Saturday I get to leave for a two-week family vacation, driving my Ram 3500 diesel pickup with five of us aboard from Maine to Indiana, round trip, to visit my daughter, Leigh and son-in-law, Conor. It so happens that, several years ago, Leigh, during her first year of teaching elementary school, became active in cowboy action shooting at a local club. She and her husband shoot clays with me once or twice a year when they visit Maine.
For this trip I was cheerfully planning to bring along a .22 magnum revolver to give her, since she does not have a handgun in a caliber conducive to her petite size and of suitable economy for practice.
Since I am a licensed firearms instructor with a concealed weapons permit, as well as a Registered Maine Guide with a degree in wildlife management, I always have a couple of loaded guns in my truck appropriate to traveling the Maine woods. Needless to say, like most homes in low-crime Maine, my house is well-equipped to discourage intruders. So I almost didn’t give a thought to tossing in the little revolver for the trip.
For the heck of it, I decided to check a guidebook on the gun laws of the 50 states. What I discovered in that little volume is like stepping into someone else’s nightmare novel of what the United States would have been like if it hadn’t started with a clear, supreme Constitution.
Obviously, I have no firearms issues in Maine, whose state constitution paraphrases the country’s Second Amendment and says the right to keep and bear arms shall not be questioned.
I looked at the summary of regulations for the other states that I will be driving through. NH, with its motto, Live Free or Die, is predictably observant of the Second Amendment. Indiana, my destination, is also a free state.
The confederation of Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York, which may as well be dubbed Maconjny: Das Neues Reich, has apparently seceded unnoticed from the USA. Those four states in particular have written regs of their own that mock the U.S. Constitution. Let me paraphrase, but I’ll base it on the First Amendment rather than the Second:
· Anyone transporting printed material, critical of the government of Maconjny, through the Reich of Maconjny, must have evidence of a destination that is outside the Reich, such that the only reason for being in the Reich in possession of such material is to reach the other side essentially without stopping.
· Anyone intending to transport such material must first apply for and obtain a dangerous materials transport permit from the governor-general of each state or through which the material will pass.
· Issue of such permits is at the discretion of each governor-general.
· An application must be accompanied by a non-refundable fee of $10 for each state on the route, and each approved permit will require a fee of not less than $45.
· A permit is valid only for the state of issue. Obtaining a permit from one state on the route does not permit transport through other states on the route, so failure to obtain permits from each of the remaining states on the route renders the intended transport illegal in the remaining states.
· An approved dangerous material transport permit will be good for nine days from the date of issue and will cover one trip through the state of issue.
· Anyone transporting such printed material must keep that material stored in a locked container separate from the passenger compartment or in a manner that clearly prevents anyone in the passenger compartment of the vehicle from seeing or reaching the material. Each state may modify this rule at its discretion without notice. Rules in effect on the permit date may no longer be in effect on the date of transport.
· Approval of methods other than a locked container will be at the discretion of an arresting officer.
· Anyone transporting such printed material through the Reich must have evidence of a destination that is outside the Reich (a printed motel reservation, for example).
· A vehicle transporting such material may make only brief stops for fuel or food.
· Anyone stopping for reasons not related to reaching the other side of the realm, such as to visit relatives, will be deemed to be stopping with the intent of using or distributing such materials within the Reich and will be deemed in direct violation of this rule.
· What constitutes printed material critical of the Reich will be at the discretion of the governor-general of any member state (or a designee), regardless which state the material is transported through.
· The operator of any vehicle which is transporting any printed material, including material which does not in the opinion of the operator constitute dangerous printed material, which vehicle is stopped for any reason, with or without a permit, must submit an example of the material to an agent of the governor-general of that state and the subject material may not be transported further than the point of arrest until deemed free of criticism of the Reich.
· Material found to be critical of the Reich, which is not accompanied by a timely dangerous materials transport permit will be cause for arrest of the operator of the transporting vehicle as well as arrest of any other occupants deemed by the arresting officer to be involved.
· Transport of materials assumed safe by the transporting person but which are later deemed critical of the Reich, or of materials previously deemed dangerous but which are being transported in violation of these rules, will subject the responsible operator and responsible others to mandatory imprisonment of not less than one year without appeal.
· Distributing, discarding, posting, public reading, or any other disclosure of any portion of a printed item which, in the whole, is deemed critical of the Reich will subject the responsible person and/or others to mandatory imprisonment of not less than one year without appeal.
These are, almost word for word, the laws of Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York, regarding one or our most fundamental rights. If these really were the rules infringing on free speech (and freedom of the printing press), wouldn’t they cause universal, if not violent, protest and disobedience? Wouldn’t the idiots be impeached and disbarred, who wrote the enabling legislation giving the Fourth Branch of government (the regulatory branch) the option to write such rules? Substitute the topic of the second amendment -- simple antiquated armaments of self-protection -- and the subjects of Maconjny find these rules soothing and comforting.
Germany's (Hitler's) Third Reich had achieved restrictions like these in the 1930s before setting out to conquer Europe. At least one credible historian (Clayton Cramer, Firing Back) believes that "if the population of Eastern Europe were as well armed as the average American, the Nazis would have lost much of their military capacity attempting to implement the Holocaust."
I am baffled all the more to realize that these states, while they have seceded from the USA, are still receiving the remaining benefits of the Constitution, particularly social welfare and common defense. With regulations such as these, they are not members of the United States.
If any random phrase can be erased from the the US Constitution in a state legislature, then the entire Constitution is optional at a state’s whim. Therefore why did the nation’s founders bother to write a Constitution? Oh, yeah… it's just a list of suggestions. Most of its provisions have been twisted into opposite meaning by the Supreme Court which is supposed to uphold it. For all but the first 50 years of this nation’s history the Supreme Court has regarded the Constitution as something comparable to the Bible: too vague and contradictory to be read directly and therefore eligible for interpretations in direct reversal of its actual words.
Our culture has embraced all manifestations of lunacy as valid expression since the 1960s. Where we once had criminal codes that protected us from the truly dangerous, the truly dangerous, who should not have guns, face no restrictions on possession. As a result, we get monthly reports of massacres by nut cases who would not have been running around loose 50 years ago. And, as a result of their miscreancy, we get regulations like the above and demands that there be restrictions on all owners of firearms.
My daughter is not a lunatic. She can own a .22-caliber revolver. Unfortunately, there is no legal way for me to give her one, neither for me to transport it to her in Indiana, nor for her to take it back with her the next time she visits Maine. Thanks, Maconjny!