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By Rod Morse
We hear a lot of shallow words about rights. A right is a power you already have that you want the government to leave alone. It would be nice if the government would protect your rights, but they should at least stop infringing on them. When we consider the many layers of government, it is easy to see that they have a very difficult time leaving any aspect of our lives unregulated. The power of a government to regulate a right is the power to destroy that right, particularly when it comes to our right of self-defense. Governments infringed that right so badly that now tens of millions of us can’t get the required permits to bear arms. Politicians rationalize their regulation of self-defense by wrapping their restrictions in the cloak of public safety. In fact, that cloak has often been the white sheet of racism directed against minorities and the poor.
Sometimes the racism is blatant. Sometimes it is subtle, like demanding long term residency before a law enforcement officer grants a carry permit.
“You ain’t from around here, are ya.”
Some of us can’t receive the permits to keep and bear arms, and some of us can. The exceptions are often politicians and their large political donors. Even as a media celebrity you have to demonstrate the approved political leanings or you won’t get your permits approved.
Permits are granted as political favors. Donors of this class often have their own security details anyway, so these purchase and carry permits are like vanity plates. The people who really need a gun for self-defense the most, people like the poor single mom who lives in the bad part of town, they are least likely to have the required political connections.
Judges ignore that politically motivated bigotry every day.
Some politicians and law enforcement officers hide their prejudices behind rationalizations. One excuse is called “demonstrated need” or “good cause”. They ask us to show that we will face an ongoing threat of death or great bodily injury. How do you prove what the future will hold since past injuries are no guarantee of future assaults? Under this pretext, police chiefs and judges have denied rape and kidnap victims the “privilege” to bear arms for their own defense.
In the space below, cite documented police reports to substantiate your claim.
Some cities make it hard but technically possible for ordinary citizens to get a permit. For example, they might demand a permit before you can touch a gun, let alone rent one, buy one, or get a permit to carry a concealed firearm in public. In the most infamous cases, cities demanded live-fire training to get a permit, and then denied businesses the permits necessary to build and operate a firing range inside city limits. Affluent people simply drove to distant ranges in the suburbs and got the training they needed. The poor were simply denied their right of self-defense.
Put not your faith in judges.
Judges let the police have a live-fire shooting ranges inside city limits, but those same judges accept the city’s blatant discrimination against law abiding citizens who want to protect themselves.
This bigotry against honest citizens costs time, money and lives. The costs for mandated permits and training can exceed the price of the gun. It may take many trips to government offices to get and fill out their mandated permits. More importantly, it may take many days off work. The working poor are least able to take time off from work and from tending to their home and family. The poor are disarmed by the cost of government regulations.
It may take months before government bureaucrats process your application and grant you the god-given right to protect yourself with a tool, or not. Those who are at the greatest risk may not have months to wait. Domestic abuse victims were murdered while they waited for these government permission slips. I’ve never heard a government official step forward and accept the blame for these avoidable deaths.
The world isn’t fair. Rich people hire subordinates to wait in line and deliver the required documents to government bureaucrats. The wealthy have lawyers that will create the required documentation and fill out the permit applications so that they are acceptable to government officials. The poor wait in line, wait their turn, and do their best, if they can.
So who qualifies for these rare government permits? Some sheriffs will automatically grant the privilege of self-defense to judges, lawyers, and doctors. These are the same professions that law enforcement works with on a daily basis. Permits are sometimes given to dentists and pharmacists because of the pain medications they handle. Sheriffs and police chiefs grant permits to some jewelers and bankers because of the valuables they carry. Sometimes not.
Handling money on a regular basis may mean that bankers get permits. Sometimes it means that apartment managers and vending machine operators get permits. Don’t expect consistency when we’re plumbing the depths of human rationalization. The process is arbitrary, lawless, and capricious. Vending machine operators may get a permit because they handle cash, but hairdressers may not. Doctors can get a permit, but not nurses or physician assistants.
Few of us have lived perfect lives, and fewer still can perfectly fill out a government form where we ask to have our right to self-defense respected. Anything can be used as an excuse to deny our request. Did you have a speeding ticket, a DUI, or a non-violent felony like a bounced check in your past? Perhaps you have not lived here long enough.
Some jurisdictions will let you pay a lawyer thousands of dollars so you can stand before a judge and ask to have your rights restored. Some individuals can’t get their rights restored because of their financial situation. Unfortunately, some states don’t allow appeals or restoration at all. Similar people living under similar situations receive vastly different legal treatment depending on their means and where they live. Judges look the other way at this injustice.
Judges and government regulators have long recognized the racism of denying jobs, insurance, and financial loans to minorities. We routinely examine school acceptance rates and then work to eliminate disparate treatment of the poor. Unfortunately, judges look the other way when police chiefs deny poor minorities the right to bear arms for their own defense. Separate and unequal is the rule of the day.
Some judges and political pundits would tell us that the right to self-defense is respected. That is theory. In practice, government officials deny the right of self-defense to millions of law abiding adults. The right to bear arms is infringed.
We’ve covered permit schemes here in part two. Part one talked about “gun-free” zones.