Quote of the Day: Second Amendment Rights Are Not Absolute (In Connecticut)

“Our constitutional rights are not absolute. You don’t have the right to walk into the state Supreme Court with a firearm. You don’t have the right to walk into a public school in this state with a firearm. … If you go to a Starbucks in Newtown with a pistol on your hip, that’s going to cause a reaction.” – Connecticut state Representative William Tong in Police Want Gun Carriers To Show Permits When Asked [via courant.com]


  1. avatar Chip in Florida says:

    Papers Please Comrade Tong.

    1. avatar Sunshine_Shooter says:

      I think the statement “Your rights are not absolute” is proof enough of his party membership.

  2. avatar Swilson says:

    Ooo, look at that picture. Tong lookin’ so sassy! You go girl!

    1. avatar Bosko says:

      His rouge is a tad strong.
      He needs to go back to the makeup counter for another lesson.

      1. avatar The Gray Poseur says:

        Mr. Tong has found his proper place in the world.

        He looks very satisfied.

    2. avatar The Duke says:

      He looks like a picture straight from a temp agency brochure!

  3. avatar Pistol Pete says:

    Mr. Tong, you’re entitled to your opinion, but how does it feel to have an opinion that’s wrong?

    1. avatar Huntmaster says:

      One Democratic African American legislator objects to the new bill and explains that one day she was stopped by a police officer who wanted to see her drivers license. She claims she was pulled over by a police officer while driving her car that has special license plates that are reserved for state legislators. The police officer told her he had to check to make sure her plates weren’t stolen. She worries that it could be applied on the basis of a person’s skin color. Hello!!! Why do we even need to go there?

      1. avatar Huntmaster says:

        Just thought of something. Special plates for Legislators, special gun law carve outs for police. There’s an interesting pattern here.

        1. avatar M says:

          Except that even a special license plate did not stop a police officer from making an illegal “driving while black” stop.

        2. avatar Hannibal says:

          lol yeah, sure, according to her

          Here’s how I bet it really went down: lady was speeding and got pulled over. Lady was pissed to begin with that she got pulled over even though she had her special plates. Got even more pissed when the cop, following procedure, asked her for her driver’s license because- newsflash- a license plate on your car isn’t photo ID. So she made up all that ‘driving while black’ crap that we’ve seen hundreds of times before get refuted. But it only gets refuted when someone looks into it.

    2. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Or, how about, “what makes you think so? Can you quote us a source”? Let me give you a clue, “studied constitutional law” without even claiming to have passed the course, does not give you leave to alter the constitution, on your own.

  4. avatar Gman says:

    “Our constitutional rights are not absolute,” said Tong, an attorney who studied constitutional law.
    And there is the straw man. Yes they are. The free exercise of your rights are absolute as long as you don’t infringe upon the rights of others.

    “You don’t have the right to walk into the state Supreme Court with a firearm.
    You don’t have the right to walk into a public school in this state with a firearm.

    What part of Shall not be Infringed don’t these people understand?

    … If you go to a Starbucks in Newtown with a pistol on your hip, that’s going to cause a reaction.”

    Only for snowflakes. And the last time I checked, there is no fundamental right to feel safe or not be offended.

    1. avatar Cliff H says:

      “You don’t have the right to walk into the state Supreme Court with a firearm.
      You don’t have the right to walk into a public school in this state with a firearm…”

      I would have to argue that point, Tong.

      Since these are natural rights but the State’s infringement is only political and transient.

      Anyone has the absolute right to walk into either of those places fully armed, so long as they understand that their action may be violently opposed. The outcome of that opposition, good or bad for either side, does not alter in any way the FACT that the person had the natural right to take the action.

      Passing some law stating that I do not have the right to do a particular thing does not take away that right even in the slightest, it only takes away the ability to exercise that right with impunity.

      Ask the British – I think the answer is in their history books, and ours.

    2. avatar Huntmaster says:

      “Our constitutional rights are not absolute,” said Tong, an attorney who studied constitutional law.

      “shall not be infringed”. It’s four words for crying out loud. How long do you have to study that?

  5. avatar Rad Man says:

    Those restrictions sound curiously like infringements.

    1. avatar Mr Pierogie says:

      Tong is wrong.

  6. avatar CCity Guy says:

    Another liberal pr!ck with that smug little smile of assumed superiority over the masses.

  7. avatar Alan Esworthy says:

    In a sense, he’s correct. The inherently imperfect govt has a history of ignoring the fact that our rights are inalienable, meaning that they are an inseparable part of us human beings. The term constitutional rights refers to the govt’s recognition, and that has sadly been anything but absolute. But human rights are absolute for all humans.

    1. avatar Mark N. says:

      Let’s put it another way: “if you want your rights, you can keep your rights.” (Haven’t I heard something like that before?) Or, your rights are unconditional, but our guarantee is not.

  8. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    Our constitutional “rights” are kinda like “wants”?

    1. avatar The Gray Poseur says:

      How many folks did you lock up on gun charges??

  9. avatar Dave Marland says:

    Simple test. Replace second with first.

    1. avatar Desertdug08 says:

      And 4th, 5th, oh that pesky 13th …no slavery…that’s not absolute…what, wait? I’m sure he is in favor of torture, 8th is so optional. And voting rights….pleezzz, let’s bring back voting tests and voter ID’s!

    2. avatar The Duke says:

      I like to tell democrats that if they take my right to bear arms they will becoming for your freedom of speech next.

      Despite whether I think your ideas are stupid or not, I am willing to stand and fight for OUR freedom of speech, but I will need some tools. It seems that feeling will never be mutual….

  10. avatar NorincoJay says:

    Neither is the freedom of religion of foreign immigrants. It’s not absolute. Common sense immigration laws.

    1. avatar rt66paul says:

      Yes, you can’t be a practicing Thugee of the Cali cult. You can be Muslim, unless you have extreme political views.
      The truth here is that Imans all over the globe want thier people to have what the Saudi family(and other rulers) have and they want them to share it out. This is also inside of Saudi. They are blaming the excesses of the oil rich Muslims on the “decadent” West. Many of these socialist Muslims are from the former Soviet Union.
      This is nothing new, they have been preaching this for decades, but after the Soviet Union split up, they armed the people, not just the royal families’ military.
      They blame the West for making the rulers rich.

      It is just political dogma mixed with religion(old time politics). The Imans want that iron fist back.

  11. avatar Chris. says:

    —You don’t have the right to walk into the state Supreme Court with a firearm. You don’t have the right to walk into a public school in this state with a firearm.—

    Why not? because some nutball who wants to do harm to others is just going to ignore this restriction anyways.

  12. avatar M1Lou says:

    This whole, “it’s not absolute” thing is being taken to the point of absurdity. It is not meant that you can infringe to the most ridiculously strict standard, because reasons. It isn’t absolute in that things like weapons if mass destruction are probably no covered. Small arms and other arms are covered. All of the other things comrade Tong mentions shouldnt be an issue and are only an isue because he is mtopic issue his views of guns. I should be able to carry my pistol to a Starbucks, watch state supreme count preceedings armed, or have my concealed carry weapon with me if I go pick the kids up from school.

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      ALL of which is so freaking obvious that it hurts to realize this public official cannot comprehend it.

  13. avatar Alex Waits says:

    >insert internet meme
    [Constitutional Rights are not absolute – Rep. Tong

    That’s where your wrong kiddo.jpeg]

  14. avatar Rick says:

    If I am not suspected of a crime why do the cops need to see my permit? I am no lawyer but I do not agree with this. This is in regards to the article not wrong Tong.

  15. avatar MarkPA says:

    We PotG need to stop taking-the-bait on this “Constitutional rights are/aren’t ‘ABSOLUTE’ ” argument. It’s NOT politically effective; and, it certainly doesn’t carry any weight in a court room where the rules-of-the-game are dictated by SCOTUS.

    Suppose, for the sake of argument, that we have a private phone line to God and we could check with Him. We ask, are 2A rights really “Absolute”? God says: “Why yes; they are”.

    Now, we are in a debate with a gun-controller. He counters: “Can a lawyer carry her gun into a prison to consult with her client?” We answer: “Yes, of course. Her 2A rights are Absolute!” Our audience of dispassionate voters weighs our argument and counter-argument from the gun-controller (i.e., “That’s nuts!”) and decides against us. What have we accomplished? We were offered the bait; and we took it!

    We are much better off asking whether a sympathetic “poster-child” potential-victim has a right to defend herself against a lethal attack. If so, does she have a right to the means to a successful defense in a public place; e.g., walking down the street in her own neighborhood? Does she have the right to choose whatever it might be that SHE feels is the most appropriate means for HERSELF? Perhaps it’s a stun-gun; or perhaps a derringer or revolver? May she choose for herself? Or, does a tribunal of old white men – whether judges or legislators – have a just power to choose for her?

    The gun-controller will hold that judges/legislators must deny her the choice of even a stun-gun or derringer. The derringer is the modern equivalent to a brace of pistols she could have carried – without question – in the 18’th century. The stun-gun is a less-than-lethal “arm” SCOTUS has ruled is protected by the 2A. Now, we have baited the gun-controller to defend her position with a scenario that is apt to play WELL with a dispassionate audience.

    Once voters begin to think about: a stun-gun; a derringer; a revolver; we have them thinking about the issue of the Right to defense-of-self and the means to that defense. That’s where we need to take the argument; to the battleground where we can win the 1’st round, and then the 2’nd, and beyond.

    But Nooooo! We PotG can’t learn to WIN at the game of debate. We’re altogether too eager to take-the-bait the gun-controllers dangle in front of us.

    1. avatar TX_Lawyer says:

      I think you’re pretty much dead on here.

  16. avatar Robert says:

    State supreme court will have armed guards and metal detectors, public schools and Starbucks, not so much.

  17. avatar Anonymous says:

    What about the 13th amendment. Surely that one is absolute in Connecticut. So why are some absolute but not others? Will the 13th amendment be next?

  18. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

    Statists like Tong will make that claim, that officers accosting citizens and demanding to see their permit, for no other reason than that they are open carrying, and then give you their best surprised face when you disagree with their “common sense.”

    Yet, when you suggest that would-be voters show I.D. to ensure they are legitimate voters, then all hell breaks loose and suddenly we’re the fascist pigs trying to suppress civil rights. Curious, that.

  19. avatar rt66paul says:

    If there is a safety system in place and a locker for your gun, you agree to go in under their protection(like in jail or court or the airport), fine. It is your choice, do not go in if you don’t want to. It is irresponsable of anyone to try to make a gun free zone without this.

    Sadly, I live in Ca, in a may issue county, which means if I don’t know the Sheriff personally, I am not a LEO or an armored car employee, it is just about impossable to get a CCW.

  20. avatar Sirtri says:

    Reminds me of a song. Somebody Tong somebody WRONG song… This character is so full of malarchy. Constitutional Rights NOT absolute???? Really?! That’s your basis for OPINION.

  21. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    Government employees who interfere with my ability to move about freely, when there is no indication that I have or am about to harm anyone, are attacking my basic human dignity.

    Why should we tolerate such attacks on our human dignity?

  22. avatar Heartbreaker says:

    You know what else isn’t absolute? Your job security. Why don’t you go back to [insert Asian country] where there are no gun rights. You would be happy there, right?

  23. avatar former water walker says:

    Yep Tong belongs in a sarong. I wouldn’t give him a chinaman’s chance in the hood. He’d wish he had that gat on his hip…

  24. avatar Aaron M. Walker says:

    A Tassel loafer tyrant, DNC/ Liberal Progressive Socialist Authoritarian…Who is no longer fearful of his constituents…With threats of harassment against the lawful , private citizenry of CT. Who would be going about their daily business…But to run afoul of Aggressive Local, or State Paramilitarizied police with the potential conflict of hostile encounters under force of arms against their very residents… This would very disconcerting….And to all Americans….Im sure the police community would like to continue to “protect and to serve…” Instead of being “Disbanded by We the People..”

  25. avatar K Maiden says:

    Let me get this right. American citizens only have rights that little pricks like this, say we have. The serfs must be controlled at any cost. To enforce my “little prick” label, this butt wipe is a lawyer too. Tar and feathers comes to mind with this guy.

  26. avatar Tym says:

    So he is saying your 13th can be regulated too? Right, Leftist logic at work, got it.

    1. avatar John in AK says:

      Well, yes–it can. Read the Amendment: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

      That little clause, “except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted,” says that your benevolent government, via a court of some kind, can take your body (with you still in it), and put it somewhere it can’t leave. Ever. And it can make your body work for it, for free. For as long as it wants. All that you have to do is offend it sufficiently, and you don’t even have to kill anybody.

      Tell me again that slavery is illegal in the United States, and that Constitutional rights are immutable.

  27. avatar dollup15 says:

    “Our constitutional rights are not absolute.” Technically, I suppose this is an accurate statement. The freedom of speech does not protect falsely shouting “fire” in a crowded theater, the freedom of religion does not protect human sacrifice, etc.

    However, none of that means limitations can be placed on the Second Amendment in the manner he suggests in the rest of his little quote.

    1. avatar Chip in Florida says:

      “…The freedom of speech does not protect falsely shouting “fire” in a crowded theater”

      Actually, it does. What it does not do is protect you from the consequences of falsely shouting fire. You are free to shout it and shout it all you want. But if your actions cause harm in others because you are shouting fire where there is none you can be held responsible for the harm or damage. That is not an infringement of your right, it is a consequence of exercising your right and doing so in a harmful way to others.

      “…the freedom of religion does not protect human sacrifice”

      Again, it does. You are free to have whatever religion you want and the Government can’t stop you or tell you to have a different religion. As for the sacrificing part of the religion…. when you can express that right while not simultaneously infringing on someone else’s rights, explain how the sacrificER is not infringing on the sacrificEE… individual rights is the key to this question. You can sacrifice yourself, you can’t sacrifice others.

  28. avatar SirZog says:

    So the 13th Amendment is not absolute either?

    He means it’s just a really good suggestion?

    1. avatar DaveL says:

      Apparently it depends on how Starbucks patrons feel about it.

  29. avatar Craig says:

    Mr Tong is wrong about the 2nd not being absolute, but in the examples he gives he is pointing out that the state of Conn has infringed on the rights of citizens with impunity in ITS violation of the US Constitution. That simply means that HE as a representative of the state is violating the Constitution and he is proud of his violation. Until the citizens of the US can impose a meaningful penalty on those who violate their oaths we will continue to see violations.

  30. avatar Mike says:

    Guess you don’t have the right to shoot your mouth off whenever you want either then.

  31. avatar Joe R. says:

    Rights are not absolute. The penalty for infringing on them may be.

    Read the 2nd Paragraph of the Declaration of Independence you ignorant CT douches, and just know that, had the U.S. had a greater NAVY, or a land bridge, at the time, King George may have been personally engaged in our Revolutionary War.

    CT doesn’t have a navy, and it’s contiguous. Stop being such a piss ant little state.

  32. avatar DaveL says:

    Motte-and-Bailey argument. If your right disappears when you cross the threshold of Starbucks, because feelings, we’ve already gone a long, long way from absolutism.

  33. avatar Ralph says:

    I wonder of he got that quote from a fortune cookie.

  34. avatar Kyle says:

    How, when a right is not absolute, can it still be called a right?

    It is, at that point, a privilege, to be granted or rescinded at the will of the state.

  35. avatar Tony966 says:

    The courts have shown that Mr. Tong is correct. By definition there is no such thing as absolute rights. Now some of you folks can cry about it and make all the BS up you want but it does not change the facts. By the way I’m a vet. and a gun owner and I support the rights of gun owners but like everything in life there are limits. Where those limits are is what the real argument is about.

    1. avatar TX_Lawyer says:

      And if you disagree with Tony said, then you need to start by getting rid of all the judges.

      Just look at intermediate and strict scrutiny.

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