March for Our Lives and the Constitution

All attorneys in Florida take an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States as well as the Florida Constitution.  As an attorney, I am bound by that oath.  I am starting this entry this way because it seems that a lot of people are taking this past Saturday's March for Our Lives event as an attack on the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution.  That is simply not the case: it is possible to fully support the Second Amendment while at the same time, demand that our elected officials take action to "well regulate" firearms in the United States.

The First Amendment has limitations.  For example, the First Amendment does not give us the right to defame others.  It does not give us the right to make death threats or make statements that would cause physical harm.  The FCC regularly involves itself in determining what "speech" is appropriate for public consumption and at what times.  The moral of the story is that each Amendment is subject to interpretation, regulation, and repeal, if necessary (for example, next time you're having a beer with your friends, please remember that the 21st Amendment revoked the 18th Amendment which established prohibition). 

Our Founding Fathers were wise in many ways, but they could not have predicted the future we live in now.  They could not have foreseen Smartphones and social media.  And yet, as attorneys and citizens, we must now grapple with how the First Amendment interacts with these new technologies. 

The same is true with respect to the Second Amendment.  When the Amendment was drafted, rapid-fire assault weapons did not exist.  Although we cannot say for sure what the Founding Fathers would have done about assault weapons specifically, what we do know is they had the wisdom to understand that weaponry could change over time.  That is why the Second Amendment begins with the words "a well regulated militia."  The intent of the Second Amendment was to ensure that we, the people, would be able to defend ourselves from a tyrranical government.  It was not meant to be a free-for-all where anybody could get their hands on weapons that could shoot up dozens in seconds. 

And so, I, a firm supporter and defender of the Constitution of the United States of America, stood up on Saturday and rallied with those during the March for Our Lives event in Tampa.  For all of the people shot up watching movies, going to concerts, or just out having a fun night out with their friends, my heart goes out to you and your families.  To the parents, family members, and friends who lost loved ones at the school shootings over the years, I can't even begin to imagine your pain and suffering. 

We have failed to "well regulate" guns in America.  We are better than this.  And so, the next march will be to the polls in November.  Don't sit this one out.