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Discussion in 'Legal & Political Archive' started by novamind, Dec 20, 2012.
self defense banned in schools
Here is a copy of the email I just sent to Senate President, Sen. Courtney. I plan to address it to a multitude of other Oregon legislators as well:
Dear Sen. Courtney,
I'm sending this email to all the members of the Oregon Legislature, because in light of the recent tragedies in the Clackamas Town Center & the CT school shooting, it has come to my attention that there is a growing movement within the Oregon Legislature to prohibit law abiding CHL holders from carrying their concealed handgun(s) within a public school.
I would start by pointing out that I have 6 children within the public school system, and of course I want them to be safe and feel secure so they can have maximum learning, and quality of life. Since I obviously have "skin in the game", I would ask you to consider what point is there in banning LAW ABIDING CHL holders from carrying inside the public schools? Over the course of the last 3 years or so, I have carried my legally concealed pistol many, many times while attending a school function, or participating in parent-teacher conferences and managed not to be discovered I was carrying, let alone threatened anyone, scared/intimidated anyone, or attempted to shoot the place up. Has there EVER been a case of a CHL holder perpetrating a mass school shooting?
As I'm sure you know CHL applicants have to have documentation on safe firearm use, and pass a background check for disqualifying criminal/civil convictions/arrests, and not have any documented "mental issues". I think the emotional response of, "we have to do something/anything NOW" by prohibiting law abiding CHL holders from carrying in public schools would miss the mark of keeping the children attending our public schools safe.
Case in point: The CT school was already a designated "gun free" zone. CT already has strict gun laws on military-style firearms, registration, etc. Did any of that stop the shooter from perpetrating this horrific crime? Obviously not. Did those laws keep good, law abiding folks from having a gun on those school grounds? Most likely, because there was definitely no credible resistance offered other than locking classroom doors, or teachers heroically (albeit unsuccessfully) shielding some students with their bodies.
Another case in point: the tragic Clackamas Town Center shooting. Supposedly that mall is a "gun free zone". Being private property, that is the proprietor's prerogative. Did it keep the perpetrator from killing two, and wounding a third victim before mercifully killing himself? No, it did not. There is a report that (again, despite the "gun free zone" notices) a CHL holder pointing his pistol at the shooter may have actually caused the shooter to cut his shooting spree short!
The only thing that will be accomplished is letting the "bad guys" know there is now State legislated "kill zones" filled with easily intimidated children, where the odds are exceptionally good that there will be little to no resistance. That's why "gun free zones" like malls, the CT school, the Denver theater, Virginia Tech, and Ft. Hood (very regulated firearms possession policies there) were subjects of tragic mass shootings... each of the perpetrators knew they had a target rich environment to hurt and kill (mostly) unarmed people.
Outlawing, or banning certain firearms or "high capacity" magazines will only ensure the "bad guys" are the ones to most likely have them. Murder is already illegal, but it didn't stop the recent tragedies. Stealing is illegal, but it didn't stop either of the last two perpetrators from taking firearms that didn't belong to them.
I understand emotions are running high, and the need to feel empowered and feel like you have done something to help prevent another crime or tragedy, but I would appeal to your good senses and encourage you to not let law abiding CHL holders be legislated to the level of murders, and terrorists. All you will get is a "good feeling" like you've really accomplished something to make our schools safer, but all the laws ever passed still won't stop those bent on perpetrating deadly evil. Sadly, the only thing most of these types of people understand is the threat of having unexpected, and potentially deadly force visited upon them from a potential victim, and helps prevent them from acting upon their desires.
Please consider this issue in a circumspect manner!
Thank you for your time,
I thank you for reaching out to your legislator on this very important issue. I totally agree with most of the reasoned arguments you use to get Courtney's attention and support, and so I am only citing and emphasizing the language you used in this letter that I feel a need to chime in on.
My first comment touches on your use of "law-abiding" to describe those who choose to exercise their Constitutional "right" to "keep and bear" arms by asking for permission from those who swear an oath to uphold and defend those rights. The absurdity of that state of affairs should announce itself. The federal and State Constitutions are both the Supreme laws of the land within their respective spheres of application and those documents speak of no conditions that must be met in order to exercise those rights. By being the Supreme laws of the land, that inherently means that "laws" enacted by the legislature have to toe the line with constitutional provisions. So if both federal and State Constitutions describe Citizens' ability to "keep and bear" arms as a "right", then how can a reality emerge where we Citizens come to be persuaded of the validity of "laws" which place mere administrative conditions on our "keep and bear" rights?
This "reality" carries the underlying message that We The People have been trained to either forget or disregard the very documents that were created to protect us and instead hold commonplace laws and "policies" on a higher plane of esteem. It announces that We The People are incapable of detecting when "laws" patently violate the contracts we know as the Constitutions. It says We are constitutionally illiterate and are therefore intellectually defenseless. You point out that criminals, by definition, will never be deterred by the law to get guns and use them against their community. This point says all that needs to be said to logically conclude that CHL laws are tacitly, inherently, violations of Constitutionally guaranteed rights which prevent good people from performing their duties as Citizens to protect themselves and their community by deterring criminal shooters with the likelihood of meeting their own death in a society where concealed carry amongst law-abiding Citizens is commonplace and unhindered. This is necessary, by extension of your own description of how impossible it is for cops to response to such violence in a timely manner.
As a father of 6 kids who are in Oregon's public school system, especially if you yourself graduated from Oregon's public schools, I would like you to consider something. If you have kids in grades 8 through 12, I would love for you to ask them how much class time opportunity they are getting to study and learn about the Constitutions and principles of law. If my Oregon K-12 "graduate" experience is any indicator, your kids are getting absolutely no exposure to the Oregon Constitution or laws and only skin deep exposure to the US Constitution. My recollection of time spent studying the US Constitution tallies up to no more than a half a year and I'm bringing this up because that reality is a product of curriculum "policy" that is supposed to carry out the legislative intent of curriculum "law". But a few years ago it was brought to my attention that Oregon curriculum "law" regarding Constitution and law subject matter requires something verrry different from what "policy" is allowing us to have. Read ORS 336.057 & 067 below (336.057 has been on the books since 1923):
"336.057 Courses in Constitution and history of United States. In all public schools courses of instruction shall be given in the Constitution of the United States and in the history of the United States. These courses shall:
(1) Begin not later than the opening of the eighth grade and shall continue in grades 9 through 12.
(2) Be required in all public universities listed in ORS 352.002, except the Oregon Health and Science University, and in all state and local institutions that provide education for patients or inmates to an extent to be determined by the Superintendent of Public Instruction. [Formerly 336.230; 1977 c.226 §1; 1999 c.1023 §1; 2011 c.637 §114]"
"336.067 Topics given special emphasis in instruction. (1) In public schools special emphasis shall be given to instruction in:
(a) Honesty, morality, courtesy, obedience to law, respect for the national flag, the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Oregon, respect for parents and the home, the dignity and necessity of honest labor and other lessons that tend to promote and develop an upright and desirable citizenry.
(b) Respect for all humans, regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, religion, age, sex or disability.
(c) Acknowledgment of the dignity and worth of individuals and groups and their participative roles in society.
(d) Humane treatment of animals.
(e) The effects of tobacco, alcohol, drugs and controlled substances upon the human system.
(2) The Superintendent of Public Instruction shall prepare an outline with suggestions that will best accomplish the purpose of this section, and shall incorporate the outline in the courses of study for all public schools. [Formerly 336.240; 1975 c.531 §1; 1979 c.744 §13; 1993 c.45 §75; 2005 c.209 §22]"
Yes this means, the law literally requires a MINIMUM of 5 full years of a class devoted to studying the US Constitution, separately from another class that is devoted to studying US History for 5 years. Yes this means that your kids are required by law to enjoy the benefits of having "special emphasis" placed on learning the Oregon Constitution and "obedience to law". Yes, there is case law and an attorney general's opinion that unambiguously corroborates my commentary on these laws.
Since you can't obey what you don't know, that means kids in public schools must learn how to read and understand the legislative intent of the laws that will impact their lives after they graduate. In a nation founded on the "rule of law" and "ignorance of the law is no excuse" what subject matter could be more necessary than that in giving effect to the legislative intent declared in the words "to promote and develop an upright and desirable citizenry".
We all know that "knowledge is power". So that means that lack of knowledge (especially on the law) is powerlessness. If Citizens have no power, they likewise have no control over things that affect their interests. If they have no control, someone else does and Citizens must seek them out and ask for their help rather than being empowered to help themselves. Here's an example. You are seeking consideration from Mr. Courtney who is a servant by definition. You are appealing to him to win his support in navigating the relationship between CHLs and their role in addressing the recent emotionally charged shooting tragedies. In the meantime, while you are waiting for your letter to have its desired effect, your kids are still going to schools that don't authorize the carrying of concealed guns even by teachers. This means that because the defense of oneself or others, by "bearing" a firearm as a matter of right, is being held hostage by popular acceptance of how CHL laws interfere with those rights, the security of your 6 kids is in limbo until the political winds blow in favor of your letter, if they do at all. Is this scenario the fruit of power or powerlessness?
How would you like to be armed with information that can dissolve this log-jam of political hand-wringing and posturing that leaves your kids unprotected? I propose that the following "laws" provide just this kind of effect. "CHL" stands for "Concealed Handgun License" if I'm not mistaken. The word "permit" is also commonly used to describe the same thing. The generally applicable definition of "license" is found in chapter 183 of the Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS). Chapter 183 is called the "Administrative Procedures Act". This "Act" governs how executive branch agencies perform their duties of carrying out the legislative intent of the "law". "License" is defined for these purposes at ORS 183.310(5) and is cited below:
"183.310 Definitions for chapter. As used in this chapter:
(5) “License” includes the whole or part of any agency permit, certificate, approval, registration or similar form of permission required by law to pursue any commercial activity, trade, occupation or profession."
Notice how Oregon's Legislature completely omitted reference to anything other than things of a "commercial" nature? Does your exercise of your natural, fundamental, unalienable, Constitutionally-guaranteed right to self-defense, qualify as a pursuit of a "commercial" activity, trade, occupation or profession? Nope. Now take a look at chapter 181, which deals with the State Police, specifically 181.400:
"181.400 Interference with personal and property rights of others. No member of the state police shall in any way interfere with the rights or property of any person, except for the prevention of crime, or the capture or arrest of persons committing crimes. [Amended by 1971 c.467 §25; 1991 c.145 §1]"
Notice how the State Police are prohibited by law from interfering with Citizens' "rights", unless criminal activity is involved. If one wants to argue that CHL "policies" are in the vein of "preventing crime", that argument loses because a "license" is lawfully restricted to "commercial" activities. It's also a principle of law that rights are not to be taken without evidence that provides probable cause to believe criminal activity is at play. Doing a background check is one thing, but making someone fill out paperwork to "apply" for a right that they already have is very much another.
I totally understand that the overwhelmingly embraced impression of "license" held by our modern society causes very predictable reflexes of disbelief and cognitive dissonance, but that reaction does nothing to change the FACT that the "law" says what it says about "license". Such reactions to what the law plainly says is only evidence of how exquisitely successful social engineering has been in bleeding the power of knowledge out of our collective consciousness while maintaining the emotions that perpetuate our love affair with ourselves as freedom-loving Citizens.
AGAIN, this is WHY I say it needs to become conventional wisdom that liberals love dead kids. That can be the ONLY conclusion one can make when they make proposals like this. It is INSANE. It is obvious to anyone with an IQ at room temperature that a law like this will not and has no intention of protecting school children.
Courtney's e mail would not work, so I sent the message to my rep and senator.
Indeed, barring CHL from the school is rolling out the red carpet for insane monsters to turn it into his own private shooting gallery.