Law Professor: Rioting and Looting Prove Second Amendment Not Outmoded or Anachronistic

The article outlines how the Second Amendment is more necessary than ever. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

You’ve heard the argument before. The Second Amendment is outdated, outmoded, and anachronistic. These days, we can rely on local police departments to protect us—we don’t need firearms to defend ourselves, our families, or our possessions.

The riots of 2020 have effectively destroyed that argument, according to a new paper by George Mason University law professor David E. Bernstein. Bernstein, who also directs GMU’s Liberty and Law Center, argues that the violence and unrest we’ve seen across the country prove the ongoing necessity of the Second Amendment.

“The unwillingness or inability of local authorities to stop looting, rioting, and other lawless and violent behavior is powerful evidence that… Americans still need firearms to defend themselves,” he says in his article published by the Liberty and Law Center in October.

What’s more, Bernstein argues, the riots prove that the individual right to own a firearm should apply outside the home, and restrictive “may issue” concealed carry laws are not appropriate restrictions on Second Amendment rights.

“The looting, rioting, and general mayhem on display in the Summer of 2020 in cities throughout the United States, often unimpeded by law enforcement, buttresses the argument that a proper right to armed self-defense must include provision for law-abiding Americans to protect themselves outside their homes,” he says.

To make his case, Bernstein provides a detailed, fully cited summary of the violence and unrest in Minneapolis, Seattle, Portland, Chicago, Louisville, New York City, Columbus, and Atlanta. In particular, Bernstein highlights how the violence was encouraged and enabled by city officials who prohibited police from restoring peace.  

SEE ALSO: Suppressed CDC Survey Indicates Over 2 Million Defensive Gun Uses Per Year… in 1998

In Seattle, Mayor Jenny Durkan encouraged rioters to set up their own “autonomous zone” and initially compared it to a “block party.” But when it finally ended, Bernstein notes, Durkan admitted that the rioting produced a 525% increase in “person-related crime,” including rape, robbery, assault and gang-related activity.

In Minneapolis, a state senator whose district was overwhelmed by rioters called Gov. Tim Walz to request aid from state law enforcement, describing her district as “on fire, no police, no firefighters, no social control, constituents locked in houses wondering what they were going to do.”

In Chicago, a Democratic city councilwoman told Mayor Lori Lightfoot on the phone, “My ward is a shit show …. [Rioters] are shooting at the police. I have never seen the likes of this. I’m scared.” The call came in July during the city’s deadliest weekend in 60 years: 24 people were killed, at least 61 injured in gun-related incidents, and the city’s 911 dispatchers received 65,000 calls in a single day — 50,000 more than normal.

Even during the chaos, Lightfoot refused to deploy the National Guard beyond Chicago’s central business district, leaving districts on the south and west side of the city unprotected.

Bernstein follows these examples with detailed descriptions of 16 incidents in which city residents used firearms to protect themselves and their businesses. Some of the incidents have been covered extensively, but others received little more than local coverage. Bernstein also points out that the true number is likely much higher since many armed self-defense cases go totally unreported.

In Minneapolis, for example, a restauranteur gathered a group together to arm up and protect the area’s Latino community.

“It’s not something that I would want,” she told local media, “but … we were left alone …. There were no cops that would come around. So, what are we to do? Just stand there and do nothing?”

SEE ALSO: Sheriff Vows to Deputize Gun Owners to Protect Citizens from Rioters

In Dallas, another group formed to patrol the streets and protect businesses from looting.

“We’re here using our Second Amendment right to enforce and let everybody use their First Amendment right as long as they’re peaceful…,” one resident told the media “If you have a problem with the police, take it up with the police, leave private businesses out of it.”

Those who follow news outlets like GunsAmerica know that Americans use firearms to defend themselves thousands of times every day. But the recent rioting and violence have infiltrated mainstream media coverage, and the value of the Second Amendment appears to have risen in the minds of the public at large.

A new poll from Rasmussen Reports shows that 90 percent of Americans who have purchased a gun recently feel safer, and a survey by the National Shooting Sports Foundation suggests that as many as 5 million Americans have purchased a firearm for the first time this year.

It’s unclear how this public support will translate into the election, but it’s worth noting that at the recent Vice Presidential debate, guns and gun control never even received a mention.

If Bernstein is correct, 2020 may be the year that gun rights sees a major boost among the American people.

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About the author: Jordan Michaels has been reviewing firearm-related products for over four years and enjoying them for much longer. With family in Canada, he’s seen first hand how quickly the right to self-defense can be stripped from law-abiding citizens. He escaped that statist paradise at a young age, married a sixth-generation Texan, and currently lives in Waco. Follow him on Instagram @bornforgoodluck and email him at jordan@gunsamerica.com.

{ 15 comments… add one }
  • RJL October 19, 2020, 1:01 pm

    FEAR OF WHAT IS RIGHT!

    What are you afraid of? I will tell what I fear, the erosion of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights without due process in which the foundations of this country have existed upon for over two centuries. The re-interpretation, and the re-defining of these original documents is a perverted insult to the legal citizens of the United States. Many U.S. Families, including mine, since the inception of these documents have shed their blood to protect these foundations, and continue to do so in the present day. Our forefathers did not arm the American people for hunting, but rather to protect themselves from those who were doing the hunting, namely the tyrant King George. The second amendment is only to vouchsafe our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and to ensure all the other rights given unto us by our Creator.
    The wisdom of the framers of the Constitution once again is found consistent with the lessons of the Bible they used as their bedrock for civil law. The people’s individual protection should always be a primary concern of government “of the people”. In a righteous country, self-government reigns by the constraint of Christian morals. The civil government that desires such a monopoly of force (i.e. they are the only ones with guns) is a threat to the lives, liberty, and property of its citizens, for that government ceases to be “of and for the people.”
    Anti-constitutionalist’s stand for nothing. The situation determines their support for an issue and their emotions rule, not reason and rationality.
    The self- proclaimed “social-justice warriors” hopes that no one has educated themselves on past extermination history that this globe has suffered time and time again, which proves their circle of insanity.

    Anti-Constitutionalist’s=Anti-Americans=Enemies of the United States…

    “The right of decent private United States citizens to personally possess, transport, and responsibly use arms without government interference is the ultimate freedom and the main pillar supporting all other liberties.”
    “The inalienable and fundamental right to keep and bear arms which is enumerated by (but predates) the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is not about hunting, gun collecting, or target shooting. Its purpose is to ensure that every RESPONSIBLE American personally possesses the means to defend the Republic from all forms of tyranny, within and without. It is what permits the other nine Amendments in the Bill of Rights to be more than mere hollow phrases on a piece of paper. “Its free exercise is the antithesis of serfdom and THE ONLY MEANINGFUL FORM OF HOLOCAUST INSURANCE KNOWN TO MAN”.

  • DELCO October 19, 2020, 11:23 am

    Giffords husband who is running in Arizona is FOS. The guy is absolutely for banning as many guns as possible and making things as uncomfortable as he can for Gun ownership. In PA local mayors are trying to make it illegal to discharge a weapon within city limits. The reason for that is because they can’t get around federal law (AKA) the 2nd amendment, they want to pass as many annoying BS laws so that you can be charged by the soros owned DAs, for protecting yourself against a threat, or going to a gun range . On top of that these anti American Democratic Party is paving the way for dirt bag lawyers to file BS Suits against the Gun manufacturers. because of our colleges being transformed into left wing brainwashing factories, we will continue to pump out generations that do not value our freedoms or what sacrifices were made to provide them to us all. Those colleges combined with the limitless funding provided by democrat friendly giant tech companies equals an America that will not be recognized in a few short years. Better VOTE STRAIGHT RED or don’t complain down the line about how things once were.

  • Hendrik Joseph Haan October 19, 2020, 8:10 am

    Communists, Nazis and Socialists approve of violence and mayhem as a natural expression of their path to power. History replays itself. We need not dig to far in the past to identify examples of this behavior. We are obligated to defend the ones we love. Just ask the Jews!

  • Larry Just October 16, 2020, 6:04 pm

    The most important issue that faces the USA is never even mentioned anymore. It surely is to impose TERM LIMITS on the fickle representatives that we send to Washington to get fat and rich. All representatives should be compensated at a rate of NO MORE than the average income of those that they represent. Maybe they will know what problems really need attention.

    ​”The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first.”
    Thomas Jefferson

    • SD DENTON October 19, 2020, 10:17 am

      And now they’re taking down his statue because he owned slaves. Go figure

  • John Boutwell October 16, 2020, 10:36 am

    As long as there are criminals, government and animals in this country the 2A is and will be relevant!

  • Liberal Hater October 16, 2020, 10:32 am

    ” The Tree of Liberty must be Refreshed from Time to Time with the Blood of Patriots and TYRANTS ” … Thomas Jefferson. ” An Armed Society is a Polite Society ” …. Thomas Jefferson.

    • JoeUSooner October 16, 2020, 12:17 pm

      The phrase “An Armed Society is a Polite Society” was coined by science-fiction author Robert Heinlein.

  • Kalashnikov Dude October 16, 2020, 9:57 am

    Well, I’m an eighth grade dropout. I been saying this for decades. Looks like ivory world has finally caught up with me. Imagine that? Our Bill of rights is relevant to a law professor……

    • Michael J October 16, 2020, 12:28 pm

      Theoretically a single person with a gun could stop 10 people without one. But if you are counting on the system to protect you, there might be a slight time delay.

  • Roger Meyer October 16, 2020, 8:17 am

    Really keep in mind that you WILL be fighting your sons and daughters as part of the military if the Democrats are elected when they come to confiscate your firearms, arrest you and put you in a concentration camp.
    In New York, Cumo is already starting to round up the Jews and Christians.

    • JoeUSooner October 16, 2020, 12:29 pm

      You’re premature with that assumption.

      In the last election, more than 75% of the military voted Conservative. The military is composed of volunteer citizens, who – with their families (including parents, siblings, and other relatives) – live within local communities. The military is prohibited (by Posse Comitatus) from enforcing civil law within U.S. boundaries.

      Most military members are highly UN-likely to willingly open fire on American citizens. Especially because of Constitutional issues over which they agree with the common citizenry.

  • Alex Hall October 16, 2020, 4:47 am

    1) one of the things that bothers me is that the time might come when we have to face the very people that we are trying to help and care about – the police, the national guard(our neighbors), the regular military (our sons and daughters). What will they do? Think! At this point, better make sure that you, your family and as many friends as you can influence get out to vote!

  • James Macklin October 14, 2020, 7:08 am

    Few probably recognize the script message in the background of th Presidential & VP debates. It is the Declaration of Independence 2nd paragraph.
    The key point was and is that “the people” have a right and a duty to maintain free and fair government.
    That is why the
    Second Amendment and the
    Bill of Rights exists. Thank Patrick Henry.
    2nd Amendment protect the power of the people to resist tyranny.
    Self-defense, hunting and even collecting are TENTH AMENDMENT RIGHTS that were so noncontroversial they ate 10th AMENDMENT.
    That is why the push for “gun control” and banning semi automatic arms. That is why schools teach ” students to be subjects” and not Citizens.
    Justice Scalia did not get it correct.

  • Mark N. October 14, 2020, 1:00 am

    The debates are rigged anyway, so any questions about the second amendment, especially after the cancellation of Debate II, are not likely to arise. The DNC platform calls for a new and RETROACTIVE AR ban, universal background checks and owner licensing, policies that will not sit well with a lot of votes. Even Mark Kelly, long a leader with Gifford’s anti-gun group, buried his anti-gun proposals at the bottom of his list of policy goals. The fact of the matter is that people were frightened by the rioting, and it really didn’t end until citizens started shooting back. For example, the professional rioters who’d been bused into Kenosha left town the day after Kyle Rittenhousen killed to and wounded a third anarchist and peace returned. The rioters were using a planned program of intimidation, but did not like it when their bluff was called, because they do not have the manpower to start a large scale revolution.

    Keep your powder dry.

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