3/01 Second Class Citizens

Gun Owners: Second Class Citizens
Larry Pratt

Folks in the media continue to show how little they care about anything in the Constitution other than the First Amendment.

Reporters in Mariposa, California were recently required to submit to background checks and fingerprinting in order to cover a murder trial in the Mariposa Superior Court.

The court required the background checks for the media, but not the general public. While I can appreciate their greater concern about the media, law must apply equally to all. And, of course, there are laws that should not apply to anyone.

The court withdrew the requirement after news organizations and a public interest group, the California First Amendment Coalition, said it violated press freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution.

The Coalition had this to say about the policy: it is a “highly intrusive, utterly arbitrary invasion of privacy on professionals whose work is protected from governmentally imposed burdens.”

Why would it not be equally correct to condemn the instant background check imposed on firearms owners as a “highly intrusive, utterly arbitrary invasion of privacy on citizens whose right to keep and bear arms is protected from governmentally imposed burdens?”

The First Amendment Coalition was threatening a lawsuit over the violation of civil rights of reporters when the Mariposa court buckled.

I am delighted that the reporters objected because their privacy was being invaded by the court. They might have added that government has no business treating citizens as criminals. Surely that attitude had to chap the reporters and incline them all the more to challenge the background check.

I realize it is asking a lot since the reporters’ Second Amendment ox is not being gored (at least they don’t think so), but it would certainly be good news indeed if they found it as obnoxious for a gun buyer to submit to a background check as it is for them to do the same to cover a murder trial.

Of course, even a number of gun owners will insist that a background check for gun owners is different from a background check for reporters. After all, we will be asked, how are you going to keep guns from getting in the wrong hands?

The shortest answer is, “We are not going to keep guns from the wrong hands no matter what we do.” The English have proved this point. They have a gun ban and now they have a violent crime rate in excess of that of ours. Their media has dubbed the city of Manchester as “Gunchester.”

Anti-gun scholar Jens Ludwig, publishing the results of his study of the Brady Law in the anti-gun Journal of the American Medical Association, found that the Law had had no impact on lowering crime.

That would make sense. If a gun ban doesn’t lower crime — on the contrary — what makes us think a background check of gun buyers will do any better?

So, for those of our friends in the media, we agree that a background check of reporters is useless and obnoxious. Can you see that the same adjectives describe the background check of gun buyers? Let’s elevate gun owners to the same level of citizenship enjoyed by reporters.