Question of the Day: Is Firearms Licensing Unconstitutional?

From an piece by James Taranto at “The Times Co.’s notion that only certain types of corporations are “deserving of constitutional protection” is pernicious. It recasts freedom of expression as a privilege rather than a right. It assigns to the government the authority to determine which corporations are to be favored with the “media” distinction allowing them to engage in political debate. The Times Co. wants itself and similar corporations to enjoy a monopoly on free speech. The only way to accomplish that is through a regime in which the government effectively licenses the press. That would be an anathema to America’s constitutional tradition.” Isn’t that exactly what’s already happened with the Second Amendment?


  1. avatar ST says:


    Because as we all plainly understand, common sense would establish that normal people don’t NEED a gun. The ability to kill someone at will should only be delegated to the police and criminal underclass-because cops need protection from crooks,and poor underprivileged crooks need protection from their underclass cohorts. Thus, law abiding citizens should take their lumps and lead like proper members of society.

    Unlike normal people who cannot be trusted with a gun (what if it decides to go off!!??) , the Press has proven itself to be unbiased and honest with the stories its charged with, so there’s no need to involve government regulation. Look at how honestly they covered the Zimmermann case.

  2. avatar Avid Reader says:


  3. avatar AaronW says:

    “A study in Black and White Pointilism, this portrait of James Taranto illustrates an anatomical impossibility -a 1 1/2 chin.”

    1. avatar Billy Wardlaw says:

      Nope. It indicates his head is turned to the left, or rather that his torso is not facing the same direction he is looking. Its likely a case of taking an actual photo, in which this would be clear, and running it through a filter to get this intaglio print look.

  4. avatar tomrkba says:

    The premise is false. The entire notion that a corporation has “rights” is absurd. A corporation is a government creation and is subject to the whims of the legislature. It is NOT a biological entity with rights; it exists only as a legal fiction. They have no right to speech and should have no right to speech. This does not mean it cannot express itself.

    1. avatar Chris Dumm says:


    2. avatar Tom says:

      Funny, labor unions are creations of statutory permission, yet you “Progressives” love to speak of “union rights.”

      And “newspapers” (from Ben Franklin’s on) whether owned by corporations or sole proprietorships are not “biological” / human, but were also very much amongst the intended beneficiaries of the First Amendment.

      Your problem is failing to recognize that Progressivism (like its Collectivist brethren Communism, Socialism and Fascism) inevitably slides toward tyranny (e.g., Progressive Woodrow Wilson’s administration). Limiting “free speech” protection to individuals (or groups of individuals only so long as they are “non-profit” corporations or “government sanctioned as legitimate news organizations”) raises all of the red flags of a slippery slope. (Recall how early in the current Progressive administration it tried to de facto shut-out, if not shut-down, Fox News by characterizing it as not a “legitimate” news organization … while remaining silent concerning the far more biased MSNBC.)

      1. avatar Gyufygy says:

        Wow, I’m still trying to figure out how you disagreed with what seems like a very conservative argument, and then started yelling at progressives randomly.

        1. avatar Tom says:

          >>”The premise is false. The entire notion that a corporation has “rights” is absurd. A corporation is a government creation and is subject to the whims of the legislature. It is NOT a biological entity with rights; it exists only as a legal fiction. They have no right to speech and should have no right to speech. This does not mean it cannot express itself.”

          That is not a conservative argument.

        2. avatar nonnamous says:

          why not?

      2. Did we slide towards tyranny when we progressed away from the crown?


        Stop lumping diverse things together for your convenience. Progressives are the only ones working for a better tomorrow, which is by definition good.

    3. avatar cal says:

      Long settled law; it is called the Dartmouth College case, decided by the Supreme Court in 1819 (John Marshall, Chief Justice). Daniel Webster argued for the College.

    4. avatar Felix says:

      Go back and read the first amendment again. It doesn’t say “people have the right to speak”, it says “Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech.”

      Doesn’t matter where the speech comes from, whether person or corporation.

      Besides that, everything comes down to people. Corporations may issue press releases or editorials endorsing political points of view, but people write them and distribute them and are responsible for them.

  5. avatar jwm says:

    Myself and numerous other TTAG commentors have remarked about how would the grabbers like the restrictions on their 1a rights that we have on our 2a rights. Apparently they don’t.

  6. avatar Aharon says:

    Kudos to the WSJ for reporting on the Times anti- Bill of Rights and freedom actions. In pure theory, the American mass media’s role in society was to be a competent, fair-minded, and objective watch-dog. In practice, perhaps now more than ever, the mass media cannot claim any of those attributes. It has no right to claim special class 1st Amendment corporate privileges different from any other corporation.

  7. avatar Greg Camp says:

    But, but, but, other rights don’t kill people. That’s the claim that the control freaks always make.

    The claim is false, of course, but facts and logic never enter into their heads. Look at how many people have died because of an idea–religion being a prime example. Consider the right to vote. Had five hundred or so Florida voters made a different choice, Gore would have been president instead of Bush. It’s doubtful that Gore would have sent us into Iraq.

    A choice is only meaningful if it has consequences. What the control freaks really want to do is to drain life of its meaning.

  8. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    “Isn’t that exactly what’s already happened with the Second Amendment?”

    Of course. And it continues because We The People let it continue. I have contacted all my elected representatives to abolish unconstitutional licenses, restrictions, taxes, etc. on a law abiding citizen’s right to keep and bear arms. They don’t care and are not interested in abolishing such licenses, taxes, and restrictions. Others have filed and lost lawsuits suing for the same.

    What now?

  9. avatar Aharon says:

    The pen in the hands of a politician has murdered far more people than a gun in the hands of an average citizen.

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