After looking at the photos of the NRA convention, with all the talk about the sanctity of the Second Amendment, I think I just may revert to being a Justice William O. Douglas First Amendment absolutist. After all, the First Amendment of the Constitution does say:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
I learned about the need to balance competing constitutional rights from Fred Friendly at Columbia, a hallmark of his academic teachings. But if the NRA is not going to give an inch on the Second Amendment, then let's invoke our absolute First Amendment rights to speak and assemble without restrictions. I'll take the pen over the gun any day.