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Barbara Boxer Triggers Outrage Over Proposal to Deploy National Guard in Public Schools

Critics on the left and right are speaking out.

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“If you’ve been decrying the militarization of law enforcement, hold onto your hats boys and girls—because crap just got real,” wrote the pro-gun blog, UnitedLiberty.org.      

Perhaps the biggest problem with Boxer’s idea is that it lends credibility to the notion that a more widely armed society is more immune to wanton gun violence.

A generation ago, a handful of liberal constitutional laws scholars wrote detailed and compelling analyses of the Second Amendment’s roots. The University of Texas’ Sanford Levinson’s readable history, The Embarassing Second Amendment, and more recent work by Yale Law School’s Akhil Reed Amar, reluctantly conclude that the U.S. Constitution’s framers, Congress and many states since then want “strong” gun rights.

The New York Times’ legal reporter Adam Liptak wrote in 2007 how these scholars and other liberals gave new intellectual ammunition to the pro-gun lobby to legally challenge and overturn local gun-control laws. He quoted pro-gun lawyers as crediting the liberal scholars’ more open-minded assessment with boosting their arguments in federal court.

It may be that Sen. Boxer is well aware of this legal history and knows that any new or overly broad gun-control laws will be struck down: i.e., the Second Amendment clearly empowers citizen militias, which implies having military-level weapons available to the public. And so, against the backdrop of an increasingly armed America, the solution that surfaces is placing deterrent force in public schools.

But by proposing this remedy on the same day the NRA proposed arming teachers, Boxer is lending credence to the NRA perspective that the only solution to gun violence is more guns. Progressives would like to believe that civilization is making forward progress beyond the need to have guns at the ready for every nightmare scenario. After all, it’s conservatives who take a dimmer view of human nature and dwell on evil.  

Steven Rosenfeld covers national political issues for AlterNet, including America's retirement crisis, democracy and voting rights, and campaigns and elections. He is the author of "Count My Vote: A Citizen's Guide to Voting" (AlterNet Books, 2008).

 
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