Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Grasping at Straws

The anti-gun "coalition" has filed its lawsuit in opposition to Tennessee's recent legislation which permits handgun carry permit holders to carry their weapon into restaurants and bars which serve alcohol, provided that they are not drinking when doing so. This group wants the law overturned. I have a few thoughts on their lawsuit.

Anyone who would equate legitimate self-defense with vigilantism has a more than a few screws loose. The complaint (H/T Kleinheider) from the "coalition" fighting the "guns in bars" law cites to the law of the land of fruits and nuts (i.e., California) to make its point:

The Tennessee guns in bar [sic] law encourages breaches of the peace and unlawful vigilantism. The statute was actually intended by lawmakers to justify vigilante use of deadly force. This subjects Petitioners, employees, patrons and members of the public to the clear and present danger of vigilante shootings in contravention to law and the rights guaranteed by the U.S. and Tennessee Constitutions. “[When private citizens are encouraged to act as “police agents,” official lawlessness thrives and the liberties of all are put in jeopardy. Surely we should not now repeat the mistakes of a discredited era of our frontier past.” People v. Superior Court (Meyers) 25 Cal.3d 67, 88, 598 P.2d 877 (Cal., 1979).

You can't make this stuff up. This law does not encourage anything. If anything, it discourages breaches of the peace because now those who would be inclined to breach the peace may want to think twice about it because of the possibility that the victim of their unlawful aggression might be armed and able to fully defend himself.

The text accompanying the final footnote references a clause from the Constitution of South Africa (!!) which they apparently believe supports their position. It states that “everyone has the right to be free from all forms of violence, from either private, or public sources.” So, why not let me be free from the violence that could be inflicted on me, my family or others by allowing me to protect myself? After all, that's my right according to South Africa's Constitution!

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