Gun licensing is a “literacy test”

In his opinion piece, Literacy test for gun ownership a threat to civil rights, Dave Workman (of Gun Week and SAF) explains how testing before you can exercise a right worked out for blacks a few decades back. The parallels to gun ownership should be useful in our public opinion campaign for gun rights.

 

I also like to bring up registration of Jews and/or homosexuals when someone suggests registration of gun owners.

 

Although some bloggers have occasionally flattered me by saying I first started this meme with my little talk at the first Gun Blogger Rendezvous I can’t take the credit. As I pointed out in my 2005 post CCRKBA Blast Bigotry I first picked it up from Alan Gottlieb and Dave Workman (the author of the opinion piece referenced above) in the late 90s.

 

However, in the present day I probably do push the meme more than almost anyone else. The response I get is similar to that for Just One Question; refusal to address the issue and a loud pronouncement of “That’s ridiculous!” But Heller decision last spring makes the meme all the more powerful. The Supreme Court said the right to keep and bear arms is a specific enumerated right. And that is very powerful language. I puts the right to keep and bear arms on the same level as the most sacred rights in this country. What can the justification be to require government licensing, testing, and registration of other specific enumerated rights? Can freedom of speech and religion be licensed and only allowed to those that have registered with the government duplicate copies of their fingerprints and passed a test? Or can you only get a trial by a jury of your peers if you have a permit? Must you wait weeks, submit to training, and have your permit to have an abortion available to the general public via the public records system?

 

Jeff Soyer and Sebastian have their take on this opinion piece as well.

1 thought on “Gun licensing is a “literacy test”

  1. “Can freedom of speech and religion be licensed and only allowed to those that have registered with the government duplicate copies of their fingerprints and passed a test?”

    Actually, we have long-standing precedents for both. In the early days of 20th century mass communication, radio became king. Then came the FCC with its licensing and allocation of frequencies (Ayn Rand maintains, and I am unable to find a good reason to disagree with her, that frequency allocation should have gone the same way as the Homestead Act). FCC jurisdiction now includes wire, satellite and cable. One could make the case that, if the internet had been around in 1934, we’d likely have seen it included in the Communications Act, such that you’d need an expensive federal license to operate a web site. When the 16th amendment went into effect, there was that exemption for religious institutions, requiring that religions be recognized by the government in order to qualify for the exemption.

    To answer your question above; adding those requirements would be a small step compared to what’s already happened.

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