Monday, August 8, 2016

Shoot Down This Rights-Busting Bill

Okay, so... there's this legislator in Texas who is all bent outta shape about guns.

He doesn't just love guns, he wants to punish people who don't.

Basically, he's gonna propose a new law in the state's next legislative session that will hold property owners liable if some yay-hoo shoots and injures somebody on their property, but the property owner has banned guns on their property.

Say, for example, that a restaurant has posted its property as a gun-free zone.  And some outlaw comes up and robs the place, and shoots a customer, who is licensed to carry a weapon, but had to leave it in his pickup 'cause the restaurant owner don't want no guns on his property.  The customer who gets shot, according to this proposed law, would be able to sue the restaurant because the restaurant's owner refused to let him protect himself with his own legal gun.

Y'all see what's goin' on here?

Texas State Senator Bob Hall is the conservative Republican politician who's hankerin' to pull the gun-free-zone malarkey out from under business owners he believes are cowering behind the "gun-free-zone" legislation the state of Texas recently enacted to benefit registered gun owners.

Right now, a gun owner can bring his or her legally-registered firearm into any place of business that isn't posted as a gun-free zone.  The exception for gun-free-zones was created in order to protect private property rights, which for centuries has been a bastion of liberty across the United States.

But here in Texas, gun rights apparently trump property rights.  Or, at least they do to folks like Senator Hall.

"Businesses that establish themselves as 'gun-free' provide a guaranteed path of least resistance for terrorists and psychopathic murderers," according to Hall, "by ensuring that all of the law-abiding patrons in their establishment, including those licensed to carry a firearm, have surrendered their right of self-defense at the door."

And yes, Hall's got a point.  By posting that an establishment is a "gun-free zone" on their front doors, there is a decent chance that somebody with criminal intent would probably pick that business over a guns-welcome business, as long as everything else was equal in the equation.  If there's a possibility that even one patron at an establishment you want to rob might be packing heat, might you figger that hittin' the tofu joint down the street, where those liberal tree-huggers hang out, makes a safer target?

But is that rationale sufficient justification to overrule property rights?  Which are more important:  The rights of a citizen to enjoy the legal possession of a gun, or the rights of a property owner to decide how much potential violence they want on their premises?

After all, just carrying a gun, and having taken target practice, is no guarantee that you will hit a criminal with a bullet you fire.  And what if the criminal fires first, and hits you, incapacitating you before you can fire a shot?

Gun owners vehemently pooh-pooh the very notion that there's the slightest possibility that their glory dreams of defending themselves and their loved ones won't work out like they do in the movies.  But listen to the witnesses of gun violence, and mark the number of times people say the shooting was over before they had a chance to react.

And if you happen to be one of those types who lives every moment of your life wondering if somebody's just itching to shoot you in cold blood, you don't belong in Texas; you belong in Chicago, where such a dire notion is a lot closer to reality!

Okay, so, let's say that Hall has his way, and property owners lose their right to decide if guns are permissible on their property.  What does that precedent mean for other legal matters regarding property rights?  Conservatives in general are a pretty protective bunch when it comes to defending their property rights.  Are gun rights worth weakening property rights over?

How far-fetched is it to parallel Hall's thinking with that of the gay marriage lobby, for example, which says religious rights need to give way to gay marriage rights?  When "rights" reach a logger-head, which one wins?  Usually the one with the broader impact on society, right?

Not that it's being anti-gun to give property owners the benefit of the doubt.  But it is being anti-property-rights to say gun owners rule the roost.

Tennessee has already considered a similar bill, but by the time it became law, earlier this year, it had actually been drastically re-worded to protect property owners from lawsuits from gun owners upset that they couldn't violate the proprietor's property rights.

In other words, Tennesseans appear to have a greater respect for property rights than Texas State Senator Hall does.  That's because living in fear, like Hall and his gun-rights loyalists apparently do, isn't what the Second Amendment is about.

Meanwhile, up in Portland, Maine, far away from Texas, there's a popular restaurateur who's garnered some notoriety for herself by proudly banning anybody from her two trendy establishments who even secretly supports the right to own assault rifles.

Her philosophy? 

“If you own [an AR-15], or you condone the ownership of this gun for private use, you may no longer enter either of my restaurants, because the only thing I want to teach my children is love.”

Love, perhaps; but not love for guns.

Dontcha wonder how many times she's been robbed?

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