July 27, 2009

Interesting argument

That I am sure Steve will not like. :) But I am curious what you all think about E.J. Dionne's argument that Republicans want concealed guns everywhere except their own workplace:
"Isn't it time to dismantle the metal detectors, send the guards at the doors away and allow Americans to exercise their Second Amendment rights by being free to carry their firearms into the nation's Capitol?"


Monk-in-Training said...

it is typical of elitist Republicans to want others to endure what they do not care to endure.

The nation is awash in guns, mostly at the bidding of the NRA and their Republican lackeys. They should have to live with them in their workplace, too.

Naturally they won't.

steves said...

Histrionics and logical fallacies aside, I agree that law abiding citizens should be able to carry on government property, including the capitol. The benefits are obvious.

When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.

--Thomas Jefferson

Streak said...

What logical fallacies? I read it fast.

leighton said...

Not sure what fallacies Steve has in mind, but the ones I see are intentional and the logical consequences of taking Sen. Thune's pro-gun arguments as though they were as universally true as he pretends, and meant in good faith.

I tend to think regulation of firearms should be local and reflect the gun-savviness of the population doing the regulating. Allowing guns in the state capitol building in Oklahoma City (not sure whether they are allowed or not) would be a very different thing than allowing guns in the capitol building in Sacramento (which they don't unless you're an on-duty law enforcement officer).

I don't know whether it would be a good thing in DC or not. But I'm just as sure that blanket support of gun carrying without regard for social context is just as fallacious as the argument that no adult is capable of handling and storing a firearm responsibly. If there are social benefits to widespread gun-carrying in places like Texas and South Dakota, those benefits wouldn't automatically extend to places like Los Angeles, where it's widely assumed that only thugs, criminals and undercover cops carry concealed weapons, just by passing some permissive legislation. The culture would have to change, too. And that's a bigger issue than just guns. (To be fair, I think it's also problematic to blame gang violence and such on the availability of properly licensed guns; it has more to do with pulling federal and state law enforcement resources away from organized crime so they can focus on silly things like marijuana enforcement instead.)

All that said, I'm unsure what the motivation for this legislation was. Is there a problem of gun-friendly state residents being fined or arrested for driving through other states with a hunting rifle in the trunk?

Streak said...

I don't think guns are allowed inside the capital in Ok either, and this is a pretty gun-friendly state. I liked Dionne's argument because it does a pretty good job of taking the rhetoric and putting it against the reality of those pushing it.

As I have said, I am open to Steve's objections on gun control. I ultimately am more comfortable with some restrictions on gun ownership, and would like to see more attention given to the illegal and semi-legal markets, and am very uncomfortable with the gun-worshiping segment of the society (which Steve definitely does not represent).

The legislation in question, btw, struck me as odd in another way. I constantly hear about the intrusive federal government and the supremacy of state and local governments (which I think is largely bullshit, but that is for another topic) but here are Republicans urging a Federal law that would override state and local preferences on conceal carry.

It seems as if these Republicans are only for state and local control when it pleases them, but are more than willing to override them when they want to win an election or stop environmental controls. Or when they want to push the NRA's agenda.

steves said...

Red Herring stands out most for me, if he is arguing that the nationwide reciprocity bill is bad. Instead he makes all sorts of other arguments that have nothing to do with how beneficial the bill is to the country.

Leighton, there is a huge problem in some states. Despite a federal "safe passage" law, many gun owners have faced arrest and harassment. The problem is that the laws vary so much from state to state. I have had students ask me what to do when they are planning a trip across the country and they would like to take a firearm with them for protection. There are web sites with the info, but they vary in terms of accuracy. The only thing I can tell them is to contact the AG's office in each state they plan on visiting, which is a difficult proposition at best.

I can see the argument for local and state laws, but if we are dealing with a fundamental right, then we are talking about 14th Amendment protection. Other Constitutional rights apply in all the states. This also touches on the Privileges and Immunities Clause. If I am married in one state, then I am married in all 50 states. Why shouldn't this hold true for permits?

I can understand that different municipalities want to be able to deal with problems creatively, but they are still bound by the Constitution. A city with a high crime rate can't ban all public meeting or dispense with jury trials, no matter how much that would help them lower crime.