It’s Never Been About the Second Amendment. It’s About Corporate Profits.

Our bought-and-paid-for politicians only hold the Constitution sacred when it aligns with corporate interests—like gun sales.

Leonard C. Goodman March 4, 2018

High school students rally for gun control at the Broward County Federal courthouse on February 17 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who has received who has received $3,303,355 from the NRA, has resisted calls for gun control measures in the wake of the killing of 17 students in Parkland, Fla. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

A sim­i­lar assault rifle was used in recent mass-mur­ders in New­town, Ct.; Las Vegas; San Bernardi­no, Calif.; Suther­land Springs, Texas and Auro­ra, Colo.

Parkland teenagers are smart enough to understand that the real impediment to sensible gun laws is not the Second Amendment but lawmakers who take industry money through groups like the NRA.

A famil­iar pat­tern has emerged after mass shoot­ings. Law­mak­ers offer thoughts and prayers and then qui­et­ly shoot down any restric­tions on gun sales, cit­ing their feal­ty to the Sec­ond Amendment.

There is a chance that this time will be dif­fer­ent, thanks large­ly to the teenagers from Mar­jo­ry Stone­man Dou­glas High School who are fight­ing back against law­mak­ers who pro­tect indus­try prof­its over the lives of their constituents.

Pun­dits such as the Nation­al Reviews Rich Lowry are quick to remind us that the Park­land stu­dents are mere teenagers with no spe­cial­ized knowl­edge of gun pol­i­cy.” But these teenagers are smart enough to under­stand that the real imped­i­ment to sen­si­ble gun laws is not the Sec­ond Amend­ment but law­mak­ers who take indus­try mon­ey through groups like the NRA.

At a CNN town hall attend­ed by sur­vivors of the Park­land shoot­ing and elect­ed offi­cials, the audi­ence erupt­ed in cheers when high school junior Cameron Kasky asked, So Sen­a­tor Rubio, can you tell me right now that you will not accept a sin­gle dona­tion from the NRA in the future?” Sen. Mar­co Rubio, who has received $3,303,355 from the NRA over the course of his career, had no response except to change the subject.

What Kasky doesn’t under­stand is that there is a gentleman’s agree­ment among estab­lish­ment politi­cians and pun­dits not to call each oth­er out for their obei­sance to cor­po­rate fun­ders. While gun indus­try mon­ey tends to favor Repub­li­cans, politi­cians on both sides of the aisle spend much of their time in office dial­ing for cor­po­rate dol­lars and then help­ing their cor­po­rate spon­sors max­i­mize profits.

This is a truth we rarely hear as most of our news comes from cor­po­rate-owned net­works and cor­po­rate-spon­sored pro­grams. When every­one lives in glass hous­es, some­times it takes a teenag­er with no spe­cial­ized knowl­edge” to throw the first stone.

Unable to dis­cuss their NRA fund­ing, gun indus­try lack­eys like Rubio fall back on the excuse that the Sec­ond Amend­ment ties their hands and pro­hibits restric­tions on gun sales. This is nonsense.

Cor­po­rate politi­cians and their appoint­ed judges will hap­pi­ly ignore any lan­guage in the Con­sti­tu­tion that inter­feres with the busi­ness of their cor­po­rate mas­ters. The only con­sti­tu­tion­al pro­vi­sions that achieve sacred sta­tus are the ones that pro­tect cor­po­rate profits.

For exam­ple, the Con­sti­tu­tion pro­hibits the pres­i­dent from tak­ing mil­i­tary action with­out a con­gres­sion­al dec­la­ra­tion of war, except in extreme cas­es. Our Founders intend­ed the war pow­ers clause to bring delib­er­a­tion and debate to the impor­tant deci­sion whether to embroil our nation in for­eign wars, with the costs in blood and added tax­es falling to com­mon citizens.

But because this con­sti­tu­tion­al lan­guage would neg­a­tive­ly impact the prof­its of the war indus­try, the will of the Founders is sim­ply ignored. If we had fol­lowed that con­sti­tu­tion­al rule, the U.S. wouldn’t have fought any of its wars since the end of World War II.

The Fourth Amend­ment requires the gov­ern­ment to obtain a prob­a­ble cause war­rant before invad­ing our pri­va­cy. But our Con­gress, pres­i­dent and courts are all will­ing to set Fourth Amend­ment con­cerns aside and allow pri­vate cor­po­ra­tions, act­ing as gov­ern­ment agents, to col­lect, store and ana­lyze our pri­vate data, all with­out a war­rant and at tax­pay­er expense.

Even the First Amend­ment, writ­ten in the most absolute terms (and with­out the Sec­ond Amendment’s qual­i­fy­ing lan­guage about a well-reg­u­lat­ed mili­tia), is often set aside to accom­mo­date cor­po­rate inter­ests. Thus, whistle­blow­ers who attempt to expose crimes and malfea­sance by gov­ern­ment offi­cials (and their cor­po­rate part­ners), receive no pro­tec­tion from the First Amendment.

Cor­po­rate-owned politi­cians don’t care about the Con­sti­tu­tion. How many of them have even read it? They make it easy for mass-killers to buy assault rifles because this helps their patrons in the gun indus­try sell more guns and max­i­mize profits.

Thank you, Park­land teenagers for final­ly call­ing them out.

This orig­i­nal­ly ran as an op-ed in the Chica­go Sun-Times. Reprint­ed with permission.

Leonard Good­man is a Chica­go crim­i­nal defense lawyer and Adjunct Pro­fes­sor of Law at DePaul University.
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