What kind of underwear do you have on? That’s one question that could be asked on a long list of really inappropriate questions that could be proposed. Anything from shaving habits of pubic regions, to hygiene habits, what kinds of food you have in your pantry, your sexual preferences…Who did you vote for in the 2020 election? These, along with many other topics I’d consider pretty personal subjects to bring up casually.
The notion of gun ownership is a very personal topic too. For some, they are quite proud, wearing their favored brand on a ball cap. Others, if their ownership of firearms were to be public, it could lead to the loss of a job or social stigmatization. This is a personal and delicate topic. As with other enumerated freedoms, people have the right to privacy, do they not? After all, it was under the 14th Amendment and an individual’s right to privacy which acted as the crux in the Roe v. Wade opinion.
The editorial board over at the Boston Globe feels differently about privacy. Recently they recounted several instances surrounding the privacy of gun owners being usurped by journalist. They cited cases from California and New York where “seemingly” well intentioned members of the press attempted, and in fact did, dox gun owners, by having their personal information published.
But there’s a case for making at least some gun licensing information public — and not so members of the public can keep tabs on guns that might be in their neighborhood. Last week’s apparent hate crime in Winthrop, where a man armed with two guns shot and killed two people, raises questions about transparency around gun permitting records. That lack of public information about gun permit-holders makes it harder to judge how well the police chiefs who issue those permits are using their authority, and to hold them accountable when they make the wrong call. The shooter, who was gunned down by police, had a license to carry. Yet little is known about who the licensing authority was in this case and how that decision was made.
I’d have to beg to differ. There are no cases for making gun licensing information public. At least not to the level which progressive activist journalists would like. Personally, the only information that would be pertinent would be the number of permit holders based on zip code and race. Yes, you read that correctly. But why? Because through a zip code we can identify the socio-economic makeup of said gun owners. And race, paired with a zip code, it can be argued that some departments and issuing authorities only grant firearm licenses to those that come from economically stable areas and if they match the correct genetics. I highly doubt the Globe is so altruistic that they want to look into if there is any type of racism or playing of favorites when it comes to issuing licensees in the Bay State.
Stating that it’s “harder to judge how well the police chiefs who issue those permits are using their authority, and to hold them accountable when they make the wrong call.” is straight up pinko speak. Going down this road is a Pandora’s box of epic proportions. Not only do they want to dox gun owners, they want to dox and prosecute issuing authorities because of the actions of another human being. Applicants are either fit elements of society, or they are not. A process like this would chill both people seeking firearm permits and issuing them out.
The other big problem in a post-Heller world is we are way behind the times when it comes to permitting. The fact that there are “may issue” holdout states like Massachusetts goes directly against the Heller opinion. It’s important to note in Massachusetts in order to own a pistol one must obtain a permit to carry. There is no distinction. Yes, permits can be restricted, as they are in many cases, but said restrictions are arbitrary and capricious. Don’t think there is a problem with states like Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, California, Maryland, Hawaii, etc.? Let’s see what the justices had to say in Heller:
We know of no other enumerated constitutional right whose core protection has been subjected to a freestanding “interest-balancing” approach. The very enumeration of the right takes out of the hands of government—even the Third Branch of Government—the power to decide on a case-by-case basis whether the right is really worth insisting upon. A constitutional guarantee subject to future judges’ assessments of its usefulness is no constitutional guarantee at all. Constitutional rights are enshrined with the scope they were understood to have when the people adopted them, whether or not future legislatures or (yes) even future judges think that scope too broad.
It’s right there and has been all along. States and jurisdictions that continue to have this “interest-balance” approach are afoul of Heller. For the Globe to look to lean on police chiefs and their like about whether or not they exercise the proper discretion is moot. The real complex question I’d charge the Globe to ask is “why are we still operating like this when it’s clearly unconstitutional?” It’s doubtful that anyone over there at the presses in Beantown will rise to the occasion and actually look into the case law that surrounds these enumerated rights.
No, seeking more information on who has what guns probably has less to do with analytics and more to do with intimidating and harassing gun owners (and police chiefs). At least that’s the way it seems to me. As far as their sacred tracking of crime goes, it’s quite easy to ascertain or obtain information concerning someone that commits a crime with a firearm and if they are or are not a lawful permit holder. That information is usually in press releases.
Another absurd argument the editorial board brought up:
Here’s another reason why full secrecy may not be a good idea: Gun license applications in the Commonwealth have been on the rise in recent years. In 2020, applications doubled to more than 54,000 — more than the previous two years combined. Massachusetts allows prospective gun owners to apply for a six-year license to carry at the local police department where they live or have their place of business. Convicted felons are disqualified. And even after an applicant pays a fee and meets other requirements (such as passing a safety course), local police can still deny the license. That’s because there is a measure of flexibility that resides with local police chiefs — a standard of suitability — built into the process.
The simple fact that there are more people seeking to purchase firearms is not reason enough to warrant the usurpation of one’s right to privacy. Again, “Paging Roe. Come in Roe. Care to explain privacy to these people?” A rise in the number of lawful gun owners in a state like Massachusetts is frightening to the progressive agenda. That is it. Seeing this rise in numbers proves that the decades of hard work put in to stigmatize gun ownership is finally failing. The failure comes in the form of the same bodies that have sworn/promised to protect the people and their inability to do so. Are the progressives in Massachusetts so obtuse that they can’t connect the dots that their failed polices have moved people to take their own self-defense more seriously?
Lastly, the Globe grabs ahold of the rope, being pulled forward, water skis affixed, ready to hop over an ocean predator:
For his part, Brooks feels strongly that opening up permit records does not serve the public interest. Disclosing who legally owns a gun and where they live would make those homes more likely to get broken into. “It becomes easier for criminals to steal from a home than from gun stores,” said Brooks.
Maybe. As with many things around gun control, though, there is little data to guide us, much less any proof that burglaries would increase if records became publicly available.
If you tell the criminals where the “good stuff” is, they’ll try to take it. The majority of home break-ins occur during the daylight hours, when people are away at work. A four-year-old can tell you that the “bad guys” are smart enough, just watch Home Alone. Burglars do case their targets and it would not be all that onerous to see when a gun owner is no longer home, break-in, and take the firearms. It’s actually their occupation to do that.
It’s hard to tell which way the tide is flowing right now and why this proposal is coming to head now. We can for sure know and understand there is an ulterior motive. One of the Globe’s cronies might be seeking to introduce legislation on expanding what information is available to the public on firearm ownership? What the actual “point” here is not really apparent. What is apparent is that the Globe is completely out of touch with the enumerated right to keep and bear arms. There is a clear bias. Of course, they do this all under the protection of the First Amendment. Convenient.
The point of the disclosures is not to expose individual gun owners but to help reveal patterns of law enforcement decisions to issue licenses that may not be in the public interest.