Justice

Santorum: ‘The Second Amendment Is There To Protect the First Amendment!’

At a meeting of Texas Tea Party leaders yesterday, Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) appeared to suggest that armed resistance could be necessary to combat some unnamed violations of the Constitution:

Santorum was then asked if the Second Amendment is only for hunting and sports, to which he responded emphatically, “the Second Amendment is there to protect the First Amendment!” His own family possesses firearms, he says, both for hunting and handguns for personal protection. He cautioned that if Obama is reelected, the Supreme Court’s Heller Decision, which holds that individuals have a right to possess a firearm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home, will be in jeopardy.

In reality, of course, the judiciary exists to protect the First Amendment. Santorum’s apparent belief that Second Amendment remedies should fulfill this purpose suggests a vigilante approach that is difficult to square with the rule of law. If each citizen can both decide for themselves what the First Amendment means and then use their personal arsenal to enforce it, the inevitable result is chaos.

Moreover, it is unclear just what kind of “First Amendment” violations Santorum believes justify armed resistance to the United States government. This is not the first time, however, Santorum used violent rhetoric in the context of the First Amendment. Santorum is a leading proponent of the false claim that the Obama Administration’s pro-contraception policy violates the First Amendment’s protection of religion, and he recently suggested that Obama shows sufficient disregard for Santorum’s religious world view that it will lead America “to the guillotine.”.