Posts tagged ‘Bill of Rights’

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.

06/05/2011

More on the decline of the Fourth Amendment

by wfgodbold

This time from the Cato Institute.

In her dissenting opinion in Kentucky v. King, Justice Ginsberg wrote,

“The court today arms the police with a way routinely to dishonor the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement in drug cases. In lieu of presenting their evidence to a neutral magistrate, police officers may now knock, listen, then break the door down, never mind that they had ample time to obtain a warrant.”

Read the whole article; it illustrates how much the fourth amendment has been destroyed on the altar of the drug war.

05/18/2011

The War on Drugs has cost us enough blood and treasure

by wfgodbold

Now it’s taken some of our liberties, as well.

Orin Kerr summarizes:

In this case, officers entered an apartment without a warrant after smelling marijuana inside, knocking, and hearing noises inside.

They heard noises after they knocked? And that was good enough to enter?

I imagine even if the knocker hadn’t been the police, he could have heard noises inside; most people don’t take pains to move in silence in their own homes, especially if they’re startled by banging on the door.

I don’t claim that they were innocent, or that they weren’t using illegal drugs (which is a subject for a whole ‘nother rant). I don’t know if the officers “demanded” entry, as the defendants claim, or if they merely announced that they were the police, as the judge in the initial case claimed.

At The Agitator, guest-blogger Peter Moskos says this:

And the logic of court has been consistent. When it comes to policing and warrantless searches, here are the rules:

1) Anything police come across is fair game. In other words, if police are there legally, they never have to close their eyes to something illegal (even if it’s not what they first came to look for).

2) “Exigent circumstances” give police the right to skip the warrant requirement.

3) Police are allowed to make honest mistakes if they’re acting in good faith.

4) Police have the rights to look for weapons that could be used against them.

5) The Court has no desire to read the minds and intentions of police officers (or concern themselves with how hard police knock). It just wants police behavior to be legal.

Taken individually, it’s hard to see any of these rules as unreasonable. Taken collectively, it means arrests are almost never, as the Founding Fathers intended, conducted with a court-issued warrant. It’s strange to me, since the 4th Amendment–unlike, say, the 2nd Amendment–is pretty unambiguous.

He’s right. Especially when combined with the recent Indiana ruling.

I’m a big fan of law and order. I don’t go around breaking laws willy-nilly, just because I can, or because I want to stick it to the man, or anything like that.

But the entire point of the Bill of Rights was to constrain government power, and now we’ve gone almost completely in the opposite direction.

03/01/2011

Privacy? What right to privacy?

by wfgodbold

I guess this is the genetic equivalent to a drunk-driving checkpoint (H/T Linoge)?

The worst part about the ever more egregious privacy invasions the TSA and DHS are advocating is that they don’t even work. If an undercover TSA agent can get through security with a gun (multiple times), then why should we put up with the body scanners

I don’t like this line of reasoning, though; it implies that the main reason I’m against gross invasions of privacy like this is because they’re ineffective. As far as I’m concerned, the right to be secure in my person and effects applies to my DNA, and even if it didn’t, it should fall under the right to privacy implicit in the 9th amendment (and if not there, then surely in some emanations from a penumbra).

Airlines (should they choose to) could stipulate that only DNA checked passengers would be allowed on board; surely other airlines would make a policy not requiring such, and the market would decide. Unfortunately, so much regulation and interference in the airline industry has taken those options away from the carriers (see: smoking on planes, etc).

Proponents of this power grab might claim that we have no right to fly; however, free travel among the several states should still exist. Flying has become commonplace enough (and is the only way to travel in a reasonable amount of time between places far enough apart) that it should fall under the free travel guarantees.

Focusing on the ineffectiveness of a process that infringes on your rights seems like complaining that the rope you’re being hanged with has a noose that’s tied incorrectly; it might not be as effective, but it’s still going to turn out badly.

11/15/2010

How the TSA counts to ten

by wfgodbold

One, two, three, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten.

Oh, you can’t carry guns on flights, either; better adjust that to: One, three, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten.

Better watch what you say while you’re in line for your unreasonable search; new count: Three, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten.

If they don’t like how you look or act, or if you’re not sufficiently deferential, then good luck leaving; new count: Three, six, seven, eight, nine, ten.

The sixth, seventh, and eighth amendments don’t really apply here, so we can leave those in.

Nine is right out.

And ten has been ignored for ages.

Final TSA guide for counting to ten: Three, six, seven, eight.

This post inspired by our benevolent overlords employed by the TSA at San Diego International.

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