“If someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun.” That’s a quote from the Dalai Lama published in the Seattle Times on May 15, 2001 (via keine-waffen.de). The Dalai Lama assumes, as well he should, that you have a gun. And if you have a gun, which I assume as well, that’s because the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution enshrines the right to keep and bear arms. And if you want to exercise your right to armed self-defense, as a voter, you want to make sure that there are as few legal impediments as possible . . .
Hence the movement known as “gun rights.” Generally speaking, after over a hundred years of restriction and abridgment, American gun rights are ascendent. This is something up with which usatoday.com does not want to put. Apparently, gun laws are taking a radical turn . . .
Gun rights activists have taken their national victories not as a reason to pat themselves on the back, but as reason to push forward with an agenda that ranges from radical to idiotic.
Last month, for instance, Wyoming removed most of the exceptions to its concealed weapons law, allowing people to take guns to sporting events, and into bars, churches, schools and colleges, among other places. Just this month, North Dakota joined more than a dozen other states that have said an employer cannot ban an employee from bringing a weapon to work, so long as it is kept in the worker’s vehicle.
Even if you view this as a legitimate exercise of personal freedom, it’s hardly wise, or without limitations on the freedom of others. Take the rights of property owners, for instance. Under many of these laws, businesses cannot object to someone bringing a weapon onto their premises.
Foul ball! As the McPaper themselves point out (in the previous paragraph no less), businesses cannot prevent someone from bringing a gun into the parking lot. “Onto their premises” implies that they can tote their gatt into an employer’s building without permission. They can’t.
Pennsylvania, meanwhile, is on the verge of becoming the latest to join the craze of states passing laws described as “stand your ground” by supporters and “shoot first” by critics. These give people who use deadly force in public places many of the same protections they might have in defending their homes from an intruder. They remove an individual’s obligation to retreat from a threatening situation if such an option exists. And in many cases they provide a legal defense should he or she kill or injure an innocent bystander by mistake.
A craze of states? Is that like a murder of crows? And wow. Really? The laws are a “get out of jail card” if someone kills someone whilst defending their lives with a gun? Nope. Not really. A legal defense is not a pass. But USA Today knows that. They also know that states that have added “stand you ground provisions” to all self-defense scenarios are not running red with victims’ blood, nor letting bad guys (and bad shooters) skate.
What we are seeing is a systematic campaign for a doctrine of guns anywhere, anytime and in the hands of just about anyone, without consequence for irresponsible actions. When the gun lobby first started winning concealed carry laws about two decades ago, it said that vigorous background checks and permitting procedures should be maintained, and that some places should remain gun-free. Having won such laws in most states, it is now working to undo those parameters.
Which member of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence wrote this for USA Today’s editorial board? My guess: Brady Prez Paul Helmke himself. It smacks of his style: non-factual hyperbole. “Without consequences for irresponsible actions”? You’re shitting me. The only irresponsible action here happened at the keyboard. How misleading can you get? Wait! Don’t answer!
The gun lobby is also going after the two states (Wisconsin and Illinois) that do not allow concealed firearms, and the nine that leave the issuance of a permit to the discretion of law enforcement. In its one major foray into Congress recently, gun extremists fell just two votes shy in the U.S. Senate on a 2009 bill that would have forced any state to recognize a carry permit issued by any other state. That measure — a monumental infringement on states rights and local governance, to say the least — would have forced urbanized states dealing with gangs, drug lords and other violent criminals to essentially adopt gun rights deemed appropriate in more rural states.
“Gun extremists” arming gangs, drug lords and criminals? You’re . . . wait, I already said it. And in conclusion . . .
These are precisely the kinds of results that opponents of gun rights predicted during the multi-decade debate over the confused meaning of the Second Amendment. From a constitutional perspective, the Supreme Court may have gotten it right. But from a standpoint of public safety, lawmakers are getting it very wrong. A right to keep and bear arms should come with restraints that equally protect those who have no interest in owning them.
Sure. ‘Cause taking guns away from lawful owners protects non-gun owners by . . . uh . . . you want to run that one by me again? To quote Butch Cassidy, who ARE those guys? I think they need to listen to the sound of no hands clapping.