AUDIO: Gunning Down the Bill of Rights
Today we begin a series of three programs on Guns in the USA we’re calling a A Targeted Divide.
Our first show is “Gunning Down the Bill of Rights,” how the 2nd Amendment trumps the 1st. After a Supreme Court decision in 2008, the most ambiguous and poorly written of our constitutional amendments now means what the NRA wants it to mean: all citizens have an individual right to own and bear arms, regardless of their membership in a militia.
That Court Decision was The District of Columbia v. Heller. It was given greater, more expansive force in 2010 in the case McDonald v The City of Chicago which held that the 2008 Heller decision must be applied to the states.
Our guest, IU Law Professor Jody Madeira, is currently involved in a research project assessing how Americans talk about firearms and associated benefits, risks, rights, and regulations. In an opinion piece written after the February 14th shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where 17 people were murdered, Madeira wrote, “our elected officials tweeted and posted the usual ‘thoughts and prayers’ rhetoric to shut down conversations about why such terrifying events occur with such frequency.” She continues:
Our unwillingness to talk about guns and gun violence has even made it easy for states to make such discourse downright unlawful. Indiana state law, for example, bars public and private employers from asking employees about whether they own, use, or transport a gun, with no public safety exception. If they do, they can be slapped with a civil suit for economic damages, court costs, and even punitive damages.
Using the Second Amendment as a silencer bastardizes it, undermining the civil discourse essential to democracy, creating and reinforcing a flawed narrative that fundamentally changes what people think gun ownership is about and warps popular understandings of the Second Amendment.
Today’s show explores that “flawed narrative.”
The historical and contextual interpretations of the First and Second Amendments to our Constitution’s Bill of Rights.
The 2008 Supreme Court Decision that finally “negated” that pesky phrase about a “well-regulated militia” in the Second Amendment; “originalism” and “loose construction”; the power of the NRA in shaping law to suit the obscenely powerful and profitable munitions industry.
Having a “right” does not preclude that “right” being regulated; the controversial Florida case nicknamed “Docs v. Glocks” that barred doctors from asking patients any questions about their exposure to firearms.
Jody Madeira of Indiana University’s Maurer School of Law. A scholar exploring the ways emotion inflects the creation and interpretation of law, Madeira is the author of the books, Killing McVeigh: The Death Penalty and the Myth of Closure, and Taking Baby Steps: How Patients and Fertility Clinics Collaborate in Conception.
When the Second Amendment threatens the First, mass shootings are more likely by Jody Madeira
In Defense of Looseness by Richard Posner (The New Republic, 8/27/08)
Court rejects Florida’s ‘Docs vs. Glocks’ law (Miami Herald)
A Win for Free Speech and Gun Safety (New York Times)
District of Columbia v
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McDonald v. City of Chicago
“Don’t Let ‘Em Take Your Gun” by Grand Funk Railroad
“Don’t Take Your Guns to Town” by Johnny Cash
“Take Your Guns to Town” by Whiskeytown
“Gunslinging Bird” by Charles Mingus
Producer & Host: Doug Storm
Co-Producer of A Targeted Divide: Robert Crouch
Edited & Mixed by Rob Schoon
Executive Producer: Wes Martin