As anyone who has an elementary school level education understands, our Founders established our federal government to have three branches—the Executive, Legislative, and Judiciary—each designed with their own duties, and also designed to act as a check on the others from trying to assert too much power.
In a fairly simplistic breakdown, Congress determines what laws should be in place, the President makes sure the laws are put into place and enforced, and the Supreme Court determines if the laws comport with the US Constitution.
Sadly, some politicians simply ignore this dynamic, and hate being less powerful than they believe they should be.
Case in point: US Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.).
Murphy has long been a staunch advocate of diminishing the Second Amendment. He has supported virtually every anti-gun proposal that has come before him for consideration, including banning guns. But, thus far, he has failed to achieve much success in imposing the Draconian restrictions on law-abiding gun owners he would like to see passed at the federal level.
There are, however, a handful of states that are under the political control of anti-gun zealots; states such as California, Illinois, New Jersey, and New York. These states have, as our readers know, passed laws that infringe on our rights protected under the Second Amendment; ranging from annoying bureaucratic impediments to exercising the right to arms to actual bans on some of the most popular firearms people choose for self-defense.
That said, while our Founders may have given deference to the states to manage their own affairs, it has been long established that there are certain things that are sacrosanct—like individual rights—and states can be limited as to their authority on establishing laws in certain areas.
So, after a trio of Second Amendment-affirming decisions handed down by the US Supreme Court based on challenges to laws at the state and city level—in the cases of District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), McDonald v. City of Chicago (2010), and New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen—the days of anti-gun states and localities being able to violate Second Amendment rights with no accountability may be numbered.
This seems to terrify Sen. Murphy, and so much so that he has taken up the tactic of making thinly-veiled threats towards the US Supreme Court and questioning our nation’s very foundations of government.
A FOX News article reports that Murphy recently appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press, and the senator was asked about his efforts to pass gun control in relation to how the courts have been ruling on the constitutionality of such laws. Murphy complained that if the Supreme Court correctly determines the laws he promotes are unconstitutional under the Second Amendment, “I think there will be a popular revolt over that policy….”
He then went on to imply that the current Supreme Court “[is] pretty illegitimate [and] is going to be in full crisis mode” when faced with the alleged “popular revolt.”
It’s unclear what, exactly, he means by “popular revolt,” but a member of one branch of government questioning the legitimacy of another is generally frowned upon, but it is especially egregious when the reason seems to boil down to Murphy just doesn’t like being told he and other anti-gun lawmakers cannot simply violate the Constitution as they see fit.
Murphy may need to be reminded that the rights enshrined in the Constitution are not subject to a popularity contest, or mob rule. The Supreme Court has held that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to own firearms, which means he doesn’t get to dictate which law-abiding citizens can own them, as he seems to want to do.
The Court has also held that the Second Amendment protects the right to own firearms “in common use,” so Murphy’s desire to ban rifles like the AR-15 is also not likely to pass constitutional muster. With more than 20 million such rifles currently in the hands of law-abiding Americans, it’s hard to imagine them not being described as “in common use.”
But even if gun bans and restrictions on ownership were a matter of popularity, Murphy’s anti-gun agenda would still be on thin ice. The vast majority of states do NOT have the kinds of laws he promotes—like banning certain semi-automatic firearms. People who have decided to purchase their first firearm have been a rapidly growing segment of Americans over the last few years, and reports from the firearms industry show steadily increasing interest in firearms by law-abiding citizens.
Combine that with the fact that the majority of states have now embraced Constitutional Carry laws, and it is probably not an exaggeration to say that the Second Amendment hasn’t been this popular since it was first ratified.
Murphy can bluster all he wants about some vague “popular revolt” and a court he seems to think is “illegitimate,” but maybe he just needs a refresher course on how our government works. Perhaps something even children can understand.