Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Equal Rights

Everybody's high on consolation
Everybody's trying to tell me what's right for me
My daddy tried to bore me with a sermon
but it's plain to see that they can't comfort me 
--She's Gone, Hall and Oates 

Someone's gonna feel the pain
Hit the floor, she's takin' aim
Is it you - is it you, is it me - is it me
Who's the next in the line gonna be? 
--Hot Shot, Barry Blue

The complexion of gun shows is changing, and the most recent Tallahassee Gun Show was no exception.

  • The price of ammunition has skyrocketed, and people are acting crazy trying to buy it all up
  • Gun shows have become monthly extravaganzas; they used to be quarterly events 
  • The news media was crawling all over the event, and they seemed interested in speaking only to people wearing tree bark of those covered in tattoos.  Soundbites rule.

The flyer for the concealed weapons class (pictured above) indicates that the CCW permit is a "license".  One must pay for the class, fingerprinting, photograph, notarization, background check and for the license itself. Who determined that the exercise of the Second Amendment would be abridged in this manner?  Our freedom of speech or religion is not regulated in such a manner.  Our right to vote may not be constrained by poll tax, so why must the right to bear arms be sliced and diced?

Ranger understands the need for gun regulation (much as free speech is constrained), but not the requirement to pay the state for his right to exercise this individual right delegated to him by the Bill of Rights. We understand, too, that rights are a quaint notion and not an absolute possession when living in a social structure.  They are delegated, and as such, they are precious freedoms which must be safeguarded at all costs; a right given up to or usurped by a power structure is a right not likely to return.

If one right is fungible and frangible, then so too are all rights. We should not rush to throw away our rights by the fistful out of fear or coercion.

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Blogger BadTux said...

Err, actually, your freedom of speech *is* regulated in a similar manner. If you do not believe me, set up in Yosemite National Park with a loudspeaker to harrangue the passers-by about how they should be hiking rather than driving. Do it without getting a permit first. You will be promptly confronted by a ranger telling you that amplified speech is illegal in his national park without a permit, and if you insist on absolute freedom of speech and refuse to put away the loudspeaker, you will be promptly arrested.

The point being that your right to free speech ends at the point where you're impacting other people's peaceful enjoyment of the national park, and permits are used to make sure that your speech in that national park doesn't disturb the wildlife or cause undue harm to the serenity of the surroundings. Or as the saying goes, your right to throw your fist in any direction you wish ends at the tip of my nose. Same deal with your right to shoot a bullet. I have a right to life that trumps all other rights -- if I'm dead, I certainly can't exercise any other right! -- and limitations on who can buy and carry concealed weapons to make sure that I can continue to enjoy that right to life surely is even more appropriate than limitations on free speech to ensure that I can continue to enjoy the peacefulness of Yosemite, hmm?

Friday, March 22, 2013 at 10:40:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

I roger every word that you say, buy pls read my words.
We agree EXCEPT why do we gun owners have to pay US $ to exercise our rights.
If you have to pay for the privelege then it isn't a inalienable right.

Saturday, March 23, 2013 at 6:03:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


Yes, speech has been constrained by S.C. decisions, and I acknowledged that in the piece ("much as free speech is constrained ...")

However, there is no fee for speaking freely (though there may be a "cost", as whistleblowers discover.) In that way, the piece stands. In a narrow sense, one may have to pay for the platform on which one exercises their speech (a website, a parade warrant, ballroom rent, etc.), but the speech itself is free.

Saturday, March 23, 2013 at 7:17:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger BadTux said...

L&R, there is indeed a fee for a permit to speak in many public forums in order to provide for public safety. The SC has said that this is fine as long as the fees are reasonable and do not have the effect of prohibiting free speech. Thus even the KKK is allowed to hold a rally in East Oakland as long as they pay the permit fees that pay for their police protection. (Not that I expect those crackers to show up there anytime soon, heh).

And there are some forums where some forms of speech simply are not allowed. I cannot, for example, hike into Yosemite to the intersection of the JMT and PCT and start handing out handbills advertising the latest specials at REI. But that's speech. *commercial* speech, but still, speech.

As long as the fees are directly related to public safety and do not have the effect of banning guns, I do not see what the problem is. We're still talking about more rights for gun owners than free speech rights in that case. (Note that I am not addressing gun *bans* here, just the situation of requiring an inexpensive permit in order to buy a gun to provide for the costs of background checks and such).


Saturday, March 23, 2013 at 10:59:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

What is inexpensive to me may be prohibative to another fine citzen.
If u do not buy a permit for a parade you STILL have free speech, but if you don't buy a background check then you get no gun.

Sunday, March 24, 2013 at 6:00:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


I feel that Jim's objection is not to the cost involved with background checks (which provide a protective service to the public) but with (1) the extra fee enforced upon carrying the gun on one's person or in one's car, and (2) the redundant costs involved with background checks for EVERY gun purchase one makes.

It would seem reasonable that after, say, one's 5th or maybe 10th gun, those checks would be rendered superfluous.

Sunday, March 24, 2013 at 7:42:00 AM GMT-5  

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