Although there are still lots of votes to count no one I know has any realistic hope the outcome is going to change on I-591 or I-594 in Washington state. Washington State gun owners got stomped on pretty hard last night.
What our opponents don’t seem to realize is that both the Second Amendment and the Washington State Constitution protect the very right they are intent upon infringing. If it were a law infringing upon the right to free speech or freedom of religion nearly everyone would get it. Requiring a background check before someone can loan you their religious book and another when you give it back is ridiculous and would clearly be unconstitutional. It would create an incredible chilling effect upon the legitimate exercise of a natural and legal right by the threat of a legal sanction.
Somehow our opponents don’t or can’t understand this. I’ve had people tell me, “It’s not the same.” “Books don’t kill people!”, they say.
Ideas are far more dangerous than tools. The Communist Manifesto, Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book, and many religious books enabled the murders of over 100 million in the 20th century and millions more in the previous centuries. And I’m betting many millions more in this century will be murdered because the exercise of these rights propagates and enables very dangerous ideas. Yet we still recognize that freedom of speech and freedom of religion are more important that the dark side of infringing upon these natural rights.
Books, speech, and firearms are all the tools of ideas. Those ideas can be evil or they can be good. The tool is amoral and can be used for good or evil. Restrictions on a tool used for good enables evil. It doesn’t matter which of these tools you restrict. You enable evil because you disable the expression of the good more than the expression of evil.
This concept is very clear in the context of the First Amendment. But somehow the general population has a delusion that the right to keep and bear arms is different. The correction of their delusion can’t be accomplished in a sentence or two on a ballot initiative so now we have to attempt correcting it in the courts. The courts aren’t as influenced by sound bites as the general public but delusions can be deadly in their persistence even in courts of law.
If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence.
Which, as Windy points out:
This is tremendously close to the concept articulated by the head of the NRA, that the only thing that will stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.
The connections between the First and Second Amendment are easy to make and very strong.