Sorry I’ve been a little absent lately; work had me out of town on travel. I don’t know about others but when I travel on business; it makes for some really long days. I’m normally at the location early in the morning, staying till business close and often getting another hour or two of work back at the hotel.
I knew the travel is coming up so there is no excuse for not scheduling post; other than lackawanna/motivation.
Today, I would like to expand on a comment and conversation from over at Perfectly Frank.
Can I suggest one? The topics you’ve suggested (like Liberty for example) feel way to broad to me. I’m sorry if that is insulting to you. Right now I have no idea what you’ll take as insulting and what you won’t.
How about “Smart Guns”. Can we talk about those? Can we talk about the left’s assertion that the NRA nearly put Smith and Wesson out of business over smart guns? As a technologist I may be biased, but I’d REALLY like to understand the logic there.
P.S.S. Microstamping also seems like another good candidate for a “narrow” debate topic, if you’d rather
Yes. The topic of liberty is very broad – but that is exactly the conversation we should be having before we even think about discussing anything like smart guns or microstamping. To me, starting a conversation at smart guns is pointless unless we have decided at least the broad outlines of what rights, what liberty, what freedoms we have. And what restrictions on those freedoms is ‘reasonable’.
So in the interest of debate, how about some less broad topics regarding liberty?
How about topic idea #1 — The right to keep and bear arms is a fundamental liberty.
As it actually says in the Constitution, As it is has been held in court after court. Including two recent Supreme Court Decisions (Heller and Mcdonald). Until we have agreement that liberty; everything else is useless to talk about. To steal a phrase, we need a national conversation on just exactly what does it mean to “keep and bear”.
Should people be allowed to carry a firearm in most places? Should most people, including felons, have the right to keep and bear arms. Talk to me about why we allow felons to drive, to marry, to speak, to have protection against unreasonable search and seizure but we don’t allow them to own and carry a firearm. Are they not worthy of protecting their lives with firearms?
Talk to me about why the ‘full faith and credit’ clause applies to my driver’s license but not my concealed carry license? Do my rights stop at the state border?
What type of “arms” is covered under that fundamental right is another area of topic. Before we get to microstamping or smart guns; tell me why I shouldn’t be able to own a howitzer cannon, a shoulder launched anti-aircraft missile or a Phased plasma rifle in the 40-watt range. Little difficult to put a stamp on a plasma burst, eh.
Topic idea #2 — Governmental restrictions on liberty should be narrowly tailored.
For many people, this will be “DUH”. There is an entire doctrine of court decisions regarding this.
This is the highest level of scrutiny applied by courts to government actions or laws.
The U.S. Supreme Court has determined that legislation or government actions which discriminate on the basis of race, national origin, religion, and alienage must pass this level of scrutiny to survive a challenge that the policy violates constitutional equal protection.
This high level of scrutiny is also applied whenever a “fundamental right” is being threatened by a law, like the right to marriage.
Strict scrutiny requires the government to prove that:
There is a compelling state interest behind the challenged policy, and
The law or regulation is narrowly tailored to achieve its result.
Let’s really have an interesting conversation on what ‘narrowly tailored’ means. I don’t need a license to speak in public but I need one in Texas to exercise my right to carry a firearm outside of my home. Shouldn’t we agree on this incredibly important subject; or at least have a basic agreement; before we move onto yet another law?
And we definitely need to come to an agreement that prohibiting an entire class of firearms, such as the Washington D.C. Gun ban, the Assault Weapon ban tried to do, is not narrowly tailored. We have to agree that it is wrong to ban 10+ round magazines because someone used them to commit a crime.
That brings up something else you said Frank,
More than one republican leading member of the Supreme Court has stated publicly that the second amendment is not about giving all guns to all people with no rules.
That is a straw man argument; unless you can come up with a quote with those words. What was said in the Heller decision.
Although we do not undertake an exhaustive historical analysis today of the full scope of the Second Amendment , nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.26
And very importantly but often overlooked is that Footnote #26 which says.
26 We identify these presumptively lawful regulatory measures only as examples; our list does not purport to be exhaustive.
Now, I’m not a lawyer and I did stay in an Holiday Inn but that was last week; so take this for what it is worth. But I don’t see that as the blanket protection of existing laws. I see it as a simple statement that a.) the Supreme Court was not asked to determine the status of those laws and b.) they are clearly not stating those laws are constitutional at this time. They could be…..but that is another court case or dozen to come.
Topic #3 Liberty will result in the loss of lives.
It is not cold and heartless to say this but simply a reflection of reality. We could save lives by banning air-travel; hundreds of people die each year in plane crashes. But we accept that having the freedom to travel is worth the risk and the loss of life. We could save lives by making everyone eat in government ran cafeterias that serve only healthy and nutritious meals; but family meals are important and the freedom to choose more so. We could save lives in tens of thousands of ways but we choose, deliberately, willfully and knowingly to allow liberty even if it costs lives to do so.
We have to come to an agreement that people will choose to do idiotic things; people will choose not to become proficient with devices; that people will make bad decisions about narcotics, alcohol, etc and the safety of themselves and others. Trying to mandate perfect decision making process with anything is ridiculous but that is the basis for many gun control laws. Things like ‘Safe Storage’ or even Smart Guns.
Topic #4 – I have the Liberty to defend myself, my family and/or friends/others.
Not just in my home but on the road, in stores, in church – with few exceptions; people should be free to use the most effective means of self defense, yes or no?
This is one of the important ones we have to talk about. I have health issues — Asthma to be exact – which means some self defense products like O.C., pepper spray, mace, etc are really hazardous to my health even if used correctly. My wife is physically weaker than many women (due to breast cancer surgery) much less than most men; she shouldn’t have to try to wrestle or fight hand to hand to defend herself. My daughter, my sons, etc shouldn’t have to try to fight off multiple attackers with just a TASER. We should be able to decide for ourselves what means of self defense we want to use.
We already have a process in place, and it seems to work quite well, to determine if someone used violence in self defense or not. Banning firearms from places where people go doesn’t make much sense to me. Which brings up another thing you said — the part in bold this time.
More than one republican leading member of the Supreme Court has stated publicly that the second amendment is not about giving all guns to all people with no rules. Just like the first amendment gives free speech, it doesn’t allow you to walk into a movie theatre and yell fire.
That is a really bad analogy. See it is still perfectly legal to walk into a theater and yell fire if there is a fire. What gun control advocates like you want to do would be the equivalent of muzzling people when they go out in public so they couldn’t yell, much less yell fire. Currently to carry a firearm in public, in the State of Texas, I have to get a license in which I have to pass a background check, pass a proficiency test, pass a knowledge test, be approved by the state !!!! Could you imagine the same restrictions on you if you wanted to simply go to the theater and talk?
And yes, I have the liberty to defend myself with firearms that you may not think are appropriate. You don’t get to decide what is right for me. Several states have ‘approved rosters’ of firearms that can only be sold in there states. That is ridiculous. Many gun control advocates argue that I don’t need (show me in the Bill of Rights where NEED is mentioned) an AR-15 or a magazine with more than 10 rounds or a small concealable pistol or a cheap firearm (Saturday Night Specials). You want to make those restrictions then I get to demand you exercise your free speech with just a quill pen and parchment. Or stand on a soapbox in the public square.
Want to keep going on the subject of liberty? We certainly can narrow it down and discuss it. I think it should be very clear why I wanted to start with such a broad topic before we move onto something like microstamping or smart guns.
So Frank and everyone else, please join the discussion.