Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.

Theodore Roosevelt, The Strenuous Life

March 12, 2010

Current Events, Firearms

Comments Off on Firearms and Freedom

The New York Times has yet another editorial touting very restrictive gun laws in Massachusetts as reasonable. This language by itself, describing laws that prevent the use of firearms for self-defense in homes and in the public as reasonable, is likely one of the reasons why the NRA and gun owners have defeated so many state and federal laws and rules that impair this basic freedom. We all know the word reasonable as used by those opposed to handgun ownership and carry is biased at best and a lie at the worst.

A right to bear arms is useless if the state mandates storage practices in the home and prohibits possession in public venues such that legal carry becomes impossible. I’ll give you a strange example. A person may carry a concealed pistol in Washington if licensed by the state, but may not do so and ride a bicycle to the post office. The reason for this? It is illegal to carry a pistol in the post office and it is also illegal to store one unlocked in a carrier or pannier on a bicycle. So you must use a vehicle that you can lock, leaving the gun in the vehicle and out of view. You also have the problem of someone watching as you move the gun from your holster into a glove box; indeed a strange outcome and poor public policy arrangement. This is not good for the folks carrying pistols and not particularly good for those who dislike firearms.

My view is that free people have the right to be armed. I used to believe that the right to bear arms and the right of free speech were critical to freedom. Someone argued with me recently. Their view was that the right to bear arms and freedom of religion were critical, the theory being that free speech naturally follows from the right to bear arms. I think he is on to something.

You may point out that by this argument Canadians and English subjects are not free people. You are beginning to understand. A year or two ago the prime minister of Canada requested that the Governor General of Canada, the Queen of England’s representative, suspend parliament because a minority coalition government had a high probability of forming that would unseat the prime minister.  Canada was temporarily under the control of the British Crown again! The country was not a democracy during that period. Londoner’s are under public surveillance by the police when out in public. These facts simply reinforce the earlier point. The prohibition of the right to bear arms in public correlates very well with people whose lives exist at the pleasure of the authorities, with leaders showing no restraint on their own power. The citizens in these regimes are not free.

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