Guns in Public Buildings Bill is Back Again

False IdolsThe ammosexual gun fetishists and gun worshippers are back with their annual bill to allow them to carry concealed weapons in any public building unless the building contains a metal detector and security guards — moving the goal posts from providing gun lockers in previous versions of this bill in past years — that Governor Jan Brewer vetoed three times. Guns in public buildings OK, House committee says:

HB 2320 (.pdf) would overturn existing law, which says a public agency can ban firearms guns simply by posting a sign and making lockers available for people to check them.

Instead, buildings could be kept gun-free only by ensuring that all people are disarmed, which would require government agencies to install metal detectors and security guards at all entrances.

Dale Wiebusch, lobbyist for the League of Arizona Cities and Towns put the cost of a metal detector at $45,000. And with two guards at each entrance, presumably armed, Wiebush said that’s $136,000 a year.

Multiply that by every door in every public building, he said, and that gets real expensive.

Here’s a novel idea: if you want government agencies to incur these expenses to accommodate your “issues” you can pay taxes to pay for it. Otherwise, STFU.

Teabagger Rep. Mark Finchem, R-Oro Valley and Rep. Eddie Farnsworth, R-Gilbert went the full on crazy in their comments:

“Whenever the government abridges a citizen’s right, I think it should be expensive,” Fimchem said.

Anyway, he said, there’s an alternative: Don’t buy the metal detectors, don’t hire the security guards and let law-abiding citizens bring in their weapons.

“A well-armed citizenry that is able to protect itself does not need to have government protect it,” Finchem said.

And holding up a copy of the U.S. Constitution, he declared that it is “not a debatable document.”

“It says very clearly that you have the right to protection,” Finchem said. “Under the Second Amendment, that is God-given, nature’s God and nature’s law, not up for debate.”

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That sentiment was shared by Rep. Eddie Farnsworth, R-Gilbert.

“We have a God-given right, as reaffirmed by the Second Amendment, to defend ourselves,” he said. “If the government wants to take away the right of the citizen, then doggone it, you’d better protect them.”

I’ve grown exhausted by this unhinged, idiotic nonsense: the Second Amendment is “God-given” from nature’s God, and “nature’s (natural) law”?  Really? Prior to the American Revolution, European governments believed in the divine right of kings: a monarch is subject to no earthly authority, deriving the right to rule directly from the will of God. The American Colonists rejected this in the Declaration of independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

This is what Americans did when they adopted the U.S. Constitution:

WE THE PEOPLE of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

In America your rights are not “God-given,” they are derived from the consent of the governed in a democratic system of government. Any attempt to elevate the right to do whatever, whenever one wants with his or her precious gun to a “divine right” not subject to any laws by  the consent of the governed in a democratic system of government, is to deify guns. Maybe these wingnuts should read the Second Commandment instead.

And the U.S. Constitution is “not a debatable document”? Seriously, Dude? Lawyers, judges and courts exist to argue constitutional law and to decide what is and is not constitutional. I’ve done this for years. This is why the U.S. Supreme Court exists. The Constitution itself provides for a method of amendment, and it has been amended 27 times — which involved quite a bit of public debate.

This idea that the U.S. Constitution is divinely derived from God is how one can readily identify a theocratic Dominionist. Sarah Posner recently reported on Dominionist Judge Roy Moore, Close Encounters With Roy Moore:

That Friday night in Severn, [Judge Roy] Moore was speaking to a gathering of the Institute on the Constitution, a fringe educational group run by Maryland lawyer, former Constitution Party presidential candidate, and current member of the Anne Arundel County Council, Michael Peroutka . . . The Constitution, they claim, is a divine document designed only to protect the rights conferred by God, not to create “new” rights by way of jurisprudence. For all you law school graduates shaking your head as you read this, Peroutka, Moore, and their followers claim that the law schools are teaching it all wrong—that’s why they’ve created their own law schools.

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In presenting Moore with a “Spirit of Daniel” award for courage, Peroutka gleefully noted that he was doing so on Jefferson Davis’s birthday. (The award was given because Moore “resisted a government that thought it was God.”)

That showdown between God and government is at the heart of Moore’s claims that he is on the side of righteousness and the federal courts on the side of an anti-God, unconstitutional “tyranny.”

This is not really about guns, people. The psychosis of these right-wing fringe wingnuts runs much deeper and swifter than this.

Rep. Brenda Barton, R-Payson, sponsor of the legislation . . . pointed out the legislation does have some limits: Only those with permits to carry concealed weapons, which requires a background check and some training, could carry them into buildings without metal detectors and security guards. Others who carry guns, whether in the open or not, would still have to surrender the weapons at the door.

This is not entirely true. Since Gov. Jan Brewer signed SB 1108 into law in 2010, U.S. citizens 21 and older can carry a concealed firearm without a permit in Arizona. SB 1108 eliminated the requirement for a concealed-carry weapons permit, but does require gun owners to accurately answer if an officer asks them if they are carrying weapon concealed. Arizona’s concealed-weapon law takes effect. So how does Barton propose that governments identify individuals with or without a concealed carry permit, and those who open carry? And aren’t these gun owners going to challenge this on equal protection grounds?

There is this final bit of insanity from Dave Kopp, lobbyist for the Arizona Citizens Defense League:

“Folks get CCW permits not because the card makes them law-abiding but because they are law-abiding already and that’s what makes them get the card,” he told lawmakers.

“That’s why they see the sign and check their gun in the locker,” Kopp continued. “Bad guys are bad guys and that’s why they don’t” and ignore the signs, making them the only ones in the building who are armed.

If one can purchase a gun, he or she can carry a concealed weapon without a permit in Arizona. The assumption that a lawful gun owner magically possesses the training, skill, weapons proficiency, and the sound judgment to use a firearm in public for defense is a ridiculous fantasy. Even highly trained, highly skilled law enforcement officers have difficulty in such situations. This is one reason law enforcement tends to oppose these laws. Law enforcement has enough to deal with identifying the “bad guy,” without having to identify the cowboy with a Superman complex.

3 responses to “Guns in Public Buildings Bill is Back Again

  1. ”…they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,…”

    You sort of glossed over these words from the Declaration of Independence in your rush to demonstrate that “rights” are provided by government which derives its power from the consent of the governed. The Founders stipulated that government was needed to protect these unalienable rights endowed by their Creator but they were not provided by the government, they were simply guaranteed.

    Yes, we can change the Constitution if we want, and have done so in the past. However, what I find interesting is that none of those Amendments have changed the Constitution in a truly significant manner. The Bill of Rights has remained substantially the same. The follow-on Amendments (after the Bill of Rights) have been corrections to oversights, corrections to deliberate inequalities and administrative matters.

    So when these people say the Constitution provides God given rights, they are not as wrong as you suggest.

    • Your knowledge of American history and law is limited.

      The US Declaration of Independence states:

      “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

      “[T]his theological affirmation – as important as it may be – is not found in the US Constitution, the document that actually constitutes the United States as an independent nation and delineates the rights American citizens have in law.” http://www.patheos.com/blogs/roberthunt/2012/04/endowed-by-their-creator/:

      “In the constitution it is “We the People” who both bring the nation into existence and fix its laws, not “the Creator.” God may have endowed all humans with inalienable rights, but our rights as US citizens are granted and protected by ourselves as the custodians of the nation, and by our elected representatives.

      “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

      The distinction is important because it has everything to do with what it means to be a citizen of the United States. A citizen is a person whose identity is defined by a specific set of rights and obligations in relation to a nation. The obligation of the individual citizen in relation to the United States, like the obligation of all our elected officials, isn’t to uphold and implement the laws of the Creator. Citizens as such don’t have rights and obligations relative to the Creator. The duty of the citizen is to uphold and implement the constitution that we citizens created and and such laws as are consistent with it. It is we who granted ourselves the authority to run our nation, and it is we who are responsible to ourselves in the running of it. The US Constitution is clear on this.”

      It is important to know what the Founding Fathers were talking about in the context of their time, not what some revisionist historians claim today.

      When the framers of this historic document wrote about “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness,” what exactly did they mean by “happiness”? http://blog.dictionary.com/happiness/:

      “Francis Hutcheson, an Irish reverend and philosopher, brought a new, more political interpretation of happiness to English speakers with his 1725 treatise “An Inquiry into the Original of Our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue.”

      His political philosophy: “that Action is best which accomplishes the greatest Happiness for the greatest Numbers; and that worst, which in like manner occasions Misery.” The popularity of Hutcheson’s philosophies helped tie the concepts of civic responsibility and happiness to one another in the minds of the great political thinkers of the 18th century, including the writers of the Declaration of Independence.

      US Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy explained this often forgotten sense of happiness in his 2005 lecture at the National Conference on Citizenship. Kennedy notes that while in modern times there is a “hedonistic component” to the definition of happiness, for the framers of the Declaration of Independence “happiness meant that feeling of self-worth and dignity you acquire by contributing to your community and to its civic life.” In the context of the Declaration of Independence, happiness was about an individual’s contribution to society rather than pursuits of self-gratification. While this sense has largely fallen out of use today, it’s important to keep these connotations of happiness mind when studying political documents from the 18th century.”

      So your revisionist analysis is wrong. Get yourself a library card and start reading the writings of the Founding Fathers. This information is readily available.

      • You know what, AZ Blue Meanie? In regards to this you are better informed than I and I will concede that your interpretation is correct. Thank you for your thorough and reasoned response. I come away from this exchange much better informed.