Limits on Free Speech and Other Gun Rights False Equivalencies

first amendment censorship free speech

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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.

Free speech has boundaries. So should gun ownership.

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.

comments

  1. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

    You make the perfect analogy,however if the Marxist Totalitarians have their way the entire Constitution would be gone as slaves don’t have rights just the government.

    1. avatar Gordon in MO says:

      “however if the Marxist Totalitarians have their way the entire Constitution would be gone as slaves don’t have rights just the government.”

      This should be said:

      “however when the Marxist Totalitarians have their way the entire Constitution would be gone as slaves don’t have rights just the government.”

      The communist party USA (democrats) will take full control 2024 or after and will have their way with the Constitution.

      Be Prepared !

  2. avatar Sal Chichon says:

    Part of me wishes the other Amendments get treated in the same manner as the 2nd Amendment so that the hoplophobic nazis truly have something to bitch about.

    I say let’s start with the 19th Amendment 😏

    1. avatar Just Saying says:

      +1

      That 19th Amendment is biting everyone on the ass.

  3. avatar GunnyGene says:

    Rational thought is not part of the leftist/anti-gun brain. Fingers are for sticking in ears, and a tongue is for ‘LALALALALALALA’.

    1. avatar Just Saying says:

      Ears? Their fingers are stuck straight up their cunnies. They live in a group think bubble, that’s why they keep making the same arguments, they really don’t know their arguments have been long debunked.

  4. avatar Darkman says:

    Virginia sheriff vows to deputize residents in response to expected gun control legislation from state Democratic lawmakers
    By Louis Casiano | Fox News

    A Virginia sheriff has vowed to deputize residents in his county if the new Democratic-led legislature enacts gun control measures.

    Culpeper County Sheriff Scott Jenkins made the vow during a Board of Supervisors meeting last week in which the panel unanimously agreed to declare the county a Second Amendment Constitutional County.

    “Every Sheriff and Commonwealth Attorney in Virginia will see the consequences if our General Assembly passes further unnecessary gun restrictions,” Jenkins wrote on Facebook before the meeting.

    “I plan to properly screen and deputize thousands of our law-abiding citizens to protect their constitutional right to own firearms,” he added.

    A number of counties in the state have passed similar resolutions in response to expected gun control legislation. Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam has said his party will push for gun control measures since it regained control of the Virginia General Assembly.

    He called a special legislative session in the then-Republican-led legislature in July to address gun violence following a mass shooting in Virginia Beach that ended with 12 people dead. However, the meeting was adjourned after two hours without any action taken.

    Jenkins has railed against attempts to enact gun control legislation on his website, where he has advocated for concealed-carry laws and the protection of Second Amendment freedoms.

    1. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

      The red Herring as AG says he won’t allow disobedience of the law,so naturally he has the identical stance on the sanctuary cities for Illegal Aliens in his state.Just so much hot air from the Marxist Totalitarians.

  5. avatar Hydguy says:

    I love it when people try and say you can’t shout fire in a crowded theater.
    Of course you can, and you should if there is a fire.
    However, I’d you do it when there is no fire, you are being malicious, and can be held legally liable for any injuries or deaths that occur if you do it.

    1. avatar 300BlackoutFan says:

      The point being, YOU are responsible for your actions. It is as true with speech as it is with firearms. What if religion could only be practices 10 minutes per day? What if you could only assemble 1 time per month,? Don’t just equate to speech rights. All rights require responsibility, which is severely lacking in our litigious society.

      1. avatar Hydguy says:

        No argument there.
        However, I was just keeping my comment limited to the ‘free speech’ aspect, as that is what the article was about.
        I don’t believe that there should be any restriction on possession or carry of arms, as neither act directly affects others.

    2. avatar painlessbob says:

      Yes, Hydguy, and gun laws are like trying to gag all law abiding moviegoers so they can’t cry “Fire!” even when there is one.

  6. avatar Roymond says:

    The proper comparison between free speech and keeping and bearing arms is not speech itself but is indeed the instrument of speech: mouth, tongue, vocal cords. If people are willing to restrict guns, they should be willing to restrict those as well.

  7. avatar RB says:

    In the Soviet Union typewriters etc were registered to stop the production of anti government material.

    Maybe we should register “journalists” and limit them to one article a month, can’t use high capacity computer in California etc. The self righteous screaming would be amazing.

    1. avatar Southern Cross says:

      I thought someone might beat me to this point. State security also had type samples of every machine to make tracking easier.

      1. avatar Big Bill says:

        “State security also had type samples of every machine to make tracking easier.”

        I assume you mean like most color printers have metadata embedded in their printed pages? Here in the US?
        I thought you did.

  8. avatar tdiinva says:

    There are precious few limitations on speech. The left’s bugaboo “hate speech” was declared protected by the 1st Amendment by a rare unanimous 9-0 vote in the case of Slants v U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The only speech that is not protected is liable, which has a near impossible hurdle to clear when applied to public persond, and immediate threats to the public order.

  9. avatar Trump’s reign of terror says:

    First or second but not both. Sometimes you have to compromise.

    1. avatar Obama’s reign of failure says:

      Obama’s legacy is Trump.

      1. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

        The proper thing for a Obowelmovement is a flush however the stink lingers.

    2. avatar Ing says:

      No need to choose. The first and second amendments are a self-reinforcing freedom loop. I and millions of my fellow Americans will continue to freely exercise both, and there’s nothing you Clown Worlders can do about it.

    3. avatar GS650G says:

      You compromise, we’ll take a victory lap.

  10. avatar Kendahl says:

    I’m always amused by comparisons between licensing motor vehicles and licensing cars. Unless you drive it on public streets, you don’t need a license for yourself or the vehicle or insurance. Auto insurance covers accidents only, not deliberate injury to persons or property.

    Last year, where I used to live, four teenagers, ranging in age from 18 down to 12, went on a morning carjacking spree. The oldest, armed with a replica handgun, jacked a guy in a minivan. The driver would have been within his rights to shoot the jacker since armed robbery qualifies as a threat to the victim’s life. (He would have gotten no trouble from the county attorney who supports self defense.) The anti-gunners don’t want crime victims to have that capability. In this case, however, the jacker stepped in front of the vehicle. The driver could have defended himself by running him down. The anti-gunners wouldn’t like that, either, but there’s nothing they can do about it for now. Eventually, I think self-driving vehicles will refuse to run down pedestrians. That will make them helpless targets for carjackers.

  11. avatar Chris T in KY says:

    Amazing how the freedom of speech crowd always supports 1st amendment (pornography) or 1st amendment (flag or cross burning) or 1st amendment (protest a military recruiting center).

    But these hypocrite pigs never supported the civil rights of Christian gun owners.

    The 1st amendment crowd has always been full of sh#t.

    1. avatar Southern Cross says:

      They want THEIR rights protected. Not yours.

    2. avatar Dave says:

      Which 1A crowd do you speak of? Are you saying you do not support 1A? If you don’t support 1A, you’re just as vile a “piecemeal BoR defender” as a Democrat is.

      1. avatar Chris T in KY says:

        Show me the links were Liberals support the 1st amendment right to block an abortion clinic???
        Just like they support the right to block a military recruiting center.

      2. avatar Chris T in KY says:

        Also Dave
        Does the “freedom of speech Crowd” still believe that christians only have free speech ONLY INSIDE a church????

        That crowded has been saying that for decades now.

  12. avatar enuf says:

    “….. is the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution as sacred as the Bible?”

    No, the entirety of the Constitution of the United States of America is considerably more sacred than the bible.

  13. avatar UpInArms says:

    The statement “rights are not absolute” is indisputably true. However — and this is a biggie — that statement can never be allowed to stand by itself. In this country, it has two traveling partners that need to always be right next to it. They are “the power of the gubmint is not absolute” and “majority rule is not absolute.” There is a constant and delicate line of separation between the rights of the individual and the interests of the commons. This is what the Bill of Rights is all about — it is an attempt to maintain this line with preferential treatment given to the individual. Current liberal thinking attempts to shift the line closer to the interests of the commons. It is a zero-sum game– every loss to one side or the other becomes a win to the other side. There are no win-win solutions.

    Making any comparisons between firearms and cars, or fire extinguishers, or free speech is really kind of pointless and even unnecessary. Sure, it’s convenient, somewhat useful, and always fun if you want to get a grabbers panties all knotted up. Ultimately, though, it usually ends up as an apples-oranges comparison, which is essentially a lot of effort to get to a dead end.

    The Second Amendment stands on its own legs. “the right of the people…shall not be infringed” is a remarkably straightforward, clear and concise statement in a document filled with a good bit of muddy and superfluous language. Even though it’s clearly stated, the grabbers still don’t get it. Even worse, they are completely oblivious to the concept of the whole Bill of Rights being a guarantor of individual liberties against the intrusions of the commons, and they are totally closed off to the 2A being one part of a much broader enumeration of those rights.

    The whole “rights are not absolute” argument traces back to Oliver Wendell Holmes’ “your right to swing your arms ends at my nose” (not the exact quote. In fact, there is evidence that Holmes wasn’t the first to use it). Conveniently ignoring the traveling partners, liberals are treating this as a stand-alone concept and using it to incrementally increase both the number and size of the noses, moving them ever more close, so that swinging one’s arms at all becomes impossible without hitting a nose. It’s the job of the Bill of Rights to keep the noses as small, as few, and as far away as possible. Few liberals can grasp this.

    So, unless we’re willing to deliver a lecture on individual liberties and the idea that the sovereignty of the gubmint derives from the people, it’s probably best to stick to analogies about cars, fire extinguishers and free speech. These, at least, are things that even the densest gun-grabber can relate too. All that political philosophy stuff just might make their heads explode.

    1. avatar Peegeetwo says:

      Clarification needed….the “commons” do not have rights, and the fine line between the interests of the commons and individual liberties you referenced is manufactured fiction made up by the interests that want to eliminate individual liberties.

      1. avatar UpInArms says:

        Correct– the commons do not have rights, but they do have interests. The ones you hear about most often these days are “public safety” and “national security”. There are others– breathable air, drinkable water, open space for parks, etc etc. Eminent Domain is an exercise in the common interest (in theory, anyway. Too often it gets corrupted). The Constitution lays out a number of common interests– unfettered interstate commerce, for instance.

        The boundary between individual liberty and the common interest is not a made-up fiction. It is a very real thing, and the Founders were very much aware of it. It is the reason that the Bill of Rights was added immediately following ratification of the Constitution. The founders knew that government, which is an institution representing the common interest, could all too easily overwhelm individual rights, and the BoR is a line in the sand that government is never to cross (at least, that was the idea. We all know how it turned out).

        You are right that some people want to eliminate individual liberties, or at least limit them as much as possible. Which is another way to say they want to move the boundary that separates individual liberty from the common interest. This boundary, then, is hardly a fiction. It’s very real, if tough to define, and it’s moving all the time.

        It’s probably worth noting that the common interest itself is becoming steadily less common. While we are treated to such quaint notions that “national security” or “public safety” is something that needs to be addressed for the good of everyone, more often than not it’s just a cover for narrow self-interests. But, the theory is still good, even if the practical applications really stink.

        1. avatar Peegeetwo says:

          The Constitution would not have not been ratified w/o the BoR. And you remain incorrect about common interests, they have only recently become a thing as it has been used to attack the notion of individual liberties in the name of the greater good.

        2. avatar UpInArms says:

          ” The Constitution would not have not been ratified w/o the BoR. ”
          The Constitution WAS ratified without the BoR. That’s why it’s the first ten amendments. Try reading your history lessons.

          ” incorrect about common interests, they have only recently become a thing ”

          From the preamble of the Constitution: ” … establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessing of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity… ” .

          Not exactly a recent thing, and all for the common good. Want some more specific examples? Try reading the Constitution — it’s full of them.

        3. avatar Roymond says:

          The Constitution was only ratified because of the promise to add a Bill of Rights, so the assertion is correct.

  14. avatar GS650G says:

    It’s hard to use first amendment rights to defend yourself against people who should be in jail or not even in the country.
    After the 2nd amendment is gutted they are going after the first.

  15. avatar jeep1967 says:

    The First Amendment protects your right to take action through speech. The restrictions are on how you use that speech, not a ban on speech but penalties for using speech in a harmful way. There are no restrictions on the ownership of tools and methods of “speech” like computers, A/V equipment, publishing methods like websites, etc. But the First Amendment does not protect your right to own these tools and methods of speech. It only protects the speech, not the means of “speaking”.

    The Second Amendment protects a right to own and use arms. There are restrictions on murder and assault which are not specific to firearms, but include any method of murder or assault. There are also restrictions on ownership of arms, even though the Second Amendment protects a right to own arms. Existing gun control regulations and restrictions are already violating our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. Any reasonable restrictions would only focus on the misuse of firearms, not the firearms themselves.

    1. avatar Big Bill says:

      “There are no restrictions on the ownership of tools and methods of “speech” like computers, A/V equipment, publishing methods like websites, etc. But the First Amendment does not protect your right to own these tools and methods of speech.”

      Actually, it does.
      It is generally recognized that if the government restricts the means to print and/or distribute what you say, than that right is abridged. (Go ahead, look it up.)
      IOW, the government can’t confiscate your press, typewriter, computer, etc., simply because it doesn’t like what you’re saying.

      TTAG, OTOH, not being an arm of the government, can delete what you say with abandon, with no accountability.

  16. avatar Peegeetwo says:

    The car/gun fallacy is used elsewhere to attack rights. Like the people attempting to steal our gun rights, the people who want to steal our ability to make our own health care decisions use a false car seatbelt/vaccine analogy. It’s the same false argument, with the same intent, to attack personal freedom. But many gun owners seem to miss this and repeat the same propaganda used against gun rights when they defend government/special interests attacking other individual rights.

  17. avatar Gman says:

    This entire commentary really makes me angry. First off the entire premise is completely wrong. There are no limits upon a right. Period. A right, by definition, is absolute. Placing “limits” turns the right into a privilege, malleable at the whim of society and government. I am unaware of any law, current or proposed, which restricts ones ability to exercise free speech. We are free to say what we want, wherever we want, whenever we want. No law exists which prevents us from doing so. If that exercise then harms another, then yes, punishment is constitutional. What is never constitutional is the limiting of the exercise of a right in any way. The keeping and bearing of word and thoughts harms no-one. Not until they are used as a weapon to harm another. So is the same with arms. So please stop talking using the totally anti liberty wrong think of the left. Agreeing that there are limits upon speech means you have already lost the entire argument.

    1. avatar J Star says:

      Thank you, I came to say the same thing.

      1. avatar Big Bill says:

        You’re both wrong.
        Otherwise, each and every prisoner would be allowed to carry while behind bars.
        You are confusing right with license.

        1. avatar J Star says:

          The right to keep and bear arms…tell me, have you been to prison? My roommate was a prison guard at a supermax in upstate NY. I promise you, the God given right to be armed is very much alive in prison. They may not be able to get guns, but those boys are still armed.

        2. avatar J Star says:

          Also, a license = permission.
          A right = just claim

          I don’t have permission from the government to keep and bear arms. I am born with that just claim, endowed by our creator. The government is trying to take away my claim by licensing it to me, which is why they are in the wrong and violating the Constitution.

        3. avatar Big Bill says:

          J Star, I promise you that if your room mate told you that the God given right to be armed was allowed in prison, he lied to you.
          Nobody working in a prison would tell anyone that the prisoners are allowed to be armed. Being armed is not the same thing as being allowed to be armed.

          License: : freedom that allows or is used with irresponsibility
          I can’t believe you’ve never heard the word used in that way.

    2. No. There are limits on rights. There should not be, but there are. Unconstitutional, but they exist. That’s the problem. Those limits are called “infringements.”

      If you think there aren’t limits, take a stroll down main street during lunch hour with your homemade unregistered machinegun on full display. Let us know how it works out for you.

  18. avatar TFred says:

    Excellent article, and long overdue. I’ve been making the point for years now that the “fire in a crowded theater” analogy is horribly flawed, for all the reasons outlined in this article.

    This one’s a keeper folks, bookmark it for future reference. You will wish you had.

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