First Amendment weakens gun rights advocates’ insurrection argument

Many gun rights advocates have asserted that the Second Amendment – which protects the right of the people to keep and bear arms – serves a collective interest in deterring and, if necessary, violently deposing a tyrannical federal government. “The strength of this assertion is significantly weakened by the power of the First Amendment,” says Gregory P. Magarian, JD, constitutional law expert and professor of law at Washington University in St. Louis. “We have spent almost a century developing the First Amendment as the main vehicle for dynamic political change. Debate and political expression is preferable to insurrection as a means of political change and our legal culture’s attention to the First and Second Amendments reflects a long-settled choice of debate over violent uprising.”