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A Protected Class?

A bill has been introduced in Pennsylvania that would amend the Pennsylvania Human Rights Act to make gun owners a protected class. This means it would be unlawful for employers, landlords, banks, and public accommodations from discriminating against you because you’re a gun owner or because you carry a firearm.

I have mixed feelings about these bills. On the one hand, this is the system that exists, so as long as it does, I don’t see why, for instance, a landlord ought to be able to deny someone housing because they are a gun owner (and that does happen, and it happens pretty often, actually). Also, it’s hard to have sympathy for companies like Weyerhaeuser, when you read about the way they treat their employees. This incident is what got this whole issue rolling.

But unlike race, sex, disability, etc, owning a gun is not an immutable characteristic, and I’m not that big on the state interfering with private relationships. I accept that it was probably a necessary evil to do so for race. But it is an evil which I am loathe to expand to more and more people over issues that don’t boil down to immutable characteristics.

52 Responses to “A Protected Class?”

  1. Patrick says:

    The left demands protection for all kinds of mutable positions held by their lot. The courts agree.

    Sign me up.

  2. AnOregonian says:

    My proposal has always been to make everyone a protected class. Essentially if one is peacefully engaging in the business of the public accommodation, then they should be served without discrimination.

    This way we get away from creating new carve-outs for each new group that wants special treatment.

  3. RAH says:

    Sauce for the goose , sauce for the gander Fine by me to make protected class for gun owners.

  4. Thirdpower says:

    The parking lot issue was actually a big point of IL’s CCW law. It’s considered private property here and a business can’t touch it.

  5. Whetherman says:

    “immutable characteristic”

    Yes, I like that for a standard.

    I would add that even immutable characteristics should not imbue people with extra rights; if say a homosexual or a racial minority is being a dick on my property, I should have the same right to throw them off my property (or fire them if they are my employee) as I would with any other dick. That they have an excuse for becoming a dick shouldn’t count for anything.

    But then that comes around to the example of renting to a gun owner. Some gun owners are dicks. I have known gun owners I wouldn’t allow into my house with a gun, though I don’t much care what they do, on the street. If I were a landlord, I wouldn’t want to be forced to rent to a dick, just because he was a dick who owned guns. But then, getting back to the “immutable” characteristics, I wouldn’t want to be forced to rent to a dick who was a racial or religious minority, either.

    So it gets complicated and almost unavoidably, self-contradictory sometimes. What I fear is we are getting into a game of “you forced ‘us’ to accommodate people ‘we’ don’t like, so we’re going to force you to accommodate people you don’t like” — as was stated by other commenters. I don’t know how far that can be taken.

    I liked what AnOregonian said, but must point out that it works when “public accommodation” means buying a birthday cake, but becomes more complex with things like long term rentals or employment, where we may want the luxury (right?) to judge the character or physical danger of the person we are asked to accommodate.

  6. Dave says:

    So what about discrimination based on religious preference? Religion is not an “immutable characteristic.” Just as an individual chooses to own and/or carry firearms, it is also an individual choice which set of religious beliefs to follow (or none at all).

    And I’m not even talking about a company telling someone not to openly engage in religious activity in the workplace…why could a company not establish a policy banning Bibles in the workplace, even if they were kept concealed?

    Just spitballing here…

    • Whetherman says:

      I would only submit — being as kind to the issue as I can be — that many (most?) True Believing religionists believe their faith is as “immutable” as anything else we can name. It is, after all, the primary Truth of the Universe, as far as they are concerned.

      Then from that, we are faced with the problem of opportunists who only pretend at such a committed faith. How do we sort them out?

    • great unknown says:

      Or a landlord refusing to rent to a registered Republican, e.g.

      • Whetherman says:

        “a landlord refusing to rent to a registered Republican”

        I’m sure that has happened (and its inverse) but where has it ever really been a problem? Most people’s attitude is that R money and D money are the same color.

        Though anecdotally: Some years ago an officer in my gun club went to the county Board of Elections and checked what parties all of the county members were registered with. What he intended to do with the information, or whether anything was done with it, I don’t know. But it was done, and I found it disturbing, as I hoped he found “No Party” on my part acceptable. Or did he think that being “R” was fundamental and mandatory for being a Real gun enthusiast?

    • Joe Huffman says:

      The “mutable characteristic” counter example I like to use is a mixed race marriage. “If you want to live in these apartments just get a spouse of the appropriate race.”

  7. Crotalus says:

    Isn’t the Bill of Rights supposed to be immutable too?

  8. dwb says:

    “owning a gun is not an immutable characteristic,”

    True, but besides the point. Companies (esp landlords) should only have limited ability to discriminate against people exercising their constitutional rights.

    I think that the correct answer depends on how much of a burden the restriction is. In a small town, where one or two people own all the apartments, a landlord that discriminates against gun owners put s serious restriction on tenant’s right to self defense. A landlord may do it for the simple reason that they do not want to be sued, and restricting gun ownership lowers liability costs.

    Now that said, the constitution only protects you from the .gov. There is no free speech at work for example. The constitution does not handle very well the case where corporations have almost a monopoly (think Facebook, Google) and can nearly as easily chill constitutional rights. The constitution did not really anticipate the rise of large monopolies.

    If there is one large employer, or landlord, or communications network, can/should “third party” doctrine be used as an end-run around constitutional rights? (This applies to free speech, warrant-less surveillance of cell site data, any number of other rights)?

    Of course, the .gov should be breaking up monopolies. But it is not in their interest to break up monopolies or duopolies. When there are 10 large banks, it’s easier to implement gun and money laundering rules and chill behavior (think “Operation Choke Point”), and confiscate tainted property, easier to implement surveillance, etc. etc. How about if they foster regulations that encourage the real estate market to consolidate into few firms, then partner with them to “register” and track gun owners, the same way that they track cell site data?

    Hey it’s all legal if its done through third party landlord…wink wink nod nod says the court.

  9. Whetherman says:

    “Companies (esp landlords) should only have limited ability to discriminate against people exercising their constitutional rights.”

    Just for the fun of the argument: Suppose a tenant is exercising their First Amendment right to free expression, by displaying large banners on my property that are upsetting me and the neighbors, and perhaps inviting vandalism against my property? The free expression is his constitutional right; is it his right to pursue it on my property?

    But to keep this on-topic: Suppose I size up a potential renter who is a gun owner, to be a jackass who I think has a high probability of firing a wild round through a wall and killing another tenant — or me?

    One of my favorite Old Stories is about the time I met a guy at a cocktail party, that within five minutes I sized up as someone who shouldn’t be carrying a gun, but was. Only a couple weeks later he was arrested for making terroristic threats with his gun, in the workplace.

    No, I shouldn’t and didn’t have the right to flag his ability to carry a gun in public, but if he had wanted to rent property from me, should I have had the right to turn him down as a dangerous jackass?

    First Amendment right in the first example; Second Amendment right, in the second.

    • dwb says:

      “displaying large banners on my property that are upsetting me”

      Well, what if the “large banner” is in fact an American flag, a Mexican flag, a Gasden flag, or a Trump poster? Certainly upsetting to some…

      In fact, banners do not “invite” vandalism. Vandals invite themselves, so the whole premise there is 100% wrong.

      As far as “a potential renter who is a gun owner, to be a jackass who I think has a high probability of firing a wild round through a wall and killing another tenant — or me”

      – that is not discrimination against a whole class of people. It’s one particular person in particularized circumstances. It is the same problem landlords face when denying a tenant who has a horrible credit score, who was evicted for nonpayment, but who also happens to be black. Or employers face when firing non-performing women or minorities (I know a woman business owner who got sued for discriminating against women, true fact. The female employee was let go because she was 8 months pregnant and refused to take another job, one which would be safer than her current one – which was standing for 8 hours behind a hot fryer cooking. Imagine if that baby had been born near the fryer, egads, it was a small space to maneuver).

      You would need to be able to articulate objective facts related to your decision in case you were sued (“potential tenant expressed terrorist fantasies and indicated the desire to shoot politicians.”)

      • Whetherman says:

        “banners do not “invite” vandalism. Vandals invite themselves, so the whole premise there is 100% wrong.”

        No, the premise is that I get my property vandalized because my tenant practiced free speech. His rights are intact; mine are not. And anyway, someone who places a chip on their shoulder, is inviting someone else to knock it off.

        “– that is not discrimination against a whole class of people. It’s one particular person in particularized circumstances.”

        Well, you said that, and then went on to outline the essence of the problem yourself; if every time I want to evict or not rent to some protected class, for just cause, they plead they’re being attacked and discriminated against because of the class they belong to, then I’m the loser.

        And as Sebastian pointed out, being a gun owner is not an “immutable” condition. It’s a condition people can go out and purchase. So if someone can purchase even partial insulation from me invoking my rights as a property owner, by purchasing some farmer’s old single-barrel shotgun from behind his barn door for $20, they are going to do it. As a result there is at least some chance I will come to not like gun owners very much. Just like some people don’t like some minorities, after a member of that minority has invoked a protected status to get over them.

        • dwb says:

          I get my property vandalized because my tenant practiced free speech

          The premise is false. Vandalism and assault etc. are a crime. No prosecutor will set aside charges because the perpetrators were “provoked” by a banner.

          Even if you think that the KKK will march through your town and vandalize places where blacks live, you cannot discriminate. Period.

          If you are willing to give bullies a veto over someone else’s rights, it doesn’t sound like you hold the Bill of Rights in very high regard, nor are you willing to defend it.

          ” if every time I want to evict or not rent to some protected class, for just cause, they plead they’re being attacked and discriminated against because of the class they belong to, then I’m the loser.”

          You can fire or evict people for just cause, just be sure to document it. Judges and agencies can smell a liar a mile away. In many cases, the same people are repeat offenders.

          • Publius says:

            That’s true, but I consider political signs and bumper stickers to be a giant flashing idiot marker (unless I happen to agree with them).

            • Whetherman says:

              “a giant flashing idiot marker”

              I agree, but that’s true even if you agree with them.

              I’ve never (for a long time, anyway) thought it wise to wear your sentiments on your sleeve in public. It doesn’t help anyone (e.g., your candidate) but can have negative effects you don’t even realize.

  10. Whetherman says:

    Excuse me for doing this late, but, I just scanned that bill.

    Remember a few days ago, we discussed legislation intended to shore up its sponsor’s and cosponsors’ bona fides on some hot-button issue, but otherwise not intended to go anywhere? That bill could be the new poster-child for that concept.

    Serious question: Do all introduced bills in Pennsylvania have to be checked for validity by the Legislative Reference Bureau?

    • Sebastian says:

      As far as I know, they draft all the bills.

      • Whetherman says:

        I “drafted legislation” one time and a state rep introduced it; but first it had to go to the LRB (as I recall) to have the legalese corrected. So, it came out not looking much like what I drafted, though it did contain most of the provisions. (It of course went nowhere, as the sponsoring rep warned me it wouldn’t.)

        But the point of the story really is, that whether a state rep or senator drafts it, or the LRB is given the parameters and they draft it, who drafts it is mainly a semantic quibble; the language is going to come mostly from the Legislative Reference Bureau.

        An exception may be when the legislation has already been drafted by attorneys, e.g., the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and require minimal massaging to make it consistent with PA practices and conventions.

    • Roger Wilson says:

      I think this is one of those “Not going anywhere” bills.

  11. Ian Argent says:

    The Republicans are starting to play by Chicago rules?

  12. Arnie says:

    “I’m not that big on the state interfering with private relationships. I accept that it was probably a necessary evil to do so for race. But it is an evil which I am loathe to expand to more and more people over issues that don’t boil down to immutable characteristics.”

    Dear Sebastian, you are probably the most articulate communicator on the internet. That was so well stated. And I deeply appreciate both your stand and your discomfort.

    And to all you commenters, thank you for a outstanding job of bringing to light the incredible dilemma invoked by conflicting rights and freedoms, as well as the desire to pursue what is seemly even though it restricts someone else’s freedom or rights.

    This is not an easy problem. Something has to give. Someone will lose something; perhaps all parties will. I just hope government tyranny is never the winner.
    Blessings to all!
    Respectfully, Arnie

    • Whetherman says:

      Arnie:

      I appreciate Sebastian having called it to our attention, and causing me to think more about it.

      A bottom line I have arrived at is, that it sounds like we would be creating problems, to solve a problem that essentially doesn’t exist. I’m not saying that no gun owner has ever been discriminated against for being a gun owner, but I don’t see it as being a mass-problem.

      I’m recalling being POed about being discriminated against by a potential landlord when my wife and I were young; because we were young; but we solved the problem easily by going somewhere else, rather than invoking “age discrimination.”

      I’m also glad our discussion brought me around to my realization that “gun ownership is a status that can be purchased”, and isn’t an “immutable” characteristic. I see that as being a potential problem.

      Last I have to say this initiative (and some of the discussion about it) smacks of gun owners adopting the “perennial victimology” tactic that for years we have attributed to the left. The closest I can recall coming to being discriminated against as a gun owner was when my immediate manager in the defense industry said “I didn’t know they still allowed you people into the building,” upon learning that I was an NRA Life Member. (And that was at least 35 years ago!) But they did, and he didn’t have anything to say about it, and apparently I was useful enough to survive several draconian layoffs. So, I have never experienced being a victim, in that sense.

      • Arnie says:

        Thank you, Whetherman! I truly appreciate your insight!
        – Arnie

      • Will says:

        Back around ’97, I was forced to look for new lodging, as my landlord had his property foreclosed on, and my housemate decided to look for a live-aboard sailboat. This was the second place we lost due to property changing hands.

        I thought I would be upfront about being a gun owner in the process. The responses varied, but the end result was a 100% failure rate. This was Silicon Valley, CA, BTW. A few were directly attributable to my motorcycle (Ducati), but I expected that. I WAS surprised about the wholesale anti-gun response, though. I hadn’t realized it had gotten so pervasive in the area.

        I finally resorted to not mentioning firearms at all. Note that no one actually asked about the subject on their own, that I recall. I moved my gun safe into my bedroom closet when no one else was around to see it.

        I’m not sure if this is just a local or state policy, but none of the rental storage businesses will allow guns or ammo to be stored on their properties. Judging from observation at rental storage auctions, not many pay attention to this rule, though.

        • Alpheus says:

          I know someone who spent time in New York State working on a degree who brought his rifle from his home State, and kept it in a storage unit the entire time he was there, because registering the rifle would have been too much of a hassle. When he moved on to a gun friendly State, his rifle was perfectly legal again.

          Funny how easy that law was to evade! And funny enough, no crime occurred with that unregistered rifle the entire time it was in New York State….

        • Whetherman says:

          Here in Pennsylvania, I can’t imagine anyone announcing one way or another whether they were a gun owner, unless maybe it was by having an NRA sticker in their car window. I have never encountered it being an issue, though I’m sure you can find some people for whom it is.

          But I am also more pessimistic about the future than a lot of gun owners, and I no longer talk specifically about what I own, even to other gun owners. My father always taught me “if two people know something, it’s not a secret.”

          • Will says:

            I was born in DELCO, and gun owning seemed to be the default condition in the 60’s. Heck, a co-worker offered to sell me a subgun in the run-up to the GCA’68. Didn’t have the $100 he wanted.

            I don’t recall ever seeing gun stickers in the 60’s-70’s, in any of the states I lived or traveled in. Or gun branded clothing, for that matter.

            I also don’t recall any statements against guns or hunting, back then. I think I just assumed every home had a gun collection of some sort. My sisters and I all learned to shoot at single digit ages, using my single shot .22rf bolt action rifle.
            I first shot it in Dad’s autobody shop, aiming at a tack holding an envelope to an overhead beam. That garage is on a residential street, next door to a corner bar. (I wonder if that envelope is still up there?) Around 1959.

            • Whetherman says:

              “a co-worker offered to sell me a subgun in the run-up to the GCA’68.”

              He may have sold it to an acquaintance of mine; in a bar along Route 1. ;-)

  13. Alien says:

    Is this a discussion about legislating what used to be termed “common sense” and “respect for others” before The Left imposed their brand of virtue on them ?

  14. Richard says:

    The Left asserts that gender is a mutable characteristic. Sexual orientation is at least for some people who switch back and forth. There are many mixed race individuals, myself included who could easily identify as one or the other depending on circumstances. Religion is probably the clearest case of a mutable characteristic that receives protected class status. National origin is also flexible.

    So why do gun owners get get the vapors about principle? As long as the basic concept of protected classes remains in force, it is all about who has the power. If we do, we should go for it.

    • Ian Argent says:

      Religion and racial categorization are constitutionally-protected characteristics. I have no problems adding “firearms ownership” to the list of protected categories under that justification.

  15. Jay Eimer says:

    Please keep in mind that the bill of rights is list of (according to the founders) 1. God given rights that precede there being a government and 2. protections for MINORITIES. The founders were afraid of pure democracy due to its tendency to degenerate to mob rule (they’d just witnessed the French Revolution).

    I personally believe the founders had a couple of blind spots that were not corrected until later amendments as well (freeing slaves and women’s vote, esp.)

    Given this, we (gun owners) ARE a protected class. As such, any calls to “vote” to take away our guns is unconstitutional.

    This however does not resolve the cases where rights come into conflict – the my property rights vs yours. This is the case where the landlord bans guns on HIS property but it is also the case when the Christian baker or florist is asked to provide services for a same sex wedding. The first case is the tenants 2nd amendment vs the landlord’s property. The second is the gay couple’s rights (not expressly constitutional, nevertheless the current law of the land per the courts) vs the service providers 1st amendment rights.

    In resolving these cases, I think the first principle should be “my rights stop where they begin to infringe on yours” – and MUST be case by case.

    In the case of the baker or florist, is there another one local that is not strongly religious? Then the gay couple is in the same boat as the landlord not wanting to rent to a jerk – has nothing to do with protected class status, but rather to someone with a chip on their shoulder trying to pick a fight! Same for the landlord who doesn’t want to rent to a drug user or credit risk – as long as there’s another apartment, go there instead.

    The issue with housing is in many places, all the “cheap” apartments are Section 8 subsidized – meaning the landlord is at least in part the feds.

    • Whetherman says:

      “they’d just witnessed the French Revolution.”

      Apologizing in advance for the quibble (I think historical accuracy is vital) but, no they hadn’t.

      The French Revolution occurred in 1789, the same year the constitution was fully ratified; and the constitution had existed for two years prior, and been debated during the state constitutional ratifying conventions.

      At that, I believe it was awhile after 1789 before the French Revolution descended into chaos and terror, but I’ll have to review that detail, myself. I seem to recall that Thomas Jefferson spoke well of the French Revolution c. 1789.

      • Whetherman says:

        “At that, I believe it was awhile after 1789 before the French Revolution descended into chaos and terror…”

        FWIW, the earliest date I see attributed to the “Reign of Terror” is September, 1792, with other historians extending that forward to 1794.

        I’m not trying to be a know-it-all (I had to look that up!) but I think if we all learn something from these discussions, it makes the efforts worthwhile!

        (There also is a body of opinion among historians, that the “Reign of Terror” is somewhat overblown, by subsequent defenders and apologists for monarchism.)

        • Alpheus says:

          The timelines you describe seem about right.

          However, while there may be a body of opinion among historians who think the “Reign of Terror” is somewhat overblown, I suspect that there’s a major intersection between those historians, and apologists for Communist history.

          I am by no means an expert on the French Revolution, but I understand enough about it that I am not willing to consider the horrors of the “Reign of Terror” to be overblown. Indeed, a lot of government abuses that the Constitution was meant to limit (even before the Bill of Rights) were *exactly* what happened in France during the French Revolution.

          • Whetherman says:

            “a lot of government abuses that the Constitution was meant to limit (even before the Bill of Rights) were *exactly* what happened in France during the French Revolution.”

            I probably know enough about what I’m about to say, only to say it’s worth looking into, but there was somewhat of a “Reign of Terror” against Tories after our own Revolution, I believe including lynchings, and certainly property confiscations and banishment/exile from the country; and the new government either sponsored those things, condoned them, or at least tolerated them and looked the other way. It was not pretty. (And property confiscations? Speaking of communism. . .)

            My point being, a tragic fact of life is that once people come to hate those they regard as their earlier antagonists, they behave quite brutally, and “ideology” has little to do with it.

            • Alpheus says:

              It’s my understanding that that kind of stuff happened during the Revolution rather than after it; however, I am not aware of trials without representation, or the systemic gathering and execution of people without trial (or with trial, but without legal representation, which isn’t much better), or the deliberate and systemic destruction of communities, including the development of ways to execute many people at once, because they refused to participate in the Revolution — these are some of the things that happened in the French Revolution, that makes it a stark contrast to what happened in America.

              • Whetherman says:

                “I am not aware of trials without representation, or the systemic gathering and execution of people without trial…”

                I am not trying to be a wiseass by saying that just because you are not aware of something, does not mean it didn’t happen; our system has always depended strongly on mythology.

                We are getting a little tangled with our semantics, but while the French Revolution may have involved what well could be referred to as “systemic gathering and executions,” they were nonetheless “official” gatherings and executions, including trials.

                A “trial” may or may not mean anything. In one of my personal experiences related elsewhere, I stood in front of a judge asking questions about both the law and the evidence against me, until he said “STFU, YOU’RE GUILTY!” I have no reason to think that trials conducted in the Revolutionary or early post-Revolutionary eras were conducted any differently.

                • Alpheus says:

                  “I am not trying to be a wiseass by saying that just because you are not aware of something, does not mean it didn’t happen….”

                  And to be fair, I specifically said I wasn’t aware because I am aware that things could have happened that I’m not aware of. And that applies to both the French and the American Revolutions. I’m not willing to dismiss that awful things happen during revolutions, but from what I understand about both revolutions, the French took awful to a whole new level.

                  And I wish I had the time to study both revolutions — actually, revolutions in general —
                  in more depth. For now, I just “listen” to podcasts while I work…

                  As much as I despise the French Revolution, though, I can’t help but observe that it was somewhat accidental — no one planned to do what was done, it was mostly done by people going with the flow — but it established a precedent that has since been imitated by others. The Russian Revolution in particular achieved a level of evil that the French didn’t obtain, because Lenin deliberately imitated the French Revolution.

                  The one moral I’ve taken from studying them, though, is that I *do not* want another Revolution. They tend to get nasty — even the nice ones — and *no one* can predict or control what direction a Revolution takes. More often than not, when the dust settles, Revolutions lead to even more tyranny than before.

                  For the life of me, I don’t understand why there exist libertarians and conservatives who want a revolution. Revolution may come, whether we want it to or not (and so I wish to be armed and prepared for it), but it’s not a good thing when it happens.

                  • Whetherman says:

                    I used to be a tacit fan of “revolution,” but I now realize I was being strongly influenced by our national myth that the Patriots were all square-jawed Good Guys and the Tories and British were all evil self-servers. Believing that was the historical case, I believed it was history that could be replicated; everyone would think the same good clean thoughts I was thinking, all would be on the same page with me, and the Evil-Doers would be unambiguously evil.

                    Piece by piece I stumbled over flaws in that thinking; in many cases when I discovered my heroes of the moment were actually pretty flawed and scummy characters; or at least enough so that I didn’t want to be on their side in any revolutionary scenario.

                    So today one of my most frequently used aphorisms is “There ain’t no Good Guys.” And that’s not an optimum scenario for any revolution.

                    • Publius says:

                      The problem with any Revolution is that you never quite know what you are going to get when it is over, if it even succeeds (If it fails, a glance at history will tell you exactly what is likely to happen). The American one probably worked out (mostly) okay in the end, but that seems to be a major historical exception, rather than the rule.

            • Whetherman says:

              Only because history fascinates me:

              The Wikipedia article on the Reign of Terror in France is a good place for a starting overview.

              The people targeted were those who were deemed to “not support the Revolution” — i.e., “the Tories” of the time, in a manner of speaking.

              With the U.S. system established by the constitution, it is questionable just how much the the new government was “constrained” by it. Arguably George Washington did unconstitutional things to suppress the Whisky Rebellion in 1794 (but no one but the rebels challenged him), and certainly Lincoln, Wilson, and FDR violated the constitution during the Civil War, WWI, and WWII, respectively.

              Constraints on government are meaningless when it’s broadly popular with or tolerable by the people for those constraints to be ignored. In any regime the pols will give the people what the people are led to want.

              • Alpheus says:

                On targeting aristocrats: yes, that is my understanding. There were several waves, and it was only one of the last waves that actually somewhat targeted aristocrats, and even then, they weren’t just going after aristocrats.

                I know that conservatives and some libertarians like to think that the Constitution establishes freedoms, but it was, at the very least, created by people who believed Locke and Blackstone, that sometimes you have to suspend liberty to preserve the nation (which is actually a tradition that dates back to early Roman times).

                Additionally, there’s a lot of stuff that Congress has passed into law, the President has signed, and the Supreme Court has upheld, that is clearly unconstitutional, but is supported by the general public. Constraints, indeed, are meaningless, when popular or even just tolerated by the people!

                (One clear example I can think of: BLM land, national forests, national parks, and national monuments should not exist. Period. Yet the West has something like 66% of land as a whole (and some states it’s as much as 90%) owned by the Federal Government. The West hates it, but the rest of the nation doesn’t care.)

                • Whetherman says:

                  “(One clear example I can think of: BLM land, national forests, national parks, and national monuments should not exist. Period.”

                  The one “clear example” I frequently bring up — mainly for the purpose of needling simple-minded “constitutionalists” (which you clearly are not; simple-minded, that is) is immigration; the constitution nowhere authorizes the federal government to control immigration, Madison and Jefferson both acknowledged that, and yet it does, and has since c. 1881.

                  That is not to say it isn’t appropriate for the federal government to be the entity to control immigration; it just isn’t constitutional, other than as things are made constitutional by SCOTUS decree; and that is what the SCOTUS did at the time of the Chinese Exclusion Act.

                  I suspect there is a pretty exact analogy between the BLM and ICE in that way; except that for “Immigration and Naturalization” the “naturalization” part is clearly constitutional, while the “immigration” part is not.

                  My personal bottom line is, whether it’s BLM or immigration, federal powers should be achieved via constitutional amendment, and not by their discovery by “activist judges.”

    • Whetherman says:

      “has nothing to do with protected class status, but rather to someone with a chip on their shoulder trying to pick a fight!”

      That caused me to reflect: Twice in my life I have taken municipalities to court (successfully) over gun-related issues. The first time I was arrested, when I thought I was behaving quite innocently, and appealed my subsequent conviction successfully. The second time (30+ years later) I went looking for trouble, to challenge the municipality’s policy. I was the guy with the chip on his shoulder, looking for trouble. I’m sure that’s how the municipal officials involved saw me.

      Both times I went to court “on principle.” But the first time I was defending myself, and the second time, looking for trouble. Both times I considered myself virtuous.

      Just a reflection on chips and shoulders. One man’s chip is another man’s principle. ;-)

      • Arnie says:

        You have an amazing life history, sir! I appreciate your courageous stands for our 2A rights, as well as your historical scholarship. I believe we have all benefitted from your actions. I now watch for your comments on every article. I am an old man, but I hope not too old to learn!
        – Arnie

        • Whetherman says:

          “I believe we have all benefitted from your actions.”

          Thank you Arnie, but I have to say, yes and no.

          The first issue was one involving preemption; whether municipalities could enact their own gun or hunting ordinances. Someone else had established a year earlier that they “couldn’t,” but mine did. My conviction, involving a small fine, was reversed as soon as I took it to the Court of Common Pleas. It cost almost 20 times in legal fees, what the fine had been. But, the municipality simply re-enacted essentially the same ordinance under a new number, and continued to enforce it, albeit more selectively than they had in the past. As did all of the surrounding municipalities. A later friend went all the way to the State Supreme Court, about 20 years later, with a case virtually identical to mine — to establish what had supposedly been established more than 20 years earlier.

          Did we gain anything? We would have if anyone had learned anything from any of our experiences. But did they?

          The second time I went to court, it was over a carry issue. The municipality mooted my case by changing their policy on the issue, unilaterally, before it reached court. So for the moment I had “solved” that specific issue, but I established no precedent that could be extended to any similar issue, which is what I had hoped to do.

          What I learned from that one was, well, one way the pols can dodge an issue if they think they’re going to lose in court. But the other thing I learned is that gun owners are infinitely forgiving when an offending pol is a Republican; but I had already known that, and should have expected to get my nose rubbed in it. I gained a bit more education; gun owners appear to have gained nothing.

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