Sunday, February 18, 2007

I prefer to use the pre-existing rules

War on Guns pointed me to an interesting letter:

To all those promoting Wayne Fincher’s being elevated to folk hero status for breaking the law, enough already. The argument of Second Amendment violation in his circumstance is ridiculous. Neither the Constitution, nor the Bill of Rights contains a single word about automatic weapons. Also absent is any mention of anti-tank weapons, driving under the influence, dealing drugs at the local schoolyard or child pornography. These are all issues we, as a society, have deemed to be generally bad ideas, and we put in place laws to deal with the excesses of others.

Mr. Fincher’s case is not a Second Amendment case. It is a case about not following the rules, or more precisely, interpreting the rules to suit one’s own interests. Before dismissing this as another letter from the fringe, I am a gun enthusiast, a consultant to the firearms industry, NRA member, and I hold a federal firearms license. I also play by the rules.

Russ Whitfield

Fort Smith

Well, Russ, it seems you have some interesting misconceptions to talk about. The Constitution doesn't mention anti-tank or automatic weapons, as you've noted. That's true. It also doesn't mention those arms as bannable ones. The fact that we sit idly by as our rights erode does not, in fact, make the erosion Constitutional. Also, let's look at your examples of other behaviors. Drunk driving, as you mention, is illegal. Alcohol, however, is not. If I safely own and operate a fully automatic weapon, it is much more like drinking in the safety of my own home. "Dealing drugs at the local schoolyard" is stopped for two reasons: legality of drugs and children being too young to consistently make good decisions. We can argue about the reasoning behind keeping drugs illegal, which would save this example from being sheer shock value. But it's obvious you chose it just to shock people into agreement. Child pornography is stripping a child of his/her rights. Owning a weapon, assuming one doesn't begin killing indiscriminately (which very few legally owned weapons are used for, anyway), does not infringe on your rights in the least.

As for the "we, as a society" statement, I must respectfully disagree. We haven't decided them to be generally bad ideas. Lawmakers have. They've also decided that I need to wear my seatbelt, hot coffee needs warning labels, and marijuana should be illegal. They are somewhat hit and miss on lawmaking. Some laws are okay, others strip us of rights. In any case, society hasn't necessarily decided. Also, look at which laws strip rights from people before they've done anything. Did you get a permit to write that letter, Russ? You should have, just in case you were at risk of libel. Is my blog federally licensed? Do journalists go through federal background checks before they can write? Why, then, do we allow prior restraint to factor into firearms laws? If I commit murder, I should be punished. If I choose to own a weapon for self-defense, defense against tyranny, and to exercise my rights, I should be able to.

It's a "case about not following the rules," you say? Yeah, most court cases are set up as just that. After all, you don't generally get prosecuted for following the rules. The question, though, is whether the rules follow the greater and older rules. The Bill of Rights, in fact, is just an acknowledgement of preexisting rights, ones that we, as a society, believe to apply to all humans. If a law goes against the Constitution, that law should not be upheld. If it goes against natural rights, it shouldn't even be considered.

A gun enthusiast, huh? And a consultant to the firearms industry? What better way to make them money than to encourage people to buy guns that conform to the law, rather than modifying old guns. As for the NRA membership, that doesn't impress me at all. Few pro-gun organizations have done as much to erode gun rights as the NRA. Federal firearms license? Again, not really a qualification for talking about the validity of gun law. Thanks for playing, Russ, but you just don't get it. Sheeple like you are more than willing to watch your rights disappear. When do you draw the line? And will you still be able to defend your rights when they cross that line?


AlanDP said...

He's probably a Zumbotista.

DirtCrashr said...

It's the Zumboapocalypse! Bring a shotgun.