Safety in Defenselessness

The District of Columbia tries to save its gun law by misreading it

In a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed piece, Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe urged the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the District of Columbia's gun restrictions, the subject of a case the Court will hear next Tuesday. Conceding that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to possess firearms, Tribe said that right does not rule out a decision to ban handguns while allowing "rifles, shotguns and other weapons less likely to augment urban violence."

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit disagreed, concluding that the District cannot constitutionally ban the type of gun most commonly used for self-defense. But even if Tribe is right that the Second Amendment allows D.C. to ban handguns, he is wrong to assume D.C. residents are free to use long guns instead.

D.C. requires that all firearms in the home, including rifles and shotguns, be kept "unloaded and disassembled or bound by a trigger lock or similar device." That "safe storage" requirement makes it pretty hard to use any gun for self-defense, except maybe as a club. It makes D.C.'s gun laws look extreme even compared to those of other cities that ban handguns. If D.C.-style gun control does not violate the Second Amendment, it's hard to imagine what sort of gun control would.

The "safe storage" rule includes exceptions for guns kept in places of business and for guns "being used for lawful recreational purposes within the District of Columbia." It does not include an exception for self-defense at home.

Although three of the original plaintiffs in the D.C. gun ban case said they wanted to keep functional long guns in their homes, the District did not claim they already were allowed to do so. Instead it dismissed the very idea of armed self-defense as self-evidently absurd. "It cannot be seriously contended that the Second Amendment, even if applicable, guarantees private persons a right of ownership or possession of firearms on the basis of an asserted need to resort to self-help," D.C.'s lawyers told U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan.

But when the plaintiffs appealed Sullivan's dismissal of their complaint, the District suddenly began to suggest there might be exceptions to the "safe storage" requirement that are not mentioned in the statute. "The [D.C.] Council appears to have recognized that on rare occasions, in the event of a true emergency when necessary for self-defense, a gun could be unlocked," it said.

The only evidence the District cited for this claim was one council member's remark about how long it takes to unlock and load a gun. The District nevertheless suggested that "local courts are likely to give the law a narrowing construction for emergencies."

That possibility does not save the statute, the D.C. Circuit ruled, since "judicial lenity cannot make up for the unreasonable restriction of a constitutional right." Furthermore, a "narrowing construction" is by no means a foregone conclusion.

In its Supreme Court brief, the District asserts that an exception for self-defense at home "is fairly implied in the trigger lock requirement," but it does not explain how. Courts reasonably could read the law's specific "safe storage" exceptions to mean there are no other exceptions.

As Bellingham, Washington, attorney Jeffrey Teichert notes in a friend-of-the-court brief, D.C. courts have convicted residents of violating other gun regulations even when they used their weapons for self-defense. In one such case, the District argued that "self-defense would only excuse the use of the weapon, not the possession of the weapon."

This sort of uncertainty would be considered intolerable in the exercise of any other fundamental right. Could a law requiring that books in the home be kept under lock and key be redeemed by arguing that courts probably would give it a "narrowing construction"? If the right to keep and bear arms means anything in practical terms, it means that someone who uses a gun to defend himself in his own home should not have to throw himself on the mercy of the courts.

© Copyright 2008 by Creators Syndicate Inc.

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  • Other Matt||

    ...DC's case for its gun ban is based on legal illiteracy.

    Perhaps you're confusing legal illiteracy with general illiteracy. Notwithstanding joe being an ignorant ass as to the historical basis of gun control and the desire of people to institute it in areas where there are large minority populations, DC is probably one of the shining star examples of how it absolutely doesn't work. All you have to do is to compare relative violent crime rates with Northern VA, and it jumps out at you. PG County is as bad, but MD isn't that far behind DC in terms of equating guns with evil. The sad fact is that if you own firearms and either your skin or your rifle is black, there are people who view you as dangerous.

  • ||

    Matt,
    I'm going to borrow this line, "The sad fact is that if you own firearms and either your skin or your rifle is black, there are people who view you as dangerous." if you don't mind...

    Through their argument, I can narrowly see how the DC lawyers can say that they people may still own firearms does not violate the 2nd Am....but that is only true by ignoring '...shall not be infringed'.

  • Other Matt||

    I'm going to borrow this line, "The sad fact is that if you own firearms and either your skin or your rifle is black, there are people who view you as dangerous." if you don't mind...

    Feel free, just put it to good use.

  • ||

    "Feel free, just put it to good use."

    Absolutely.

  • ||

    OK, I needed coffee before posting.

    My first post should have been...

    Only by ignoring "....the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed." can they argue that permitting only long guns is within the scope of the 2nd Am.

    Legal illiteracy isn't even close. How can permitting (and very limited permission it is) some firearms while outright banning others does not violate the idea of infringement?

    Professor Tribe wrote in his op-ed piece,
    "Under any plausible standard of review, a legislature's choice to limit the citizenry to rifles, shotguns and other weapons less likely to augment urban violence need not, and should not, be viewed as an unconstitutional abridgment of the right of the people to keep or bear arms."
    How fail to understand how he can conclude that it is an individual right but then completely ignores "...shall not be infringed."

  • Elemenope||

    How can permitting (and very limited permission it is) some firearms while outright banning others does not violate the idea of infringement?

    I suppose somewhat under the same notion that you may own a press but not print libel or fraud, assemble but not riot, or speak but not slander. Constitutional protections historically have *never* been absolute, and with good reason. I personally think that handgun bans are as stupid as one can get, but let's not pretend that banning a type of gun is categorically different than many of the other legal (and mostly reasonable) restrictions on rights that exist in other areas.

  • ||

    Elmenope - wrong analogy. DC ban restricts possession (e.g., you may not own a press producing more than 30 pages per minute, or a portable one), your analogy restricts misuse (e.g., I may not misuse a gun by randomly discharging it in the street). World of difference between the two.

  • Guy Montag||

    The DC argument sounds like they are ignoring the "bear" portion, saying that the "keep" portion is all that needs to be addressed.

    Then they infringe on "keep" but not as much as "bear".

    Yes, sticking to H&R tradition, I DNRTFA. However, on issues like this you really don't have to be psychic either.

  • Other Matt||

    I personally think that handgun bans are as stupid as one can get, but let's not pretend that banning a type of gun is categorically different than many of the other legal (and mostly reasonable) restrictions on rights that exist in other areas.

    Elem-There is an important distinction that you're missing. Slander is an overt act directed towards another. To say that the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed is not to say that the right to put holes in random people cannot be infringed. Firearm regulations typically ban potential actions, not actions. I believe the legal concept is "prior restraint", but I'll let those who study it a lot more than I do comment on that. My point is that DC, Chicago, etc, categorically ban classes of firearms based on potential. I have no problem at all with penalties for violent crime or misuse of a firearm, as long as it's honestly misuse and not a backhanded way to make firearm owners criminal.

  • Other Matt||

    Cynical types quicker than I do.

  • Guy Montag||

    CB,

    A few years ago the anti-personal-defense folk were making a bad argument too. Arguing that gun manufacturers should be sued in the same way that property owners are responsible for clearing ice and snow from public sidewalks by their property.

    Pointing out that the analogy only works in cases where the current owner poured the concrete resulted in hysterical fits and interruptions by the frivolous lawsuit crowd.

  • ||

    Elmenope,Your examples are flawed or just dishonest.In the ones you site you as causing harm to another.That's where a right ends.By owning a certain style of gun you are hurting no one.When you use the gun to harm another that's where you right ends.

  • Other Matt||

    A few years ago the anti-personal-defense folk were making a bad argument too. Arguing that gun manufacturers should be sued in the same way that property owners are responsible for clearing ice and snow from public sidewalks by their property.

    Someone's been reading Jennifer again....

    I guess the underlying assumption there is that making private individuals criminally responsible for maintaining public facilities is a good thing, and the concept should be expanded to cover other things too.

  • Episiarch||

    For me, it always comes down to the way gun control advocates treat the rest of the bill of rights as opposed to the 2nd.

    That alone should be proof enough that their arguments are a load of shit, by their own defenses of say, the 1st.

  • Elemenope||

    OK...how about this one then. It is a federal law that a person may not speak or indicate preference about a candidate within X number of feet of an election polling place.

    It would be really quite hard to argue that by saying something about one candidate or another at the polls, a person was doing actual harm to anyone else under any reasonable rubric of harm.

    And yet, not only is it accepted as constitutional, most people (including, incidentally, me) would find this particular and narrow restriction on speech to be unproblematic...helpful, even.

    Harm is not the only standard for abridgment of rights (though, I admit, it is a major one.) Even so, one could argue empirically that the mere presence of a handgun in certain situations leads inexorably to harm. e.g. kids get their hands on it and blow little neighbor or sibling Johnny away, spousal violence turns deadly, etc.. I don't lend much credence to these arguments, but they are not as faithless as you fellas make them out to be.

  • ||

    Episiarch,I agree.When they compare inciting a riot,liable,slander and fraud to just owning a gun you know how much they hate the 2ed amd.To them harm is in the ownership.

  • robc||

    Elemenope,

    Rights extend all the way until the point they impede on someone else's rights. Thus, fraud and libel arent free speech. Owning a type of weapon doesnt infringe on anyone else's rights. Shooting that weapon may, and thus can be controlled.

    I think of rights in terms of bubbles, everyone has a bubble of rights that they can grow as large as they want, as long as they dont pop anyone else's bubble.

  • Guy Montag||

    OM,

    Actually, I heard that argument years before I was aware of Jennifer.

  • robc||

    Elemenope,

    I posted my last before your 9:39 post. My response to it is that I find the election speech law to be an infringement on my rights of free speech.

    Now, I do draw a distinction between government property and public property (a courthouse, for example, is government property, it is used for government purposes not public purposes so the government can set rules for behavior just like any property owner can on their property). The property on which an election is occurring is government property, at least for that day, so they can limit behavior on that land. As long as they "own" (or are renting) the property out to X feet, then that law is okay. But, if that property is, say, directly on a sidewalk, they cant restrict the speech on the sidewalk, IMO, regardless of number of feet away.

  • ||

    Elemenope,Once again apples and oranges.A restriction in a public place is not the same as in you home or private property.There are many rules you must follow when your on the property of others, be it the polling place or a Walmart.Of course you had to throw in 'the children' forgetting there are many dangers in the average home[outlets,cleaning products].Owning a gun in your home and talking about what you please there are one and the same.

  • ||

    It is a federal law that a person may not speak or indicate preference about a candidate within X number of feet of an election polling place.

    And so the analogous gun control law would be that a person may not carry a weapon within X number of feet of an election polling place.

    But that restriction is orders of magnitude narrower than a blanket ban on handguns. It is narrower in terms of both time and place, and is justified by completely different purposes relating to protecting the integrity of the voting process.

    I can live with a one-day restriction on some fundamental rights in a very small geographic area for purposes of protecting other fundamental rights. Blanket prohibitions? Not so much.

  • GEErnst||

    It all gets down to a pair of very simple questions. Lets ask these to presidential candidates starting with Republicans who pander to the gun vote:
    ******************
    The DC Court of Appeals released an opinion on March 9 in Parker et al. v. DC Government. After many pages in which the court fabricated an individual right to be privately armed outside of any militia or military context and struck down DC's gun control law, Judge Silberman arrived at these conclusions:

    "Reasonable restrictions also might be thought consistent with a "well regulated Militia." The registration of firearms gives the government information as to how many people would be armed for militia service if called up. Reasonable firearm proficiency testing would both promote public safety and produce better candidates for military service. Personal characteristics, such as insanity or felonious conduct, that make gun ownership dangerous to society also make someone unsuitable for service in the militia."
    http://pacer.cadc.uscourts.gov/docs/common/opinions/200703/04-7041a.pdf
    p. 54
    Registration of ownership, militia call up, proficiency testing, public safety regulation, screening for militia suitability. These are the makings of a firearms policy. Do you accept and support Judge Silberman's conclusion? Will your administration work towards a national firearms policy based on these conclusions?
    ************************
    Doesn't anyone understand this issue? Judge Silberman's conclusions are not just the
    makings of a firearms policy. They are a devastating repudiation of the gun lobby's core
    doctrine that the purpose of all those guns in private hands is to maintain an anarchic
    balance of power between a privately armed populace, armed outside of the knowledge
    and reach of law, and any and all government. The gun lobby would fight viciously to
    defeat any legislative attempts to implement Judge Silberman's conclusions. The
    Supreme Court is not going to overturn them.
    http://www.potowmack.org/index.html
    http://www.potowmack.org/5issues.html
    http://www.potowmack.org/gunviol.html
    http://www.potowmack.org/heller.html
    Do we have to wait till this gets to the Supreme Court? The gun rights ideologies have
    been in the federal courts for more than thirty years.
    http://www.potowmack.org/warin.html
    http://www.potowmack.org/silveira.html
    http://www.potowmack.org/nordyke.html
    http://www.potowmack.org/emeramic.html
    http://wwwa.potowmack.org/parker.html
    Can we now get politicians to answer questions that get at what is really at stake?

  • Other Matt||

    Even so, one could argue empirically that the mere presence of a handgun in certain situations leads inexorably to harm. e.g. kids get their hands on it and blow little neighbor or sibling Johnny away, spousal violence turns deadly, etc.. I don't lend much credence to these arguments, but they are not as faithless as you fellas make them out to be.

    As could a baseball bat, hammer, can of Raid, bottle of bleach, kitchen knife, spear, etc.

    Your claim that they lead inexorably to harm is kind of flawed also. I have twenty some firearms in my house, ranging from a .22 to a 45-70 magnum, and perhaps half are handguns. I have had fights with the woman of the house (verbal, no flying fists or objects). By the extension of your logic, one of us should have been mortally wounded long ago, the view doesn't stand up to examination.

    You're going back to what I objected to originally, you're trying to manage the potential for action, rather than judging an action.

    Personally, I believe that the people who are most vocal about arguments such as yours are those who fear their own actions when in possession of the power that a weapon gives you. They've been suckered into the Hollywood romantic view of firearms, and because they're sexy and mysterious and forbidden, they view them as inherently evil and have some sick fascination over them. To those of us who are familiar with firearms, they're just a hunk of metal and plastic that operates mechanically as you use it.

    And so the analogous gun control law would be that a person may not carry a weapon within X number of feet of an election polling place.

    No, the analogous gun control law would be that a person may not discharge a weapon within X number of feet of a polling place. Again, action vs potential for action. The 1st Amend equivalent to your example is a person may not have vocal cords within X number of feet of a polling place.

  • Other Matt||

    Doesn't anyone understand this issue?

    Uh...let's see, I see you don't, so that's one...

    You lost all credibility at "pander"

  • Guy Montag||

    OM,

    I am betting that GEErnst is one of those forced maintenance advocates too.

    Can't wait until the discussion morphs into Australian voting, with those arguing that it is not coercion to fine people for failure to vote either.

  • ||

    I wonder how many anti-gunners think you should be able to smoke pot in your home?I for one am against the WOD.I also believe in a right to own guns.I just wonder.

  • T||

    In Texas, I seem to recall you can't carry concealed to the polling place. I'd check my election law stuff, but it's at home.

    Of course, there is no law against open carry of rifles in Texas, so I wonder if you could carry a rifle to the polls with you. Hmm. May be time to go check the rules again.

  • Other Matt||

    T-That may be, also other places where people who can't control themselves and make laws think that other people will get out of hand. It's very Jung shadow stuff. However, it's not a new phenomena.

  • JT||

    Laurence Tribe is an idiot. Proof of that fact is found in "A Matter of Interpretation: Federal Courts and the Law" by Antonin Scalia, where Tribe spouts his personal opinions and biases and desperately tries to back them up with a unique and clever Constitutional deconstruction and interpretations. When the District of Columbia enacted a complete ban on the legal possession and use of handguns they completely failed to take into consideration the ban would not just affect non law abiding criminals. Violent crime rates drastically rose AFTER the ban was enacted. What is the genetic defect that precludes Tribe and his gun banning idiots from comprehending that simple concept and acknowledging those proven facts?

  • Other Matt||

    What is the genetic defect that precludes Tribe and his gun banning idiots from comprehending that simple concept and acknowledging those proven facts?

    Full circle to my original comment, it's not legal illiteracy, it's fundamental illteracy, they can't read so they don't understand.

  • ||

    Matt, I think you have come up with the line of the month "if you own firearms and either your skin or your rifle is black, there are people who view you as dangerous." should be added to the gun rights lexicon. Its right on.
    .
    GEErnst, you keep copy and pasting that same post at every site. It doesn't work.
    .
    Elemenope-"It would be really quite hard to argue that by saying something about one candidate or another at the polls, a person was doing actual harm to anyone else under any reasonable rubric of harm."---Oh not hard at all--I believe primarily it was passed because such speech was seen as harmful to the other candidate. But also to the voters having to pass through a picket line of one side or another to vote. Especially so if the picket line was made up of one ethnic group and people of the other group have to pass them to run the gauntlet to reach the voting booth.
    .
    As for the comparison to a printing press. It is not merely that you cannot print libel. The comparison would be that you may own a press, but may not run it. It must be locked or disassembled To say you may not print libel would merely be the same as saying you cannot shoot people without just cause. No one disagrees with that.

  • Neu Mejican||

    robc,

    it is used for government purposes not public purposes so the government can set rules for behavior just like any property owner can on their property

    I do believe that you have a distorted view of what property rights entail. You do not have the right to control my speech while I am on your property (that bubble of property rights only extends so far...it can't pop my free speech rights, to extend the analogy above).

    Your property rights do allow you to ask me to leave because of my speech. If I refuse, they do not extend so far as to allow you to infringe my right to be free from violence. You, of course, would then be correct to point out that at that point my actions are infringing your property rights and can call the cops. They have the authority to use violence to remove me.

    DC's gun ban is overbroad, but conceptually I am not so sure the 2nd limits the concept of restrictions on certain types of arms.

    Does it cover my rights to own an anthrax balloon launcher?

    Maybe, but maybe not.

  • Neu Mejican||

    JT,

    Violent crime rates drastically rose AFTER the ban was enacted. What is the genetic defect that precludes Tribe and his gun banning idiots from comprehending that simple concept and acknowledging those proven facts?

    Speaking of illiteracy... can you name the species of illiteracy that your comment demonstrates very clearly?

  • ||

    Neu Mejican,I have every right to limit your speech on my property.I can do that by telling you to leave,calling the cops if you don't or or using force if you get violent.By telling you to leave I have banned your free speech on my property.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Michael Pack,

    You are incorrect on that.
    You can limit my access to your property, not my speech.

    Subtle difference.

  • Guy Montag||

    NM,

    You are scaring me to death. You are putting me into a state of mortal fear.

    You are banned from my property because I truly believe the only reason for you being there is to kill me.

  • robc||

    NM,

    I believe we have the same view of property rights, so if mine is distorted, yours is too. Yeah, my setting rules only extends so far as to asking/forcing (via the police) you to leave. BTW, the same limitation applies to the government in the election example above. If I refuse to stop campaigning on site, I dont see the crime being anything greater than trespassing.

    Anthrax balloon launchers may or may not be covered by the 2nd, but are completely covered by the 9th.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Michael Pack,

    This same misconception led many to assert that property owners had the right to limit a woman's right to breast feed their baby.

    But the more basic rights of free speech or the right to feed your child supersedes property rights.

    Property owners have the right to control who is on their property. But they can only place restrictions on the kinds of activities that occur on their property if those restriction do not violate more basic rights.

  • Other Matt||

    Matt, I think you have come up with the line of the month "if you own firearms and either your skin or your rifle is black, there are people who view you as dangerous." should be added to the gun rights lexicon. Its right on.

    Thanks, "even the proverbial blind squirrel" and all that. Feel free to use it as needed.

  • Neu Mejican||

    robc,

    Okay. Sounds like we are about in the same place.

  • ||

    No I'm not.If I don't like your speech I can have you removed.That's a punishment.See,cause and effect.If I couldn't limit your right to speech you could stay.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Guy M,

    You have the right to deny me access to your property. You do not need such an elaborate excuse.

    Once you grant me access, however, you grant me access with all of my basic rights intact.

  • robc||

    NM,

    Property owners can make breast feeders leave. And blacks. Lester Maddox was a racist thug. And 100% right (on property rights).

  • Neu Mejican||

    Michael Pack,

    All I can say is that when this concept was tested by some shopping mall owners in the not too distant past, the courts seemed closer to my interpretation.

    I am too lazy right now to track down the case.

  • ||

    Your talking a business not a home.I can certainly stop a women from breast feeding in my home.You do not have a right to feed your children in my house.You have no right to be on my property unless invited.If you don't follow my rules you gone.

  • robc||

    Michael Pack,

    Homes and businesses shouldnt (we know they are) be treated differently. Private property is private property, whether my house of my mall.

  • Neu Mejican||

    robc,

    I believe that concept has been tested.

    Is it title VI of the Civil rights act...

    I would have to look it up.

  • ||

    Your comparing a public mall to a private home.I don't care what you can do in a mall.That's not a private residence.

  • robc||

    NM,

    Im not saying the law or scotus agress with me, Im saying they are wrong.

  • ||

    robc,I agree,private is private.But can you imagine if laws applied to business applied to a persons house.I'm sure some would like that.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Michael Pack,

    You do not have a right to feed your children in my house.

    Again, I think your concept of property rights is over broad. If you grant me access to your property, I come with all of my rights intact.

    Property rights, btw, are not limited to places...they apply to things.

    So you let me borrow your lawnmower as long as I don't talk politics to the gardener? Do you think you would have a case to say I violated your property rights if I ignore your restrictions? You have a right to have your lawnmower back at any time for any reason, but you don't get to control my behaviors that do not involve use of your lawnmower.

  • Neu Mejican||

    robc,

    I recognized that.

    Of course, it seems that the Law and SCOTUS being opposed to your position may weaken it, a bit.

  • Neu Mejican||

    I will now exercise my right of free speech and leave.

    [in the distance behind him he hears a collective sigh]

  • Guy Montag||

    Homes and businesses shouldnt (we know they are) be treated differently. Private property is private property, whether my house of my mall.

    That public accomodations clause in a Civil Rights Act, I believe, is what made the distinction between the two. You are in good company as the great Barry Goldwater agreed that it was wrong and voted against it.

  • ||

    Taht's right I grant you access and can revoke that for any reason.You follow my rules or you leave.What part of 'it's my house go away' don't you understand?I can make you leave just because I'm tired or want to have a beer by myself.I can control your behavior on in my house.The mower is a red herring ,if I make a tear of use for it and you don't follow it you lost you right to use it.

  • ||

    [in the distance behind him he hears a collective sigh]



    Actually NM, not so much a sigh as a thunderous cheer.

  • ||

    NM's circular logic is the kind that keeps the drug war going.Change the facts to suit your view.I'm sure my right to have a gun in my house is not as high on his list of rights.

  • ||

    GEErnst, you keep copy and pasting that same post at every site. It doesn't work.



    I find it notable and hilarious that anti-rights advocates rarely, if ever, are willing to actually engage in an honest discussion of the topic. More often than not, they simply wish to dictate from on high, and ignore anyone who wishes to question their "wisdom."

    For instance, the Brady Campaign disallows commenting on their blog.

    The Huffington Post's comments require registration, and even then are heavily moderated.

    And in the era of the internet, when I can find specific forums related to nearly every make and model of firearms, forms of competitive shooting, and defensive implementation and use of guns, there are almost no open internet forums dedicated to the anti-gun position.

    GEErnst is an example of the most strident, and quite frankly, pathetic anti-gun advocate. A single individual doing his best to appear as if he's a large organization. His rambling diatribes have been Fisked to death on any number of forums and blogs.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Wayne,

    LoL,

    Michael Pack.

    I have consistently voiced my support for your basic right to keep and bear arms on H&R.

    We may disagree on some of the details around the margins.

    Change the facts to suit your view.

    Please cite an example of me changing the facts in this discussion.

    I said previously that I perceive a subtle distinction between your having a right to deny access to your property, and your having a right to control my behavior. Too subtle for you, I guess.

  • ||

    "His rambling diatribes have been Fisked to death on any number of forums and blogs."
    I didn't realize (I am rather new at this) but I have seen that identical post a half dozen times in the past week. Still unsure of his point.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Let us extend the lawnmower example.

    I borrow your lawnmower.
    You tell me not to talk politics with the gardener while I have it.
    I ignore you.

    You hear later that I violated your conditions.
    You decide to sue me for breach of contract.

    What are the chances you win your suit?
    What are the chances the court even allows the case to trial?

    Do you have a just claim against me?

  • ||

    Your lawnmower case would not be heard because it is trivial. However real world situations exist. My son does highly classified research. Condition of his employment is that he not talk about what he does. Even after he leaves. Furthermore, if he leaves the company and invents something , he can be prevented from profiting on the grounds that he developed it while using their "lawnmower". That is, their facilities were being used while he thought about it, therefore they have the right to set the rules. And people are prosecuted for violating those terms.

  • ||

    Near as I can tell the issue of private property and corporate property and public property is a confused mess right now. Perhaps largely due to government meddling in all 3.

  • Elemenope||

    I wonder how many anti-gunners think you should be able to smoke pot in your home?I for one am against the WOD. I also believe in a right to own guns. I just wonder.

    A fair question. I would suppose that many liberals (in the modern American sense) would take up positions that would seem very much at odds, but they only seem incoherent from a libertarian point of view because they are balancing different values than libertarians are.

    I, for one, believe that you should be able to smoke/shoot/drink pretty much whatever, own an arsenal of small arms, and fuck anything that can and has given consent (which would, I suppose, include some greater apes and cetaceans...though their manner of revoking consent generally involves tearing your ball sac off like a paper towel, so, approach at your own risk).

    My problem has and continues to be the manner in which the doctrinaire arm of libertarianism sees the be-all-and-end-all of *all* values to be the non-aggression principle and maximal human freedom. I find extremism to that end as unreasonable and ridiculous as many people find religion to be; a metaphysical faith in something that is of questionable objective worth.

    I think this is one reason why Libertarianism, while a basic value set to which most Americans have a gut-level affinity, never ever gets any traction in politics and media: It just seems so damned...unreasonable (DRINK!), and scornful of reality in favor of comforting theories. Liberals (and occasionally, Conservatives) publicly care about consequences in a way that many Libertarians seem not to give a crap about (e.g. Yeah, there are accidental shootings due to guns in homes. Whatever, fuck 'em. I got my 2nd Amendment, fuckers!), or throw their hands up in doctrinally imposed frustration.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Dlyn,

    You, as usual, are making a better case.

    Of course the intellectual property issue is much more difficult and certainly in flux at this point in history.

    Your example (my brother has a similar contract, and everyone who does research for a University has some version of this restriction) is not, I think, exactly parallel.

    An employment contract is not the same beast as the social interactions we were discussing. You are buying my services, which may include my intellectual creativity and the products it produces. It does not, however, include restrictions not directly related to the employment/service purchased.

    An employer wouldn't be able, in most cases, to restrict non-business oriented speech, I would think. So the lawnmower example applies. You have a right to place restrictions on HOW I use the lawnmower, but these do not extend into other realms.

  • Other Matt||

    Neu Mejican | March 12, 2008, 12:13pm | #

    I will now exercise my right of free speech and leave.


    then

    Neu Mejican | March 12, 2008, 2:04pm | #


    WTF?

    Liberals (and occasionally, Conservatives) publicly care about consequences in a way that many Libertarians seem not to give a crap about (e.g. Yeah, there are accidental shootings due to guns in homes. Whatever, fuck 'em. I got my 2nd Amendment, fuckers!), or throw their hands up in doctrinally imposed frustration.

    El-You are again confusing two very different things. Earlier, action and potential for. Now, restrictions vs solutions.

    I have three kids, I don't talk about them much on the internet publically, but I have three, all teens. In each case, preteen, I took them through firearm safety, how to clear a handgun, revolver or semi auto, how to clear a rifle, semi, bolt, and lever action. We used what are called snap caps, which are dummy rounds, essentially, and I drilled them to tears of boredom. Therefore, none of them are very hung up on firearms as something cool, or something to play with, something forbidden, etc. They're just a piece of metal and plastic that can hurt you if you don't pay attention, but aren't inherently dangerous like a crocodile.

    This is because I care deeply, and respect the obligations of owning a firearm, and I cannot think of one person who is a "gun guy" who does not.

    The problem is that the solutions which your well meaning liberal and possibly conservative people apply are just plain boneheaded.

    In MD, here, it is illegal to have a gun in a child's reach without a trigger lock. Ok, I would submit that you don't need a law, it's basic safety to not lose control of your firerarm, but we'll put that aside. What possible way is there to enforce this other than to pile on to a parent who has just experienced a tragic accident? It's stupid. This "report a stolen gun" law that they're trying to pass here. WTF good is that? You take someone as a victim of a crime, and make them a criminal for not reporting something to the police they may not immediately know about? To what end? Just because you report a firearm to the police as stolen, does that make it magically more likely to be found than if you didn't? No. It's harrassment clothed in "common sense" measures, and what you're hearing is logic chafing against such stupidity.

    It's my determined opinion that any legislation that is described as "common sense" is most assuredly quite void of such simply based on that statement.

  • ||

    How is maximal human freedom unreasonable? Do tell.

  • Robert||

    Neu Mejican, I'm afraid you've come up with a doctrine of inalienability that you then have to make such arbitrary exceptions to as to render silly. What if I take out a classified ad? I'm paying them money, and I expect them to use my exact wording, not to use their freedom of communication to express something different. That's not an employment relationship, but it's an exchange of value for value. I don't see why one couldn't condition the loan of a lawn mower on similar terms.

    Neu Mejican, do you either prefer, or recognize as existing, a large number of human rights ranked in terms of priorities to determine which takes precedence in cases where they must conflict? Or do you prefer, or recognize as existing, only a small number of rights which, although broad, should practically never come into conflict?

  • Elemenope||

    In each case, preteen, I took them through firearm safety, how to clear a handgun, revolver or semi auto, how to clear a rifle, semi, bolt, and lever action...[etc.]

    Your commitment to gun safety is commendable (no kidding). A thing though, and this is going to sound nauseatingly familiar, is that while *you* are responsible for the safety of your kids, many parents are not (to their kids' detriment, sometimes fatally). We make fun, with a great deal of relish, the *think of the children* meme, but in cases where a child's life really is at risk and an irresponsible person is in charge of protecting it, Libertarian ideology so far as I can tell has no answer except "ah well, too bad" and that answer is fairly unpalatable from both a practical and a moral area.

    Practically speaking, Libertarians are right insofar as identifying regulation as being a generally ineffective blunt instrument with nasty side effects (like oppression, losses of freedom, annoyance, etc.). But, it never goes further than that to offer solutions that a society like ours could accept--obviously, the you can't have guns without breaking a few eggs line is not acceptable to many. That bugs the fuck out of me, especially when it is reflected in an arguing style that assumes the annoying sod (sometimes me) pointing out this problem must be a regulation-crazed statist loon (and I certainly am not that).

    I think it is one thing to say merely that one is looking for a solution to these problems that falls within the strictures of Libertarianism, and that's cool. It just seems like many would rather ignore the fact they live in a society with other people, and that those problems, one way or another, somehow don't need addressing.

    How is maximal human freedom unreasonable? Do tell.

    Seeing how the cultural obsession with Human freedom is bound up historically with religion, I have always found it amusing that the thing that got humans in so much trouble in the first place (freedom to disobey) is elevated to the status of a cardinal fucking virtue.

    However, theology aside, there is a reasonable amount of evidence that suggests that any of the following is true:

    a. Freedom is impossible to achieve as a stable state, and probably impossible as a metastable state
    b. Freedom is undesirable to most humans
    c. Freedom is a brutish end condition
    d. Freedom does not successfully address any of the existential and/or metaphysical puzzles with which we as a species are obsessed.

    Without me writing a damn dissertation (again), one could easily think of why any of the above are *plausible*. I, myself, am unsure of all of them. I personally desire a great deal more freedom and responsibility than many of my colleagues, and most of my friends, which is why is swing libertarian. I just wonder if many people who suck on this freedom-loving ideology 24/7 have ever stopped to really dig into whether everyone being free would be a good thing, if it is even possible at all.

  • ||

    Neu Mejican
    Point taken. I agree it is not a perfect parallel. It is simply the closest real world example I could think of. Still I think that a contractual agreement could include almost anything. If you agree to the terms of the contract then you should be bound by the terms of the contract. If I require you to enter my property only under these conditions, then I can require you to leave if you violate them. "As long as you live under my roof…." There are limits however even with private dwellings. We do not allow a man to beat his wife and claim he has the right to do so as a condition for her living in his property. Or abuse his children. Nor do we allow companies to exclude races from entering their property. The question is which side of the line do gun rights fall? My contention is that "the right to keep AND BEAR arms" certifies a civil right to do those things anywhere in the country where the general public is allowed to move freely. My dwelling is another matter , the public is not allowed to move freely there. I discriminate freely on who enters my doorway, but if I discover later that I admitted someone I wish I hadn't, all I can do is say "Leave"

  • Elemenope||

    p.s.

    This is because I care deeply, and respect the obligations of owning a firearm, and I cannot think of one person who is a "gun guy" who does not.

    I know of many "gun guys" who are, as you say, very respectful of the obligations that come with the freedom to keep and bear arms. But just in my limited experience (extrapolating from a decent sample size), I'd say the number of "gun guys" who could give a shit about safety and responsibility wouldn't exactly fit in a small stadium. As with most other things, there are people who use their freedoms with consummate responsibility, and there are dickheads. I think you underestimate the allotment of dickheads from the above comment.

  • LarryA||

    In one such case, the District argued that "self-defense would only excuse the use of the weapon, not the possession of the weapon."

    See: Bernard Goetz.

    for guns "being used for lawful recreational purposes within the District of Columbia."

    Such as? Seriously, are there any lawful recreational opportunities there?

    The sad fact is that if you own firearms and either your skin or your rifle is black, there are people who view you as dangerous.

    See: "Black" is synonymous with "evil."

    a legislature's choice to limit the citizenry to rifles, shotguns and other weapons less likely to augment urban violence need not, and should not, be viewed as an unconstitutional abridgment of the right of the people to keep or bear arms."

    This fails on three counts. First, banning handguns has never been successful in reducing urban violence. Second, handguns used for self-defense are much less likely to cause problems in urban environments than far more powerful rifles. Third, since the District's handgun ban is in reality a licensing/registration law (you can't possess a handgun not registered before c 1979) and SCOTUS has held that felons can't be forced to register firearms (self incrimination) criminals cannot be charged with possession of an unregistered handgun under this law.

    Even so, I could respect the "only handguns are banned" argument a little more if the anti-gun folks weren't simultaneously arguing that .50 Cal "sniper rifles" must be banned lest they shoot down airliners, and calling for another ban on the most evil "assault rifles," and so on and so on.

    In Texas, I seem to recall you can't carry concealed to the polling place. I'd check my election law stuff, but it's at home. Of course, there is no law against open carry of rifles in Texas, so I wonder if you could carry a rifle to the polls with you.

    Nope. Texas Penal Code 46.03 lists six locations where it's illegal for folks other than peace officers to possess any firearm, with or without a CHL. Premises of a polling place is one of them.

    Texas Department of Public Safety CHL book online. (PDF)

  • ||

    It is horrible human nature, and very military, to punish all the apples because of one or two dickheads.

    To hell with the so called punishers, and the two (or more) dickheads.

  • ||

    There are horribly irresponsible people in Religion, and in the Press. And in various things that are classified as Speech. In those areas we are careful to craft laws that only effect the abuser . Yet with guns the laws most often seem to effect only the responsible citizens. It makes one suspect that is the intent.
    .
    With regard to the involvement of guns in civil unrest, that cuts both ways. See the Deacons for Defense , and the Korean shopkeepers in the LA Riots, and the use of firearms to deter looting in every natural disaster. We aught not let the banners speak as if guns were only used to CAUSE unrest. And speaking of that---thank you for re-posting this --it just struck me---
    a legislature's choice to limit the citizenry to rifles, shotguns and other weapons less likely to augment urban violence-
    Wait a minute---aren't we being told the streets are awash with gangs using "assault" RIFLES ? But now rifles are "less likely to augment urban violence"
    But really, these are the same people who are horrified by hollow points on odd numbered days and by solids on even numbered days. Against little guns or big guns or fast shooting guns or precision guns......

  • Elemenope||

    Yet with guns the laws most often seem to effect only the responsible citizens.

    Agreed. That's why we all pretty much agree that regulations suck; they only really impose burdens on those who follow the rules.

    It makes one suspect that is the intent.

    And this is where it goes completely off the rails. Seriously, do people really believe this? Arguments from paranoia are seriously the reason why Libertarianism is confined to the ghetto of the American political landscape. Liberals, seriously, aren't going "hee, hee! let's get their guns and oppress them hicks!". They are trying to solve a practical and pressing problem using what we think is a very bad methodology. It is always, *always* stupid and counterproductive to impugn bad motives to the opposition, since it rarely holds up.

  • ||

    Well in the first place the history of gun control is full of ulterior motives. Many--perhaps most of the old guns laws were passed explicitly to repress certain racial and social groups. Other were enforced only against disfavored groups. The EXPERIENCE of bad motives leads people to suspect bad motives continue.
    In addition there is the respect people hold for public officials intelligence. One of the Bill Buckley quotes I loved was "I would like to take you seriously, but that would be an insult to your intelligence"
    People imagine that public officials are at least of average intelligence. But then they come up with regulations that every gun hobbyist in America sees as unworkable. The choice is to believe these people with Harvard Degrees are stupid---or to believe they are trying to pull a fast one. Given that they are constantly convicted by the Judicial System for pulling fast ones…………
    And to be fair I do imagine that most of the time it is not evil intent or stupidity, but ignorance. However they will never admit their ignorance and ask the experts (lets say the NRA) because they are convinced the NRA is Evil. (and their own hubris) So they propose unworkable laws that lead us to believe they must be up to something.

  • Elemenope||

    And to be fair I do imagine that most of the time it is not evil intent or stupidity, but ignorance. However they will never admit their ignorance and ask the experts (lets say the NRA) because they are convinced the NRA is Evil. (and their own hubris) So they propose unworkable laws that lead us to believe they must be up to something.

    I basically agree, though on the subject of the NRA being evil, they are a pretty hard-core shill for the Republican party, and often will refuse to support Democrats who have a 100% positive NRA voting record, even against untested Republicans. That pisses me off, purely from a advocacy point of view.

  • Other Matt||

    Wait a minute---aren't we being told the streets are awash with gangs using "assault" RIFLES ? But now rifles are "less likely to augment urban violence"

    Actually, in DC, they are classified as machine guns. Seriously, no shit. So is a Glock 19. Seriously. Their definition, per 22-4501, is "
    (c) "Machine gun," as used in this chapter, means any firearm which shoots automatically or semiautomatically more than 12 shots without reloading." Basically, anything which has the capability to have a 15 round mag is a "Machine gun" to them, forget carrying a pistol.

    I don't think I underestimate the dickheads. I think the dickheads are overestimated based on outdated stereotypes, myself.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Other Matt,

    WTF?

    I left.
    I came back.

    Tricky me.

    Robert,

    What if I take out a classified ad? I'm paying them money, and I expect them to use my exact wording, not to use their freedom of communication to express something different. That's not an employment relationship, but it's an exchange of value for value. I don't see why one couldn't condition the loan of a lawn mower on similar terms.

    I think that is an employment relationship. I am purchasing labor in either case, no? The question is...does my purchase of the classified ad give me the right to say that it can't be placed on the same page as another ad which says something I don't like? Does it give me the right to control the paper's other freedoms not related to the ad?

    Neu Mejican, do you either prefer, or recognize as existing, a large number of human rights ranked in terms of priorities to determine which takes precedence in cases where they must conflict? Or do you prefer, or recognize as existing, only a small number of rights which, although broad, should practically never come into conflict?

    I think I would say there are a fairly small number of rights that will conflict with each other across the large number of circumstances where they may apply based on contextual factors that can be nearly infinite.

    I do, however, think that there is an inherent ranking of these rights. Some are, let's say, primary: right to life, speech, autonomy...

    Others (a larger list, I would think) are secondary as they derive from the list of primary rights: property rights, right to bear arms...

    That's just off the top of my head.
    I wouldn't pretend to have an exhaustive list ready at hand.

  • Neu Mejican||

    My contention is that "the right to keep AND BEAR arms" certifies a civil right to do those things anywhere in the country where the general public is allowed to move freely.

    Airports, courts, schools, bars?

    I wonder if the "check your weapons at the door" policy of many of these types of places constitutes a place where the general public is allowed freely to move or not by your definition.

    But I don't think we disagree on the basic idea.

    The property rights discussion above seems pretty tangential to me to the gun rights discussion.

    Of course, the 2nd is an attempt to clarify that property rights, which are limited in some ways, should not be limited so as to exclude the people from having arms for the common defense.

    Or something.

  • Neu Mejican||

    ask the experts (lets say the NRA)

    I am not sure that is an "expert" from which you would get unbiased information.

    Actually, I am sure that it is not.

    Nothing wrong with the NRA, but they are certainly not the place to look if you want to get educated on the full-spectrum of opinions on guns.

  • ||

    Other Matt---Thanks, I did not realize that. Does that definition include rimfires? I can get 15 in my old Nylon 66--that would mean I have a machine gun. Cool!

  • ||

    Who said Unbiased? Personally I am suspicious of "Unbiased" people. If they are informed enough to consult they have an opinion. In such a situation you listen to both sides and evaluate.
    As for the NRA tending to support Republicans. I do not know the specifics, but there is sometimes reason to support the 'team' that is moving the ball your direction. That may mean ignoring a great player on the other team.
    As for "Airports, courts, schools, bars" ---You mean the places where we carried for years with no problem at all, that are now free fire zones for the psychos?

  • Elemenope||

    Personally I am suspicious of "Unbiased" people.

    Word, brother. :)

    As for the NRA tending to support Republicans. I do not know the specifics, but there is sometimes reason to support the 'team' that is moving the ball your direction. That may mean ignoring a great player on the other team.

    I would get that if that's what it was, but it often tends to be when they dig into state legislature races and sometimes gubernatorial races in places where *nobody* is even remotely anti-gun. In such situations (both GOP and donkey candidates are 100%, or even when donkey is 100% and the GOPer is unknown), instead of butting out--because they have already fucking won--they make it their business to ruin the democrat.

    That, I am so not cool with. Not only that, but it makes the pro-gun position less politically helpful, and so will drive away people who are lukewarm onto the other side, since they have nothing to lose. I mean, honestly, wouldn't it be better to have two parties that gave a damn about the 2nd Amendment, instead of just one?

    If it weren't for that behavior, I would have been an NRA member years ago. As it stands, their partisan shilling makes them unpalatable to me.

  • Other Matt||

    Other Matt---Thanks, I did not realize that. Does that definition include rimfires? I can get 15 in my old Nylon 66--that would mean I have a machine gun. Cool!

    Yep. Welcome to your nation's capital.

    That's also what's causing problems in NJ, they define "assault rifle" the same way, so a lot of old tube mag 22's are now "assault rifles". I'll dig out a ref, but I'm tired as hell so perhaps not.

    I would get that if that's what it was, but it often tends to be when they dig into state legislature races and sometimes gubernatorial races in places where *nobody* is even remotely anti-gun. In such situations (both GOP and donkey candidates are 100%, or even when donkey is 100% and the GOPer is unknown), instead of butting out--because they have already fucking won--they make it their business to ruin the democrat.

    You'd be surprised at the number of gun owners, not hunters, who believe the NRA is doing nothing to help. Here in MD, we've pretty much written them off, there's one blowhard called Purtilo or something like that, who actually sent out misleading sleazy fliers to run out the guy who introduced Shall Issue CCW legislation, simply because they want to play political games. Full disclosure would say that I'm loosely affiliated with Maryland Shall Issue (www.marylandshallissue.org), and I consider most of the officers personal friends.

  • ||

    wouldn't it be better to have two parties that gave a damn about the 2nd Amendment, instead of just one?
    .
    Amen.
    It is my hope and dream that we are moving in that direction, especially with the election of so many pro-gun democrats recently. But you may have noticed I am an untrusting sort. Deeds not words. "My" Pres let me down terribly with the D.C, .brief. I do think Gun Control like socialism is an idea whose time is past. Lets hope the pols get it soon. I consider that due to technology, . personal power is inevitably increasing. As for example the internet. Regulation cannot stem the tide. What are they gonna do when someone invents a pocket phaser you can assemble from parts at Radio Shack and the plans are distributed on the internet?

  • ||

    If you grant me access to your property, I come with all of my rights intact.

    All of your [civil] rights are intact against GOVT action, not private action. Once you lose that distinction - you've pretty much lost the bubble on rights.

  • LarryA||

    I basically agree, though on the subject of the NRA being evil, they are a pretty hard-core shill for the Republican party, and often will refuse to support Democrats who have a 100% positive NRA voting record, even against untested Republicans.

    Really? I just went back and checked, and in 2006 in the House of Representatives races in Texas the NRA endorsed five Democrats, including Silvestre Reyes, Nick Lampson, Solomon Ortiz, Henry Cuellar, and Gene Green. Lampson, Ortiz, and Green were running against A-rated Republicans. In no case was a Republican endorsed against a higher-rated Democrat, or against an equal-rated incumbent. Sorry, no link, as past ratings are in a member's area. Anyone who is a member can, of course, check their own jurisdiction.

    I do, however, think that there is an inherent ranking of these rights.

    I believe that each of the two dozen rights enumerated in the first eight amendments is essential to a free people, which means they are of equal importance.

    Basically, amendments 3 through 6, and 8 protect individuals from government persecution. Amendment 7 protects against unjust civil lawsuits. The First Amendment protects the five rights that allow a person to speak out against injustice, including freedom of speech, the press, and religion; and the right to freely assemble, and to petition the government. The Second Amendment is the "if all else fails" guarantee that we'll have the ability to, in the words of the Declaration, "alter or abolish" a government that becomes "destructive of these ends."

    Some are, let's say, primary: right to life, speech, autonomy... Others (a larger list, I would think) are secondary as they derive from the list of primary rights: property rights, right to bear arms...

    It's interesting, then, that life and property are listed together in the Fifth Amendment:

    No person shall be… deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law;



    Nothing wrong with the NRA, but they are certainly not the place to look if you want to get educated on the full-spectrum of opinions on guns.

    They are certainly biased, but I've noticed the NRA isn't shy about linking to anti-gun stuff, in a "look what the other side is saying" way. I don't see that on the anti-gun sites.

  • ||

    Tribe needs to push for a ban on hacksaws if he is willing to allow longarms but wants to ban handguns.

  • ||

    who are these unamerican elected officals in dc think they are, its a american right to own a gun this is pure bull telling citizens to take apart there rifles, everyone has the right of self defense. Vote all these jerks out when somebody is running for office in dc ask them if they believe in the 2nd amendment? if they dont then they are not loyal americans who do not support the constitution of the U.S. you have the power vote for a progun canidate and then all the crime will go down!

  • Neu Mejican||

    LarryA,

    Life, liberty (on my list of primary rights) come before property (which I call a derived right).

    I think the ordering in the clause reflects the hierarchy.

    Do you disagree?

    I never said property rights were not essential, but without life or liberty, they are pretty meaningless.

  • ||

    If the people of this nation cannot see the absurdity of the D.C. comments and position then maybe it's time for America to come to a close. If someone can't provide for their own protection, then it's time for the government that restricts it to be replaced. The second ammendment was designed for just such a situation to empower the people against a repressive authority.

  • wang||

    So cool! If I have a gun in hand! I would become a gun-god , and to go to the Olympic Game to get a medal!

  • Jon||

    You forgot to mention D.C. CODE § 22-4504(a) which states that "[n]o person shall carry within the District of Columbia either openly or concealed on or about their person, a pistol, without a license issued pursuant to District of Columbia law, or any deadly or dangerous weapon capable of being so concealed." Under DC law, this applies to persons moving a firearm from one room to another in their dwelling. It would take some fancy footwork to explain why the D.C. Circuit's holding THAT law constitutional should be overturned if the individual right interpretation is adopted by the USSC.

  • ||

    If there are any who doubt the comments about "If your skin or your gun is Black" and racism being behind gun control. This is fresh from The Omaha Harold
    "Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha ----Chambers called the bill a "piece of Swiss cheese" that would not address his concerns about ready and easy access of firearms to young black men and young Latino men."
    Now--my skin is closer to ivory and I suspect at least one of you is closer to walnut---but if you have Hoppes #9 and gun oil in your veins, we are blood brothers.

  • ||

    Here is the link--sorry for the misspelling --spell check was far from my mind.
    http://www.omaha.com/index.php?u_page=2798&u_sid=10281893

  • ||

    Nothing wrong with the NRA, but they are certainly not the place to look if you want to get educated on the full-spectrum of opinions on guns.



    Political advocacy aside, the NRA is the most widely trusted source for information on basic gun safety, and staffed with people who actually have the technical knowledge of the subject to be able to determine if a proposed law is a stupid idea or not.

    Most politicians who propose gun control laws don't even understand the fundamental basics of gun safety*, let alone the technical knowledge to speak with even a basic understanding of the very things they are trying to regulate.

    The anti-gun crowd may not operate from a position of nefarious intentions, but they demonstrably operate from a stance of blatant willful ignorance.

    The NRA may be staunch in their stance on the gun issue, but they are absolutely right far more often than not.

    *She's sweeping the crowd with a rifle with her finger on the trigger.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Mediageek,

    Yes, the NRA would be the source for information of the type you cite.

    I was thinking more of the likelihood of bias in their information regarding the impact of policy positions, etc...

  • Robert||

    does my purchase of the classified ad give me the right to say that it can't be placed on the same page as another ad which says something I don't like?


    I'm sure that right would be available for a suitable price.

    Does it give me the right to control the paper's other freedoms not related to the ad?


    I think you're confusing the actual doing of a thing with the freedom to do it. They have the freedom not to sell you an ad, but once they've sold it to you they don't have the right to not fulfill it. You can't have your cake and eat it too.

    Choice is something that takes place at a given time and then goes away. You had a choice, you made a choice, and once you've made it, it's no longer a choice. If there were no way for you to nail down the choice, then there was no choice to begin with.

    So why couldn't someone condition your use of that person's lawn mower on your not telling the other neighbor about it, for instance? It's not that you don't have freedom of speech or freedom to lend lawn mowers in general, it's just that combination of things was the choice you took.

  • ||

    If you enter into a contract freely you are bound by the terms you accepted. Bonds you forged for yourself. If you think the terms are silly or limit your freedom too much, you are FREE to NOT accept the deal. If you accept it and then decide not to fulfill your part of the deal, you are guilty of obtaining something under false pretenses--cheating another man out of his property by not making the agreed upon payment (your silence), oath breaking,(lying). This leads to a break down of any society--especially a libertarian one--because the individual can no longer deal with his fellow man in the expectation that deals will be kept. The more freedom exists the more essential this expectation becomes, as ones personal Word replaces Gov't Edict. If you wish to explore the idea of Libertarian society and are into SF, I recommend "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" by R.Heinlein

  • LarryA||

    Life, liberty (on my list of primary rights) come before property (which I call a derived right). I think the ordering in the clause reflects the hierarchy. Do you disagree?

    Yes. You can call them whatever you want, but the two dozen rights in the Bill of Rights are essential. "Essential" = "You can't do without them."

    I never said property rights were not essential, but without life or liberty, they are pretty meaningless.

    If three things are "essential" they are equally important, since the lack of any one of them makes the others worthless. It's like saying one essential link in a chain is more important than another when the lack of any link destroys the utility of the chain.

    Life and liberty are also meaningless without the right to own property, and cannot be protected without the right to keep and bear arms.

    If you have a counter example (long-term real-world) I'll see it and raise you today's England.

  • ||

    Here is a thought for you. How do you obtain property? You exchange a portion of your life for it. Hours on the time clock, mental exertion, artistic skill. Often it is by doing things that cost you your health (coal mine), or put your life at risk (truck driver-fireman) Thus property represents life. In fact ultimately the cost of things are measured in the human effort required to produce it. The life.

  • ||

    I sold a portion of my life to "the man" to obtain that wad of bills that you disdain, to buy food to sustain the lives of my family. Tread carefully with it.

  • ||

    Neu Mejican wrote: "You do not have the right to control my speech while I am on your property"

    OF COURSE I DO!

    You're mistaking limitations on the government for limitations on what I can do with my property -- in this case, I decide who can and cannot be ON that property. If you don't follow the rules that I set on it, I can keep you from being there in the first place.

    You have the right to free speech, but NOT ON MY PROPERTY.

  • ||

    Neu Mejican wrote: "Once you grant me access, however, you grant me access with all of my basic rights intact."

    Now I see your basic error. However, legally and morally, it is not true that you have any rights whatsoever on my land.

    When I grant you access, I am not giving up any of my rights. I am granting you a "limited license" -- in this case, permission to be on my property -- which you enjoy only so long as I choose to grant it.

    Your enjoyment of that license hinges on your following the rules that I set. If you are not willing to conform, your license is revoked.

  • ||

    J Golden Rockwell-nailed it. I would say that he SOLD you a license. Payment can come in many forms, including behavior. I let you have access to my property---or my lawnmower--on conditon of your silence. You talk and you have violated the contract. Actually, this very thing is common with hunters and landowners. "Yes you may hunt ---or fish-- on my property, provided you don't go telling everybody else. (so the landowner wont be overwhelmed)

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