As gun rights advocates, we argue that the Second Amendment exists to protect an inalienable right--one, indeed, that shall not be infringed. At the same time, though, we have endeavored to persuade the states (successfully, in the vast majority of states) to allow us to ask for (and pay for) a license to carry with us the means to defend our lives and our families. Our "success," in other words, has taken the form of reducing the bearing of arms from a fundamental right, to a privilege.This is why we fight here in Iowa "...but it still is an acceptance that our rights are something granted by government authority, based on our meeting the conditions the government imposes."
In asking for that privilege, we have lent implicit legitimacy to the denial of that which we should demand as free citizens. Yes--I know that most states have "shall issue" permitting systems, rather than "may issue," meaning that an applicant who meets the requirements for issuance of a license cannot, in theory, be denied the license. Sure--that's better than giving some police chief or sheriff the power to arbitrarily require someone to be defenseless while in public, but it still is an acceptance that our rights are something granted by government authority, based on our meeting the conditions the government imposes. Does that sound like "shall not be infringed" to you? In only two states, Vermont and Alaska, can citizens legally carry a concealed handgun without first asking permission.
We have to fight against this acceptance, by ourselves and others, that we have to seek permission from our betters in order to exercise a right. When we accept it, that right is reduced to a privilege, one that we may never gain back.
It seems to me that similarly, in our willingness to enter into negotiations about what conditions are to be imposed on the granting of liberties that already belong to a free people, we have, in the words of the man in the joke, "already established" what kind of people we are--not free citizens, who command their public servants, but supplicants, who ask the government for a few crumbs of freedom when it suits them to give us a bit more leash. The farther we proceed down that road, the harder it will become to return to being truly free citizens, and the less likely that can happen without bloodshed.We are in a fight to restore our freedoms in this state just as our motto proclaims: "Our Liberties We Prize and Our Rights We Will Maintain"
It looks like we haven't done much maintaining. We intend to change that.
Read more at Kurt's Examiner column: 'Licensed' defensive handgun carry: Are we doing it wrong?