There’s a thoughtful debate on the right about whether Kim Davis, the county clerk in Kentucky who, citing her conscience, defied the Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges discovering that the Constitution grants the right of marriage to gay couples. Davis refused to issue marriage licenses in her jurisdiction and was briefly jailed.
A core tenet of conservatism is the rule of law. The Obergefell ruling, absurd as it is, is the law of the land. Not only was resistance on Davis’s part futile, but arguably inappropriate as a public official. When one takes a job as a public servant one must uphold the law. Civil disobedience is only the right of civilians. The proper action from a public servant would be to resign; perhaps mass resignations would be an effective tool in persuading legislators to change the law.
On the other hand, Americans are rightly proud of their traditions of defying oppression that comes under the color of law. And such defiance—by government agents—would likely be the only recourse in what this blogger fears will eventually be an attempted government usurpation of our right to bear arms.
It is within the realm of possibility that, one day, Congress w ill pass a law banning and confiscating handguns and the Supreme Court will uphold it under whatever imaginary constitutional logic it can muster. Fortunately the legislative element remains a formidable hurdle at this point in time, but that is not always certain to be so. And once Congress passes a law, all it will take is for five liberal Supreme Court justices to overturn centuries of precedent.
At that point, it would be up to the executive branch to implement the law. Eventually, this would require a door-to-door effort, such as Australia completed for certain types of guns in the late 1990s, much to President Obama’s and Hillary Clinton’s admiration.
Noble “from my cold, dead hands” rhetoric notwithstanding, it’s not likely that many Americans would respond to a federal agent’s knock at the door with an armed standoff in which the government would certainly win. Thus the only barrier to confiscation would be if ATF and FBI agents, and maybe members of the military, that the federal government would send a-knocking were to refuse to follow orders.
Is such a scenario likely? It would get ugly, leading to calls for martial law by some and secession or outright revolution by others. We can all hope our last hope is not to rely on government functionaries disobeying their elected leaders, but it might come to that.