Politicians, Guns, and Loopholes

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Here
in Virginia the gun laws are pretty good. Let me qualify that by
pointing out that I am speaking in relative terms. Neither the federal
nor state constitution places any qualifiers or limiters on gun
ownership. They simply admit that the existence of a militia, which
our state constitution goes on to describe as the whole body of
the people, is a necessity and therefore the right to keep and bear
arms shall not be infringed. These documents do not grant nor even
claim to grant this right. They simply acknowledge its existence.
End of story. Or it should be.

If
you are a member of the body of the people you have the God given
right to own as many firearms as you want and can afford and the
right to do what you will with them as long as you infringe on no
one else's rights. Simple. So, while in a constitutional sense the
laws in Virginia are excessively intrusive, in the American Empire
of the early 21st Century they're not bad. Creeping relativism
at LRC!

We
have what is called a "shall issue" concealed carry law.
This means the state has to prove why you shouldn't get the permit
in order to deny it rather than requiring you to prove why you should
in order to get it. But we also have what is called the "restaurant
ban." This means that concealed carry permit holders may not
pack in restaurants where liquor is served. Because we are law abiding
citizens we obey.

Now,
no one wants to make his job any harder or more dangerous than it
needs to be and your average criminal is no different. Armed citizens
do both. And because the law looms so large in their chosen field
most criminals are well aware of the "restaurant ban."
Being sensible criminals they have realized that darkened restaurant
parking lots are now prime hunting ground. Just a week or so back
a 23 year old woman was grabbed in a restaurant parking lot and
shot by two bad guys in one of the burbs close in to DC. Inexplicably
the "restaurant ban" does not seem to have deterred the
shooters.

Any
good manager knows that if you subsidize behavior you will get more
of it.

We
subsidize welfare recipients to have illegitimate children by paying
for them. They had more children. We subsidized Bill Clinton's abuse
of power by giving him ever higher approval ratings. He became more
abusive. If you are in the victimization business, being able to
victimize people with no possibility that one of them will plug
you is powerful incentive. So there will be more. Schools and churches
are similarly restricted so the past is not difficult to interpret
nor the future hard to predict.

Every
once in a while a welcome chicken comes home to roost. In the Empire
of America, individualists must be satisfied with little victories
most of the time. So, even though I truly wish no one ill, I did
laugh out loud last Friday when the Richmond Times Dispatch
reported that an anti-Second Amendment state senator, we have them
in the South too, was mugged at a cash machine. He chased the bad
guys until it dawned on him that, "I didn't have a weapon,
so I don't know what I'd have done if I caught them." I give
the guy credit for having the stones to chase his attackers and
I am happy he suffered no major injuries. But if his relatively
harmless experience can illuminate a cartoon light bulb over some
other collectivist anti-gunner's head it is a fair trade in my book.

Across
the cultural divide in DC another pol is trying to make hay by infringing
on our rights. As Gomer used to say, "Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!"
John "War Hero" McCain, a loose cannon rolling around
the deck of the ship of state if ever there was one, has teamed
up with Joe "Conscience of the Senate" Lieberman to "close
the gun show loophole." This is akin to solving the water buffalo
problem in that neither really exists. About 2% of the guns used
to commit crimes are purchased at gun shows. So what's the hubbub,
Bub? I'm glad you asked.

McCain-Lieberman
(has a nice, kind of 2004 ring to it, huh?) calls for seemingly
reasonable three day background checks. What's wrong with that?
We don't want felons to be buying guns, do we? The problem is that
most gun shows are two days long, Saturday and Sunday. So the net
effect would be to close down all gun shows by making it impossible
for them to do business. The technology exists for instant background
checks, we paid for it, but they don't want to use it. Why not?
Because closing down all gun shows is the point. And I can understand
their wish.

Gun
shows are full of people like you and me. Good people. People who
make their own way through their own efforts. People who don't trust
the government. People who don't think someone should be able to
take away their rights just because his plane was shot down thirty-five
years ago. People who pretty much think the politicians should mind
their own damn business just like we do. They hate us. They fear
us. They hate the idea of a group of us getting together because
they want each of to think he is alone and helpless. They fear us
because we think, we gather and we are armed. And that is the real
point. Add the fact that closing gun shows is one more attack on
free enterprise as some tasty gravy poured on top.

Over
the past few years, a lot of people have made the case for guns
based on their deterrent effect on crime. John Lott in particular
has done great and heroic work in this area. But as true as it is,
it is also beside the point. The US and Virginia constitutions do
not guarantee our right to bear arms so that we will not get mugged
at the cash machine or assaulted in a restaurant parking lot or
to ensure that we can snag a squirrel for the stew as desirable
as those things might be. The purpose of the right to keep and bear
arms is to keep the government in line. It is that simple. The founders
wanted the body of the people to be capable in the 21st
Century of doing what the militia did in the 18th, resist
tyranny.

The
Second Amendment and its local equivalents are there to prevent
government confiscation of our money – through taxation, of our
property – in the name of the environment, of our rights – "for
the children" and of our children – in the name of "choice."
That is what the McCain's and Lieberman's of the world cannot stand.
Maybe they are so in love with their own voices that by now they
actually believe their malarkey. Or maybe, and maybe more likely,
they sold their souls so long ago that they live only to extend
the power of the state and the breadth of their privilege. Personally,
I don't care why they do it. I just know they aren't doing it to
me without a fight.

    May
    18, 2001

    Ed
    Cobb [send him mail] is
    a printer in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley. He is a northerner by
    birth, a southerner by choice, and a Catholic by the grace of God.

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