divegeek wrote:After mulling it over for a day, I've come to the conclusion that Ron Paul was right to vote against this bill.
We will have to agree to disagree. But before I leave you the final words if you want them, I've got to make one last argument.
When a specific threat materializes and various courts make the wrong decision in allowing an obviously flawed suit to move forward, it would be grossly negligent for congress to not use the powers delegated to it to act.
I sense an excess of l/Libertarian views at work here to the exclusion of protecting fundamental rights against obvious danger. To dismiss the danger when the cases were actually in process and some courts had not dismissed (some had done the right thing) is to refuse to admit facts that contradict a previously held position.
If a State government were to impose a 10,000% tax, or a flat out $10,000 tax per box of ammo, we'd all recognize that as an effective ban on RKBA. Even a 100% tax would be obviously offensive to RKBA. You would not the least bit pacified if someone were to glibbly say, "The 2A doesn't guarantee us the right to buy cheap guns, and it shouldn't." You'd recognize such taxes as a government imposed effective ban on RKBA (especially for poor people). And you'd fight it. Not only would you fight it if it materialized, but I trust you'd oppose the very possibility even in theory. But for some reason, you're more than willing to risk exactly the same thing if the "tax" is imposed by private parties bringing bogus tort suits and a few courts rule the wrong way.
To say you don't think the tax would be that high, is beside the point. Any government tax imposed on guns or ammo for the purpose
of restricting RKBA (rather than just to raise general revenue, or to fund shooting specific projects) would be offensive and rightly opposed. We oppose mandatory safe storage laws, in part, because the cost of safes adds a needless burden to the exercise of RKBA. Ditto for one of the reasons we oppose mandatory live fire requirements or minimum number of hours of classroom instruction to get permits to carry: added cost to exercise a right. Indeed, some of us argue that under a strict reading or RKBA, guns and ammo should be exempt from taxes as are churches. We all recognize--and oppose--the NFA's $200 "transfer tax" for what it is: registration and limits and bans on a specific type of firearm. I trust we'd even oppose allowing private tort based on your failure to secure guns in a safe--rather than just locked inside your home that happened to be burglarized. Leaving my gun laying on a park bench unattended is one thing. Locking it inside my home in a closet, rather than inside a safe with a 90 minute mechanized attack rating is quite another.
But if the cost is imposed via a private tort allowed by a politicized erroneous ruling from a judge you are really going to shrug it off? Really?
Your attachment to some grand political philosophy will force you to leave effective RKBA to those wolves even as you carp about an infraction level offense for violating a no-gun policy of a church or private residence?!?!??!?
In practice, theory often has to give way a little bit.
I also find it interesting that a technical person allows an emotional or theoretical preference for unelected judges over elected legislators to cloud reality. When it comes to RKBA I can think of about 3 good decisions from federal courts in my lifetime: Lopez, Heller, and McDonald. The ink is barely dry on the last two and I think we are all still waiting to see them actually start to have practical impacts in our day-to-day life. On the flip side, look at what has happened to RKBA legislatively over the last 20 or 30 years. Sure, a couple of set backs here and there. But starting with Florida and now almost standard in the majority of the nation is shall issue permits. Not perfect. But a huge improvement over the situation in the 70s and 80s.
Look at Utah legislatively over the last 20 years: shall issue with no loss of areas we can legally carry (other than some churches and a few private homes), we affirmed the legal ability to carry in schools and protected most government employees from job loss over legally carrying on the job, parking lot preemption, carry of self defense weapons even when hunting and that self-defense firearm is not legal to hunt with, recognition of all permits in Utah, and on and on. Locally, we've had at least a dozen major legislative wins on RKBA compared to TWO--count 'em TWO--really good court rulings on RKBA. The Utah Supreme court ruling on the UoU was a DIRECT result of legislative changes to strengthen State preemption after the district court went the wrong way and before the Utah supremes heard the case. The other one--legal possession of a gun not being RAS for a stop--was also a result of the totality of our legislative wins. It was the totality of gun laws (NOT case law, but legislatively passed laws) that made such a ruling even possible. We've had tremendous success making RKBA a very dangerous issue for legislators to attack. That has filtered down to a few judges who have noticed that being known for being anti-RKBA may make the next State Senate confirmation a little difficult. And let us not forget how Utah courts have refused to abide the requirement for safe storage at secure areas.
Now maybe you can provide some counter-examples from larger society, but on RKBA the evidence is overwhelming that State legislatures and even congress have been FAR better over the last 2 or 3 decades than have the courts. It was not even Heller or McDonald that restored legal ability to carry in National Parks. That was good old fashioned legislation. Bad bill overall for the free market, but a great win for RKBA. Indeed, one may well argue that were it not for 25 years of pro-RKBA legislative victories that preceded it, Heller may well have gone the other way, or at least not been heard at all.
Diver, I really do think you need to engage in some very careful introspection about whether you are not allowing some political theories to force you into accepting and advocating some RKBA positions that are simply untenable.
It is a dogmatic conservative who looks at the civil rights history of this nation and cannot accept that federal action was needed in the 60s. Some States were grossly violating basic constitutional rights. The abuses and misapplication of federal power in this area even current problems with affirmative action do not negate that federal action was warranted and required.
It is a no less dogmatic liberal or libertarian who will convince themselves that congressional action on the gun liability suits was not necessary, proper, and constitutional. That congress often over-reaches does not negate the propriety and necessity of acting in this case.
As written, the law has no effect on legitimate tort for faulty products or engaging in criminal conduct. It simply prevents malicious suits against deep pocket, politically unpopular businesses based on the criminal conduct of third (or 4th, or 10th) parties over whom the manufacturers had zero control or influence.
It is a good law. It is clearly constitutional. It is constitutional even if one argues it were not entirely necessary. But it was demonstrable necessary.
Ron Paul got this one wrong. He gets much right. But this one he got wrong. And after having briefly conceded that, you have now run away from the resulting cognitive dissonance that created for the rest of your political views and re-convinced yourself to the contrary. You've even argued that because it was bad policy (as you see it), that makes it unconstitutional. Truly an example of the axiom that, "A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still."
You agreed with RP from the get go and despite black letter constitutional authority contrary to RP's claims, you're right back where you started: Believing and arguing that the law was probably unconstitutional.
Really. Time to seriously re-evaluate whether that political theory that seems and demands to be 100% self consistent and rational in theory can really hope to work and preserve freedom in the real world.
Last word is yours. And I hope no hard feelings for my preechiness.