On Senator Rand Paul's Op-Ed in The Washington Times

In an Op-Ed yesterday, Senator Rand Paul detailed his opposition to gun control legislation. Senator Paul questioned both the effectiveness of such legislation in preventing gun violence, anecdotally highlighted positive effects of fire-arm ownership, and underscored his commitment to upholding the Second Amendment. Senator Paul said the following regarding his role in protecting the Bill of Rights:
When I stood up for the Fourth and Fifth Amendments during a filibuster a few weeks ago to address drones and executive power, it was not because I was partial to those amendments, important as they are. When I came into office, I took an oath to uphold the Bill of Rights.
 
I took an oath to uphold the First Amendment. I took an oath to uphold the Second Amendment.

The Second Amendment reads: “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” It doesn’t say “might be” infringed. Nor does it say “could be” infringed. It read “shall not” be infringed. The current gun-control legislation being proposed unquestionably infringes.For these reasons, I will work diligently to stop any such gun-control legislation. Our Constitution, individual liberty and personal safety depend on it.
 
Although Senator Paul makes a compelling call to uphold the integrity of the Second Amendment, his Op-Ed spends too much time implicitly justifying his protection of the Second Amendment with sensationalist and anecdotal evidence such as the following:
For every national tragedy that happens, there are hundreds if not thousands of examples of Americans preventing similar killings from happening, thanks to the use of personal firearms. Last June, for example, a 14-year-old Phoenix boy shot an armed intruder who broke into his home while he was baby-sitting his three younger siblings. The children were home alone on a Saturday afternoon when an unrecognized woman rang their doorbell. After the 14-year-old boy refused to open the door, he heard a loud bang, which indicated that someone was trying to break into the house. The boy hurried his younger siblings upstairs and collected a handgun from his parents’ room. When the boy rounded the top of the stairs, there was a man standing in the doorway with a gun pointed at him. The boy shot at the intruder and saved the lives of his three younger siblings.
Rather than merely arguing that gun control legislation should be opposed because it is an infringement on a constitutionally protected right, Paul implies that the Second Amendment should be protected, in part, because ordinary law-abiding citizens use guns routinely to stop crimes and protect themselves. This sort of anecdotal commentary, which props up the positive by-products of the Second Amendment, detracts from the persuasiveness of Paul's argument. When evaluating proposed legislation, both the positive and negative by-products of the underlying right, which the law is poised to infringe, should be ignored. The infringment of the right, regardless of that right's externalities, should be the sole focus.

In the future, Senator Paul would be better served  by modeling his argument against gun control legislation after this simple and profound quote of President Abraham Lincoln: "Don't interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties."