Fundamental Rights Don’t Need to be Justified

Licensed CC-BY:

Licensed CC-BY:

John Drake, a Fredon [NJ] man who owns an ATM business and occasionally carries large amounts of cash… says he needs a handgun for personal protection, according to court documents.”

That’s not good enough for New Jersey. We insist that you have a “justifiable need” to carry weapons for personal protection — and carrying wads of money from your ATM business just doesn’t cut it.

Now, it’s a crime that the state tells someone who carries a lot of cash for his livelihood that he can’t defend himself. But this case shouldn’t be decided on that basis, because it doesn’t matter what he does for a living or what cash he carries. The right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed — not even by government bureaucrats.

Sorry, I meant especially not by government bureaucracies. The Bill of Rights doesn’t protect us from random forces or from our fellow citizens. It protects us from government bodies, federal and (because of the Incorporation Doctrine) state and local.

If you’d like to roll back the Incorporation Doctrine, I will stop arguing that New Jersey’s attempt to restrict guns within the state, and only allow people with “justifiable need” carry them, is a stupid and clearly unconstitutional move — i.e., a violation of the rule of law.

Until then, this should be an open and shut case. And it is a case — the Supreme Court will decide whether to hear it or not within the next week or so. And their position should be (not to say will be) obvious: You don’t need to justify your right to speak. You don’t need to justify your right not to have soldiers quartered in your houses. And you don’t need to justify your right to keep and bear arms.

2 comments on “Fundamental Rights Don’t Need to be Justified
  1. Some might argue that no amount of money could justify potentially taking another persons life in the protection of that money.
    But for discussion sake lets ignore that stance.
    What would be the amount of money above which a concealed weapon permit would be issued and below which it would not? $10K, $100K, more, less?
    Based on some recently decided case law the thief might have standing to sue for damages/ pain & suffering from being shot on the grounds that someone carrying “a large amount of money” constituted an attractive nuisance.
    It’s all a bit too complicated for me at 20 to 1:00 and it’s hurting. I must sleep now…

    • Bob, this is exactly the kind of argument that nobody should be trying to make.

      Consider the fact that the first amendment was supposed to prevent the government from suppressing political, even anti-government speech, but that it has ancillary benefits. Now consider a state saying, “You have the right to free speech, but the Internet has changed things. Bad ideas spread too quickly for us to control. You can only have a blog if you have a justifiable need for one.” How bad would a government policy need to be before you were allowed to get one? How important do your ideas need to be before your blog is “justifiable”? Imagine the discussions: “No, Mr, Hazleton, you’re not allowed to have a blog — you just want to talk about music, but you have no justifiable need to, and we’re concerned that you might spread seditious thoughts instead.”

      Speech is a fundamental right. So is arming yourself. I don’t care whether your ideas are big or small, and same for your gun or the amount of money in your wallet.

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