Greg Roach's Berkshires Blog
Tuesday, July 01, 2008
  World's Largest Shooting Gallery Airport
The recent Supreme Court decision affirming a person's right to have a loaded hand gun in his/her home was evidently the starting-pistol for the race to see who could be the biggest gun-powder-sniffing-dumb-ass:
Guns were the issue. But words and federal lawsuits became the weapons of choice Tuesday as Atlanta officials declared Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport a "gun-free zone," and gun advocates immediately retaliated by suing them.

The fight about a new state law — one that permits licensed gun owners to carry concealed weapons in more public places — began at Atlanta's city-run airport, the world's busiest with 89 million passengers a year.
Bearden, a former policeman who authored the new law, said Monday he would come to the airport on Tuesday to pick up relatives and would be carrying a permitted concealed weapon. DeCosta vowed to have him arrested if he did. By Tuesday, Bearden had decided to let the courts decide the issue.

"That showdown will take place in the courts instead of an airport parking lot," said Bearden, who still planned to go to the airport, but without a gun.

The lawsuit accuses city officials of violating Bearden's civil rights by threatening him with arrest.
Don't ever be fooled. The so-called "gun rights" zealots are not reasonable people. I'm not referring to those of us who think that gun ownership is a perfectly fine thing, but rather to those who somehow think that flooding the streets (and airports and who knows where else) with gun-toting Clint Eastwood wanna-bes is the most effective answer to crime. Those folks are a couple of rounds short of a full magazine.

On a related note, good luck to Wes, who has accepted a new job and is moving to .... Atlanta! Have fun Buddy! You've got your work cut out for you down there.
There is a problem here. Either we accept the 2nd Amendment as stated in the Constitution, of which the Supreme Court has affirmed as a Constitutional RIGHT, or we allow states and any official who doesn't agree, to circumvent the law by adding unconditional provisions to his liking.
You speak of the "gun rights zealots" how about the "anti-gun rights zealots"? In their eyes anyone who wishes to own a gun is a "gun zelot"... even you! You are either for gun ownership and the constitutionally of the 2nd amendment or you are not. There is no middle road or gray area for you to seek refuge. You want it both ways, "OK, you can have a gun but not here!"
In closing I have to again bring to your attention that the criminal element doesn't abide by any gun law to begin with. The only people effected by gun laws are the law abiding citizen. And the anti-gun movement is not directed toward the criminal element, over which they have no control, but toward you!
You can't yell "FIRE!" in a crowed theater.

Rights are *not* absolute.
Crowed = crowded

Also, I am hardly anti-gun. However, it took Scalia 53 pages to rationalize away the first 13 words of the Second Amendment. It was a rather shameful performance by a so-called "strict constructionist."
Thanks for the good wishes, Greg.

While it may be a little farther away than we'd like, it is only 8 hours from my parents and 8 hours from my in-laws. You can do that in a day and not be completely shot (by comparison - when we lived in NA we were 13 hours away from my in-laws and 15 - 16 from my parents; we would either need two days each way or a day of nothing but rest after each way).

And the school is a good place to be. Clayton State University has Spivey Hall, the premier small concert venue (400 seats) in the South. Whenever a major soloist plays with the Atlanta Symphony and wants to do a chamber recital, it's done at Spivey. They have an incredible Albert Schweizer organ and have hosted organ recitals and competitions. They also have two music computer labs, state-of-the-art classrooms, spacious faculty offices and convenience to all of the cultural and social offerings of the Atlanta metro area.

So yeah, it's not my home in the Midwest, but it ain't something out of a James Dickey novel either. I think we're going to be very happy there.

Either we accept the 2nd Amendment as stated in the Constitution...

Oh, let's:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

What has always baffled me about the zealous -- to use Greg's term -- or strict constructionist, if you prefer, argument is the way it elides the phrase "well regulated." Three words in, and the Framers started implying limitations.

Contrast that with unconditional language in the First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law..."

For that matter, the issue of what constitutes a militia is a difficult question. Is a militia an officially designated and constituted body? Is it an informal group of civic minded individuals who band together -- and train together -- for the mutual defense of their community? Is it a bunch of anti-government paranoiacs squatting in the woods somewhere nursing grudges and amassing the firepower to settle scores? Is militiahood recursively conferred by the act of keeping and bearing arms? Each one of these definitions implies a different philosophy, and, correspondingly, a different regulatory scheme.

which the Supreme Court has affirmed as a Constitutional RIGHT, or we allow states and any official who doesn't agree, to circumvent the law by adding unconditional provisions to his liking.

But the provisions of any regulation are entirely conditional, as, for that matter, is any piece of legislation. Making laws is all about drawing lines in the sand and saying "on this side of the line, you are in compliance; on that side you are out of compliance." While it's true that some laws are arbitrary, few are as unilateral as the notion of an unchecked individual adding pet provisions implies.

You speak of the "gun rights zealots" how about the "anti-gun rights zealots"?

How about we refuse to cater to either extreme on the spectrum? How about we stipulate that the volume and intensity of the invective used to advance an argument does not imbue it with any special moral weight? The reality is there is tremendous middle ground and grey area, not only for refuge, but for action. To accomplish anything, however, means that cooler heads on both sides of the debate have to move past the notion that the message of the person who shouts the loudest is true in proportion to its stridency.

In closing I have to again bring to your attention that the criminal element doesn't abide by any gun law to begin with.

Depending on their specific brand of villainy, the criminal element also doesn't abide by traffic laws, leash laws, zoning laws, occupancy laws, and interstate commerce laws, to name just a few. How far are we willing to take the notion that the function of laws in society is to encompass the consensus and desires of all members of the society -- including the antisocial and sociopathic --rather than to proscribe those behaviors defined as harmful to society as a whole? The question of what makes a good law is open to debate, but the argument that any law criminals won't obey is a bad or unnecessary law smacks of logical fallacy.
twbernard.....I cannot debate with a narrow minded anti-gun nut! Factual arguments are dismissed out of hand replaced with fanciful innuendos conjured up by a desire to render your point a valid interpretation. The words say what the words say!

Part of my point was that the problem lies with the nuts on both sides of the debate.

To your point that "the words say what the words say!": I could not agree more. But that only works if you accept all the words in the text, including "well-regulated." Unless we choose to construe the Framers' intent with this term as nothing more than a prescription for a high-fiber diet among militia members, then we have to negotiate the middle ground between right and regulation.

I know: negotiation. How narrow-minded!
I don't see a leaning either way in Twbernard's post. I found it rather enlightening and an honest opinion of the 2nd amendment.

It appears to fit well with my opinion that Americans should have the right to own a gun, but that doesn't mean they can bring them where ever they please. I own guns and bows but with the exception of out in the woods, they stay on my property.
cj...that is your personal choice. But the majority of others seem to prefer unobtrusive right and ability ability to carry wherever they desire, and that is exactly what the constitution says and the supreme court reaffirmed!

Four SCOTUS judges, it is true, agreed that even Washington DC's draconian position on guns is constitutionally reasonable, but note that the "individual right" position was unanimously agreed to by the 9 Supreme Court judges. So the quibbling about the meaning of "well regulated militia" isn't all that relevant any more.

It is silly to make a whole airport a "gun-free" zone. The gun-free zone naturally begins at the metal detectors, and pretending otherwise just leads to problems such as the harassment of legal gun owners and a safe zone for homicidal fanatics.

Should the gun-free zone extend to the Airport roads (and curbs)? Isn't this a hardship for cabbies and other drivers passing through, delivery drivers, and personal security guards?

BTW, I carried almost every day for a dozen years. My presence did not endanger the public.
Again, this is nothing more than the anti-gun element trying to back door the Constition because they don't like what it says!
Jack- I suggest you read the actual opinion from the Supremes. They were quite clear that their decision allowed for severe restrictions on *what* and *where* various firearms could be carried.

It was lousy opinion all around. They actually resolved very little aside from handguns in the home.
Dave- I just read John Paul Steven's dissent and he is certainly referring to participation in a militia being the basis to bear an arm. I don't see a 9-0 vote on the "individual right" in the spirit your post seems to suggest.

Check out Stanly Fish's comment on the subject. It's pretty objective about the differences between the two (three?) interpretations.
Greg, you are right.

Although Stevens begins his dissent with what looks like a concession ("it protects a right that can be enforced by individuals"), it is clear later on that he does not there mean what is usually meant by the dichotomy of “collective right” vs. “individual right.”

That's what I get for commenting before I had finished reading the actual decision, relying on other published commentaries.

I do not find either Stevens (no right to self-defense) or Breyers (even if there is such a right, we can balance its virtual elimination against the legislature's weighing of competing sociological theories) persuasive or consistent with how the liberal wing weighs either other Constitutional rights or stare decisis.
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