Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Terrible Tuesday: Rights

Fact: Every state in the union has some sort of concealed carry law. Whether it be 'shall issue' or 'may issue' in every state you there is a way for a person to acquire a concealed handgun license. Every state except Illinois that is.

When Wisconsin passed its concealed carry law last year Illinois found itself in the awkward position of being the only state to deny its citizens the right to bear arms. The good people of Illinois have been trying to pass a CHL law for years now, only to be constantly foiled by the bad people of Illinois (ie, Chicago). Recently I stumbled accross this article about this issue: http://www.pantagraph.com/news/local/illinois-only-state-without-concealed-carry/article_17320fa4-44a4-11e1-b075-0019bb2963f4.html#ixzz1kKwCuxT5

In it Laurie Bergner, vice president of programs for the McLean County League of Women Voters, states:
“Nowhere in the Second Amendment does it refer to concealed guns. Having a right doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do."
I am flabbergasted. How can you, in the same sentence, acknowledge a right and also claim that it should continue to be infringed? Can I turn that logic back on her? Just because you have the right to vote doesn't mean its the right thing to do. Just because you have a right to buy organize produce doesn't mean its the right thing to do. Just because you have the right to not be virtually strip searched by TSA doesn't mean you shouldn't let them. Just because you have the right to an abortion* doesn't mean its the right thing to do.

On a certain level she is right of course. Just because I have the right to carry a firearm doesn't mean that I should. Reasons I shouldn't would include if I lacked the proper training or if I was inebriated at the moment, etc. However, the crucial part that Ms. Bergner seems to leave off is that it is not the government's job to ensure that I am capable of responsibly exercising my rights. It is not up to the government to step in and say that I can't vote because I'm not educated well enough. Or that I can't buy organic produce because I can't afford it.

So this post is less about firearms and more about this notion that the government can and should prevent you from exercising a right you are not qualified to exercise. That's a very dangerous and very slippery slope. If you can't be trusted to responsibly carry a firearm what's to say you can be trusted with a blog? Isn't the pen mightier than the sword? Aren't ideas more dangerous than any weapon? Should we allow the government to regulate the right to keep and bear arms its only a matter of time before it regulates free speech.

But make no mistake, there are people who think like Ms. Bergner. And that my friends is terrible.

*I want to make clear that I consider abortion murder and do not consider it to be a legitimate right. I called it a right merely for illustration purposes.

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