When the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Chicago’s handgun ban and incorporated the Second Amendment (making it trump state law), the high court judges left the door open for gun control advocates. The majority ruling gave a green light to “reasonable” restrictions. Needless to say, gun control advocates breathed a collective sigh of relief. Not for a moment did they think that ANY of their ideas about gun control were “unreasonable.” Well, save for that one about banning handguns in houses. Writing for pennlive.com, Joe Grace and Phil Goldsmith stake their claim on the rational gun control front, stretching the truth to breaking point—and beyond! To wit:

One reasonable step is a reporting requirement for lost or stolen handguns. In Pennsylvania, 45 cities and towns have already taken local action in support of lost or stolen handgun reporting, either by ordinance or by urging statewide action by the General Assembly.

In two cities, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania courts have repeatedly upheld local lost or stolen gun reporting laws, rejecting the gun lobby’s challenges five times. This coalition of municipalities taking action to reduce gun violence is supported by more than 190 mayors, 400 faith leaders and thousands of citizens from Allentown to Aliquippa.

What could possibly be wrong with that idea? For one thing, the lost or stolen firearm law is a city law. City firearm laws should not preempt state laws which should not trump federal laws. Otherwise, you have a patchwork of gun laws that are confusing, unworkable and (perhaps) unconstitutional.

For another, the laws themselves are Draconian. Pittsburgh’s variant requires firearm owners to report a lost or stolen gun to local law enforcement within 24 hours. If they don’t, they face fines of up to $500 on the first offense or $1,000 and up to 90 days in jail on any subsequent violations.

Is that reasonable?

While support for the reporting of lost or stolen handguns grows, hundreds of Pennsylvania police chiefs have come out in favor of another reasonable reform to close a loophole in state law that allows state residents to sidestep law enforcement and obtain permits from Florida to carry concealed guns, even if their applications were denied in Pennsylvania.

This loophole lets people with criminal backgrounds get out-of-state permits to carry guns in the commonwealth, even after state authorities determine they shouldn’t be allowed to do so.

Huh? Since when can a criminal legally receive a concealed carry permit in Florida? That’s a flat-out lie. According to Florida’s Division of Licensing, The Sunshine State won’t issue you a concealed carry permit if you have . . .

A felony conviction (unless civil and firearm rights have been restored by the convicting authority).
Having adjudication withheld or sentence suspended on a felony or misdemeanor crime of violence unless three years have elapsed since probation or other conditions set by the court have been fulfilled.
A conviction for a misdemeanor crime of violence in the last three years.
A conviction for violation of controlled substance laws or multiple arrests for such offenses.

Does that seem reasonable?

Clearly, the authors of this polemic believe that gun control laws are ipso facto reasonable. From a gun rights perspective, as always, the road to hell is paved with reasonable intentions.

Chicago Mayor Richard Daley explained why the city moved so swiftly after the court’s ruling: “Either we enact new and reasonable handgun laws in Chicago to protect our residents — as the council has done — or we do nothing and risk greater gun violence on our streets and in our homes.”

The risk of doing nothing is unacceptable, and we’re working every day with legislators, mayors, police, faith leaders and citizens to see reasonable laws enacted that balance constitutional rights with the responsibility we all have to do everything we can to reduce gun violence and make Pennsylvania safer for us all.

Reading the comments below the piece, it seems that most pennlive.com readers believe in rights that are as unabridged as possible, rather than gun laws subject to a vague and ultimately political reasonability test. Most, but not all. badscooter5 weighs in.

After reading the comments of the right-wing whack jobs that posted for this story, I’m glad we have gun control laws in place. I love it when redneck hicks try to be constitutional law experts.

The Supreme Court has consistently held that no right is absolute. The First Amendment permits individual freedom of speech. However, freedom of speech stops at libel, harrassment, defamation of character…..

The Second Amendment permits an individual the right to bear arms. The fact that the right is permitted does not mean it is absolute. Gun control laws are not unconstutional. They are as constitutional as the laws that establish penalties that protect individuals from the libel and slander of others overstepping their right to free speech.

Turn the NASCAR off and read up constituional law and relevant Supreme Court decisions before you babble about things you can’t begin to understand.

Fair enough?

One Response to Pennlive Op Ed: “We need gun laws within reason”

  1. I’m always baffled at how people trying to convince other people about something will throw in polarizing phrases like, “redneck hicks” or “liberal hipster,” and still expect to be taken seriously. I suppose after people listen to enough talk radio or watch enough cable confrontations they just figure that insulting people is the modern method of rational discourse – but it doesn’t really work in real life.

    Your drill sergeant might get away with calling you names as he breaks down your individuality, but most anyone else is just going to incur more stubborn resentment.

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