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Show ALL Forums  > California  > HUGE victory in California today for the rights of gun owners :)      Home login  
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 fzrhusker
Joined: 10/8/2005
Msg: 76
HUGE victory in California today for the rights of gun owners :)Page 4 of 7    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
Watch the video

http://wearechangecoloradosprings.org/blog/?p=594

Here is the full story on Martin.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/norfolk/3009769.stm
 AceOfSpace
Joined: 5/28/2007
Msg: 77
HUGE victory in California today for the rights of gun owners :)
Posted: 6/13/2009 9:50:43 AM
Interesting story. I tend to agree with the appellate court that it was manslaughter and not murder. Shooting someone in the back as they flee is not self defense. In California, you aren't entitled to shoot someone in flight. However, you _can_ use reasonable force to enforce a citizen's arrest and hold a suspect in place until the authorities arrive. Shooting someone who is resisting a citizen's arrest is not manslaughter, especially when there are two of them. But that is very different than lying in wait to shoot people who trespass, even if it is for the nth time.

Our legal tradition derives from English common law. Perhaps he was just unclear about his right to enforce a citizen's arrest.

As far as his subsequent harrassment by the man he wounded, if you're going to take the law into your own hands, this is the risk you run. It sounds like Mr. Martin has been bullied by thugs for quite some time, has not had much help from the authorities, and has a damned incompetent lawyer. I'm not sure what I'd do in his shoes.

But what I would not do is presume that I could just shoot someone with an illegal weapon and get away with it. If I felt that deadly force was the only option left to me, I would obtain a thorough understanding of the law, my rights, and my legal defenses, and follow a procedure that would leave me blameless against any charge save possession of the weapon. Shooting people is serious business. Pulling the trigger is just the beginning. Anyone I'm liable to shoot will have friends and loved ones. If I don't follow procedure to make it absolutely clear I did all I could to avoid shooting them, and that they brought their fate upon themselves, those loved ones will be coming after me. If I'm going to shoot someone, it would be better if doing so would actually solve my problem.

This is why I tend to think that people who have a shoot first, ask questions later attitude aren't thinking all that clearly and why I don't trust their judgment. Any idiot can pull a trigger and claim self defense. That doesn' make it so.
 matchlight
Joined: 1/31/2009
Msg: 78
view profile
History
HUGE victory in California today for the rights of gun owners :)
Posted: 6/13/2009 9:57:04 AM
English law has pretty much the same provisions ours does. I can't swear to it, but I'm almost certain self-defense is still a defense to a charge of murder there. The common law rule is that you have to prove you acted out of a reasonable belief that you, or someone else, was in imminent danger of death or gross bodily harm. You also have to retreat until there's no place else to go. Here, some states have done away with that requirement, especially when you're at home.

I don't know the facts in detail, but I noticed two things. First, this guy got a gun and opened the door to confront the men. That doesn't sound like retreating. And he saw one had a pry bar. If they didn't have a gun (I don't know) that wouldn't help him show it was reasonable to believe he, or anyone else, was in imminent danger.
 AceOfSpace
Joined: 5/28/2007
Msg: 79
HUGE victory in California today for the rights of gun owners :)
Posted: 6/13/2009 10:04:22 PM
I don't know. Two guys, one with a pry bar, coming at me? I'd just shoot.

Oh wait, they were running away.
 fzrhusker
Joined: 10/8/2005
Msg: 80
HUGE victory in California today for the rights of gun owners :)
Posted: 6/15/2009 1:56:41 PM
I don't mean to be obnoxious but the story I posted about the man in England was not so we could argue the legal merits of that case, but to display our future and the future of the 2nd amendment. The anti gun people have a plan to take our right away, what do we do to fight this plan?
 AceOfSpace
Joined: 5/28/2007
Msg: 81
HUGE victory in California today for the rights of gun owners :)
Posted: 6/15/2009 6:44:49 PM
I don't mean to be obnoxious but the story I posted about the man in England was not so we could argue the legal merits of that case, but to display our future and the future of the 2nd amendment. The anti gun people have a plan to take our right away, what do we do to fight this plan?


When you put up a straw-man argument, you can expect people to try to knock it down. Was this an example of the fate of an honest, forthright citizen sticking up for his rights? Or was it an example of an irresponsible gun owner who got tired of being bullied and went off on someone?

Hard to say.

I absolutely support the right of citizens to bear arms, and I don't think the government needs to know which citizens have them. However, the right to bear, as you pointed out earlier, has more to do with defending ourselves against a rogue government than against a thug. If gun owners cannot use their guns responsibly in self defense, then at a certain point those who favor a ban will be able to claim that the right has been forfeited through an egregious pattern of citizen-on-citizen abuse. No one has the right to rob me, but I don't have the right to shoot someone in the back just because they tried.

I'm not saying this to knock you down, but to show what you are up against. The best way to preserve and protect the right to bear is to make sure that those who do use guns to protect themselves from thugs do so in accordance with the principle of self-defense and citizen's arrest. When you cite an example of an unrighteous shooting, it doesn't really support your case very well.
 fzrhusker
Joined: 10/8/2005
Msg: 82
HUGE victory in California today for the rights of gun owners :)
Posted: 6/15/2009 8:06:23 PM
Ace I agree with your point, but I guess i didn't clarify myself, the point of the story that i wanted to focus on was this:

In your country, most guns were outlawed years before, and the few That are privately owned are so stringently regulated as to make them useless. Yours was never registered. Police arrive and inform you that the second burglar has died. They arrest you for First Degree Murder and Illegal Possession of a Firearm. When you talk to your attorney, he tells you not to worry: authorities will probably plea the case down to manslaughter.

Yes the anti gun forces will hold up every wrongful shooting to plead their case for gun control, my counter point to that is 64,000,000 gun owners didn't shoo t anybody today. The part of the story that was meant to be the focus was him being arrested for Illegal Possession of a Firearm. If you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have them.

On another note Ace, I totally agree with you on the nicotine/FDA thing and the war on drugs. I recently watched an entire series on the History channel on how most of the Level 1 narcotics became illegal, basically a history of drugs in America. The same principle will apply to guns if they get the restrictions in place, it will create a huge black market way beyond the criminal element we have now. The underground cigarette market is going to become huge.
 AceOfSpace
Joined: 5/28/2007
Msg: 83
HUGE victory in California today for the rights of gun owners :)
Posted: 6/15/2009 11:13:06 PM
fz,

Your point about criminal possession is sound. Still, had Mr. Martin done it right, the only charge against him that would have stuck was the illegal possession charge. If the shooting had been righteous, public opinion would have ensured that his sentence was suspended, and might have even sparked a revival of the debate in England.

BTW, I've lived in CA since I was 9.

Laws that create black markets generally don't accomplish the good that was intended. The means are the ends.
 fzrhusker
Joined: 10/8/2005
Msg: 84
HUGE victory in California today for the rights of gun owners :)
Posted: 6/16/2009 6:36:57 AM
I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.
- Thomas Jefferson
 AceOfSpace
Joined: 5/28/2007
Msg: 85
HUGE victory in California today for the rights of gun owners :)
Posted: 6/16/2009 7:08:13 AM
Would that still be true if a child of yours got killed in a drive-by shooting?

These are real situations that gun-banners fear, and there isn't much liberty for those who live in neighborhoods ravaged by gangs.

Of course, one way to significantly reduce the risk of such shootings is to regulate and tax any product or service that is considered "immoral" regardless of the actual demand. A good answer to the gun banners is to point to the actual conditions that promote violence, rather than banning the means.

Anyone who is both a supporter of 2nd Amendment freedom and the War on Drugs is, most likely, a dangerous fool.
 matchlight
Joined: 1/31/2009
Msg: 86
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History
HUGE victory in California today for the rights of gun owners :)
Posted: 6/16/2009 10:04:29 AM
Anyone who is both a supporter of 2nd Amendment freedom and the War on Drugs is, most likely, a dangerous fool.


No society can survive long without a consensus that *some* activities are immoral. The question is, which ones? We believe murder, arson, rape, and so on are extremely immoral, mostly because they cause such extreme harm to their victims. And so we make them felony crimes. Activities that cause their victims less harm--e.g. forging checks, vandalizing property--still strike most of us as immoral, so we agree to make them misdemeanor crimes. And we do the same with carrying and using firearms in certain places.

You imply that when enough people want something, it's harder to call it immoral and to outlaw it. I think that's true. When most people agreed that fornication was immoral, it was reasonable to call it that and make it illegal. But when almost no one does, it would be silly to treat it that way. Enough Americans thought alcohol was immoral to prohibit it just after WWI. I don't know that they considered it any less immoral by the early 1930's, but they no longer wanted it to be strictly illegal throughout the U.S.

I think we're in a similar position now as to drugs. A heroin addict isn't really a willing consumer who wants to buy a product. That's why drug trafficking is immoral--the drugs themselves often make their consumers slaves to their suppliers. In that way, and by making users less productive, destroying families, and so on, drugs directly cause immense social harm.

Repealing criminal laws against drugs would make them cheap. That would eliminate most of their main indirect cost--the crimes committed to get money to buy them. But because decriminalization would also probably create many new victims of drugs, who knows if it would reduce the total harm they cause?

Not to go completely off topic, I'll add that I have some interesting info on several recent 2d Amendment cases. If anyone's interested, I'll get it.
 AceOfSpace
Joined: 5/28/2007
Msg: 87
HUGE victory in California today for the rights of gun owners :)
Posted: 6/16/2009 11:18:24 AM
No society can survive long without a consensus that *some* activities are immoral.


We already have a consensus regarding legally-enforceable morality, or at least the basis for determining it. It is not about preventing social harm--laudable though that goal seems to most liberals--it is about protecting individual rights.

If an activity violates the rights of another person, we are entitled to make laws against it. Otherwise, we are not. For activities that we consider immoral, freedom of association (e.g., the refusal to do so on grounds of immorality) is sufficient in response--provided that we do not deny anyone equal access to public accommodations. They can work, they can shop, they can purchase. If no one says one word more to them than is strictly necessary to transact business, it is what it is.

In the cigar-smoking gentleman story you told, the only reason it was OK to prohibit smoking in the park was to abate the nuisance created by the smoke for other park users. The fact that the gentleman was courting cancer is between him and the seller, unless of course the seller balks and he must use publicly funded health care. At that point, those of us who must pay for that care are entitled to recompense from the seller. So why not just collect the health-care premium up front from the user as part of the cost of the product?

Which would be more costly: enforcing the current black market, constantly cleaning up after the gangs, and incarcerating nonviolent dealers for extended periods? Or, treating drug dependency as a public health matter by providing treatment that is financed through taxation of the legal, regulated trade?

A good deal of the social harm you cite is the direct result of criminalization. When a drug is _illegal,_ addicts have no legal recourse for dealing with unscrupulous suppliers. It is that lack of recourse, combined with a lack of legal competition for their business, that reduces them to slavery. When a drug is legal and regulated, they can turn to law enforcement in the same way that someone who is sold a bogus bottle of booze can complain to the ATF (or whatever it's called these days) and expect the culprits to be brought to justice.

Is heroin more deadly in the long run than, say, nicotine? How much harm has that caused and yet we tolerated it, though if you ask any hard-core fundamentalist Christian, they will tell you that it, too, is immoral. Most addicts can remain functional for a very long time regardless of their drugs of choice. As long as they don't screw up, what business is it of ours?

If we agree that we should have the freedom to possess weapons with which to kill each other, then how can we agree not to allow people to possess drugs that directly harm only themselves?

Finally, where is the morality in sacrificing the safety of our fellow citizens so that we can feel righteous?

Yes, please do tell us about those recent 2nd Amendment cases.

 fzrhusker
Joined: 10/8/2005
Msg: 88
HUGE victory in California today for the rights of gun owners :)
Posted: 6/16/2009 7:34:47 PM
ACE yes I would still believe in the 2nd amendment and that right even if it happened to one of my children, as I have taught them to believe what it is to be an American Citizen, defend the freedoms given to us, and never back down in practicing them. This would not detract from the fact it was a senseless murder, but the cause of preserving liberty and freedom are greater than any single individual. Now don't take this to think I am callous about the issue of a child, but any one shooting at my kids would be hard pressed to get them and not get return fire. All of my kids have been fully trained in the Art of War and some are better than me at it. Now I am not some zealot that that taught them militia crap, but as they grew up and learned to shoot, they were also taught the tactical side of things, offensive and defensive.

Match whats this new 2nd amendment info you got?

As for Thunder and England, now you know why our ancestors left, you have no FINAL RECOURSE against anything your government does if it reverts to total tyranny.
 matchlight
Joined: 1/31/2009
Msg: 89
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History
HUGE victory in California today for the rights of gun owners :)
Posted: 6/16/2009 11:38:55 PM

the only reason it was OK to prohibit smoking in the park was to abate the nuisance created by the smoke for other park users.


I'm not sure what you mean by "OK" here. It's legal, at least so far--but it's far from OK with me. And the very complex law of nuisance is something else altogether. This issue--luckily--doesn't involve it at all.

Municipal governments have what's called the "police power." This has nothing to do with the cops--the word's used in the old sense of "polity." It's the basic power to regulate that any government needs to function. As the courts have always defined it, the police power is limited to things that affect public health, safety, or welfare. It used to include public morals as a fourth category, but the general view is that over the years, this was folded into public welfare. Morality apparently is outdated.

The city fathers and leading lights of Fairville, believing that our bodies are our temples, have decided that tobacco is BAD. (Even more immoral than eating red meat--something aware, evolved Americans just don't do.) After a few Chardonnays, some of them have even said that being moral people themselves, if they believe something's bad, then no one should be allowed to do it. At least not in Fairville.

One of these upright citizens, Flanders, blurted out one day in frustration, "Gosh, I hate smoking as much as anyone in Fairville. But darn it all! We're just a town, not the doggone Supreme Court! We can't just up and tell everyone how to live, like they can! We've got to have a *reason* we can point to. We have to show, somehow, that smoking harms the *public* health, safety, or welfare! Forget safety and welfare. Health, health . . . let's see . . . the *smoker's* health, sure--but how's it harm the *public* health? Unless--wait a minute--what if, somehow, the smoke drifted, and . . . and . . . I've got it! I can't wait to talk to the mayor!"

And soon, the the Fairville City Council adopted a municipal ordinance prohibiting smoking anywhere within city limits. And the old man--that selfish sinner--had enjoyed his last cigar in the park!
 AceOfSpace
Joined: 5/28/2007
Msg: 90
HUGE victory in California today for the rights of gun owners :)
Posted: 6/17/2009 7:56:10 AM
So what you have is a miniscule amount of less cigarette smoke in the air yet the dozens or hundreds of cars that are still allowed into the green park are quietly emitting their poison. So what really has changed ? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.


Actually, as a result of all that endless rabble-rousing for costly and unnecessary emission controls on cars by those dreaded liberals, the cigar smoker probably emits more toxic fumes and particulates than all of those cars combined. That is certainly true of the guy driving the two-cycle lawn mower.

So do we allow everyone to stick us with the costs of their dirty operations, or do we hold each other accountable for the actual costs that our activities entail?
 AceOfSpace
Joined: 5/28/2007
Msg: 91
HUGE victory in California today for the rights of gun owners :)
Posted: 6/17/2009 8:01:07 AM

And soon, the the Fairville City Council adopted a municipal ordinance prohibiting smoking anywhere within city limits. And the old man--that selfish sinner--had enjoyed his last cigar in the park!


Well, second-hand smoke is carcinogenic, so they have a rationale. If they are overreaching based on that rationale, that is what elections are for. But if the majority of park users would prefer not to deal with the smoke, should the will of the people prevail or not?

I think you know my answer. Only if some individual's rights would be violated. What right does the smoker have to create a nuisance in the park? BTW, if it was some punk kid playing gangsta rap a high volume, would you also be in favor of scrapping the noise ordinance?
 matchlight
Joined: 1/31/2009
Msg: 92
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History
HUGE victory in California today for the rights of gun owners :)
Posted: 6/17/2009 8:44:53 AM
I think, in my original hypothetical, there were no people within hundreds of yards of the cigar smoker. The whole point is that it's easy to imagine lots of situations--the old man and his dog is just one--where NO one's rights are being violated. Except, of course, the rights of everyone the noble crusade targets. In too many situations, there IS no rational basis for laws like anti-smoking ordinances. But they apply just the same.

All kinds of materials are carcinogens. Should we ban ever other item in Home Depot because someone might break a container, and everyone in the store--and even across town (Heavens!) will inhale a couple atoms of it? Unless it's plutonium, so what? As the Supreme Court's acknowledged, the law's always excepted trivia.

While a law's in force, it's binding on everyone it covers. About the only exception is for someone who violates a law in good faith to challenge its constitutionality in court. So, elections are one cure--and maybe the best one. In theory, at least, we get the governments we deserve. So far, we can still choose to live in cities that allow people to smoke in public. But as these meddling laws get more widespread, it gets harder to escape them by moving.
 AceOfSpace
Joined: 5/28/2007
Msg: 93
HUGE victory in California today for the rights of gun owners :)
Posted: 6/17/2009 12:38:27 PM

I think, in my original hypothetical, there were no people within hundreds of yards of the cigar smoker. The whole point is that it's easy to imagine lots of situations--the old man and his dog is just one--where NO one's rights are being violated. Except, of course, the rights of everyone the noble crusade targets. In too many situations, there IS no rational basis for laws like anti-smoking ordinances. But they apply just the same.


If his smoke isn't bothering anyone, I see no reason for anyone to bother him, sign or no sign.

Same for the guy who sticks a needle in his arm. Same for consenting adults behind closed doors. Same for the gay couple who want to marry. Same for the Stinger rocket collector who keeps his toys safely secured. Same for anyone engaging in ANY activity that a majority might decide is somehow immoral or disgusting.

If you believe in the market, believe in the market. If you believe in letting people deal with the consequences of their choices (including the choice to get involved with an addict), let them.

If you want to save addicts from themselves at taxpayers expense, would that not be a socialist/statist position?
 fzrhusker
Joined: 10/8/2005
Msg: 94
HUGE victory in California today for the rights of gun owners :)
Posted: 6/17/2009 1:35:17 PM
Ok Jack I am going to play devils advocate here. What about the right of the owner to have a smoking establishment?
More reasonable than tell someone that has invested their life in their business, would be to put a sign out front that says it is a smoking establishment. Just like TV you have the right to not go in, i don't think anyone should have the right to tell a bar owner how to run his business.
The demonization of all things petty and unhealthy or sin taxes etc. All based on someones morality of the absurd and petty.
The house is burning down and we are edging the lawn.
 The Minister of Dudeness
Joined: 6/11/2006
Msg: 95
HUGE victory in California today for the rights of gun owners :)
Posted: 6/17/2009 2:03:49 PM
A] Since the Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to own guns (District of Columbia v. Heller), there have been about 90 lower federal court case rulings that have interpreted the Heller decision. So far, little has changed, as the rulings have reinforced the illegality of gun ownership by felons, banning machine guns, carrying guns near schools, etc.

The one exception is a part of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, named after the murdered son of John Walsh, the host of the television show “America’s Most Wanted.” It said that persons accused of child pornography offenses must be prohibited from possessing guns while they await trial. (That violates due process by imposing a punishment before conviction, so it was probably already unconstitutional.) But, post-Heller, two courts have struck down the provision based “… The right to possess a firearm is constitutionally protected…There is no basis for categorically depriving persons who are merely accused of certain crimes of the right to legal possession of a firearm.”

B] But the open question left by Heller is whether the Second Amendment also applies to the states, or whether the amendment is “incorporated” against them. The Supreme Court has said that most (but not all) of the protections of the Bill of Rights are incorporated by the Fourteenth Amendment, one of the post-Civil War amendments.
The current consensus among most legal scholars is that incorporation of the Second Amendment is now likely. The Supreme Court has said in some past cases that the Second Amendment applies only to the federal government, but a footnote in Heller cast doubt on those decisions. For now, lower courts probably have to follow the older decisions until the Supreme Court says otherwise. But even if the court applies the amendment to the states, most state constitutions already protect an individual right to bear arms.

C] But some liberals spy a chance for shenanigans. They have urged courts to incorporate the Second Amendment in a novel way, one that might help liberal arguments for protecting rights not specifically mentioned in the Constitution, such as abortion and gay rights.

In a supporting brief filed in a Chicago case, lawyers for the Constitutional Accountability Center, a liberal group, urged the court to bypass the usual way that amendments are applied to the states, through the Fourteenth Amendment’s due process clause. (Using that clause to guarantee fundamental rights has always seemed odd, as “due process” would seem to protect only fair procedures, and not subject matter substance.) Another ploy (and the one urged by the center’s brief) is the Fourteenth Amendment’s “privileges and immunities” clause, which says that “no state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges and immunities of citizens of the United States.” (The virtues of that clause are it makes sense by its terms, and there is some evidence that its framers specifically wanted it to apply to allow freed slaves to have guns to defend themselves.)

D] When all is said and done, as to gun ownership and conditions, Heller might turn out to be much ado about nothing.
 AceOfSpace
Joined: 5/28/2007
Msg: 96
HUGE victory in California today for the rights of gun owners :)
Posted: 6/17/2009 3:27:31 PM
Personally, I'm fine with a bar owner declaring his establishment a smoking zone--so long as there is a clear sign out front and he pays the increased premiums to cover the added cancer risk to himself and his employees.

Sin taxes are supposed to cover the costs of mitigating the negative effects, such as treatment for alcoholism or lung cancer, in the same way that gas taxes are supposed to cover the costs of maintain the roads.

If the sin tax revenues aren't being used for that, then it's election time!

BTW, how do we cover the costs of drug treatment for destitute addicts now? How do we provide support to their families? Oh, that all comes out of the general fund while the drug traffickers continue to profit tax free? And we're also paying the costs of incarceration for all those otherwise functional breadwinners who got hooked and decided to deal rather than steal?

Sounds like a good investment of my tax dollars! NOT!
 fzrhusker
Joined: 10/8/2005
Msg: 97
HUGE victory in California today for the rights of gun owners :)
Posted: 6/17/2009 5:52:57 PM
ACE I can see your point. As for taxes, I really doubt any of them are used for what they are intended any more. I sure didn't vote for someone to hand out 700 billion so that New Jersey could build a new boardwalk, that was just replaced 5 years ago.

As I have said before all taxes need a sunset law and a direct spending clause that makes sure it is spent on what it was intended for. Also an across the board law that says if you as a politician use the money for any other reason than its original intent, you go to jail for misappropriation of funds, if it doesn't get used it goes in to a surplus fund to which 50% of the surplus goes back to the people each year.

3 BILLION in highway funds moved to the general funds and wasted, now they want to raise car taxes to fix the roads, Thank you Gray Davis and Arnold.

Sin Taxes go way back to a time before we were worried about who is going to cover costs of the sin, but your point is valid in today's world.

There was a 75 cent sin tax for the use of a hooker in Washington DC when General Hooker was in charge of security in DC. The tax paid for the soldiers that were securing DC. Now thats a sin tax.
 AceOfSpace
Joined: 5/28/2007
Msg: 98
HUGE victory in California today for the rights of gun owners :)
Posted: 6/18/2009 12:19:55 AM
I guarantee you in one hour you will be deceased.


From CO2 poisoning, not from unburned hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides, and carcinogenic particulates. I remember when we used to let the oil refiners put lead in the gas.
 matchlight
Joined: 1/31/2009
Msg: 99
view profile
History
HUGE victory in California today for the rights of gun owners :)
Posted: 6/18/2009 10:48:07 AM
now there is no smoking within 500 feet of a school.


I'm assuming that ordinance only applies to public spaces, and not inside your house. So you should be able to sit on your porch, less than 500 feet from school property, and smoke all you want.

There's always a tug-of-war between state and local laws, on one side, and on the other, the 14th Amendment, which prevents state governments from depriving people of life, liberty, and property without due process of law. A lot of the California Vehicle Code, for example, deprives me of liberty by making it a crime not to stop at red lights. For a minute or two, I'm not free to go where I want. But courts recognize that it's within the state's "police powers" to do that, for the sake of public safety.

The 14th Amendment also applies to cities and counties, because the ordinances they adopt have to both comply with state law, and be authorized by it. What I wonder about an ordinance like the one you mention about smoking near a school is, what's Pasadena's authority for it? Public safety doesn't seem to be an issue, and neither does public welfare. So protecting public health seems to be the reason, as it is for smoking ordinances in Calabasas and other cities.

There are also laws against advertising tobacco on billboards and other signs near schools. The idea, obviously, is not to encourage kids to smoke. But as the students walk home from Anytown High, does it endanger their health just to see the guy across the street having a smoke while he waters his rosebushes? How about that film on WWII the substitute history teacher showed them last week, showing FDR and Churchill both puffing away? Maybe it would have been healthier for those impressionable young minds to watch some footage of their non-smoking, vegetarian contemporary, Hitler, instead.

The health rationale for some of these laws is such a stretch that it seems to deprive people of a liberty--the freedom to smoke--arbitrarily. And if a rule's arbitrary, it's not law. All these same considerations are going to be even more important if the Court holds that the 2d Amendment applies to the states. Unlike the right to smoke, the Court's likely to consider the right to keep and bear arms "fundamental."
 AceOfSpace
Joined: 5/28/2007
Msg: 100
HUGE victory in California today for the rights of gun owners :)
Posted: 6/18/2009 5:11:49 PM
Well, it was a hypothetical to begin with, a way to illustrate how silly these "morally protective" laws can get. Of course they can, and do, especially when legislators aren't clear on the concept of what laws are for.

Is prohibing smoking in an otherwise empy park a silly thing to do? Of course it is.

Laws are not for enforcing moral guidelines. They are for protecting peoples' rights. And that is all they are for. Laws that unduly restrict the free exercise of individual rights are unconscionable, regardless of the moral rationale that is claimed for them.

How can I say that and still claim to be a liberal?

Well, the people have the right, through the power of taxation that they have given to their representatives, to ensure domestic tranquility and promote the general welfare. If they choose to do so by providing funding for social programs that are seen as necessary to those ends, that is also their right. Near as I can tell, no one's rights are violated when taxes are duly levied and spent according to law. I might not like how much is levied or how some of those monies are spent, but that is what elections are for.

The wisdom and results of specific social-welfare programs are always subject to debate, but not the authority of the government to fund and administer them. As with capital projects, it would probably be better for private agencies to compete for contracts to provide most social services according to government specs and policies. Why we're OK with for-profits handling capital and defense projects but not social programs is a bit baffling to me. It' is, no doubt, another manifestation of that "moral conservatism" that arbitrarily tolerates some debilitating drugs (alcohol, nicotine) but not others. Is it not?

The imperative to dictate laws on grounds of morality is the real threat to 2nd Amendment rights. If you want to protect your right to bear, then you cannot also favor other laws that dictate morality at the expense of individual rights. You cannot both favor the free market and support the War on Drugs. If we want to safeguard our rights, then it is that imperative itself that we must eternally guard against.
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