Gun Control — No Skin In The Game
In the ongoing battle between gun controllers — more accurately described as gun banners and gun confiscators — and Second Amendment supporters, it’s important to recognize who has what at stake. When the gun control zealots lose, they give up nothing except their false sense of security and it costs them nothing. Their rights are never lost and their own personal safety was never on the table. If they win, they gain further control over the unprotected masses that will need to come to them for protection. On the Second Amendment side, we are literally fighting to save our lives and the lives of our families. With each infringement it becomes more difficult to ensure our own safety at home and in public. If we win, we actually gain nothing more; we just get to keep our inalienable rights.
A case in point is the City of Pittsburg who recently passed new local gun control ordinances place restrictions on so-called “military-style assault weapons” (among other things) despite having no legal authority to do so. Pennsylvania has clear preemption on all firearms regulations in the state. The rational behind preemption is clear. It is to prevent a patchwork of conflicting local laws that change without warning at invisible jurisdictional borders. What is legal in one part of the state becomes felonious elsewhere. Even the most conscientious law-abiding citizen would never be able to keep track of the changes as they travel through the state. Rights taken away locally also lead to second-class citizenship in parts of the state.
So why did the City of Pittsburg do this? They simply have nothing to lose. In this case, the city council isn’t even using taxpayer money. Not that that would stop them, it’s not like it’s their own money, but in this situation all the legal services are being covered by a national gun control organization. All the city council has to do is listen, ignore public comments and cast a vote. What is at stake is the ability of activist enclaves throughout the state to disarm their citizens. If they lose, they lose nothing and there is absolutely no liability for them — or any lawmaker — for passing or attempting to pass unconstitutional laws. But if they win, they become the darling of the gun control movement for having the courage to stand up to the evil and heartless “gun lobby”.
Another example of not having any skin in the game is your local CLEO (chief law enforcement officer — aka politician with a badge) in a non-permissive “May Issue” jurisdiction. You as a law-abiding citizen wishing to exercise your Second Amendment rights and carry a concealed firearm for protection must prove to the CLEO that you have “just cause” and your need exceeds the resources and protection currently provided by local law enforcement. What exactly constitutes “just cause” is often a closely held, non-publicly disclosed secret, but that is the burden of proof you must provide. In practice, it tends to be less about the individual’s need and more about the relationship they have with the CLEO.
So why does the CLEO have no skin in the game? Because if they don’t issue you that elusive concealed carry permit and you are a victim of violent crime, you have absolutely no recourse. This includes situations where the law enforcement agency had specific actionable information about the threat and neglected or refused to take action to stop it. Time and time again, victims of violent crimes have attempted to take legal action against departments and individual officers for not protecting them only to have the courts repeatedly uphold the ruling that law enforcement has no duty to protect you. In fact, the only people law enforcement is duty bound to protect are the criminals in their custody. How’s that for sad irony?
Here’s a question for your permit denying CLEO. If your need for self-defense with a firearm is deemed to not exceed the level of law enforcement services in your locality, and entire state for that matter, are they willing to sign a waiver of their liability immunity? After all, if they aren’t willing to allow you the means to adequately defend yourself because they can do it, doesn’t that imply they can and will protect you?
Of course no CLEO is ever going to waive their liability immunity because they know there is no way in hell law enforcement can ever protect you from violent crime. The only “deterrent” they can offer is to investigate the crime after the fact and pray the perpetrator will be prosecuted and given some form of punishment. In the current age of activist criminal justice reform and the lack of accountability for one’s own actions this environment breeds, fewer and fewer criminals will ever face any meaningful punishment for the violent crimes committed against you. Simply stated, there isn’t really a deterrent any more.
It is true you can challenge the CLEO’s refusal to issue concealed carry permits, as many have, but very few have gotten very far. To date the United States Supreme Court has not ruled favorably on Second Amendment rights outside the home. So there really isn’t a downside for the CLEO not issuing a concealed carry permit. The only option open to you is to pay more taxes for more officers so you can “feel” safer while the CLEO gains more power and control over the populace. Your actual safety isn’t really their concern.
If you’re thinking the system is stacked against you, you are correct. The lawmakers can’t be held liable for unjust or unconstitutional laws because they also made themselves immune. YOU mess up and you will feel the full force if the law against you. They mess up and they run for another term based on their courage to challenge the system.
The chances of getting any elected body to pass laws removing their immunity are basically zero. With no way to get their skin in the game, our only option is to elect representatives who will support and defend our constitutional rights. If they don’t believe in the Constitution and Bill of Rights, how long do you think it’s going to be before you have no rights left to defend?
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