Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Selectively Choosing Constitutional Amendments

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NY Times editorialist Verlyn Klinkenborg has serious issues with the 2nd Amendment:

Sure enough, a year ago the State Legislature passed a “concealed carry” law, which means that it’s legal to carry a concealed weapon if you have a permit. So that no one misses the point, the Legislature has also turned Minnesota into what is called a “shall require” state. If you apply for a concealed-weapon permit, the local authorities must grant it to you.

What the good writer doesn't understand is that it is constitutionally guaranteed that you have the right to bear arms. The state legislature just reiterated that right. In case Verlyn missed civics class the day they talked about the Constitution, I'll remind her (him?) of the words written in that great document:

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.

It seems pretty unambiguous to me. It does not state that the right to bear arms shall not be infringed except for by state legislatures. We continue:

I asked one of the state coalitions opposed to these laws whether it would attack them in the Legislature this year. The answer was no. It is too busy trying to defeat a “shoot first” bill, which would give gun owners the right to fire away instead of trying to avoid a confrontation. The way I see it, Minnesota is only one step away from requiring every citizen to carry a gun and use it when provoked.

There are some other twists to these laws. A person carrying a concealed weapon cannot be banned from a public building, even if it’s a library full of kids. Churches have succeeded in keeping guns out of the pews, but they’re having to fight another court battle to keep them out of the parking lot. The application for a concealed-weapon permit appears to have been created by people who believe the real threat in carrying a gun is the loss of privacy entailed in filling out the form. Yet it isn’t possible for a member of the public to find out who has received a permit and may, in fact, be packing heat.

Funny, that. What right does the public have to know who is carrying a gun? By that line of thinking, all people who are HIV positive should be made public. HIV kills people too.

This is what I’d expect of Florida, which recently passed a “shoot first” — also called a “shoot the Avon lady” — bill. I’d expect it of Texas too. But Minnesota? I grew up thinking of Minnesota as a socially progressive state. After all, it was home of the D.F.L. — the Democratic Farmer Labor Party — and a place where local control and common sense had strong roots.

Note the jab at Jeb Bush and the entire state of Texas? Anyway, I Googled "shoot the Avon lady" and it doesn't seem to be called that by anyone but lefty bloggers.

Here's where the writers snobbery comes into her writing. If people carry guns, they can't be "progressive" unless they are self-appointed "progressive" who carries a gun:

I grew up hunting and shooting, and I still own two rifles (a .22 and a .270) and two shotguns (a 20-gauge and a 12-gauge, to be specific). When I was young, I expected that I would own guns when I grew up because I enjoyed hunting and I liked the good hunters I knew — as I still do.

But to me, owning guns and knowing how to use them properly was part of a civic bargain. I would leave the police work to the police, and they would leave the squirrel hunting to me. The notion that 38 states would have “concealed carry” laws in 2006 would have seemed insane, a regression to a more primitive idea of who we are.

So according to this genius, everyone who has a concealed gun permit is a non-hunting yahoo who fires their gun indiscriminately at someone for looking at them funny. I guess I've missed the hundreds of newspaper reports about this.

But let's get down to what our "progressive" friend really hates--the evil NRA:

But then I’m thinking of a time when the leadership of the National Rifle Association resembled a band of merry sportsmen and not the paranoid cabal it is today.

Would that then make NOW and the ACLU paranoid cabals? Every time a person even mentions revisiting partial-birth abortion or parental notification laws the nice women at NOW blow a gasket and scream about women with coat hangers in alleys. That to me is more paranoid that the NRA.

The funny thing is I'm not a huge gun advocate. I am a huge advocate of the Constitution, however.

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