No, this isn’t the same sort of paradox as the bootstrap paradox. I’m talking about the weird, nearly simultaneous arguments that anti-gun types make claiming that we pro-gun types are either stuck in the past or not stuck in the past.
We’re told, on the one hand, that the 2nd Amendment is an outmoded document. We’re told that it’s a relic of a bygone era when most of the country was lawless frontier. We’re told that we need to get with the times, be like Europe, and all but ban firearms from civilian ownership. If there’s trouble, the argument goes, just call 911.
And in the next breath, we’re told that our view of the 2nd Amendment is far too modern. “The Founders could never imagined fearsome weapons of war like the AR-15!” And then, after stating that the 2nd Amendment only protects Brown Bess muskets, these same anti-gun leftists will hop back into their TARDIS and proclaim that the Constitution is a “living document” that evolves with the times.
…but not when we’re talking about guns.
Both arguments are ridiculous. The 2nd Amendment did not create a new right out of thin air. It recognized a preexisting freedom that flows from a right that all Humans have: The right to self defense. If one has the right to self defense, then one has a right to the means of self defense. It doesn’t matter whether that means is a sharp stick or a semiautomatic rifle. Not one of the Founders would have argued that a version of the 2nd Amendment written in the Bronze age wouldn’t have applied to steel weapons. And not one of these anti-gun leftists would argue that the 4th Amendment applies only to documents written on parchment. (Unless, of course, if that level of doublethink were necessary to argue against private gun ownership!) Just as the 4th Amendment applies to electronic files on your computer, so too the 2nd Amendment applies to the modern firearms in your gun safe.
As to their first claim that firearms are now “unneeded” in a modern, civil society, I suggest that they skim a few headlines from media outlets in Chicago. The Wild West was far more peaceful than is “civilized” Chicago.