Doug Pennington who is the Assistant Director of Communications at the Brady Campaign writes:
[I]sn’t it ironic how some libertarians want government to stay out of their lives, yet have no problem with forcing other people to live with loaded, concealed weapons everywhere they turn? The grocery store; the park; the school; the airport. Apparently, we have the “freedom” to live with what these so-called libertarians tell us to live with. After all, they have the guns, right?
I heard sort of argument in the context of concealed carry of guns at least 15 years ago. It was some radio talk show host in San Francisco who asked why she didn’t have the right to walk down the street without people having guns hidden. I suspect this sort of argument resonates with a lot of people.
The thing is people use the same sort of argument with free speech and religious freedom. They ask why do we have to tolerate neo-Nazi’s parading down the street? Or why do we have to tolerate atheists, Muslims, or Jews in our neighborhoods and schools?
If that doesn’t bring my point home try using the argument to support segregation.
Governments don’t force freedom on their citizens. Governments can only infringe freedoms of their subjects.
Wednesday night Barb and I had dinner with Mike Brown of the Idaho Sport Shooters Alliance and his wife. His wife, a big Ayn Rand fan, encapsulated a point in a very compelling way. She said under a free, capitalist, system people are able to create their own little socialist or communist utopia societies and share according to need and take according to their abilities. Or they can give up all “evil” modern technology such as the Amish communities do. Free societies allow such communities to successfully co-exist just fine. If you can own property you can do pretty much whatever you want as long as you don’t hurt anyone else or their property. The government still demands taxes but you don’t have to tolerate other religions, free speech, or people with guns on your property. The same isn’t true under a communist or totalitarian government.
But despite the clear problems of “government forcing freedom” there have been entire books written on the topic. Last year daughter Kim reported her economics class had The Shock Doctrine as required reading. One of the thesis’s of the book is that advocates (such as certain people within the U.S. government) of Milton Friedman are forcing (including using torture) free market economics on people. Kim was pissed and had trouble reading the book because of the anger it invoked. How does a government “force a free market”? A free market is one free of government interference! Force is required to have anything other than a free market.
And so it is with “forcing free speech”, “forcing religious tolerance”, and “forcing other people to live with loaded, concealed weapons everywhere they turn”. Pennington is telling us the true beliefs of his organization and the utopia they would like to create–freedom is slavery.
Update: I apparently got their attention. The post now has this tagged on to the end:
No one said it was free speech. But both free speech and the right to keep and bear arms are specific enumerated rights protected from infringement by the Bill of Rights. Hence the comparison is valid. For the Brady Campaign to claim a freedom from other people bearing arms is the constitutional equivalent of claiming the freedom from the speech of others. Of course it’s not the physical equivalent. But it is the legal equivalent.
Digressing a little bit I will admit that we probably will not ever have a constitutionally guaranteed right to carry concealed guns in public everywhere. If the Brady Campaign were to explicitly state it is only the carrying of concealed guns they get all uptight about but open carry is okay then I would be much more muted in my criticism of them. The carry of firearms in some form is probably going to be eventually upheld by the courts. Either the politicians have to make concealed carry permits “shall issue” and relatively quick and painless to obtain or they will have probably have to allow open carry without a permit. If some sort of carry for self defense in public is not allowed then the “bear” part of keep and bear arms will be infringed. I’m pretty sure the Brady people see that writing on the wall and are just dragging their feet or in denial.
After thinking about it for a long time and reading nearly all the blog posts and podcasts about the big open carry debate in the last few weeks I’m going to have my say on the topic soon. Perhaps as soon as tomorrow. Brady and company just contributed to my post on the topic.