Saturday, March 06, 2010

The Indy (Red) Star Panics

The Editor of our local paper doesn't give a fig for your safety and he's not ashamed to misstate, overstate or leap from high atop steaming heaps of twisted logic to make his point, either. It sure is a good thing they don't yank newspaper permits for abusing the truth (I'll get back to that) or he'd be lookin' for a new line of endeavor for sure.

Yep, it's the Gun (kept out of sight) In Your (locked) Car At Work law. As promised, the Star has yet to say a single nice thing about it. 'Cos, you know, it's not like their offices were in an iffy neighborhood....

In our prior exciting episode, I made passing mention to "exemptions" and mentioned the most glaring, a Federal limitation covering certain attractive-terrorism-target facilities. There are others: schools from daycare through universities, certain utilities and even, in a bizarre late addition, employees who drive the developmentally disabled in their personal vehicles (which would seem to be extending area covered way past any employer's parking lot). Prisons are included, too, though note that most law-enforcement types are okay[1]. Rather than admitting they are the result of Federal limits, lobbying and appeals to emotion[2], the newspaper tries to spin these exceptions to claim the idea behind the law is flawed!

Exactly backwards; it's the exemptions that are the flaws. The Fed limits, there's no getting around at the State level (wake up and get on that, Dick Lugar! What, no?).

The entire editorial is a bouquet of horse-muffins; lines like "guns.... They often go off by accident." (Say what? No, it takes a finger on the trigger. Guns are actually designed that way, to require a deliberate sequence of actions before "going off." Which you would know, Mr. Editor, if you knew enough about firearms to actually contribute to the discussion in a meaningful way). Workplace shooting incidents (highly visible but statistically insignificant) are mentioned -- not mentioned is the vanishingly small number of them in which the shooter had a permit[3], which is a prerequisite to having a gun in your car at work in Indiana[4]. And, of course, the paper trumpets their "discovery" that some people issued gun permits had a previous history of rough -- but not disqualifying -- behavior and of that already tiny group, a few got themselves in more trouble and lost their carry permits as a result. They claim this disproves the wisdom of allowing at least some Hoosiers to have the means to defend themselves on the way to and from work, that limiting our individual civil right to keep and bear arms is a matter of "public safety." This is a lie; legally-owned guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens save lives millions of times a year in this country.

Now I'm back to "permits to exercise a civil right." In a shall-issue state like Indiana, gun permits are issued on a basis that objectively checks your past behavior for disqualifying behavior; there's no guessing or intuition, either you're okay or you've been felonious or domestically abusive and if either of the latter two, no go. The state presumes you'll keep on bein' good and if not, guess what, they revoke your permit. While the mechanics are somewhat onerous (down to the Police Officer Station for paperwork and fingerprints, money changes hands -- rather a lot for a lifetime permit -- and there's a looooong wait while the Indiana State Police yank your records to see if you've been naughty or nice), it's not especially bad compared to any state but Vermont or Alaska. So, you get a permit to exercise a Constitutionally-protected right, you lose it if you do criminal things.

Imagine the outcry if the same procedures applied to the First Amendment; let's take The Press as our example: Mr. Editor shuffles off to Police Headquarters, where he fills out a form: Name. SSN. Address (You Must Notify Within 30 Days Of Any Change). Has he ever been convicted of slander? Libel? Has he been sued for giving bad advice (I meant to write "Never mix household ammonia and scouring powder," not "always...")? Is he still beating his wife? There's a stern warning on the form that giving incorrect information is a felony, so he wracks his brain for old speeding tickets and suchlike. He gets fingerprinted. He hands over two sizable money orders and he goes home. And he waits. And waits. And waits. Weeks, months later, he receives a little pasteboard card he has to cut out himself. There's a warning included: he must have it on his person any time he is writing or publishing or he can be charged with a criminal offense! And if he gets in trouble even once -- one teeny slip like callin' a United States Senator a closeted homosexual without indisputable proof, or exposing damaging truths about someone who's not a public figure -- he'll lose his permit and may never even be allowed in the same room with a newspaper again.

And that, for the Editor of the Indianapolis Star, is how a right that he frets is not sufficiently limited works. How damned much more subtle prior restraint do you want? --And will it keep others without a Press Permit from spray-painting slander and libel on the side of buildings? From putting up gangsign and/or urging violence? I'm thinkin' not. Mr. Editor, he's just not thinkin'.

The bill is headed off the Governor to sign. He's got an excellent track record on gun rights, voting in the General Assembly was overwhelmingly in favor of this measure; let's hope Our Man Mitch remembers who butters his bread.
1. Okay, experts; we know civilian workers at prisons still can't (lawfully) have a gun in their car at work, but what about the guards and LEO-ish admin personnel? Do they get a, um, reach-around?

2. "Kerwin Olson, who warned lawmakers that a gun left in a car transporting children like his 15-year-old son, who has autism and Down syndrome, could have tragic consequences. 'I would plead to you, as a father with a vulnerable son, please do not allow firearms in those vehicles that transport my son and other children like him,' Olson told lawmakers. 'The thought of a firearm around my son, his friends and his schoolmates is horrifying.'" Even one locked in a box? Even one in a concealment holster on the driver's belt? Kerwin, your son is handicapped and that's unfortunate, but that doesn't mean
you aren't an idiot yourself. There are already laws penalizing being sloppy with dangerous items around children and mental incompetents. For some reason, they are not applied to keep you and the General Assembly separated, which I find a horrifying thought. I certainly hope the vehicle transporting your son is never carjacked.

3. It's way easier than typing "License To Carry Handgun" every time and not even all gunny Hoosiers recognize "LTCH," let alone the out-of-state furriners or those from even farther away amongst my readers. Thus, "carry permit." Cope.

4. There are darned few ways to transport a handgun in Indiana without a carry permit; you have to be buying it, selling it or getting it fixed; it can't have any ammunition in it and it must be "securely wrapped." I don't see any wiggle room for a stop by the office in that. YMMV, INAL, AMORC

1 comment:

BobG said...

I felt like I was watching an idiot thrashing around in search of an intelligent thought.
The editorial is written quite badly; he doesn't really make any logical points, or show any kind of focused reasoning, just a lot of panicked blathering.
Just my opinion.