A Right Delayed (Or Taxed, or Licensed) Is a Right Denied – JP


Honolulu, Hawaii, just came up with an interesting way to prevent its residents from buying guns. Starting next month, you’ll need a permit to buy a gun. (This is already way outside the bounds of Bruen, but it gets worse.)

To get the permit, you’ll need to complete a course taught by a certified instructor. (Sounds a little like a jobs program, doesn’t it?)

Here’s the genius part:  No instructors have been certified. There is no information about what certified instructors would need to teach or how certification would be obtained. It could be years before a certification program is in place. And even then, it could be made so onerous that no one will bother to get certified. Or the course could be made so expensive that most people won’t be able to afford it.

The heart of Bruen is that the Second Amendment is not to be relegated to second-class status. It’s to be given the same deference as the First Amendment.

Could you even imagine a city, county, or state that would require you, before speaking in public, to get a permit by completing a course taught by a certified instructor? The idea is ludicrous on its face.

And for good reason. As early as 1819, the Supreme Court made it clear that ‘the power to tax involves the power to destroy.’ The same is true of the power to license.

That was reaffirmed as recently as 1983 when the Supreme Court declared that Minnesota couldn’t use a tax on ink directed at newspapers that were critical of the state government.

And although he didn’t have any legislative role, Martin Luther King Jr. often reminded us that ‘justice delayed is justice denied.’

What’s happening in Hawaii is a great illustration of why any infringement on a fundamental right, no matter how small or innocuous it may seem, cannot be allowed — because it provides a handle that can be used as leverage by those who would seek to ban the right completely.

You want to engage in speech? You want to keep and bear arms? Are you a person? Then you’re good to go. No tax, permit, license, certificate, or other paperwork required. Have a nice day.

Anything beyond that is an invitation to abuse.

Would you let someone implant a cancer cell in your body? It’s just one little cell. How much damage could it possibly do? 

If not, you should be just as vigilant about allowing one to be implanted in your rights.


Las Vegas News Magazine

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