Gun rights advocates and schoolbook-banning rabble rousers, two of the nation's most hysterical breeds of right-wing fire-breathers, have combined in a case over a U.S. history textbook in use at a Texas high school.
It seems the offending text, the otherwise innocuous-seeming United States History: Preparing for the Advanced Placement Examination, is guilty of misrepresenting the Second Amendment in a Bill of Rights summary that's "worded weird." Here, for comparison, is the Amendment as it appears in the Constitution:
A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
And here's how the textbook sums it up:
The people have a right to keep and bear arms in a state militia.
So: yes, it's a bit mangled. But schemingly and misleadingly so? Area dad Sean Getts thinks so: "It's incorrect because it implies that the Second Amendment is restricted to a state militia," he told a local CBS affiliate. He also took to Facebook, where his image of the text promptly drew encouraging comments along the lines of "Time to put some boots to ass Varmint Sean." Curiously, no iteration of the Second Amendment protects putting "boots" to "ass Varmint."
No matter—Getts' post landed on gun rights sites all over the place. By Monday morning, around the same time a 34-year-old former Navy reservist was shooting up the Washington Navy Yard, Guyer High School was reportedly flooded with calls demanding the book be swiftly banned. "I didn’t want to jump to conclusions and say, ‘Oh, they’re trying to indoctrinate our children,’ but kind of the more I thought about it, it needs a lot more scrutiny," said Getts, perhaps concerned that a loosely worded textbook summary will spawn tighter gun control laws, a goal the point-blank shooting of twenty schoolchildren this past December failed to make possible in April. (This week's shooting is similarly unlikely to yield new laws.)
As one constitutional law scholar explains, the textbook's representation of the Second Amendment would have made more sense prior to District of Columbia v. Heller, the landmark 2008 case that protected individuals' rights to possess a firearm. But it's not doing any harm because, curiously, it isn't even the main textbook in use at the school. According to a district statement, U.S. History is merely a "supplementary" text and teachers "are teaching the amendments from the classroom textbook, American Pageant," where the real amendment appears.
Rest easy, Second Amendment cheerleaders—your guns aren't going anywhere any time soon. And anyway, don't you think it's best to lay low for a few days until the nation's latest outcry over gun violences passes?
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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