- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 7, 2019

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

In recent days, in rapid succession, retail giant Walmart, the Kroger grocery chain and Walgreens pharmacy, as well as CVS and Wegman’s Food Markets, all announced curbs on open firearms’ carry on their premises, with exceptions, that is, carved for law-enforcement officers.

What a clash of Constitution and capitalism.

The stage is being set for a showdown between the Second Amendment and the free market. And given the number of shootings in recent times, the frustration and fear of the citizenry and the all-courts-press of the Democrats and left to crack down on gun rights, come heck or high water, the fact is America, on Second Amendment freedoms, is marching toward tough times.

We’ve let business stick its nose where it doesn’t belong.

We’ve let the left redefine the narrative of the Second Amendment to the point where it’s become a right of recreation, not protection.



We’ve lost sight of the fact that a government that fears the people, at least to a degree, is a government that’s controlled by the people — and that the single most fearful means a people possesses to control the government is guns.

“Once World War II came to an end, Eastern European countries took after their Soviet overlords and started implementing gun confiscation,” the Mises Institute wrote, back in mid-2018.

As Mises then detailed, these regimes took to disarming their people. Bulgaria’s communists seized firearms. East Germany’s government banned private ownership of guns. Hungary’s communist leaders shuttered clubs and organizations tied to gun activities.

In the late 1950s, when Fidel Castro rose to power in Cuba, one of his first acts was to confiscate guns — using the firearms registration list put in place by the island nation’s former dictator, Fulgencio Batista.

And let’s not forget current conditions in downtrodden Venezuela, where the government, already drunk with power and emboldened by its property seizures, outright banned the sales of firearms in 2012.

The rationale? To fight crime.

To fight the massive crime the Venezuelan government itself has stoked because of its age of burdensome, soul-killing socialism.

Democrats argue the anti-crime angle, too. And they do so all the while scoffing at the histories of dictatorial countries, and how curbs on private gun ownership enable the dictators.

Still, on the Second Amendment, it’s been a hard slog for the left.

Now comes Big Business. Doing the dirty work that Second Amendment-curbing deeds the Democrats can’t get done themselves.

“We are joining other retailers in asking our customers to no longer openly carry firearms into our stores other than authorized law enforcement officials,” Walgreens posted, echoing what Walmart and Kroger, CVS and Wegmans, put out this week as well.

It comes as a request. But its tone is a ban. Either way, this is bad, bad policy.

Giving law enforcement a pass creates a two-tier system that sets government above the private citizen — a dangerous thing in itself, because in this country, in America, it’s government that holds the role of servant; the people who hold the title of employer. It’s citizens’ rights first — government’s, second.

Pretending, once again, that curbing the abilities of legal gun owners to possess, purchase and carry weapons will somehow reel in gun-related crimes in America is the second danger, as it feeds a delusion that’s been allowed to go on far too long. A delusion that’s been debunked by layer upon layer of empirical data. A delusion the determined Democrats nonetheless won’t let die.

As for the third danger?

The third danger comes by way of letting businesses step in and take a bite out of the Second Amendment — particularly in those states where the Constitution’s right to carry has been underscored and highlighted and emphasized via additional codes and laws passed by those states’ governments. By those states’ duly elected government officials.

Do we really want a country with a Constitution In Name Only?

Do we really want a country where rights don’t actually come from God — they come from Big Business?

This is the path America’s treading right now.

But it’s not too late to stop.

States have in their powers the ability to make clear that businesses that do business within their borders must abide the constitutional rights of the citizens — else make their money elsewhere. This is not difficult to impose. After all, state governments wouldn’t accept a free market argument against serving, say, blacks at restaurants owned by Ku Klux Klan members, would they?

Neither should states — neither should citizens — accept that businesses automatically, without challenge, have the right to dictate the confines of the Second Amendment. 

Capitalism is great. But not when it chokes the Constitution. Not when it comes cloaked as Big Government intent on stealing God-given individual rights.

• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter, @ckchumley.

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