Two Unethical And Unconstitutional Laws On Guns, One From The Right, One From the Left, Bite The Dust. Good.

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I.

As last year’s flat-out demagoguery about banning gun ownership for citizens placed on the FBI’s no-fly list proved, Democrats will never let the Constitution get in the way of an emotion-based attack on gun rights. A rule  implemented by former President Obama after the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting (“WE HAVE TO DO SOMETHING!!!”) would have required the Social Security Administration to report the records of some mentally ill beneficiaries to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System. Those who have been deemed mentally incapable of managing their financial affairs — roughly 75,000 people — would have then been prevented from owning guns.

The American Civil Liberties Union and advocates for the disabled opposed the restriction, which was so broadly drawn that an Asperger’s sufferer could have his Second amendment rights taken away. And what, exactly, is the link between not being able to handle one’s financial affairs and violence? Hell, I can barely handle my financial affairs.

By a 57-43 margin, the Republican-led Senate voted last week  to repeal the measure, and it now heads to the White House for President Trump’s signature.

Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, a leading Republican critic of the rule, said that it was filled with “vague characteristics that do not fit into the federal mentally defective standard” that could legally prohibit someone from buying or owning a gun. “If a specific individual is likely to be violent due to the nature of their mental illness, then the government should have to prove it,” Grassley said

Sen. Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut where the Sandy Hook massacre occurred, and thus obligated to grandstand regardless of the fact that he’s on shaky 2nd Amendment, 5th  Amendment and also Equal Protection  ground, declaimed on the Senate floor,

“The [Congressional Review Act] we have before us today will make it harder for the federal government to do what we have told them to do for decades, which is to put dangerous people and people who are seriously mentally ill on the list of people who are prohibited from buying a gun….If you can’t manage your own financial affairs, how can we expect that you’re going to be a responsible steward of a dangerous, lethal firearm?”

Well, I guess nobody in Congress should own a gun either, right, Senator?

Murphy and other defenders of the rule argued that those whose rights were removed could challenge the restrictions in court. Do these people not know the Bill of Rights and the case record, or are they just dishonest? You can’t take my rights away without due process and place the burden on me to get them back! That’s ConLaw 101. Mentally ill people still have Constitutional rights, and can’t be discriminated against because everyone wants to lock the barn door after Adam Lanza has left the barn.  So the rule violates Due process and Equal Protection. The rule was vague and overly broad, and “Constitutional scholar” Obama had to know it, too.  This was a perfect example of a law that was sold emotionally. The United States can’t just ignore Constitutional rights to solve a problem, as much as Democrats seem to be favoring that approach of late.

On Facebook, a good, smart friend (and occasional commenter here) posted the linked article with the comment, WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE GOP? WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO STOP THIS LEGISLATION???  Then everyone hit the like buttons and commenced bashing the NRA and the GOP.  And they had no idea what the issues are or what the rights involved require. Guns BAD. That’s all.

This earns the “This Helps Explain Why Trump Is President” tag. It also is prompting me to add a “Bias makes you stupid” category as well.

Speaking of that, Republicans are not any better…

II

In a 10-1 decision, the full panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that a Florida law known as the Privacy of Firearm Owners act, violated the First Amendment rights of doctors. The law prohibited doctors from discriminating against gun owners, and from even talking about gun safety. Under its provisions, doctors could  be punished with a fine of up to $10,000, and could  lose their medical licenses for discussing guns with patients. Only that part of the law was struck down.

Because it was mind-numbingly stupid.

There’s was no evidence that by merely asking about guns, doctors would be in any way infringing on the Second Amendment rights of their patients, the court found, and moreover,

“Florida does not have carte blanche to restrict the speech of doctors and medical professionals on a certain subject without satisfying the demands of heightened scrutiny.As part of their medical practices, some doctors routinely ask patients about various potential health and safety risks, including household chemicals, drugs, alcohol, tobacco, swimming pools, and firearms. A number of leading medical organizations, and some of their members, believe that unsecured firearms ‘in the home increase risks of injury, especially for minors and those suffering from depression or dementia. In an effort to prevent and reduce firearm-related deaths and injuries, particularly to children, the American Medical Association ‘encourages its members to inquire as to the presence of household firearms as a part of childproofing the home and to educate patients to the dangers of firearms to children.”

The National Rifle Association had lobbied for the law’s passage, and sent members a letter about the case in 2015.

“Physicians interrogating and lecturing parents and children about guns is not about gun safety,” the letter read. “It is a political agenda to ban guns. Parents do not take their children to physicians for a political lecture against the ownership of firearms, they go there for medical care.”

Thus proving the court’s point. Is the NRA is so Second Amendment-addled that it hasn’t read the FIRST? Government can’t tell citizens not to talk politics, you boobs.  If my doctor starts to lecture me about guns, my first question is, “Do you own a gun?” My second is, “What makes you think I want an anti-gun lecture while you’re checking my prostate?”

My third is, “Can you recommend another doctor?”

“…our decision is about the First Amendment, not the Second. The Second Amendment “guarantee[s] the individual right to possess and carry weapons,” … but the profound importance of the Second Amendment does not give the government license to violate the right to free speech under the First Amendment…The First Amendment is a counter-majoritarian bulwark against tyranny. … The promise of free speech is that even when one holds an unpopular point of view, the state cannot stifle it. The price Americans pay for this freedom is that the rule remains unchanged regardless of who is in the majority….If we upheld the Act, we could set a precedent for many other restrictions of potentially unpopular speech. Think of everything the government might seek to ban between doctor and patient as supposedly ‘irrelevant’ to the practice of medicine. Without the protection of free speech, the government might seek to ban discussion of religion between doctor and patient. The state could stop a surgeon from praying with his patient before surgery or punish a Christian doctor for asking patients if they have accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior or punish an atheist for telling his patient that religious belief is delusional.Without the protection of free speech, the government might seek to censor political speech by doctors. The state might prevent doctors from encouraging their patients to vote in favor of universal health care or prohibit a physician from criticizing the Affordable Care Act. Some might argue that such topics are irrelevant to a particular patient’s immediate medical needs, but the First Amendment ensures that doctors cannot be threatened with state punishment for speech even if it goes beyond diagnosis and treatment.”

Exactly.

I guess guns also make you stupid…

 

11 Comments

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11 responses to “Two Unethical And Unconstitutional Laws On Guns, One From The Right, One From the Left, Bite The Dust. Good.

  1. Wayne

    Well lots of hillbillies don’t manage their financial affairs too well and I’d like to see anybody try to take their guns away.

  2. “If you can’t manage your own financial affairs, how can we expect that you’re going to be a responsible steward of a dangerous, lethal firearm?”

    Well, I guess nobody in Congress should own a gun either, right, Senator?

    Nice one!

  3. Warren

    Thanks for posting on this. I’ve learned as much about gun ownership, Second Amendment rights, and firearms regulations from this site as anywhere, though some of it has dismayed me, since I am concerned about gun proliferation in the U.S. I have plenty of family members who are responsible gun owners and I have no desire to restrict their rights, or anyone else’s for that matter. Of course, I do find it troubling that there seems to be so much gun violence in this country. I seem to recall you mentioning somewhere that you would be in favor of stricter gun regulations (I am sure I am not phrasing this correctly, since I’m doing it from memory), depending on what the regulations entailed, and provided, of course, that they were not in violation of the Bill of Rights, and/or the result of political grandstanding. So, I’m wondering, what is the ethical approach to gun regulation? You hardly seem like a “gun zealot” (whatever that means), though you are – admirably – a stickler for Constitutional law and the right to bear arms. Maybe I should put it this way: *is* there an ethical way to approach gun regulation?

  4. JRH

    It was a stupid bill when I was living in FL a year ago and I think everyone knew it but Politicians and the NRA. But again I’m 73 & have owned guns for 63 years (it was a different time) and not a single person in the Health field has ever talked to me about guns or any other household danger. On the other hand I take offense at the term “Hillbilly” which seems to denote folks who are of a lower class. Lots of people are poor, but that doesn’t make them stupid or bad. “Over my dead body” is not only for country folks.

  5. Pennagain

    I don’t know how the proposed law went, but if it was worded to refer to physicians only (including psychiatrists as medical doctors), it would exclude others who regularly discuss guns and gun safety with their patients or clients — nurses, psychologists, social workers, suicide prevention hotlines, community and other workers with homeless, school advisors, clergy . . . and doctors who bring up the subject of, say, lethal weapons in general For that matter, what would be the situation with a patient who wanted to discuss the subject himself? Makes no sense. A lot of doctors don’t do well when inquiring or advising on sexual behavior — now that should be regulated! — but gun-talk, especially with youngsters of “gang” age, should be a mandatory part of the check-up.

  6. In a moderate amount of sympathy for the errant Right Wing law: I think a lot of liberty-minded Americans became nervous by the unprecedented imposition on the medical industry by the government in form of the ACA and they immediately started sniffing slippery slopes everywhere.

    I think a big worry was that eventually the medical profession would be a simple end run around alot of legal protections previously barring government access to citizens private lives.

  7. I think a big worry was that eventually the medical profession would be a simple end run around alot of legal protections previously barring government access to citizens private lives.

    How odd that people would think that way…

    I mean, it is not like the IRS would ever be used to persecute one side of the political spectrum, and if it did, those responsible would NEVER get away with it…

    Or the Justice Department would send guns to Mexico to smear legal gun owners in order to generate support for gun control, and if it did, those responsible would NEVER get away with it…

    Or the Federal Government would take over health care, and let non medical bureaucrats make life and death decisions (despite doctor disagreement or medical best practice); force many to change doctors and pay many times for less health care on plans that are inferior to those they were promised they could keep: and if it did, those responsible would NEVER get away with it…

    Or the Veterans Administration choose to delay health care for veterans, such that many would die while waiting to see a doctor; then when caught, continue to do so secretly; while classifying many as unfit to own firearms: and if it did, those responsible would NEVER get away with it…

    Or the EPA would never poison a river, or let the water supply of a random town (say, Flint MI) poison the population on it’s watch; and if it did, those responsible would NEVER get away with it…

    Or use the Social Security Administration to create a disingenuous back door to take away 2nd Amendment rights from Seniors based on foolish and vague criteria:and if it did, those responsible would NEVER get away with it…

    Or maybe, just maybe, you are not paranoid if they are REALLY out to get you, or your guns. After all, we have seen attempts by medical associations to classify gun ownership as a mental disease, or to remove children from homes of gun owners.

    How far is the stretch to having a doctor identify gun ownership in the Obamacare database patient records by classifying it as a medical issue?

    (Note: All of the above would have resulted in prison terms had Republicans been in office. Just saying.)

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