The PJ Tatler

The increasingly controversial Constitution

Newsweek, whose online reach has plunged 29 percent in the last three months, has an interesting characterization of one provision of the Bill of Rights.  A Daniel Stone article entitled “White House to Push Gun Control” says:  “An administration official says Obama didn’t mention guns in his speech because of the omnipresent controversy surrounding the Second Amendment and gun control.”  When has there been an “omnipresent controversy” about the Second Amendment?  Sure, there is controversy about gun control because the vast majority of Americans oppose it.  But the crafting of prose, and positioning of words, especially among such esteemed “professionals” at Newsweek, is probably intentional. 

I’ve not yet seen a provision of the Bill of Rights previously juxtaposed with the concept of controversy.  Stone could have said merely “the omnipresent controversy about gun control.”  But this is part of a larger linguistic and rhetorical front which has been opened up recently on the document itself, whether gun control, property rights or equality before law.  About that gun control push, go for it.  See you in Wisconsin, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Virginia in 2012.  In the meantime, expect to see lots of Americans heading to gun stores on this news to exercise their controversial Second Amendment rights to acquire firepower.