Freedom Updates: December 18, 2001

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The Colorado Freedom Report--www.FreeColorado.com

Freedom Updates: December 18, 2001

All Freedom Updates by Ari Armstrong unless otherwise noted.


Rocky Misses Again

You can't blame the guy for getting angry. First, the Rocky Mountain News announced that Tom Strickland was Wayne Allard's only announced foe, when in fact Libertarian Rick Stanley had also announced.

Now, the News printed false information about Stanley's act of civil disobedience. On December 15, Stanley gave a talk at Lincoln Park (across the street from the Capitol) about the historical significance of the Second Amendment. Then he holstered a loaded handgun and got arrested. He got arrested for carrying the gun openly on his hip, which the city of Denver believes is illegal.

Unfortunately, John C. Ensslin of the News reported December 18, "Duncan Philp and Rick Stanley said they plan to use their arrests to challenge the constitutionality of Denver's ban on carrying concealed weapons." That's flat-out untrue, and it's irresponsible reporting. Ensslin said the News would print a correction.

(The story may be found at http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/local/article/0,1299,DRMN_15_912530,00.html.)

Fortunately, the rest of the story was better. Ensslin reported, "Stanley, a Libertarian candidate for U.S. Senate, alerted the media in advance of the arrests that he intended to challenge the law.

"Their lawyer, Paul Grant, contends the ordinance contradicts language in the state constitution regarding Coloradans' right to bear arms.

"'It's always been at odds,' Grant said Monday. 'I look forward to using the case to check and see if we can't get this ordinance struck down.'

"Judges in both Denver County and District Courts have previously upheld the ordinance, said Assistant City Attorney Kurt Stiegelmeier. There is a case currently pending before the Colorado Court of Appeals that seeks to appeal those lower court rulings, he said."

Article II, Section 13 of the Colorado Constitution states: "The right of no person to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person and property, or in aid of the civil power when thereto legally summoned, shall be called in question; but nothing herein contained shall be construed to justify the practice of carrying concealed weapons."

It is clear, then, that the Denver ordinance banning open carry of weapons is a direct violation of the Colorado Constitution. My understanding is that Grant will challenge the ordinance based on that section.

The Colorado Constitution leaves it to the legislature to make rules about concealed carry. Currently, concealed carry permits issued anywhere in the state are valid everywhere in the state, Denver included.

Of course, Stanley argues the city ordinance also violates the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. I think he's right, especially in light of the Fourteenth Amendment. I don't know if Grant intends to make that argument in court.

The Stanley campaign has encouraged people to send a letter to the News explaining that Stanley was arrested for open carry, not concealed carry. A citation of the Colorado Constitution would probably be helpful. Letters must include a phone number and street address. They may be sent to letters@rockymountainnews.com. Short, polite letters have the best chance of being published.

I was at the Bill of Rights Day celebration on December 15. It was a strange thing, watching over a dozen police officers storm the park to arrest a friend. On that day I was very proud of Rick Stanley.

For more information and photographs about the event, see http://www.lpcolorado.org/cl/2001/12billofrights.html.


I'm the NRA -- Reluctantly

I had intentionally allowed my NRA membership to lapse. Now I've rejoined. I sincerely hope that my evaluation of the group is correct: it has learned that compromise doesn't work and will actually do something to protect my rights. We shall see.

CNSNews.com published an article December 17 titled "Senators Propose 'Gun Owner Registration'" (http://www.CNSNEWS.com/ViewNation.asp?Page=\Nation\archive\200112\NAT20011217a.html).

The article states, "Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) wants the Department of Justice to keep personal data on law-abiding gun buyers from the National Instant Check System (NICS), and to offer the information for unlimited use by state and local agencies. National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre called the move 'gun owner registration, plain and simple.'"

LaPierre should know. After all, the NRA actively supported the Brady gun registration (NICS) system.

Let there be no doubt. The NRA-backed Brady law already registers gun owners with the federal government. Anybody who goes through a Brady check has to fill out paperwork the NFL dealer is required by law to make available on demand to the ATF. When the federal government drives the dealer out of business with onerous regulations and harassment (or if the dealer goes out of business for any other reason), those records go straight to the ATF.

Those at the NRA who supported the compromise on the Brady bill were fools if they thought this data would never be used for other purposes. The NRA played with fire, and now American gun owners are at risk of getting burned.


Global ID Plan

"Every person in the world would be fingerprinted and registered under a universal identification scheme to fight illegal immigration and people smuggling outlined at a United Nations meeting today." (See http://www.smh.com.au/breaking/2001/12/14/FFX058CU6VC.html.)

Once data is collected on citizens (perhaps the proper term is "slaves"), there is very little to prevent this data to be used for all sorts of foul purposes. Americans must not submit even to a national ID card. A global ID card equals global fascism.


Today's Environment

A November 27 AP story by Laurence Arnold (Rocky Mountain News page 27A) quotes Brian Siebel, a senior attorney at the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Siebel said, "In today's environment, where we are concerned about terrorism, it would be insane to allow civilians in America to buy military-style weapons."

Fortunately, many American citizens are waking up to the fact that "today's environment" offers a very compelling reason to buy "military-style" weapons. The fact that Siebel's comment is insane is a sign that disarmament groups have their backs against the wall. They have no good arguments left -- all they can do is lie and work on misplaced emotions.


Enforce the Bill of Rights

Sci-fi author and Libertarian L. Neil Smith recently wrote,

If Constitutional limits on the power of government -- on the President and Congress -- had been properly enforced, the kind of interference typical of American foreign policy that has people overseas hate us and want to kill us would have been impossible.

And if the Second Amendment had been enforced, the September 11 killers would have faced aircraft containing armed passengers and would probably never have thought of trying to hijack those planes. (http://www.webleyweb.com/tle/libe149-20011126-02.html)

Smith just published The American Zone, which is a sequel to The Probability Broach. Smith has agreed to speak at the LP Convention, May 17-19 in Leadville.


Ifeminist Takes on Boulder

Wendy McElroy, an "ifeminist" and a libertarian, wrote a recent column titled "Hang Male-Bashing Out to Dry" for Fox News about the ceramic penises in Boulder (http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,39447,00.html).

McElroy writes, "[Robert] Rowan was disturbed that his five-year-old daughter might see what he calls an 'anti-male' and 'pornographic' display while using the public library. On Veterans Day weekend, he carefully placed the genitalia into a garbage bag as library patrons watched. In their place, he left a calling card -- 'El Dildo Bandito was here' -- and hung an American flag.

"The library is using words like 'censorship' and 'intolerance' to describe Rowan's actions. But Rowan put his finger directly on the political issue when he pointed out the difference between private art galleries and public, tax-funded spaces.

"'If they had put this up at a private art gallery that would have been fine. That way people could pay and see this stuff,' Rowan said. In a private gallery, the exhibit would be a freedom of speech issue rather than the abuse and improper use of tax dollars to promote a political view....

"The art exhibit and the Boulder County Safehouse do not merely educate the public about domestic violence, they are advancing an anti-male agenda... [A] flood of new research indicates that the rates of domestic violence for men and women are roughly equal and suggests that the incidence of battered 'husbands' is almost certainly under-reported due to the social stigma attached to male victims of domestic violence. Yet the library's domestic violence exhibit portrays men as the perpetrators, never the victims....

"The 'Hanging 'Em Out to Dry' exhibit... is hate speech directed at a category of human beings."

McElory's web page is Ifeminists.com.


GWB = FDR?

London's Telegraph recently published an article discussing how "I trust the people" George W. Bush has recently gained a host of new powers (http://www.portal.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2001/11/22/wbush122.xml).

The article reminds us that Bush invoked Franklin Delano Roosevelt to justify his behavior. FDR did more than perhaps any other American president to move the country closer to socialism. The fact that Bush would invoke FDR to justify modern power-grabs says a lot.


Propaganda Bombs

The U.S. government dropped packages of food and other supplies over Afghanistan. A more effective approach would probably be to drop American videos and music albums, along with copies of Ayn Rand's novels and Ludwig von Mises' essays on economics. In part, this really is a culture war. The Enlightenment values of reason and tolerance are pitted against mysticism and authoritarianism.


Ritalin

The Washington Post printed a Reuters story November 12, page A08. It said, "The stimulant Ritalin, a drug used to help children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, may cause long-term changes in the brain, researchers reported yesterday. The changes look similar to those seen with other stimulants such as amphetamine and cocaine, at least in rats, the team at the University of Buffalo found."

The research leader nevertheless described Ritalin as "extremely effective and beneficial." I'm not convinced. I do think that some minority of the children who are on Ritalin have problems paying attention. However, I also think these problems are best solved through changes in education and health.

The Colorado Freedom Report--www.FreeColorado.com