CORRECTED: Question of Progressive Legislation


CORRECTION (1:10 p.m., 1/12/19): Contrary to my original reading of this legislation, it does contain language making some provision for the transport of rifles and shotguns.  A paragraph running longer than a page exempts various people (mostly law enforcement and military personnel) from its provisions.  About three-quarters of the way through this paragraph, it exempts the “regular and/or ordinary transportation” of the weapons “as merchandise.  The exemption also allows transportation of the weapons unloaded and either in a trunk or a locked container.

This language does make the following post overly aggressive.  However, the bill is still deeply problematic.  Not only does it further infringe on the rights of gun owners, but its exceptions have giant gaps.  The allowable transport of firearms are very specific:  from the place of purchase to home, back and forth to their place of business, or to sell it or have it repaired.

Notably, the exemption still doesn’t include transportation to any sort of shooting range, let alone simply carrying the weapon for the purpose of having it available.  In short, the legislation would completely undermine a key purpose for enforcing the Second Amendment.  It would limit the use of rifles and shotguns to sport (presumably) and protection of the home or place of business.  Any use for the protection of one’s self or others in any other location would essentially be banned.

ORIGINAL POST (6:31 p.m. 1/8/19):

I see only three possibilities when it comes to legislation like H5022, which Democrat Representative Grace Diaz has already submitted for consideration. Either I’m missing something, the radicals are trying to sneak truly outrageous civil rights violations into law, or they just don’t read or think through the legislation they submit.

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Here’s the new language the sponsors wish to insert into Rhode Island law:

No person shall carry a rifle or shotgun in any vehicle or conveyance or on or about the person whether visible or concealed, except in the persons dwelling house or place of business or on land possessed by the person. Every person violating the provisions of this subsection shall, upon conviction, be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than ten (10) years, or by a fine up to ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or both, except on a first conviction under this section, the person shall not be eligible for a suspended or deferred sentence or probation. This subsection shall not apply to those persons engaged in lawful hunting activity as provided in chapter 13 of title 20, lawful target shooting within this state or otherwise exempt …

So here’s a question: How is a person who has purchased a rifle or shotgun supposed to get it on to his or her own land?  There are no exceptions for transporting these firearms.

Again, either I’m missing something, some of our legislators are unable to foresee even the most obvious side effects of their proposals, or they aren’t side effects at all, and the legislators are hoping to slip unconstitutional language into law thanks to other people’s failure to pay attention or their belief that the sponsors couldn’t possibly mean what they’re saying.

  • Rhett Hardwick

    Granted, that language is a bit murky. But, what is unclear about this “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” I wonder what percentage of our legislators have ever read the Constitution. Based on the public they are drawn from, probably a low percentage.

    • Merle The Monster

      I have no idea what you mean by your last sentence , but perhaps you should review our Constitution. The part of the second amendment you quoted is the second part. The first sentence is frequently omitted by gun rights supporters who lecture others about our Constitution so you are not alone.

      • rlamont

        So – you are only going to concentrate on the first sentence :-)

        You really have to look at the history of how the Bill of Rights evolved to see why the language is constructed the way it is. I would suggest reading “Origins of the Bill of Rights” by Leonard Levy. It is a difficult and very dry book to read, but the evolution of the wording of each amendment is painstakingly laid out. The intent of the 2nd amendment is clearly to protect the disarming of law-abiding individuals.

        • Rhett Hardwick

          The SCOTUS has determined that the first part of the sentence does not limit the second half. I have always understood that the “right of the people to keep and bear arms” was to allow them to defend themselves against armed intrusion by the federal government.

          • rlamont

            That was a substantial part of it. Of course it also applied to foreign invasion. Interestingly, it was also so states could defend from invasions or armed takeovers by neighboring states. But there was always an assumption of an individual right to guns in most circumstances. There were actually gun free zones just like we have today.

          • Rhett Hardwick

            “Of course it also applied to foreign invasion.”

            As I recall from the archives available after the fall of the Soviet Union; the Russians never seriously considered invading a country full of people with guns and jeeps.

          • Christopher C. Reed

            Der Fuhrer himself remarked upon the futility of invading the US…there’d be “a Yankee with a rifle behind every tree.”

        • Merle The Monster

          Since you set yourself up as an authority on the wording of the second amendment maybe you could offer your opinion about the words of the first part and why the authors included it and put it first. I would ask that you not to make assumptions in your answer as you did with my comment to the other expert

          • rlamont

            The first sentence comes directly from the Articles of Confederation. The concern there was the linking of the states as a more or less single political unit. The first sentence referred to the armed defense of that unit. Individual gun ownership was assumed and not mentioned. It was these individually owned arms that were assumed to be available for defense of the newly formed confederation.

            Massachusetts and Virginia were among the few states that had mention of the right to individual gun ownership. It was from the efforts of John Adams and James Madison that the second sentence was added. They wanted to codify what most states already assumed but did not have in their constitutions.

            So basically the 2nd amendment grew like topsy. The phrase from the Articles of Confederation was kept, but the second sentence was added to clarify the right to individual gun ownership.

            There were many more people involved in this than just Adams and Madison. Most agreed with them, but there were certainly opponents – especially certain religious groups. In the end, the individual gun ownership rights were added to the Bill of Rights as a clarification of intent.

          • Christopher C. Reed

            In the parlance of the times, the “well-ordered militia” referred to all able-bodied men, of sound mind, who would be expected to turn out properly kitted for battle, i.e. with their own arms, powder, shot, etc.

          • Merle The Monster

            The state of Virginia was a slave state and worried about suppressing revolts by the black slaves. Those concerns definitely affected the horse trading that accompanied the process that resulted in this amendment

          • rlamont

            Possibly true – but I am not sure of your argument here. Are you just stating this was a motivation for Virginia – or are you arguing that individual gun rights are based in racism?

          • Merle The Monster

            No. Only that the arguments of the framers time is very different from ours and although it is relevant to try to understand their meaning what is more relevant to us is to decide our present and future in terms of the meaning of regulation of weapons and their use in our country now. I hope we can agree that that burden should be ours in this day and age

          • Christopher C. Reed

            Reconstruction punchlist:
            1) Disarm the freed slaves…”for their own safety”.

          • rlamont

            LOL – neat response. Similar to arguments we hear today. My fear is that we are disarmed and the leftists/socialists have free rein to take over. The founders understood this quite well.

          • Merle The Monster

            The Heller decision ended seventy years of gun restrictions and for the first time in our country’s history created the individual right of gun ownership. And you say you’ve been disarmed? Do you suggest that leftist/socialists need to be kept out of political engagement and the way to achieve that end is with guns?

          • rlamont

            Was speaking future tense. Heller allowed codification of all sorts of restrictions. It needs to be reviewed by the Supreme Court again.

            I think you misinterpreted my other comment. Leftists have traditionally used disarmament as a prelude to enforcing their ideas on a populace. However, a free open exchange of left right and center ideas is always a welcomed situation.

            As far as your reference to it having been different times when the Constitution was formulated and that we should be free to change it – that is not the issue being discussed. It is a matter of what does the Constitution currently state and how should the words be properly interpreted to expose their actual intent. Amendments can certainly be made, but until they are, we are living under the current constitution.

          • Merle The Monster

            Racism has permeated much in our society and gun ownership and regulation is just another example. Conservative hero Ronald Reagan signed into law in 1967 the Mulford act restricting the right of individuals to openly carry guns after the Black Panthers armed themselves.

          • Joe Smith

            Merle – At the time, the NRA (and Gov. Reagan) were not the “hardcore” no give on the 2d amendment. Rep. Mulford claimed no racial intent – maybe or maybe he was lying. However, you’re not arguing that politicians don’t change their positions or that they pass legislation with an eye to the next election, right?

            One can point to a long list of Democrats (Schumer, Hoyer) who loudly and proudly speak about marriage equality and yet in 1996 voted for DOMA. Were they “homophobes” then and “saw the light”? Or were they just being politically cautious given the 94 mid-terms?

            Also, let’s just look at the bill. So what constitutes lawful hunting or target shooting “activity?” Generally, most people don’t own the hunting land or target shooting property so how do they get their weapon to those locations? Hmm..then really I can claim (at least during business hours or anytime during hunting season) I have my shotgun in my car because I plan on going shooting/hunting at some point that day? How can this law be enforced practically (regardless of its constitutionality?).

          • Merle The Monster

            You make good points. Of course politicians change their spots or evolve in their parlance. You are absolutely correct about the hard uncompromising turn taken by the NRA after 1967. And you are to be commended for returning the discussion to the original post by Town Council member Katz. Unfortunately his posts usually get almost no comment whatsoever but your comments and questions about the problems with the legislation are right on target.

          • Rhett Hardwick

            ” hard uncompromising turn taken by the NRA after 1967.”
            I don’t remember the events of 1967 very well, but I do remember that a bunch of kids, to young to drive, walking along carrying rifles (almost always .22) or shotguns was not a cause for concern. I guess it was assumed we were going hunting. If it was an out of season Saturday, perhaps we were just “going shooting”. Never heard of anyone being shot.

          • true to my Constitution

            Made up bs, In 2019 there are no slaves, thank God. The Second Amendment protects all citizens. Slavery has been illegal in our country for 156 years so, you can stop trying to guilt-trip anyone about it.

  • Northern Exposure

    Majestic idiocy!

  • Christopher C. Reed

    The honorable rep’s district suffers from a plague of camo-clad shotgunners and rabid target shooters running amok with long arms. She’s just trying to prevent them from stepping off their fortified compounds in Exeter & West Greenwich.