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Thread: Helena Independent Record question of the week (3/6-12/2011):

  1. #1
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    Exclamation Helena Independent Record question of the week (3/6-12/2011):

    Was the Department of Administration right to grant a variance to allow unloaded weapons on the Capitol grounds for last week’s tea party rally?

    http://helenair.com/question/

    Even if you would prefer to vote "NO" because they should not even be impeding the carry of loaded firearms, please vote "YES".


    Then hit their email:
    irstaff@helenair.com?subject=Question of the Week

    My response:

    Considering that Montana Code allows for open carry of loaded firearms by individuals over the age of 14 almost everywhere else in the state, why should this particular piece of State property be any different?

    Law-abiding and legal gun owners rarely cause crimes related to carrying loaded weapons.

    Many criminals choose to commit violent crimes while carrying loaded weapons, and are most likely carrying concealed without a permit. Criminals will carry loaded firearms whether they are specifically granted a variance or not. Few if any of these scofflaws would congregate openly in public anyway, particularly in broad daylight.

    Best regards,
    Last edited by MT4Runner; 03-10-2011 at 04:45 PM.

  2. #2
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    Not losing today!!
    Thanks to all for your votes.

  3. #3
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    Cool

    64% Yes
    36% No

    605 votes total.

  4. #4
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    http://helenair.com/news/opinion/art...cc4c03286.html

    We won the poll, but the liberal rag still put the antis' drivel in as the "last word":

    Quote Originally Posted by helenair.com
    Most say dept. did the right thing

    After a variance request was granted to the Lewis and Clark Conservative Tea Party to hold a rally at the Capitol with unloaded weapons, we asked readers last week in our Question of the Week whether or not that was the right move by the Department of Administration.

    Sixty-four percent of the responders to the question (411 votes) said, yes, the tea party should have been granted the variance. Two hundred thirty-three voters, or 36 percent, said the variance should not have been granted.

    As you can imagine, we received a plethora of comments on this particular question. Here is a sampling of what we received.

    - Yes. While I am no tea party fan, I believe that if we are going to support the rights of individuals, we should include all rights, including the right to free speech and the right to carry guns.

    - Yes. I’m for women’s rights, human rights, and yes even gun rights. I believe that a society that affords equal rights even to those with whom one may disagree is the kind of society I want to live it.

    - Yes. Though I am not a member of the tea party and do not support some of what they stand for, I believe in the American right to assemble, in the right of free speech, and in the right to bear arms. I believe that had these rights been denied to these individuals, the situation could have been a hassle instead of a great big nothing-burger of an event. The Department did the right thing.

    - A variance to allow a macho display of guns on the grounds of our state Capitol was wrong and unnecessary. And, as children imitate behaviors they observe in adults, a 10-year-old Helena student just brought a loaded hand gun to school to show off to his friends. The results could have been tragic. Let’s teach our kids that meaningful participation in democracy involves dialogue and the responsibility of voting, not the threat of armed takeover.

    - The Department of Administration set a dangerous precedent when they allowed one group of people to carry [supposedly] unloaded weapons on the Capitol lawn. Did someone from the police department check each weapon to insure it was unloaded? Did the DOA have armed security guards guaranteeing that no one was carrying ammunition? Was there a metal detector somewhere to insure no one was carrying any explosives? If the answer to any of these questions was no, then it was not a safe event for anyone in and around the Capitol.

    - Absolutely no, not OK. The gun smitten culture that insists on bearing arms at any and all locations should not be surprised when children as young as 10 bring loaded guns to school. And it should be no surprise at all when those guns are used to harm others. Monkey see, monkey do.

    - People in this country grossly underestimate the risks of gun ownership and the ubiquity of guns in society. The tea party rally felt like a direct threat, especially to those worthless, tax-sucking state employees. But I guess they’re right; I never argue with the guy holding the gun.

    - Heck no! That variance was given with a complete lack of judgment, in my opinion. The Capitol is the last place we need people running around with weapons, loaded or not. How am I to know if someone’s weapon is loaded? Very scary. The Capitol belongs to all of us, and should be a welcoming place, non-threatening. The variance gave support to a cause without considering the rest of us!

    - In my opinion no one has the right to an opinion which violates the Constitution, especially not the liberal cretins in Helena and the state government.

    - For a strict constitutionalist, as am I, your question is a “trick” question. I will explain. On the national level exists in the constitution a Bill of Rights which applies to all U.S. citizens. These are said to be unalienable rights. Under the Second Amendment in that Bill of Rights any law passed to restrict our right to keep and bear arms, individually, is an infringement — a “limitation” — placed over our right in direct opposition to the wording of the Second Amendment. Point being, in my opinion, Montanans do not need a “variance” or a “permit” or any sort of government-issued “permission slip” to openly carry their means of self-defense, wherever they lawfully go in their state.

    But that aside, which your editorial staff and numerous others shall surely set it, I voted “yes” on the ground that the purpose of the open-carry rally was to publicly demonstrate before our errant Legislature that the people are involved in the legislative session also, and that among the people are a substantial, and informed, number of people who do value the rule of law in this Republic. That places the event under a first amendment jurisdiction, said variance being backed by the second amendment.

    One point in closing — the sorts of folks who supported this open-carry rally are citizens who do study American history, who do read the constitution for both Montana and the U.S. governments, and who have a demonstrable patriotic passion for America’s and Montana’s traditions. View them any way one pleases, but honesty admits the truth in what I just said — and it should count for something. Wouldn’t you agree?

    - Allowing any group to carry weapons, unloaded or otherwise, to a Capitol grounds rally is problematic because it sets a precedent.

    What happens when white supremacists or any other group prone to violent rhetoric asks for the same variance? Will the Department of Administration acquiesce or decline and open the state up to a discrimination lawsuit that will waste taxpayer dollars? I am a gun owner and believe that they have a place in our culture but guns don’t belong at our statehouse, particularly at a time when politics seem more divisive than ever. Oklahoma City, Virginia Tech, the shooting in Arizona; it only takes one unstable person to create a tragedy and to those who would claim that more armed citizens present would prevent this I ask, do we really want to turn our Capitol into the OK Corral?

    - How do we know these weapons were unloaded? These appear to be armed militia terrorist types out to intimidate local law enforcement. No weapons (concealed or open) on public property, bars, campuses, day care centers! Do not legitimize their fringe organization with any more stories or photos!

    - Yes, I agree that unloaded guns should have been allowed at the Capitol for one reason only, that being to show that the gun toters are kooks. The picture that accompanied the IR article was worth a thousand words.

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