Alan Gura v. Paul Helmke

Say Uncle beat me with my own picture and what I planned to make QOTD tomorrow (I’ll have a different one from Paul from today to use tomorrow).  Countertop has a picture of us. Jeff has some more pictures.


Here is my take on the debate we just saw with a slightly edited version of the same picture Say Uncle used:



Proof I shared space with Alan Gura and Paul Helmke. 



Alan Gura. Our point man in the war for our civil rights.



Paul Helmke. The point man in the war on our civil rights.



Paul Helmke shakes hands with Say Uncle.



Countertop, Paul Helmke, Jeff Bishop, and Say Uncle.


The debate was civil and interesting. The gun bloggers (yes, we have some biases) were of the opinion that Alan was holding back some and could have “mopped the floor” with Helmke.


Paul did make a point that surprised us. He pointed out that the First Amendment has been ruled to protect the right to view pornography and other potentially harmful material in private but allows “reasonable regulation” of those same activities in public. “The Second Amendment should allow similar restrictions.”, he said. We would disagree with this point in that the Second Amendment specifically enumerates the right to bear arms and the purpose of defending innocent life. But it was a surprise and an interesting take on things.


I asked the first question when it was opened up to the floor. I pointed out that Paul had specifically called out gun violence when comparing U.S. v. U.K. when Alan had pointed out that the U.K. is one of the most violent countries in the world. Paul had sidestepped Alan’s point by ignoring the total violence rate. Paul responded by saying his organization focuses on the one component of violence. Alan followed up better that I could have. He said the violent crime rate in the U.S. is lower than in the U.K. even though the rate of violent crimes committed with guns in the U.S. is higher. For example the burglaries in the U.S. are done when the occupants are away because they are afraid of being shot (prison interview confirm this). In the U.K. criminals frequently invade homes when people are home because people have money and person items of value. This causes more confrontation between criminals and their unarmed victims. He also pointed out that regardless of the utility (or lack thereof) of some social policy we are talking about a protected constitutional right that does not depend on the crime rate for it to be protected. Constitutional law does not look to the social sciences for validation.

12 thoughts on “Alan Gura v. Paul Helmke

  1. Excuse me, “Honorable” Paul Helmke?

    What kind of weed are they smoking?

  2. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: this isn’t some academic debating society.

    Helmke wants us all to be serfs or dead. I’m disappointed to read that Gura chose not to destroy Helmke’s arguments and reduce him to irrelevance.

    Shouldn’t that be the goal?

    Best regards,

  3. Yeah; I’d have a hard time not giving him what I’ll call an “Idaho hand shake” (puts even the biggest man on his knees. Joe; you’re about a head higher than I– ask me to show you sometime). That being said, there’s nothing to be gained from it other than the temporary satisfaction of seeing an anti-American weasel grovel on the floor and cry like a little girl.

    M1Afan; don’t worry. Gura is capable of selecting his own time, place and methods. It took us over 100 years to sink to this level. It’s not going to be fixed overnight, and certainly not at an NRA meeting.

  4. Helmke’s point is easily and instantly rebuttable. Threats to personal safety do not occur only in private. It is despicable for a government to leave its citizens defenseless in the face of predators. There is no negotiable position off that point.

    M

  5. AntiCitizenOne,

    I think it was because he was a Mayor at one point. I’m not sure.

    anon,

    I didn’t take any video. I’m not sure if it will be available somewhere or not.

  6. Helmke is right in the most general sense, i.e., once we have enough Second Amendment case law to define its contours, we almost certainly will have more Second Amendment rights at home than in the public square. Gura acknowledged that distinction also (and in fact championed it at one point) when he drew parallels to the time, place and manner restrictions on free speech. I realize that nothing short of an absolute RKBA will satisfy the hard core gunnies, but let’s face it. Whatever we might want, getting courts to construe the Second Amendment the same way they construe the First is the most we can realistically hope for.

  7. “He pointed out that the First Amendment has been ruled to protect the right to view pornography and other potentially harmful material in private but allows ‘reasonable regulation’ of those same activities in public.”

    What part of “Congress shall make no law” allows for unqualified (“reasonable”) restriction of porn? I personally think there are circumstances where pornography is completely inappropriate, but that is something that is defined by the society, not a legislature. Codifying in law every single social norm is extravagantly expensive and a frivolous waste of the treasury when a society already provides its own rules and the means to enforce them.

  8. I think the Comparison against the 1st Amendment in this situation is crap. When you display pornography in public, you are basically forcing another to exercise their 1st Amendment rights. They didn’t ask to be a receiving party (pun NOT intended) to the porn. It would be an entirely different story if people were going up to pacifists and forcing a gun onto their belts or into their hands. We are NOT forcing them to exercise their 2A like public porn is forcing the porn viewer to exercise their 1A.

  9. “Paul did make a point that surprised us. He pointed out that the First Amendment has been ruled to protect the right to view pornography and other potentially harmful material in private but allows “reasonable regulation” of those same activities in public. “The Second Amendment should allow similar restrictions.”, he said.”

    He is absolutely right. Restriction of shooting people and targets in public places has long been regulated, and rightly so. Of course I don’t want a pornographic image on a highway billboard, and likewise I don’t want someone shooting people at random on a crowded street. However, everyone has the right to carry firearms in public, concealed or openly, just like they have the right to carry a porn magazine or DVD, concealed or openly, as long as they don’t show obscene images to passersby.

  10. Helmke was mayor of Ft. Wayne, IN until 1998 when he ran against Evan Byah for the Senate, hence the “Honorable”.

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