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The Athens Banner-Herald published an editorial a couple of days ago that supported a bill in the GA legislature which, “would require applicants to complete a four-hour firearms safety training course from either a certified peace officer or a state-licensed weapons training instructor” in order to receive a permit to carry. Naturally this stirred up a minor hornet’s nest, to which the A B-H replied in this editorial. Editor Jim Thompson (and kudos for not hiding behind the title of Editor) picks one of the (to him, predictable) reader responses to attack. . .

“Is there some other constitutionally guaranteed right that requires mandatory, government authorized training before you can exercise it?” Oracle asked.

“For example, say, the First Amendment? Maybe editorial writers should have to submit to state-mandated training — made to study an approved list of words to never use in an editorial, and demonstrate a proficiency in using the standard American vocabulary.”

In his response Thompson condescendingly states that most reporters are graduates of journalism school and are constantly getting “on-the-job training” as they rise through the ranks. Editorials are almost all written by seasoned journalistic veterans, something the mere hoi polloi would be unaware of.

Where to begin…for the purposes of this piece, let’s ignore the questionable validity of requiring a government permit to exercise the natural, fundamental, and inalienable human, individual, civil, and Constitutional right to own and carry the weapon of your choice and focus instead on the question of requiring state authorized training for same.

To start with, who the hell does Jim Thompson think he is? Does he seriously believe that someone who chooses to take responsibility for his own safety and the safety of those he loves is going to be so irresponsible as to neglect to learn basic safety rules? Does he really think that permit applicants require, “instruction on the features of a firearm and a brief explanation of loading, firing, and unloading the firearm” as will be required by the new law?

Does he honestly think that someone who is completely ignorant of firearms will one day be driving down the road, see a gun shop and say “Gee, I think I’ll get my permit to carry!” That such a person will plunk down the (minimum) several hundred dollars for a weapon, holster and ammo, plus the $75 to $89 permit fee, get fingerprinted and background checked all for the purpose of carrying a piece of equipment they have no idea how to use? (See what I mean about the arrogance?)

Seriously though Jim, would you get your PTC without knowing how to safely operate your weapon? If your answer is “Yes” then perhaps the whole idea of state-mandated training for editors isn’t such a bad one, because you’re clearly too irresponsible to be trusted with a pen, much less a firearm. If your answer is no, then how dare you presume that other people are less conscientious than you are?

Jim wraps up with this pearl of wisdom:

It’s not government-mandated training, certainly, but it is training nonetheless, and I think it’s sufficient to blunt Oracle’s argument.

Actually, no, Jim it is not sufficient to blunt the ‘argument,’ it’s merely sufficient to blunt Oracle’s example. The argument which you avoided throughout your editorial – a skill you probably learned rising through the ranks. The argument is that there should be no government mandated training in order for people to exercise their natural, fundamental, and inalienable human, individual, civil, and Constitutional right to own and carry the weapon of their choice. Since you dismiss the possibility of such strictures applying to journalists, let’s look at a different example. An example with some history behind it so we can see how well it worked in the past. Let’s look at voting.

Let’s suggest a bill which would require a four hour course, taught by a registered lobbyist or a state-licensed voting instructor, on the principles of democracy, a background of economics and current events, and the mechanics of how to operate a voting machine. According to your editorial board, it would be difficult to argue that such a bill would represent anything but the most limited attempt to ensure that people who want to exercise the right to vote are competent to do so.

A four-hour course which, under the terms of the bill, must cover only the most rudimentary aspects of exercising the franchise can hardly be seen as an onerous or overbroad attempt to curtail peoples’ right to vote. Right? I mean who could ever argue that such training would be used as an excuse to deprive people of their rights.

No. Mandatory training for the exercise of an enumerated right is neither reasonable nor common-sense no matter how many “other kids are doing it”.

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  1. Let’s see, to buy a firearm from a FFL dealer, one is required to produce identification and complete paperwork which, if the questions are falsely answered, is a Federal felony. I am certain that our ‘editor’ is among those who oppose providing identification when exercising the ‘right’ to vote. He must suffer from some sort of mental confusion.

  2. Simply more projection. Subconsciously, he know he’s an irresponsible moron who can’t be trusted with any modicum of self-reliance, so he assumes everyone is.

  3. Athens is a liberal hive in Georgia as it is the home of UGA. I have been robbed at gunpoint on the way home from the bar scene there (I am a current student) and rape and robbery upon students is not uncommon. But they are still anti-gun, and simply senseless, the ABH is notorious for attacking the local republican congressman(Broun)on a daily basis and contorting words and statements into childish attacks, seriously, don’t even give them attention they are widely ignored.

  4. “…Let’s suggest a bill which would require a four hour course, taught by a registered lobbyist or a state-licensed voting instructor, on the principles of democracy…”

    Let me make this perfectly clear: The U.S.A. is a REPUBLIC, not a democracy. Calling it the latter is an affront to liberty.

    • HSR47, you’re right, but I think Mr. Krafft is using “democracy” in the sense that our Republic is considered, and to the best of my knowledge, always has been, a Democratic Republic.

      We thus must adhere to the principles of democracy, but we ought to do our best, as I think you’re suggesting, that we avoid the mob mentality of Ancient Athenian Democracy. And, come to think of it, Modern Athenian Democracy too.

  5. Gentlemen, you’re going about this all wrong. You’re using rights that are enumerated in the Bill of Rights. Those are so… “yesterday” to today’s liberals. And newspaper editors don’t give a rat’s ass about “freedom of the press.” Not in the abstract they don’t. They care about the freedom of THEIR press. If someone handed down a decision tomorrow that silenced their competition, they’d find a way to waffle and weasel out of a full throated denunciation.

    You need to break out the argument surrounding the new-fangled rights that are created by the Supreme Court, such as the right to an abortion. Regardless of whether you think it moral or otherwise, the rhetoric of the “pro-choice” movement is what is useful here: “A right delayed is a right denied.” These same people also want to make sure that no one interferes with the choice at hand or otherwise interferes with the exercise of said right.

    So, to put the issue squarely in front of them, demand of this editor and his ilk whether or not a four-hour course should be required of those who want to get an abortion.

    When the usual and expected protests arise from liberals that the purchase or carrying of a gun could cause injury, one should point out that getting an abortion isn’t a 100% safe practice either. Someone is going to die, and sometimes it’s the mother.

    For the record, I could care less about abortion. I just like to use it against anti-RKBA liberals because it hoists them so thoroughly upon petards they forged for themselves… from claims that Heller v. DC was “judicial activism” to McDonald “forcing” an issue against the “rights of the states…” – the case law in abortion rights sets a precedent they cannot escape.

    • Well put Dys. That’s turning the argument on its head and then some, then bouncing it a few times for good measure. The antis never seem to notice the flaws in their “reason”, their self-perceived immaculate “logic” and the unassailable wonderfulness that springs from their mighty noggins.

  6. I really do not mind the training of people on firearms, but as in Chicago, it is used as a device to deny CCW permits. You must be trained, but training classes will never be held.

  7. Bruce, This is exactly where you go wrong:

    “the natural, fundamental, and inalienable human, individual, civil, and Constitutional right to own and carry the weapon of your choice”

    It’s nothing of the sort and you know it. You wish it were like that, which works well for you and your fantasy-dwelling friends, but it’s just not the case.

    • I know better than to feed a troll, but really? You truly have never read the US Constitution or you’d have realized that those pesky “inalienable rights” include the right to self defense and the use of weapons in said self defense.

      • Aside from all those extreme adjectives I was referring to the ridiculously hyperbolic “right to own and carry the weapon of your choice.”

        But listen, if you must keep calling me a troll, why don’t you take your own advice. If you don’t want to do that, then man-up and admit I’m just a guy who disagrees with you and you can’t stand it.

        • Mike, the stupid things you say prove that you’re a troll. Well, either that or so utterly stupid that you can’t figure out how to tie your shoes, and I don’t think you’re that dumb. Sadly, you appear to be on Rob’s payroll so you’ll stick around here no matter what readers do or don’t do, so it really doesn’t matter who responds to you or not.


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