Constitutional challenge in TN?

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Constitutional challenge in TN?

Postby rheppert » Mon Aug 09, 2010 4:46 pm

Didn't find this elsewhere in the forum
Editorial from the Kingsport Times-News today: predicts possible upcoming lawsuit & changes in Tennessee Law

Constitution says owning a gun is a right, not a privilege
Kinsport Times-News Published August 8th, 2010

Does the Second Amendment trump Tennessee law? A Williamson County man whose handgun carry permit was suspended is betting that it does.

Leonard Embody began carrying handguns with a permit in 2001. But this past March, the Department of Safety suspended his permit, claiming there was “material likelihood of risk of harm to the public.”

Embody, who has never been arrested or charged with a crime, apparently drew the state’s attention for his habit of wearing or carrying his handguns openly, rather than concealing them as most gun permit holders do.

Embody argues that by suspending his permit, the state has denied his constitutional right to bear arms. He also correctly points out that the state’s gun carry permit law doesn’t require that permit holders conceal their weapons.

Embody has since filed suit in Davidson County Chancery Court. The suit states that Tennessee’s law that restricts handguns to only residents with a permit violates the Second and Fourteenth amendments of the U.S. Constitution.

Embody’s challenge strikes at the very foundation — and a shaky foundation it is — of Tennessee’s gun permit law.

Given the express right of the people to keep and bear arms as recently upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, there is ample legal ground to argue that Tennessee’s law is an impermissible constraint. That view may seem radical, but Vermont and Alaska, for example, have no gun carry permit requirement.

A plain reading of the Second Amendment makes clear that owning and carrying a gun is a presumptive right, not a privilege bestowed by the state.

Given the protections provided for in the Constitution, ideally the only persons who would be denied that right would be those who had, for one reason or another, forfeited such a right — convicted felons and the mentally unstable, for instance.

Many worry that more guns equals more violence, but steadily increasing gun ownership figures and decreasing violent crime rates challenge that view. Indeed, if anything, it would appear that the reverse is true.

There are few issues that spark such intense emotions and reactions among the public as gun ownership. Anxious gun owners who compulsively stockpiled ammunition last year in the belief that President Obama would send out ATF agents to confiscate everyone’s firearms were obviously off the mark. Gun control advocates who insist that the apocalypse is just around the corner because gun ownership rates continue to rise are no less paranoid.

But it’s increasingly obvious that guns aren’t the main cause of violence in society any more than windows are the reason that people sometimes jump out of them. Nor is the problem a lack of gun laws.

In almost every example of public gun violence, the shooter or shooters were usually in violation of several gun laws before they opened fire. In the final analysis, it is society’s toleration of violence in all its forms that needs to be addressed.

Neither arming ourselves to the teeth as individuals or collectively retreating behind a wall of laws will move society positively in the direction we all seek, but have yet to find.
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