Chief legal expert busts GOP congressman for lying about 2nd Amendment


Rep. Michael Burgess tried to say assault weapons were protected by the Second Amendment. Ari Melber pointed out that the courts have held the opposite.

Republicans like Texas Rep. Michael Burgess want people to believe the Second Amendment protects any and all weapons imaginable, but as MSNBC legal analyst Ari Melber was quick to point out Thursday night, it absolutely does not.

"When I look at your record, and you support these measures to make sure that people can get assault-style weapons and AR-15s," Melber pressed him, "there's no constitutional right to have those guns like an AR-15, so why is it so important to you to make sure people can get them?"

"Well, look, there is a Second Amendment, and it is reasonable to protect the Second Amendment," replied Burgess.

"This is not about the Second Amendment, sir," Melber said. "And I want to make sure to get your answer, but to start, it is not a Second Amendment right."

Burgess, who sports an A rating from the National Rifle Association, continued to rehearse his talking points as if Melber had not spoken.

"You would be distressed if we were talking about the First Amendment," he said, adding, "It's not generally NRA members who are committing the problems. It is people from outside."

"I want to have a real debate with you, but I want to have a real dialogue with you," Melber said. "And I'll read from the court rulings, as you know, because i know you know this. There is no Second Amendment protection for weapons of war. The Supreme Court does not say AR-15s are a Second Amendment issue. And so since you and I know that, my question for you tonight, for people who are wondering at home why you have made it easier to get AR-15s is, why?"

"No, no, in fact, that's not the debate at all," Burgess insisted. "But the issue is, there are certain rights that are guaranteed to us in the Constitution."

Of course, the Constitution does give us rights. But Melber is 100 percent correct that an AR-15 is not one of those rights. Four separate federal courts have ruled the Second Amendment does not protect ownership of semiautomatic assault weapons as part of the "well-regulated militia." Not even the late conservative Justice Antonin Scalia said it does.

This, however, has not stopped gun lobbyists from wrapping their attempts to profiteer from these weapons in the Bill of Rights.

As Shareblue Media executive editor Jess McIntosh pointed out to Melber later on the segment, "they try to do a really good job of convincing America that guns are somehow a controversial issue, that this is somehow a divisive issue. It is not a divisive issue. 95% of republicans favor stricter gun control laws ... it's literally the gun manufacturers and the politicians they have purchased that are stopping it."

"At this point," she said, "they are down in this defensive huddle with just the politicians and just [NRA executive] Wayne LaPierre and whoever he can find to shill for him."

The gun issue is nowhere near as complicated as it's often made out to be — and when the media cuts to the chase, Republicans' excuses for not acting quickly collapse.