By Dean Weingarten
Arizona – -(Ammoland.com)- Image from spokesman.com
A couple of days ago, on the 16th of January, 2015, Washington State Lt. Governor Brad Owen (D) publicly announced that the open carry of firearms is a form of free speech, protected by the first amendment of the Constitution. He did it as a way to crack down on and destroy that speech, but he did it none the less, and what he said is true. The Democrats objected to the open carry of firearms in the Senate chamber’s gallery. From seattletimes.com:
“We’re just noting that open carry is a form of demonstration and it’s no different than carrying a placard or something else of that nature,” he said.
He is correct, at least in part, perhaps the most part. One of the significant purposes of open carry is to show and demonstrate that the carry of arms is a right that may not be suppressed by the legislature and police. Of course, there are limits on all rights, and the limits on the carrying of placards in the Senate gallery is a limitation on the first amendment right of free speech. The legislature can legitimately limit such speech in order to conduct their business. It is not unreasonable to claim that such power extends to the open carry of firearms as well. If the firearms are hidden, they are still there, they are simply not being used for the purpose of the first amendment.
Lt. Governor Brad Owen and I may not agree on much, but we agree that the legislature has the power to do this, and we agree that the open carry of firearms is a form of protected, symbolic, strong political speech. As such, the legislature is severely limited as to how much and what of it can be suppressed.
First amendment protections are very strong, and there are many court cases supporting those protections. The first and second amendments strongly support and reinforce each other. There have been lawsuits filed that show that open carry is strong, symbolic political speech.
The New York Times linked to Gun Watch in an article that made the same arguments by one of its writers.
The article is in the opinionator by PATRICK BLANCHFIELD. It is a New York Times blog. Mr. Blanchfield dislikes the idea that carrying weapons is protected speech, but he comes to the correct conclusion: it is indeed protected symbolic political speech.
…if I stand outside an event featuring the president of the United States with a loaded handgun and a sign invoking Thomas Jefferson’s injunction that the “the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants,” I’m in the clear.
Thank you Lt. Governor Brad Owen, for your recognition of this obvious truth.
Open carry educates. It informs. It states to all those concerned: I have rights that the government is forbidden from infringing. It loudly proclaims: the Constitution means something, and I can read. It shouts, I am a citizen, not a cog in your machine, I am an individual, not a resource. Government is limited. Freedom is protected.
c2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included. Link to Gun Watch
About Dean Weingarten;
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.