Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Battle of the Amendments

I’ve said it before on this bloggy thing, but it bears repeating: I am not a gun person. I don’t own a gun and have no desire to own a gun, but that’s just me. I have fired a gun, though; as a kid I went skeet shooting with some friends and I liked it when I hit the target, but when I didn’t … not so much.

That said, I don’t want to take away people’s guns even if I want to see people register their guns, license their guns, be responsible for their guns. That’s all. But gun owners in this country — at least some gun owners — seem to think that if you’re pro-gun control, you want all the guns banned, taken away, destroyed. It’s that fear-mongering thing again; it’s gun folks versus non-gun folks and, at least in Rochester, Minnesota, it’s gotten crazy.

Kimberly Edson recently planted a sign in her own front yard that features a picture of Matthew Halleck, a man who lives in the area, and the words:
"This man carries a loaded gun around your children every day."
Naturally, Matthew Halleck isn’t happy with it and he wants the sign removed. See, he doesn’t think Edson has a right to say what she wants to say — possibly because it’s about him and his gun-toting ways — and wants to shut her up; he wants to limit her speech because she’s worried about his carrying a gun. In fact, he’s thinking of suing her for libel, though he needs to get to a dictionary and look up the word and then realize he hasn’t got a case.

What he does have, however, is a state-issued permit to carry the gun and, in the state of Minnesota, residents don’t need a permit to purchase, use or carry rifles and shotguns, though they do need a license to purchase and carry a handgun; open carry is prohibited in all public areas unless one possesses a recognized permit.

And Matthew Halleck insists he needs to carry the gun for protection because, well, walking down the street in Rochester is, I’m guessing, dangerous. And Kimberly Edson may not disagree with that, but she does feel that people have a right to know who’s coming down the street with a firearm:
"Since we don't have a way to stop him, we felt it was important to notify the neighborhood and the parents that there is an armed man in their presence. The first couple days of school he had it very visible, we saw it and were quite concerned. I have a responsibility to help create the kind of community I want to see, and I don't want to see a community where there are guns around schools.”
So, when Edson saw Halleck carrying his gun — she saw him meaning it was out and on display — she called the police who told her Halleck has a legal right to carry off school property. Then after Edson posted her sign — with Halleck’s picture on it — he promptly called police to tell them about it. The sign was taken down, briefly, but then Halleck was told that Edson was not breaking any laws either, so it went back up and that’s where it stands.

Here’s how it breaks down, though: Matthew Halleck has a Second Amendment right to carry the gun, and Kimberly Edson has a First Amendment right to say she doesn’t like it, so who’s right and who’s wrong?

Well, for me, Matthew Halleck can own a gun, but does he have to open carry it while walking down the street? I don’t think so; he might be one of those responsible gun-owners, but what about the not-so-responsible people on the sidewalks? What if one of them decides to take his gun from him and start shooting? Who’s to blame then?

For me, I’d wanna know who’s got a gun, and where they are so I can avoid them, and I should have the right to say that, and to tell people that. I’m not saying he can’t carry his gun, but he can’t say that I don’t have the right to spread the word about it.

If he wants us all to honor his Second Amendment right to carry a gun, then he has to honor Edson’s First Amendment right to Free Speech.


viktor kerney said...

I just don't get this open carry mess. It's so silly and dangerous

the dogs' mother said...

We have two, competing gun issues on our ballot. The mind boggles.

Bob Slatten said...

Carlos and I have have stopped shopping at Kroger because they allow open carry, or at least don't ask that people don't open carry.
I refuse to say to someone, "Can you move your rifle so i can get some eggs."

anne marie in philly said...

WHY the hell does ANYONE need to open carry? I never will understand this mentality.

Mitchell is Moving said...

Since living in Spain, it's been fascinating to me how many Europeans, as soon as they discover we're Americans, ask about our obsession with guns. It seems to be the first thing many Europeans think about when they hear "American." said...

I want to meet you. I want to sit with you , eat a pizza, have a glass of wine, a sinful dessert and the longest damned conversation ... because I think you are one of the smartest people I know.

As I see it, the only logical reason for anyone to openly carry a firearm is because "they can".

Thanks for another wonderful and thought-provoking post.

Bob Slatten said...

Thanks D&O.
Now, I'll have to wait for Carlos to come home and help me carry my ego-inflated head through the door!! =)

Ron said...

You're exactly right Bob. I've always found it interesting that these Second Amendment gun toting right wingers are always spouting their constitutional rights but when someone has a view they don't agree with, the conveniently forget that they too have constitutional rights.


Ron Buckmire said...

This is very interesting! I'm glad to see an example of someone using one constitutional right to highlight the abuse of another.

S'A said...

I'm one of the few non-gun toting members of my family and I agree full-heartedly with you. Guns are a hobby to them, they don't understand my reservations at all. When something becomes a hobby, people get careless, even "responsible" people.

Mark in DE said...

I agree with you. This idea that pro-gun control means banning all guns is the NRA's fear-mongering. Unfortunately most Americans are too lazy to read or look into what responsible gun control really means.

Biki Honko said...

I am also confused by these open carry people. We dont live in the wild west. Where its a shoot or be killed mentality. I think a lot of these open carry nonsense comes from the anti gun folk being so loud about taking guns away.