In his press conference on gun control today, President Obama turned the gun rights/gun control argument in a very different direction, “away from the Second Amendment and toward rights and themes at the core of other foundational documents, as he unveiled his package of gun proposals.”
By invoking The Declaration of Independence, the First Amendment, and the Gettysburg Address, President Obama “cast a new and different meaning on another familiar political phrase, the right to life.”
“The right to worship freely and safely, that right was denied to Sikhs in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. The right to assemble peaceably, that right was denied shoppers in Clackamas, Oregon, and moviegoers in Aurora, Colorado,” Obama said in an explicit reference to the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights.
“That most fundamental set of rights to life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness — fundamental rights that were denied to college students at Virginia Tech, and high school students at Columbine, and elementary school students in Newtown, and kids on street corners in Chicago on too frequent a basis to tolerate, and all the families who’ve never imagined that they’d lose a loved one to a bullet — those rights are at stake,” the president continued, paraphrasing the Declaration of Independence.
Obama did not leave out the part of the Declaration about Americans being “endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights that no man or government can take away from us,” as he put it. But he added: “As we’ve also long recognized, as our founders recognized, that with rights come responsibilities. Along with our freedom to live our lives as we will comes an obligation to allow others to do the same. We don’t live in isolation. We live in a society, a government of, and by, and for the people.” That final phrase comes from Abraham Lincoln’s impassioned Gettysburg Address.
President Obama effectively turned the Constitutionalists on their tone-deaf ears and made it clear that the right to life is imperiled by gun rights advocates.
Obama said today, “There will be pundits and politicians and special-interest lobbyists publicly warning of a tyrannical, all-out assault on liberty.” And of course the push back is on with no holds barred, as we see from the NRA’s latest ad.
I personally do not believe the framers foresaw a future that included American’s owning high powered, military type assault weapons. And the simple fact is, as President Obama pointed out today, that in granting loosely controlled gun rights, other’s right’s are jeopardized.