Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Movie Theater Argument

I ran across this article on WaPo.  I think a reasonable point is made here by Sen. Nancy Jacobs in opposition to State's Attorney Scott Shellenberger.  There is a fine line between regulation and restriction.   When you are dealing with a right, you need to take into account how the right you are trying to "regulate" can "restrict" other rights.  Restricting the right to yell fire in a theater makes sense, restricting the right to peacably assemble to enjoy entertainment does not.  Restricting the rights to of violent criminals, those deemed mentally unfit and those who would supply the prior two classes with firearms (straw purchasers) makes sense.  Restricting those who lawfully purchase and own firearms for defense of all types (self-defense and tyranny included), hunting, competition and target shooting does not.  Perform your background check, keep the databases up to date and let people be.

“We all agree that the First Amendment right, the freedom of speech, is not absolute,” Shellenberger said. “We all agree that you cannot walk into a crowded theater and yell fire. So if we can agree that the First Amendment freedom . . . of speech has reasonable limitations we should be able to find a place where the Second Amendment has reasonable limitations.”

Sen. Nancy Jacobs (R-Harford), the committee’s most outspoken opponent of O’Malley’s plan, said the comparison to gun ownership didn’t work.

“We don’t prevent people from going to the movies in the off chance that they might yell fire,” Jacobs said.

See this link for the full story.

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