In yet another brilliant move toward freedom, the University of Tennessee is planning to prohibit its athletes from owning guns. It doesn’t just want to prohibit carrying them on campus (which it already does, even though it’s a bogus rule). Rather, UT wants to prohibit simply possessing title to them or using them at all…period.
Apparently, athletics director Mike Hamilton came to this decision as a result of the recent arrest of one athlete for carrying a handgun unlicensed. I guess he decided to build on his other well-considered decisions of the past, such as jacking up ticket prices from $0 to $15 right before a losing season and hiring coach Lane Kiffin.
Someone needs to run this jackass Mike Hamilton out of town.
Plenty of people have already poitned out the obvious constitutional violations of this stupid proposal, but I think it’s time to re-examine the very premises behind the move. I’m not gonna bother defending those stupid kids for carrying around marijuana or all that other contraband they had, but I would like to know what business the government has registering guns at all. As far as I’m concerned, what the student did possessing a gun was NOT A CRIME. What authority in the universe gives Tennessee the right to force people to pay $200-300 and wait three months before carrying a gun around? It’s certainly not the God of the universe: God hates those who shed innocent blood, and Jesus specifically told his followers to carry swords — probably in violation of Roman law. It’s certainly not natural law giving Tennessee this power — because natural law teaches that we have the rights to life and liberty. We have the right to defend ourselves and to depose illegitimate governments. It’s certainly not the Constitution giving this power, because the Constitution prohibits prohibits the federal (and arguably state) governments from infringing on our right to bear arms.
The one place the statists can really point to is the Tennessee constitution, which states the following:
That the citizens of this State have a right to keep and to bear arms for their common defense; but the Legislature shall have power, by law, to regulate the wearing of arms with a view to prevent crime. Tenn. Const., Art. 1 Section 26 (emphasis added).
As suggested above, this clause should arguably be superceded by the more recent Fourteenth Amendment anyway (which restricts state governments), but for the moment let us assume this Tennessee constitutional clause is legitimate. What is it about registering handguns that serves the constitutional purpose of aiming to reduce crime? We can attempt to answer this question by looking at the law’s requirements for obtaining a handgun permit.
First, the permit requirement makes you pay about $100 to take an eight-hour class. This class is basically a waste of time and money.
Second, the law makes you wait around while your application goes to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation — after you have paid another $100. This background check looks to see how “law-abiding” you are. If you have committed “felonies” (a zillion things count as a “felony” nowadays), or if you “abuse” alcohol, or if you have ever been convicted of intimidating or slapping a spouse or commiting certain other misdemeanors, the background check will disqualify you.
Therefore, does this regulation reduce crime? Only if you presume the legitimacy of restricting entire sections of the population from owning guns! I, for one, reject the legitimacy of these restrictions. The fact that someone has committed a “felony” (or even certain misdemeanors) does not mean that he loses his God-given right to self-defense. Either you execute the person to finish him off right away, or you punish him and then set him totally free. No one gives us the right to criminalize huge sections of the population and then force them to walk around the rest of their lives like sitting ducks living in shackles.
The requirement for handgun permits is unconstitutional because the Tennessee government lacks the authority to regulate the bearing of arms. The State may only regulate the wearing of arms, and then only for the purpose of preventing crime. Preventing crime cannot be equated with restricting entire segments of the population from bearing arms — because the constitution specifically states that these people have the right to bear arms (just not necessarily the right to wear them everywhere). This argument cannot be much plainer or clearer.
So, what am I getting at? Everyone who registers his handgun with the government is a panzy. I’m talking to YOU. Yes, mine is registered too, and yes I’m a panzy. You know how much money I had to pay and how much time I had to waste on taxes to the Tennessee government just for the right to defend myself? We’re all freakin’ panzies for putting up with this tyranny. Why do we tolerate this garbage at all? I am so sick of this absolute crap.
That government being instituted for the common benefit, the doctrine of non-resistance against arbitrary power and oppression is absurd, slavish, and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind. Tenn. Const., Art. 1 Section 2
When I tell people I want to focus on criminal defense, they often ask me something along the lines of, “Drew, how can you stand to deal with all those criminals??” But a lot of the people I’ll be defending aren’t even real criminals! Or if they are “criminals” at all, half the time it’s for violating some stupid and unimportant law — like laws against carrying guns. We’ve made laws against everything nowadays. The Tennessee legislature — THEY’RE the real criminals.