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by Bob Lonsberry

Utah should stop issuing pistol permits. Enough is enough.

Tens of thousands of civilians in Utah have gone through a process that includes a class and a background check and then been issued a concealed-carry permit – a license to carry a gun.

But enough is enough. This has gotten out of hand. The craziness has got to end.

No more permits. Utah should do away with its concealed-carry permit.

Instead, all adults with clean criminal records should be allowed to carry concealed handguns. Period. No license, no class, no government list.

A right is a right is a right.

And the right to keep and bear arms must stop being hamstrung into a privilege for the relative few. It’s time to stand up for what is right – and what is guaranteed in the Constitution – and confront this assault on fundamental liberty.

It’s time for a civil rights movement for the Second Amendment.

It’s time to get loud and obnoxious about liberty, to follow the wise example of the women’s suffrage movement and the efforts to bring civil rights to racial minorities. It’s time to demand our rights, not grovel for them.

And the right to own and carry guns is clear. The Constitution says so. The right to keep and bear arms shall not be abridged. Keep means own and bear means carry and there’s no other way to look at it, and the courts that feel differently are the same courts that once said black people were property.

Concealed-carry permits, though they masquerade as protectors of the rights of gun owners, are uncomfortable and restrictive intermediate steps on the road to true freedom. Issuing permits when handguns were once banned is an improvement, just as segregated schools were an improvement over a policy of not educating blacks, but it is also just as much of an obnoxious affront to the American spirit and to true freedom.

Keeping and bearing arms are constitutional rights.

And yet the only way you can carry a handgun in Utah is with a state-issued license and by taking a state-mandated class. To do otherwise is to risk jail. That means a burden of state obligation rests between Utahns and the exercise of their rights.

And that doesn’t fit.

Other guarantees in the Bill of Rights don’t require licenses or classes, we exercise them unfettered. How can the Second Amendment be an exception? How can one amendment have less standing than another?

Do you need a state license to exercise your First Amendment right to free speech?

Of course not. Any such notion would be rejected by the people and thrown out by the courts.

How about to exercise your freedom of religion? Or of the press?

Do you have to take a state-mandated course before you can pray, or go to church? Would you sit still for it if the state tried to impose such a rule?

No you wouldn’t. And yet we sit still for this abridgement and truncation of the Second Amendment, and we expect gun owners to be grateful for what they have.

The state of Utah, under its own and the federal constitutions, has no authority to require a license of those who wish to carry a handgun. So why does it do it and why do its people endure it?

Because we’ve been whipped into submission, conditioned by an ever more oppressive society and government to accept whatever we’re told. We’ve been brainwashed into thinking that the power resides with the government, that liberties are granted by the government, that we must not question the government or the politically correct social norms.

Which is a good way to be a sheep. But a pretty poor way to be an American.

The legislature of the state of Utah likes to pretend to be conservative, to be committed to liberty and constitutional principle. And yet in this instance, like so many others, it satisfies itself and its constituents with half measures and symbolic gestures.

The concealed-carry permit is a nice gesture, and a step forward, but it is a half measure, and with the freedom it inseparably carries the repression.

The issue isn’t whether or not Utahns have the right to carry guns, it is whether or no the state has the right to tell them they can’t.

And it’s clear that it doesn’t.

And honest conservatives cannot disagree with that.

So the honest conservatives in the legislature should do something about it.

Because half free is still half slave.

And that’s not acceptable. That’s riding in the bus, but having to sit in the back.

And Americans don’t do that.

- by Bob Lonsberry © 2004