RI "Blue Cards" Prove Second Amendment Is Second Class Right

With 50 states plus various American territories, it’s difficult to keep up with the laws everywhere. Because of what I do, I note a lot of changes in state laws, but even then I miss some really bizarre laws that might be required in various states.

Some of those laws prove Justice Clarence Thomas right when he argued that the Second Amendment is treated like a second class right.

And the kicker? Some people are more upset that some of those measures aren’t more restrictive.

In order to purchase a pistol or revolver in Rhode Island, residents must show the seller a “blue card”: a certificate that shows the applicant has passed the state’s requisite gun safety exam. But current state laws require that all records of blue card applications be destroyed after 30 days by the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, which distributes the cards — making it potentially more difficult to authenticate the cards when they are used to purchase weapons.

While RIDEM does not foresee changing the way blue cards are distributed to qualified applicants, the department is evaluating its current policy on record-keeping, according to Chief Public Affairs Officer of RIDEM Michael Healey. He also noted that the statute that the current policy is based upon does not explicitly require RIDEM to destroy the lists of names after 30 days.

“For several years, we have relied on an internal legal opinion interpreting the law as requiring us to do that,” Healey said, adding that it is “reasonable to infer” that the attorney who wrote this interpretation was mindful of state and federal laws that prohibit government agencies from keeping a registry of privately owned firearms. 

The problem for this writer, apparently, is that on top of requiring people to complete a special class in order to begin to exercise a constitutionally-protected right, the records aren’t kept on hand indefinitely so as to provide some kind of de facto method of registration.

After all, one can assume those who undergo the training are also likely to buy firearms afterward, right?

Meanwhile, I’m still hung up on the fact that this is required. Like, at all.

How many people supporting this law would also support mandatory civics classes prior to registering to vote? How many would back a measure requiring someone to show they’ve attended a responsible speech class before buying a computer?

All right should be exercised responsibly, to be sure, but we don’t require people to attend special training just so they can exercise them. We punish them if they use those rights irresponsibly and that’s about it. As it should be.

But the fact that this law not only exists but is relatively uncontested, all things considered, is an utter abomination to the founding principles of this great nation of ours.

Yet even that isn’t enough for some people. They want more. They want records kept indefinitely. They want more oversight over this kind of thing, yet these same people likely balk at the idea that the Second Amendment is a second class right.

Well, let’s try implementing some of those measures but applying them to other rights and see how far they fly.