• Twitter
  • Facebook
News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Guns galore

These are heady days for 2nd Amendment fans. Under a new federal law that took effect yesterday, when you're packing for a trip to a national park, you can include heat:

Visitors now can pack heat in any national park from Gates of the Arctic to Everglades, provided they comply with the firearms laws of the park's home state, according to the new law that was passed as an amendment to credit-card legislation.

In Indiana, legislation to close the state's gun permit database to public access was the first bill to pass both houses of the legislature and head for the governor's desk. And differing versions of the bill to allow employees to keep guns in their locked vehicles while at work have passed in both houses and await conference committee negtotiations.

Reason magazine's Brian Doherty notes recent trends and concludes that guns are "not just for the home anymore."

Thus, if the right to defend yourself against assault should be honored by the U.S. government, there is little reasonable justification for restricting that right to only the home. And there is no civilized right more basic than self-defense; indeed, to make such defense more efficient and wide-ranging is one of the only legitimate reasons for government at all, thus making localities' attempts to bar its citizens from practicing the right effectively particularly pernicious.

His point underscores a contradiction not usually noted about the gun-control arguments. Any reason you could give for banning guns in certain settings -- e.g., schools, churches, national parks -- could be given for banning guns in any setting. It is either constitutionally and legally valid to carry a gun or it isn't. Period.


Larry Morris
Tue, 02/23/2010 - 10:37am

This should be an interesting debate, ...

Susie Q.
Tue, 02/23/2010 - 11:13am

To shoot or not to shoot? Nevertheless, whatever the answer, you are a prolific genius. Gonna read more of your stuff now...alllllll over your blog! <3

Bob G.
Tue, 02/23/2010 - 12:02pm

Now this is the kind of thing that would be relatively unheard of back in Philly...(upstate is another matter).
People actually being ABLE to carry a firearm as a defensive measure, AND in National parks to boot.

Many are the hoops (most fiery in nature) that one has to jump through to obtain a pistol in the City of Brotherly Love, and you'd best have a VERY good REASON to want "have a need" to carry one on your person, if you're not in law-enforcement.

Just to be able to own a handgun or long gun in Indiana (imho) is fantastic, AND is Constitutional. (who knew?)

The only trouble I have with it, is that I usually carry my pistol while MOWING MY LAWN...never thought it would have to come down to that, either.
And I carry it NOT because I fear some bear will attack, or some Hitchcockian flock of crows will convene upon my person or property, but I will confess we DO have our share of wild things around here that reinforce the "need" to protect oneself, instead of becoming tomorrow's headline.

Always better to HAVE it & NOT need it, than to NEED it & NOT have it.
And it keeps the perps with all those illegal guns guessing if you will be the last thing they will see in this life.

Kudos to the legislators (for once)...they "get it" in THIS case.

Tue, 02/23/2010 - 12:24pm

>>It is either constitutionally and legally valid to carry a gun or it isn

Larry Morris
Tue, 02/23/2010 - 1:00pm

It may be "constitutionally and legally valid to carry a gun", but where do state and local rights come in on carry restrictions, ... shouldn't they have a say in where you're allowed to carry ?

Bob G.
Tue, 02/23/2010 - 1:35pm

Maybe it's not simple, but it's certainly understandable.

A person might feel they have a "right" to assault me on my property and to relieve me of my possessions (for whatever reason), but MY RIGHT to have a gun is there to prevent just such a thing from happening...or to end it before it escalates into my becoming another stat on the coroner's table and the lead story on the 11 o'clock news.

Consider it a form of "checks and balances"...only louder and more final.
MY rights end where YOURS begin...AND vice versa.

But hey, maybe some people DO like giving up their wallet (to help those "less fortunate")...I can't speak for them.
...And wouldn't want to.

Tim Zank
Tue, 02/23/2010 - 3:29pm

I would submit (citing my libertarian streak) that the 2nd amendment means exactly what it says "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." and like all of our rights has been eroded to fit the agenda of an over-reaching government propelled by people who think they know what is best for everyone (nannies).

There is no legitimate reason to forbid any law abiding citizen of this country to carry a firearm anywhere. Key words there being "law-abiding".

Larry Morris
Tue, 02/23/2010 - 3:44pm

Being a gun rights person, someone who carries one all the time, I would agree with the notion that the 2nd amendment means that the federal government cannot infringe our right to be armed, but, playing the devil's advocate, where do state's and local rights some into the picture ? For example, locally here in Texas, there are places where I cannot be armed. And, in addition to a list of restricted places, like the secured area of an airport and in a school, there are personal property rights to consider. Here in Texas, any private property owner (say, a store owner) can legally post the correct signage and prevent someone from carrying on their property.

Leo Morris
Tue, 02/23/2010 - 5:26pm

Certainly there are multiple jurisdictions, each with its own interests, and there are obviously complicating factors and competing rights, which I think have been well covered in this blog. To answer Larry's point, state and local concerns will, I suspect, be less relevant in the future. Like other parts of the Bill of Rights have in the past, the 2nd Amendment is going through the process of incorporation, being applied to the states by the federal government and getting away from the original intent of being a check ON the federal government.

I was trying to make a simple point, which I perhaps overstated or did not make clear. If the argument that carrying guns contributes more to public safety than forbidding guns does is constitutionally and legally valid, it is just as valid in a national park as it is on the sidewalk in front of my house. If, on the other hand, the argument that forbidding the carrying of guns "to protect the public" is constitutional and legal, that argument is also equally valid, in a school as well as a gas station.

Tue, 02/23/2010 - 5:52pm

I've carried guns in parks many times in the past, unaware I was breaking the law. I guess I was lucky no one ever noticed (or cared).
But what about private property, Leo? Does the Second Amendment trump a bar owner's "No Guns" sign at the front door? I take no position on this; I'm just curious.

Larry Morris
Tue, 02/23/2010 - 6:07pm

Sometimes, you have to talk real s l o w, ...

Leo Morris
Wed, 02/24/2010 - 9:13am

I would have said no, but once the law passes here, Indiana won'be be the only state forbidding companies from letting their employees keep guns in locked cars on the company parking lot.