If it’s not the bogus “let’s regulate guns like cars” analogy that anti-gunners love to trot out regularly, it’s the almost-as-bad free speech vs. the right to keep and bear arms argument.
Let’s turn now to the People’s Republic of Madison (77 square miles surrounded by reality) where I ran across this fairly standard argument, which differs from the norm in one way.
Of course, laws passed in Madison aren’t going to make us a lot safer, but even if they save one life, aren’t they are least worth considering? Or is the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution as sacred as the Bible? Those of us in the media business often cite the First Amendment, but few reasonable people think it’s so sacred that common sense doesn’t apply. Free speech has boundaries. So should gun ownership.
News flash: firearm ownership has limits. Lots of them. Much more so than does speech.
Limits on free speech include penalties for threats, slander, libel, and false statements.
Limits on the right to keep and bear arms include penalties for murder, assault, or reckless discharge of a firearm. Not to mention the hurdles erected in front of gun ownership, making the right to keep and bear arms far more difficult to exercise than free speech.
If speech were limited the way Democrat candidates for President have proposed, and as they are already:
- Until you turn 21, your mouth would be stitched closed so you can’t speak.
- You’d need a license (with background check) to have a usable mouth, which would be serial-numbered and registered.
- You’d need another license to carry your mouth in public. Another background check.
- You’d be restricted to ten words per conversation.
- You’d be limited to a manual or electric typewriter, one that’s registered and licensed. Your typewriter ribbon would only be good for ten words before you have to replace it. And you’d have to pass a background check to buy it.
- Fully automatic computer word processors manufactured or imported after 1986 would be banned, and if you had a pre-ban computer, it would be registered. You’d have to pass a background check, and pay a $200 tax to use it. Getting approval could take from 6 to 18 months for your permission slip, after which you can pick up the ’80s clunker you already paid for.
Further, someone could go to a judge and claim to be frightened that you might write or say something upsetting in the future. The judge could then issue a prior restraint order that you be silenced.
If you refuse, the police may shoot and kill you. Don’t worry; you’ll finally get a hearing and have your say in court in a few weeks, once you hire an attorney.
And very likely, just as bump-stock-type devices were banned by fiat, electric typewriters just might be banned as effectively being computers.
Current restrictions on free speech punish the misuse of your First Amendment right. Current restrictions on Second Amendment rights can punish the mere possession of a tool, even if it’s not misused.
And you know what? If those gun laws “aren’t going to make us a lot safer” then they don’t meet judicial standards of even strict scrutiny. Bill Berry just admitted the laws are unconstitutional.