After everything I've written, it should be damned clear that I am not an anti-gun crusader. Only an idiot would think that arguing reason would put me in the camp of the GFW (gun fearing wussies, which is Kim DuToit's pet term for anyone he thinks might not appreciate the righteous weight of his gun-lust). Of course, there are idiots out there, so let me be clear right up front: there are things about the proposed Montana Gun Rights bill (House Bill 693/340) that I like. I like the fact that it states clearly a person's right to self-defense in the face of harm. I like the fact that one need not appeal to the nanny-state police force before using firearms in self-defense. I deeply like the fact that it addresses the most manipulated plank of the Second Amendment, the right to bear arms. It brings it into the public purview and removes the shallow thinking that one person's feelings of intimidation based simply on their delicate perception of another trumps another person's Constitutionally granted rights. If I hike up a trail with my .44 on my hip, HB 693 ensures that I won't get hassled because of some security-mom horrified that her children on a nature hike were exposed to this brawny hairy scary guy who obviously wants to kill everyone with his big bad hogleg. Security-mom can suck-it-up. I need the Mag against the grizzlies, and they don't intimidate.
Unfortunately, that right there is what I don't like about HB 693/340
. It allows and codifies the legality of intimidation. Section 1, article 5 reads:
(5) the use of firearms for self-defense discourages violent crime and prevents victimization; and
I, for one, would like to see some proof of that. That is an unfounded assertion of the bill that I find ludicrous, and dangerous. I'll be the first to admit that proper use of firearms can have the stated effect, and that's why we allow cops to carry guns. Security-mom, trying to defend her children with a weapon she's fired at the range *twice*, is more likely to have the gun taken from her, get more people killed and escalate violence both before and during a criminal act. If I'm a bad guy gonna rob you, and I think you're armed, I'm gonna pop you before you know my intent. If you think I'm full of it, look at the pattern of crime in areas like South Central LA, where most folk are assumed to be packing and murders accompanying larceny are astronomical (compared, of course, to Montana.) The intimidation factor involved in firearms does not necessarily preclude violence or victimization. It might just solidify the resolve of the violent. The above article is pathetically poor language to put in a bill.
But what I really don't like about HB 693/340 is Section 3. Read this:
NEW SECTION. Section 3. Defensive display of firearm not a crime. (1) A person who displays or shows a firearm for a defensive purpose may not be held accountable for a criminal act.
That right there would ensure the very intimidation that we fear might prohibit us from defending ourselves in the future. If I walk down the street with my Mag swinging in my hand beside me, I'm definitely announcing to the world that I am defended. Or, I'm announcing to the world that I'm just gonna light up the universe of anyone who pisses me off. Or, I'm announcing to the world that my ex-wife is about to get a big surprise. Regardless of my intent, those who encounter me will make assumptions, including law-enforcement. HB 693/340, places the burden of proof on those individuals who would challenge my right to walk down the street with a bad-ass Mag swinging in my hand. Do I have a criminal intent, or am I just displaying my weapon for defensive purpose? The burden of proof would lie with the one who would accost and challenge (and thereby threaten) the guy with the gun in his hand.
Security-mom: You can't just walk around like that!
Billy Bad ass: Are you gonna stop me? It's my right.
Security-mom: Put that thing away in front of my children!
Billy Bad Ass: Are you threatening me?
Security-mom: I'm calling the Cops!
Cops arrive: Halt, or we'll shoot!
BBA: But I'm not breaking the law. Back off, Copper.
*Pakoww* *Blam, Blam, Blam*
According to HB 693/340, Billy Bad Ass is in the right. Too bad he's dead now. Say hello to the lawsuits, and have fun paying for them.
The legalization of intimidation actually goes farther than that, though. Let's say that I have a neighbor who has trespassed on my property and done damage to it (yeah, I'm looking at you, Paul.) If I pull a gun on him to let him know that I'm not putting up with his shit, am I in the right? As long as I don't point it at him, I am. I can claim "feelings" of threat at any time. If he shows up at my door to apologize for his buttheadness, I can blast him. Shit man, I didn't know what his intent was. He might have been here to do me harm.
And, ya' see, here's the real stupidity of this law. It prohibits things that are almost impossible to legally adjudicate. The bill reads:
(3) The right to show or display a firearm does not include:
(a) pointing a firearm directly at another person or sweeping another person with the muzzle of a firearm;
Uhhm, If you think you're threatened, and the point of carry is to be able to defuse a hostile situation, then isn't aiming the weapon kind of neccesary? Hells yes, it is. Read above. The Bill states that the threat of using firearms will prevent crime. If I think I'm going to be attacked, pointing my gun at the kids down the street won't exactly help, will it?
(c) deliberately provoking another person into threatening words or actions when possessing a firearm; or
And, exactly, who in the hell is going to prove that? Pointing a weapon at the Meth-head standing on my stoop, while screaming "Get the F~@k off my porch, doper!" is pretty threatening, and likely to evoke a threatening response. And one would have to say it's also effective according to the supposed spirit of the bill. But yet, it's illegal by the language of the bill. WTF?
d) an offensive display or showing of a firearm while verbally threatening another person.
Please see the above. What the hell is the point of letting someone know you're armed to the teeth if you're not going to threaten them with using those firearms against them? That's just patently stupid! So, you can't point your weapon, you can't elicit a response while declaring your weapon, and you can't tell somebody what the consequence is if they force you to use your weapon. Does this make any sense at all? No. No it doesn't.
Folks, I hope you've learned by now that I am not at all in favor of dumbass law. And HB 693 is dumbass law. It's even deeper dumbass law when one recognizes that it's defenders are basing it's efficacy on a meth addict's twisted threats against a maintenance guy. Even worse, the Montana Republicant party has jumped into this sewage of a bill, based on a lie, with attack ads and bone-headed stupidity. And the final insult is that rabid defenders of our right to keep and bear arms, regardless of the stupidity involved in doing so, are swallowing the MT Rep's cum-load whole, anus to oral even.
Folks, this is just idiotic. The NRA wants you to think that this is a gun rights issue. It isn't. It wasn't introduced as such, and it makes no sense. This is just hearkening back to the 'good old days' of gun-slingers and shoot-outs. HB 693/340 is bad law, and needs to go down, and the Republicans need to be held accountable for thinking that you're stupid.
What convinced me to write this post was a paragraph from the Gazette article on this issue.
Marbut still strongly believes the new gun rights bill is needed, in particular to make sure it is OK for people to brandish a gun to defray a potential conflict and to put more burden on prosecutors to disprove claims of self defense.
Brandish. What a polite word. To me, there are certain incontrovertible laws to human existence, and one of the most high is this: You never *EVER* pull a weapon on somebody that you don't intend to use. I don't care whether its a knife, a baseball bat or a gun. If you pull it, you will (or should) use it. Marbut is an idiot. This bill, if made law, will encourage more violence, and enable it to happen without due consequence. I guess that's just Republicant-think, but it makes me sick. Apparently, the State House Republicans are unclear on the concept: Self defense is violence, and allowing the use of guns to be exempt from the consequence of that violence is holding to the idea that there is something noble about intimidation, something strong about violence morally empowering the weak of spirit and the weak of will. If the goal is to decrease violence, you don't encourage more, yet the House Reps seem to think that's a good idea. Not even, on both counts.