Saturday, October 31, 2015

Opinion — The Right To Bear Arms, And The Right To Regulate Them

"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."The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

The following folks aren’t my favorite people, but I wanted to show what others, who couldn’t be called wild-eyed liberals, think about the second amendment.

Ronald Reagan: “I do not believe in taking away the right of the citizen for sporting, for hunting and so forth, or for home defense. But I do believe that an AK-47, a machine gun, is not a sporting weapon or needed for defense of a home.” 1978 “Certain forms of ammunition have no legitimate sporting, recreational, or self-defense use and thus should be prohibited.” 1986

 “The Second Amendment was designed to allow states to defend themselves against a possibly tyrannical national government,” Judge Robert Bork, the highly conservative Supreme Court nominee and devout constitutional originalist wrote, “Now that the federal government has stealth bombers and nuclear weapons, it is hard to imagine what people would need to keep in the garage to serve that purpose.”

Warren E. Burger, the conservative former Chief Justice of the United States (1969-86), said, as have others, that the second amendment was a clear reference to a time when there were militias. He does not question a citizen’s right to own a firearm, but sees no reason they can’t be regulated.  He says, “The Constitution does not mention automobiles or motorboats, but the right to keep and own an automobile is beyond question; equally beyond question is the power of the state to regulate the purchase or the transfer of such a vehicle and the right to license the vehicle and the driver with reasonable standards. In some places, even a bicycle must be registered, as must some household dogs.”

He goes on to say in an essay he wrote for Parade Magazine, January 14, 1990:  “If we are to stop this mindless homicidal carnage, is it unreasonable:
1. to provide that, to acquire a firearm, an application be made reciting age, residence, employment and any prior criminal convictions?
2. to require that this application lie on the table for 10 days (absent a showing for urgent need) before the license would be issued?
3. that the transfer of a firearm be made essentially as with that of a motor vehicle?
4. to have a "ballistic fingerprint" of the firearm made by the manufacturer and filed with the license record so that, if a bullet is found in a victim's body, law enforcement might be helped in finding the culprit?

These are the kind of questions the American people must answer if we are to preserve the "domestic tranquility" promised in the Constitution.”

I would add a number:
5. that gun permits only be issued to those who have had training in gun safety?

Dr. Ben Carson says the founders were fully aware there would be advances in weaponry when they wrote the second amendment. They anticipated the mega ammo magazine, assault rifles, and they are embodied in the principle, which was put in place at the time of muskets and canon balls, he says. Does that principle embody missile launchers?  Armed drones?  Dirty bombs?  Dr. Carson, pardon the expression, needs his head examined. (I’d recommend he not consult himself.)

Ultra conservative Anton Scalia said in the last Supreme Court 5-4 (2008) decision on the topic, “The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.”

But nowhere in the court statements was there any mention that reasonable regulations may not be placed on gun ownership.

Yet the NRA, its lobbyists and the politicians who fear them or who are bought by them, scream that any attempt to regulate the industry is a violation of the Constitution.  Perhaps the most sacred of the Amendments is the first. Yet even free speech isn’t unfettered.  You may not cry “’fire” in a crowded theatre when there is no fire. You may not libel another.  And you may not make false claims about the product you sell, or lie under oath.


Kim Messick said...

Hi Mr. Tierney,

A poster on my blog left a link to your site, which I've been exploring for some time now with a lot of pleasure. (I just moved the link live with a recommendation that my readers (all five of them) check it out asap.) As a fellow lover of all things noir (literary and cinematic), I wanted to say thanks for your unfailingly intelligent writing, fictional and otherwise. Your taste in novels, TV, and film seems to align very closely with my own, and I invariably find your political commentary sensible and humane. Have there been any discussions about possible movie versions of your Shanahan books? I for one think Richard Gere has reached the stage of life where he would make a first-rate Deetz!

Look forward to reading more of your work... Hope all is well in foggy San Fran today!

Kim Messick

Ronald Tierney said...

A sunny day here, today anyway. Thanks for the kind words. There have been a few cinematic nibbles on the Shanahan series over the years. I've personally cast and recast actors for the role. My current imaginary Shanahan would be Ed Harris; but Richard Gere is certainly showing that his talent only improves with age. I'd be happy,

Kim Messick said...

Ah, Ed Harris--- another great actor. I loved him in "History of Violence."

Also really liked your reference to the Conger protagonist as an "Old Testament Rockford." James Garner is probably my all-time favorite actor and I have huge chunks of "Rockford" dialog committed to memory. That show (in my humble opinion, anyway) is network television's one sure-fire contribution to the canon of great PIs--- fully worthy of Spade, Marlowe, and Archer. (No, I don't put Cannon in the canon.) I know that Peter Gunn, Richard Diamond, Mannix, and Harry Orwell have their partisans, but for me "Rockford" is in a class by itself.


Ronald Tierney said...

We're in total agreement on Rockford and James Garner. Rockford is on my short list for top P.I. with Sam Spade and Nick Charles. Where can we find your blog?

Kim Messick said...

There are "Rockford" episodes I make a point of watching almost every week, just for the pleasure of the sharp writing and Garner's effortless irony. I'm not sure there's ever been an actor who could bend a line quite like he could. To me he has always stood for a kind of humane skepticism that steers carefully between sentimentality and cynicism.

I've pasted in a link to my blog below. It's a pretty bare bones operation, mostly there to supplement my published work but also allow me to to vanish down the occasional rabbit hole. Of course, my published stuff (which is mostly about politics) may represent nothing but another series of rabbit holes, but I'm probably not the best judge of that!