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Church State Issues

Just a few reasonable 1st & 2nd Amendment restrictions

Dec 30, 2012

Las Vegas Review Journal

Imagine that the First Amendment is subject to a few 'reasonable restrictions.'
All you have to do, it turns out, is apply for a federal Churchgoing License, a federal Prayer Permit, a federal Publication Permit, or a federal Letter-to-the-Editor License, whichever is appropriate.

The forms are free! Of course, you have to submit to fingerprinting. You have to mail in with your application and your fingerprint card a signed letter from your local sheriff or chief of police, stating he has no objections.

The application fee is $200. The waiting period to hear whether you've been approved generally runs about six months.


Just a few 'reasonable restrictions'

Posted: Dec. 30, 2012 | 2:04 a.m.

During this fall's election campaign, a few far-seeing observers warned "Watch out, Barack Obama and Harry Reid and Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer will end up trying to grab your guns."

"Nonsense!" responded the mainstream media. ""Gun control hasn't even been an issue in this campaign. Besides, the Democrats learned their lessons when they lost the House back in 1994: There's no appetite for further gun control measures today."

In any given week, more than 20 children die due to doctors' errors or the unintended side effects of prescription medications. In any given week, far more than 20 children die in the crashes of flimsy automobiles that we could easily make sturdier and safer if manufacturers weren't trying to satisfy federally mandated (and blatantly unconstitutional) "fuel efficiency standards."

For that matter, it's not unusual for more than 20 black and Hispanic "children" (if we accept the Brady Bunch definition of "children" as anyone under age 20, or sometimes even 25) to be killed in our inner-city drug-turf wars (Thanks, War on Drugs!), or by police catching them in the commission of crimes, on any given weekend.

Degree of public outrage over these daily funerals? Zip.

The gun-grabbers come up with "10 children a day killed by firearms" only by including the huge number of suicides, as well as "children" over 16 being killed by cops in the commission of felonies, or killing each other in those aforementioned drug turf wars.

Yet all it took was one lunatic killing 20 schoolchildren - with a rifle which is legal in heavily restricted Connecticut and which would comply with the Clinton-era federal "assault weapons ban" even if it that ban were re-instated - and suddenly the nation's largest gun control organization, the NRA, the nest of compromisers who for years have urged "all existing gun laws should be rigorously enforced," is again demonized as though horned agents of Beelzebub himself are allowed to stalk the halls of Congress.

"Even if there is some 'Constitutional right" to bear arms, it's subject to reasonable restrictions, as are all rights," the chorus of jackboot enablers alternately blare or simper.

But that's wrong. Americans would never - at least I hope they would never - accept restrictions on their other rights similar to those which the federal government tells us are "reasonable" for those wishing to keep and bear a modern military rifle.

Imagine for a moment that you'd like to attend a church or synagogue or other house of worship, or merely to pray in your own home. Imagine that you'd like to publish a book, or simply fire off a letter-to-the-editor.

Imagine now that the federal authorities, who have the power to seize your house or imprison you if you're caught disobeying their edicts, responded, "Of course you have a right to do those things. No problem. But naturally, they're subject to a few 'reasonable restrictions.'"

All you have to do, it turns out, is apply for a federal Churchgoing License, a federal Prayer Permit, a federal Publication Permit, or a federal Letter-to-the-Editor License, whichever is appropriate.

The forms are free! Of course, you have to submit to fingerprinting. You have to mail in with your application and your fingerprint card a signed letter from your local sheriff or chief of police, stating he has no objections - a letter your local chief law enforcement agent can issue or withhold, at his whim.

The application fee (actually, it's a tax - on a constitutionally protected activity - but you submit it in advance) is $200. The waiting period to hear whether you've been approved generally runs about six months.

And if your federal license or permit is granted, you understand you're accepting the condition that you must inform the federal Bureau of Prayer, Churchgoing, and Publications as to precisely when and where you intend to engage in prayer, churchgoing, or publication, on penalty of imprisonment, as well as authorizing agents of the BPCP to knock on your door at any time, without notice, to inspect your prayer or writing or publication areas and equipment.

What's that? But how can you object? This is merely a partial list of the "reasonable restrictions" with which the federal government has for the past 68 years burdened the acknowledged "uninfringeable Constitutional right" of Americans to own a Browning Automatic Rifle, an AK-47, or an M-14 or M-16, military style assault rifles with selector switches which allow them to be shifted from semi-automatic to fully-automatic fire.

Get caught with one of those without a BATF "Class 3 firearms license" (the steps and conditions for acquiring which are summarized above), and you'll likely be in a federal prison for years.

Mind you, your license or permit to pray, attend church or synagogue, publish a book or write a letter-to-the-editor would be good one time only, just as each Class 3 federal firearms license is good for possession of only one assault weapon or functioning bazooka round or RPG. Want to pray or attend church a second time? Go back to the beginning of the process and start again, the same as if you're trying to buy a second M-16.

You just said, a few minutes ago, that no one should have any objection to "a few reasonable restrictions" on the exercise of a Constitutional right - that all of them are subject to "reasonable restrictions" ... didn't you?

I'm not making up these "reasonable restrictions." They're in force, right now, if you want to buy an assault rifle. The object, obviously, is not to maximize collection of the $200 tax, but rather to make the ownership of a modern military assault rifle or machine gun virtually impossible for an American of average means. Add to this the fact that no new assault weapons or machine pistols can be manufactured or imported for civilian use, and the laws of supply and demand can be counted on to guarantee that the price of a 20-pound 1918 Browning Automatic Rifle - which could be new manufactured for less than $2,000, far less if produced in any quantity - now exceeds $10,000.

So I guess we'll have to add to the "reasonable restrictions" on book publication and churchgoing a federal moratorium on the construction of new churches or synagogues or printing presses, as well as the repair of old ones. (Just by coincidence, this is precisely how our new allies, the Muslim fundamentalist rulers of Egypt, are getting rid of Christian churches, there. Apply for a zoning permit to repair your church roof, get murdered by Muslim rioters.) Over time, you see, this will "simplify enforcement."

Restrictions on the semi-automatic weapons which merely look like true assault weapons are somewhat less onerous - though the reason we're discussing this today is that the urban gun-grabbers who want America to resemble Nazi Germany, where only "law enforcement officers" had firearms, now seek to ban those semi-automatic hunting rifles, entirely.

(Australia did just that back in 1997, seizing and melting down thousands of finely engineered firearms. The real-life Crocodile Dundee - Rodney William Ansell - was killed by cops when he resisted turning his in. Those who cheer this outcome neglect to add that in Victoria state, the year after civilians had been deprived of these tools of self-defense, firearms homicides tripled. Within two years, Australian armed robberies rose by 73 percent, kidnappings by 38 percent.)

The firearms called "assault rifles" by the likes of Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer are really merely semiautomatic rifles, using the gas blowback reloading system perfected by John Garand in 1936. To buy one, you have to fill out a federal "yellow sheet" including name, address, place and date of birth, etc. (don't try this if you're more than one state border away from home; that's not allowed.) Choose a handgun, and you'll have to go through a background check and lots of other rigmarole, often including a "waiting period."

Maybe these "lesser" restrictions would be all right with you when it comes to praying or writing a letter-to-the-editor? You can pass a background check, surely, You can wait a few days - right? It's all for your protection. You already agreed that "all rights are subject to a few reasonable restrictions," didn't you?

It doesn't concern you that the Jews and homosexuals and other targets of the Nazis had no firearms with which to fight back when the Gestapo came knocking on the door, nor that today's would-be gun-grabbers snarl that "Your crummy hunting rifles won't do you much good in fighting tyranny, here, anyway - you'd need nuclear weapons and tanks and jet aircraft to resist us, and you don't have any of those, do you? Ha ha!"

None of this makes you nervous. Right?