Posts tagged ‘1st amendment’

12/18/2012

Those proposing bans on semiautomatic firearms* want to take us back to the ’80s

by wfgodbold

The 1880s.

Those of you who are good at math will note that that is closer to the 1791 ratification of the Second Amendment than to today (~90 years vs. ~130 years). Certainly far closer to the framing than TV, or the internet, but about on par with radio.

Proposing that somehow the arms protected by the Second Amendment are only those in existence at its framing and ratification is the first step down a dangerous road. If that logic applies to the Second Amendment, there’s no reason it couldn’t apply to any of the others.

Twitter? Facebook? The entire internet? TV? Movies? Video games?

Not protected under the First Amendment because at its framing and ratification you had to own a printing press and print pamphlets or stand on a soapbox and shout at passers-by to be heard.

Email? Cars? Your computer? Cloud storage?

All searchable without a warrant, probable cause, or even reasonableness, because the framers did not have any of that technology.

If you don’t like the Second Amendment, you’re welcome to try to repeal it, but consider: Would repealing the First Amendment mean that we no longer have the freedom of speech, or the press, or religion? Rights are not conferred by the government–they are, in the words of the Framers, unalienable.

Self-defense is a human right, and the best, effective means of self-defense is a firearm. A firearm puts the weak, the infirm, and the small on equal footing with their attacker.

To abrogate that right in the face of media-driven hysteria would be wrong, particularly when that hysteria is based on several false assumptions: (1) Mass shootings are not becoming more common, (2) An assault weapons ban would not have stopped the CT shooter, (3) Anything that would have prevented the CT shooting would have serious constitutional problems, and (4) America has already had a conversation about guns, and the gun control side lost.

I understand the drive to do something, but gun control proponents are focused more on doing anything, whether it would work or not, and whether it would be constitutional or not.

*Including, among others, the NY Post, which somehow fails to note (probably because of the pearl-clutching) that the AR-15 was invented in the late 1950s. The NYT notes that the AR-15 is the most popular rifle in America (and yet disingenuously posts a picture of a rifle that would be illegal under CT law, instead of one that was legal, like the shooter actually used). In Heller, the Supreme Court held that the Second Amendment protects arms in “common use.” (554 U.S. at 627) The most popular rifle in America surely falls under this “common use” umbrella.

10/04/2011

Quote of the Indeterminate Time Interval – Brett Kavanaugh

by wfgodbold

Countdown to froth-mouthed anti-gunners ranting about how speech is different from guns in 3, 2, 1 …

A ban on a class of arms is not an “incidental” regulation. It is equivalent to a ban on a category of speech. Such restrictions on core enumerated constitutional protections are not subjected to mere intermediate scrutiny review. The majority opinion here is in uncharted territory in suggesting that intermediate scrutiny can apply to an outright ban on possession of a class of weapons that have not traditionally been banned.

That’s DC circuit judge Brett Kavanaugh, writing in his dissent from the recent ruling on Heller’s lawsuit regarding several problems with DC’s post-Heller firearms registration regulations (the consensus is that he tried to shoehorn too much into the suit instead of taking a more incremental approach).

It’s not just gunbloggers that analogize restrictions on the RKBA to restrictions on speech; now it’s federal judges, too.

Let the PSH commence!

H/T: Sebastian.

08/14/2011

San Francisco is the new London

by wfgodbold

They didn’t even wait for actual riots before shutting down communications.

Wizardpc mentioned the other day that the UK is considering shutting down social media sites to prevent riots and the like; “senior officials” also mentioned that they’ve considered shutting down mobile phone masts in riot areas, or deactivating the accounts of “known suspects.”

San Francisco didn’t wait for riots; they shut down cell phone towers (during rush hour!) to stop a protest (an illegal protest, admittedly); they’re damn lucky no one died or was seriously injured because they couldn’t contact emergency services on account of no government-disabled cell service.

What the hell were they thinking?

07/17/2011

The law, in its majestic equality…

by wfgodbold

Not only forbids both the rich and the poor alike from sleeping under bridges, but also does not allow for the banning of mosques.

You  might say that the First Amendment, in its majestic equality, protects the rights of the Christian as well as the Satanist, the Jew as well as the Muslim, and the Wiccan as well as the atheist.

No matter what Herman Cain thinks, I don’t agree that a blanket ban on building mosques would be, uh, kosher, so to speak.

Even if you were the most rabid, Muslim-hating reactionary the world has yet seen, it would make sense to forego banning mosques; after all, if Islam goes underground, it would be a lot harder to keep tabs on all of the Muslims than if they gather at the mosque for regular services.

If mosques can be banned, then it’s not a stretch at all to say that majority Muslim communities could ban churches or synagogues, or so say that majority atheist communities could ban all places of worship.

After all, they’re not banning the actual practice, just a building, right?

Just when you think you’ve found a candidate you might be able to support, they go an unleash their inner statist. Herman Cain had some good ideas; trampling the Constitution is not one of them.

06/30/2011

Unions aren’t in it for their members

by wfgodbold

They’re in it for the power. And they’re in it for the politics.

From 1989 to 2009, unions donated nearly $500 million to politicians and candidates. Ninety percent of that went to Democrats.

Unions donated more money to candidates than the telecommunications, insurance, tobacco, pharmaceuticals, and real estate industries combined.

I don’t begrudge unions their right to join together to spend their money to influence the political process.

I do think that they shouldn’t pretend they’re working on behalf of their members; they’re interested in advancing political issues. If they were truly interested in helping their members, they’d try more to influence politicians regardless of their political views.

The tobacco, oil, and pharmaceuticals give 75% of their donations to Republicans; that’s lopsided, but not as lopsided as union donations.

The problem is that the unions aren’t honest, not that they’re politically active.

I might disagree with their goals, but they’re free to spend as much money politicking as they care too.

06/28/2011

Quote of the Indeterminate Time Interval – Washington Post Editorial Board

by wfgodbold

We’ve actually got two quotes from two different editorials (one published the 26th and one published the 27th).

The WaPo board has some tips on how we can deal with the ATF Fast and Furious issue (H/T Uncle):

Lawmakers should give the ATF the tools it needs to fight illegal gun trafficking. They should enact stronger penalties for straw purchases and craft a federal gun-smuggling statute; close the gun-show loophole, which allows buyers under certain circumstances to purchase weapons without a background check; resuscitate the ban on assault weapons; and give the ATF the authority to collect data on multiple sales of long guns in border states. The Senate should move quickly to confirm a director for the long-leaderless bureau.

That’s right! The way to solve the problem of the government ignoring the law is to pass more laws! None of these suggestions would have helped; the ignoring straw purchases was the whole point to Fast and Furious; closing the so-called “gun show loophole” wouldn’t have stopped straw purchases; the AWB had nothing to do with anything, and its reinstatement is just more wishing on the part of the WaPo; the ATF knew these people were purchasing dozens of long guns at a time, because they WATCHED THEM ON VIDEO make the purchases; and while the bureau hasn’t had a permanent leader, it’s had an acting director, and is ultimately responsible to Eric Holder, the head of the Department of Justice.

And this time, via Radley Balko, the WaPo starts right off with the hysteria:

The California law is different because it dealt only with reasonable limitations on minors’ access to extremely violent games that even the video game industry acknowledges are inappropriate. The rights of minors are often justifiably curtailed in ways that would violate the Constitution if applied to adults. Take, for example, prohibitions against selling alcohol and tobacco products to juveniles. The California law did nothing to infringe on the rights of adults to purchase violent video games, and manufacturers remained free to create and market these videos. They could even sell them to minors — as long as a parent or legal guardian approved.

While it doesn’t surprise me that the WaPo would come down on the side of more government meddling than less, it’s a bit disingenuous of them to equate playing a video game with alcohol and tobacco. Both of those products have proven negative health effects, while gaming has no proven effects (IIRC, Scalia points this out in the opinion).

If realistic violence in video games causes kids to turn into violent maniacs, then where is the violence? The violent and property crime rates have been steadily dropping since the 90s; I’m sure that any minute now, all of us who grew up playing (and continue to play) violent games will snap, but until that happens, the WaPo’s argument is ridiculous.

Hopefully no one actually pays the Washington Post for their quality editorials; they’d not be getting good value for their money.

06/25/2011

Even if you can’t stand his views on anything else, you have to appreciate Mark Steyn’s free speech activism

by wfgodbold

Watch the whole thing (H/T The Notorious ŒV)!

06/09/2011

How I became interested in guns

by wfgodbold

Since it’s all the rage among gunbloggers right now, I thought I’d chip in with my own unremarkable story.

Growing up, we didn’t have any guns in the house; I’d fired a rifle and shotgun at Boy Scout camp, but that was it. Most of my friends in high school hunted, but our family didn’t. It was just one of those things.

A few years ago, my apartment was burgled and ransacked; the only thing taken was my PlayStation 2 (with the memory card and game; I was more pissed about the loss of the memory card than the console itself), but when the thief left, he left behind his crowbar.

It didn’t sink in immediately, but if I’d been home, he could have done some real damage with it; I have no desire to play a headcrab to any criminal’s Gordon Freeman.

I called the cops after the burglary, but nothing ever came of it. I assume the thief tried to sell the PS2. I doubt he got much for it (it was a Japanese model, and the PS2 is region-locked), so even though I lost hundreds of hours of save data (I’d had the PS2 for ~5 years at this point), I still had the last laugh. Kind of.

My parents also suffered a break-in around the same time (while they were present), but the would-be thief spooked and ran off.

A few years later (during the 2008 election, actually), I was clicking around on various blogs and news sites, and eventually learned that the police have no duty to protect you. This spurred my interest in self-defense (well, that and reading One Second After in the spring following the election).

Unfortunately, I was living in New York at the time, and after reading the various laws, I decided it would be easier not to bother. Too many hoops to jump through, and it would be too easy to fall afoul of some regulation or other (which is the point; if gun ownership becomes too onerous, then fewer people will buy guns). I wasn’t keen on going, hat in hand, to the government to ask for permission to buy a handgun.

After moving back to Arkansas, I did some reading, and signed up for a concealed carry class.  I bought my first gun (a Bersa Thunder .380 CC), and then followed that up with a couple of AR-15 lower receivers. A few months after that (after realizing how expensive .380 ammo was; I didn’t research as thoroughly as I’d thought), I bought a P226 classic .22, and then I was hooked.

Reading various gun blogs has turned me into more of a libertarian than I was before; given how the government has treated the 2nd amendment, it’s easy to see how other basic rights could be abrogated. I don’t know that I’d call it a road to Damascus moment, but it’s pretty close.

If the government can’t be trusted to obey “shall make no law,” “shall not be infringed,” or “shall not be violated,”  when it’s spelled out plainly, why can it be trusted to obey other limitations on its power?

05/10/2011

Canada is criminalizing the hyperlink? Has the world gone mad?

by wfgodbold

This dovetails nicely (?) with yesterday’s post regarding the CSGV’s campaign against civil rights; Canada is considering criminalizing hyperlinks to “hateful” material.

Mark Steyn is eloquent (as always), and makes plain his contempt for bureaucracy run amok, and the invasive, controlling laws that result.

Bryan Lilley, writing in the Toronto Sun, closes his column with this:

We used to say: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Now it seems like Canadian society believes “I disapprove of what you say and I’ll prosecute you.”

The price of freedom is eternal vigilance; once rights have been negated, it’s nigh impossible to get them back.

If they can pull it off properly, anti-civil rights activists only have to win once.

Pro-rights activists have to win every time.

05/09/2011

We’ve come a long way from Voltaire*

by wfgodbold

The anti-civil rights organization known as the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence believes that the right to bear arms is contingent upon your speech being acceptable (H/T Sebastian).

I might think Terry Jones is an idiot, but even idiots (especially idiots?) have constitutional rights.

What next? If you can have your rights abrogated because you expressed yourself in a manner that other found odious, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that your rights might be infringed because of the contents of your speech.

If the CSGV doesn’t like your opinion on global warming, will they advocate for your rights to be stripped away? What if they don’t like your opinion on Catholicism? If someone burns the Bible, do their rights also go up in smoke?

Or is it just radical Islamists that are treated with kiddie gloves?

*Yes, I know it was Evelyn Beatrice Hall, not Voltaire that said, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” But if I’d said “We’ve come a long way from Evelyn Beatrice Hall,” no one would know what I was talking about.

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