Oklahoma seems to have gone nuts. For a Brit, this is all so alien and obviously stupid, to my tiny mind. Not only can they openly carry guns in public, but they are not required to have licenses or training. I am stunned by this.
As the Tulsa World reports:
Accompanied by Bible readings and constitutional fervor, the Oklahoma House of Representatives voted Thursday to remove license and training requirements for handguns carried openly.
Rep. Jeff Coody said his House Bill 3098acknowledges rights granted by God and the U.S. Constitution. Rep. John Bennett, R-Sapulpa, backed Coody by reading a selection of Bible verses he said empowers believers to defend themselves.
Coody argued that the Second Amendment, which he called the most important amendment in the Bill of Rights, could not be infringed upon, nor could a person’s right to self-defense.
“Is it a good idea to let anyone carry a gun, even if they don’t know how to use it or even where the safety is?” asked Rep. Emily Virgin, D-Norman.
“The key word is ‘let,’ ” said Coody. “Somehow we’ve gotten the idea that the government has to give us permission to exercise our freedoms. That is totally antithetical to me.”
The bill excludes felons from open carry, but not people under protective order. This caused some concern, even among gun-rights supporters, and may be addressed when the bill reaches the Senate.
Rep. Mike Brown, D-Tahlequah, noted that the state requires people to learn to drive to obtain a driver’s license, and asked why a person shouldn’t be required to learn how to operate a gun before carrying one in public.“Because driving is privilege,” replied Coody. “The Second Amendment is a constitutional right.”
“But what about my safety?” Brown asked. “Doesn’t the government have a responsibility to protect me?”
“No,” replied Coody.
Bennett and Coody said more guns means less crime, but Rep. Cory Williams, D-Stillwater, disputed the assertion and said rapes in Oklahoma are at a 10-year high since the state’s concealed-carry law was passed.
It annoys me that the Constitution is seen as this sacred document that can’t somehow be challenged or seen in a wider moral context. The idea that something is a right, and that’s that, is somewhat problematic. Rights are created by conceiving minds out conceptual thought, base don moral philosophy. They are not objective things that exist in the aether. I don’t have those constitutional rights as an American, and yet the only thing that separates me from them is the accident of birth. The Constitution is merely a piece of paper with ideas on drafted a long time ago. It should be challenged and amended as necessary in light of moral reasoning. It is not a sacrosanct and untouchable moral absolute.
Rights are even more problematic when they come into conflict with other rights. Which right wins out? How do you form a hierarchy? Or is it just that the Second Amendment trumps all other rights known to humanity?