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Opinion: Gun Owners Are Coming to Take Away our Free Speech Rights

Posted by on Jan. 7, 2013 at 2:07 PM
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1 mom liked this

Posted: 01/07/2013 12:53 pm

Is there anything more delicious than gun owners urging that a right guaranteed under the Constitution should be subject to reasonable regulation if the failure to do so causes harm? They want limitations -- but not on the Second Amendment right to bear arms but rather the First Amendment right of free speech. A Westchester County, N.Y. newspaper, the Journal News, published a map showing the names and addresses of pistol permit holders. The information was public and there is no real dispute over the right to publish it. Nonetheless, the outcry from gun advocates was deafening.

The primary complaint seemed slightly illogical: the publication of the information placed gun owners in greater danger from criminals. Wait a minute. Isn't this what it's all about -- that having a gun in your house protects you from criminals and deters them? Why would criminals knowing that you have a weapon in the house increase rather than reduce the risk of home invasion? Publicizing those that don't have guns might do that, but that complaint doesn't come from gun owners.

On the other hand, neighbors, particularly parents, would like to know if their children are playing at houses that have guns. They fear that one of those four-year-old "bad guys" will find and play with their father's gun and accidentally shoot their child. Others might be concerned that the crazy guy next door has a weapon. Opponents of the publication validly claim that it might target weapons for theft. It also identifies the location of law enforcement personnel, police and prison guards; although one suspects that such information regarding addresses is available through other sources.

Sean Hannity and Ann Coulter ranted on this issue like two inmates in an insane asylum. In the most ludicrous analogy every posited, Coulter said if these facts about gun owners can be posted, why not publicize "which women (who had an abortion) on the street are likely to murder a child" -- suggesting that somehow a woman who had an abortion is likely to murder someone else's child! She also declared that "liberals won't let us go after criminals," and, of course, "They are coming after our guns!" In like vain, the newspaper received death threats and had to hire security guards. I don't think even the NRA can claim that these threats came from criminals rather than "law-abiding" gun owners.

The point of all of this is that there well may be some merit to the concerns from the publication of this information, despite the absolute right to do so. Maybe reconsideration should be given to designating this as public information or thought be given to restricting its publication in a reasonable and sensible way. Maybe those who oppose publication are not intent on destroying all rights of free speech, just in the same way persons who want to restrict and regulate semi-automatic weapons, huge ammunition magazines and gun shows are not necessarily intent on confiscating all guns. Free speech certainly does less harm than guns. Shouldn't both be susceptible to some sensible and reasonable regulation in the public interest? Encroachment, limitations or regulations of any constitutional right should be done with great caution and only for compelling reasons, but if the First Amendment should yield a little to reason -- should not the Second as well?

------

Thoughts?  

by on Jan. 7, 2013 at 2:07 PM
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Replies (1-10):
lga1965
by on Jan. 7, 2013 at 2:08 PM
I agree with the judge.
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
talia-mom
by Gold Member on Jan. 7, 2013 at 2:31 PM
2 moms liked this

How is someone not wanting information published destroying free speech?   I haven't read of anyone calling for these newspaper editors to be arrested or anything.   But I also don't really pay attention to the right wing people he mentioned.

So one group wants to have laws about one amendment right, but the other side isn't (as far as I have seen) calling for laws that curtail their free speech on guns?

eema.gray
by on Jan. 7, 2013 at 2:34 PM
3 moms liked this

How about abolishing HIPPA?  That way, a reporter can walk into a hospital and ask a nurse the nitty gritty (name, age, injuries, treatment) on last night's rape victim and that reporter can keep on asking and making a pest of themselves until they get answers?  Is THAT a limit on free speech?

(Don't make the mistake of thinking a reporter trying to get a good story would never stoop that low . . . . . . . )

jlo1313
by Silver Member on Jan. 7, 2013 at 2:42 PM
7 moms liked this

1.  Publishing the list of gun owners was a dangerous act and a privacy violation.  It opens those people up to theives trying to steal a gun, and what if the gun owner is not home?  Does it make it right because they own a gun?  Not in my opinion. 

2.  Free speech does not equal the invasion of privacy at this level.  Unless you have signed up and given express permission to have your name and address listed as a gun owner, what right does anyone have to publish this information?  Let a criminal go through the proper measures to find out at the county and state level.

3.  Nobody is asking to get rid of the First Amendment.........yet.

katy_kay08
by on Jan. 7, 2013 at 2:49 PM

 I think the retired judge does a very good job of wrapping up his point in his final paragraph.  It is not about getting rid of the 2nd Amendment any more than it is about getting rid of the 1st Amendment.  

If one can see that sensible limitations can be placed on 1st amendment rights, it certainly begs the question on why sensible limitiations cannot be placed on the second.  

The point of all of this is that there well may be some merit to the concerns from the publication of this information, despite the absolute right to do so. Maybe reconsideration should be given to designating this as public information or thought be given to restricting its publication in a reasonable and sensible way. Maybe those who oppose publication are not intent on destroying all rights of free speech, just in the same way persons who want to restrict and regulate semi-automatic weapons, huge ammunition magazines and gun shows are not necessarily intent on confiscating all guns. Free speech certainly does less harm than guns. Shouldn't both be susceptible to some sensible and reasonable regulation in the public interest? Encroachment, limitations or regulations of any constitutional right should be done with great caution and only for compelling reasons, but if the First Amendment should yield a little to reason -- should not the Second as well?

Quoting jlo1313:

1.  Publishing the list of gun owners was a dangerous act and a privacy violation.  It opens those people up to theives trying to steal a gun, and what if the gun owner is not home?  Does it make it right because they own a gun?  Not in my opinion. 

2.  Free speech does not equal the invasion of privacy at this level.  Unless you have signed up and given express permission to have your name and address listed as a gun owner, what right does anyone have to publish this information?  Let a criminal go through the proper measures to find out at the county and state level.

3.  Nobody is asking to get rid of the First Amendment.........yet.


imapepper
by Member on Jan. 7, 2013 at 2:55 PM

Anyone think of the danger that could be put on people who don't have guns if the names of those with are published.  Someone who wants to rob a house could look it up ("hmm, this person has a gun, I'll stay away.  Oh, but two houses down doesn't.  Let's rob that house!)

jlo1313
by Silver Member on Jan. 7, 2013 at 3:00 PM

First of all, the newpaper that published this can be sued for the publication of the information and they likely will be and their insurance will take care of the penalties.  And yes, this information has the potential to be dangerous if in the wrong hands, and if my name were published, I would be very upset.  So free speech isn't harming anyone more than guns, we don't know what the fallout will be from the publication of the names, but in my opinion, one home invasion going after someone's guns, whether the homeowner is home and uses the gun or not home and the gun is stolen is enough to say that yes, free speech when used in a way that invades personal privacy, is dangerous and it may or may not result in the loss of life, but to me, if it results in the loss of feeling safe in your own home or the loss of one's privacy, that is dangerous enough.

Quoting katy_kay08:

 I think the retired judge does a very good job of wrapping up his point in his final paragraph.  It is not about getting rid of the 2nd Amendment any more than it is about getting rid of the 1st Amendment.  

If one can see that sensible limitations can be placed on 1st amendment rights, it certainly begs the question on why sensible limitiations cannot be placed on the second.  

The point of all of this is that there well may be some merit to the concerns from the publication of this information, despite the absolute right to do so. Maybe reconsideration should be given to designating this as public information or thought be given to restricting its publication in a reasonable and sensible way. Maybe those who oppose publication are not intent on destroying all rights of free speech, just in the same way persons who want to restrict and regulate semi-automatic weapons, huge ammunition magazines and gun shows are not necessarily intent on confiscating all guns. Free speech certainly does less harm than guns. Shouldn't both be susceptible to some sensible and reasonable regulation in the public interest? Encroachment, limitations or regulations of any constitutional right should be done with great caution and only for compelling reasons, but if the First Amendment should yield a little to reason -- should not the Second as well?

Quoting jlo1313:

1.  Publishing the list of gun owners was a dangerous act and a privacy violation.  It opens those people up to theives trying to steal a gun, and what if the gun owner is not home?  Does it make it right because they own a gun?  Not in my opinion. 

2.  Free speech does not equal the invasion of privacy at this level.  Unless you have signed up and given express permission to have your name and address listed as a gun owner, what right does anyone have to publish this information?  Let a criminal go through the proper measures to find out at the county and state level.

3.  Nobody is asking to get rid of the First Amendment.........yet.




katy_kay08
by on Jan. 7, 2013 at 3:05 PM

the point of column and discussion is should there be reasonable limitis placed on our Constitutional freedoms.  Do you think reasonable limitiations on the 1st Amendment are in order?  Such as barring publication of this type of information, even though it falls under the heading of public records.  

Quoting jlo1313:

First of all, the newpaper that published this can be sued for the publication of the information and they likely will be and their insurance will take care of the penalties.  And yes, this information has the potential to be dangerous if in the wrong hands, and if my name were published, I would be very upset.  So free speech isn't harming anyone more than guns, we don't know what the fallout will be from the publication of the names, but in my opinion, one home invasion going after someone's guns, whether the homeowner is home and uses the gun or not home and the gun is stolen is enough to say that yes, free speech when used in a way that invades personal privacy, is dangerous and it may or may not result in the loss of life, but to me, if it results in the loss of feeling safe in your own home or the loss of one's privacy, that is dangerous enough.

Quoting katy_kay08:

 I think the retired judge does a very good job of wrapping up his point in his final paragraph.  It is not about getting rid of the 2nd Amendment any more than it is about getting rid of the 1st Amendment.  

If one can see that sensible limitations can be placed on 1st amendment rights, it certainly begs the question on why sensible limitiations cannot be placed on the second.  

The point of all of this is that there well may be some merit to the concerns from the publication of this information, despite the absolute right to do so. Maybe reconsideration should be given to designating this as public information or thought be given to restricting its publication in a reasonable and sensible way. Maybe those who oppose publication are not intent on destroying all rights of free speech, just in the same way persons who want to restrict and regulate semi-automatic weapons, huge ammunition magazines and gun shows are not necessarily intent on confiscating all guns. Free speech certainly does less harm than guns. Shouldn't both be susceptible to some sensible and reasonable regulation in the public interest? Encroachment, limitations or regulations of any constitutional right should be done with great caution and only for compelling reasons, but if the First Amendment should yield a little to reason -- should not the Second as well?

Quoting jlo1313:

1.  Publishing the list of gun owners was a dangerous act and a privacy violation.  It opens those people up to theives trying to steal a gun, and what if the gun owner is not home?  Does it make it right because they own a gun?  Not in my opinion. 

2.  Free speech does not equal the invasion of privacy at this level.  Unless you have signed up and given express permission to have your name and address listed as a gun owner, what right does anyone have to publish this information?  Let a criminal go through the proper measures to find out at the county and state level.

3.  Nobody is asking to get rid of the First Amendment.........yet.




jlo1313
by Silver Member on Jan. 7, 2013 at 3:15 PM

Honestly I don't believe that reasonable limitations to the First Amendment are in order.  Not every violation against the rights of the citizens requires limitations on amendments, don't we do that in courtrooms already?  Just like I don't think there should be limitations on the right to bear arms, I don't personally see a need for 100 round clips, but I am also not screaming to have them banned since Newtown, just because we have the right to bear arms doesn't mean we have the right to take a life, just because we have the right to free speech doesn't mean we have the right to violate the privacy of a group of individuals and put them at risk for harm.  I say let the courts set the precedence on this and other publishers can learn from their lack of judgement.

Quoting katy_kay08:

the point of column and discussion is should there be reasonable limitis placed on our Constitutional freedoms.  Do you think reasonable limitiations on the 1st Amendment are in order?  Such as barring publication of this type of information, even though it falls under the heading of public records.  

Quoting jlo1313:

First of all, the newpaper that published this can be sued for the publication of the information and they likely will be and their insurance will take care of the penalties.  And yes, this information has the potential to be dangerous if in the wrong hands, and if my name were published, I would be very upset.  So free speech isn't harming anyone more than guns, we don't know what the fallout will be from the publication of the names, but in my opinion, one home invasion going after someone's guns, whether the homeowner is home and uses the gun or not home and the gun is stolen is enough to say that yes, free speech when used in a way that invades personal privacy, is dangerous and it may or may not result in the loss of life, but to me, if it results in the loss of feeling safe in your own home or the loss of one's privacy, that is dangerous enough.

Quoting katy_kay08:

 I think the retired judge does a very good job of wrapping up his point in his final paragraph.  It is not about getting rid of the 2nd Amendment any more than it is about getting rid of the 1st Amendment.  

If one can see that sensible limitations can be placed on 1st amendment rights, it certainly begs the question on why sensible limitiations cannot be placed on the second.  

The point of all of this is that there well may be some merit to the concerns from the publication of this information, despite the absolute right to do so. Maybe reconsideration should be given to designating this as public information or thought be given to restricting its publication in a reasonable and sensible way. Maybe those who oppose publication are not intent on destroying all rights of free speech, just in the same way persons who want to restrict and regulate semi-automatic weapons, huge ammunition magazines and gun shows are not necessarily intent on confiscating all guns. Free speech certainly does less harm than guns. Shouldn't both be susceptible to some sensible and reasonable regulation in the public interest? Encroachment, limitations or regulations of any constitutional right should be done with great caution and only for compelling reasons, but if the First Amendment should yield a little to reason -- should not the Second as well?

Quoting jlo1313:

1.  Publishing the list of gun owners was a dangerous act and a privacy violation.  It opens those people up to theives trying to steal a gun, and what if the gun owner is not home?  Does it make it right because they own a gun?  Not in my opinion. 

2.  Free speech does not equal the invasion of privacy at this level.  Unless you have signed up and given express permission to have your name and address listed as a gun owner, what right does anyone have to publish this information?  Let a criminal go through the proper measures to find out at the county and state level.

3.  Nobody is asking to get rid of the First Amendment.........yet.






louzannalady
by Bronze Member on Jan. 7, 2013 at 3:15 PM
2 moms liked this

"Free speech certainly does less harm than guns." Ah.. You are forgetting that the pen is mightier than the sword (or assorted weapons)! ; ) 

Look. If these folks really want to do people a favor, they would not publish this. It puts those that do not have guns in harms way. If I was a criminal, I would target those houses that were empty and had no guns. I would not be shocked in the least to see a rash of home invasions in those homes without guns! It puts the empty homes of those who have guns in danger of robbery for those weapons. If you want to know if a person has a gun in their home so you can feel safe with your kid playing there, just ask. If you don't know them well enough to ask them such a simple question, then why do your trust your CHILD to be in their house?! It was just as irresponsible to publish this information all the way around, as it is to yell "Fire!" in a theater. 

Oh and remember this well- without the Second Amendment, there will be no First Amendment. As the article says, "Free speech does less harm than guns."- if that's true then without the guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens (many of which are current or former security, military or police) then your words will do you very little good against tyranny. 

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