Monday, March 24, 2008

COMMENTARY: Should you know who owns a gun?

"If your neighbor has the right to own a pistol, should you have the right to know he does?

Should that neighbor have a right to know about your pistol, if it's licensed and legal?

That's the debate now playing across New York, touched off by an Albany-area newspaper's Freedom of Information Law request for a list of pistol-permit-holders in a three-county region with a total population similar to that of Broome, Tioga, Chenango and Delaware counties. The question is the modern-day equivalent of "Do I have the right (freedom of speech) to yell 'Fire!' in a crowded theater, if I could cause a stampede that might harm others?"

Good grief but how do some people manage to get anywhere in life without understanding even the basic fundamentals of logic.

The crowded-theater scenario has been discussed ad nauseum. There is NO prior restraint such as being forced to enter the theater wearing a muzzle in case the desire to shout FIRE becomes overwhelming. The theater owner can ask everyone to be quiet...remember, the 1st Amendment applies to the GOVERNMENT making rules prohibiting speech, NOT businesses...but the government cannot tell anyone to stifle.

The same common sense USED to be extended to firearms. Own all you want, just do not use one in the commission of a crime. No prior restraint, just be an upstanding citizen. Then the socialist welfare state began breeding misfits without a care for human life, the cops couldn't keep up, were scared witless to boot, and many states gave in and enacted laws banning the ownership and/or carry of a firearm.

Most of us are dead-set against a liberal rag publishing the names and addresses of firearm owners, for much the same reason a coin collector wouldn't want anyone to know that a lot of expensive items were in his home. And of course there's the common sense reason as well, why in all hells should anyone know what is in my house because its my damned business and none of theirs.

Liberal writers such as the fellow who concocted this story always toss in the same stale strawmen, the what-if your kids were visiting someones home, what-if the homeowners drank a lot, what-if-ad infinitum.

Well then prosecute those who BREAK the bloody laws but leave US the hell alone. You just might be getting an idea of how we detest this prior-restraint stuff, because, you see, we're law-abiding folks who DON'T ENJOY being treated like criminals just because of someone else's WHAT-IF.

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