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Two Wrongs Not Adding up to a Right

Happening in Florida:

One would place restrictions on questions that physicians could ask patients about guns and gun ownership, including children. Violators could be fined $10,000 to $100,000, and a companion measure in the House would make it a felony.

The Florida Medical Association is rightly against it, saying it violates free-speech rights and the doctor-patient relationship that necessitates physicians have information about all factors affecting a patient’s safety.

The FMA is correct about the bill violating free speech and free association. I agree it’s untenable from a First Amendment viewpoint, and am very disappointed NRA is pushing this. But doctors have no right to pry into non-medically relevant facets of someone’s life, and gun ownership is not medically relevant. The only excuse I could see for prying into that area is if a psychiatrist was treating a minor patient for depression, and told the parents to keep the guns locked up, along with just about anything else that might be dangerous to a potentially suicidal individual. That fits in the realm of just being good advice. As a general matter, gun ownership is not a disease (no matter how much some wish it to be), and is therefore outside the field of medicine. Doctors should stop asking about it as a matter of routine.

This is really a case of both sides in this debate being wrong.

Another Illegal Mayor

This one is the Mayor of Monticello, NY, and the charge would seem to be tax fraud, trademark counterfeiting, and misdemeanor possession of marijuana.

Arms and the Mideast Crisis

It seems to me that if our opponents made fun of us for suggesting arms in civilian hands might have been handy in Egypt, Libya is a better example of the notion. Peaceful protest only works against a regime that is reluctant to murder its own people wholesale.

Righthaven Victims Strike Back

At least one victim is filing counterclaims. Righthaven will no doubt argue there is no merit to this claim legally, but what can I say, karma is a bitch.

Wyoming Proceeding Toward Permitless Carry

The Wyoming House, on a preliminary vote of 48-8, passed Constitutional Carry. It seems it still has to go through two more reading, and I’m guessing a final vote, before going on to the Governor. From what it sounds like, the Governor might be a bit weak kneed. But if he signs, this will be the fourth state.

UPDATE: Just waiting for a signature.

Compromise

Apparently it means you can have single shot weapons. That’s what all intelligent people would agree on, after all. Personally, I’d be happy to compromise on it being completely proper and constitutional to have restrictions on carrying pistols for the purpose of dueling. That’s a compromise I can live with.

Duty to Defend A Law

There have been some very interesting posts over a Volokh on whether or not Obama is right to sandbag on defending the Defense of Marriage Act in Court. The Administration has suggested that the law is unconstitutional. Orin Kerr referred to it as an executive power grab. David Bernstein takes the administration to ask for saying they won’t defend it, but will keep enforcing it. Also, Ilya Somin looks at it from both a theoretical and practical point of view.

Speaking strictly as a matter of theory , I’ve never agreed with the notion that the Supreme Court is the only body that can have an opinion on a law’s constitutionality. While I would agree they certainly have the final say in the matter, I have no issue with a sitting President refusing to enforce or defend laws that President has a good faith belief are unconstitutional. In fact, I expect Presidents to stand by their oath and refuse to enforce or defend unconstitutional laws.

That said, I’m not sure I agree with the President that DOMA is unconstitutional, even if politically I agree with the end result of not defending it. Sandbagging the defense of DOMA could also, potentially, be smart politics for the Democrats. Homosexuality is a divisive issue for Republicans, since acceptance of it alienates social conservatives, while rallying against it tends to scare off younger voters, some independents, and libertarian Republicans.

As long as Republicans are busy making themselves seen as trying to cut deficits and spending, the Democrats are going to be on the losing side of the middle in that debate. If Obama can goad the Republicans into fighting on better ground for the Democrats, namely contentious social issues, it probably helps their party over the long term, as the generation gap on the gay issue gets larger. I don’t think this tactic is going to help them as long as the economy is sour, so the short term effect won’t accomplish anything more than keeping the Democrat base from totally falling apart heading into the 2012 elections. But longer term, the Democrats are on the right side of this issue politically.

Debate on Gun Control

Between Dave Kopel and Professor Adam Winkler here.

More On Long Gun OC

From Clayton Cramer at Pajama’s Media.

More on PGC Public Range Regulations

Bitter got the Pennsylvania Game Commission on the phone and asked them some questions about the new permit requirement for public shooting ranges in Pennsylvania. I think a lot of people will object to the fact that only $200,000 of $11,000,000 in Pittman-Robertson funds goes to range maintenance. This is especially true when you consider handguns make up more than half of PR funds, and very few handguns are used for hunting.

In effect, the whole of the shooting community is subsidizing hunting. This will no doubt be a controversial statement, but I think that shooters should accept this state of affairs. Until this past year, hunting numbers had been in decline, while hunting license fees have been relatively stable, and not kept up with inflation. This means in real terms, state wildlife management budgets have shrunk. Increasing budgets for shooting ranges would mean decreasing budgets to support hunting programs, or raising hunting license fees, which will only serve to drive more people out of the sport.

A lot of people are going to argue that the baby is sick, probably isn’t going to make it to shore, and we’d be far better off just throwing it off the life boat preemptively, so that we can use the supplies for the rest of us. The problem is, hunting is a critical part of this fight, and we’re going to be far weaker politically if we toss that baby over. We have hunting numbers on the upswing. Perhaps that will continue. Time will tell.

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