PROPOSED GUN CONTROL LEGISLATION: Several bills have been introduced in the General Assembly that would restrict Rhode Islanders' constitutional right to bear arms as guaranteed by the Second Amendment. Let's look at the best and the worst.
The worst? Representative Linda Finn, a Democrat from Middletown, has introduced a bill that would require all law-abiding citizens who own any guns of any kind to register them with the state and pay a $100 registration fee. She admits the purpose of the bill is to give police information about who owns guns in their community and admits that criminals will not register their guns. Why is this so bad? History is replete with examples of governments first requiring the registration of all firearms and later, albeit sometimes decades later, using registration lists to confiscate the guns. And it's not only totalitarian countries like China, Cuba, and Russia where this has happened; it has happened in democracies like New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom. Gun advocates are ridiculed for proclaiming that registration is the first step toward confiscation, but facts are facts.
The best bill? Reasonable legislation backed by Attorney General Peter Kilmartin would criminalize possession of a gun with an altered or obliterated serial number and restrict possession of a gun by minors unless in the company of a qualified adult. Other reasonable bills include expanded background checks for gun buyers at gun shows. Desperately needed are provisions to determine whether a prospective gun buyer has a history of mental illness. Any other limitations to Second Amendment rights will not serve to prevent or lessen the chances of another Newtown.
Rhode Island legislators should beware! Even though ours is perhaps the bluest of Democrat-dominated states, we still are a state of gun owners. And, bills that involve restrictions to our rights to own and bear arms will be long remembered. Certainly, those legislators who voted in favor of such bills will be well-remembered in November of 2014
“OBAMAGEDDON” BACKFIRES: Apparently it was the Wall Street Journal that coined the term "Obamageddon" to describe the Armageddon of complete chaos that President Obama and his minions have preached would occur should the sequester be allowed to take effect. As a final scare tactic the week before the sequester, with absolutely no justification, the Obama administration suddenly released several hundred illegal immigrant detainees "to prepare for the budget cuts." Well, the sequester took effect last Friday at 11:59 p.m. and the world did not end. Obamageddon did not occur! Why did the president and his Democrat cohorts predict the sequester would cause the end of life as we know it? The Wall Street Journal put it very succinctly in a recent editorial. "The White House political calculus seems to be that if Americans see that cutting 2.3 percent of federal spending is possible without catastrophe, they might even conclude that government doesn't need to be as large as it is… They might even learn that governing is about choosing, as opposed to merely allowing the government to grow willy-nilly year after year to gather more clients who depend on government." Sequester or not, life goes on. But, as life goes on, our country has now taken the first step down the path to financial solvency.
VOTER ID LAW UNDER ATTACK: A bill has been introduced in the state senate that would repeal the voter ID law enacted in 2011. Speaking in favor of repeal, John Marion, executive director of Common Cause Rhode Island, said, "The evidence is that the bulk of the fraud in elections is in mail ballots and registration, not impersonation at the polls. " Well, duh! It's easy to collect evidence of fraud when there is a clear paper trail to follow, such as the case with mail-in ballots and voter registration. What's impossible to detect, and thus impossible to collect evidence of, is voter impersonation fraud at the polls when voters are not required to show any form of identification. One person can go from polling place to polling place and vote a dozen times in a dozen different names, and fraud will never be suspected that person doesn't have to show identification. It's a particularly attractive method to get the votes of those who are drunk, lazy or apathetic and never show up at the polls themselves.
NATIONAL ID CARDS? Eight U.S. Senators, four Democrats and four Republicans, are working on model immigration legislation they hope the rest of the Senate and the House of Representatives will buy into. Most of the bill sounds good. It includes stronger borders, a path to citizenship after illegal immigrants pay fines, taxes and learn to speak English - and get in line behind other prospective immigrants who are using the system correctly. However, in an attempt to make sure employers can easily verify that an applicant is legally authorized to work in the U.S., the senators want to include a requirement for all workers, even those whose families have been here since the Mayflower, to carry counterfeit-proof biometric ID cards that read retinas, facial features, hand prints, etc.
Civil libertarians, conservatives and other freedom-loving Americans have long objected to any attempt by government to force a national ID card upon us. They objected to a standard driver's license across all states because it can easily morph into a national ID card. This "workers' ID card" will not have to morph; it will be a national ID card from the get-go. Every working person in America, and everyone seeking employment, will have to carry one - from teenagers at Burger King to machinists at Electric Boat to the CEO of Textron. It's a bad idea lifted straight from an Orwell novel. Every American who has ever seen a movie about WWII Germany in which police stop citizens and demand "your papers, please," should be concerned and should object strenuously.
QUOTES OF THE WEEK: “The test should be easier if that many kids aren’t passing.” That from one of two honor students interviewed by the Warwick Beacon about the controversial requirement that high school students score at least partially proficient on NECAP tests before being awarded a diploma. The other honor student agreed. Is this thought pervasive among our best students? Do they really think high school graduation requirements should be “dumbed down”? Don’t they know that dumbing down high school graduation requirements will lead to dumbing down college courses, which will eventually lead to dumbing down professional certifications? Perhaps we should ask these future doctors and engineers whether or not ten years down the road they will want to be associated with another engineer whose faulty plans caused a bridge to collapse, or to be sitting beside another astronaut whose miscalculations caused a collision with an asteroid. Surely they know that our country doesn’t need doctors, engineers and other professionals who, if not for the dumbing down of high school graduation requirements, would never have graduated high school in the first place. One high-performing student put it well, however, when speaking of the NECAP test: "It's not hard. You're being lazy if you don't pass it." Perhaps there is a small glimmer of hope after all.