The Tennessee Star: Bob Corlew Commentary: "Our Second Amendment Rights are Timeless"

I wish to write in response to former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens’ recent Op-ed in The New York Times calling on the repeal of the Second Amendment. 

In an effort to uphold the law, as a citizen myself, but as a student of the law and former law professor and state court judge, I find it troubling that a core part of Justice Stevens’ argument, and the argument of many gun control advocates that the Second Amendment should be repealed is that private gun ownership and the Second Amendment protecting it is antiquated.

The role of a Judge in America still today is that of interpreting the law that has been written.  Too many judges today seek to cross the bridge from the role of interpretation of the law to that of becoming an activist in making or enforcing the law, which roles, of course, constitutionally are assigned to legislative and executive branches respectively.

I understand that Mr. Stevens is now a private citizen, as I am, and in that role, he is free as a citizen to exercise his First Amendment right to speak on the issues of the Second Amendment, but I find it discouraging that the New York Times suggests that perhaps I should pay more attention to the opinion of Mr. Stevens because of the former authority which he exercised as a member of the United States Supreme Court. I insert my own legal background not in an effort to show that my opinion is entitled to greater consideration, to only to indicate my own thoughts that judges and even former judges should continue to follow the role of interpreting the law.  When a former judge takes on a new role, such as a legislator, then certainly his role changes.

Stevens and those who want to do away with private gun ownership believe the further we get from our country’s founding, the less relevant certain parts of our Constitution are.  Using this logic, an impassioned appeal might be made by Stevens or others to repeal the First Amendment because Twitter, satellite cable news, and other technological advances in person-to-person communications weren’t around during our Founding and therefore “freedom of speech” on these platforms  is not a constitutional right because they could not have been comprehended over 230 years ago.

Of course, that is a silly argument to make, and so is the “Second Amendment is antiquated” argument by Stevens and other gun control advocates are making for repeal of the Second Amendment.

The Second Amendment is one of the core parts of our Constitution. It is the same Constitution I swore to uphold as a judge, to defend as a member of the U.S. Army, and the same I will be bound to support as a member of Congress if I am elected.

The Founders of our great country did not write the Second Amendment to be an arbiter of what specific firearms could be owned at any given time. Rather, I believe the Founders included the Second Amendment because they believed of an inherent individual right of American citizens to defend themselves against their government.

I also believe that our rights rooted in the Second Amendment are timeless.  The right found in our Second Amendment is still relevant today as I believe that all Americans are still entitled to the right to protect their family, their property and themselves with firearms as they did in 1787.

As a grandparent, I do agree with Stevens that these demonstrations by schoolchildren across our country deserve our respect and we should not discount their concern and their energy. But what does not deserve our respect is blatant disregard of our Constitution, our core rights as Americans, and liberal gun control advocates using these children as a means to their political goals.

That’s why when I get to Congress I will fight for this timeless Constitutional right to protect your children, your family, and ensure the right to keep and bear arms is not infringed or repealed.

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Bob Corlew is a former Judge, and is running for the Republican nomination to represent the people of the 6th Congressional district