"Possession of a firearm, absent wrongdoing, should never be a crime."
by Alan Korwin
Until very recently, carrying a personal safety firearm was not a crime.
Various government officials have been making it a crime, in the name of
If a person has a gun,
And the person isn't a criminal,
And the gun isn't illegal,
And the place is one where guns aren't forbidden,
And the person doesn't change the normal operation of the place,
Then that is not a crime.
At least, that's the way it used to be in America. Many Americans firmly
believe there's nothing wrong with that, and it's being proposed as a law.
A woman should be able to put a handgun in her handbag and go about
her daily business, and come home, without being subject to arrest. The
same goes for a man. That's the way the Founding Fathers pictured it.
No free man shall be debarred the use of arms. -Thomas Jefferson
The Constitution shall never be construed to authorize Congress to prevent
the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping
their own arms. -Samuel Adams
Little more can reasonably be aimed at with respect to the people at
large than to have them properly armed. -Alexander Hamilton
Americans have the right and advantage of being armed. -James
The great object is that every man be armed. Everyone who is able
may have a gun. -Patrick Henry
Now, if you believe that everyone is a ticking time bomb waiting to
go off, then this might not be such a good idea. But then of course, when
one of those tickers does go off, what do all the other people standing
around do for themselves? And woe is us if that notion is true -- everyone
around you is about to become an ax murderer.
It seems as if everyone who is not mortified of guns has been clamoring
for a fix to the situation. Good, decent individuals and families want
to travel around this great country and not be at the mercy of every highway
hoodlum out there. It's not a states-rights issue, it's a matter of civil
rights being denied by the states. For today, to travel with a loaded and
accessible personal-safety firearm is to break the law of state after state,
for the simple act of driving through. This is wrong.
For one thing, the Constitution does not allow states to abrogate your
rights as an American citizen, but somehow that has not stopped the states.
Legal or not, states (and even towns) have made you subject to arrest for
merely bringing a firearm along. There is no victim, and no harm done, just a paper crime based on peaceful possession of private property.
Plenty of people have been arrested and brought near ruin, by a government
that isn't following its own rules. Criminals should fear the police, not
law-abiding citizens. This needs fixing.
Some people have called for a book that would at least describe the
wild array of federal, state and local laws that restrict your right to
arm yourself against crime and attack. Books are good. But what would you
do when the book says you can't legally drive into this state or that?
A well-intentioned but dangerously misguided movement has gained momentum
to establish so called "reciprocity" in the many states that have
concealed-carry laws in place. The idea is to allow a person with a government
issued carry permit from their home state to carry in other states that
have a reciprocal carry law. Only about 2% of the public has been willing to
apply for such permission slips.
The concept is based on the "full faith and credit" clause of the Constitution
(Art. 4, Sec. 1), that requires the states to recognize the legal acts
of each other. This is what makes drivers licenses and marriage licenses
work. At first blush this appears to be a good idea.
This is an extremely bad idea, however, because it tends to legitimize
the notion that the government can grant you the right to carry a firearm
or not. It places a recurring tax called a fee on that right, and makes
exercise of the right subject to permits, licenses, testing, investigations,
and all too often, a bureaucratic or discretionary determination on the
part of a government worker.
The government has not been delegated such authority by the people.
Government activities in this regard are not based on the rule of law.
Tolerating the government's further incursion in this protected area should
be avoided. There are too many illegal laws on the books now.
It's true that government granted carry permits have helped educate
many Americans in firearms safety and the safe use of firearms, since the
permits frequently require some degree of training. This is good. The school
system has a disgraceful record in this area, leaving children and adults
alike in abject darkness when it comes to gun safety. Training could also be
accomplished in other ways. The turnout for safety training would be overwhelming
if you got, say, a ten percent break on your income tax for taking a firearms
safety class or two.
The partial relief that concealed-carry permit laws have provided for some,
from oppressive and unrelenting laws prohibiting the honest bearing of
arms, has confused and misled many otherwise good citizens into support
ing such laws. They have been subjugated for so long, that the slightest
breath of fresh air smells like unbridled freedom.
The fact of the matter is that the mere possession of a firearm, absent
any directly criminal activity, is not, in and of itself, harmful or criminal,
save for illegal laws criminalizing possession. There are no victims. No
one is harmed. It is time to roll back the onerous restraints and not make
criminals of people who harm no one, going about their business personally
armed for their own protection.
With this goal in mind, the American Historical Rights Protection Act
has been proposed.
The American Historical
Rights Protection Act
Section 922 of Title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding
the following new subsection (y):
(1) No State shall make or enforce any law that shall abridge the privileges
or immunities of citizens of the United States, including, but not limited
to, the right of any person to possess a firearm, whether the firearm is
loaded or not loaded, and whether the firearm is wholly or partially visible
or concealed from plain sight, provided,
(A) the person is not a prohibited possessor under federal law,
(B) the firearm is not a prohibited weapon under federal law,
(C) the firearm is possessed in a place not prohibited by federal law,
(D) the firearm is not possessed during or used in any act defined
as a felony under state or federal law, and
(E) the possession does not interfere with the normal operation of
the place in which the firearm is possessed.
(2) For the purpose of subparagraph (D), a crime does not include any
violation based upon the ownership or possession of the firearm itself.
(3) For the purpose of subparagraph (E), the possession or use of a
firearm in lawful self defense or for any other lawful purpose shall not
constitute interference with the normal operation of the place in which
the firearm is possessed.
[The opening clause restates 14th Amendment]
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