Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Gun Rights are not a License to Kill

This guest post is contributed by Rebecca Gray, who writes for background checks. She welcomes your comments at her email id:

Gun rights issues come and go from the public spotlight, as violent episodes illuminate gun culture in America.  Unfortunately, as quickly as gun violence is recognized as a crucial social topic, concerns seem to fade into the background, during incident-free periods.  A school shooting or other gun-related atrocity starts the dialog and fervent discussions between pundits, lawmakers and police officials, only for it to slip from public focus before anything is actually done about it.

At issue is the intensely divided sphere of public influence, which decries gun crime and doggedly protects gun rights at the same time.  There is no question a problem is at hand, yet legislators and staunch gun rights advocates continue to defend the status quo.  Until we open our minds to serious reform, the proliferation of guns across U.S. society will continue to serve as a license to kill for criminals and accidental shooters defining the national gun culture.

State and Federal Influences

The proliferation of legal concealed-carry accommodations includes a vast majority of states as permit providers, with each jurisdiction maintaining its own set of laws. Depending on the requirements imposed, some states hardly restrict access to concealed carry permits, issuing most as a matter of course.  A few states do maintain stringent standards, which limits access for certain members of society, even requiring gun owners to define their need for concealed weapons.

Despite the call for federal gun control and shifts in national attitudes about gun violence, states play crucial roles in legislating and enforcing gun rights.  And while it is important to protect Constitutional freedoms, states need to fill the gap between Constitutional provisions and real-life outcomes seen on the streets.  Combined with stand your ground laws on the books in some states, reckless concealed carry practices hold the potential for escalating violence.  As a result, states that aren't active enough preventing guns from getting into the wrong hands actually contribute to the problem of gun violence more than they help solve it. 

The National Rifle Association remains firmly committed to reciprocity and universal federal gun laws regulating gun rights across state lines.  Though currently on the books in all 50 states, concealed carry laws vary according to jurisdiction, so travelers carrying firearms must do due diligence to ensure they are acting in accordance with state statutes.  NRA proposals, on the other hand, would standardize laws across states, even going as far as creating federal laws to codify the national standard.

Gun rights advocates justify the proposed change by arguing the universality of crime, which can occur at any time and place.  According to the NRA, gun owners should not be forced to sacrifice safety and security just to travel across state borders.  Unfortunately, standardizing gun laws would be a step backward for public safety, because such a proposal would naturally pander to the lowest possible standard. As a result, the federal conceal carry law would account for the lowest common denominator, compromising the strict licensure policies adopted by other states committed to curbing gun violence.


  1. The problem is that any truly "personal gun rights" are found in state constitutional provisions that expressly mention such a right. This is in contrast to the Second Amendment which only expressly mentions the militia.

    State Constitutions can guarantee greater rights than the federal constitution, but they cannot guarantee a lower level.

    That is something which has been lost in this debate.

    And is the reason that McDonald v. Chicago was not based in law:
    1) the second amendment relates to Article I, section 8, clause 16 of the US Constitution which gives congress the power to arm the militia.
    2) Many states already guarantee a higher level of protection of personal gun rights.

    I have long been waiting for someone who is willing to write a judicial opinion that shows the emperor has no clothes in the Heller-McDonald line of decisions.

    1. Really? So the "the right of the people" doesn't mention the people? Interesting theory.

      For a more logical explanation of the second amendment try:

  2. I know that you Laci, and other extreme left liberals cant help but misread the second civil right because you and your ilk just cant stand the idea of civil liberties for anyone but the elites. A second grade student can look at the structure of the second civil right and understand that the right belongs to the individual because if it didn't, you wouldn't have the means for a militia. And with out the means for a militia you would have the means of a secure state. The framers understood this as evidenced in their writings on the subject.

    The only one with no clothes here Laci and your ilk. Its obvious to me and others that you don't know how to properly dress with anything but disdain and hatred for anyone that has a view that doesn't agree with yours.

    Get over yourself and get a proper education instead of an indoctrination, you are NOT as smart as you "think" you are.

    1. The reply of the undefined commitment; a personal attack, not a statement of conviction. Insults are truly the cowards way.

    2. Really, just borrowing a little style of expression from you and Laci. Don't like it? Don't do it.

    3. Anonymous (the first one), You're conveniently twisting the reality of the thing. The second civil right, as you so laughingly call it, has absolutely no meaning today. Militia, as it was meant then, does not exist. At that time the weapons referred to in "bear arms" were exactly the same ones owned by the government. The difference between that situation and the current one is clear to anyone, except of course a close-minded gun-rights fanatic.

    4. @Mike B - Umm, you need to do a bit of research. The possibility of the government neglecting to organize and arm a common militia is exactly WHY the 2nd amendment was made.

      The article 1 section 8 provision allowing the federal government to arm the militia almost doomed the ratification of the whole constitution. Some said that while the intention was never to make an EXCLUSIVE power of the federal government to arm the militia, the wording made it possible to interpret that way.

      Therefore they worried that with the federal government having the power to say that the right to arm the common militia (everyone) was exclusive to them they could prevent the people from arming themselves, neglect to arm them, and still have the power delegated to them to raise an army that now had a full monopoly on force over the people.

      The representatives of various states made it extremely clear that that was a no go, and they would NOT ratify it as written. The only way ratification happened was because a promise was made to address that problem in the coming bill of rights.

      So what did they do? As promised, they made the second amendment, affirming that the militia (which was everyone) was so important that the people themselves had the right to keep and bear arms (i.e. the people could arm themselves to stay a militia even if the government neglected them). That way the federal control of arming the militia (everyone) was affirmed as not exclusive, and the people could still be armed even under government neglect of the common militia (something that was a serious concern would happen and was brought up during ratification...and is exactly what has happened now).

      The 2nd amendment isn't irrelevant because the government has neglected the common's ENTIRE PURPOSE is in case the government neglects the common militia.

    5. I only do it in reply, in kind. Maybe you should be more kind, or at least more intellectual than just spewing insults. I know it's hard for you, but try it.

    6. BeGe, you need to do less historical research and use your head a little bit more. Everything you said screams out Anachronistic.

  3. Straw man. No right makes it legal to commit crimes, but self-defense is not a crime - it is a right in and of itself.

    The "license to kill" meme is inflammatory agitprop.

    In the strict legal sense, justifiable self-defense that results in death IS a de facto "license to kill".

    In that context, it is a fundamental right.

    And NOT a crime.

    Just ask Trayvon.....

    1. What the "license to kill" thing means to me is not so much about the law but about the mentality. What I call the castle doctrine mentality or the stand your ground mentality, which is propagandized by the gun-rights fanatics, is responsible for unnecessary killings. Some do in fact get away with murder, others don't, but there are more armed citizens than ever before ready to shoot prematurely or unnecessarily. Stats have borne this out. And before you ask, you can do your own homework.


  4. Anonymous August 14, 2014 at 11:17 PM

    I only do it in reply, in kind. Maybe you should be more kind, or at least more intellectual than just spewing insults. I know it's hard for you, but try it.

    You have been around here longer than me, and have read many nasty responses from you before I responded to any one. Tell you what, you lead by example and I'll follow. Too hard for you?

    1. You are the one who started the nasty name calling. To be surprised by similar remarks in return, is hypocritical on your part. I respond in kind and will continue to. You deserve nothing better.