Politicians who don’t believe you should have Second Amendment rights have often tried to hide their gun-control laws in arguments for “public health.” The idea is to turn a matter of elementary liberty into a crisis that mandates instant action. Joe Biden has been loudly signaling that he plans to do this about guns, and the mainstream media is already obediently playing along.
That firearms can be dangerous in the hands of an evil person is obvious to anyone. Indeed, this is precisely why it matters who gets to own them. To a certain type of gun-controller, however, the mere fact that guns can be used by criminals to harm others presents them with an opportunity to subvert the U.S. Constitution.
Typically, this process is fairly straightforward: First, they declare that the criminal use of firearms is a “public-health issue,” and they say it requires a response determined by health professionals and researchers; next, they set up a series of studies that will result in health professionals and researchers concluding that the only way to fix the “public-health issue” is to ban firearms; finally, they pretend that they are surprised by the recommendations made by the health professionals and researchers, but that they are obliged to follow them on the grounds that they are merely “going where the data leads.” It’s science!
The Second Amendment is an unalienable liberty; it is not a privilege that can be “balanced” and decayed if the controlling class dislikes it.
This, of course, is not how any of this is supposed to work. For a start, there is nothing “scientific” about setting up studies that are predestined to come to a particular conclusion—which, let us make no mistake about it, is precisely what every “public-health” gun-control inquiry always does, and it’s precisely why there is a federal ban on congressional funds being used to “advocate or promote gun control.” To read a “public-health” study on gun policy is akin to reading a study on fire that never gets past the observation that it is “hot.” It is true, in a narrow sense, but it tells us nothing especially interesting.
And even if it did, it would remain the case that the entire “public-health” approach is flatly inconsistent with the laws and customs of a free republic such as ours. Individual rights are just that: rights. The Second Amendment is an unalienable liberty; it is not a privilege that can be “balanced” and decayed if the controlling class dislikes it.
Contrary to the beliefs of many politicians, there is no provision within the American Constitution that renders its provisions irrelevant if someone says the words “public health” or “national security” or “COVID-19.” On the contrary, the very reason we have a written constitution is to prevent our freedoms from being evaporated every time something unpleasant or alarming happens.
It will be important to remember this in the coming months. As this was being written, Biden had signaled that he intended to pick Dr. Vivek Murthy as the U.S. Surgeon General and Xavier Becerra as secretary of Health and Human Services. Like Biden, who reiterated his commitment to the “public-health” strategy in December, both Murthy and Becerra are devoted to the approach, and, should the U.S. Senate confirm them, will begin agitating in its favor from their new offices immediately.
For the health of the republic, they—and all others who use similar tactics to erode the rights of the people—must be rebuffed.