- Posted January 13, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Gun control debate: Background checks
A Conditional Bill of Rights?
As I read through the proposals for “reasonable” restrictions on a persons rights under the second amendment it occurs to me that many amount to conditions that must be met before a person can exercise their God given rights as defined by the Bill of Rights.
Our rights are not authorized or given by that document but rather it defines birth rights that are already in existence, the Bill of Rights are not rules for the people but the recognition that they exist. The Bill of Rights is the protection of those rights from infringement and restriction by our government.
I don’t recall that there was a test that one must pass in order to enjoy freedom of speech, or that there was a benchmark that must be met. Yet that is what seems to be the thinking in proposals that are being floated by gun control advocates.
A car is not a gun, and is not Constitutionally protected, you can register them, you can license drivers, you can require insurance before a person can drive. You cannot stop a person from driving without registration, insurance or a license but the action can be punished once they do and are caught.
I know that the first thing that the gun grabbers like to shout is you can’t yell FIRE! in the theatre. That the restriction on first amendment rights is considered reasonable. That ruling is not really a restriction on a persons rights to free speech. You still have the choice to yell FIRE! in the theatre you just don’t have a first amendment defense against being arrested if you FALSELY YELL FIRE and you can be fined and jailed. Your voice has not been silenced, you do have a choice. We accept that the act places people in real danger.
The funny thing about that analogy is that it wasn’t a person that yelled fire in a theatre that brought about the decision. (even though there are literal examples) Speech which is claimed to serve no conceivable useful purpose and is extremely and imminently dangerous was determined to be not protected by the First Amendment. The ruling came about in the case of Schenk who was distributing fliers against the draft and the United States getting involved in the Russian Revolution was determined to present a “clear and present danger” to the government’s recruitment efforts for the war. His actions were deemed to violate the Espionage Act of 1917.
That was overturned in 1969 and restricted speech was further defined as speech directed to and likely to incite immenent lawless action such as a riot.
The same can be said for liable and slander, you can say whatever you want, you do not have a first amendment defense if you are sued for causing harm to another person by what you falsely say or in the case of the freedom of the press, print. The restrictions are not placed on the freedom of the press they can print what they want, but on the actions of the person/business and we accept that holding a person responsible for their actions is reasonable. We see lawsuits everyday filed against media outlets and individuals for libel and slander.
We do not restrict a person from the purchase of a printing press, because they might print a slanderous flyer or paper, we do not cut the tongue out of a person because we think they might yell fire in the theatre or that they bought a megaphone and are afraid of what they might do with it. We do not demand the government to regulate the number and type of churches in a county, or ban all Baptist Churches because of the actions of one.
What we are saying in most cases is that there are certain acts that can be committed by a person for which there is no constitutional defense. When we base our laws on actions and holding people responsible for those acts we have an order that makes sense. When we pass unpopular laws that cannot be enforced there is no respect or trust of authority. We live in a Constituional Republic, our rights are protected by the Constitution and the Constitution limits the powers of government over its citizens. Out of the roughly 15 million military “style” firearms in the hands of responsible gun owners the firearm most hated by gun control advocates a handful are used annually to commit a murder. Banning them is not about safety, it is about governmental control.
Why are gun rights groups standing against such proposals? In part because it is all take by the gun grabbing left and no give. In part because all of their arguments in favor of more gun control are based on outright lies and manipulation.
What Diane Feinstein has proposed in her continued attempt to grab guns (by placing many firearms under the 1934 Firearms Act) from law abiding Americans is to place a pre-requisite to exercising your right to bear arms. That a person cannot own a particular type of firearm until they receive a mental health assessment, pay a tax, is vetted by local law enforcement, she wants pistols to be illegal, and hundreds of rifles because they look scary.
Firearms grand fathered in must be turned in to the government for destruction at the owners death. THAT my firends is confiscation. you cannot say to gun owners “OH no one wants your guns, you are being paranoid”
Like prohibition and the war on drugs Feinstein’s gun grab is an unenforceable proposal.
We don’t tax people for attending church or even tax the church, we don’t register church members before they are allowed to attend church, the government does not license them or require insurance in the event clergy is a pedophile. When journalists lie, we do not demand that they be regulated, licensed, or permitted to continue reporting. We don’t demand that in order to exercise a persons right to free speech or attend church that they are assessed to see if they are mentally ill. How about we mandate by law a mental health assessment for every person in America and use that information to restrict a person’s rights? Surely we can make at least as good of a case for that as can be made to assess firearms owners.
If one of our rights can be restricted in such a way they all can. Put a frog in a pot of hot water and it will jump out, turn the heat up gradually and it will stay and die, to not act now, or to recognize that the incrementalism of the gun control fanatics steadily erodes all of our rights is simply delusional, eventually we all will take that last train ride to the ovens, maybe not in this generation but when we lay the groundwork by removing restrictions on government it won’t be that you can’t just get a supersized fry and a large slurpee.
The purpose of the gun is not the issue, how it looks is not the issue, the issue should not be the gun at all but rather the actions of the individual, and did their actions cause harm?
How do we stop a person with evil intent from committing a crime? You can’t. How do we stop the mentally ill who are a danger to themselves and others from getting a gun?
A national database of those adjudicated to be a danger would help but the real answer lies in making access to quality mental health easy and affordable, something that the Democrats have pushed aside in their rush to capitalize on the moment and attempt to ban and restrict firearms. They have all the juice they need to fully fund and make accessible mental health services and they have thrown it all away, their mask is off and their true intentions are laid bare.
There is an opportunity here for the Republicans in Congress to seize the high ground and address the very real problems in a broken mental health system. I have no real expectation that will happen or that the Republicans will address the issues and problems in the Public School System, or with crime and punsihment.
So in closing Ms. Feinstein revoke the Second Amendment if you have the juice or overturn the Constitution as being archaic as some have proposed SOGOTP! Otherwise we live in a Constitutional Republic one in which your proposal and actions constitute a violation of your oath to uphold the Constitution. The Bill of Rights, Our Constitution is there to protect the rights of the individual and as an individual I can tell you with authority I will NOT live on my knees in a post Constitutional Monarchy where armed criminals roam freely and citizens are left to cower unarmed in attics