Thursday, 28 April 2005
|1306 - Too good to be true|
The politicians screwed it up. Despite the evidence that the concealed carry law had no problems, the DFLers in the Senate want to tweak it. This killed the deal that had been reached to get it reenacted, so it's probably going to depend on the Minnesota Supreme Court whether Minnesotans have the right to defend themselves.
I guess it was too good to last.
current mood: irritated
Gee, it is a good thing I move out of Minnesota... I would hate to not be able to defend myself.
I am not at all surprised. If the DFL calls us again, I guess we have something to ask them about: Why would I give aid and comfort to those won't allow me the basic human right of self-defense?
It is not a basic human right to carry around an instrument intended to propel chunks of metal into someone else's body. Last time I checked Minnesota was a civilized state in the middle of the most powerful and stable country in the world, bordered only by a friendly ally. Get real.
Why isn't it a right to use the most effective means of defending myself around? Why should I, as a law-abiding citizen, be at a serious disadvantage to a criminal - who's not going to let a little detail like the law stop him from having and using firearms?
37 other states have the same kind of carry permit law as the one in question here. In none of them have any of the doomsday scenarios (shootouts on the freeways, that sort of thing) materialized, and there's some evidence (though it's currently in dispute) that crime rates have dropped because of concealed carry. It doesn't hurt, and may help. Why not allow it?
The biggest, most dangerous fallacy of all is that it's somehow more civilized for people to not carry arms in defense of themselves and their society. Jeffrey R. Snyder debunks that argument in his 1993 essay, A Nation of Cowards
. He argues that it's not just a right, but a duty, to keep and bear arms. I have a hard time disagreeing.
It is a matter of supply, and the more easily a person becomes armed the more people are going to be armed. It is also dysfunctional to try and control a person's actions by power of the arm rather than heart - the best way to fight crime is to fight what motivates crime. And, if guns were illegal, cops would be able to put a hell of a lot of criminals away.
I could rant on forever but I am sure you are not willing to listen, and I would rather not spend the time... so I will just save your ears all the noise.
There are far too many guns in circulation (more than one per person in the US) to be able to effectively eliminate them. Attempting to do so will simply result in disarming the law-abiding, while doing nothing to stop criminals - who, by definition, don't care
about the law in the first place - from going around armed. This has been the experience of every country that has tried it. Don't believe me? Just look at the rate of crime committed by people using firearms in the UK since they were effectively outlawed there.
Fighting crime by fighting what motivates it is hopelessly naive. As long as there are people who believe that making a living by preying on others is acceptable and preferable to working for it honestly, there will be crime. Eliminating crime is no more possible than eliminating war: both require unanimous consent of the entire human race.
Guns cannot be made illegal. The Second Amendment recognizes an inherent right for the people - yes, the same people who have the rights of freedom of speech and religion, and to be secure in their homes against unreasonable search and seizure (see the First and Fourth Amendments) - to keep and bear arms. See Professor Sanford Levinson's law review article The Embarrassing Second Amendment
for a thorough examination of the question, if you disagree.
Your heart is in the right place. If it were possible to truly eliminate all crime from the hearts of men, and eliminate all wars, then you might have a point - but it's not, and believing so is purely wishful thinking. Genies do not go back into bottles, and guns are a prime example.
Oh, and one other note: I would say that those who spend a day taking a class, and spending a couple hundred dollars for the class and the permit, are not becoming "easily" armed - and are not the people you should be worrying about. It's the ones who buy a gun on the street and carry it without bothering with the permit that should worry you, and they are affected not one bit by carry permit laws.
"He argues that it's not just a right, but a duty, to keep and bear arms."
Does that mean that, in response to a bumper sticker I saw once saying:
BUY A GUN - PISS OFF A LIBERAL
...it would make perfect sense to have a bumper sticker saying:
PISS OFF A CONSERVATIVE: DON'T BUY A GUN
(BTW, buying a gun doesn't piss off liberals. What pisses us off is if that gun's not properly locked away, and some little kid finds it and plays with it and gets killed.)
Know what? That pisses off conservatives too. Fortunately, it's less likely to happen than that same kid falling into a swimming pool and drowning. Further, firearms accidents have been in a continuous decline since 1930. The NRA (yes, that nasty eeeeevil gun rights organization) has a critically acclaimed program to teach kids to not play with guns, but it's in far fewer schools than it should be because liberals can't stand the thought of letting the NRA anywhere near kids.
Really the Republicans sound like crying babies in this mess. They're complaining because a Senate committee is demanding to hear the bill first--and guess what, that's how state Legislatures typically work. The one sentence stating that "no Senate committee has ever heard provisions of the bill" is enough to make it clear what's going on here, as well as the part about them previously having tacked it onto another bill in order to avoid a committee review. They're basically demanding that everyone play by their rules or they'll take their ball and go home.
If it's such a good law, why not let it be heard in committee? Even the chief senate sponsor of the bill admits that pushing a bill straight past committee and to a general vote is a bad idea. He says that doing so is "the only way we could get it through", but what he really means is the exact version with the exact wording that they want.
And no bill, even one that "does something good", is exempt from discussion, because if something's worded poorly or the bill shows a failure in some aspect, then what good is enacting it?
How would you feel if the Democrats proposed a bill--any bill--and said "We're not going to discuss the wording or the specifics or anything, just vote on it right now as is or we're not even going to consider it." Would you take them seriously, or send them packing? I really suspect you'd choose the latter (or try to cop out with some kind of non-answer that explains that the Democrats doing it would somehow be different than what the Republicans are doing here).
If the bill went to committee and then got butchered, then you'd be right to bitch at the DFL in this case. But really, you should be faulting the Republicans pushing it, for taking an all-or-nothing approach with this that sounds more like something they did knowing it'd fail so they could beat the Democrats up with it than an attempt to actually do something.
The politicians pushing this bill get to have it both ways; they get to say they pushed the bill and win your support that way, without having to live with any negative fallout from people who opposed the bill since it didn't pass. With their behavior, that seems more like what they wanted than to actually reinstate the concealed carry law.
The reason that it's never been heard by a committee was that the DFL leadership in the Senate kept it bottled up there, refusing to even let it have a hearing, despite the fact that it's supported by a majority of Minnesotans and that it passed easily when the Senate was finally forced to have an up-or-down vote on it. Having it go through a committee is nothing more than a desperate attempt by a minority of senators to emasculate the bill. If it got another up-or-down vote, it'd pass again, just as it now stands.
It's not like you describe. It's not a matter of insisting on exact wording. It's about letting the bill pass at all.
It's about letting the bill pass at all.
I'm just basing my analysis on what the article says. The article says that there's concern the DFL would want to add or alter parts, such as clarifying that personal property owners do have the right to prohibit concealed firearms from being carried onto their property. And the senators sponsoring the bill didn't say that it wouldn't pass; they said that it wouldn't pass in a form that was acceptable. To who? To them. Why would that be? Because they don't want it altered at all, from what I can tell from that or other articles.
For example, the article notes that the bill didn't include a ban on felons possessing firearms. The bill's sponsor said that that was an inadvertent exclusion and that the omission would be corrected--in committee! And there are apparently other details regarding the bill that need some clarification; for instance, as it stands, apparently it seems to override the rights of property owners to decide whether or not to allow people to have firearms on their property. These are things that need addressed before signing off on any law.
Where do they get addressed? In a committee. The Republicans even admitted, per that article, that one such issue needed to be resolved in a committee. So why try and force a quick up-or-down vote at this point?
It's obvious why. They only want the version that they have written already, and they won't compromise.
No, it's not obvious at all. The DFL wants to gut the law, by adding lots of exclusions and conditions. There are lots of other laws that prohibit felons from possessing firearms; this one doesn't need such a provision.
The bit about protecting the rights of property owners is baloney. If you look at it, instead of listening to the DFL, you learn that what they want is to allow people to prohibit someone from bringing a firearm into a parking lot inside a closed car, where it won't even be seen or known. This guts the right to carry a firearm while driving - because you can't legally have it when you get to your destination! They also want to allow landlords to prohibit firearms even if tenants allow them, in direct contravention of the usually accepted tenant-landlord relationship.
Make no mistake: The committee doesn't want to "fix" the law. They want to destroy it by making it useless to go through the hassle of obtaining a permit. In light of that, no, a compromise is not acceptable.
They also want to allow landlords to prohibit firearms even if tenants allow them, in direct contravention of the usually accepted tenant-landlord relationship.
Er... I don't think I've signed a lease that allowed firearms since I started living on my own, so I'd have to say that it this is kind of normal to me.
And otherwise... "compromise is not acceptable" is exactly what I'm talking about. Now you're saying it too. If they try to compromise, and the DFL kills it, then you can blame the DFL. But if the Republicans pull it off the table, then the Republicans killed it.
A landlord cannot legally prevent you from keeping firearms in your home. That would violate the basic principle that your home is your castle. The provisions relate to landlords of commercial properties who wish to mandate that their tenants ban firearms, whether the tenant wishes to or not.
You're missing the point: Compromise with the DFL on this bill will simply help the DFL to kill it. Why should they help?