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Larry Pratt Lives Up To His Name

The ACLU in South Dakota is doing the right thing by filing suit to get a UK citizen, but permanent resident of the United States, his right to keep and bear arms back. Larry Pratt things that’s a bad thing, apparently:

Even gun rights advocates are divided on the issue.

“If you’re a law abiding citizen and you’re allowed to buy a gun you should be allowed to carry it to defend yourself,” NRA spokesman Andrew Arulananda told FoxNews.com. “Just because you’re not a us citizen doesn’t mean that you’re somehow to immune to crime outside your home.”

But Gun Owners of America Executive Director Larry Pratt says the state has every right to restrict conceal and carry permits to citizens.

“If the guy wants to enjoy the full benefit of residing in the United States become a citizen. He’s been here for 30 years what’s he waiting for?,” Pratt told FoxNews.com.

Pratt says the only reason the ACLU brought the suit is to pave the way for illegal aliens to have conceal carry permits.

“They want to make it so illegal aliens have the same rights as everybody else…every little bit chipping away,” he said.

If you believe that rights come from God, nature, Shiva, or whatever source of natural rights you want to recognize, and are merely infringed or recognized by governmental entities, on what constitutional basis can we restrict the Right to Keep and Bear Arms to legal immigrants into this country? Hell, on what legal basis can we restrict the Right to Keep and Bear Arms to illegal immigrants, for that matter? Perhaps a distinction can be made, but I’d like it to be based on a little more sound reasoning than it gives Larry Pratt the heebie-jeebies.

Does Larry Pratt believe the right to keep and bear arms is one that fits in with, “we are endowed by our creator, with certain unattainable rights,” or doesn’t he? Is he so horribly blinded by his socially conservative prejudices that he can’t see the forest for the trees?

Personally, I think that anyone ought to be able to walk into a store, plunk cash on the table, and walk out with a gun, and carry it with lawful intent. I accept that will probably never be reality, and agree we have to work practicably within the constraints that reality imposes on us, but South Dakota’s law is not necessarily among those realities we have to live with. ACLU has a good case. Larry Pratt doesn’t like it. NRA does. Tell me who’s really a believer in the Second Amendment here?

UPDATE: I should make clear I think there can be a basis for denying illegal immigrants rights, like the right to keep and bear arms, based on the fact that they are in the country unlawfully, but there is very questionable legal basis for restricting the right for people who are lawfully in the United States, even if they are not citizens of the United States. If you think it’s a fundamental right, that has consequences.

31 Responses to “Larry Pratt Lives Up To His Name”

  1. ExurbanKevin says:

    I’ve lived in the U.S. for 25+ years as legal immigrant. This country is now my home. I will stack my patriotism for the U.S. up against anyone this side of Roger Ramjet.

    Let me state clearly and for the record that Larry Pratt is a horse’s ass.

  2. Mark Steele says:

    As a member of GOA, I am really disappointed in Mr. Pratt’s comments. I just received my renewal letter – I think I will use that money as a one time contribution to SAF or NRA – his views do NOT represent mine.

  3. harp1034 says:

    I have no problem with a legal immigrant having a gun or concealed carry permit. I like Larry Pratt. Most of the time he is on the money but not this time.
    The man might have good reason not to become a citizen.

  4. Jacob says:

    This is yet another reason not to take Larry seriously.

  5. Monty says:

    While I personally think the slippery slope fallacy is more often then not a fair argument, here it fails. The way to distinguish illegal-aliens is to point out that their very presence in the US is Illegal. Its a separate crime to carry a gun while dealing drugs, even if you otherwise could legally carry. There is a very big and bright line between allowing legal residents to bear arms and being unable to ban illegals from doing the same.

    (I note that I’m in favor of liberalizing our immigration system to allow in lots more then we do, but I see nothing wrong with prohibiting illegals from owning or carrying guns)

  6. MicroBalrog says:

    Unalienable. Not unattainable.

    I am disappoint.

  7. Gene Hoffman says:

    I thought GOA was the no compromise gun organization. How dare they not support the gun rights of Charlize Theron (whose papers used to not be in order…)

    I guess they’re just no compromise right wingers masquerading as a gun organization…

    -Gene

  8. richard says:

    While my gut agrees with comments like Monty’s above,
    I am not sure how I feel about this– don’t flame for for asking :-)

    2A is directly linked to the concept of militia, as the whole of the people disposed to arms, with an assumption of citizens defending the commonwealth. Is not limiting non citizens from owning certain classes of arms in accord with the self defense of the community against a possibly aggressive group of outsiders reasonable? While a CCW for the universal right of personal defense is one thing. Maybe a prohibition on non citizens owning offensive or military arms is constitutional?

  9. DirtCrashr says:

    Apparently Larry seems to think that just passing some kind of Citizenship Test is an easy hop-skip-and-a-jump kinda thing – I’ll bet he’s never personally had to deal with the bureaucracy of the State Dept. or the INS on any family issues before – they make the BATF look like schoolgirls.
    They do a lot of investigating first and saying NO before they even get close to saying yes. It can take years before your mail about starting the process even gets answered – because first they threaten to deport you. It’s like waking the sleeping giant, or a sleeping dog – you think twice because they bite.

    It’s easier to buy a gun in California than to get Citizenship, but if he thinks the ACLU and Illegal Aliens are just in it to get CCW’s here he’s seriously deluded. Not even citizens can get CCW’s here!

  10. ExurbanKevin says:

    2A is directly linked to the concept of militia, as the whole of the people disposed to arms, with an assumption of citizens defending the commonwealth. Is not limiting non citizens from owning certain classes of arms in accord with the self defense of the community against a possibly aggressive group of outsiders reasonable?

    I had a Selective Service card (I’m too old for that now). I had to get one right after my family moved down here from Canada. This a requirement for anyone who’s eligible for the draft and who wants to become a U.S. resident.

    If the government trusts non-citizens with an M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tank, I think they can trust us with a Colt .45. :)

  11. Sebastian says:

    I think we can all agree we need to keep M1A1s out of the hands of dangerous Canadians :)

  12. Matt says:

    Sebastian,

    There is such a thing as dangerous Canadians here? :) Some of us have enough personal firepower already to form and equip a local militia! Kind of like bolting the barn door after the horse is gone, I’d say.

    If I can own a T-72 legally (which we all can), why not a surplused M1A1? ;)

  13. ExurbanKevin says:

    If I can own a T-72 legally (which we all can), why not a surplused M1A1? ;)

    Agreed. I want my M163 Vulcan Air Defense System, and I want it now!

  14. Sebastian says:

    We have to be wary of you people, with your snow, beavers, maple leaves, and lousy beer. We invaded Canada twice, and both times were beaten, so clearly we have reason to be wary.

  15. Miguel says:

    Matt Said: “There is such a thing as dangerous Canadians here?”

    Driving is South Florida right now there is a bunch of them. And the ones with french accent are rolling heaps of disaster!
    We not only call it Tourist Season, we enforce it! :))

  16. Alpheus says:

    One of the things that disturbs me in the debate of whether or not we should be able to hold Gitmo detainees in prison, was the claim that “The Rights of the Constitution only apply to U.S. Citizens!” The problem with this is that our rights exist prior to, and independent of, the Constitution–which would further imply that these rights apply to everyone!

    Having said, that, the Constitution does provide provisions for suspending habeas corpus–especially for those pesky times of war–and it seems pretty clear to me that individuals captured as prisoners of war fall under these conditions.

    And, while I feel that every person not in prison should be free to carry guns, illegals are here, breaking the law–which would make them much more “susceptible” to being subject to a “reasonable ban”.

    My position on illegal aliens and weapons? I, for one, think that we’d be better off giving each illegal ten handguns, ten rifles, and lots of ammo each, and then telling them to go back to Mexico and fix the situation there themselves–starting with the drug lords, and then moving on to the corrupt government. :-)

  17. ExurbanKevin says:

    “There is such a thing as dangerous Canadians here?”

    Celine Dion and Justin Beiber, to name just two. :)

  18. richard says:

    Alpheus said, “One of the things that disturbs me in the debate of whether or not we should be able to hold Gitmo detainees in prison, was the claim that “The Rights of the Constitution only apply to U.S. Citizens!” The problem with this is that our rights exist prior to, and independent of, the Constitution–which would further imply that these rights apply to everyone!”

    Yup, I agree. Governments only recognize rights, they do not create them. However, at least theoretically, I see a communitarian right of self defense as well, as well as the fact that the Constitution places certain powers in the hands of only citizens. Voting is a right restricted to adult citizens, resident of the jurisdiction. States may or may not allow nonresidents of that state to have a CCW, or allow reciprocity from certain states. This case is about more than 2A issues, it also has many Tenth Amendment undertones.

    Besides that, Canadians are dangerous enough on I-79 in their cars.I have a terrifying vision of armed Canucks (no doubt drunk on that skunky swill that passes for beer), invading NW Pensylvania in revenge for Brock and MacDonnell.

  19. Big D says:

    I think that there’s a good, fundamental question here. To what extent does the Constitution of the United States apply to non-citizens?

    Remember when this issue last came up, with Gitmo? Remember how some folks pushed for there to be no distinction between a foreign combatant, captured while performing illegal acts of war under the Geneva Conventions, and a US citizen arrested on US soil under an allegation of planning terror attacks?

    What, other than by degree, is the difference between that case and this one? This guy sounds like an upstanding member of society, but he is not legally a citizen. Does citizenship matter, or only which side of a border you happen to be on today?

  20. boydk425 says:

    Micro, maybe for some it is “unattainable” in a curren legal system sense ;)

    “Personally, I think that anyone ought to be able to walk into a store, plunk cash on the table, and walk out with a gun…” Walk in? I don’t have to walk in for any of the books I buy. This oughta be a section on amazon with my choice of delivery methods :)

  21. LoboSolo says:

    I think we should issue carry permits to foreigners as long as their governments issues permits to our citizens living there … oops … that would leave this fellow out.

  22. right of the people–not right of the citizens.

  23. Big D says:

    …people of these United States.

    Do we subject diplomats to our laws?

  24. Nullterminated says:

    Big D said: “Do we subject diplomats to our laws?”

    This is entirely irrelevant. I am a naturally-born citizen of the U.S., much like the great majority of the People — and I resent that people like me would be compared to a minority of politically-appointed and obviously foreign persons.

    Please try to confine whatever point you might be trying to make to the people who may be harmed by this issue, not those who are now and will always be non-citizens and unclaimed by the U.S.

  25. Big D says:

    That *is* my point, however–our form of government is based around our citizenry–not that of other countries. Where else do we draw the line? Where else do we make the distinction, but based on whether one is a citizen or not?

    If we proclaim that all people, everywhere, are covered by our Constitution, does that not require of us to enforce said Constitution… everywhere? Is the deciding factor to be merely where they are? Then, what of citizens abroad?

    Does citizenship mean anything, or not?

  26. Sebastian says:

    I do think as a nation we have some obligation to defend human rights globally, but the constitution is only the supreme law of the land within our borders. That is the limit of its jurisdiction. But rights don’t come from the constitution, it merely recognizes their existence, and forbids the government from abridging them. The constitution’s authority has borders, the rights that it protects do not.

  27. Jeff says:

    It bugs me to see native Americans look down on people who choose to be here and take the serious personal risks of running the INS gauntlet or enlist in our military to get something the rest of us got for popping out of a vagina.

    Understandably, we natives feel entitled to not share privileges that we inherited because “we got ours” but not admitting we have something so good for free is cowardly.

  28. Big D says:

    No, I call for the rule of law. Are we a nation of laws, or of men? The laws appear to have one meaning; if we desire to change them, there are provisions for doing so–without simply doing so by decree, or artificial reinterpretation.

    I have not stated whether I feel that it would be just and moral for this British citizen to be granted a CHL (I do); merely that I do not believe that the Second Amendment guarantees his right as a non-citizen to bear arms within the borders of the United States. Words matter. Process matters. Without them, all you have is power, masquerading as law.

  29. Matt says:

    Big D,

    As a legal resident (green card holder) here, I can see your point. Do 2nd Am. rights extend to me as a non-citizen? To this point, the US government says “Yes” for the following reasons:

    1) The legal residency period is the last step to naturalization. You spend a minimum of 5 years in that status (3 if you’re married to a US citizen and they are your sponsor) before you can apply to be a US citizen. Holding this status is a form of “citizenship on probation”. You are expected to demonstrate the values a US citizen would during this time to show you are worthy of stepping up and wearing that mantle.

    This is borne out by such requirements as registering for selective service if you’re male and 18-26 years old. Think about that for a second. A non-citizen is expected to register for the draft and if called, expected to serve and potentially die for a country that is not yet theirs. You have no right to vote, effectively no say in your future, but you are expected to fight if necessary.

    2) You are held to very high standard in personal behavior. Far, far stricter than an average citizen. You can commit no felonies, no violent misdemeanors, no firearm or drug violations. Any of these is a deportable offense. You must file and pay taxes during the entire time as well. A citizen doing some of these things can get a slap on the wrist. I do it and I can lose everything.

    As a result, should I not be trusted with the right to own a firearm? I may be expected to carry one into combat. If I can be trusted to do that on demand, I should be trusted to do it in civilian life as well. The government is giving me an opportunity to demonstrate my civic virtue. Why should I be denied that? I call exercising my 2nd Am. rights at this point the highest duty I can perform as a would-be citizen. If you can’t trust me to do that, what does that say to my potential as a citizen?

    As a Virginia resident I held a CHL and carried. I open carry there when I am there too. Why should I be trusted in Virginia (or Florida or Pennsylvania or numerous other states who issue permits to permanent residents) but not in South Dakota? I call that discrimination against someone who already has the right to own guns but not carry them with the same rights that others enjoy.

    If all states or the Federal government said “Non citizens are not permitted to bear arms outside the home.” as a matter of law, you might have a case. But with the 2nd incorporated against the states, the playing field of 2nd Am. rights will become much more level.

    If you feel non-citizens who have already shown a commitment to this nation to integrate into it aren’t deserving of the same rights despite being held to a standard that many citizens fail to uphold, lobbying to change the law. I will fight you every step of the way though.

  30. Alex says:

    The 14th Amendment says, “no state shall … deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

    That’s any person, not any citizen (note that diplomats are excluded since they’re out of the state’s jurisdiction). If there’s a law allowing CHL, then it can’t be constrained just to citizens – the Constitution says so.

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