A petition has been signed by more than 33,000 people, demanding that guns be allowed into the Republican National Convention this summer in Ohio. Donald Trump is considering whether or not to support it.
Perhaps it’s time to remember a lesson from Adolf Hitler.
Hitler could attribute much of his rise in power to a paramilitary organization called the Nazi SA. SA members were often called Brownshirts. The Brownshirts initially provided protection at Nazi rallies. They were kind of like security guards, only much meaner. They wouldn’t just 86 you. They would kill you.
Shortly after Hitler became Chancellor of Germany in 1933, he called the German Reichstag into a special session to consider passing the Enabling Act. The Enabling Act would give Hitler dictatorial powers. Hitler made sure his gun-toting Brownshirts were present at this session, to threaten and intimidate members of the Reichstag. It worked. The Enabling Act passed overwhelmingly.
Today, there’s a campaign underway by GOP leaders to stop Donald Trump at the convention. If they can keep him from getting enough delegates to win the nomination on the first ballot, then they can propose an alternative candidate for nomination on the second and subsequent ballots. Donald Trump has implicitly threatened riots if this should occur.
Suppose that convention hall was filled with gun-toting Trump supporters? Who would try to stop Trump then? And if Trump won the nomination under that kind of circumstance, perhaps he’d feel obligated to all those gun-toters. Who knows, maybe he’d be in favor of organizing them into some sort of security force.
When I consider the lengths some second amendment supporters are willing to go, I feel a frisson of fear. I love living in a free and democratic country. I want them to back down on this issue.
If the first amendment has the limitation of not allowing us to yell “FIRE!” in a crowded theater, then why can’t the second amendment have the limitation of not allowing us to bring firearms to a crowded political venue?
People often speak forcefully and without compromise in support of the second amendment. When they do, I sometimes wonder just who or what they might be enabling.