What’s More Important: The First or the Second Ammendment?

August 22, 2009

(ChattahBox)—An excellent piece by David Sirota in Salon, explores the frighteningly recent phenomena of people brandishing guns and even deadly assault weapons at town hall events. When men with guns show up at public political events it has a chilling effect on free speech rights, frightening participants into fleeing or silencing their voices.

Two recent instances of weapon brandishing were particularly alarming. One man showed up in New Hampshire outside the school where President Obama was conducting a town hall event, with a handgun strapped to his thigh, holding a sign that said, “It is time to water the tree of liberty.” His sign invoked a phrase from Thomas Jefferson: “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”

In another instance, while President Obama was speaking to veterans in Arizona, 12-armed men showed up in the crowds milling around a public area close to the site where the President was speaking. One man wore an assault rifle slung across his chest and a handgun in a holster on his hip.

The man with the assault rifle participated in a staged interview with a right-wing talk radio host associated with a militant organization. They later released a disturbing YouTube video threatening to “forcefully resist people imposing their will on us through the strength of the majority.”

As noted by Sirota, the message and behavior of the armed men was “intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population.” And by the way, that quote is taken straight from a federal law describing domestic terrorism.

When two constitutional rights collide, which one takes precedence? The freedom of citizens to speak out without fear of retaliation or intimidation must win out over the rights to carry firearms at public political events.

Watch the YouTube video:


6 Responses to “What’s More Important: The First or the Second Ammendment?”

  1. joyfuljoy on August 22nd, 2009 11:04 pm

    Does everybody remember the two middle aged ladies who were arrested and strip-searched (violated in the most awful way) for wearing a Kerry button to a Bush rally? All because they would not move off a public sidewalk. They did win a large sum on court, so there was some justice after all. Just imagine if they had been packing guns….they would still be in prison.

  2. Sustainablehome on August 23rd, 2009 2:58 am

    See, that’s what many people do not get when discussing our rights: They should ALL be treated equally.

    If a state allows open-carry, then who are you, I, or anyone else (who does not reside in that state) to deny that right? If you, as a non-resident of that state, feel uncomfortable speaking near someone who has a PERFECTLY LEGAL firearm, then you need to either deal with it or choose not to attend.

    I am from California. I lived in Phoenix for approximately 3 years. Two days after moving there, someone walked in with a .357 strapped to their hip. My initial reaction was fear and apprehension. Before I could stop myself, I asked, “Is that real?” Everyone laughed, then explained the open-carry law. It took me about an hour to stop staring at the gun but after that it was no big deal. She never removed it from her holster, she wasn’t “brandishing” it (you might want to look up the definition of that word), she was just there, visiting us. After that day, the only time I looked twice at a firearm was to see if I could figure out what kind it was.

  3. Jim Hummel on August 23rd, 2009 1:55 pm

    As we all know, while freedom of speech is granted by the first amendment, it is nonetheless not legal to shout “fire” in a movie theater. While there isn’t the case law yet, I assume, regarding bringing weapons to town hall meetings, I suspect there will be soon. I’m sure the ACLU is working the problem. At least I hope so.

  4. Paul on August 23rd, 2009 10:16 pm

    The next time you catch an illegaly armed thug raping your daughter or your wife, what would you do immediately?

    1. Call 911
    2. Smother him to death
    3. Tell him to “Stop”
    4.Shoot him (provided you have a gun) and then call 911

  5. Old Man Dotes on August 24th, 2009 11:40 am

    Without the Second Amendment, there is no point in the First Amendment; you cannot enforce your rights if you have no means of preventing others from suppressing them. And if everyone at the Town Hall meetings was carrying, you can be damn sure the Bushies would be meek and silent instead of trying to shout down the speakers.

    As for the ACLU, frankly, as a Libertarian (and lately Democrat), I trust them less than I trust G.W. Bush (whom I would never turn my back on).

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