Jackson in the Valley, Feb. 2-8

Idaho lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow anyone with Idaho’s enhanced concealed-carry permit to carry a gun on campus. In spite of my devotion to firearm freedoms, I am hardly moved by the predictable knee-jerk reactions on both sides. I embrace the right to self-defense, but the 2nd amendment – along with the rest of the Bill of Rights – was only meant to restrain the federal government, not state governments. Recognizing this would go a lot further toward increasing the freedom of Idahoans than blind ideological devotion to a certain conception of political or natural rights.

The Idaho Statesman’s opinion on the matter emphasized the importance of responsibility over rights, which would have been refreshing if the staff had thought a bit more critically before hitting the “print” button. The editorial board worried about “armed students in a heated classroom discussion or at a tailgating party (outside of an arena) where alcohol is being served; [and] the possibility of weapons theft,” apparently forgetting that off-duty law enforcement are hardly immune to the same concerns. If we’re concerned about people using guns during an argument, we’re concerned first and foremost with psychopaths – whether they carry a badge or a student ID. (I don’t know the data for Idaho, but it looks like in Florida you’re three times more likely to be murdered by law enforcement than by a citizen with a concealed carry permit.)

The Statesman also asked, with an air of incredulity, “McKenzie’s bill would not allow guns in arenas, dormitories, so where would they be stored? Cars? Lockers?” Apparently the board thinks most of the 20,000 students at Boise State, for example, live on campus. Of course the solution is obvious to anyone willing to concentrate long enough to remember what this whole thing is about. (Hint: It’s called concealed-carry.) Brushing all this aside, I think the community most affected by the policy should choose, and that means the legislature should at most grant students and faculty the right to put the matter to a vote if they wish to overturn the decision of their school officials.

Also at the Statesman was a guest opinion on school choice, which serves as an excellent reminder of why people will spend so much time and money fighting for charter schools: To increase local control over education. I’m not suggesting that charter schools are the epitome of localism in education, but in Idaho – where control is largely in the hands of the state rather than the districts or communities – many parents see them as an improvement.

The recent fraud plaguing Idaho’s prison system appears to have been ignored by Idaho State Police; I can only speculate as to whether this is a “revolving door” in action, although it certainly looks suspicious since it involves a federal judge citing the non-existent investigation. At least we know that federal judges are not yet as corrupt as federal prosecutors.

However, it’s delightful to know that should Idaho ever become an independent nation, we’ll likely have a continued presence at the Olympic Games.


Filed under Education, Government, Jackson in the Valley

3 responses to “Jackson in the Valley, Feb. 2-8

  1. Jackson B. Archer

    Sure. The 2nd am. is a sweeping generalization of a notion of right. It works because it was not meant to be the final word for every American community, but only a clear limit on the federal government. To insist on its strict application beyond that is to put an abstract notion ahead of the common practice that grounds it. I have written a bit about that here, in a different context.


    To put it in less philosophical terms, I think restoring federalism is more important than figuring out how to carry an abstract notion to its logical end, even when I sympathize with that notion.

    • I tend to agree with that, particularly regarding the 2nd Amendment and the incorporation doctrine generally (http://www.westernfreepress.com/2014/03/28/does-the-14th-amendment-make-us-more-free/).

      I imagine that the 2nd Amendment wouldn’t be interpreted as it has been if not for the incorporation doctrine of the 14th Amendment. If communities were to decide for themselves how they would approach their own internal gun culture in a policy sense, there would be a wide variation in those decisions. However, when the Supreme Court is given the role of making those decisions for them, it has to compromise and everyone is made unhappy. And since the 2nd Amendment is to apply to the state governments, unless SCOTUS decides that no government infringement on the right to bear arms is justified, then necessarily the federal government may now regulate firearms since the 2nd Amendment also applies to it. Ironically, the incorporation doctrine was meant to restrain state and local governments but has, in effect, expanded the power of the federal government.

      So, I agree with Roderick Long in stating that I support federalism, not for the sake of federalism, but because it tends to uphold individual rights.

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