly known as the National Coalition to Ban Handguns. That org was headed by Horwitz, one of the authors of this latest scholarly work.

In other words, Bloomberg bought himself a school and now he’s using its good name to try to lend legitimacy to his ongoing gun control efforts. This exercise in advocacy is veiled in academic and even (pseudo) medical legitimacy rather than being just another an anti-freedom screed on an anti-gun website written by a lawyer who hates civil rights.

What really sets this Bloomberg School paper apart from all of the others is how open it is about the real purpose of civilian disarmament and its attempts to associate gun ownership with insurrection.

Instead of doing the usual thing by claiming that more and stricter gun control is essential to promoting public health (a claim the actual Democratic Party public health experts don’t make, even when pressed), they to full Washington Post, raising the specter of insurrection and implying that carrying guns in public spaces is a danger to our democracy.

They lay out their argument that insurrection is illegal and that the Constitution doesn’t specifically protect any right to rebel. They conveniently leave out the fact that that the Declaration of Independence says that it’s not just our right, but our duty to remove governments that violate our natural rights instead of protecting them (more on that in a bit).

The authors also lay out a short list of policy recommendations. They’re mostly the usual demands anti-gun organizations routinely make rather than proposing any innovative, public health-based mitigation ideas.

While they may be able to make a semi-reasonable argument that red flag laws somehow relate to public health, banning guns at protests and banning “military-like training” and  “paramilitary activity” definitely falls well outside the domain of public health. Not to mention violating Americans’ freedom of assembly. It seems these hoplophobic attorneys just can’t manage to stay in their lane.

They Say ‘Danger To Democracy’ Like It’s A Bad Thing

You don’t have to be on the bigoted far left or right fringe to see that democracy itself can be highly dangerous. For example, as a lesbian, I know that there are places where a democracy would prohibit me from being with my wife. But that doesn’t happen because we set limits on what democracy can do to the individual.

Sane people like these limits because they protect the individual rights we cherish even as they protect the rights of people we may disapprove of. That balance is essential to a functioning, peaceful civilization.

Without essential guardrails to protect individual rights, democracy can quickly become Byles’ “Three thousand tyrants one mile away”, stripping everything from freedom of speech and religion to the right to due process to life itself whenever it seems fashionable enough to a plurality of voters.

That’s why our democratic system is constrained within a republican framework that keeps power in check, sets hard limits on government power, and takes a layered approach to the protection of essential human rights.

Insurrection is one of the last resort layers of defense of these rights, and it most definitely is contained in the Constitution, even if bigoted lawyers want to bury it or deny its existence. While the Declaration of Independence isn’t law like the Constitution, it’s still a highly influential document that we can and should use when interpreting the Constitution.

The Second Amendment’s prefatory clause (“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State,”) tells us that the militia needs to be well-armed and well-trained to protect a free state. Combine the original militia acts with the Fourteenth Amendment, and the militia is basically…everyone, not just men of military age. This well-armed and well-trained reserve force exists not to protect democracy, but to protect a free state defined by the Declaration as one that respects individual rights.

Therefore, the duty to rebel against tyrants in a non-free state is implied in the Second Amendment. But only a fool would expect a non-free government (democratic or otherwise) to respect the human right to rebel against it. Of course their kangaroo courts and historically ignorant “scholars” would deny any right to rebel.

Taking them on is always a high stakes roll of the dice. Few seriously consider violent rebellion because it’s a dangerous, deadly endeavor. It’s not something people do unless the status quo is worse than risking death.

What these phony public health “scholars” are trying to do is lay out the case for prior restraint against the right of rebellion. We must ask ourselves why the right to rebellion scares them so much. Unless they plan to do things that would make Americans so unhappy that we’re willing to gamble everything, including our lives on rebellion, there’s nothing to fear.

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