President Barack Obama wipes away tears from his eyes as he speaks in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016, about steps his administration is taking to reduce gun violence. Also on stage are stakeholders, and individuals whose lives have been impacted by the gun violence. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

“Second Amendment rights are important, but there are other rights that we care about as well. And we have to be able to balance them. Because our right to worship freely and safely—that right was denied to Christians in Charleston, South Carolina. And that was denied Jews in Kansas City. And that was denied Muslims in Chapel Hill, and Sikhs in Oak Creek. They had rights, too . . .

Our right to peaceful assembly—that right was robbed from moviegoers in Aurora and Lafayette. Our unalienable right to life, and liberty, and the pursuit of happiness—those rights were stripped from college students in Blacksburg and Santa Barbara, and from high schoolers at Columbine, and from first-graders in Newtown. First-graders. And from every family who never imagined that their loved one would be taken from our lives by a bullet from a gun.” – President Barack Obama

100 Responses to Quote of the Day: Obama Conflating the Declaration of Independence with the Bill of Rights Edition

  1. Obama is right. We need to lose Constitution rights and freedoms for security. We know that the best way to protect everyone is to create a society that mimics a prison. For example, we need random police searches and checkpoints, get rid of all privacy, keep everyone under surveillance, and give ultimate authority to the government rather than the people. We know that there are no drugs or violence in prisons. Why are we not modeling our society after a prison right now? What could go wrong?

    • This is absolutely brilliant and I’m stealing it as an example for when I talk to my liberal friends. Both of them.

      • I hope they’re immediate family , otherwise two to many .
        Sorry , I guess that’s wrong to feel that way , liberals are just like us , just preemies .
        Progressives are the socialist communist wannabes .

    • Free meals, a cot to sleep on, government agents looking over us 24/7, and a guaranteed job stamping license plates. What could be better?

      • I’m waiting for the day the Ouroboros starts swallowing its tail, and prisoners start demanding a living wage. It will be the sweetest of ironies watching a progressive explain that a living wage is relative to your standard of living.

        • Already happened. Plus proposals of same from various pols.

          It pops up occasionally as far back as tha 1960s in “modern” and “first worls” places. Im ignoring 19th and early 20th incidents that might be called “fringe”, and UN speeches from any time, as not serious enough to be legit examples.

          So, some people in or seeking vkable political authority are all in on this from time to time. Some mean it. The rest will say or do any damn thing. But, we knew that.

    • 2nd Amendment rights can’t be eliminated yet, but there are others we care about, and I have to be able to remove them too. Because our right to self-defense needs to be removed from the average American because the kids, the right to run and hide trumps the right to self-defense as the monopoly of force is kept by the state, in my hands to be used at my whim, yada yada emotional incidents designed to manipulate.

      Our right to free assembly was robbed when I continued the push to oppose peaceful protests against the economic collapse by not actively charging, prosecuting, and sentencing my Wall Street friends who nearly destroyed our country in 2008. Our unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – those rights are stripped more and more daily as I assign more restrictions and egregious rulings to the RTKBA through my latest EO and lecturing law-abiding citizens at the bully pulpit that their rights are killing innocents, which won’t protect any of you, but it will give me points with my delusional base and becomes a nice shiny talking point for Hillary.

      Like the right for me to order the assassination of foreign nationals, an act that is tantamount to war were it happening to our citizens, the collateral damage of men, women, and children slaughtered, the deliberate drone strike against a Doctors Without Borders hospital, the massive increase of unconstitutional surveillance on law-abiding Americans, my penchant for Executive Orders that smear schet all over our nation.

      This is what he should have said, closer to his “truth”. Agreed with your opinion completely, it’s a schet-show.

    • Think you’d want your $ back if you’d been stuck with this bozo as instructor?

      I’m pretty sure the average ISIS (ISIL) recruit is taught more about the US Constitution in sandalcamp than Obumer knows.

    • As I once replied to my unit’s XO (tacit) notation of Obama’s “credentials” during the first election, “He probable knows enough of the Constitution to ignore it.”

    • The worst part isn’t that he quoted the Declaration of independence as part of the bill of rights. It’s his misrepresentation of what the rights mean.
      The right to assemble or the right to worship means more than going to the movies or church. And it was not intended to protect us from murder. That would be more in line with the purpose of the 2nd amendment.

      • Bingo.

        We could just as easily “argue” to eliminate the 4th Amendment because of a pressure cooker bomb in Boston. Search everyone for bombs because a terrorist is probably out there. Somewhere.

        • And then prosecute drugs, expired drivers’ licenses, guns, and everything else you can make up, capture fugitives, arrest illegals, all while claiming the suspension of constitutional rights is about terrorism.

      • And you notice the leftists never mention the only DUTY described in the Declaration of Independence? The Duty that provides the reason for the 2nd Amendment?

        “But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their DUTY, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–“

    • He also seems to forget (he never knew?) that the most important ‘right’ that trumps all others is the right to self defense. The man is a jerk.

  2. I transported a couple of clients to a court date at a mental health court yesterday. Court escorts require me to sit with the clients thru the proceedings. There’s a tv on the wall in the waiting room. I was ‘blessed” enough to be there during batty’s little speech. This is the san francisco bay area and the room was very diverse. From black to white to anything in between and male and female and a couple that would’ve been Pats.

    Bottom line here was the almost total lack of love for barry. The channel was changed only to find that barry dominated the limited channels we had.

    When he faked the tears he was actually heckled. By black women.

    I hope barry and difi ride the gun contro,l issue til it completely derails the democrat choo-choo.

  3. So is he saying that all those shootings were conducted by government agents? Because I have no idea what what he’s talking about otherwise.

    • ^^^ So much this! I’m sick of the liberal blather of how people’s “rights” were violated by non-government actors. Sorry, folks, but the only time our rights are violated is when the government acts to infringe them. All other invented “rights” are made-up, feel-good nonsense with the sole purpose of giving more power to the government, which it used to infringe on our actual rights.

      • Individuals can infringe on your rights just like the government, but when they do they get tried, convicted and incarcerated. It’s called ‘justice’.

  4. If he’s going to play the “life, liberty, pursuit of happiness” card I feel obligated to mention that no other entity on this earth is greater at altering or inhibiting my life, liberty and pursuit of happiness than the good ‘ol .gov local state and federal.
    Where are my fake tears?

    In statist speak life = simply being alive, liberty = doing what you’re told, pursuit of happiness = voting for statists.

    • Your last part is mostly right but I would change the pursuit of happiness= government sponsored free s#it

  5. Well it’s an easy mistake for President Zero to make. Just thinking about we gun owners had him so blindly enraged and his hatred was so visceral, it caused his eyes to water, hence the “tear wipe”. He wasn’t weeping. It was his hatred and rage that caused him to spew without thinking so the difference between the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence became blurred.

  6. Yes, every person who has lost their life via a homicide (regardless of the method) has been deprived of their natural rights.

    That’s why we have LAWS against homicide, assault, etc. Because they deprive one of their natural rights.

    But assessing that our right to self defense VIA ANY METHOD WE CHOOSE is orthogonal to, and incompatible with, our other natural rights is, well, asinine.

    The Constitution allows that the 2nd Amendment, in addition to being a self-defense right, also allows people to self defense against government tyranny.

    • “That’s why we have LAWS against homicide, assault, etc. Because they deprive one of their natural rights.”

      Point of contention because it goes to the heart of the Statist vs Sovereign Man issue:

      We don’t have laws against homicide, et al. That those things are wrong comprise our “social values.” Values underpin laws in a social system.

      All laws do, all laws can do, in a social system is punish violators. Laws give a proscribed method and degree of punishment.

      We’ve all heard the phrase “You can’t legislate morality.” That is the same notion given a more rigorous theoretical framework in social theory.

      Laws don’t define behaviors or actions as “wrong” (or, to the Statists…”right” since they want to default to “Everything is wrong, we’ll legislate what’s allowed”). Laws merely codify the penalties for doing things everyone already agrees is wrong.

      It may seem like merely a semantic point, but it strikes me as fundamentally important. If we start with the assumption that laws define right/wrong behaviors, there is no place to go except to Statism. On the other hand, assuming right/wrong transcend laws, we have, at the very outset of our thinking, NOT defined government (or The State) as the all-being.

      • Good point … and I can summarize it down even better.

        Point Number 1:
        Like it or not, government is force. Do you want government force acting on behalf of The People or the Ruling Class?

        Point Number 2:
        Like it or not, the will of the Ruling Class is almost always in direct conflict with the will of The People.

        Choose your side, and choose carefully.

    • Soon, it will be “First Amendment rights are important, but…” and “Forth Amendment rights are important, but…”

  7. I guess if Paragraph 1 of the Preamble is a right, then the 2nd Paragraph is too.

    “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

    • When SCOTUS says that a presidential power, for example, falls within his assigned powers under the constitution, when everyone knows it clearly does not, that is not cause to accept the power in question, it is more cause to have the prez need to nominate several new justices. Once, maybe twice, and judicial review of the constitutional legitimacy of whatever would take on a whole new dimension, less reminiscent of tyranny.

      • >> It is more cause to have the prez need to nominate several new justices.

        So long as people keep talking about “conservative” and “liberal” judges, and generally deal with this in partisan terms, this problem will remain. A new president will appoint new justices, who will then push his agenda – i.e. back unconstitutional claims of power when they coincide with his (and theirs) political platform, and restrict them otherwise.

        Courts are supposed to be outside of that whole partisan system, and be impartial. For SCOTUS, this effectively means that a 5-4 (and maybe even a 6-3) decision should signify that Constitution is too vague on the subject to be meaningfully interpreted, and needs to be clarified. One idea I had about this is that whenever SCOTUS is split, all judges should submit explanatory notes alongside their decisions that would include a detailed wording for a constitutional amendment that would make them change their position and support the other side; and the split vote then automatically triggers a constitutional amendment process where either one or the other proposed amendment has to be approved, permanently clarifying the issue. This would make partisanship too expensive, and avoid this whole BS when decisions are reverted more or less at random when mainstream politics changes.

  8. “…that right was denied to Christians in Charleston”

    What a tool!

    Because those people were victims of criminal acts you think you can restrict or remove my rights? What planet are you from again?

    • Those people exercised their right to utilize god’s armor, rather than their right to bear arms, which choice was in fact theirs to make. I’m certain they died happy, as that could not happen without god calling them home. Maybe the crazy, murderous bastard shouldn’t even be prosecuted?! Naw, just shoot him.

  9. Ha. If he wants the declaration to be codified rights then, you know, isn’t it our duty to toss him off of us… and throw chains at him, or something?

    • Just read Justin’s reply.

      Now I remember; we put his guards on trains and abuse them because they are insufferable. Super fun game. Maybe there are some dirty love letters from Ben Franklin we can use to base even more new laws on…

  10. Not to nitpick but the Kansas City murdered were not Jews, they were just killed near a JCC.

    Obama is the kind of person who would have banned people in the US from owning ovens during WWII. Because that would have stopped the Nazis!

  11. Correct me if I’m wrong – Wasn’t every one of those places he mentioned a gun-free zone?

    In other words, the right to keep an bear arms was trampled first, which allowed criminals to violate all those other rights.

  12. He forgot to mention that those killed no longer have the right to be forced to buy health insurance or face stiff penalties….

  13. Perfect example of misleading rhetoric: the thought that the Aurora theater shooting was about preventing free people the right to assemble and watch a movie. No wonder this guy is against the Constitution; he must just not get it.

  14. The killings of three students in Chapel Hill had nothing to do with their religious faith. A crazy neighbor shot them at their home, stemming from a long-disputed condo parking space. They were not praying. They were not at a place of worship. They were not holding Korans. The only reason Obama mentioned them in his harangue was to exploit the term “Muslim.” But why care about the truth? Despicable.

    • Thank-you. I was thinking this same thing.

      I remember WRAL or whoever tried to play up the Muslim angle locally initially, but that narrative died pretty quick.

      Looks like Obama is still trying to milk it. Not surprising, really. He relies on people being either ignorant of the truth, have a short memory or both.

    • We have never had a better example of an anti-christ , not even A.H. could twist things so completely . We ( the world ) is in real trouble with this one .
      The armies of the apocalypse are in position , the world teeters on the brink of collapse , the churches of Christ are lukewarm and in confusion and a despot sits in the seat of the most powerful empire the world has ever seen .
      Obama is truly a man from nowhere and a man of great confusion following the road and path of the snake .

      Comparing the yelling of fire in a theater as an infringement on our 1st A rights as an accepted given is incorrect to begin with but comparing it to any of the infringements he spoke of is folly to say the least .
      A better comparison would be to say it should be illegal to discharge a legal firearm in a theater , and of coarse it is already illegal to do that .
      I could quietly lean over in any crowded theater and whisper FIRE in my wives ear could I not ? I haven’t lost my 1st A right to say the word ‘ fire ‘ in a crowd of people if it is spoken quietly and not intended to incite a dangerous reaction , have I ? I can still yell ‘ fire ‘ if there is a fire , can’t I ?
      Have people lost there ability to reason completely ?
      His remarks yesterday , surrounded by wheelchair victims and families of shooting victims was appalling to me . I actually watch these events now in the context of history as ‘ I am watching the biblical anti-christ.’
      What can be done to fight complete ignorance from a lost and immoral populace ?

  15. Every instance mention, the right to lawful self defense was denied by local, state, federal governments or private business. Offering security that doesn’t exist, abdicating responsibility when a shooting occurs, then blame law abiders for owning arms as the cause. It’s all l can do to muster a logical pathway to understand enforced nonsense.

  16. Everytime he spews this nonsense, people go and buy guns, many of them 1st time buyers. He is the firearm industries best spokesmen. Where are the tears for the christian children in syria/iraq being slaughtered on a daily basis? Or children forced to strap bombs on their chests by boka haram and blow civilians up in crowded markets. He isnt doing shit about that. Terrorism is more dangerous than ever for americans, but he is trying to leave us defenseless at the same time!

  17. Yes, those infringements are called “crimes” and no law you pass is going to stop them, by definition.

  18. Bad people did these horrible things to other people. Guns didn’t. They are inert tools. Guns don’t “do” anything to anyone. Discriminating against lawful gun owners because of what a few unlawful gun possessors have done is wrong. You’d think BO would be familiar with how discrimination hurts, and maybe not engage in it so readily.

    Where’s the EO’s to fix the bad people?

    • The sole purpose of today’s government is to collect taxes and shift cost and responsibility to others. If people die, say veterans waiting for treatment, or mass shooter, or commiting a mentally disabled to a room, it is no concern.

  19. He’s not wrong, but his thinking is.

    Yes, their rights were denied, by criminals and murderers, and in many cases, by the governments that disallowed them from protecting themselves.

    You can’t protect them from that with more laws.

    And you can’t protect rights by taking away other rights.

  20. Where is he to cry when thousands of people are killed by drunk drivers each year? He could make it a federal offense to drive drunk a second time like a third of DUIs do, but no. Oh I forgot that drinking alcohol is a constitutional right since liberals like to drink.

  21. While those rights are indeed guaranteed by the Bill of rights, they are guaranteed against interference by the Government, not from other infividuals. Laws making those acts criminal are what protects against individual actions.

    Fail, Mr Constitutional law professor.

  22. A bullsh!t play on words and the meaning of the bill of rights.

    Second Amendment rights are important, but there are other rights that we care about as well. And we have to be able to balance them. Because our right to worship freely and safely—that right was denied to Christians in Charleston, South Carolina…

    The bill of rights is a prohibition on the government. Not on the people. It is a list of rights the government cannot infringe upon. You don’t deny 2a rights to Americans because one guy criminally killed some people in a church. It is already against the law to murder. The punishment for the crime is the deterrent to the crime.

    Obama conveniently pretends criminals don’t exist with this statement and reassigns the purpose of the bill of rights (prohibitions on the government) back onto the people.

  23. Obamas faux tears and emotion in that news conference was despicable. Where was all this “emotion” during the muslim violence in this country? Where was all that “emotion” at the out of control shootings in Chicago, a city with more anti gun laws than we can list? The purpose of the government is to protect the rights and freedoms of the people. Instead, it has morphed into self protection and oppression of the people. ANY anti gun action on the part of Obama should be ignored. Our government is in a war against the people and we need to defend ourselves. Target those who seek to enforce any more violations of our rights and freedoms. There is no percentage in “civil disobedience”. We have to make the enforcement of tyranny more expensive than their jobs.

  24. Most universally disliked President in US history: still alive.
    Lincoln and Kennedy: killed in office.
    Amazing.

    You know you’re a bad leader when people actually find good things to say about Little Bush.

  25. Can you really believe this guy? What a complete Ass!Can someone please get this fella a history book And quickly.Remember to vote that’s all I have to say and we can in this mess Finally forever! Vote Donald Trump 2016 election! Our President Obama is really a joke, But one we really shouldn’t laugh that we need to make sure this never happens again.

    • Close your eyes, hold your nose, and try your best to vote for whatever wins the R nomination. And getcha some R senators and reps, and guvs as well.

  26. So let me get this straight…because it isn’t in the Constitution it isn’t a Natural right? 9th amendment much? I can’t stand Obama, and I truly believe he is trying to dismantle our individual and national sovereignty but, clearly, there are no constitutional scholars working at TTAG.

  27. I look at his executive orders and gun control in general like this.

    You have three yards with one being yours. One neighbor has a dog that runs to a neighbors yards and takes a big dump each morning. The neighbor complains about the dog dumping in his yard to you because you have a fence that causes the dog to run to his yard instead. You have a fence to protect your front porch from the dog because you know the dog will dump in your yard. The neighbor continues to complain to you about your fence as the dog keeps bypassing your yard to take a dump in his yard. They complain so much that the city comes and tells you to take your fence down because the dog keeps dumping in the neighbors yard. Now the dog dumps in both of your yards.

    Instead of a real simple solution like the neighbor building a fence, or asking the neighbor with the dog to build a fence to contain the dumping dog, they use the power of the state to restrict your right to protect your yard from dog feces.

        • What if I purchase a movie theater and my choice as owner is to project very long ( lengthy ) movies , 4 plus hour long movies and I feature a intermediate intermission at the halfway point where everyone is required to stand up before they go for refreshments , and yell ‘ FIRE ‘ .
          Would I be breaking a law ?
          One stupid press conference deserves a stupid question ?

  28. If I had a Constitutionally protected right to happiness, King Hussein would be out of the White House and playing snare drum for the Nairobi City Orchestra.

    • There is a difference between right to happiness, and right to pursue happiness.

      The latter may not be explicitly enumerated anywhere in the Constitution, but it doesn’t make it any less of a natural right.

  29. So many illogical statements in Obama’s speech. He says there are 30K people killed with guns last year. He fails to mention that about 2/3 of those were suicides. He does bring up that point later but in the context that controlling guns is a way to prevent suicides. Look at world suicides statistics compared to gun ownership in different countries and it is obvious there is no correlation. Obama also mentions that there are 30 people killed in Chicago every day. A city with VERY restrictive gun laws. He also says that anyone can order a gun online and that is where the criminals get their guns. He seems to know nothing about that process or the FFLs that actually get the guns in the mail and screen the buyers. So much spin. So much distortion of facts for political propaganda in his speech it is hard to read or listen to it and not be amazed that our President can really be that stupid. But I think most of us know he is not stupid but good at political theater and pulling the heartstrings for the Democratic Party.

  30. I’m far from being an Obama supporter but I must point out that the Bill of Rights was never intended to be a finite list, more like, “These are super important, also, etc. etc.”

    • Yes, the Founders themselves didn’t even think a Bill of Rights was needed as the Constitution doesn’t grant the government any powers to violate such rights in the first place. But the anti-Federalists didn’t trust this and demanded a Bill of Rights in exchange for supporting ratification of the Constitution. The Bill of Rights only lists what were seen as the rights most prone to being infringed upon, but just because something is not mentioned in the Bill of Rights does not mean that it wasn’t considered a right.

  31. President Obama: You say, “If Congress won’t act, then I will.” Let me stop you right there. By that statement, you admit that such action is the purview of the Congress, AKA the legislative branch, not the President, the executive. So your first order of business should be to sit your ass down. But wait, there’s more. Congress has acted. Many times. Gun Control Act of 1934. Gun Control Act of 1968. Gun Control Act of 1986. Gun Control Act of 1994. Enough. Constitutional Scholar my ass.

  32. “Second Amendment rights are important, but there are other rights that we care about as well. And we have to be able to balance them. Because our right to worship freely and safely—that right was denied to Christians in Charleston, South Carolina. And that was denied Jews in Kansas City. And that was denied Muslims in Chapel Hill, and Sikhs in Oak Creek. They had rights, too . . .

    Our right to peaceful assembly—that right was robbed from moviegoers in Aurora and Lafayette. Our unalienable right to life, and liberty, and the pursuit of happiness—those rights were stripped from college students in Blacksburg and Santa Barbara, and from high schoolers at Columbine, and from first-graders in Newtown. First-graders. And from every family who never imagined that their loved one would be taken from our lives by a bullet from a gun.” – President Barack Obama

    Leftists like making shit up and calling it a “right.” No, you don’t have the “right to safety,” if you define that as trampling others’ right to bear arms, putting everyone in solitary confinement in prison (we’d be sooo much safer), etc.

    Yes, random nutbag shooters deprive their victims of their rights. That’s why we put them in prison for it.

    Obama is right. We need to lose Constitution rights and freedoms for security. We know that the best way to protect everyone is to create a society that mimics a prison. For example, we need random police searches and checkpoints, get rid of all privacy, keep everyone under surveillance, and give ultimate authority to the government rather than the people. We know that there are no drugs or violence in prisons. Why are we not modeling our society after a prison right now? What could go wrong?

    Yep. Putting us all in prison “for the children!” is the end-game of leftism, because leftism doesn’t know how to stop itself. It’s “progressive,” like cancer. Best to just nip it in the bud now and roll it all the way back.

  33. As others have pointed out, just because the right is not explicitly enumerated in the Constitution, doesn’t mean that the right doesn’t exist as a natural right. Right to life is not enumerated, either, but few would disagree that it is a core natural right. Most certainly, the people who authored the Declaration of Independence (and who would go on to author the Constitution and the Bill of Rights) have explicitly spelled out that they believe it is a natural right.

    As far as thinking that “life, liberty, pursuit of happiness” is in the Constitution, you really don’t want to touch that subject. In my experience, it’s a mistake that a lot of people make, and are often very loud and obnoxious about it, to the point of refusing to believe if you tell them that it’s not there – and 90% of the time, those people are conservatives and pro-gun.

    • I believe the schools stopped teaching civics way back in the early 1980’s . It was apparent to the powers that be , knowledge of basic ‘ founders history ‘ and ‘civic responsibilities ‘ was an obstacle to the progressive agendas . What we witnessed in that room was an example why . You could not know about and believe in , the documents and words of our founders , and applaud Mr. President , as he roughshod over them .
      It would seem to many people today that history began at the junction of Haight and Ashbury Street in 1967 .

      • I had to take a civics class in high school, around 1991 or so. Pretty good teacher, too – a very large coach who subtly encouraged critical thinking.

      • I find it rather ironic that you guys have a mandatory test for new citizens that requires knowledge of at least the basics of civics (even though it’s still woefully inadequate to meaningfully measure anything), but for the much larger group of citizens by birth, they can be as ignorant as they want – and still vote, and even get elected (and they do get elected!).

        99% of electorate of both mainstream parties really has no clue how the political system works, either in theory or in practice, from my experience. Hell, probably less than half of those I know could actually explain electoral college. OTOH, third-party voters, left or right, are generally better at it (which is usually why they’re third party).

        Maybe literacy tests (sans grandfathering provisions) weren’t such a bad idea, after all.

        • I agree with the context of your statement in ‘ general ‘ , but I do not know who ‘ you guys ‘ are or is .
          Too much generalities . Too many generality .

        • You guys = Americans. I’m entitled to this usage since I’m not an American citizen [yet] 😉

        • Him Mark, and please be welcome. Some of us prefer to act as if there’s a reason to be here, even though citizens by birth. (See “American By Choice” by Craig Ferguson).

          To your point, which, as I last knew was not part of the info required to become naturalized…

          There were various tests for being allowed to vote for “citizens” until they were outlawed at the federal level as vehicles for civil rights violations. It turns out in many localities, many in the post-war (US civil war) South, these tests were used as a means to keep black people from voting, denying them franchise. It was kinda like the famous Monty Python bit from Holy Grain: the questions you got asked depended on who you were. See also “poll tax.”

          So, the current kerfuffle over requiring ID for voting has echos, both of past abuse, and of federal meddling. Yeah, the provincials may do something stupid. BUT, if they’re willing and able to demonstrate they are not, can they be left alone to get that result however they like?

          Tangled in there is a results-based argument, currently about race, about policies not constructed on race. Race is inflaming, so I’ll talk handedness. If you make a law requiring doorknobs, so everyone has “access”, what if left-handers either have difficulty getting left-handed doorknobs (go with me, here), or have more difficulty operating doors, thus less access? How hard to you have to work for equal outcome, vs. discrimination-blind policies?

          For gun folks, it’s amazing how much discretionary licensing tends to bias toward the local Gerndarmes’ favorite people. Bloomie, and his friends, for example, have no trouble getting gun permits in NYC. In US gun discussions the terms are “may issue” vs. “shall issue.” Sometimes a state tells it’s local Boss Hogs: “Anyone who meets our criteria, you will issue a license to. It’s a state vs. town / county law, so…”

          This is also comes up under “pre-emption” which similarly cuts both ways. Sometimes a state law bigfoots a local one. People tend to come down on whether that’s good or bad, and whether it’s pre-emption or not depending on the particular policy. States bigfooting permissive local gun laws is not pre-emption per Mothers Against Thinking Clearly About Bad Things, so Blame Guns. (I may not have gotten the name precisely right.)

          In the US things are built on a system of tiered soverignties, with issues bubbling up and down in scope, tuning consistency and variation. See De Tocqueville. Some things, codified fundamental rights like citizens owning arms, for example, the country-sized federal apparatus controls. We had a civil war about that. Other things, not so much. The general “police power”, for example.

          Of course, the folks who can say “I won.” at any given time are prone to claim all authority rolls up under whatever they just won. And they’ll even tend to chip away at the organization of intermediate layers of government. For example, in NY State, economic development funds are being allocated by “regions”, subdivisions declared by Gov Cuomo(-the-younger), which do not correspond to individual counties or cities. As the funds are extracted by state taxes *from* citizens in those cities and counties, one wonders whether he should respect those intermediate authorities somewhat.

          Of course, in NY State, “downstate” tends to have 50%+1 vote in the state as a whole, so can impose their preferences in Brooklyn on people who’ve never lived on a city block.

          One wonders if Cuomo(-the-younger)’s run at the intermediate authorities of cities and counties through his economic development districts regions has anything to do with every single county in upState passing a resolution *against* his beloved SAFE act (the one that didn’t stop his staffer from getting shot as collateral damage from a drug dust-up, not far from a daytime political event.)

          Don’t include any of the above in your answers on a citizenship test – you’ll get bounced. On the other hand, do look any or all of it up. Google is your friend.

  34. “Our right to peaceful assembly—that right was robbed from moviegoers in Aurora and Lafayette. Our unalienable right to life, and liberty, and the pursuit of happiness—those rights were stripped from college students in Blacksburg and Santa Barbara, and from high schoolers at Columbine, and from first-graders in Newtown.”

    I do not think some of those words mean what you think they mean.

    The *ability* to assemble peacefully was robbed from moviegoers in Aurora and Lafayette. The *ability* to pursue life, liberty, and happiness was stripped from college students in Santa Barbara, high schoolers in Columbine, and first-graders in Newtown.

    We think citizens should have guns to allow them to continue to act within their rights, despite any nearby whack job. Would that any of the people identified above were permitted that ability, the ability to protect their other possibilities, which they were not. These were all gun-free zones. They, and their “rights” were defenseless.

    Any questions?

    • If they’d exercised their right to return fire in Aurora and Lafayette, the criminals would’ve had far less success suppressing anyone’s rights.

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