Tea Party Candidate More Extreme on Guns Than Scalia

The more we hear from Lee Bright, the far-right Tea Party candidate challenging Sen. Lindsay Graham in the Republican primary, the more absurd and frightening he sounds. In an interview with Alan Colmes, he said that teachers should be allowed to carry machine guns to school:

COLMES: So [teachers] shouldn’t have machine guns?

BRIGHT: I would think a teacher protecting a school grounds should be able to carry whatever she can carry legally.

COLMES: So should machine guns be legal to carry?

BRIGHT: The Second Amendment is pretty clear. It says the right to carry arms should not be infringed. […]

COLMES: So you should be able to have any gun you want?

BRIGHT: Well, I don’t see how the government can regulate it.

That position puts him considerably more extreme than Justice Scalia, Justice Thomas and the other conservatives on the Supreme Court. In Scalia’s opinion in Heller v DC, which upheld the 2nd Amendment as an individual right to bear arms, he clearly says:

Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose: For example, concealed weapons prohibitions have been upheld under the Amendment or state analogues. The Court’s opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.

That opinion was joined by all five conservative justices on the court. If you find yourself to the right of Clarence Thomas, you’re about as far out on the fringe as you can possibly be.

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  • rabbitscribe

    They’ll pry my strategic thermonuclear weapons from my cold dead hands!

  • John Pieret

    I would think a teacher protecting a school grounds should be able to carry whatever she can carry legally.

    Why do I suspect that he wasn’t being politically correct about gender when he said that but really thinks school teachers are all women?

  • http://howlandbolton.com richardelguru

    Though you must admit that with 3rd graders it is the only way you can get their attention…

  • http://www.holytape.etsy.com holytape

    rabbitscribe,

    I would say the same, however when that point in time comes, I doubt I’ll be cold. Or have hands. Or for that matter I doubt anyone in a 50 mile radius will have cold dead hands.

  • blf

    I have memories of seeing heavy weapons, including hand-carried and tripod-mounted machine guns, taken to a High School in USAlienstani.

    As part of a military recruiting drive. My memory is it was the tank I found most fascinating.

  • Michael Heath

    As I noted a couple of days ago, the Scalia opinion asserting that the 2nd Amendment guarantees an individual right is devoid of evidence, contra the original meaning and intent validated in J. Stevens’ dissent, and instead dependent on logical fallacies – predominately non sequiturs. The fact the other conservative justices joined Scalia’s opinion illustrates that the conservative justices on the court are intent on using their power to promote a political agenda. Their dissent on Obamacare, sans CJ Roberts, validates this agenda is also frequently partisan in nature.

    However and I think it’s a big one, J. Scalia’s opinion in Heller on the existence of governmental power to set limits on the 2nd Amendment is very much in line with the sentiment of the country regarding the desire to limit gun rights. It doesn’t go un-noticed that the court’s allowing the infringement on gun rights consistent with what gun control advocates promote arguably contradicts my assertion the conservatives on the SCOTUS are intent to drive a partisan political agenda since Heller provides ample legislative space to satisfy Democrats’ desire to reduce the supply of guns in the U.S.. Perhaps the conservative justices’ modesty on this aspect of Heller was required to get all conservatives on-board with Scalia’s opinion.

  • eric

    BRIGHT: Well, I don’t see how the government can regulate it.

    Um, the same way they regulate speech, religion, the press, right to a trial, seach and seizure, etc., etc., etc….

    “Carefully” is the pithy answer.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    BRIGHT: I would think a teacher protecting a school grounds should be able to carry whatever she can carry legally.

    Why not have COPS protecting school grounds, so the teachers can spend their time doing what they’re there to do in the first place?

    The fact that this asshole wants teachers to fend for themselves, just shows how little the Republicans care about actual education or child safety.

  • http://festeringscabofrealityblogspot.com fifthdentist

    “I do not believe in taking away the right of the citizen for sporting, for hunting and so forth, or for home defense. But I do believe that an AK-47, a machine gun, is not a sporting weapon or needed for defense of a home.” — Ronald Reagan, in a speech at his 78th birthday celebration in Los Angeles on February 6, 1989.

    “Certain forms of ammunition have no legitimate sporting, recreational, or self-defense use and thus should be prohibited.” — Ronald Reagan, in an August 28, 1986 signing statement on a bill that banned the production and importation of armor-piercing bullets.

    “With the right to bear arms comes a great responsibility to use caution and common sense on handgun purchases.” — Ronald Reagan, speech at George Washington University in a on March 29, 1991.

    “Every year, an average of 9,200 Americans are murdered by handguns, according to Department of Justice statistics. This does not include suicides or the tens of thousands of robberies, rapes and assaults committed with handguns. This level of violence must be stopped.” — Ronald Reagan, in a March 29, 1991 New York Times op-ed in support of the Brady Bill.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    As I noted a couple of days ago, the Scalia opinion asserting that the 2nd Amendment guarantees an individual right is devoid of evidence, contra the original meaning and intent validated in J. Stevens’ dissent, and instead dependent on logical fallacies – predominately non sequiturs.

    I totally fucking agree. For starters, Scalia cites a very narrow and out-of-date definition of the word “militia,” which was supposed to be used in a general sense, I.e., whatever organized police or security force the people chose to create in response whatever current threats they saw. That alone is proof of Scalia’s extreme dishonesty, and his willingness to just throw in whatever diversionary hairsplitting he can use to fit his own prejudices.

    Worse yet, he explicitly says that the first half of the Second Amendment is not intended to have any actual legal effect. That’s just fucking invalid legal reasoning — EVERY WORD IN A LAW has effect, which is why you need trained lawyers to write decent laws. If the founders put a preface in front of one right, and not any of the others, they did so for a reason.

  • scienceavenger

    Imagine how different our country would be if the Founders had written “muskets” instead of “arms”.

  • caseloweraz

    Indeed, Scienceavenger. We’d have breech-loading, percussion-fired shoulder weapons with rifled barrels, of various calibers. All would use magazines. Some of them would be fully automatic.

    But we’d still call them muskets.

  • caseloweraz

    COLMES: So you should be able to have any gun you want?

    BRIGHT: Well, I don’t see how the government can regulate it.

    If I have to live in Bright’s world, I’ll take a plasma pulse rifle in the 40-MW range.

  • busterggi

    Okay everyone, take a deep breath and be grateful that the term ‘brights’ never caught on.

  • Nathair

    Imagine how different our country would be if the Founders had written “muskets” instead of “arms”.

    I don’t think so. The 2nd is treated exactly like the bible, read the parts you want to and pretend the rest doesn’t exist, treat some parts as exactly literal and inviolable and then interpret others through the lens of “intent” and “spirit”. They do whatever it takes to bash the words into a shape that appears to support the philosophical argument “MOAR GUNS!” If it specified muskets they would merely point out that the drafters could not predict the future and point you to the creation of an air force. MOAR GUNS! trumps everything else especially integrity.

  • http://www.facebook.com/den.wilson d.c.wilson

    I decided to Google Bright to get a little more information about him. Apparently, he’s a high school graduate with no college. I’m sure all of you will be shocked to learn that he’s also a creationist and a big fan of nullification.

  • http://aceofsevens.wordpress.com Ace of Sevens

    Should students also be able to carry machine guns to school? People leave that hypothetical out when they talk about how the government has no right to regulate guns.

  • eric

    If the founders put a preface in front of one right, and not any of the others, they did so for a reason.

    But they didn’t just put a preface in front of one. My bolding:

    To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.”

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    eric: that proves my point. The “exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries” is set forth as a means to a specific end, not as an end in itself; and that means that laws regarding such rights can be passed with the stated purpose as their first priority, and the rights themselves as their second. The same thing goes for the right to bear arms. In both cases, the stated purpose of the right limits the scope of the right itself, and the right does not trump its purpose.

  • AsqJames

    I don’t see how the government can regulate it.

    It might help if he read the whole of the 2nd Amendment. FFS! The damned text actually has the word “regulated” in it, using it as a qualifier to the right being enumerated. It’s the sole amendment in the bill of rights to include the bloody word, how much more of a clue do you need?

  • jnorris

    Mr Bright is talking small fish. If he really wanted to make schools safe then he should advocate for the state to arm every full-time school employee. The state should also buy the guns and the ammo,. pay for training and pay the employees to take the mandatory training. Then the armed school employees should be required to be armed when ever in public, like at the movies, grocery shopping and visiting government buildings such as the Senate office building visiting their senators.

    Naturally taxes on the rich, who would be well protected by armed school personnel while shopping, will gladly pay higher taxes. And armed black, Latino, Arab, Irish Catholic, and even Gay school teachers might frighten some, just be reminded that the white cafeteria ladies will protect you.

  • chilidog99

    So instead of a student trying to suck up to the teacher by bringing her an apple, he could bring her a fully loaded clip.

  • eric

    Raging Bee:

    the “exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries” is set forth as a means to a specific end, not as an end in itself; and that means that laws regarding such rights can be passed with the stated purpose as their first priority, and the rights themselves as their second.

    No, it doesn’t prove your point, for two reasons.

    First, you said there must be meaning in it being the only preface. But isn’t the only preface, so if you’re now saying that any/all prefaces have meaning, you’re basically contradicting your first claim that there must be meaning due to its uniqueness.

    Second, while yes its true that laws could use the preface to limit copyright laws, but they largely don’t. They pay lip service to it, fully consistent with Ed’s interpretation of the second. There is an old SCOTUS case saying that copyright protection can’t be used to prevent progress, but congress has consistently expanded copyright protections and never, ever been called on it by the courts. So what’s legally gone on with that preface is analogous to SCOTUS saying that because of the preface, gun ownership rights can not be limited to prevent a militia from being well armed…and then congress continuing to expand individual gun rights with no response by the courts. In both cases, the courts have essentially taken a ‘silence equals consent’ position.

    Personally I think we’ve been living with an individual right long enough that if we, as a society, want to change it, we should do it up front and with an acknowledgement that this is a change in our laws. I don’t particularly support the individual right, but what I dislike worse is my own side trying to win this argument by retconning history to say “oh, it always meant what we want it to mean.” No, on a pragmatic level it really hasn’t meant that, not for the last hundred years at least. If we’re going to change how the second amendment operates in fact, then we should be honest about what we’re doing. Its a change; it needs to be treated as such.

  • matty1

    It might help if he read the whole of the 2nd Amendment. FFS! The damned text actually has the word “regulated” in it, using it as a qualifier to the right being enumerated. It’s the sole amendment in the bill of rights to include the bloody word, how much more of a clue do you need?

    I thought ‘regulated’ was a qualifier to ‘militia’ not ‘the right of the people to bear arms’. I’ve also read, though I wont insist on this that in the context regulated meant disciplined and trained rather than subject to limits imposed by government. Not that this proves the writers intended no regulation I just don’t think you can get it from the way the word is used.

    I think on balance I agree with Eric, regardless of what the Sainted Founders meant if the courts have been consistently reading the law one way then that is what it means in practice and the honest thing to do is change the law. I think you would be wise to do this, and there is no good reason not to. If the US constitution has room for amendments 18 and 21 then it can cope with an amendment repealing the 2nd.

  • Nathair

    in the context regulated meant disciplined and trained rather than subject to limits imposed by government.

    But it is clear that the the right to bear arms is provided in the context of enabling this “well regulated milita” which was, then, deemed “necessary to the security of a free State”. As such a militia is now embodied by the National Guard, the amendment can be read as protecting the existence of the National Guard and the right of that National Guard to be armed. For everyone else gun ownership should be considered a privilege, like driving a car.

  • eric

    If the US constitution has room for amendments 18 and 21 then it can cope with an amendment repealing the 2nd.

    Well, I’m not necessarily calling for a constitutional amendment here. We have radically and explicitly changed the way the amendments are interpreted before. Both freedom of speech and equal rights/civil rights have been greatly expanded in the modern era by looking at old amendments in new ways. And obviously if the courts were to find a constitutional right to gay marriage, that would be a big break from a past America where laws criminalizing sodomy were pretty much the norm. There are downsides to allowing reinterpretation of course – we appear to be in an era where the 4th amendment (against unreasonable search and seizure) is being changed to give more power to government and less to individuals, and it’s happening through the same ‘reinterpret, don’t revise’ mechanism that worked in favor of liberals when it came to the 1st and 14th.

    But if we’re going to reinterpret, we should do so with eyes open and clear acknowledgement that that’s what we’re. I think arguments about the 2nd most closely resemble arguments about the 4th, in that in both cases there are factions pushing for a reinterpretation to take power currently invested in the individual away and give it to the government. We should proceed with caution when doing that.

  • http://polrant@blogspot.com democommie

    It’s pretty obvious that adults who don’t live in REALLY fucked up places or deal with dangerous people on a regular basis are not likely to be killed by someone who has a gun WHILE they don’t; unless of course they’re related to them. Lots of folks killed by blood relatives and spouses.

    I know a lot of people with firearms–most of them are not simpletons and they know that it very unlikely that they will be afforded an opportunity to draw a weapon when someone wants to use one against them.

    The 2nd Amendment is the only one that the NRA even gives a fuck about–and that is because it makes them a shitload of money. Yeah, Weenie LaPutrid, I’m lookin’ at you, you sick fuck.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    I thought ‘regulated’ was a qualifier to ‘militia’ not ‘the right of the people to bear arms’.

    “Regulated” is a qualifier to “militia,” and “well-regulated militia” is a qualifier of “the right of the people to keep and bear arms.”