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Old May 9, 2019, 01:18 PM   #1
Brownstone322
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Tell Me if You Encounter This

Do you sometimes encounter people who outright misstate what the courts have and haven't said about firearms law? (By encounter, I mean here or on some other public forum or perhaps among friends or acquaintances.) I think this is a relevant topic, because it specifically affects discourse and what I call the "signal-to-noise ratio." (That is, we can't effectively discuss an issue when people keep making comments from left field that don't jibe with the facts.)

If you'll bear with me, here's an example that I encountered just today.

Person 1 (maybe a troll) said: "All gun laws are infringements; change my mind."

Person 2 replied by referencing verbiage from DC v. Heller -- words that should be well known to everyone here -- and was seemingly on his way to making a valid point that rights are not in fact absolute:

"Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose: For example, concealed weapons prohibitions have been upheld under the Amendment or state analogues. The Court’s opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms."

But then, in summary, Person 2 added this (emphasis added):

"So assault-weapon bans, concealed-carry bans, gun-free zones, and background checks have all been upheld by the Supreme Court."

That last part is dead wrong, and I can't decide if it was the result of poor reading comprehension or was a straight-up lie. What's worse, I see this kinda thing way too often. (Scalia, for the record, was simply underscoring that DC v. Heller, like most high-court rulings, was narrow in scope and addressed only Dick Heller's claim that he had a right to keep a firearm in his home; we should't infer anything more or less.)

Similarly, I once saw a poster here comment that he'd had to contend with those who maintain that Heller ruled that the Second Amendment protected only the right to keep a firearm in one's home. Same thing: Do you think these people really don't understand, or are they trying to perpetuate another myth?
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Old May 9, 2019, 02:05 PM   #2
5whiskey
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One reason why I really like TFL is reasoned debate, a dying art, is still alive and well here. At least among a good number of it's members.

Reasoned debate includes the ability to articulate your point of view, provide facts that support your argument, and to do so in a manner respectful to those with opposing views. That's only part of it. You are also expected to listen to someone with whom you disagree, process their point of view and facts they used to support it, and not try to twist or misrepresent what they said.

I digress. We live in a day and age where people allow their political masters to tell them what their opinion should be on nearly every topic. I mean you couldn't possibly be a mainstream democrat that is pro-gun or pro-life, or a mainstream republican who is an environmentalist or pro-choice. And when people start thinking as they're told to think, meltdowns ensue when they are faced with facts that refute portions of what they believe/think is right. You don't learn reasoned debate when you accept a "group think" mentality.
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Old May 9, 2019, 02:42 PM   #3
Aguila Blanca
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Several years ago I became aware that my town of residence had an anti-gun law that absolutely prohibited possession of a loaded firearm on Town-owned property. The problem was, Town-owned property didn't just include Torn Hall, the library, the firehouse, the public works department, the schools and the police station ... Town-owned property also encompasses all public roads in town, other than a few state roads that run through. There was no exception for people with carry permits. In fact, there was no exception for police officers on duty.

I attended a public meeting of the town's governing body in an early attempt to get the law repealed or, if not repealed, revised. In the discussion, the Town Counsel (the Town's chief legal advisor) made the rather remarkable statement that "There is no provision in state law for the use of firearms in self defense."

He was dead wrong, of course, but the entire governing body and a number of residents who were in attendance heard him say it.
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Old May 9, 2019, 04:35 PM   #4
dreaming
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Your town counsel may have been correct about there being no provision in your state's law for self defense. State laws often do not provide for what you can do but only provide what you cannot or must do without consequence.
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Old May 9, 2019, 06:41 PM   #5
Aguila Blanca
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Like most (all?) states, my state's laws specifically address (and allow) the use of deadly force for self defense. Use of a firearm is deemed to be deadly force. Ergo, the law does allow the use of firearms for self defense.
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Old May 9, 2019, 11:35 PM   #6
5whiskey
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I haven’t studied every states laws, but I suspect every state in the union clearly defines use of force in self defense in their statutory code. Statutory law does in fact cover “allowances” or basically authorize certain actions. In other instances, certain exemptions and justifications are spelled out for actions that are otherwise unlawful. In a SD scenario where you shoot, God forbid, kill another person, you meet every legal element for at minimum manslaughter. There are, however, justifications with not complying with the law. SD is a justification to an otherwise criminal deadly assault. State laws frequently spell out these justifications.

SD is but one example. Many states have a provision justifying driving while impaired if you’re trying to save lives in the process. A common hypothetical example given in a criminal procedure book written about my states laws is a person who jumps into a truck rolling out of control downhill. I know of examples where individuals drove while intoxicated to transport someone seriously injured to seek medical treatment. This doesn’t fly in town though. Remote areas with sparse resources, yes.
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Old May 9, 2019, 11:54 PM   #7
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Quote:
Do you sometimes encounter people who outright misstate what the courts have and haven't said about firearms law?
Sometimes but the bigger problem isn't individual people but when COURTS do it. When a judge rules something is ok, or isn't based on their incorrect interpretation of what the high court or other courts have said, THAT is a real problem, and one that takes ANOTHER court to correct.

And other courts (and particularly the high court) are under no obligation to correct other court rulings, UNTIL a case on that appears before them.

and, even then, they might not get it "right".
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