Why Would Gun Owners of America Support Gun Rights?

Fox News reports that the ACLU of South Dakota is challenging a state law that prevents legal U.S. residents from obtaining permits to carry handguns, arguing that it violates the 14th Amendment's guarantee of equal protection. The plaintiff is Wayne Smith, who was born in the U.K. but has lived in the U.S. for 30 years. He had no trouble obtaining a carry permit until the South Dakota legislature added American citizenship to the requirements in 2002. Why the change? "We went back and listened to the testimony from 2002," says South Dakota Secretary of State Jason Gant, "and it was in response to 9/11 as well as wanting to make sure that only U.S. citizens were receiving these permits." The first reason does not make much sense to me (did carry permits play some crucial role in the hijackings that I've forgotten?), and the second reason is tautological. Evidently South Dakota legislators decided to make U.S. citizenship a requirement for carry permits so that only U.S. citizens could obtain carry permits.

Whatever their reasons, says ACLU of South Dakota Executive Director Robert Doody, the requirement is unconstitutional:

All persons are guaranteed equal protection under the Constitution regardless of what their status is. Everyone should be treated equally by the government. And in this case we know that there are United States Supreme Court decisions out there that say that alienage is one of the highest standards of strict scrutiny, so if a state or government makes a decision based on pure alienage then that would run afoul of the 14th Amendment.

The ACLU of Kentucky won a similar challenge in 2008, and "constitutional attorney Noel Francisco" tells Fox News that Smith has a strong case:

Legal resident aliens—that is, non-citizens who legally live in the United States—have constitutional rights. No one, for example, would say that a state could prohibit a legal resident alien from freely practicing his religion or engaging in free speech. Thus, if Mr. Smith does not have a criminal background or hasn't done anything else that disqualifies him from getting a permit, it's not clear to me how a state could prohibit him from getting a permit when it allows an otherwise similarly situated citizen to get one.

So who's against this defense of Smith's gun rights? Gun Owners of America, which brags of being "the only no-compromise gun lobby in Washington." (The wishy-washy National Rifle Association, by contrast, is cheering Smith on.) GOA Executive Director Larry Pratt worries that "they want to make it so illegal aliens have the same rights as everybody else...every little bit chipping away." And what's Smith's problem anyway? "If the guy wants to enjoy the full benefit of residing in the United States," says Pratt, "become a citizen. He's been here for 30 years. What's he waiting for?" Presumably the same goes for legal residents who want to practice their religions or speak freely.

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  • ||

    Of course, on this issue, what no one really cares about is gun rights. It's really a thinly veiled immigration battle.

    I tend to agree, though, that legal residents have most of the same rights the rest of us have, except those strictly connected to citizenship.

  • ||

    Agreed that this becomes a stupid immigration issue. But what I'd like to know is, why can't we have a gun rights organization that isn't effectively also TEAM RED on most if not all other issues? I'm an NRA member because to join some ranges, you have to be, but I hate it, because I hate their cultural stances. I'd love to have The Libertarians' Club For Guns or something to be able to belong to instead. Well, what I'd most like is for ranges not to require me to belong to anything, but they're private clubs and can do what they want.

  • Anonymous||

    The GOA has long had a reputation as just that, a libertarian version of the NRA. I know that they tout Ron Paul's endorsement a lot. Which might explain this, if it's mainly paleo-libertarians being reflexively anti-immigrant.

    Cue the Lew Rockwell readers screaming about how this is perfectly consistent and haven't you stupid cosmobeltwaytarians read Hermann-Hoppe???

  • ||

    I had heard that about the GOA, but wanted to hear more about them before thinking of dumping the NRA for them. And now I have, and I won't be.

  • JSinAZ||

    Unlike Team Red / Team Blue affiliation, NRA and GOA are not mutually exclusive in terms of membership (which is pretty much just providing support for lobbyists anyway) - at least I don't recall any constraints like that in any membership info I've read. At the time I joined GOA, they were offering the AZ Gun Owners Guide as a perk, which was basically worth the price by itself.

    This is obviously another proxy front in the immigration war, in any case. I don't think people hear "legal" once they hear "immigrant", or they are just too fixated to appreciate the difference.

  • Robert||

    This is a mindfuck, because my impression had always been that GOA would toss aside all other issues for guns. I guess ideologic drift is inevitable in any organiz'n that's around long enough and has a few idle hands.

  • RyanXXX||

    Do you actually go to Rockwell's site? Most of the people there are for open-borders

  • MNG||

    This may suprise some people, but I'm a fairly big fan of the NRA. They are so effective in large part because they will certainly give their endorsement to a Dem over a GOPer if the Dem is better on gun issues. They tried really hard to get a foothold in the Democratic Party after 1994. It's brilliant because in a two party system sometimes one party will rule, sometimes another. Now when the Dems are in charge and some of them start trying to restrict gun rights the gun friendly Dems among them say "hey, no way" and they move to something else.

    BTW-I'm not denying that in general R's are better than D's on these issues (imo).

  • JD||

    I agree that the NRA does a pretty decent job of being nonpartisan, better than GOA in my opinion.

    They came close to endorsing Harry Reid in 2010, which I thought would be the right move from a gun rights standpoint--he has been good for gun rights for the last 15 years or so (voting against the assault weapons ban renewal, etc.), and he worked hard with the NRA to get National Park carry and national concealed carry reciprocity to a vote. If he hadn't been reelected Chuck Schumer or Dick Durbin would likely be the Senate Majority Leader and that would virtually guarantee no pro-gun legislation would make it through the Senate in the next two years.

  • ||

    IINM, wasn't Howard Dean often endorsed by the NRA when he was Vermont governor.

    (it is one of those little "contradictions" that people tend to conveniently forget that Vermont is perhaps the most left-wing state in the US yet also has the least restrictive gun laws in the US: no permit to purchase, no registration, no special treatment for "assault weapons", no license to own, no permits required for open or concealed carry (indeed, permits cannot be given because that would imply that you needed a permit), and state law pre-empts any local restrictions... the only laws of note are that dealers are required to keep records of handgun sales and that it's illegal to carry on school grounds or in a courthouse)

    ((and the Vermont constitution has probably the best rendering of the right to keep and bear arms: "The people have the right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the State -- and as standing armies in times of peace are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; and that the military should be kept under strict subordination to and governed by the civil power." No ambiguity there about "well-regulated militia"!))

  • Just Kidding||

    All that gun freedom, and Bernie Sanders is still alive?

  • JB||

    GOA tends to be really good on 2nd Amendment issues and really good on a number of 1st Amendment issues (organizations having to disclose member lists for example).

    This is one of the few things I've heard from them that I disagree with (that's amazing since I tend to disagree with everyone 90%).

    His broader point on citizenship is somewhat true though.

  • Slap the Enlightened!||

    Of course, on this issue, what no one really cares about is gun rights. It's really a thinly veiled immigration battle.

    And what other kind of gun rights case do you think you'd be reading about here?

  • ||

    It's just funny. The ACLU, which isn't exactly a regular defender of gun rights, jumps in because there's an immigration issue. The gun dudes jump out because it's an immigration issue.

    I think the ACLU is right, but I also have to ask why now and not in gun control cases?

    As for an organization that's all about gun rights, well, I think maybe you should be all about gun rights. Focus, people, focus!

  • Slap the Enlightened!||

    It is funny. Mostly because all parties involved are playing as stereotypically to type as you could ever hope.

  • ||

    It lends predictability to their actions, anyway.

  • Robert||

    And to me this is evidence that there is some sort of logic or principle to the "left"-"right" divide. Things like this don't happen due to chance, and stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason. Now, if I could just understand it....

  • JSinAZ||

    This is less true than I had previously thought, as noted by Reason: "The ACLU of Texas has joined with the Texas State Rifle Association and the NRA to fight local prosecutors who are defying a law aimed at protecting law-abiding Texans from being arrested for having guns in their cars." (http://reason.com/blog/2007/04/06/the-aclu-defends-gun-rights).

  • Dan||

    This is really disappointing. I am not a big fan of the NRA, and thought Gun Owners of America took a stronger stand for gun rights. I guess that's not the case.

  • robc||

    Ditto.

    I thought the GOA avoided the other issues, which is why they sometimes have given Ds strong ratings and Rs piss poor ratings (compared to NRA ratings).

  • ||

    You're quite misinformed. The NRA is non-partisan in it's ratings, because it only considers gun related votes, along with votes for certain judges who will rule on the 2nd when it releases it's rankings.

    The GOA will randomly throw votes into the mix, votes which have nothing to do with guns but allow the Republicans to score higher ratings.

  • ||

    In one congressional district north of Tampa the NRA gave its endorsement to a Democrat over a Republican with an equal A rating.

    The clincher was that the Democrat was the incumbent so that in addition to correct answers on the questionnaire, she had a voting record that backed up her statements.

  • ||

    There are two possible reasons for this: Either the GOA isn't as pro-gun as they pretend to be, or they simply take the opposite position of whatever the NRA says.

    Or, more likely both.

  • ||

    Well, goddam. The ACLU takes up a 2A case. One they should win in a walk, BTW. However, given the massive loopholes the SCOTUS has taken great care to leave in 2A protections in their opinions so far, I wouldn't be surprised to see a citizenship requirement upheld as a "reasonable" regulation.

    Still, that's a requirement that's not attached to any of the other BOR, so this is actually a very nice test case for 2A jurisprudence. Under standard-issue doctrine (that all persons are protected by the BOR, not just citizens), its a no-brainer.

    Nicely played, ACLU.

    Eat a dick, GOA.

  • JD||

    A number of state ACLU affiliated have taken up gun rights cases within the past few years.

    The Texas ACLU took one when some police departments were arresting people for carrying in their cars without a permit, when it was clearly the intent of the legislature that it be allowed. There have been several other cases as well (I remember the Nevada ACLU taking one as well, in addition to the Kentucky case cited above).

    None of the cases have relied on the Second Amendment though. The same thing is going on in the SD case, which is more an Equal Protection case than a right to keep and bear arms case.

  • JSinAZ||

    Reason noted this at the time: http://reason.com/blog/2007/04.....gun-rights

  • robc||

    A number of state ACLU

    My only problem. The state ACLUs seem to be pretty good, now if the national would just get on board.

  • Bucky||

    BOR?

  • Bucky||

    or ROBA?

  • wha||

    2A is A-OK, but BOR is OMG.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Except the ACLU isn't arguing it as a 2nd Amendment case. They're arguing as a 14th Amendment case.

  • ||

    GOA Executive Director Larry Pratt worries that "they want to make it so illegal aliens have the same rights as everybody else...every little bit chipping away."

    Oh, for fuck's sake.

  • PIRS||

    And to think I was actually thinking about JOINING the GOA. Glad I didn't.

  • robc||

    Also ditto.

  • Almanian||

    Double ditto

    GOA, die by crushing from a giant bag of dicks, you fucksticks.

  • Almanian||

    No, GOA, die by being trampled by a stampede of legal and illegal aliens, you self-gerbiling cuntballs*.

    * I picked that word up here yesterday...thanks!

  • ||

    Sounds episiarchian to me.

  • ||

    Actually, sage called me that yesterday. So I called him a nutsnuggler in return.

  • ||

    Spoken by you or inspired to you--makes no difference. It's like Hitler and the Nazis.

  • Not Episiarch||

    Are you purposely obtuse, or just unbelievably stupid?

  • ||

    I believe that concealed carry is synonymous with self defense. A gun at home doesn't do me much good when I am not there.

    But isn't concealed carry considered a separate issue from the "Right to bear arms", legally? To date, do citizens have a right to concealed carry? I am not arguing that they shouldn't, just that it seems strange to argue that resident aliens would have rights that a citizen does not. Did recent court rulings effect concealed carry? I was under the impression that they only acknowledged ownership and didn't address CC.

    I look forward to the ACLU arguing for the Right of the citizens and aliens of DC to concealed carry. Should I hold my breath?

  • PIRS||

    "But isn't concealed carry considered a separate issue from the "Right to bear arms","

    No, it is not. One could even argue that a law that requires a separate license for concieled carry is a violation of the 2nd Amendment.

    "To date, do citizens have a right to concealed carry?"

    Yes, it is just that some jurisdictions do not RECOGNIZE that right. But a right exists regardless of who recognizes it. North Koreans have a right to free speech. Their government does not RECOGNIZE that right.

  • ||

    Excuse my word choice. I was basically asking the way that you say it.

    Is the ACLU arguing for a Constitutional right to concealed carry?

  • ||

    Seriously, PIRS, cutting off the word legally changes the meaning of the whole sentence, which is why I added it.

  • PIRS||

    Sorry, not intentional I swear. I understand your meaning, from a legal standpoint, according to modern courts perhaps.

  • EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy||

    cutting off the word legally changes the meaning of the whole sentence

    This seems to me a perfect channel marker for bad law.

    I mean, seriously, this seems to argue that the law is exactly at odds with morality (however you happen to define it).

  • ||

    You're kinda of switching your definition of "rights" mid-stream. If you think people have some moral right to free speech, awesome.

    But legal rights exist only to the extent that they are protected by society. If society doesn't agree that they are rights, then they aren't legal rights. They are two different things. I can believe that there is a moral, universal right to own a gerbil, but that doesn't mean much unless my government acknowledges it.

  • seanrude||

    Is there a right to shove Lemmiwinks up your ass? That might make a good Tenth Amendment test case

  • JD||

    To date, do citizens have a right to concealed carry? I am not arguing that they shouldn't, just that it seems strange to argue that resident aliens would have rights that a citizen does not.

    To date no federal right to carry has been recognized, although some state supreme courts have found one under state constitutions (Wisconsin is the most recent decision that springs to mind). Cato and the Second Amendment Foundation have a case in the DC Circuit (Palmer v. DC) arguing for a right to (licensed) carry.

    However, as I was saying above, this isn't really a Second Amendment case as much as a 14th Amendment (Equal Protection) case. South Dakota already issues carry permits but they are refusing to issue them to legal resident aliens. It is no different than if South Dakota refused to issue drivers licenses to green card holders.

  • ||

    That makes sense. Is the ACLU arguing the case based on the 14th? I ask because I don't know but would be shocked (although pleased) if they supported it as a 2nd Amendment issue.

  • RyanXXX||

    He's not even an illegal alien. And he's white. I really don't see why Gun Owners of America would be worried about someone from the U.K. carrying a handgun.

    The revolution is over, guys. America won.

  • Juice||

    What does it matter if he's white?

  • Racist||

    You don't want niggers slaves and spics to have guns, do ya? Never mind the yellas...

  • RyanXXX||

    Because if he were an actual mexican immigrant, the GOA position would make more sense (not that I'd approve)

  • ||

    The guy is a Limey; the Queen will probably cancel his passport when she finds out he has a gun.

  • ||

    At least it wasn't a sword.

  • Juice||

    "If the guy wants to enjoy the full benefit of residing in the United States," says Pratt, "become a citizen. He's been here for 30 years. What's he waiting for?"

    Probably still waiting on his form N-400 to clear.

  • ||

    No, the guy just hates jury duty. Which I totally understand. Hey, can I revoke my citizenship and just become a legal resident?

  • ||

    Dude, I got my first jury summons this week and I've never been happier to be a filthy, jerb-stealing non-citizen. Exempted, bitches.

  • ||

    THEY TOOK UR JERY DOOTY EXEMPSHUNS!!!

  • ||

    My God, you're right. That explains why I keep getting called to jury duty. Damned, stinking apes!

  • ||

    How do they call? In Oklahoma, they send you a letter in the mail. While I can't prove it, I think that the postman has stolen all of the ones sent to me.

  • ||

    Yes, well, I'd probably have my license suspended if I pulled anything like that.

    But maybe if I paid my postman to steal them. . .hmmm.

  • ||

    How? Could they really take you to court and say with a straight face "we sent it in the mail so it must have arrived"?

    20 years ago I was a long haul truck driver. My license address was at my parents house because I lived out of the truck and my suitcase. Once I received a summons for jury duty while on a long trip. My father called the clerk and informed them that I wouldn't be back in the State in time. They told him not to worry about it. I don't think they even took my name. As I say, since then my mailman simply must have "stolen" or "lost" any others sent to me. Maybe he throws them in the trash. Perhaps they get mixed in with the adds which I just throw away.

    I think they send out dozens or hundreds and never give a second thought to those who do not show up.

  • ||

    A citizen takes responsibility for the safety of the body politic; a civilian does not.

  • JB||

    Two words: jury nullification.

    Say those and you won't be sitting on a jury.

  • ||

    sitting on the jury gives you a chance to ENGAGE In jury nullification and right wrongs (e.g in a WOD case). it's one thing to spout on the internet about how much the WOD sux.

    it's another thing to ACTUALLY do something about it. serving on a jury gives you that opportunity.

  • Pope Jimbo||

    Hah!

    My wife was a legal resident alien for 8 years or so. She had no desire to give up her citizenship in Korea (south by the way) for no real benefits.

    Then when 9/11 hit, she figured she better get legalized before the shit hit the fan. I think she suspected that I might lose my libertarian leanings and cheer on the statists from the dock as they deported her.

  • ||

    She also ought to check what Korea's policy is.

    Many countries (Canada, for example) do not revoke your citizenship if you get naturalized elsewhere so you become a dual national.

    In fact, IIANM, the US doesn't even do so, although it can be used as grounds for the proper authority to revoke it.

    IOW, if you're a US citizen, you remain one until the government formally takes action to revoke it, either by accepting your renunciation of citizenship (a formal procedure, usually taken before a consular official) or by proving to a judge that you have committed acts that justify the revocation of your citizenship.

  • Paul||

    Bravo to the ACLU on this issue. I'm curious about this case from a constitutional perspective though. And I'm sure it's been hashed out many times here, but what Constitutional protections does a foreign national expect?

    Reasonably, we wouldn't want to deny them due process if they were accused of a crime in the U.S.

    However, I hope his case succeeds.

  • ||

    the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

    These words are so anachronistic and hard to understand!

    They hurt my widdle head.

  • Almanian||

    But...but...but...."well-regulated mulisha", "living document", yore neighbor owns a TANK, Newcular Missiles in yore gun cabinet!!!!1!!won!

  • ||

    It's quite simple. By capitalizing "People", the Founders were clearly referring to the people in their collective sense, as embodied and symbolized by the sacred federal government. In other words, this clause means that the government has a right to guns, and lots of them.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    An advocacy group full of douchebag bullshit artists. Stop the presses.

  • Paul||

    So who's against this defense of Smith's gun rights? Gun Owners of America, which brags of being "the only no-compromise gun lobby in Washington." (The wishy-washy National Rifle Association, by contrast, is cheering Smith on.) GOA Executive Director Larry Pratt worries that "they want to make it so illegal aliens have the same rights as everybody else...every little bit chipping away." And what's Smith's problem anyway? "If the guy wants to enjoy the full benefit of residing in the United States," says Pratt, "become a citizen.

    Sounds like the kind of organization where Conservatism comes before the specific cause their organization defends.

    Sort of like the polar opposite of NARAL.

  • ||

    It's weird being a Green Card holder sometimes. I am going to get a Washington State concealed carry permit, and before I wasted time going down to the office, I had to remind myself to check whether legal perm residents actually could CCW. Fortunately, in WA they can. Glad the ACLU is all up ons for other states.

  • ||

    You don't seriously think the ACLU is going to go to bat for Canadian gun owners, do you?

  • Almanian||

    Canadian gun owners

    Isn't that an oxymoron? When I played w/the Toronto Police Pipe Band, only the actual COPS had guns. The rest of us just had...bagpipes. Or drums...

    Or walkie talkies....

  • ||

    Well, she's Canadian, so there's one exception. Of course, any Canadian crazy enough to live in the U.S. must be insane by Great White Northian standards.

  • Almanian||

    true dat

  • ||

    One win for Canada is the greater prevalence of bagpipes. My university had a kickass pipe band.

  • ||

    If it's not Scottish, it's crap!

  • Almanian||

    Simon Fraser by chance? Multi-time world champs - have a lot of friends there :)

  • ||

    That's the one! NO ONE has heard of it. When I wear my SFU sweatshirt, people think it is San Francisco University.

  • ||

    SFU Pipe Band - world class!!!!

    And FYI Bagpipes as weapons, quote "The Great Highland Bagpipe is the only musical instrument ever to be banned as a weapon. Playing of the bagpipes was banned in Scotland by an Act of Parliament in 1747. After the last Jacobite Rising ended in 1746, the Hanoverian government tried to obliterate all Scottish culture, forbidding the wearing of tartan and carring of weapons. Since no clan ever went into battle without a piper, bagpipes were banned as a weapon of war. "

    http://www.highlandnet.com/info/misc/pipes.html

  • ||

    Almanian is Canuckian too, so he doesn't count.

    Though I'd heard of Simon Fraser, of course.

  • Almanian||

    John Thacker - I am exphatically NOT Canuckian. I'm a Michigander...it's the border-state thing that fools some people.

  • robc||

    Simon Fraser is the first Canadian member of the NCAA. Really, if you play sports in America, you arent really Canadian anymore.

  • Almanian||

    Dagney - that's teh awsum. SFU - Jack and Terry Lee leading the pipe corps, Reid Maxwell has the drum corps. Last pipe major for Toronto was an SFU transplant studying @ Univ Toronto. I left the band a couple years ago, he left a year or so after that.

    So, small world :) Again, good luck w/the CCW - hope you don't need it.

  • Meh||

    Weird. My first thought is "Shut the Fuck Up" and I live near San Francisco!

  • ||

    Fun SFU fact: the outdoor market on Caprica in BSG was filmed in the quad (there was other stuff filmed on campus too, but that's the most recognizable).

  • ||

    Dagny -

    Where are you?

  • Almanian||

    Good luck and hope you never need to use your CCW!

  • ||

    They're worried about the "Wayne" name thing.

  • Almanian||

    Slight threadjack - Teh NOOZ just reported that the mail-packages-that- kind-of-blowed-up-but-not-really in Warshington and Maryland yesterday were both WHITE.

    White.

    Therefore....racist.

    Carry on.

  • ||

    By capitalizing "People", the Founders were clearly referring to the people in their collective sense, as embodied and symbolized by the sacred federal government.

    Silly me. I always assumed the capitalization of nouns was merely an artifact of crosspollination between German and Olde Englishe.

  • Almanian||

    Good things the Pilgrims didn't write it, or it would have a bunch of extraneous e's at the end of words (this in addition to the funny S's that look like F's)

  • Almanian Smithe||

    The rite of The People to Keepe and Bear Armes shall not be abridged, notwithstanding ill Temprement, ill Humours, fowle Dispositione, and further irrespective of Previous Militia Service, Foreign Origine, Eye Coloure, Handedness, but definitely not fore Indianes, Wimmen, nor Faggotes.

    No Homoe.

  • ||

    So you would arm slaves and indentured servants?

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Of course. Mamluks are cool.

  • ||

    Well, you'd be foolish to think so, because the Constitution was written in Old High Norse.

  • ||

    You must be joshing, PL. Old Norse didn't have High and Low dialects.

  • ||

    I would've gotten away with it, too, if it weren't for these meddling kids.

  • ||

    Also, back in Ye Olden Tymes (or so I wuz larneded), printers were not exactly... fanatical, shall we say... about making sure all their typefaces matched.

    "Big 'P', little 'P', wot's the diff, Mate?"

  • ||

    To be fair, there are other interpretations. Back then, "people" didn't include women, blacks, Injuns, Chinamen, people who didn't own land, indentured servants, Mexicans, and many, many others. In fact, the only person who qualified as "people" back then was a guy named Henry who lived in Virginia.

  • Almanian||

    ...one other "people" - John from Massachusetts

  • ||

    That's a minority view.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Blah blah blah, Constitution's function is to constrain government, not grant magical powers to people who fall out of their mothers on the right side of the water, etc etc etc.

  • Almanian||

    Teh ANKER BABIESZZ!

  • DJF||

    How can a British subject be part of the well regulated militia of the USA?

    “”A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.””

  • General Cornwallis||

    TRAITOR!

  • DJF||

    LOSER!

  • ||

    Say, that's an interesting way of forcing the ACLU to accept the true meaning of the Second Amendment. . .and of Christmas.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Wait, weren't all of those guys in the original well-regulate militias British subjects? Y'know, until they weren't.

  • DJF||

    Yes, so I think that all Wayne Smith needs to do is to declare himself in rebellion against the Queen and he should be allowed to have weapons in USA in case he is needed by the well regulated militia.

    However as long as he is a loyal subject of the Queen then its hard to argue that he comes under the 2nd amendment.

  • Hugh Akston||

    See my comment @ 7:16

  • Anonymous Coward||

    This Wayne Smith character is suspicious. His residence must be searched in the event that he possesses a bright red coat, breeches, and a musket. He may be a sleeper agent of King George III.

  • Pope Jimbo||

    I am sure there is some FBI agent even now trying to get close to Wayne Smith to see if he can get him to commit to a plot to throw tea into the Missouri river...

  • ||

    “An unfortunately included subordinate clause, being in no way a limitation on the application of the independent clause, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

  • DJF||

    But the “people” referenced are “We the People of the United States” which obviously does not include Wayne Smith who is a subject of the Queen of England

  • ||

    The People of the United States are the people writing and approving the Constitution.

    The people whose rights the Constitution is protecting are the all men who are created equal and endowed with certain inalienable rights that Governments are instituted to secure.

  • ||

    You're quoting from the Declaration of Independence, which is a propaganda document holding no force of law as the Constitution and its amendments do.

  • ||

    It's the legal justification for our separation from the UK. What are you, some sort of British provocateur?

  • ||

    So you think that because "We the People of the United States" wrote the thing only their rights are preserved?

    Do you have evidence for this position that passes greater legal muster than the Declaration of Independence?

  • cynical||

    The U.S. allows legally resident non-citizens to serve in its military, does it not? If it isn't even a requirement for the regular forces, surely they are part of the irregulars.

  • ||

    Not only allows, but compells - male lawful permanent residents between the ages of 18 and 25 must register with the Selective Service System and are liable to be drafted just as US citizens are.

  • ||

    Actually, all males residing in the US and between the ages of 18 and 25 must register with the Selective Service System regardless of immigration status.

    Almost all other male noncitizens are required to register, including illegal aliens, legal permanent residents, and refugees.

    (emphasis added)

  • Marc||

    I'm pretty sure everyone in the original militias were british subjects

  • ||

    And- I can think of no more compelling reason to allow widespread firearms possession than bagpipe bands.

    If you see what I mean...

  • Almanian||

    Hey....!

  • ||

    [Munches on fried haggis sandwich and sharpens claymore]

  • ||

    I have to say that you've brought me around to the conviction that the Scottish are almost as low a race as the micks. Possibly even lower than the Dutch.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Aren't the Dutch the Canadians of Europe?

  • ||

    But the Dutch live in the Nether-lands.

  • ||

    The Romans had bagpipes, ate much grosser food, and wore skirts, too.

  • ||

    Ocelot spleens!

  • ||

    One of my earliest memories is of cringing in terror as a toddler behind my grandmother's front door because a family friend was marching up and down the yard playing his bagpipe. I still cringe from bagpipes, though not in terror any more.

  • ||

    How can a British subject be part of the well regulated militia of the USA?

    Ask one of the Irishmen who fought in place of True Americans in the Unpleasantness Between the Upper and Lower Tracts.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Well meself and a hundred more, to America sailed o'er

    Our fortunes to be made we were thinkin'

    When we got to Yankee land, they shoved a gun into our hands

    Saying "Paddy, you must go and fight for Lincoln"

  • BakedPenguin||

    I love how the opponents of the 2nd amendment always trot out the "militia" argument.

    And when any voluntary, non-governmental militia forms, it scares the shit out those same idiots.

  • ||

    I love how you guys always forget the "well-regulated" modifier. While the militia scares are overblown, none of these so-called militias have subjected themselves to Congressional authority as required by the Constitution.

  • MNG||

    If you're going to ignore the militia part you might as well ignore the well regulated part!

  • BakedPenguin||

    Yep, well-regulated militias. Like the one that formed in 1775. Oh wait, the government in charge at the time didn't care so much for that militia.

    Which is the reason why gun ownership is an individual right. Like all the others in the BOR.

  • MNG||

    That the vast majority of the BOR deals with individual rights is a good point in arguing for an individual right. But what do you make of the actual text of the 2nd, all that stuff about militias?

  • BakedPenguin||

    Militias, as we saw in the 1990's, do not have to be state-sponsored.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Also, Tulpa, "well-regulated" had a different meaning in the 1770's than it does today. "Well-drilled" would be close to the modern equivalent.

  • MNG||

    Right. So when Art I. gives the power "To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof" they are talking about well drilled money.

  • MNG||

    "To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia"

    Also in Art I, this is not what "well regulated" in the 2nd was referring to?

    This is a tiresome thing we've seen in the Interstate Commerce discussions. Yes regulate was used to mean "well ordered" but it also was regularly used to mean "make rules concerning" at that time.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Then perhaps you can also address the fact that every other Amendment in the Bill of Rights was meant to be an individual right.

    However, despite this, and the fact that the BOR was explicitly meant as a defense against government power, you think the 2nd Amendment was meant to give the government control of the self-defense rights of Americans.

  • MNG||

    The 10th Amendment was meant to be an individual right?

  • Colonel_Angus||

    God damn you, GOA.

  • ||

    The comparison to the 1st amendment is inappropriate, as those rights are recognized even for foreigners waiting for a connecting flight at the airport. But we all can agree they shouldn't be given concealed carry permits for their stay, right?

  • ||

    If you'd give them to citizens who were only passing through on the other side of customs, sure.

    I don't know any duty free gun shops at airports, though. Fat lot of good the piece of paper will do.

  • Robert||

    How about gun free duty shops?

  • ||

    GUNS, SEX, BOOZE AND ROCK N' ROLL!!! That's my motto!!!

  • JSinAZ||

    This post prompted me to read the ACLU position on Heller, and it turns out that the ACLU sucks far harder than I imagined:

    "ACLU POSITION

    Given the reference to "a well regulated Militia" and "the security of a free State," the ACLU has long taken the position that the Second Amendment protects a collective right rather than an individual right. For seven decades, the Supreme Court's 1939 decision in United States v. Miller was widely understood to have endorsed that view.

    The Supreme Court has now ruled otherwise. In striking down Washington D.C.'s handgun ban by a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court's 2008 decision in D.C. v. Heller held for the first time that the Second Amendment protects an individual's right to keep and bear arms, whether or not associated with a state militia.

    The ACLU disagrees with the Supreme Court's conclusion about the nature of the right protected by the Second Amendment. We do not, however, take a position on gun control itself. In our view, neither the possession of guns nor the regulation of guns raises a civil liberties issue."

    Emphasis mine. What a crock of festering shit.

    http://www.aclu.org/racial-jus.....-amendment

  • ||

    Ironically, if Justice Thomas' concurrence in McDonald had been the majority opinion, South Dakota might be on very firm ground. The "Privilges or Immunities" clause of the 14th only applies to "citizens".

  • Binky||

    alienage is one of the highest standards of strict scrutiny

    It's been a long day. What does that^ even mean?

  • MNG||

    It seems clear to me that the 2nd Amendment has something to do with militias, that the right to bear arms is granted to the People because a well regulated militia is essential to the security of a free state, otherwise half of the language in the amendment has to be ignored. I think the idea that there is an individual right to armed self defense in there is fanciful at best.

    However I there is a good argument that the militia just IS the People (this makes good sense because the word people is used for a reason one must suppose).

    But if gun rights are tied to a well regulated militia (and again, how can it be argued otherwise given all the text in there about that?), and Congress has the power to make rules for "for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia" (Art. I, Sec. 8), could Congress make regulations, say, requiring that all ammunition be deposited in official armories to be dispensed in times of emergency (when the "security of [our] free state" is threatened)?

  • SIV||

    No douchebag. The state is the threat.
    Every flag pin-wearing deaf old guy with a full gunsafe or two or three knows that even if he is a retired civil servant, cop, and/or war veteran.

  • MNG||

    Right, the state is the threat in the 2nd Amendment. That totally explains the "essential to the security of a free state" language and the "well regulated" language which echoes the power given to the federal and state governments to make rules for the militias in Art I...You shouldn't go full retard on your first move.

  • BakedPenguin||

    "Well-regulated" in 1776 meant something closer to "well-drilled". Not "we need a $17 billion Department of Militia Security to regulate militias."

  • Johnny Clamboat||

    But if gun rights are tied to a well regulated militia (and again, how can it be argued otherwise given all the text in there about that?)

    It's pretty easy to argue otherwise if you understand the difference between dependent and independent clauses in the English language.

  • MNG||

    When a dependent clause and independent clause are found in the same sentence the former usually says something about the second.

    If my wife says "Since we need some milk, I want you to go to the store" I better not go to the store and come back without milk...The first part states the why and the what to the second (I should go to the store because we need milk, milk is what I should get when I go there).

    Are we supposed to believe that the second amendment states a right for individuals to keep and bear arms unrelated to militia service and says some nice but unrelated things about militias being important to the security of a state? WTF?

  • BakedPenguin||

    As I stated above, every other amendment to the Bill of Rights was explicitly meant to limit the power of the state. Except - apparently - the 2nd amendment, which in your reading, vastly expands the power of the state. WTF, indeed.

  • BakedPenguin||

    My apologies for constantly repeating the same arguments. While I was replying to each individual argument, I didn't realize how often I was saying the same thing over and over.

  • MNG||

    No apology needed BP.

    I'm not sure the 2nd under the reading I'm talking about vastly expands the power of the government, instead it seems to protect state militias from federal disbandment, i.e., it is a limit on federal power. I don't think federal gun control was an issue then but disbandment of state militias in favor of standing armies was.

  • SIV||

    GOA is committing civil rights-lobbying suicide here. Their constituency is one of 2nd Amendment absolutists who aren't going to back this shit no matter how much they hate "illegals".
    I know 2nd Amendment absolutists in my blood (and in person, on the internet and I'm one) Look at the wording:

    But Gun Owners of America Executive Director Larry Pratt says the state has every right to restrict conceal and carry permits to citizens.

    2nd Amendment absolutists don't believe in restricting that particular inalienable right.

  • Robert||

    That was my thought too, that GOA had blundered. But maybe we're wrong.

    There comes a time in the operation of a "cause" organiz'n when those in charge are unsatisfied with its growth and seek to branch out. It may be that they thought it over, and in their judgment decided they'd likely pick up more supporters and money than they'd lose by branching out into other issues. They could be wrong, of course.

  • XM||

    If you're legally allowed to live here (permanant non residents who hold green cards), you should be able to own guns. If you'e an illegal alien who believe the border crossed you, that's another story.

    I'm a bit puzzled that green card holders can apparently own guns, which can be used to kill people, but aren't allowed vote in elections or serve on juries.

    Muh?

  • ||

    Citizenship isn't a metric of trust. It is a pragmatic institution designed primarily to deal with issues of national sovereignty and international law and secondarily to deal with the selection of the government's constitution and officials.

    Owning a gun is a right in the "unalienable individual rights" sense. Voting and serving on juries are not.

  • Doc Merlin||

    If its incorporated under P&I its constitutional, but its now incorporated under due process so its not.

  • ||

    The ACLU's Stalinist Heritage http://bit.ly/eNjkjr

  • MNG||

    Lame. Is the NRA somehow discredited by its "militaristic" heritage (its founders desired to improve marksmanship in our Guard and militia soldiers)? What matters is what they have been standing for in recent decades, and ditto for the ACLU.

  • ||

    But we all can agree they shouldn't be given concealed carry permits for their stay, right?

    No.

  • squarooticus||

    I sent an email to them basically indicating that they should stick to a single issue: the right to keep and bear arms. I'm not interested in continuing to be a lifetime member of a group that acts as a front for the GOP.

  • Robert||

    How do you even know the GOP is generally on their side in this case?

  • GILMORE||

    Is the ACLU of DC now suing the ACLU of SD?

  • ||

    Platt hates fererners more than he loves guns, apparently.

  • rhea||

    Since they'll have have more power in their hands....

    http://www.pathtoasia.com/jobs/

  • ms. radoo||

    Seems to me carry permits would be unconstitutional. We already have the right to KEEP AND BEAR arms. Where do the states get the right to attach a permit to that?

  • ||

    The true test of whether a person should be able to carry is whether we let that same person can join our military or police force and carry a weapon in harms way to defend the rest of us. a citizen and a legal resident can do so. An Illegal Alien cannot.

  • Ricky||

    Fresh Porn | www.freshporn.org

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