The flamboyantly anti-gun and anti-legal-gun-owner Christian Science Monitor, the web site that was once a newspaper back when it first strapped on its anti-gun spurs in the mid-1960s, is running a rather tricky and slightly tendentious quiz (only slightly, because it certainly is closer to the middle of the road than the usual CSM article on the subject, and it primarily deals in factual questions with right or wrong answers). The title is “How much do you know on the topic of the Second Amendment?” but it’s really more, “How much do you know about the current state of Second Amendment law?”
We naturally ran the table, 15 for 15. Have at it. We’ll reproduce the questions, but not the answers and multiple-choice distractors, below. Go to the site to get scored!
- Which right is protected by the Second Amendment?
- Which is the correct text of the Second Amendment?
- Constitutional scholars have long debated whether the Second Amendment protects the private possession of firearms or only the possession of firearms in the context of a well-regulated militia. The US Supreme Court examined the question in a 2008 case. What was the name of that landmark decision?
- What issue was at stake in the 2008 [redacted] case?
- What did the Supreme Court decide in the 2008 case?
- Prior to 2008, the US Supreme Court last decided a case involving the Second Amendment in 1939. The case, US v. Miller, was a challenge to the constitutionality of the National Firearms Act of 1934. What did that federal law require?
- What prompted Congress to pass the National Firearms Act of 1934?
- In the 1939 case, US v. Miller, two men were caught with an unlicensed sawed-off, double-barrel shotgun that they had transported from Oklahoma to Arkansas. They claimed the federal license requirement violated their Second Amendment rights. What did the court decide?
- In 2010, the Supreme Court took up another landmark Second Amendment case, McDonald v. Chicago. What was the issue the high court decided?
- Does the Second Amendment guarantee a personal right to own fully automatic military-issued combat rifles, heavy machine guns, and perhaps even shoulder-fired missiles?
- Does the Second Amendment guarantee a personal right to own semi-automatic rifles that resemble the fully-automatic military versions of the same firearm?
- Following the 2008 Supreme Court ruling overturning the handgun ban, the District of Columbia City Council passed a new gun control measure, this one banning “assault weapons.” The Council defined “assault weapons” as semi-automatic rifles and pistols with certain military features. The new ban was challenged in federal court. A federal appeals court in October 2011 voted 2 to 1 to uphold the ban. What did the court say?
- Gun rights advocates filed a new complaint in 2012 seeking to overturn the District of Columbia’s assault weapons ban. The lead plaintiff is Dick Heller, the same gun owner who successfully fought the District’s handgun ban. To challenge the assault weapons ban, Mr. Heller attempted to register a semi-automatic rifle he uses for target shooting, a Bushmaster XM-15-E2S. Which of the following individuals also used a Bushmaster XM-15-E2S?
- In 1994, Congress passed a ban on certain semi-automatic assault weapons and large capacity magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds. How was Jared Loughner, the admitted gunman in the 2011 shooting spree involving Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, able to purchase 30-round magazines for his pistol?
- According to the National Rifle Association, how many privately-owned guns are currently in the United States?
There are almost 200 comments below the story at this time, the first 20 of which convinced us that our usual policy of not reading comments on general news sites is a good one. The signal to noise ratio is immeasurably small.
Question 13 is probably the most tendentious one. Let’s rephrase it: “The CSM reporter/ette who wrote this quiz probably has a pressure cooker in his/her kitchen. What other 2013 newsmakers also used pressure cookers?” See what we just did there? Wait till you see who the CSM equates Dick Heller to.
Question 14 is not correct on the size of the shooter’s magazines, but we know from experience there’s no percentage in trying to get the Christian Science Monitor to correct a factual error on a gun story. They’re just not interested in facts vis-a-vis narrative, and the actual facts wouldn’t change the correct answer to the question regardless. The quotes they use in Question 12 come mostly from the Brady amicus curiae filing, no surprise if you know the CSM’s history.
The CSM survived as a paper as long as it did because it was subsidized by a requirement that the members of the Christian Science (aka 1st Church of Christ, Scientist) cult subscribe. The requirement was dropped as the numbers and finances of the cult members dwindled; the group rejects medicine and surgery and tries to treat ill family members with prayer alone. Several members and faith healers associated with the cult have been convicted — even in the cult’s native Boston — in grim cases where children died of trivially curable diseases because of their parents’ committment to the cult’s cruel doctrine. After that, membership numbers began the freefall they’re still on.
There’s nothing wrong with prayer, but if you have a dehydrated baby, for instance, prayer and an IV of saline solution will do anything prayer alone will do. Plus, save the baby. There is that. WWJD?