Friday, July 24, 2009

Attacking gun owners, when bigotry is ok

Why are gun owners hated so much? Is it because we aren't willing to give into the political machine and let go of our rights? Is it because we refuse to be victims and take steps to avoid becoming one? Whatever the reason, one cannot deny the bigotry of the gun control movement.

Most recently Governor Jon S. Corzine of New Jersey called us "potential criminals" while arguing against the Thune Amendment. Ouch man, that's low. I'm a Christian and an Eagle Scout, I am not a potential criminal. There are millions of gun owners just like me, and we are deeply hurt by that type of hate speech.

It doesn't stop there though, that is not even the worst of it! I can't tell you how many times I've read or heard people accuse gun owners of being retarded, rednecks, ignorant, evil, or even sexually insecure! Let me give you some news, if guns were a phallic symbol, Smith and Wesson wouldn't offer revolvers with a two inch barrel.

New York Gov. Mario Cuomo characterized gun-owners as "hunters who drink beer, don't vote, and lie to their wives about where they were all weekend." We represent "the worst instincts in the human character" according to a WASHINGTON POST editorial, "Guns and the Civilizing Process", Sept. 26, 1972. Olberman made the comment that, "organizations like the NRA, which are trying to increase deaths by gun in this country..."

Gun control advocates are especially brutal when the issue at hand is concealed carry. Its like they believe that everybody who gets a permit is a criminal, or a criminal waiting to happen. President Obama (when he was a senator), quoted by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, admitted, “I am not in favor of concealed weapons. I think that creates a potential atmosphere where more innocent people could (get shot during) altercations.” Because you know, anyone who goes through the legal channels to carry a weapon concealed is obviously a criminal.

Gun owners have put up with this for way too long. We aren't bad people, we are some of America's best sons and daughters. As a group concealed carry permit holders are among the most law-abiding citizens in the nation. We are diverse. We are inner city store owners, who use their gun to defend themselves and their business. We are college students, some of whom are starting college after finishing a tour of duty in Iraq or Afghanistan. We are women, men, black, white, and yellow. We are teachers, lawyers, computer science majors, construction workers and farmers. We donate blood, we volunteer time to Kiwanis, we do what we can to help our fellow man. We are rich, poor and everywhere in between.

But we all have one thing in common, we are blessed to live in a country that recognizes an individual's right to keep and bear arms and we exercise that right. Not just that right but also our right to free speech, and press and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. We have had enough, and we're going to do something about it. It is not immoral to own a gun, we are not bad people and we will defend our name and our rights. And we will do so without the hate speech and bigotry that has unjustly been used against us. Like I said, law abiding gun owners are among the best people in this great nation.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Update on Thune-Vitter

Thune-Vitter failed 58-39 in the senate this morning. More info can be found here.

Thune Vitter amendment, the 14th amendment, and state's rights

I had a very interesting conversation today that made me think about state's rights and the 14th amendment. It started when I urged a friend to call his senators and ask them to support the Thune-Vitter amendment which I previously posted about. He replied by asserting such an amendment would violate state rights and as our conversation progressed he asserted that the 14th amendment to the US constitution infringed on state rights.

Well, I'm a big fan of state's rights, so the thought that a pro-gun law would violate state's rights got me thinking. I actually zoned out of the conversation completely at that point, and I'm hoping he didn't think that I was mad or anything, but that is off topic.

The full text of the 14th amendment can be found here, though the portion that we are interested in for the purposes of this post is the first section's due process clause which states:

"No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

This sounds great, and certainly it has been used for good purposes. The question I asked myself was, "how has the due process clause been used to infringe state rights for wrong reasons?" I'll get to that later, but let me expound on my view of state's rights first. Be aware that I am not a lawyer or an historian, so this is really more of what I think state's rights should be, not a legal or historical perspective of what they are or have been.

In my mind, the rights of the states end where the rights of the people start. For example, I think that it is wrong for a state to regulate free speech since that is a fundamental right of the people. Its important to note here that I think free speech is a fundamental right, not a right granted by the constitution. This is an important distinction to make. Immediately, if you do not believe in fundamental rights, that is, rights that are pre-existing and that are not granted by the government or any legal document, then my views are already invalid to you. The first amendment of the US constitution expressly says that the congress shall make no law that prohibits free speech, it says nothing about the states.

So, the first amendment doesn't apply to the states, just the federal government. This means that if there is no fundamental rights, the states needn't recognize any rights whatsoever, state's rights trump individual rights. Or perhaps more accurately, the federal government offers you rights, but the state governments need not offer the same rights, thus limiting your freedom.

Now, the fourteenth amendment was put in place to prevent states from doing this. There is no question about the fourteenth amendment restricting the rights of the states. The only question is whether or not the federal government should have the ability to restrict the rights of the states, and perhaps this makes me a moderate on the issue of state's rights, but I think it should. Certainly, the states have rights, but like I said, I think that the rights of the states end where the rights of the people begin. The Bill of Rights is a list of rights reserved by the people. They are not rights granted by the federal government, rather they are a list acknowledging certain pre-existing fundamental rights. I believe that no government, whether it be federal, state, or local, can infringe on the rights listed in the Bill of Rights.

So I think that the fourteenth amendment being used to incorporate rights against the states is a good thing. Certainly there is a danger there, because it could be used to force states to comply with federal laws that are not protections of fundamental rights. I think the chief example of this is Roe vs. Wade, which protects abortion under the so called right to privacy. However, I also believe that the state's should and do have the right to leave the union at any time for any reason. So there is at least one check and balance between the states and the fed. Also, I think that fundamental rights such as freedom of speech, press, religion, self-defense, etc, is important enough that they should be protected regardless of which state you live in. Perhaps the safer way to do this would have been to require a state's constitution to at least match if not exceed the rights guaranteed in the bill of rights before the state could enter the union, though obviously it is a little late for that.

I am always open to other opinions, especially in this case. I believe my position to be reasonably well thought out, however I am obviously not an expert on state's rights and would welcome the input of anyone who does know a lot about this subject.

Now, getting on to Thune-Vitter specifically, I am still in favour of the amendment for a number of reasons, which I think I'll just list below.

1) Thune-Vitter only establishes reciprocity, it does not pre-empt state laws. Simply put, if I have an Ohio CHL, and I want to travel through PA, I must obey PA's laws concerning concealed carry. Similarly, I cannot bring my carry weapon through a state that does not issue carry permits. Thune-Vitter doesn't force conceal carry on the two states that continue to deny that right to its citizens.

2) Thune-Vitter does not change who can get a permit. Like I said before, it doesn't pre-empt any state laws. Nor does it create a national carry permit. The state's still decide who to give permits to based on their own carry laws, they simple recognize each other's permits, just like with driver's licenses.

3) An individual's right to self defense does not stop at imaginary lines in the sand. Truck drivers could benefit a lot from this legislation, they are often targets of violent crime because it is difficult for them to obtain permits for every state they may have to drive through, also they sometimes have to park and rest in unsafe areas. Families on vacation who are often prey to criminals who know they are less likely to be armed and more likely to have a large amount of cash would benefit from this as well.

4) Permit holders, as a group, are among the most law-abiding citizens in the nation. They are not the type of people who go on shooting sprees or who let their tempers get the best of them. The media and anti-gun politicians seem to confuse law-abiding permit holders in lawful possession of firearms with violent criminals in illegal possession of firearms.

So that is it for tonight. If you want conceal carry reciprocity then CALL and EMAIL your senators RIGHT NOW! There is going to be a vote on it TODAY! And of course if you have a different view on state rights or what not, please leave a civil comment. I'd love to discuss it civily.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

URGENT - U.S. Senate To Consider Right-To-Carry Reciprocity Amendment Early This Week

I stole the title from this straight from the NRA-ILA's website. Early THIS week the senate will consider the National Defense Authorization Act (S. 1390). As part of the debate senators John Thune (R-SD) and David Vitter (R-LA) will offer an amendment on Monday to provide for interstate recognition of Right-to-Carry permits. Currently there is a patch work of states that recognize each others permits, its a real pain if you want to carry out of state. A law like this is greatly needed as it will set up reciprocity just like the current driver's license system.

This is urgent! There could be a vote TOMORROW or TUESDAY. Call or email your senators now. It only takes a minute and could make a world of difference!

Here is a link to the NRA-ILA summary of amendment, it also has links to find and contact your senators:
http://www.nraila.org/Legislation/Federal/Read.aspx?id=5061

DO IT NOW!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Why own a gun?

To christen this new blog, I'm going to repost something from my first blog, because I started The Platypus Manifesto as a place to write posts like this:

"Why own a gun? Just call the police."

I've heard the likes of this a few times, and felt that it was time I addressed it on my blog. You know, because I'm gonna change the world since so many people read it. Right.....

Anyway, there is a popular notion owning guns for self defense is unnecessary anymore because of modern society's police force. I mean, it is the police's job to protect us, right?

Well, not really. There are several court cases that show that it is "a fundamental principle of American law that a government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any individual citizen." (Warren v District of Columbia, 444 A.2d 1 (D.C. Ct. of Ap. 1981))

In Warren v DC, three rape victims sued the government for failing to provide police protection. Their story is truly one of the most horrifying stories I've heard and I will not repeat all of it here. You can read the wiki for the full story, but suffice to say that the police never answered the their call, and as a result they were raped, beaten and robbed for fourteen hours.

During the lawsuit, the court ruled that the police were under no obligation to protect any one citizen. In a similar suit, Castle Rock v. Gonzales, 545 U.S. 748 (2005) , the court again ruled that police were under no obligation to protect any one citizen. There are many more court decisions along these lines.

So where are we at here? We've shown that the police are under no obligation to defend you, but in practice do they save the day most of the time? Once again, not really. One only has to read the newspaper or watch the evening news to see many examples of people who were hurt and who the police weren't able to save. The police haven't been able to prevent school shootings either, they always arrive after the body count has begun.

Now I'm not bashing on the police, the police are a good thing, and they do their jobs well. But their job isn't to protect you, rather it is to provide a general deterrent to crime by arresting the perpetrator after he's stolen your wallet, your car, your dignity or your life.

My question for you then is, what are you going to do about it?

The way I see it, you have three choices. You can do nothing, and live life as if the world is perfectly safe and you have nothing to fear. That is one option, but the problem with ignoring the very real dangers of the world is that you are unprepared for when those dangers rear their ugly head.

You could choose to acknowledge the dangers of the world and seek to be prepared, albeit unarmed. You can carry your cell phone and your little bottle of mace. You can try to avoid going places after dark and stay in the "good part of town". The problem with this option is that there is no perfectly safe part of town, and while safe habits are good, they aren't sufficient to avoid being a victim of crime. Also, your cell phone is no deterrent to a criminal, and while your mace may help, what if there is more than one bad guy? Mace is better than nothing, but its not a real deterrent.

The third option, and the best in my opinion, is to acknowledge the dangers of the world and arm yourself with a firearm. The reason for choosing a firearm over mace or a knife or some other weapon is pretty simple. The firearm is the great equalizer. It allows the one to take on the many, it allows the weak to take on the strong. I've never seen a ninety pound woman who couldn't defend herself from a three hundred pound man provided she had a gun. Guns are also simple to use, they take no great amount of skill to operate. They can prevent a crime simply be being shown, which is something a knife or mace cannot do. Many Americans use their firearms to defend themselves every day without ever having to fire the gun.

I encourage all of you who are mentally stable adults to go out and take a NRA certified shooting class. Or if you have a friend who owns a gun, talk to him or her and see if they'll teach you to shoot. Then, if you think you can handle a gun responsibly and safely, go out and buy one and get your concealed carry license, if your state is a right to carry state. Most importantly if you have your license, then carry! Criminals have the luxury of choosing when and where to strike, we must always be ready to defend ourselves and those around us.

Certainly if you have any questions about carrying a gun for self defense, or just about guns in general feel free to ask me. Also, if you are a gun owner and aren't a member of the NRA, then become one today. People in the UK and in Australia lost their right to own guns because they didn't defend that right. In the span of two weeks laws were passed that forced law abiding Australians to turn in their guns to police departments. Don't be mistaken, it can and will happen here, unless we defend our freedom. That's why its important to get involved in the NRA, also, write your lawmakers!