This column by ACRU Senior Legal Analyst Ken Klukowski was published on January 29, 2013 on Breitbart.com.
President Barack Obama met with big-city police chiefs today calling for gun control. In response, former Cincinnati Mayor Ken Blackwell explained to Breitbart News why violating the Second Amendment doesn’t make anyone safer, and how Second Amendment supporters can protect their rights against the White House’s onslaught.
Blackwell served as mayor of the Queen City, then later served under conservative icon Jack Kemp as an Undersecretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and then U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission. Beyond that, he’s married to Rosa Blackwell, who worked in public education for three decades, as a teacher, principal, and finally Superintendent of Cincinnati Public Schools.
Asked about the perspective such a combination of life experiences and service provides, Mayor Blackwell began, “You understand that banning particular models of guns or size of magazines doesn’t do anything to stop violence. A gun is a tool. The challenge we face instead is the culture.”
He continued, “Not too many years ago kids who were hunters sometimes took rifles or shotguns to school so they could hunt afterward. No one turned those guns on their fellow students, to say nothing of sweet, innocent five-year-olds.
“Today we’ve allowed a culture that glorifies doing terrible things. Hollywood makes movies where people are doing things that are just sick–really over the top. But it’s mainly not about adults, who for better or worse have already decided what they believe is right and wrong.”
Asked about shootings carried out by young people, Blackwell said the narrow answer is, “When it comes to video games, kids spend hours every week fantasizing about gunning down other human beings, and acting it out on a screen. And they’re doing it during their formative years, where they don’t have the active imagination of small children but they also don’t have a settled sense of embracing their responsibilities and adopting standards of objective morality that deeply values and respects their fellow man.”
But the cultural issues go much broader than that, Blackwell–who works with the Family Research Council–adds:
“More and more people reject the whole notion of right and wrong. It’s becoming fashionable to deny the existence of God, and claim the right to determine for yourself what you will live for and how you will live. Some embrace the worldview that life is ultimately meaningless, so what’s the point? We come from nothing and we become nothing. Others embrace a worldview that all that matters is going for the thrill and whatever feels good.”
“Songs out there about wanting to die young are on the pop charts; they resonate with some young people. For thousands of years, the ideal was to die old after having lived to see not only your children, but your grandchildren too. Rebelling against that concept is now stylish. Those who embrace these newer worldviews feel a deep emptiness and often lack a clear moral compass. While many people can live productive lives with such views, others can become dangerous to themselves and others.”
Rejecting Obama’s gun-control plan, Blackwell says taking guns away will never make people safer. “The bad guys will always get guns. But even if you could take them all away, then a young, strong man with a knife or a baseball bat can easily outmatch the elderly, many women, or those with physical disabilities. Firearms are what enable anyone to defend themselves against someone who is stronger or faster.”
He applauded Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke, who sent Soledad O’Brien into a frenzy by putting out a public ad encouraging law-abiding citizens in his city to purchase a firearm and learn how to safely and effectively own and use one. “All of us who have run cities understand that the police usually can’t get there in time to prevent a crime. You want people to responsibly know how to protect themselves and keep their families safe.”
Asked about Obama’s chances of succeeding, Blackwell–who sits on the NRA board of directors–said, “That depends. Setting aside the fact that Second Amendment supporters have the votes to stop ineffective gun-control bills in the House if they do it right, the reality is we need to stop it in the Senate as well. There are six red-state Democrats up for reelection next year.” Those seats are in South Dakota, Montana, Louisiana, Arkansas, West Virginia, and North Carolina.
Noting that this doesn’t even consider other states that could be on the fence when it comes to the Second Amendment, Blackwell explains, “If supporters of the right to bear arms make this a top issue in those states, then we can build a coalition that will stop this wrongheaded legislation.”
But that doesn’t mean the fight is over, Blackwell cautions: “The real question is this: If we stop this gun-control legislation, what kinds of executive orders and regulations will this president come out with to achieve the same result. We can take him to court on all that, but he’s trying to remake the courts as well. We’re only a single vote away from the Supreme Court erasing the Second Amendment.”
Politically, Blackwell says, this is likely to become part of the narrative for the 2016 election. “Nobody wants to talk about 2016 yet, but the reality is this is likely a four-year fight over the Second Amendment to our Constitution. Whoever wins the White House in 2016 will likely determine whether the right to keep and bear arms a decade from now is embraced as a constitutional right, or as a government-granted privilege that a president or governor can revoke on a whim. Those who support the Second Amendment need to step up and be heard.”