Monday, September 14, 2009

The Voices of the Unarmed

The New York Times published an op-ed piece entitled "Good Sense in Tennessee."

Safety-minded localities in gun-friendly Tennessee have delivered a blunt and very welcome lesson in gun control to the National Rifle Association. While Tennessee’s ever-obeisant Legislature has enacted a law permitting handguns in all state and local parks, about 70 cities and counties have voted to opt out of this latest lock-and-load obsession from the N.R.A.

The message is obvious: folks at the local level will not be bullied by the gun lobby. Local municipalities have rejected legislation which allows guns to be carried in hundreds of parks — "including public playgrounds, campgrounds, greenways and nature trails."

Few state politicians anticipated there would be local resistance. But bans were voted by Nashville and Memphis and dozens of suburban counties and rural communities.

It's very interesting that the surprise resistance to gun friendly legislation comes from two of the largest urban centers as well as many rural ones. What's your opinion? Do pro-gun folks, who object so strenuously to the federal government dictating policies that affect them, feel the state government should have this same power? It seems the NRA thinks this.

The gun lobby is not giving up, of course. It is already marshaling lobbyists and cash to ensure the next Legislature strips localities of their right to just say no.

What's your opinion?


  1. Yep--Tennessee is long overdue for state preemption of firearms laws. In wishing for that, I am, of course, compromising principles--I'm saying the state should be the only body with the power to do something that no one should have power to do (restrict the possession of lifesaving firepower).

    Still, it's what needs to happen.

  2. Forgot to add: call state preemption of firearms laws my version of "harmonizing" gun laws ;).

  3. Your side has lost the war Mike.

    Break off your chains and help us undo the damage your side has done!

  4. Tennessee needs pre-emption. They need to harmonize the gun laws. That way they can have concealed carry everywhere instead of creating such a patchwork of criminal protection zones.

    Even MikeB is for harmonizing gun laws.

  5. My opinion is...our leadership tend not to represent the people, rather they represent a party line or personal opinions. The self-proclaimed elite that have the resources to get voted into office see no reason for the common folk to be armed. Funny that many of these people have their own armed security (and in many cases are themselves armed).

    Of course, in the overall scheme of things, this issue is very small to most people, so don't expect a regime change as a result (assuming the people are against it), but I truly wonder what would happen if it were put to a popular vote?

    Who would you prefer to be carrying guns in your local park?
    (a) Criminals only
    (b) Legally armed citizens and criminals

  6. I believe gun laws should be local. No incorporated city or town should be able to tell another incorporated city or town what laws they should have. If you don't like the laws where you are, either vote to change them or move.

    The idea of "harmonizing" laws would set a dangerous precedent as lawmakers would want to apply it to other laws too.

  7. cj asks, "Who would you prefer to be carrying guns in your local park?
    (a) Criminals only
    (b) Legally armed citizens and criminals"

    I say neither one. I'd like to see such strict control on guns and gun owners that the criminal who would like to get a gun just can't.

  8. "I say neither one. I'd like to see such strict control on guns and gun owners that the criminal who would like to get a gun just can't."

    Good luck with that!

  9. I'd like to see such strict control on guns and gun owners that the criminal who would like to get a gun just can't.

    Silly me--I was thinking that Italy was part of planet Earth, and certainly in the physical universe where there's this little thing called reality, that happens to be vastly more important than what you or anyone else would "like to see."

    One part of that reality is that there are hundreds of millions of privately owned guns in the U.S. I've seen one estimate (a supposedly "conservative" estimate) of 355,029,250, or 1.17 guns per person. That sounds a bit overly optimistic to me, but perhaps we can agree that the number is something like 200 million to 300 million, possibly more. What set of laws do you think would succeed in making guns unobtainable (to criminals), or even difficult to obtain, even if you magically had the power to pass a total ban on new purchases (and even if you could magically prevent what Weer'd Beard refers to--the illicit manufacture of guns)?

    It goes beyond the sheer number of guns, by the way. Any requirement for citizens to register guns already in their possession would be rendered laughably impotent by the fact that any estimate of the number of guns already out there would have to be followed with the caveat "give or take 50 million."

    As Weer'd Beard said, "Good luck with that!" I can afford to wish you good luck with that, despite the fact that I think your dream is actually a nightmare for liberty, because I know that no amount of luck is ever going to make it even a remote possibility.

    That's why I, unlike you, enjoy living in the real world.

  10. Statewide preemption is absolutely necessary.

    Imagine having wildly differing laws governing your ability to petition the government for redress of greivances from county to county or city to city.

    Imagine your black and have a white girlfriend. In the part of your state where you live this is perfectly legal, but in the next county over it's a crime (and it's not always obvious whether you've crossed county lines.)

    You risk unknowingly committing crimes while simply going about your daily business, or worse, you must avoid certain parts of the state altogether because your rights don't apply there.

    Do you have any idea what that's like? or how much of a PITA it'd be in a state the size of Delaware? I can drive the entire length of the state in under 2 hours.

  11. Something to consider mikeB...

    I spent a very brief period of my life living in Southern LA.

    I was out driving one day and stopped at a red light. I was in the town of La Mirada. As soon as the light turned green and I was half-way through the intersection, I was in the town of Fullerton.

    If every town were able to make their own gun laws(or laws dealing with other Constitutionally protected Rights) it would pure chaos.

    It's hard enough keeping straight all the state and federal laws as it is. Imagine what would happen if our Constitutional
    Rights changed simply because we crossed the street.

    And yet, this is what you advocate.

    This is akin to the local mafia bosses in Italy controlling their own collection of city blocks as they see fit, huh?

    Is that what you really want?

  12. Guys,

    I think you are missing the point. MikeB and his ilk want to make it a PITA to carry guns.

    He wants to prevent gun owners from being able to carry firearms to defend themselves...without banning the firearms.

    That way "gun violence" will go down.

    Then they will mandate "reasonable restrictions" and laws on the "safe storage" of firearms...much like Washington D.C. did.

    See they aren't against guns, just gun violence, right?

    Never mind the effects of their "reasonable restrictions" is the disarming and banning of firearms....all you have to do is comply with the ever restrictive laws and you can enjoy your firearms.

    Next, it will be 'reasonable' for them to require firearms to be stored in a central armory because they will be safer there...but they aren't against firearms...just gun violence.

    Right MikeB?

  13. Weer'd, Thanks for that link. I love that video.

  14. I'd like to see such strict control on guns and gun owners that the criminal who would like to get a gun just can't.

    How would you enforce this without a totalitarian police state? If passing a law were sufficient, we would not have problems with drugs and violence in the first place.

  15. Sevesteen, I don't think it would be all that difficult to enforce if the laws were standardized throughout the country, if background checks were required on every transfer like they are in some places, and the owners of guns, the law-abiding owners, were required by law to be responsible and accountable for the guns they own.

  16. By passing enough laws, you could eliminate the guns that are sold out of the legitimate market into the underworld. If you punished the victims of burglary hard enough you could reduce the number of guns stolen--primarily by making people more afraid of jail than they are of criminal attack.

    But where has prohibition worked? We tried it with alcohol, and it made little difference and gave organized crime a massive boost. We cannot stop drugs from entering the country, we cannot stop people from growing pot. We could not stop people from manufacturing and importing guns and ammo--at best we could reduce the illegal supply to some extent, at a cost to freedom far exceeding the drug war.

    ...and if you are going to import illegal guns, why not bring in full auto?