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The New York Times Suddenly Cares About Gun Rights

Posted on Monday, December 11, 2023
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by AMAC Newsline
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AMAC Exclusive – By David Lewis Schaefer

second amendment on gun rights

When the Supreme Court issued its 6-3 decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen (2022), striking down as an unconstitutional violation of the Second Amendment a central part of New York State’s gun-licensing process requiring that an applicant had to demonstrate a special need to obtain a concealed carry permit, the Editorial Board of the New York Times was up in arms, so to speak.

In a jointly authored column, the board lamented that the Court had “embraced a vision of the Second Amendment that is profoundly at odds with precedent and the dangers that American communities face today, upending the longstanding practice of letting states decide for themselves how to regulate gun possession in public.”

It added that the decision revealed “the vast gulf between ideologues on the court [those who were members of the Court majority] and those Americans — ordinary people and their representatives in Congress — who want this country to be safer from guns.”

Hence the editors applauded the enactment of a federal law tightening restrictions on gun possession.

Well, not so fast.

The Times recently ran another story lamenting the plight of individuals living in states like Florida who are prohibited from owning guns because they are admitted users of marijuana or other “controlled substances” under Federal law. Even though “there are relatively few limitations at the federal level on who is eligible to purchase or possess firearms and ammunition,” the Times reports, “participating in a state’s medical marijuana system remains a barrier to gun ownership.”

This issue “is shaping up to be one of the next legal frontiers in the national debate over gun policy,” we are told. Even though 38 states, the District of Columbia, and four U.S. territories have legalized marijuana for medical purposes, “the drug remains technically illegal” under federal law, “which classifies it as having no currently accepted medical use.” (In fact, when I, purely for research purposes – honest! – asked an accomplished oncologist at one of America’s leading cancer treatment centers several years ago, he confirmed that marijuana had not been demonstrated to treat any form of pain more effectively than legally available pain medications. The doctor himself nonetheless favored legalization because, given the miseries his patients were undergoing, he figured that they should be entitled to have a little fun in their lives.)

This column, it should be noted, takes no position on whether marijuana should be legalized, for either “medical” or recreational purposes, even though the nation currently faces an anomalous situation in which a drug that is illegal under federal law is legal under the laws of most states.

It may be relevant here, however, to cite the judgment of Kevin Sabet, president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, a group that opposes legalization, as reported in the Times story, that “it is prudent to prohibit both medical and recreational marijuana users from having firearms,” since the “stronger strains of marijuana” that are currently available, “with higher levels of the psychoactive component THC than in decades past… can have adverse effects that result in violent behavior.” (Veterans of the ‘60s need to recognize that the “pot” now on the market is a lot more powerful than what they were accustomed to using.)

In contrast, Karen O’Keefe, director of state policies for the Marijuana Policy Project (a pro-legalization organization) has maintained that nobody “should have to surrender their constitutional rights,” including gun ownership, “to treat themselves with something far safer than alcohol,” as she maintains marijuana is.

But why is the Times suddenly concerned with protecting the right to gun ownership, for which it has previously advocated the most severe restrictions? It cites Judge Patrick R. Wyrick of the U.S. Western District Court, who dismissed the indictment of a man who had been arrested and then indicted after Oklahoma police found him in possession of both marijuana and a loaded gun in his car, holding that federal law in this instance “takes a sledgehammer” to the right of armed self-defense, since the use of marijuana was not “a violent, forceful, or threatening act” nor one that had historically been an element in firearms regulation.

But as the Times itself notes, barring marijuana users from gun ownership dates back to the Gun Control Act of 1968, “passed during a period of high-profile assassinations.” On the other hand, “about 5 percent” of those convicted of gun offenses, according to a 2022 report by the U.S. Sentencing Commission, “were illegal drug users or were addicted to controlled substances at the time of their offenses.”

Nonetheless, the Times story highlights the problem faced by a Florida woman in her 70s who sought to purchase a pistol for self-defense purposes, feeling vulnerable since a man who’d been fired from a business she owned had stormed out of the store “threatening vengeance.” The woman was blocked from making the purchase because she had acknowledged, in a firearms transaction form she was obliged to complete, that she was taking marijuana to relieve knee pain and insomnia, in accordance with her state’s medical marijuana program.

The Times has long displayed solicitude for the alleged injustices suffered by individuals who in the past were jailed for marijuana use before their states legalized it. It has recommended that such people be given priority in the allocation of licenses to open legal pot shops in states like New York. But will its solicitude now extend so far as to adopt a more sympathetic outlook towards individuals seeking to exercise their right to purchase a gun, freeing them from excessive restrictions on that right – whether or not they were marijuana users?

Times readers: stay tuned.

David Lewis Schaefer is a Professor Emeritus of Political Science at College of the Holy Cross.

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Steve V
Steve V
2 months ago

“…who want this country to be safer from guns.”
I never felt unsafe because of guns. However, I HAVE felt unsafe because of criminals, no matter what weapon they possess.

lawrence greenberg
lawrence greenberg
2 months ago

The New York Times has long been as truthful and reliable as Pravda or Izvestia. Anyone who relies on TNYT for their “news” and information is truly misinformed.
As for the claims TNYT makes about being out of touch with public sentiment, not only is that a flat out lie, but our laws, which are based on the Constitution, are not dependent on public sentiment.
In addition, I will once again ask the question I have been asking now for more than 40 years without receiving a single coherent response: Where in the wording of The Second Amendment is there any provision for, or even a suggestion of, restrictions, limitations, or exceptions? Answer: There is none, meaning that a very strong argument can be made that all of the more than 24,000 gun control laws currently in effect in this nation at the federal, state, and local levels are unconstitutional.

kevin frazier
kevin frazier
2 months ago

The Times only allowed this story to be published because it is critical of Florida law. If it were a pro-2A piece, it never would have made it to the presses.

Musaiga
Musaiga
2 months ago

As someone who’s had cancer twice, and at least a half-dozen types of chemo, I can say this with certainty. MJ was the only reason I didn’t rip the flesh from my own bones while being treated with the wonderful chemo drug “5FU”. And the first nurse to administer it to me said, “I hate to tell you this, but you’re going to find out what the “FU” means. MJ is about as benign a substance you can get, even alcohol is more toxic. But too many folks still believe “Reefer Madness” was a documentary.

Jeri
Jeri
2 months ago

As it becomes clearer that the only person that is going to protect you is yourself…attitudes adjust.

Robert Zuccaro
Robert Zuccaro
2 months ago

Alcoholics can own a gun, why not potheads? I do not use (either) myself but I’ve no problem with others; pot should be as legal as alcohol. Ppl should not be criminalized for its use and then used as an excuse to violate their rights.

Thinking
Thinking
2 months ago

Well isn’t that not an interesting turn of events at the New York Times. Their no guns policy is now overruled and those high on pot should have a gun. What? Arming those high and committing mass shootings that is okay with the Times. Only sober law abiding citizens they don’t want them to have guns. Which is it New York Times? This is just another brainwashing idea to make sane Americans insane. Don’t fall for their plot, for that is what it is, to arm those extremist to keep on killing innocent decent civilians that don’t agree with the policies of Ole Joe. Disgusting isn’t it how they are manipulating the population. The guns in the hands of a sane law abiding citizen is a danger, but lets give a gun to those strung out on pot. DEI at work, in reverse. What a sick society we are becoming.

Enuf Said
Enuf Said
2 months ago

The New York Crimes- what did you expect?

Joearcher
Joearcher
2 months ago

Kevin In truth, it is not a Florida law, but a Federal law. When purchasing a firearm, you must fill out Form 4473, A Firearms Transaction Record, or ATF Form 4473, is a seven-page form prescribed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF, a Federal Agency) required to be completed when a person proposes to purchase a firearm from a Federal Firearms License (FFL) holder, such as a gun dealer.
One of the questions is whether the purchaser uses any controlled substances, including marijuana. If the purchaser answers YES, they will not be able to purchase the firearm. This is a Federal law, and the ATF will reject the application. The FFL dealer will lose his license and face criminal penalties if he sells a firearm when the application has been rejected. This is true in any state, not just Florida.
I believe the article in the Times was published because they want to see marijuana removed from the list of Federally controlled substances.

Stephen Russell
Stephen Russell
2 months ago

Gee what took so long NYT??

Lou Marchaland
Lou Marchaland
2 months ago

As has been mentioned the only reason this piece ran was because it seems to be against Florida law, it fails to acknowledge that this is a Federal prohibition which effects all states including New York with it’s draconian firearm laws.
While I have mixed feelings about legal marijuana, I have no issue with saying that the 2nd Amendment is the most infringed by our governing bodies and it needs to stop as per the Supreme Court decisions.

Melinda
Melinda
2 months ago

While it is true that today’s pot is stronger, more addictive and may produce psychosis, there is no way to distinguish this type from homegrown. Also, many people use marijuana products that contain no THC. So the whole discussion makes for a ball of worms that no legislation can untangle. BTW, I don’t and have never used it, so maybe my opinion isn’t valid.

Joe McHugh
Joe McHugh
2 months ago

Let me get this straight. The controversy over gun ownership and the use of marijuana mainly seems to revolve around public safety. I’m almost sure that if a firearm is misused to threaten, injure or kill a law-abiding citizen it is an illegal act, and it doesn’t matter if the gun wielder is sober. or high on drugs.
What is really going on here is that the anti-gun liberals are trying more and more to restrict the Second Amendment right of the people, until many acquiesce in the face of political, and bureaucratic oppression. Controlling citizen’s rights regarding the use of drugs, including alcohol, are just more ways to infringe on one’s constitutional rights. No one can claim that he was under the influence of a drug as an excuse in misusing a firearm. Any such behavior while under such influence is still prosecutable according to the laws.
So what we are really facing is a movement to pass ever more laws to ensure “safety”. The effort to achieve safety and security by trespassing on constitutional rights, is……. well, unconstitutional. The Founding Fathers, (the same ones who created the Constitution and the Bill of Rights), had strong feelings about government abuse of the people’s rights. Ben Franklin said: ” Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
Obviously, a government should be able to enforce laws against criminal behavior. However, only the laws that do not conflict with the constitutional rights of the people deserve such enforcement. A law-abiding citizens is free to decide how they enjoy their inherent rights, as long as the rights of other citizens are not violated. In plain words, “safety” is not a constitutional right. It cannot be cited to subvert, or undermine an inherent right, such as the right to arms.

Rereelr
Rereelr
2 months ago

In a truly free country you should not need any permission to ingest,smoke,or inject any substance into your own body. I should not have to pay a doctor for permission, in the form of a prescription, and then travel to a special store, a pharmacy, to get antibiotics, when I need them. Or any medication for that matter. Where in the constitution did we the people give the AMA and the government power over our own health preservation?

Patriot Bill
Patriot Bill
2 months ago

SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED
Is pretty clear

Theresa Coughlin
Theresa Coughlin
2 months ago

I haven’t read the New York Times in years, and I don’t miss it one bit.

Jim Crossan
Jim Crossan
2 months ago

The oncologist stated that marijuana is no better than prescribed pain meds at treating pain. However, it is not addictive as is every prescribed, scheduled pain med. I think that makes THC a better choice. As for the NY Times, it is a rag. It should go and take the Columbia School of Journalism with it.

Bob
Bob
2 months ago

Liberals never cease to amaze me with their convoluted thinking. Now that pot has entered into the equation, they feel compelled to now find a reason to advocate gun rights. Indeed we must stay tuned. I don’t trust them. I don’t recall ever seeing the ACLU going to bat for 2nd amendment causes.

anna hubert
anna hubert
2 months ago

Making the country safer from criminals would do just fine Gins are perfectly safe if not used with criminal intend For that we do have the laws in place

Joe McHugh
Joe McHugh
2 months ago

One medical reason for taking marijuana is that in some patients, it can alleviate nausea. I read a report that marijuana is prescribed, not to reduce pain but to help combat the feelings of nausea. This medication for nausea does not help all patients who experience it, but for those that it does help it is a godsend.

Casey C Matt
Casey C Matt
2 months ago

Regarding the older lady who checked off “yes” on the portion of form 4473 asking about use or addiction to substances………one might question whether she has the reasoning ability to carry a firearm. Probably so……but sheesh woman, use your head!!

Vietvet 6769
Vietvet 6769
2 months ago

Surprising only time tell how far this is going!

David Millikan
David Millikan
2 months ago

The NYT’s is a Communist propaganda machine. They all of sudden care about the 2nd Amendment because they needed an article that people might read so they can try and stay in business. Go WOKE. Go BROKE.
Your credibility died decades ago.

Tim Toroian
Tim Toroian
2 months ago

They obviously have no idea what the Bill of Rights is about. It’s also apparent they know nothing of Sept. 9, 1789, when the Senate voted NOT to insert “for the common defense” into the amendment that became the Second.

Linda
Linda
2 months ago

Our liberties are under assault, things are spinning out of control, seems as our voices no longer matters only thing keeping America is our US constitution meaningful words and GOD. Strong words standing between the people and tyr,we are living unprecedented times and WE will keep God and our us constitution meaningful words ???? ❤️ the Calling all prayer warriors ???? ❤️ ????????????????????????????????????????????????????❤️

Theodore Pruitt
Theodore Pruitt
2 months ago

Having been a former pot smoker it is my belief that no good will come from medical pot or street pot. Not like some recent science I believe the long term pot use will not turn out good for the user(s).

Harry
Harry
2 months ago

My son started on Marijuana at 15. He stated and so did many others that it wouldn’t hurt him that it wouldn’t be a step drug to harder use of other drugs. We buried him in December 2018. Fentanyl ! I tried everything for him, but it was up to him to help himself. It never happened. They said the Fentanyl killed him instantly . I have yet to get even with somebody!! But as long as it takes. I will, because his supplier is on the other side of the border. I wonder often if he he is here again with the other 8 million illegal’s ?? Maybe one day I will find out and get him.

Tex
Tex
2 months ago

The Times is just now “embracing” freedom to possess a firearm and have used marijuana only because the First Son is facing felony gun charges. IMHO!

John Cochrane
John Cochrane
2 months ago

Maybe the NY TIMES wants marijuana-users to have guns so that when those users start killing people, the NYT can say, “this gun violence is really, really bad, we must take guns away from all citizens!”

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