Peace & Safety

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Throughout the course of organized civilization, there has been a balance that has been struck between safety and freedom. We see it in most families, where we protect our kids by not letting them have certain freedoms. We saw it in the alien and sedition acts in the early part of our nation's history, where we took away the rights of individuals for the safety of the nation, and again when Linoln suspended writ of habeus corpus. Most of the time, when the government strips away rights in order to preserve peace and safety, it is flatly in the wrong.

The shooting at Columbine gave birth to a new call for peace and safety. Some legislators are looking to license all gun owners, a clear violation of privacy under the second and fourth amendments. Some legislators want to ban certain types of guns and clips without any evidence that they are more or less harmful than other kinds of guns. Some legislators want to even strip away your right to have a gun at all.

To be fair, most of the federal gun legislation under consideration is not unconstitutional. Some of it is good. But certain things are clear:

  • Many of the legislators and Presidential advisors behind the proposed legislation also have stated agendas that are to abridge our rights, and these laws seem to be stepping stones to a breach of the Constitution, even when they are not directly at odds with the Constitution.
  • Most of these laws are entirely unnecessary as they are redundant and not enforced now. For instance, Al Gore -- who cast the deciding vote on the last big gun bill -- was pushing for a ban on gun show sales to kids 18-20, even though such sales are already illegal. The federal government is pushing for waiting periods, even though most states already have them, and when criminals are found to be trying to buy guns illegally they are rarely prosecuted under the laws they break.
  • Part of the background checks wanted in this latest legislation involves checking documents that the government does not have a clear right to review, such as medical records.
  • In many states, such as Massachusetts, where I live, the right to keep and bear arms has already been abolished entirely, and as such, many of us do not want what few "privileges" remain to be stripped away, too. We do not trust the legislators who have illegally stolen our rights and do not side with them.

You probably think I am being facetious or something when I say my right to keep and bear arms has been abolished. But it is true. In Massachusetts, I cannot have a gun in my own house without asking permission of the chief of police, who has full discretionary power to accept or deny my application. In Massachusetts, I have no right to keep and bear arms, I have only the right to ask permission, and if I am denied, I have no recourse. And even if I am granted permission to have a gun in my own house, and even purchase one, I am not allowed to transport it to my house. I am not even allowed to have pepper spray in Massachusetts without a license.

Legislators here are clearly not interested in the safety of the people, but control of the people. Owning a gun and keeping it in my house is not a danger to anyone, except for criminals and the government. It is a measure of safety for my family and neighbors. And it is my Constitutional right, not my privilege.

And with my rights stolen from me, you think I should give a damn about whether or not there are waiting periods and mandatory trigger locks? Give back my rights to keep and bear a gun, and then I will consider supporting your legislation to make guns "safer." Until then, bugger off.

Peace and safety are a poor substitute for freedom. Even if they could be assured, they would not be worth the price. The phrase is "live free or die," not "live in peace and safety or die."

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<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

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This page contains a single entry by pudge published on March 19, 2000 12:00 PM.

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