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A Free Speech Issue or a Funding Issue?

Opponents of the NRA-backed anti-Bloomberg bill in Kansas are using free speech arguments against the bill. I think state and municipal employees have all the free speech rights they want, off the clock. What they don’t have is a right to spend my tax dollars lobbying to undermine my rights. As was mentioned when this bill first came up, Bloomberg had been using taxpayer subsidized professionals to lobby against your Second Amendment rights. This ought to stop, and the Kansas bill is hopefully the first of many.

7 Responses to “A Free Speech Issue or a Funding Issue?”

  1. Bitter says:

    Bans on taxpayer-funded lobbying aren’t uncommon.

  2. Andy B. says:

    A ban on taxpayer funded lobbying would make a sweet constitutional amendment, but could be problematic and would need to be carefully worded. A legislator advocating publicly for legislation he or she sponsored could be construed to be lobbying. I’m sure we’d love that when our opponents were silenced, but hate it when our pet legislators were, too.

    A couple weeks ago I wrote about my experience in a “Vote No” campaign here in PA in 1989, when the “Vote Yes” committee was the state administration and the opponents I would face off with in debates, etc., were employees of the state Department of Community Affairs. I also recalled that in 1968, the main advocate for the adoption of a new state constitution was the state government itself.

    • Bitter says:

      Texas already has a ban on municipal governments from lobbying. Clearly, it’s not perfect, but it does address the issue of smaller governments funding lobbyists for more state money instead of funding the things they are supposed to be funding in the first place.

      • Andy B. says:

        I should have looked on my own by now, but, have those or similar laws ever been challenged as to their constitutionality?

        I’m thinking of that logic that says “money = speech,” and thinking that someone could develop an argument that limiting even a government’s expenditure of money on speech, is equivalent to limiting speech; and the First Amendment says simply “Congress shall make no law limiting. . .”

        • craig says:

          Nonsense. In DC as well as in every state, the power of the purse resides with the legislature. There is no free-speech ‘right’ for the executive branch to spend funds which the legislature has not authorized to be spent for that purpose. Constitutional law is premised upon the idea that the government properly has no ‘rights’, only enumerated powers; rights belong to the states and to the people.

          By the same logic as Andy B’s comment, a hypothetical statute prohibiting DHS from establishing a domestic military force could be attacked as a violation of the Second Amendment. That logic, if accepted, amounts to “l’etat, c’est moi”.

  3. HappyWarrior6 says:

    That’s 35% of Democrats in a country that is not hostile to gun rights as compared to Mexico where gun ownership is seen as evil (things those drug cartels own) and outlawed by the federales. If you are hoping for post-liberation gun ownership by recent immigrants, I’m very skeptical of that thought process.

    • Andy B. says:

      It would be interesting to actually poll some immigrants to see what they really think.

      To make an analogy: I have relatives in a republic that was formerly Soviet. From what they told me, it appears that, contrary to mythology, gun ownership in the former Soviet Union was approximately as legal as it is (and was at the time) in New Jersey. I.e., in theory you could do it, and the more affluent owned hunting guns fairly freely. What minimized the number of firearms was the same thing that minimized the number of cars — simple economics. After independence and the arrival of a bit more affluence, some of the younger generation showed me new firearms they had acquired that they were very proud of. and by analogy, cars were everywhere.

      I’m thinking that in Mexico it may be the vast majority of people just can’t afford decent firearms, so it’s beyond their imagination. Not being able to arm themselves on a par with the drug cartels, their wish and their preference is that the government provide them protection; and everyone else they know who is armed is of suspect character. For that matter, the guvvies are of suspect character. (More than one of my friends has told me of being robbed at gunpoint by soldiers or cops in Mexico.)

      Maybe when they have the opportunity, they will find they like the option of owning guns as much as anyone. Freedom is often a taste easily acquired once it comes within reach.

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