« Friday Tales From 57 States: A Week of Jocularity |
Blog Home Page
| More Carbon: The Only Answer to Global Freezing »
May 15, 2009
Whose Senate Indeed...
The left is offended that a majority of 66 senators would vote in support of second amendment rights. A New York Times editorial on an amendment to the senate credit card legislation, allowing citizens to carry a loaded weapon in a National Park, exclaims “Whose Senate Is This?”
To first answer the question, the seventeenth amendment to the Constitution spells it out:
The senate of the United States shall be composed of two senators from each state, elected by the people thereof.
So it would seem that the simple answer to the New York Times question is that the senate belongs to the people of the states in the union. Contrary to appearances, it is not the left, not the unions, not the democrat party, not Barack Obama, and certainly not the New York Times that owns the senate.
To the chagrin of the radical left and the Times, the senate does occasionally vote for what the people of the several states believe. To the chagrin of Barack Obama, the United Nations, and others who would curtail the rights of Americans, the senate does occasionally uphold the Bill of Rights, including the second amendment. To the chagrin of conservatives who read the New York Times, the editorial in question was full of inflammatory invective and not much else.
The NYT editorial includes the following phrases in their attempt to disparage and vilify any senator who might consider supporting second amendment rights:
...Fawning together before the lobby’s lethal diktat...
[note the dictionary definition of “diktat” - "an order or decree imposed by someone in power without popular consent"]
As for the other side of the argument, as one would expect in a serious discussion of the issues, well, sorry, there is no other side in the Times column, so I will fill in the blanks. To begin with there are about 80 million gun owners in the United States, who own around 250 million firearms, excluding the military. There are about 115 million households in the U.S., and the NRA estimates that 40-45% of households have firearms. 48 states allow people to carry firearms for self-defense, and 47 states prohibit cities from imposing gun laws more restrictive than state law. So perhaps there is some popular consent on this case. The senate amendment is essentially about prohibiting the federal government from imposing gun laws more restrictive than state laws. Ultimately, the issue is far bigger than what happens in National Parks alone.
The amendment in question seeks to align National Park Service gun rules with state laws - if a state permits citizens to carry concealed weapons, the national parks in that state should, too. A recent Washington Post column quotes from letters written by 51 senators asking the Interior Department to review the rules on guns in the parks:
"These inconsistencies in firearms regulations for public lands are confusing, burdensome and unnecessary," wrote the lawmakers, led by Sens. Michael D. Crapo (R-Idaho) and Max Baucus (D-Mont.). ". . . Such regulatory changes would respect the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners, while providing a consistent application of state weapons laws across all land ownership boundaries."
The Post column points out that gun rules for Forest Service and BLM lands match the state laws where they are located. The National Park amendment would have all federal lands treated the same way.
Restrictions on carrying loaded firearms in the parks were originally designed to reduce poaching. That is still a concern to the Park Service, as is the safety of visitors and the family-friendly atmosphere of the parks. The safety of visitors, however, also includes protection against crime in isolated areas, as well as protection in a troublesome encounter with an Alaskan brown bear, for example.
As with most issues, there are at least two sides to the discussion. The New York Times in typical fashion, however, did not even give one side of the argument, but rather chose to cloak the issue with inflammatory language meant solely to stoke anger and hostility in their readers toward anyone supporting second amendment rights. Neither the valid reasons for the amendment nor the valid reasons against the amendment were mentioned at all in the Times’ polemic editorial.
The unchecked power of the Obama rule gives the radical left and their media mouthpieces new license to accelerate their assault on our fundamental liberties. The Times and the radical left are forgetting that their freedom to say whatever they want rides on the back of our Bill of Rights, including the second amendment. Distortion, invective and demagoguery by the media must not go unchallenged if we are to survive as a free country. The second amendment is sometimes called “America’s first freedom.” Let it not become America’s last freedom.