AP Photo/Michael Conroy
I don’t like racists. I have no use for them, regardless of what flavor of racist they are. I want to put that out there right now because of what I’m about to have to deal with here.
You see, there’s an op-ed that calls for repealing Michigan’s open carry law. Why? Because some people that may think the wrong things may benefit from the law.
Want to give local police departments the means to keep armed Nazis off Detroit’s streets?
Change Michigan’s open carry laws.
It’s just that simple.
And just that complicated, because our GOP-led Legislature is extremely unlikely to do anything of the sort.
Reasonable people may debate what kind of speech is protected by the First Amendment, but it’s hard to find anyone who doesn’t think that for Nazis carrying swastika-painted riot shields and yelling profanities, carrying a weapon is a little, you know, provocative.
But state law doesn’t agree.
For that matter, neither do the courts — Google “Skokie, Illinois” for more information.
Anyway, they continue:
In Michigan, legal gun owners are allowed to carry their weapons almost anywhere. Holders of concealed-carry permits are allowed to openly carry in schools. And Michigan gun law experts say a charge of brandishing won’t stick unless a perpetrator is waving a weapon around. So the Nazis couldn’t be charged under the state’s brandishing statute, because the guns were holstered, or strapped to their bearers’ backs.
So clearly, because people guilty of thinking vile things but of committing no actual crime might do something, we should outlaw it for everyone.
Now, in all fairness, it’s merely a pretext. The author’s anti-gun feeling has little to do with neo-Nazis or anything else. It’s merely an excuse to try and press for a change in state law that she would prefer.
However, now I have to defend this kind of thing, which I’m sure anti-gunners love. “You’re defending Nazis,” someone will likely claim.
I believe that if I don’t defend the rights of people I despise, then there’s no reason anyone should take my defense of any rights seriously. If I’m only in favor of rights for people I agree with, then I’m not advocating for rights, but privileges.
The Second Amendment is a right. That means it applies to everyone.
Now, we strip rights from felons regularly. It’s part of the punishment for committing a felony. That’s an exception that is generally accepted, but beyond that, we tend to oppose the restriction of rights.
I suppose I should be thankful that the author doesn’t want to restrict gun rights for the neo-Nazis. There are those who would.
The thing is, it should be noted that these Nazis in question were afforded police protection during their march. While I find what they did disgusting–especially if they were actual Nazis and not the more modern use of the term which means “someone a progressive disagrees with on a matter of policy”–they were clearly under enough threat that the police surrounded them. It sounds like they had every reason to be concerned with violence.
“Then they shouldn’t have gone there!” someone may counter, and while I agree they shouldn’t have, they don’t forfeit their right to protect themselves because I despise what they say or the antagonistic way they may have wanted to say it.
The fact that it’s being used as a pretext to strip the rights of everyone, though, should be called out. It’s not about the Nazis or anyone else. It’s about an anti-gun writer who desperately wants to curtail the gun rights of people in the wrongheaded notion that it’ll reduce crime.
It’s not about Nazis. It’s about gun grabbing, and they’ll use any excuse to accomplish their goals.