Anderson Cooper did a wonderful job hosting his “Guns Under Fire” Town Hall meeting on Friday night. He was kind to everyone and gave everyone equal time. However, buy Jeffrey Toobin the CNN “Senior Legal Analyst” who spoke should be called their “Legal Advocate.” His entire statement was filled with arguments advocating the position that ownership of semi-automatic firearms can and should be challenged under the Second Amendment. He took a few words from the DC v Heller case to claim support for his position and ignored the rest of the 66-page opinion. He was wrong on several points:
1. The “18th Century words” of the Constitution has not changed in meaning over time and were perfectly clear to the Heller Court.
2. The rights under the Second Amendment have never been granted by the Court, discount they preexisted the Constitution as recognized by the Heller Court.
3. Mr. Toobin claims that the language in Heller about restricting ownership of “dangerous and unusual weapons” might include semi autos, ignoring extensive discussions of the right to have small arms “in common use.”
4. The “analyst” also argues that whether an AR-15 is protected by the Second Amendment is “mysterious” despite it being the civilian version of the most common US military rifle for over 40 years and exactly the sort of firearm that the Second Amendment protects.
As CNN continues its advocacy in favor of an “assault weapons ban,” it could at least be honest and not pretend to present unbiased legal analysis. Attempting to mislead the public about the words and meaning of the Second Amendment and related court cases hurts the debate about reducing lethal violence. It fuels the perception of CNN as lobbyists pushing a political agenda and not a news organization. The resulting loss of credibility causes many to discount or ignore what CNN has to say on the issue.
Lenden Eakin, Esq.