Repeal the Second Amendment?

By Susan Jones | July 7, 2008 | 8:06 PM EDT

( - A Chicago newspaper's call to repeal the Second Amendment is an "unconscionable attack on the entire Bill of Rights and the freedoms it protects," the Second Amendment Foundation says.

In an editorial published on Friday, the day after the Supreme Court handed down its 5-4 ruling upholding the individual right to own firearms, The Chicago Tribune called the Second Amendment an "anachronism" that should be repealed.

"The amendment was intended to protect the authority of the states to organize militias," The Chicago Tribune said. The newspaper supported its argument by claiming that a 1939 case, U.S. v Miller, established the amendment as a "collective right" that applied only to service in some type of militia.

But that's a false argument, the Second Amendment Foundation said.

"The Chicago Tribune's editors have demonstrated an appalling short-sightedness," said SAF founder Alan Gottlieb. "If they are so willing to abandon one civil right for an entire class of American citizens, what's next? Perhaps they would strip some citizens of their First Amendment rights to free speech or religion...Once you make it acceptable to destroy one civil right, it does not take a very big leap to embrace limitations on, or the abolition of, another civil right," he added.

Gottlieb noted that never, in all the years that newspaper editorials have vilified gun rights organizations, has any Second Amendment supporter suggested repealing the First Amendment.

"Unlike elitist newspaper editors, gun owners understand that the Bill of Rights is an all-or-nothing document, not a civil rights buffet from which we can pick and choose the rights we want to enjoy and those for which we have no stomach," Gottlieb said.

"We have always known that the Second Amendment affirmed an individual civil right, and a truly objective reading of history by the Chicago Tribune would -- if they had any notion of objectivity -- lead them to the same conclusion," Gottlieb concluded.

"A generation of parents and grandparents of those now writing such nonsense in the Tribune risked, and all too frequently lost their lives to defend all of the freedoms enumerated in the Bill of Rights. The Tribune editors may as well just spit on their graves."

The June 27 editorial is titled "Repeal the 2/super nd/nosupersub Amendment," and it begins: "No, we don't suppose that's going to happen any time soon. But it should."

The editorial criticizes the "inartful" wording of the Second Amendment, and it accuses five Supreme Court justices of editing it: "In essence, they said: Scratch the preamble, only 14 words count."

The editorial also noted that Thursday's ruling means Chicago's ban on handgun ownership is likely to be overturned.

"Some view this court decision as an affirmation of individual rights," the Tribune said. "But the damage in this ruling is that it takes a significant public policy issue out of the hands of citizens."

(Pro-life activists have made the same argument about the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion.)

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