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GOA on Gun Rights

In an update to the story I mentioned yesterday about a non-citizen suing to get a carry permit with the help of the ACLU, Gun Owners of America opposes gun rights:

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

No compromise, indeed. Very disappointing. NRA, who supposedly is willing to sell gun rights down the river, has a different take:

“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.”

The other important difference being NRA actually has influence.

And hats off to ACLU taking the case!

40 Responses to “GOA on Gun Rights”

  1. ExUrbanKevin Says:

    I wonder if Mr. Pratt is ok with legal immigrants (who have broken no laws, pay taxes, etc) also being forced to worship in government-approved churches or requiring them to permanently house National Guard troops in their homes, all in the name of combatting illegal immigration.

  2. Gene Says:

    Hmm… I’m not sure the constitution was about giving Brits who were still UK citizens (he could be a spy for King George) and did not renounce their allegiance to the crown by becoming Americans a right to carry! 🙂

    All kidding aside, if you accept the idea that states can control CCW through permits, then there is no legal argument to compel them to issue permits to anyone – especially someone who is not a citizen of that state by virtue of not being a citizen of the USA.

    If you believe a right to own a firearm and a right to carry it are inseparable as defined by the 2nd amendment, then states should have no power to regulate CCW through permits.

    Gene

  3. Wolfwood Says:

    I think there’s a right to carry, but not a right to carry concealed or openly (so long as one or the other is not infringed). Thus, if open carry is okay in a state, I have no problem with refusing concealed carry permits to foreign nationals.

  4. Sean Says:

    “…states should have no power to regulate CCW through permits.”

    Presently, as states may independently establish criteria (or not) for issuing CCW permits, I don’t see this argument sticking for issuing to non-citizens.

    Perhaps when 100% of the states are either “shall issue”, or constitutional carry, then this particular battle makes sense.

  5. trackerk Says:

    I’m going to go with option 2 Gene.

  6. Monty Says:

    I hope people wise up to this astroturfer who is pretending to care about gun rights. The left doesn’t have a monopoly on fake gun rights groups.

  7. DirtCrashr Says:

    In CA they already regulate through NON-permits. He’s delusional if he thinks that’s the way its going to happen, especially in California. It’s easier to buy a gun in California than it is to get Citizenship.

    To repeat what I said at Sebastian’s, 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 can make the BATF look thoughtful, deliberate and non-capricious.
    They do a lot of investigating first and saying NO, NO, NO for years, before they even get close to saying maybe yes. It can take ages before your mail about starting the process even gets answered – and first they usually act suspicious and threaten to deport you. It’s like waking the sleeping giant, or a sleeping dog – you think twice because they bite.

    Why does he think so many people come here illegally?? It’s because the legal way is really pretty damn HARD and we make it that way with the bitches at the INS and State Dept. on purpose.

  8. Jeff the Baptist Says:

    “If you believe a right to own a firearm and a right to carry it are inseparable as defined by the 2nd amendment, then states should have no power to regulate CCW through permits.”

    Incorrect. CCW is not the only form of carry. It is entirely possible that the courts could mandate the legality of open carry while still allowing for a more restrictive concealed carry permit system.

  9. Robert Says:

    I don’t think Larry is a ‘fake’ — I think he is sincere about gun rights. I also think he often has a case of cranio-rectal inversion, this possibly being one. I /personally/ believe the Constitution applies to all *citizens*, not necessarily all *denizens*. I don’t believe that the state has any privilege to regulate concealed carry. In both cases courts have ruled otherwise.

    But regarding Larry — has GOA actually ACCOMPLISHED anything, given that the whole organization is just Larry (and many contributors of $$ to him)? NRA and SAF have, and I believe NAGR has as well, but has GOA done anything to earn my shekels?

  10. CarlS Says:

    Please provide me the (certified) original of our Constitution with highlights on the sentences wherein the Fed, or the State, has been granted ANY power to regulate firearms. Court decisions don’t count, as the Court system was not granted any legislative power, either, and since most court decisions amply demonstrate the corruption endemic to the court. As I recall, the Law of The Land states, specifically, that anything not specifically – in writing – delineated is left to the people. Individually, not collectively.

    Which means “regulation” of firearms – their use, wear and tear – is a decision left to each of us. Alone.

    The state’s only involvement is the “abuse” part.

  11. Greg in Allston Says:

    The right for the law-abiding to self defense, and the concommitant right to the tools of self defense, is a fundamental and essential human right. That right is not dependent on what anybody says or thinks, nor is it dependent on what may or may not be written down on some piece of paper or carved in stone somewhere. The right is universal and predates written language and civil government. All of the other bullshine about open carry vs. concealed carry, citizen or legal alien, or any of the other jibberish thrown about in the debate, misses the point entirely.

  12. Jeff the Baptist Says:

    “Please provide me the (certified) original of our Constitution with highlights on the sentences wherein the Fed, or the State, has been granted ANY power to regulate firearms.”

    No original copy of the Constitution as ratified in 1787 applies the Bill of Rights to the States AT ALL. Only after the 14th amendment was passed did the Federal Government get to apply some concept of civil rights onto the States. Even then the wording of the amendment guarantees vague terms like “privileges” and “immunities” and doesn’t apply the Bill of Rights as plain text. Which is why we’re now having legal arguments about “incorporation” of the 2nd Amendment as a privilege or immunity.

  13. Herschel Smith Says:

    Gene said “All kidding aside, if you accept the idea that states can control CCW through permits, then there is no legal argument to compel them to issue permits to anyone – especially someone who is not a citizen of that state by virtue of not being a citizen of the USA.”

    Absurd. The constitution (generally speaking – I understand that there are caveats) applies to citizens, not non-citizens. Controlling CCW has nothing to do with it. Controlling armed non-citizens is the issue. I have no problem at all arguing for armed carry – including open carry – and arguing against non-citizens being armed. Supporting open-carry but refusing to allow non-citizens to be armed doesn’t cause me logical problems at all, and I don’t see the alleged non-sequitur in holding both positions. If you want to carry, swear an oath of allegiance to this country.

    Perhaps there is a problem, but it isn’t contained in any of the above prose. Another way of saying it is that the argument offered above isn’t compelling, it’s just offered as a conclusion (or a self-evident axiom). I assert that it isn’t self evident.

    And finally, I don’t see anything virtuous in the ACLU taking on this case. Again. There is nothing self-evidently good about non-citizens carrying to me.

    If someone wants to actually present a compelling argument, I’m all ears.

  14. Rich Says:

    So Jeff, any amendment in the bill of rights can be ignored by the states, no freedom of speech, or any of the others. Dam wait till my mom and wife find out they cant vote….

  15. ExUrbanKevin Says:

    There is nothing self-evidently good about non-citizens carrying to me.

    So you are 100% ok with stripping away my CCW because I live here by choice instead of birth? You’re ok with me not being able to protect my family in public, all of whom are American citizens?

    Really?

    The right of self-defence is a HUMAN right. It doesn’t come down from the stroke of bureaucrats pen, it is, to quote somebody famous, an inalienable right endowed by our Creator.

  16. Stan Says:

    I was under the impression that the right to bear arms was an inalienable right. So what the hell does birthplace have to do with anything?

  17. BobInFL Says:

    Wait, you’re holding up the NRA as the good guys? How does this make sense: “If you’re a law abiding citizen … Just because you’re not a us citizen …”

    Aren’t they moving the goal posts from the first phrase — which most of us would agree with, and assume “law abiding citizen” means, in context, “law abiding citizen of the US” and not, say, “law abiding citizen of France” — to the second, where they they extend US citizen rights TO those citizens of foreign nations?

    If you want to say concealed carry is a universal right, fine, argue that (as some commenters above are doing). But the NRA’s statement is, well, not well drafted and relies on rhetorical slight of hand if not outright deception. Bad NRA.

  18. ExurbanKevin Says:

    But the NRA’s statement is, well, not well drafted and relies on rhetorical slight of hand if not outright deception.

    Yeah, I noticed that too. Poor choice of words there.

    On the other hand, I think law-abiding citizens of ANY country should have the same freedom I have here. I can’t imagine living in my native country, where I able to defend my family’s life outside my home.

    This (along with many other reasons) is why I chose to live in the U.S.

  19. ViolentIndifference Says:

    If we have these inalienable rights that apply whether we are citizens of this country or not, why did we bother to become a country? Why have borders? Why have a government? If you are illegally in another country do you expect these inalienable rights?

    *confused*

  20. Jeff the Baptist Says:

    “So Jeff, any amendment in the bill of rights can be ignored by the states, no freedom of speech, or any of the others. Dam wait till my mom and wife find out they cant vote….”

    Didn’t say that. We essentially have a legal incorporation process that mostly goes through the courts. Speech is now fully incorporated through the 14th amendment. The vote was fully incorporated by the 15th amendment. On the other hand even basics like what offenses require trial by jury (see 7th amendment) are not incorporated to the states at all. The 2nd amendment is pretty weakly incorporated at the moment but people are trying to change that and good for them.

    My point is that if you start crying about the original intent of the Constitution by the Founders, it was not originally intended to apply to the states at all. The states were supposed to pass their own bills of rights in their own constitutions that governed their own actions independently of the Federal government. The US Government didn’t get oversight of civil liberties until after the Civil War and we’ve been working out what that means through the courts ever since.

  21. Mike Says:

    Guys, I could argue this issue either way.

    My question is this: If this individuals wins his suit by arguing that the 2A to the constitution applies to non-citizens like him, would that also mean that non-citizens can freely exercise the right to vote in federal elections?

    Either the Constitution applies to ALL persons living in the U.S., or it doesn’t. I can see some ugly, unintended consequences surrounding the limits of suffrage arising from a victory in this suit.

  22. ExUrbanKevin Says:

    If this individuals wins his suit by arguing that the 2A to the constitution applies to non-citizens like him, would that also mean that non-citizens can freely exercise the right to vote in federal elections?

    I am not (by the Grace of God) a lawyer, but as the requirements for who can and who cannot vote are pretty clearly laid out in the Constitution, I’d say no*.

    * Offer void in Chicago.

  23. Dan Says:

    I agree with Mike,
    As with most issues concerning freedom, they can be argued either way. The countries founding fathers had a big issue staring them in their faces when they wrote the constitution and instead of writing around it, they wrote it as it should be even though the wording of it caused the worst bloodshed this country has ever endured.

    It was a huge price to pay but in the long run, it was worth it and it set a precedence. Too many people have fought and died for this countries freedoms for us to turn our backs on it now.

    We could not then say everyone is free except someone for the color of their skin and now since this country was founded on freedom, we cannot deny it to anyone.

  24. Kevin P. Says:

    As a constitutional matter, the Second Amendment guarantees the right of the “people” to keep and bear arms. Note that it does not use the word “citizens”, a word that is used in many other places in the document. By this choice of words, the Second Amendment clearly guarantees the right of at least some non-citizens to keep and bear arms.

    The Supreme Court has addressed this very subject in the case United States v. Verdugo-Urquidez, 494 U.S. 259 (1990).
    http://www.guncite.com/court/fed/sc/494us265.html

    // Begin quote:

    …it suggests that “the people” protected by the Fourth Amendment, and by the First and Second Amendments, and to whom rights and powers are reserved in the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, refers to a class of persons who are part of a national community or who have otherwise developed sufficient connection with this country to be considered part of that community.

    //End quote

    Lawful permanent residents – who are eligible for military service AND the draft – clearly meet this test. They have the right to keep and bear arms. Vistors on long term visas such as as students in a college degree program, or temporary workers on a long term visa may meet this test as well. It seems likely that illegal aliens, who have entered the country without the consent of the community will not meet this test.

    As a policy matter, it is foolish and counterproductive for gun rights advocates to argue against non-citizens bearing arms. We want MORE law abiding persons owning and carrying guns, not less. Almost all lawful immigrants to the US have to pass through a five year period before they can become US citizens. Note that the biggest hostility towards guns comes from those who don’t own them, and therefore swallow propaganda and misinformation from the media. We want these lawful immigrants and prospective citizens to be exposed to guns and gun ownership BEFORE they become citizens and can vote!

    And finally, as a moral matter, do we want lawful immigrants disarmed and defenseless? Those who live among us and obey our laws should enjoy the protection of the laws and the Constitution.

  25. Greg in Allston Says:

    Voting is a right and privilege of citizenship; it you aren’t a citizen then no vote for you. Self defense should be recognized as a universal human right that knows no borders.

  26. Ryan Olcott Says:

    Great comments Gene, CarlS, and Greg. Spot on. Our natural right to self defense and the tools to most effectively exercise it is a necessary condition for human life. It predates any piece of paper. That our founders also recognized it and committed it to paper and law just goes to show how bloody brilliant and honorable they were.

    I think some commenter confusion might be coming from some commenters using the term ‘citizen’ as a conflation of the concepts of ‘citizen’, ‘legal resident’, and ‘legal visitor’. Unless they actually think that some people that have come to the USA legally should be stripped of their inalienable rights for not having taken an oath that the vast majority of US citizens by birth have also not uttered. The process prospective citizens have to go through before they can take that oath can take more than a decade depending on their circumstances. Do you really think, Herschel, that this hopeful America loving person should be unable to properly defend themselves for that period?

    This ‘citizen’ basis is still flawed though. Even illegal aliens have the inalienable right to life, which means self-defense and its associated tools.

    For Herschel, I don’t recall where the Constitution uses interchageably the terms “the people” with “citizens”. Perhaps you’d like to point out the section where it does so, or revise your opinion.

    For Jeff the Baptist, your first argument vs. Gene is weak. Let me show you the tyranny of your principles by using the absurd extrapolation of your argument:

    It is entirely possible that the courts could mandate the legality of carrying in your anus while still restricting any other types of carry. (legitimacy of court mandate for is implied for the sake of this argument, as it was for yours)

    I assume you wouldn’t be cool with only being permitted to carry a gun (or anyt other object) like that.

    Not only that, but you cannot say that I or anyone else “has a right to carry”, if I cannot carry any way I want. Anything less than carrying the way I choose is an infringment of my rights. The best you could say is “The Government allows you to carry in manner X”. It is no longer a right if its exercise is regulated. (for those that may be inspired to go off on a tangent, rights do not contradict – no one has a right to infringe upon the rights of others).

  27. Wylee Coyote Says:

    Hang on. Is Pratt actually arguing that non-citizens should be allowed to buy and own guns but not get carry permits?

    How in the wide wide world of sports does that make any sense??

  28. Ash Says:

    Great post Kevin P.

    I have to agree that GOA is dysfunctional on a good day.

  29. Lou Gots Says:

    This is so obviously wrong that we should suspect GOA of being a gun-grabber false-flag operation, aimed at fragmenting the gun-rights movement, and making us look like a bunch of stupid bigots.

  30. Kim du Toit Says:

    Speaking as a onetime non-citizen (but legal resident with a green card), I always thought that I was a guest here, and that while I had certain rights, I didn’t have ALL of them. Certainly, I never once thought of trying to buy a gun. I figured that gun ownership was limited to citizens — which, considering that I hadn’t yet sworn allegiance to the United States, seemed quite reasonable, even if I was perhaps exposed to danger. That, and the chance to be able to vote, just made me want to become a citizen all the more.

  31. dustydog Says:

    “No original copy of the Constitution as ratified in 1787 applies the Bill of Rights to the States AT ALL. Only after the 14th amendment was passed did the Federal Government get to apply some concept of civil rights onto the States.”

    Wrong – the 2nd amendment clearly impels the federal government to actively prevent infringement on the right to keep and bear arms by the federal govt, state governments, Indian territories and foreign powers; it forbids the US from entering into any treaty that would restrict the RKBA. The 1st amendment merely restricts federal action. Otherwise the 2nd amendment would say “Congress shall make no law” too.

  32. Wolfwood Says:

    I think Kim du Toit put it well.

    Besides, I’m pretty sure that “the people” is the same as “We the people of the United States of America” in the Preamble.

    The right to possess a handgun simply cannot be inalienable. If it were, then an incarcerated violent juvenile offender surely has the right to have a gun with him.

    Some people seem to think that there has been no trade-off in the social contract embodied by the Constitution. There has been. We’ve ceded certain of our rights to the government in exchange for government’s protection of our other rights. You may not be happy over which were traded away, but that’s between you and your legislators.

  33. William Lafferty Says:

    It’s a genuine pleasure and — really — an inspiration to read a thread like this. We live in a place where the results of critical thinking can be expressed, and it’s comforting to see so many thoughtful people struggling with these problems.

    One thing the thread reminds me of is how difficult a seemingly simple problem can be. I, for example, am ignorant of what it takes to become a citizen and what the bureaucracy handing citizenship is like. I think that’s relevant. I’m also not sure how inalienable rights apply to people who have not yet sworn to be citizens. I also wonder about the interplay between the state and federal constitutions on this point. In Pennsylvania, the state constitution says the right of the citizens to keep and bear arms in defense of themselves and the state shall not be questioned. That implies that a resident alien may not have a constitutional right to bear arms in PA. since he is not a citizen.

    http://www.williamlafferty.com

  34. Ryan Olcott Says:

    Wolfwood, a violent offender rejected and sacrificed their rights when they decided to initiate force on their victim(s). Since rights cannot contradict one another, i.e. my rights cannot contradict yours, those that initiate force against others give up their rights when they would otherwise cause a contradiction.

    Ex. we both have the right to life (and subsequently self defense). I decide I’m going to assault you and take your stuff. You still have a right to life and self defense, that I have just chosen not to recognize. Since I am the monster that has initiated force and refused to recognize your rights I cannot legitimately claim any rights for myself, I have refused mine as surely as I refused yours.

    So rights are absolutely inalienable – no other entity can legitimately deprive you of your rights. To lose them you must sacrifice them yourself by refusing to recognize, and act against, the rights of others. That violent offender does not have rights, until he/she meets his/her commensurate punishment and renounces in word and deed the initiation of force against others. Until then his/her continued life is a privilege granted by the rest of us in the hope of his/her rehabilitation.

  35. Rodney Says:

    I’m a legal resident, a gun owner and have a concealed carry permit.

    I’d like to ask those who are against my right to bear arms/self defense based on my lack of citizenship a question.

    Please let me know what constitutional rights I have at all?

    Treating gun ownership differently than say a right to a speedy trial, protection from cruel and unusual punishment, right to worship ect I feel demonstrates a tendency to treat the 2nd amendment as a “privilege” rather than a right… exactly the stance taken by the hoplophobes.

    It demonstrates to me a lack of deep commitment to the right of self defense.

  36. Wolfwood Says:

    Rodney,

    I’d say you have zero rights under the Constitution. That document is between the government and the people [of the United States of America], and that doesn’t include you unless you go through the citizenship process.

    That said, you may have plenty of rights protected by statute that mimic those protected by the Constitution. You certainly possess the right to due process, speedy trial, and so forth, but just as the Constitution doesn’t grant those rights to citizens, it doesn’t protect those rights for you unless applied through a statute. While a citizen can point to the Constitution and the Heller and McDonald decisions, your basis for protection lies elsewhere.

  37. MJM Says:

    I’d like to consider this all a hot discussion among family members, all supporting the right to keep and bear arms. There are many moves to erode the quality and value of American citizenship. Pratt may have sniffed that motive and reacted.

    Stated another way: Yes, rights are natural, meaning inherently common to all people. Citizenship, we are finding, is a legal concept necessary to protect the integrity of the constitutional contract the American people made in forming their federal government. Sinister forces want to erode that contract in any way possible. Many Second Amendment proponents also want to guard the meaning of “citizenship.” Thus, this issue may pit the freedom-loving family against each other, if we are not careful.

  38. Kevin P. Says:

    Kim du Toit:

    When you were a lawful permanent resident, you were not a guest. You were a resident. You were part of the people. You may not have felt that way, but the laws of the country say you were a resident. Among those laws, you were eligible for and required to submit to the draft, to bear arms on behalf of the United States, even though you were not a citizen of it.

  39. Kevin P. Says:

    Wolfwood:

    You would be correct if the Second Amendment and the Bill of the Rights were written to apply to citizens.

    They were not. They use the word people, not citizens, even though the word citizen is used very clearly elsewhere in the Consitution, such as the qualifications for elected officials.

    Bear in mind that at the time of ratification, citizenship was generally limited to white people by law. There were plenty of non-white non-citizens in the country and the protections of the Constitution applied to them as well.

    If you don’t like this interpretation, you’re free to change it by trying to amend the Constitution to change the references to “people” with “citizens”.

  40. Rodney Says:

    I feel like an American, I feel the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution are the most important documents in human history. I pay US taxes, my wife is a US citizen. But I’m not feeling the love from all supposed 2nd amendment supporters.

    My opinion on the issue at hand is the Larry Pratt does not want to be marginalized by the ACLU, who normally do not support the 2nd amendment rights, and who are known to support rights of illegal immigrants.