Friday, January 4, 2013

Guns and Rights

The Portage County District Library of Ohio posted this notice on its website: 

It is illegal to carry a firearm, deadly weapon, or dangerous ordinance anywhere on library premises, pursuant to the Ohio Revised Code.

On March 2, 2010, the US Supreme Court declared that a state law banning the carrying of guns constitutes a violation of citizens' right to defend themselves against criminals.  Never mind that the United States has more hand-gun deaths than the rest of the world combined.

The Second Amendment, on which this decision is based, reads: A well regulated Militia, being necessary for the security of a State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed

Under the jack-boot of the American gun lobby, the National Rifle Association (NRA), courts have contorted the obvious meaning of this amendment into the virtually uncontrolled use of firearms, or have been paid off since judges run for office down there.  The "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" clause in the US Constitution is also invoked by the NRA.

This is another example of the limitation of law.  Rather than debating the social benefits of carrying guns or not, the matter rests on whether or not a ban violates the Constitution.  No thought is given to the value of a document that permits such behaviour, or to rescinding the Second Amendment.

More gun-related reports from the USA:

In January 2014, pre-eminent gun journalist lost his job with Guns and Ammo magazine, lost his job as star of a gun television show, and lost the income from gun endorsements. The October 2013 issue of the magazine ran his column titled "Let's talk limits" in which Dick Metcalf  suggested there be a debate on US gun laws. The former Cornell and Yale history professor wrote, "The fact is all constitutional rights are regulated, always have been and need to be."  

The wrath of almost every gun-toting American descended on him, as well as e-mail death threats. Similar happened to Jerry Tsai, editor of Recoil magazine for writing that body-piercing ammunition was "unavailable to civilians and for good reason."   And in 2007, author of 23 hunting books, Jim Zimbo, was punished for suggesting that military-style rifles were "terrorists" weapons.

States that have official weapons:
Utah --  the Browning MI911
Arizona -- the Colt revolver
Tennessee -- the Barrett .50-calibre rifle
Pennsylvania -- Pennsylvania Long Rifle
West Virginia --  1819 flintlock rifle 

Also from gun-addled Arizona comes a report that state legislators want to arm university professors and students.  The argument runs that they should have the fire power to ward off the next deranged campus invader. It is difficult to image teachers becoming gun-slingers when many in our police forces fail accuracy tests. [See Guns label below.]

In August 2012, a three-year-old deaf boy in Nebraska was ordered to change the way he signs his name.  School authorities claim that his hand gestures may look like a gun.  School policy forbids any "instrument" that "looks like a weapon".

In January 2013, a six-year-old Maryland boy was suspended from school for pointing his finger like a gun and saying "pow".  Earlier, he was accused of pretending scissors were a gun.  A school official characterized these actions as threats to shoot a student.  The family's lawyer is trying to get the school system to remove the incident from the boy's permanent record.  Such reports may be used against the youngster for the rest of his life.

Thus, in the United States, it is legal to carry a loaded assault rifle into a school.  It is not illegal until the perpetrator actually shoots someone.  But should a youngster make an imitative gesture, retribution will follow.

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