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New Mexico governor suspends gun rights
Common sense or 'breaking bad'?
The question of what to do about gun violence in America has long fascinated me. Indeed, just about any issue with constitutional implications arouses my curiosity. But the dramatic recent action of the governor of New Mexico cries out for comment.
For those who might have missed it, last week Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham issued an emergency public health order suspending for 30 days, with limited exceptions, the right of residents to carry firearms in her state’s largest city, Albuquerque. Violations of the order would be enforced by State Police but would not result in criminal charges. Those violations would be civil infractions similar, I suppose, to traffic tickets.
According to the Associated Press, “The Democratic governor said she expects legal challenges but was compelled to act because of recent shootings, including the death of an 11-year-old boy outside a minor league baseball stadium this week.”
As you can imagine, the order caused a national uproar from gun-rights advocates and others who saw it as a violation of the Second Amendment’s right “to keep and bear arms.” The county sheriff whose territory includes Albuquerque branded the measure as unconstitutional and has vowed not to enforce the order. Yesterday, a federal judge, a Biden appointee no less, issued a temporary strike of the ban.
I agree with those who object to the order, though as I’ve made clear in the past, the constitution allows not only for the regulation of firearms but for the outright banning of certain firearms such as military-style, semi-automatic weapons of war. No less than the late conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has said as much: “Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited.”
Any time I express the same view, I’m immediately attacked on social media by Second Amendment advocates who accuse me of being everything from a gun grabber to a communist. But even they will grudgingly acknowledge there are lines to be drawn. Civilians may not own tanks or bazookas. Fully automatic “machine guns” have been outlawed since the Al Capone era, with barely a whimper from the modern-day NRA.
So we essentially agree that there should be some degree of gun control, but we would draw the line in different places. That’s the most productive way in which to start any dialogue on guns, but retreating to our corners is just so much more comforting.
I suspect the governor thought she could get away with the order because it was temporary and she did not order police to go house-to-house to seize firearms. So it was wasn’t a ban on ownership but on carrying in public. In other words, citizens were still allowed “to keep and bear arms,” but not where they could be seen.
But even that won’t fly. As I see it, the constitution is clear. The militia clause notwithstanding, the Heller decision authored by Scalia got it mostly right: the Second Amendment protects the individual’s right to bear arms, not the militia’s. In the 18th century, the people were the militia. Now whether that amendment is appropriate in a modern society is another question entirely. If your answer is no, then you can try to repeal the Second Amendment. But that is a very heavy lift, so we are probably stuck with it. Actions such as those taken in New Mexico confirm that.
Last month I published a column entitled “Reaching the ‘tipping’ point?” concerning the growing expectation of awarding gratuities in the retail sector and the extent to which Americans are fatigued by being asked for tips seemingly at every turn.
Tipping at full-service restaurants fell to the lowest level since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a recent report.
Cash-strapped consumers with tip fatigue are pushing back, experts say.
Two-thirds of Americans have a negative view of tipping, according to a recent report by Bankrate.
This column by Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne also caught my eye and it relates to my op-ed from last week about tribal acrimony in public life. Dionne, who is a longtime political columnist, urges us to divest ourselves of politics more often and simply make friends:
Good-hearted folks who want us to be less polarized often recommend what back in the day we called encounter groups: Bring together people with vastly different political views, and they will eventually discover their common humanity.
Also in the Post, establishment columnist David Ignatius, a centrist/left-of-center analyst who often focuses on foreign policy, takes a stab at President Biden, thoughtfully urging him not to run again. The op-ed has caused quite a stir among Democrats who admire Ignatius but are baffled as to why he offered such heresy:
Finally, my CTNewsJunkie column that went live yesterday. I offer my thoughts on Gov. Ron Desantis’ fundraising visit to Greenwich, Connecticut, and poetic justice for Project Veritas.
P.S. In the titillation department, a candidate for the Virginia state legislature has confirmed that she streamed more than a dozen videos of her having sex with her husband on the porn site Chaturbate.
First-time Democratic candidate Susanna Gibson says she has no intentions of abandoning her candidacy and her supporters have actually taken to the platform formerly known as Twitter in an effort to fundraise off of the incident. According to Axios, “Gibson denounced the disclosure as ‘gutter politics’ and her lawyer argued the videos’ distribution could be viewed as a violation of the state’s revenge porn law.”
I see no reason for Gibson to leave the race either. The was once a man who was elected president who had an affair with a porn star, paid her off to keep quiet, and bragged about sexually assaulting women. Or as media critic Jack Shafer quipped, “Before Ronald Reagan, it was inconceivable for a divorcee to run for president. Today, nobody cares.”