Toward the end of Monday's column, I made an observation about the licensing of defensive handgun carry:Another reason I rarely approach gun rights advocacy from this angle is that I don't believe in licensing the carrying of a firearm. In submitting to a licensing requirement to carry a firearm, we undermine our own case--that the keeping and bearing of arms is a Constitutionally guaranteed, fundamental human rightAs gun rights advocates, we argue that the Second Amendment exists to protect an inalienable right--one, indeed, that shall not be infringed. At the same time, though, we have endeavored to persuade the states (successfully, in the vast majority of states) to allow us to ask for (and pay for) a license to carry with us the means to defend our lives and our families. Our "success," in other words, has taken the form of reducing the bearing of arms from a fundamental right, to a privilege.
In asking for that privilege, we have lent implicit legitimacy to the denial of that which we should demand as free citizens. Yes--I know that most states have "shall issue" permitting systems, rather than "may issue," meaning that an applicant who meets the requirements for issuance of a license cannot, in theory, be denied the license. Sure--that's better than giving some police chief or sheriff the power to arbitrarily require someone to be defenseless while in public, but it still is an acceptance that our rights are something granted by government authority, based on our meeting the conditions the government imposes. Does that sound like "shall not be infringed" to you? In only two states, Vermont and Alaska, can citizens legally carry a concealed handgun without first asking permission.
In recent correspondence with a friend, he told me about being arrested decades ago for carrying a handgun without a permit (permits, of course, being impossible for "regular people" to obtain back then). At that time, though, carrying a gun without a government-issued permission slip was, in most jurisdictions, a misdemeanor. He pointed out to me that now, though, our "progress" has brought us to the point where illegally carrying a firearm is (again, in most jurisdictions) a felony, requiring, by federal law, the denial of one's ability to so much as (legally) touch a firearm--for life.
There's an old joke in which (to be brief) a man asks a woman if she would be willing to sleep with him for a million dollars. She allows that she probably would. He then shows her a $100 bill, and says "let's go." Deeply offended, the woman asks him, "What kind of person do you think I am?" He replies, "My Dear, we have already established that. Now we are merely haggling over the price."
It's a droll little joke, but the underlying theme is perhaps not so funny. The moment a woman enters into negotiations over the price of what would otherwise have been a priceless gift, to be shared with a lover, she has degraded it to a mere commodity, to be sold to a customer. Restoring it to "priceless gift" status becomes enormously difficult.
It seems to me that similarly, in our willingness to enter into negotiations about what conditions are to be imposed on the granting of liberties that already belong to a free people, we have, in the words of the man in the joke, "already established" what kind of people we are--not free citizens, who command their public servants, but supplicants, who ask the government for a few crumbs of freedom when it suits them to give us a bit more leash. The farther we proceed down that road, the harder it will become to return to being truly free citizens, and the less likely that can happen without bloodshed.
No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. Thomas Jefferson (1776)
If you go into a store, with a gun, and rob it, you have forfeited your right to not get shot - Joe Deters, Hamilton County (Cincinnati) Prosecutor
I ask sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people except for a few politicians. - George Mason (father of the Bill of Rights and The Virginia Declaration of Rights)
Like Uncle Ted says,"The constitution is my right to carry".
That is a great read and I thank You for posting it.
Master Doug Huffman wrote:First, 'firearms' are not licensed. People are licensed. (substitute 'licensed' with register, track....you get the idea)Another reason I rarely approach gun rights advocacy from this angle is that I don't believe in licensing the carrying of a firearm. In submitting to a licensing requirement to carry a firearm, we undermine our own case--that the keeping and bearing of arms is a Constitutionally guaranteed, fundamental human right
Now, think of it this way...
Sex Offenders are 'registered' with the state to keep track of them to prevent them from re-offending. Sex Offenders are criminals and criminals are registered.
Why should we submit to a system of 'registration' for an inalienable right?
Good Job Doug!
Live Free or Die!
Great article Doug, I agree 100% with the author.
gogodawgs wrote:Hmm, I always thought sex offenders were forced to register so the policecould find them easier when they did re-offend, not "If"Sex Offenders are 'registered' with the state to keep track of them to prevent them from re-offending. Sex Offenders are criminals and criminals are registered.