Posts Tagged ‘Guns’

Doesn’t it figure that President Obama shoots left-handed?!


I’m really just kidding as I also shoot rifles and shotguns lefty (though pistols right-handed) and few serious people would accuse me of being a man of the left.  Moreover, I think the traditional left-right scale is fairly unhelpful (see here).

But I do find the release of this photo by the White House to be pure propaganda and thus offensive to the democratic spirit.

First, does anyone really expect us to believe that this Harvard-trained, elite, Chicago libgressive is a big shooting enthusiast?  Of course, someone with that profile could be.  However, it is very unlikely.  I can count the number of northern academics and elites who regularly shoot guns on my fingers (hello Marc!).  And none of them are Democrats.  Of course, there is the big Vermont anomaly – but I don’t think Barry would agree with the Green Mountain State’s gun control regime (which is basically this: aim well and point your gun downrange- for now).  More importantly, there is little support for any claim that Obama is a shooter.  That is why this Onion piece works as humor.  Heck, the guy couldn’t even pretend to be a decent bowler!

And this is fine. Just because I like to do something and have the right to do it does not mean that others have to agree with my preferences.  Indeed, I’d be perfectly ok with a President who said, “I don’t care for guns and have little interest in using them for any reason.  Indeed, I think owning a gun is a poor use of one’s freedom.  However, I do think that the Constitution secures the individual right to bear arms, and since I have pledged to support and uphold the Constitution, I will work to protect that right even as I disagree with its exercise.”  This is how I think about many rights that individuals enjoy and often (unfortunately) exercise.  Yet, I don’t believe the President really cares what the Constitution says nor that he should let it get in the way of his policy preferences.

Second, it is probably not chance that Obama is shooting a shotgun in the information operations/propaganda photo since this is how the Dems are trying to triangulate the gun control issue – “We don’t want to stop sportsmen from owning and shooting guns.  But true sportsmen don’t need ‘assault weapons.'”  I’d be more convinced of Obama’s credibility on the 2nd Amendment if the WH showed him firing my handgun of choice: the Smith and Wesson M&P 9mm.  But that would hurt the narrative even though the Administration claims it isn’t going after handguns (despite the fact that Marc pointed out earlier that these are the real weapons of choice for those killing others).

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In particular, a victory today for the right to bear arms on college campuses in Oregon.  A three judge panel of the Oregon state Court of Appeals ruled that the Higher Education Board cannot ban students from concealed carry on campus.  Bill Graves of the Oregonian writes:

The court ruled that while the State Board of Higher Education has authority to control and manage its property and to enact administrative rules, it cannot override a state law that says only the Legislature can regulate the use, sale and possession of firearms.

Not exactly a stretch to predict that politicians and/or administrators will attempt to chisel away at this right in the near future.  The cited article notes some ways that this could happen.  Remain ever vigilant of your rights, Oregonians, since they are in peril whenever the state is awake – which is always as Thomas Hobbes noted long ago!

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Today might have been Malcolm X’s 86th birthday had he not been assassinated in New York City on February 21st, 1965.  It would have been interesting to see how his life and political views would have played out had it not been for those murderous thugs responsible for his death.

As I’ve written before, I’m quite interested in the life of Malcolm X, particularly how his views on the civil rights movement shifted over time.  Those of you who share that interest should probably examine Manning Marable’s new biography,  Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention.  I’m not sure yet what to make of Marable’s interpretation of X.  It isn’t exactly Alex Haley’s account.  Moreover, the book has been quite controversial given that Marable discusses the possibility that Malcolm X engaged in homosexual behavior and that his marriage with Betty Shabazz was not exactly blissful.  Mr. X’s grandson just today was quoted in the New York Amsterdam News criticizing the book, Marable, and that author’s suggestions about Malcolm X’s personal life before and after his conversion to Islam.   

Those interested in Mr. X would probably also benefit from Columbia University’s excellent resource, The Malcolm X Project – especially if you, like me, want to sift through primary sources and not just secondary ones before coming to any conclusions.  The layout of the site is a bit non-intuitive, but it contains a remarkable array of resources on its subject – including hard to find news articles from sources like the Amsterdam News.       

One interesting aspect of Malcolm X’s thought worth noting on his birthday is his view of the individual right to bear arms (to which I was first alerted by historian David Beito).  Several pieces at the Malcolm X Project relate to his take on it.  For example, here, here, and here.  What you’ll find is that Malcolm X was a supporter of the individual right to self-defense and the individual right to bear arms.  As quoted in Marable’s biography, X argued that “It is lawful for anyone to own a rifle or a shotgun and it is everyone’s right to protect themselves from anyone who stands in their way to prevent them from obtaining what is rightfully theirs” (pg. 304).  At one point according to Marable, X even advocated that African-Americans start gun clubs to exercise that right.  Here is a speech in which Mr. X discusses the 2nd Amendment, around minute 3:00:

Here is what Malcolm X said about gun rights in his famous “The Ballot or the Bullet” speech:

Last but not least, I must say this concerning the great controversy over rifles and shotguns. The only thing that I’ve ever said is that in areas where the government has proven itself either unwilling or unable to defend the lives and the property of Negroes, it’s time for Negroes to defend themselves. Article number two of the constitutional amendments provides you and me the right to own a rifle or a shotgun. It is constitutionally legal to own a shotgun or a rifle. This doesn’t mean you’re going to get a rifle and form battalions and go out looking for white folks, although you’d be within your rights—I mean, you’d be justified; but that would be illegal and we don’t do anything illegal. If the white man doesn’t want the black man buying rifles and shotguns, then let the government do its job.

Here is one of my previous posts on Malcolm X on schools.

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The Financial Times has an interesting piece and photo essay on Kennesaw, Georgia, where gun ownership is legally required. 

Naturally, I disagree with any law forcing individuals to purchase something from the private sector – whether it is health insurance or a gun.  However, as laws go, this is pretty harmless since it is not enforced and there are numerous exceptions.  What I do like about it is that it represents a certain spiritedness that is lacking in so many other places.  As the author points out, “This is not just about gun rights, but about independence; it is about a desire to keep the government in check.” 

Of course, that spiritedness is improperly channeled here – as, unfortunately, is often the case with so many conservative Americans.  The answer to the state overreaching in one place isn’t to extend it in another.  But this is the sort of sentiment, that if properly channeled, can help forestall further erosion of our liberties – and if we are real lucky, perhaps even some restoration.  Of course, this assumes that people actually desire to be free, something that wiser minds than my own have questioned.    

(BTW, given that the Confederate cause shows up more than once in this piece on Kennesaw, it is worth noting the following: As a Yankee, a libertarian, and someone absolutely opposed to slavery and racism, I don’t share the respect for the Confederacy so often seen in the American South by even those who profess some love of liberty.  While I understand that the Confederate flag, for some, represents opposition to the federal government, I really wish that modern day “rebels” would seek out a more positive symbol of their resistance [some suggestions are posted here, including one wisely adopted by the Tea Party Movement].  For libertarians, there is so much to dislike about the CSA and so many better models of resistance.  As David Beito and Charles Nuckolls rightly conclude: “If the Confederate multiculturalists believe in liberty, as many of them assert, they will stop waving the Confederate Battle Flag, abandon the cause of a nation state that championed an unforgivable violation of inalienable rights, and embrace the rich American heritage of individualism.”).

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To be honest, I’d prefer passage of open carry laws in states that do not allow it or require a permit to open carry.  I feel safer knowing who is packing and who is not. 

But here is an AP story on Arizona’s effort to expand government protection of the right to bear arms: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100416/ap_on_re_us/us_xgr_concealed_weapons_arizona.

According to the Brady Campaign, 35 states allow open carry with 3 forbidding it altogether.   

However, and this may surprise some, I am 100% in favor of laws that allow businesses, churches, and other property owners to bar gunholders from entry – whether concealed carry or open carry.  This is the only consistent property rights approach.  In other words, your right to bear arms only applies to public areas (excepting certain government spaces), your private property, and the private property of those who invite/allow you on it without telling you not to carry. 

I know this is wandering a bit, but no, I don’t agree with the Supreme Court’s rationale in Pruneyard Shopping Center v. Robins and would dislike seeing it expanded in the area of free speech or for a right like bearing arms.  In the words of Justice Chin in the dissent to Fashion Valley Mall, LLC, v. National Labor Relations Board, “Shopping centers are private property dedicated to doing business. Their owners should not have to permit all expressive activity that the California and United States Constitutions protect in public places. A shopping center owner should be allowed to enforce reasonable restrictions to protect its business activities even if the government could not impose similar restrictions.”

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