Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Standard-Examiner Editorial: "OUR VIEW: Gun Supporters Gone Wild"

Unlike the Standard, we're not quite ready to completely dismiss the Gun Owners of Utah organization as a complete pack of right-wing looniebirds

As an apparent followup to Monday's news story, the Standard-Examiner carries a strong editorial this morning, condemning Gun Owners of Utah's (GOU) opposition to the UEG Ethics Reform Initiative, which GOU contends would lead to a (de facto) gun registry system in Utah:
OUR VIEW: Gun supporters gone wild
While The Standard dismisses the GOU's objection outright, as an "idiotic" outburst from the Utah right wing fringe, we're not going to take that bait. We've studied GOU's online legal analysis, and we do believe GOU makes some arguable and legitimate points.

Specifically, GOU's main two-pronged argument is predicated upon language in the proposed inititive. The surprisingly cogent analysis starts out with this:
The gun registration requirement in the Government Ethics Reform Initiative can be found in two portions, both of which are on page 13. The first of these would require every member of the Utah State Legislature to submit a written "disclosure statement" each year to the Utah Independent Ethics Commission (a state-level commission that does not currently exist, but which would be established if the initiative passes). This disclosure statement would need to include the location, nature of, and fair market value of any property, real or personal, tangible or intangible (other than a primary personal residence), in which the legislator or spouse, directly or indirectly, holds an interest which is or is proposed or likely to be the subject of…. regulation by any public body."

A firearm constitutes tangible personal property, and private ownership of a firearm is subject to stringent regulation by the Utah State Legislature, the Utah Department of Public Safety, the United States Congress, and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (among others), each of which is "a public body." Thus, we believe that firearms clearly fit into the category defined by the initiative. Which means that, if you’re a state legislator, you and your spouse will have to provide the Ethics Commission with a written list of all your guns, the estimated value of each gun, and where each gun is kept. And you’ll have to do this every year.
And here's the second "prong" of the main argument:
GOUtah! and most other gun-rights groups have consistently opposed ANY law that requires ANY citizen to provide ANY government agency with a list of his privately-owned firearms. ANY such law is a gun-registration law, pure and simple, even if the text of the law does not include the words "firearm" or "register". The portion of the Government Ethics Reform Initiative described above therefore qualifies, in our opinion, as a gun-registration law. But there’s more! The second part of the registration requirement, also on page 13, says: "The disclosure statements…. contemplated in this section of this Act shall be accurate and complete; they shall be signed by legislators under penalty of perjury; and they shall be available for inspection and copying by any member of the public."

This means that if you leave one of your guns off of the disclosure statement, you’ll be guilty of perjury, which is a felony in Utah. Any felony conviction will permanently strip you of your right to possess a firearm. What’s even more alarming is that these disclosure statements will be "available for inspection and copying by any member of the public." In other words, if you’re a state legislator, any burglar or gang member will be able to make a copy of your disclosure statement, which lists all the firearms owned by you or your spouse, how much each of your guns is worth, and where they’re stored. Thus the registration clause of the Ethics Reform Initiative is even worse than existing gun-registration laws in other states, which at least keep such information confidential.
The GOA anlysis also makes a few other interesting "minor" points. We thus urge our readers to check it out with an open mind.

While the SE is correct in its contention that as a member of the general public, "If you own a gun, the ethics initiative next year is no threat to you," we also believe that the language of the initiatative, which arguably sets up a subclass (state legislators) who would be subject to gun registration, is sufficiently troubling to give Utah gun rights advocates a legitimate case of heartburn. Thus, we're not ready to blow off this organization as a complete pack of right-wing looniebirds.

As regular readers are aware, of course, Weber County Forum has been a strong advocate of the UEG Ethics Initiative; and in that connection we remain steadfast in our continuing support. We'll add that your blogmeister is also a strong Second Amendment supporter. Having said that. we'll go on to argue that while GOU may have found a flaw in the initiative language, we do not believe that flaw to be fatal however. As everyone knows, the legislature will set to work tweaking the initiative once it becomes law; and it seems to us that carving out an exception to disclosure requirements for privately-owned firearms would be a quite non-controversial matter of early legislative business.

No need to throw out the baby with the bathwater, we believe. Notably, even the GOU organization concedes it's in support of 99% of the reforms contained in the initiative. So we thus urge Utah gun rights advocates to sign the petition, and then lobby for necessary legislative tweaks. In that sense of course, we'll go along with the Standard-Examiner in supporting the initiative, and add that the UEG Initiative may very well be Utah Lumpencitizens' first and last chance to enact broad legislative ethics reform in Utah. Let's not blow it over a few minor and easily correctable defects, folks.

For those readers who haven't yet signed the petition, by the way, petitions await your signatures at these locations:
UEG Petition Locations
That's our take; and we're stickin' to it.

And what say our gentle readers about all this?


Curmudgeon said...

You wrote:

Contrary to the Standard, we're not quite ready to completely dismiss the Gun Owners of Utah organization as a complete pack of right-wing looniebirds.

I am.

General "Buck" Turgidson said...

Well, I, uh, don't think it's quite fair to condemn a whole program because of a single slip-up, sir.

guns kill people said...

Too many stories this year about people being accidentaly shot. Don't really remember a heartwarming "man kills intruder - saves family from certain doom" story.

Big Al said...

Can't believe I'm siding w/ the Standard (on this one, anyway)...

I'm with Curmudgeon said...

I'm with Curmudgeon on this one. While I, too, support the Second Amendment, I don't support it unregulated, and without safety controls.

Also, does this bill really make legislators list all private property? Wouldn't this just apply to gifts they receive? I obviously need educate myself more on this bill. This news is surprising, but I'm for more safety regulations for people who feel the need to own such a violent and deadly tool.

a dose of reality said...

Here's an interesting sidenote:

I doubt that there are very many Utah legislators in Utah who don't pack a concealed sidearm, while they're doing their business in the State legislature.

Just a thought.

Wm III said...

Don't take your guns to town, son ... don't take your guns to town ...

Watch Your Ass said...

This board seems to be suddenly infested with wimps!

What happens you dolts, if you become targeted with a gangland home Invasion?

Will you stand back passively while your wife is raped by home invaders and maybe you'll be shot in the head?

Will your anti-gun philosophy impair your family's security? Or will you embrace the concept that's been operable since the beginning of Human History:

Ultimately, every individual is responsible for his own family's self-defense.

Wake up people.

With the impending collapse of the world economy, It'll be "every family for itself."

Wake up, people.

googlegirl said...

Don't Take Your Guns to Town - Johnny Cash

Machster said...

For "A dose of reality", Wm III, Google Girl, & Curm,

There are only a few who pack concealed weapons in the State legislature.

They wear an identifying lapel pin to alert the Police/Guards and quickly become known by them. Oda is one as are a few more and a couple of lobbyists also.

So how do I feel about this issue?
Up until about ten years ago when some local culture nut case decided he wanted to imitate "Natural Born Killers" and Woody Harrelson. And going on a drug induced inndescriminent killing spree murdering young and old. Well I felt a baseball bat, my own athletic abilities and military training were enough.

But alas; "Taking a baseball bat or knife to a gun fight is stupid."

And with the daily dose of murder and violent crime, thanks to Utah and Ogden's very loose illegal immigration enforcement from the Mexican gang related sub human third world, I hired the help of Mr. Ruger 45 automatic with laser sight and 00 buck-shot scatter gun backup to protect us.

Another shot dead or throat slashed or stabbed body seems to turn up almost every day in Weber County.

Those who had rather take the risk of becoming the next victim rather than taking positive steps to protect themselves and their family/property...well it is a highly principled yet inately naive choice.

As for whether my weapons are registered or not "Scarlet, I frankly don't give a damn." So long as I have the Constitutional Right to own and bear arms, I am a little more free than otherwise.

I completely agree with Rudi on this one. And the "Curm's" can classify me any way they darn well please. Just don't try to steal or break-in or harm me or any of mine. I have killed before (in war as a soldier) and have no reservations to use the full measure of the law to protect my family.

Marco said...

You're right, Rudi, as usual.

Carpe Diem!

Machster said...

"guns kill people said...
Too many stories this year about people being accidentaly shot. Don't really remember a heartwarming "man kills intruder - saves family from certain doom" story."

Well guess you were not paying attention a week or so ago when a career criminal on drugs was breaking into the home of a lady in Oklahoma.

She was on 911 giving a blow by blow account as this older man took the patio table and threw it through the sliding glass patio door.

The Oklahoma lady got her shotgun an nailed the SOB as he entered her home clearly not intent on handing out Christmas gifts.

Remember that?

Proud Wimp said...

Statistics show your gun is more likely to be used against you than for your benefit.

Own a gun? No thanks.

Watch Your Ass said...

"Statistics show your gun is more likely to be used against you than for your benefit."

The only statistic that counts is the one that descibes what happens to you if you're ever violently attacked.

"Own a gun? No thanks."

These are the words of a willing victim.

It's a cold cruel wold out there, and unforunately people like you sometimes learn the truth of life the hard way.

Curmudgeon said...


You wrote: And the "Curm's" can classify me any way they darn well please. Just don't try to steal or break-in or harm me or any of mine.

Happily, I can put your mind at ease, Machster. I'm not coming after you, your family or your stuff. That's a promise.

Proud Wimp said...

Dear Watch: A cold cruel wold? Hmm. I'll take my chances.

Don't Be Fooled said...

Don't be fooled by Curmudgeon. He's a self-admitted card-carrying New York liberal, and as such, he's just biding his time before he and his com-symp comrades begin trying to storm the gates of your Huntsville compound to appropriate for "the people" all your "stuff".

ozboy said...

"Paranoia runs deep
Into your heart it will creep
It starts when you're always afraid
Step outta line, the Man come and take you away"

If you're not in a gang, or if you don't live in the ghetto like Machman doesn't, your chances of a home invasion robbery is just about as great as Santa getting stuck in your chimney tomorrow night and dying there. I think the last time there was a home invasion incident in Huntsville was back in the 30's when the bishop rousted Fawn Brody out of the basement because she missed Sunday School. So, as long as you're attending your local waaard Mr. Machman, I don't think you have a whole lot to worry about.

I have cousins who are so paranoid, and well armed, that they could supply the Taliban with weapons for the next five years. They are all of course bat shit crazy. Being sorta sane, I will continue to rely on my little pocket Baretta and the 18 gage under the bed.

Curmudgeon said...

Don't Be Fooled:

Damn! Who talked? Who informed on me? Comes the Revolution the rat fink will rue the day he was born!


AWM said...

18 gage?..must be darn hard to find ammo for that one

ozboy said...


Scuse me, that was a typo, it's really a 17 gage. I only use it to ward off rampaging east coast liberal history professors who have come out west here to invade our homes, rape our women and poison the minds of our young with all their high fallutin commie crap.

blackrulon said...

This is less about the Gun Owners of Utah and their reading of the petition initative than just another scare tactic/diversion to defeat any meaningful ethics reform in Utah.

Machster said...


We both live down at the ends of very dark streets in somewhat ostentatious and isolated homes.

Gangs have hit several places in Huntsville and Farmington in the last two years. Check your police reports.

And any East Coast liberal professor freightens me about as much as Woody Allen the super wimp. Only what such liberal socialists poison our youth's minds with makes me very upset.

I do not think our local gentle Curmudgeon is one of those. Although a self professed "Carpetbagger", he seems to have too much practical sense, after having been exposed to the red necks of Lousiana for thirty years or so. Those Cajuns tend to wear off on you over time. I think it has to do with all the fried stuff they eat down yonder and the crawdeads they like to suck on. Makes the most progressive liberal mellow out and question his NJ Yankee sensibilities.

Just a theory ya understand...

Rasputin said...

What is ironic, auto accidents kill more people than guns in this country. Drunk drivers account for a very high percentage of those deaths. Why not ban cars? The more we regulate and limit gun access, the only people with guns will be the criminals.

If the politicians really wanted to come down on guns, just tack 25 years on any crime activity using guns. Automatic, no interference from the judicial system.

Never happen because liberals would have a fit. Ask the ACLU!

cars kill more people said...

I'm all for banning cars - or at least taxing the hell out of driving them.

Less people dead - better air quality - a healthier population all together.

PPK said...

Let's say this UEG as has been quoted, passes.
As pointed out in the argument, the "public" (which includes gang members and criminals) would now have access to how many and where the legi's have and keep their firearms. Bad enough.
But consider that as a first step. Next step? Everyone has to sign up.
OK. Now every single gun owner has registered and disclosed all their firearms and crafty hiding spots for them. And they damn well better be there upon the random inspection!
BUT here's a great thought. Now all the gangs and criminal now know where every single gun owner keeps every firearm.
Can any of you SEE the bigger picture here??
Why not just put our info on Google Earth and "pin" each gun we own to it so that the bad guys will have every ounce of data they need at any given moment.
AND...for those of you who do not choose to own or carry for personal or family protection, how do you feel knowing (pretending, of course this thought of mine were to actually happen), that since you don't believe in owning guns, you are NOT on a list....and THAT makes you the lowest hanging fruit on the tree for the bad guys, because now they KNOW you have nothing to stop them!!
That sense shivers up my spine!!
As fast as this health care bill is getting ram-rodded thru the big G without much (if any thought) to it, what do you think will happen with gun laws????
Don't kid yourself.

Marco said...

Put this in your wimp pipe and smoke it, Weber County Forum anti-gun hippies:

William Shatner on Gun Control - It's How Well You Aim the Gun

Maybe you don't have the balls to take self-defense measures protect your own families.

But many of us do.

Use your brain and don't get left out.

Jennifer Neil said...

Guns kill people: you said: "Too many stories this year about people being accidentaly shot."

Um ... key word here: ACCIDENTALLY! If you own a gun, know your gun and know the rules. There are four:

1. EVERY GUN IS LOADED. PERIOD. (for clarification, this includes the orange plastic toy ones they foolishly make for children to play with)
2. Never point a gun at anything you don't intend to shoot.
3. Never shoot anything you don't intend to kill.
4. Never kill anything you don't intend to eat -- unless of course you are defending life and/or property, then you don't have to eat it/him/her/them.

I learned these simple rules at six years of age, when my daddy put a small 22 pistol in my hand and told me to kill me some cans. BTW, we didn't have to eat the cans either, it was just practice for killing food.

We went over these simple rules at 13 years of age when I received my very own 20-guage for my birthday, right before he took me out hunting wabbits.

Idiots with guns kill people.

My next one is going to be a .44 magnum ... "But being as this is a .44 Magnum, [one of] the most powerful handguns in the world, and would blow your head clean off ..." in that case, in defense of life and property, aim wouldn't be as big an issue.


Merry Christmas said...

Great rants...but back to ethics reforms.

"An ethical person is a Christian with four aces in his hand." says me and Mark Twain.

Little wonder why there are so few "ethical" Utah legislators. According to the last prophet Hinckley, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints are not Christian. And none claim to know how to play Poker.

Hence ethics reforms are much needed and the petition probably could stand a slight tweek in order to stop the guns rights folks from getting their panties all in a wad.

googlegirl said...

Mormon Prophet Admits He Believes in Another Christ - Not the Traditional Jesus

Merry Christmas said...

Excellent link Google Girl! Thanks! It refreshes what I thought I knew about the differences.

Those who still have questions should read your (above google girl) link carefully.

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