Skip to main content

View Diary: Gun Owners Should Have the Equivalent of a Pilot’s License. (194 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  Well, thanks for finally getting (5+ / 0-)

    to the subject, dnta. I am not an RKBA "purist," but I am someone who values and exercises my second amendment rights, and have since I was 11 years old. That's half a century ago, btw, I honestly don't feel any pressing need to seek the permission of other people or the government on that exercise at this point.

    I am not averse to reinstating the assault weapons ban in response to the most recent horrible mass murder (most are committed with handguns, you know). It will make lots of people feel safer and won't prevent gun owners from having their already-owned bad-ass looking rifles or obtaining exactly equal weaponry without the bad-ass cosmetics.

    I'd strongly support regulation of clip/magazine capacity. Many people are talking 10 rounds, I'd go further with 6 (plus one in the chamber). You don't need more bullets than that for any legitimate gun use, and illegitimate gun use would be thankfully limited. Determined mass murderers could of course keep putting full clips in as their gun is emptied into innocent bodies, but the lag time just might give a chance to end the rampage.

    As for gun regulation in this country, very little of it involves agreement by citizens. When was the last time you got to vote on a proposed local, state or federal restriction? My guess is never unless you are a city/county commissioner or legislature for the state or in DC. Most regulations are executive exercises, pure bureaucracy in action. What "a majority of citizens" think about the subject is not a consideration.

    Which is okay, since the subject is constitutional right/law, and those are not properly devolved to the majority to determine who can or can't exercise such rights. And even on the bureaucratic level the resulting regulations have to pass constitutional muster. That's how Chicago's blanket ban on the ownership of firearms got struck down by the SCOTUS - a number of reasonable regulations can constitutionally be applied (the word "regulation" is right there in the amendment itself, after all), but the government cannot issue a blanket ban on the right itself for as long as the amendment remains on the books.

    Speaking of which, the restrictions you name to the first amendment do not exist in law AS restrictions on your constitutional rights. i.e., there is no law forbidding you from yelling "fire" in a theater (especially if it's on fire), calling for the death of whatever enemy you're focused on at the moment (if no one acts on your call), publishing/broadcasting lies and patent falsehoods about someone (there would be no FoxNews or Rush Limbaugh if this were real), revealing strategic information during wartime (Geraldo!), practicing a sacrificial religion (substituting chickens or goats for humans) or throwing a party at somebody else's house. You are simply liable for harm caused and/or crimes committed by doing such things.

    In the case of the party, you are more likely to meet the business end of your victim's firearm when you invade their home than to be sued later for disturbing their peace. Because s/he has a right to defend his/her home from invaders with a gun if s/he so chooses. Per amendment #2.

    •  Thanks for the thoughtful reply (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Joieau

      I agree with your suggested new restrictions, e.g., on ammo clips, among others.

      I think your statements about the other restrictions that I mentioned are not entirely accurate.  There are plenty of "laws" that involve restrictions on speech, etc., and much case law that affirms these.  It is most certainly illegal to threaten the President's life publicly, even if no one "acts" on that threat.  Libel is most certainly actionable.

      As for how such restrictions come into being, presumably the democratic process ultimately contributes, even if not through direct referendum.  Sure, it seldom works well or smoothly, but the point is that we are, or should be, able to reach consensus agreement on some restrictions, and the Republic hasn't come crashing down as a result.

      Yet it is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set... -- Gandalf

      by dnta on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 09:40:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  There are certainly defined torts (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dnta, 43north, BusyinCA

        that can arise from telling lies about people, but again, those depend on a showing of actual harm done. Elizabeth Taylor finally won one of her suits against the National Enquirer, and Sandra Fluke could probably win a claim against Rush Limbaugh, but the plaintiff has to bear the burdens of both cost and proof in such actions, in which the state (executive branch as in prosecution for crimes against said state) plays no role. There is no such thing as "No Yelling 'Fire' In A Theater Act" or a "Thou Shalt Not Spread Gossip Act" and probably never will be.

        Communicating threats - to the President or anybody else to the effect "I'm going to kill [so-and-so]" is a crime, but saying "Dan Marino should die of syphilis and rot in hell" is not a crime on anybody's books. The only person convicted of being responsible for murders someone else committed - ostensibly because the murderers were incited by a speech - was a Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan, as I recall. That prosecution took decades to even be charged, much less get to court.

        We'd all like to see meaningful action to prevent gun violence in our society. The questions revolve around what can be concretely done while still preserving the constitutional rights of the people, and when dealing with constitutional rights there will be whole avenues of action that won't be allowed. Rights under other amendments - like the first - cannot be abrogated wholesale for the purpose of abrogating rights under any other amendment - like the second. That dog don't hunt (as they say in my neck of the woods).

        Even if a serious effort at repealing the second amendment in toto were to be launched, it would still take many years before it could bear fruit. We need to do what can be done now. So I'm for being rational about it rather than emotionally distraught.

        •  We're in agreement (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Joieau

          especially on the goal of reasonable, short-term measures, which I think would have the added benefit of diminishing the NRA's influence.

          On speech/press and the 1st amendment, the burden of proof for Libel is much higher for public figures/celebrities than for ordinary citizens.  If your local town newspaper's editor happened to dislike you, and published a front-page article claiming that you were a child sexual molester (with no evidence), that editor would be liable for damages without much of a burden on you as victim.  You wouldn't have to show much "harm" beyond the falsehood of the claim itself.

          Yet it is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set... -- Gandalf

          by dnta on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 11:54:03 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site