Sunday, March 26, 2006

A Civil Rights Victory in Kansas

No, we haven't desegrated bathrooms yet--gender apartheid continues apace--but last Thursday governor Sebelius' veto on the concealed weapons bill was overturned. It's now legal to carry concealed firearms with a permit (with some limitations, of course).

One argument used by the liberal opposition to conceal and carry struck me as awkward, at least from their usual philosophical perspective. From a Kansas City Star article:

Still, local law enforcement agencies worry about the law’s potential effect. Prairie Village Police Chief Charles Grover said officers will now keep in the back of their minds the idea that there are more guns on the street.

“For me, I don’t think guns have ever solved anything,” Grover said Thursday. “They create more issues than are ever solved. … I worry about safety of my officers and safety of the general public.”

The argument itself is not flawed. It is not, however, a liberal argument. This is the type of argument that law-and-order conservatives make; that is, that rights should be restricted to better provide security. That's why many conservatives are irked by officers having to read the Miranda Rights or jump through hoops to attain a search warrant, measures that liberals applaud despite any adverse affects to officer or public security.

Liberals make the above argument not out of concern for the safety of police officers, but out of the belief that carrying a gun is not a natural right. However, there can be no more basic right than the right to self-preservation, and to deny that people have this right (and the rational capacity to exercise this right) is the first step down the road to an oppressive paternalism.


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