This government is taking steps on gun control that go way beyond a disagreement on the meaning and relevance of the 2nd Amendment. It has become a constitutional debate on the suspension of guaranteed constitutional rights by executive order. To allow a president to unilaterally ignore one amendment, for any reason, is to accept the power of the presidency to arbitrarily suspend any and all constitutional rights, without the consent of Congress.
The simple fact is that even if the benevolence of this administration with such power can be assumed, there is no guarantee on future administrations. That is among the reasons why the constitution set hard limits on government authority by reserving certain rights for the people. The constitution provides a legal mechanism for evolving these limits to accommodate an issue that is widely regarded as important. Past examples include: women’s suffrage, equal protection, alcohol prohibition, reversing alcohol prohibition, and outlawing poll taxes. But the idea that any president can suspend guaranteed rights by executive order is the exact scary scenario that the Constitution is designed to prevent.
I don’t own a gun. I have never owned a gun. And I have never had any desire to own a gun. In fact, I’m also among the people who think that a populace armed with even the most badass of automatic assault rifles isn’t much of a match for a government that has hydrogen bombs, M1 tanks, stealth aircraft, submarines, satellite targeting, and the general at-will ability to stick a missile up the rear of some unsuspecting a-hole on the other side of the world. However, guns are still a key component to the formula that made and keep America free.
The possibility certainly exists that one day our freedom could be guaranteed indefinitely by the Constitution without the need for an armed populace, and such a discussion should be welcome and ongoing in the appropriate context: a constitutional amendment. But if our chief executive can unilaterally act to curtail the peoples’ constitutional rights, the risks of guns in our society will never outweigh the benefits.