Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I'm scared, so take away that guy's rights please!

At Talking Points Memo, Josh Marshall wonders why people who have guns are allowed at presidential events. After all, he thinks:

you don't take a gun somewhere unless you think there's some chance you might have occasion to use it. So there's no question that these guns are brought as a provocation.

Maybe that's the only reason he'd take a gun somewhere--to threaten someone, like the president. People who are actually exercising their Second Amendment rights don't need a reason, don't have to justify carrying a gun. But if they were asked, they'd give reasons like the following:

1. I'm carrying to exercise my right to carry--rights you don't use might be taken away.

2. I'm carrying because a rapist might attack me, and I want to be able to defend myself.

3. I'm carrying because a mass murderer might begin firing at the crowd, and I might be able to stop him from killing more than one or two.

4. I'm carrying because I always do, and there's nothing special about this event that changes that decision. I wouldn't leave off my gun any more than I'd leave off my wedding ring.

5. I'm carrying to encourage others to exercise their rights. If they notice that I can do it, maybe they'll try.

There is one reason some people carry that is...not so much a provocation as due warning:

6. I'm carrying because once we had to fight a war to throw off an oppressive government, and if we need to do it again, I'm ready, willing, and most importantly, able to do so.

Those are all perfectly legal, justifiable reasons for carrying a gun.

Mr. Marshall concludes:

But put me down as not believing we should allow the brandishing of firearms in proximity of the president as an acceptable way of expressing opposition to the president.

Carrying is not brandishing (brandishing has a legal definition, it's not just a fancy word for "I saw his gun and I was frightened!"); expressing opposition to the president is protected First Amendment speech, until it rises to actual threat. Mr. Marshall questions the Secret Service's judgment, libels citizens exercising their Constitutionally-protected rights, and--without any evidence--implies that everyone who carries is doing so solely to express opposition to the president. He's rude, he's smug, and he's wrong.

Hat tip Jay Lake.

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