Brad Harrington

Permit-Free Guns A Great Idea

23 posts in this topic

OK, here's another "who cares" rant about Wyoming:

PERMIT-FREE GUNS A GREAT IDEA

By Bradley Harrington

In today’s social and political climate of ever-growing, ever-encroaching government control of our lives, money and property, it is definitely refreshing to stumble upon an area of legislation where a government body—in this case, the Wyoming State Legislature—is actually at work to roll back tyrannical state control:

“Wyoming residents could carry concealed handguns without needing a state permit under a bill that passed its first committee on Tuesday [Feb. 16th].” (“Concealed guns may go permit-free,” Wyoming Tribune Eagle, Feb. 17th.)

The House Judiciary committee, the article continues, “voted 6-2 to recommend approval of House Bill 113,” and the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Elaine Quarberg, R-Thermopolis, said that “I bring the bill here today because I do believe it is our right not only under the United States Constitution, but under the Wyoming Constitution.”

Two thumbs up for Rep. Quarberg. It’s about time at least one of our government officials took their oath to the Constitution seriously, the 2nd Amendment of which states: “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” Notice that it doesn’t say, “…provided that they took a safety class,” or, “…provided they fill out the proper paperwork and receive the proper permission from the duly-appointed bureaucrats.” It says: “…the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” Period!

The second half of the reading of the 2nd amendment is very clear, and not really open to debate; the first half, however, has caused political and judicial controversy ever since it was written, whereby statists and gun-control advocates have used the language—which made perfect sense in 1789, but has altered meanings today—as a means of establishing controls and restrictions which the second half of the amendment expressly forbids.

Take the “well-regulated” phrase, for instance: some gun-banners use this as an excuse for state control, but what did the Founding Fathers actually mean by it? Simply that the militias should be well-trained, i.e., “well-regulated.” As Alexander Hamilton made clear in The Federalist No. 29, this phrase refers to internal militia discipline and not external bureaucratic domination: “A tolerable expertness in military movements is a business that requires time and practice.” And the Supreme Court, in the District of Columbia vs. Heller case (2008), reaffirmed this with: “The adjective ‘well-regulated’ implies nothing more than the imposition of proper discipline and training.”

And, speaking of the militias, another word out of the 2nd Amendment that gun-control promoters have repeatedly seized upon as justification for weapons regulations, claiming that the 2nd Amendment applies to militias and not to the people—just who are the militia? In a 1782 speech, Patrick Henry cleared that up: “Who are the militia? They consist of the whole people.” This establishes complete consistency with the 2nd Amendment’s second half, which states: “…the right of the people…”—not “…the right of the militia...”

Still, while Wyoming House Bill 113 represents a great step forward and merits passage, it is somewhat chilling to note that not all of our legislators agree: Rep. Joe Barbuto, D-Rock Springs, who voted against moving the bill forward, said that in regard to the current permit system, “I don’t think we need to take away that accountability.” Excuse me: as a supposedly free citizen of the United States, provided that I infringe upon no one’s life or property, I shouldn’t have to account to Mr. Barbuto for a damn thing, for that way lies the road to despotism. Mr. Barbuto, apparently, would rather replace “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” with: “May I see your papers, please?”

And Rep John Patton, R-Sheridan, who also voted against the bill, said that, despite being a gun-owner himself, he “doesn’t see how passing the bill would help the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness in the state.” Perhaps he should tell that to the next person unable to resist an attack on their person or property because they didn’t feel inclined to jump through Mr. Patton’s bureaucratic “permit” hoops. Does he seriously believe that the ability to repel force with an armed response is not protective of “life and liberty”? Bernard Goetz, a New York City subway rider who prevented the attack of four subway muggers by shooting all of them with an unlicensed revolver in 1984, would surely beg to disagree.

CCW permits, in reality, do nothing more than restrict our rights, promote crime, and establish the deadly precedent that our rights are not inalienable, but to be held only by permission. To which the question arises: what happens to those rights if and when that permission gets revoked?

--

Bradley Harrington is a former United States Marine and a free-lance writer who lives in Cheyenne, Wyoming; he can be reached at timeforeverymantostir@yahoo.com.

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Thanks for the insight in the Constitution and culture of the US (at least the US that matters to me).

As for "who cares" - Wyoming is (I assume) pretty representative of most of America, no? So, replace Wyoming with Alabama, Kansas, Illinois... the same applies.

I am however surprised (and glad) to see that such a bill was even proposed. I had always assumed that guns, concealed or not, were heavily regulated in the entire US.

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As for "who cares" - Wyoming is (I assume) pretty representative of most of America, no? So, replace Wyoming with Alabama, Kansas, Illinois... the same applies.

I am however surprised (and glad) to see that such a bill was even proposed. I had always assumed that guns, concealed or not, were heavily regulated in the entire US.

I don't know what the "who cares" was in reference to, but Wyoming, as a western rural state, is not representative of the rest in terms of today's culture. The principles ought to be the same (if that's what you meant), but guns are very heavily regulated, controlled, taxed or prohibited over all, and there is no chance for this Wyoming bill virtually anywhere else.

There have been some onerous new restrictions and prohibitions recently that were beaten back in the courts or which are still in court. The Second Amendment Foundation at http://www.saf.org/ does very good work in this area and has an email alert system you can sign up for. (I am not personally involved in this issue myself.)

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Ayn Rand had a more qualified view of gun control, expressed at Ford Hall Forum in the early 1970s.

I do not know enough about it to have an opinion, except to say that it's not of primary importance. Forbidding guns or registering them is not going to stop criminals from having them; nor is it a great threat to the private, noncriminal citizen if he has to register the fact that he has a gun. It's not an important issue, unless you're ready to begin a private uprising right now, which isn't very practical
It's a complex issue in the philosophy of law. Handguns are instruments for killing people -- they are not carried for hunting animals -- and you have no right to kill people. You do have the right to self-defense, however. I don't know how the issue is to be resolved to protect you without giving you the privilege to kill people at whim.

These quotes are from Ayn Rand Answers, The Best of Her Q&A, ed. by Robert Mayhew, 2005. The quotes are edited by the book editor from extemporaneous responses for readability and clarification thought appropriate for a written work. I also remember her once saying something about "leave your guns at the door" in old western towns, which has not been included. Maybe someone else has more detailed information.

Regarding the content of the quotes, an 'uprising' is of course not very practical, but guns for self defense can be crucial. Registration of guns may not under a proper government be a great threat to the innocent citizen, but it certainly is under a government pushing for confiscation.

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This topic was discussed here on the Forum over a period of a couple of years beginning in late 2006. Stephen had already posted the two FHF quotes.

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Regarding the content of the quotes, an 'uprising' is of course not very practical, but guns for self defense can be crucial. Registration of guns may not under a proper government be a great threat to the innocent citizen, but it certainly is under a government pushing for confiscation.

On the self-defence point, I was immediately reminded of this:

I agree with you re: registration. With a weak Federal government, and few chances of a leftist takeover of it (such as in the late 1800s/early 1900s), I would most probably agree with Ayn Rand; in today's USA, where the government can tell you what thickness your house's walls should be built to, or fine you for daring to have a larger car than your neighbour... never. It is not fiction to imagine a future where the police will routinely search the houses of "target" citizens (white, middle class Republicans, for example) to find "illegal" guns and jail the owners.

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The right and ability (i.e. owning firearms) to defense is one of the primary reasons I'm strongly considering moving to the US. Sweden's treatment of criminals and victims, both in law and in convictions, is positively grotesque. A perfect inversion of ethics.

(Also, rtg24, I've been meaning to send an email to you; I'll get to writing it within the week)

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Here is a question related to the topic:

What does one do, or what should one do to keep guns out the the hands of people just released from prison for the commission of violent crimes. A similar question concerning people just released from mental institutions or people having undergone treatment for psychosis.

I am not entirely comfortable with the idea of violence prone people having fire arms.

On the other hand, any law abiding peaceful person should be able to acquire without restriction the means for defending his life or property.

Bob Kolker

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Regarding the content of the quotes, an 'uprising' is of course not very practical, but guns for self defense can be crucial. Registration of guns may not under a proper government be a great threat to the innocent citizen, but it certainly is under a government pushing for confiscation.

On the self-defence point, I was immediately reminded of this:

I agree with you re: registration. With a weak Federal government, and few chances of a leftist takeover of it (such as in the late 1800s/early 1900s), I would most probably agree with Ayn Rand; in today's USA, where the government can tell you what thickness your house's walls should be built to, or fine you for daring to have a larger car than your neighbour... never. It is not fiction to imagine a future where the police will routinely search the houses of "target" citizens (white, middle class Republicans, for example) to find "illegal" guns and jail the owners.

It's not a fiction of the past either:

INSTITUTE FOR JUSTICE

901 N. GLEBE ROAD SUITE 900 ARLINGTON, VA 22203 (703) 682-9320 FAX (703) 682-9321

HOME PAGE: WWW.IJ.ORG

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

February 22, 2010

McDonald is More than Just a Gun Case

McDonald vs. City of Chicago Holds Potential to Restore Vital Civil Rights

By Restoring the 14th Amendment’s Privileges or Immunities Clause

Arlington, Va.­Gun owners aren’t the only ones who should pay close attention to the McDonald gun-ban case, which will be argued before the U.S. Supreme Court on March 2, 2010. If properly decided, the case could restore an important legal tool to protect the rights of small business owners and homeowners who face oppressive state and local government regulations.

Because the Supreme Court in McDonald may consider reinvigorating what is known as the “Privileges or Immunities Clause” of the 14th Amendment, those engaged in civil rights battles nationwide­such as the Institute for Justice (IJ)­may soon have a new arrow in their quiver to better-defend the rights of homeowners and entrepreneurs nationwide. The Clause states that “[n]o State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States.”

The phrase “privileges or immunities” may be unfamiliar today, but 19th-century Americans used it interchangeably with a term modern Americans know very well: rights. After the Civil War, officials throughout the South systematically violated the rights of newly freed blacks and white abolitionists in their states and sought to keep them in abject poverty and terror. The whole point in amending the Constitution to add the 14th Amendment­and with it the Privileges or Immunities Clause­was to end the pervasive culture of oppression and tyranny by state and local governments, thereby protecting through federal law those rights that are necessary to be a full and self-sustaining member of society. Two rights the 14th Amendment was clearly intended to protect were armed self-defense and economic liberty. A federal constitutional amendment was passed to ensure that all Americans, regardless of which state they lived in, enjoyed these rights.

But through an infamous 1873 decision called the Slaughter-House Cases, the Supreme Court ruled 5-to-4 that Americans’ protection under the Privileges or Immunities Clause only protected their rights as U.S. citizens, but not as citizens of a particular state thereby signaling that states were free to run roughshod over the rights of citizens in their states without interference from federal courts. The results were predictably disastrous: Those who were politically disenfranchised soon also became economically marginalized as well. Since then, the U.S. Supreme Court has given certain constitutional rights, such as free speech, greater protection, but other constitutional rights that are just as clearly spelled out in the Constitution, such as the right to bear arms, or those that the Framers of the 14th Amendment plainly sought to protect, such as economic liberty, less protection by the federal courts from state and local infringement.

IJ Senior Attorney Clark Neily was one of the three attorneys who litigated District of Columbia v. Heller, the 2008 case that struck down the D.C. gun ban. Neily, who co-authored IJ’s amicus brief in McDonald, said, “McDonald presents an opportunity for the Supreme Court to finally embrace the true purpose of the 14th Amendment­something the Court hasn’t done in more than 150 years. Restoring the Privileges or Immunities Clause of the 14th Amendment to its proper role would result in the protection not only of armed self-defense, but other vital civil rights such as economic liberty, which includes the rights to own property, enter into contracts and earn an honest living.”

“The 13th Amendment, which bans slavery, was concerned with whether people were legally free,” explained IJ Staff Attorney Robert McNamara. “The 14th was designed to ensure people are meaningfully free. McDonald provides an important opportunity for the Court to finally give that Amendment its intended effect. A McDonald ruling restoring the Privileges or Immunities Clause would be a very good thing not only for those who care about armed self-defense, but for entrepreneurs who are suffocating under mounds of government red tape and property owners whose homes or businesses can be taken from them on a moment’s notice at the whim of local development officials.”

Chip Mellor, president and general counsel of the Institute for Justice, said, “The Supreme Court’s failure to properly enforce the Privileges or Immunities Clause is not an example of judicial restraint but of judicial abdication. What this country needs now more than ever­and what the 14th Amendment was intended to ensure­is an engaged judiciary that takes individual rights seriously.”

“What we find too often in courts across the nation today is not judicial activism, but judicial passivism,” Mellor said. “The courts are not fulfilling their obligation to act as a check against the legislature and the executive branches of government when they overstep their bounds. As a result of this judicial passivism, we have seen a great expansion of government power since the New Deal. What we need is judicial engagement­where judges judge. If a law violates constitutional rights, the courts must not continue doing what they too often do now: reflexively defer to the other branches of government. Judges must step up and more aggressively defend the public’s rights when the legislature or the executive branches overreach the legitimate bounds of their authority.”

IJ can point to many tangible examples of specific harm caused to individual rights nationwide as a result of courts’ failure to properly enforce the Privileges or Immunities Clause. Among the most striking is a ruling from the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which upheld a government-backed casket cartel, stating: “[W]hile baseball may be the national pastime of the citizenry, dishing out special economic benefits to certain in-state interests remains the favored pastime of state and local governments . . . . [W]e hold that intrastate economic protectionism . . . is a legitimate state interest and that [Oklahoma’s casket sales statute] is rationally related to this legitimate end.” But economic protectionism is not a legitimate exercise of government power, and it is precisely the kind of abuse that the Privileges or Immunities Clause was designed to prohibit.

The constitutionality of Chicago’s handgun ban remains an open question after Heller because state and local governments are not directly bound by the Bill of Rights, but instead by the 14th Amendment, which has been interpreted to “incorporate” most of the Bill of Rights­with one notable exception: the right to keep and bear arms. Incredibly, the U.S. Supreme Court has never decided whether Americans have a constitutional right to not be disarmed at the whim of local government officials, even though the right to keep and bear arms was mentioned repeatedly during the drafting and ratification of the 14th Amendment­by proponents and opponents alike.

“Overturning the Slaughter-House Cases was one of the Institute for Justice’s founding missions, and one we continue to pursue to this day,” Mellor said. “IJ has fought and will continue to fight for principled judicial engagement, which means that courts should read the Constitution for what it says and strike down laws that violate it. This case presents the U.S. Supreme Court with an historic opportunity to restore the 14th Amendment as a crucial bulwark of individual liberty against overreaching government power. We hope the Court’s decision will have far-reaching consequences for the ability of all Americans to live their lives free from abuse at the hands of state governments.”

Journalists can find comprehensive material on the Privileges or Immunities Clause by visiting: www.ij.org/PorI.

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The right and ability (i.e. owning firearms) to defense is one of the primary reasons I'm strongly considering moving to the US. Sweden's treatment of criminals and victims, both in law and in convictions, is positively grotesque. A perfect inversion of ethics.

Then you may be in for a big disappointment in coming to the US. At the very least be careful of which state you choose.

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Here is a question related to the topic:

What does one do, or what should one do to keep guns out the the hands of people just released from prison for the commission of violent crimes. A similar question concerning people just released from mental institutions or people having undergone treatment for psychosis.

... or nihilistic rationalists recently released into retirement from software and mathematics and who have a self-professed "calling" for being a sniper! :D

I am not entirely comfortable with the idea of violence prone people having fire arms.

On the other hand, any law abiding peaceful person should be able to acquire without restriction the means for defending his life or property.

Someone with a demonstrated history of violence or threats of violence should not be unrestricted in possession of murderous weapons. But there must be objective standards for deciding that, which is unlikely with a government pursuing arbitrary powers with vague discretionary authority left to the whims of bureaucracy and a penchant for confiscating guns along with everything else it confiscates. This is worse than "nihilistic rationalists recently released into retirement ..."

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... or nihilistic rationalists recently released into retirement from software and mathematics and who have a self-professed "calling" for being a sniper! :D

Be fair now. I was talking about military service. In the military one gets to kill people legally and if one does it well one is rewarded. Killing enemies is good for one's own welfare and also good for the country.

Bob Kolker

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... or nihilistic rationalists recently released into retirement from software and mathematics and who have a self-professed "calling" for being a sniper! :D

Be fair now. I was talking about military service. In the military one gets to kill people legally and if one does it well one is rewarded. Killing enemies is good for one's own welfare and also good for the country.

Hah! Mere rationalistic mumbling seeking to cover the truth that has been irreversibly revealed! This is non other than the return of the evil Professor Moriarty! To the cliff with thee, into the abyss at Reichenbach falls for evermore!

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Then you may be in for a big disappointment in coming to the US. At the very least be careful of which state you choose.

I'll sort by Castle Doctrine, "stand your ground" and CCW "shall issue" laws.

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Hah! Mere rationalistic mumbling seeking to cover the truth that has been irreversibly revealed! This is non other than the return of the evil Professor Moriarty! To the cliff with thee, into the abyss at Reichenbach falls for evermore!

Dammit Sherlock, you busted me! But I shall not be the only one that goes over the Falls. Bwahahhhahhhhaaa!

Bob Kolker

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Apparently, it is now legal to carry loaded guns in national parks.

Thanks to a new law that took effect today, it is now legal to carry loaded guns into our national parks.

The change in federal law basically means that national park visitors must obey the federal, state, and local gun laws appropriate to the parks they are visiting. It's a sharp change to previous laws that severely restricted guns in the national parks, generally requiring them to be locked or stored.

Supporters say the law brings uniformity to the laws governing gun use on federal lands, but some gun-control advocates fear it could lead to increased violence, or at the very least upset the parks' tranquility.

Link

Visitors may now have a fighting chance against those who actually "own" the parks -- wild grizzlies and wolf packs, narcotics manufacturers and smugglers, etc. (Having to compromise hiking by constantly clapping hands and/or singing out loud in order to alert bears and the like of our presence may be a thing of the past.)

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This topic was discussed here on the Forum over a period of a couple of years beginning in late 2006. Stephen had already posted the two FHF quotes.

And, after reading that entire exchange, which I found quite fruitful, I'd say that "Paul's Here" slammed it out of the park with the following:

********************

"Well, for one thing, a proper governement is entitled only to take those actions that it is permitted to do, by constitutional law. On what basis should a government require someone to purchase a license for something that the government has no legal justification for getting involved in? Why is a gun "an agent of force" any more than a knife, a car moving at 60 miles per hour, a fist moving through the air, a thrown chair, etc, etc.

The government only gets involved when rights have been violated. If you think guns require regulation, then you have to show how ownership of the gun, as such, violates rights. A license most certainly does severely hamper people's right to protect themselves. By granting the right of regulation to the government, they set the terms of ownership; they define under what conditions you can own a gun, they have records of who owns what, where you live and keep your guns, and where they need to go if they ever want to confiscate the guns."

********************

And, in response to some of the charges that were leveled by others asking what would separate gun rights from the "right" to own a nuclear weapon, for example, Betsy drilled another one over the fence with the following (although from a completely different topic):

********************

"The principle involved is that a government may properly restrain a person who poses a significant threat to the physical wellbeing of other people without their consent. "

********************

We must remember that the right to own a gun is rooted in the right to self-defense, which is in turn rooted in the right to life. A rational case can be made for a handgun, shotgun or rifle serving as a defensive piece of hardware; not so with other, higher-level military-style pieces of equipment such as tanks or nuclear bombs. And, absence such a defense, and in the presence of so much offensively destructive firepower, I think it's pretty obvious that a society has the right to regulate such firepower. (Although, as a side note, I'd state that under certain circumstances, facing different threats, a specific group of people might very well be able to demonstrate a rational need for more advanced defensive capabilities--living next to a war zone, for instance. And, as always, such petitions should be evaluated based on the context of the realities under which they occur.)

For an excellent discussion of these, and other issues, I'd refer interested parties to Adam Mossoff's piece, "Gun Control and the Right To Self-Defense" (Capitalism Magazine, 1998), which is only a click away:

http://www.capmag.com/article.asp?ID=53

With Regards,

Bradley

timeforeverymantostir@yahoo.com

A tank, a howitzer or a nuclear bomb are not

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Subject: WA State Supreme Court Renders Significant Ruling

Date: Thu, 25 Feb 2010 13:23:00 -0800

WA SUPREME COURT JUSTICE RICHARD SANDERS

AUTHORS SIGNIFICANT GUN RIGHTS RULING

By Alan M. Gottlieb

Executive Vice President

Second Amendment Foundation

The Washington State Supreme Court has issued a precedent-setting opinion in the case of State v. Christopher William Sieyes which holds that the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution's Bill of Rights "applies to the states via the Fourteenth Amendment"

This outstanding opinion was authored by Justice Richard B. Sanders, a Supreme Court veteran who clearly understands the history of both the state and federal constitutional right to keep and bear arms. Perhaps what makes the Sanders opinion so remarkable is that it places the Washington Supreme Court ahead of the United States Supreme Court in recognition that the U.S. Constitution's recognition of the right to keep and bear arms applies to all citizens, and should also place limits on state and local governments, as it does on Congress.

Quoting Justice Sanders, "Lower courts need not wait for the Supreme Court the Constitution is the rule of all courts both state and federal judiciaries wield power to strike down unconstitutional government acts."

The Sanders opinion was issued February 18, 2010 and its significance quickly registered with gun rights organizations and activists across the map. For example, the National Shooting Sports Foundation hailed the ruling. NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel Lawrence G. Keane called it "a welcome development and victory for the rights of law-abiding firearms owners."

This state high court opinion, among other things, effectively "puts on notice" anti-gun groups in the Evergreen State that their continued efforts to impair the rights of legally-armed citizens will face not only growing legislative resistance, but intense legal scrutiny. Though not binding on other states, it clears a path for other state supreme courts to follow.

Despite its brevity at only 24 pages, Justice Sanders' opinion - which was co-signed by five of his colleagues, including Chief Justice Barbara A. Madsen - thoroughly and proactively debunks any suggestion that the authors of Article 1, Section 24 of the Washington State Constitution did not mean specifically what they wrote: "The right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself, or the state, shall not be impaired, but nothing in this section shall be construed as authorizing individuals or corporations to organize, maintain or employ an armed body of men."

Perhaps Justice Sanders put it best when he noted, "This right is necessary to an Anglo-American regime of ordered liberty and fundamental to the American scheme of justice."

The Second Amendment Foundation (www.saf.org) is the nations oldest and largest tax-exempt education, research, publishing and legal action group focusing on the Constitutional right and heritage to privately own and possess firearms. Founded in 1974, The Foundation has grown to more than 650,000 members and supporters and conducts many programs designed to better inform the public about the consequences of gun control. SAF has previously funded successful firearms-related suits against the cities of Los Angeles; New Haven, CT; and San Francisco on behalf of American gun owners, a lawsuit against the cities suing gun makers and an amicus brief and fund for the Emerson case holding the Second Amendment as an individual right.

< Please e-mail, distribute, and circulate to friends and family >

Copyright © 2010 Second Amendment Foundation, All Rights Reserved.

Second Amendment Foundation

James Madison Building

12500 N.E. Tenth Place

Bellevue, WA 98005 Voice: 425-454-7012

Toll Free: 800-426-4302

FAX: 425-451-3959

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The principles ought to be the same (if that's what you meant), but guns are very heavily regulated, controlled, taxed or prohibited over all, and there is no chance for this Wyoming bill virtually anywhere else.

What do you mean by "very heavily" regulated, controlled, and prohibited? So far as I know, you may own an assault rifle, sniper rifle, handgun, etc. in every state (although there are a handful of cities which have banned some of these, but these will be overturned after the ruling a couple of years ago regarding the D.C. handgun ban, I would expect). I know there are many pages of regulations and seemingly arbitrary restrictions (the minimum length of a shotgun barrel, for one), but nevertheless gun rights in America are protected to a large degree. Additionally, in my home state of Ohio, there is no legal requirement to register guns either -- and it's by no means alone in that way.

Concerning though, is how those arbitrary restrictions are applied, and the loose reasoning behind them -- and that they have not been struck down by the Supreme Court (I am unaware to what extent such a challenge has been before the court). Essentially, we have gun rights for now, but it is one of the most precarious of our Bill of Rights.

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The principles ought to be the same (if that's what you meant), but guns are very heavily regulated, controlled, taxed or prohibited over all, and there is no chance for this Wyoming bill virtually anywhere else.

What do you mean by "very heavily" regulated, controlled, and prohibited? So far as I know, you may own an assault rifle, sniper rifle, handgun, etc. in every state (although there are a handful of cities which have banned some of these, but these will be overturned after the ruling a couple of years ago regarding the D.C. handgun ban, I would expect). I know there are many pages of regulations and seemingly arbitrary restrictions (the minimum length of a shotgun barrel, for one), but nevertheless gun rights in America are protected to a large degree. Additionally, in my home state of Ohio, there is no legal requirement to register guns either -- and it's by no means alone in that way.

Concerning though, is how those arbitrary restrictions are applied, and the loose reasoning behind them -- and that they have not been struck down by the Supreme Court (I am unaware to what extent such a challenge has been before the court). Essentially, we have gun rights for now, but it is one of the most precarious of our Bill of Rights.

The Panty-waist State Senate here in Wyoming whacked the proposed bill to lift permit regulations last week, unfortunately, so that move is dead here for now.

Too bad. Crime rates would have dropped even further.

With Regards,

Bradley

timeforeverymantostir@yahoo.com

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Ohio is one of the easier states. Under Massachusetts law you can "own" a gun under these restrictions:

  • Registration off all guns with police is required
  • Police limit carrying concealed handguns
  • There is a 'waiting period' on all gun sales
  • A license or permit is required to buy a handgun
  • State police and federal NICS do background checks,
    including for all 'private' gun sales and sales at gun shows
  • Handgun buyers are required to complete 'safety' training
  • Locking devices must be sold (and paid for) with a gun
  • Additional restrictions on minors possessing guns

Gun laws for the states are found at

http://crime.about.com/od/gunlawsbystate/G...ws_by_State.htm

As in all regulations, watch for who decides on the basis of who's criteria, what might happen to you if someone else disagrees later, and what you are subjected to as a resident in one state acting in another.

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Regarding the content of the quotes, an 'uprising' is of course not very practical, but guns for self defense can be crucial. Registration of guns may not under a proper government be a great threat to the innocent citizen, but it certainly is under a government pushing for confiscation.

On the self-defence point, I was immediately reminded of this:

I agree with you re: registration. With a weak Federal government, and few chances of a leftist takeover of it (such as in the late 1800s/early 1900s), I would most probably agree with Ayn Rand; in today's USA, where the government can tell you what thickness your house's walls should be built to, or fine you for daring to have a larger car than your neighbour... never. It is not fiction to imagine a future where the police will routinely search the houses of "target" citizens (white, middle class Republicans, for example) to find "illegal" guns and jail the owners.

It's not a fiction of the past either:

INSTITUTE FOR JUSTICE

901 N. GLEBE ROAD SUITE 900 ARLINGTON, VA 22203 (703) 682-9320 FAX (703) 682-9321

HOME PAGE: WWW.IJ.ORG

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

February 22, 2010

McDonald is More than Just a Gun Case

McDonald vs. City of Chicago Holds Potential to Restore Vital Civil Rights

By Restoring the 14th Amendment’s Privileges or Immunities Clause

Arlington, Va.­Gun owners aren’t the only ones who should pay close attention to the McDonald gun-ban case, which will be argued before the U.S. Supreme Court on March 2, 2010. If properly decided, the case could restore an important legal tool to protect the rights of small business owners and homeowners who face oppressive state and local government regulations.

Because the Supreme Court in McDonald may consider reinvigorating what is known as the “Privileges or Immunities Clause” of the 14th Amendment, those engaged in civil rights battles nationwide­such as the Institute for Justice (IJ)­may soon have a new arrow in their quiver to better-defend the rights of homeowners and entrepreneurs nationwide. The Clause states that “[n]o State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States.”

The phrase “privileges or immunities” may be unfamiliar today, but 19th-century Americans used it interchangeably with a term modern Americans know very well: rights. After the Civil War, officials throughout the South systematically violated the rights of newly freed blacks and white abolitionists in their states and sought to keep them in abject poverty and terror. The whole point in amending the Constitution to add the 14th Amendment­and with it the Privileges or Immunities Clause­was to end the pervasive culture of oppression and tyranny by state and local governments, thereby protecting through federal law those rights that are necessary to be a full and self-sustaining member of society. Two rights the 14th Amendment was clearly intended to protect were armed self-defense and economic liberty. A federal constitutional amendment was passed to ensure that all Americans, regardless of which state they lived in, enjoyed these rights.

But through an infamous 1873 decision called the Slaughter-House Cases, the Supreme Court ruled 5-to-4 that Americans’ protection under the Privileges or Immunities Clause only protected their rights as U.S. citizens, but not as citizens of a particular state thereby signaling that states were free to run roughshod over the rights of citizens in their states without interference from federal courts. The results were predictably disastrous: Those who were politically disenfranchised soon also became economically marginalized as well. Since then, the U.S. Supreme Court has given certain constitutional rights, such as free speech, greater protection, but other constitutional rights that are just as clearly spelled out in the Constitution, such as the right to bear arms, or those that the Framers of the 14th Amendment plainly sought to protect, such as economic liberty, less protection by the federal courts from state and local infringement.

IJ Senior Attorney Clark Neily was one of the three attorneys who litigated District of Columbia v. Heller, the 2008 case that struck down the D.C. gun ban. Neily, who co-authored IJ’s amicus brief in McDonald, said, “McDonald presents an opportunity for the Supreme Court to finally embrace the true purpose of the 14th Amendment­something the Court hasn’t done in more than 150 years. Restoring the Privileges or Immunities Clause of the 14th Amendment to its proper role would result in the protection not only of armed self-defense, but other vital civil rights such as economic liberty, which includes the rights to own property, enter into contracts and earn an honest living.”

“The 13th Amendment, which bans slavery, was concerned with whether people were legally free,” explained IJ Staff Attorney Robert McNamara. “The 14th was designed to ensure people are meaningfully free. McDonald provides an important opportunity for the Court to finally give that Amendment its intended effect. A McDonald ruling restoring the Privileges or Immunities Clause would be a very good thing not only for those who care about armed self-defense, but for entrepreneurs who are suffocating under mounds of government red tape and property owners whose homes or businesses can be taken from them on a moment’s notice at the whim of local development officials.”

Chip Mellor, president and general counsel of the Institute for Justice, said, “The Supreme Court’s failure to properly enforce the Privileges or Immunities Clause is not an example of judicial restraint but of judicial abdication. What this country needs now more than ever­and what the 14th Amendment was intended to ensure­is an engaged judiciary that takes individual rights seriously.”

“What we find too often in courts across the nation today is not judicial activism, but judicial passivism,” Mellor said. “The courts are not fulfilling their obligation to act as a check against the legislature and the executive branches of government when they overstep their bounds. As a result of this judicial passivism, we have seen a great expansion of government power since the New Deal. What we need is judicial engagement­where judges judge. If a law violates constitutional rights, the courts must not continue doing what they too often do now: reflexively defer to the other branches of government. Judges must step up and more aggressively defend the public’s rights when the legislature or the executive branches overreach the legitimate bounds of their authority.”

IJ can point to many tangible examples of specific harm caused to individual rights nationwide as a result of courts’ failure to properly enforce the Privileges or Immunities Clause. Among the most striking is a ruling from the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which upheld a government-backed casket cartel, stating: “[W]hile baseball may be the national pastime of the citizenry, dishing out special economic benefits to certain in-state interests remains the favored pastime of state and local governments . . . . [W]e hold that intrastate economic protectionism . . . is a legitimate state interest and that [Oklahoma’s casket sales statute] is rationally related to this legitimate end.” But economic protectionism is not a legitimate exercise of government power, and it is precisely the kind of abuse that the Privileges or Immunities Clause was designed to prohibit.

The constitutionality of Chicago’s handgun ban remains an open question after Heller because state and local governments are not directly bound by the Bill of Rights, but instead by the 14th Amendment, which has been interpreted to “incorporate” most of the Bill of Rights­with one notable exception: the right to keep and bear arms. Incredibly, the U.S. Supreme Court has never decided whether Americans have a constitutional right to not be disarmed at the whim of local government officials, even though the right to keep and bear arms was mentioned repeatedly during the drafting and ratification of the 14th Amendment­by proponents and opponents alike.

“Overturning the Slaughter-House Cases was one of the Institute for Justice’s founding missions, and one we continue to pursue to this day,” Mellor said. “IJ has fought and will continue to fight for principled judicial engagement, which means that courts should read the Constitution for what it says and strike down laws that violate it. This case presents the U.S. Supreme Court with an historic opportunity to restore the 14th Amendment as a crucial bulwark of individual liberty against overreaching government power. We hope the Court’s decision will have far-reaching consequences for the ability of all Americans to live their lives free from abuse at the hands of state governments.”

Journalists can find comprehensive material on the Privileges or Immunities Clause by visiting: www.ij.org/PorI.

It appears talk of restoring the Privileges and Immunities clause did not go down well with the Supreme Court justices. I had suspected the conservatives would resist the effort anyway, being champions of "states' rights."

Gura urged the court to employ another part of the 14th amendment, forbidding a state to make or enforce any law "which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States."

Breathing new life into the "privileges or immunities" clause might allow for new arguments to shore up other rights, including abortion and property rights, liberal and conservative legal scholars have said.

But why use that approach, calling for overturning 140 years of law, Scalia said, "unless you're bucking for a place on some law school faculty?"

Gura assured the court he was not in search of a job.

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As in all regulations, watch for who decides on the basis of who's criteria, what might happen to you if someone else disagrees later, and what you are subjected to as a resident in one state acting in another.

Delaware and New Hampshire look like good candidates.

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