Ben Carson Tries and Fails to Defend the Second Amendment

Ben Carson was on the Meet the Press this weekend and it didn’t go well. In back-to-back questions on the protections offered by the Second Amendment, he directly contradicted himself. And in the process, he seems to have revealed that he has no idea how the Constitution works even in theory.

The exchange was so phenomenally stupid that it needs to be read to be believed. I’ve reproduced the relevant portion below (emphasis mine):

DR. BEN CARSON:
Well, my point being we should never compromise the Second Amendment. It’s therefore a very, very important reason. And Noah Webster said that America would never suffer under tyranny because if people were armed. So we need to keep that in mind. Of course, we should be thinking about what can we do to keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of mentally unstable people. The two things are not incompatible. But–

CHUCK TODD:
So you’re not saying there should be a limitation on what type of weapon a sane person should be able to buy?

DR. BEN CARSON:
Of course not. You know, when we put this amendment in place, you know, state-of-the-art weapon was what? A musket? But the principle was that the citizenry should have, you know, access to whatever they needed in order to protect themselves from an overly aggressive government.

CHUCK TODD:
What’s the line? I mean, should somebody be able to have one of these surface-to-air missiles?

DR. BEN CARSON:
I don’t think you can get a surface-to-air missile legally in this country.

CHUCK TODD:
And that’s okay? I mean, that’s my point. Like, you’re okay with having, you know, anything you can hold, you know, there is some limitation on what somebody–

DR. BEN CARSON:
There is. And we have laws that, you know, take care of that.

So in other words, Carson first declares that the Second Amendment should guarantee citizens have access to any weapon the government has. Then, when asked about one such weapon, he says there are laws against it, and he’s okay with them.

See the trouble is, if a law abridges a freedom guaranteed in the Constitution, the law would be unconstitutional. That’s kind of the fundamental premise underlying the Bill of Rights and arguably our whole notion of limited government. But this exchange offers strong evidence that Carson either legitimately doesn’t understand this or has the most acute case of short-term memory loss ever seen. Either way, it should be a bit troubling that a person who routinely makes nonsensical arguments like this is one of the leading candidates of a major party.

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