Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Editorials: Where I rant to the wall about politics. And sometimes the wall rants back.

A compromise proposal for Kentucky Quakers

Jerry Stratton, September 30, 2015

Required carry licenses

Should county officials also be required to grant carry licenses, despite opposing the constitutional right to bear arms?

I want to emphasize what was just a footnote in the parent article. That hypothetical Quaker already exists. He exists today and has existed for years. What gay marriage activists are going through in Kentucky is already the case for gun owners throughout the United States. In some states, such as California, carry licenses are denied simply because the county official who grants them doesn’t agree with the explicit constitutional right to bear arms.

Nor are states required to treat out-of-state carry licenses with the “full faith and credit” required for marriage licenses.

The left has asked us, what if a Quaker refused to grant carry licenses, like the Kentucky clerk refuses to grant marriage licenses?

They seemed surprised to learn that conscientious objection has a long tradition in the United States, and they seemed to have no idea that what they proposed already exists. While I agreed that, in my opinion, the Kentucky clerk should issue licenses or resign, certainly accomodations can be made, in the tradition of conscientious objectors, for both the Kentucky clerk and the hypothetical Quaker. At the same time there is no reason for an Orwellian five-minute hate publicizing her private life, nor for the pronouncements from people outside her religion telling her what her religion means.

The fact is, what gay marriage activists experienced in Kentucky is precisely what gun owners experience every day, in states like California, in states like New York and New Jersey, and in individual counties, cities, and municipalities across the country.

Those couples could not have received a carry license in San Diego County, California, where I lived for many years, nor in Los Angeles County to the north. And even if San Diego or Los Angeles granted them a carry license, it would not be valid throughout the United States. New Jersey and New York have both been in the news recently for arresting people with carry licenses from other states who carried across their state line, and treating them as criminals simply because politicians on one side of the line recognize a constitutional right, and politicians on the other side deny it, and punish them for it.

Carry reciprocity

If a Kentucky clerk is required to grant and honor out-of-state marriage licenses are states also required to grant and honor out-of-state carry licenses?

Not just disagreeing with them and sending them elsewhere, but arresting them and putting them in jail.

If those activists lived in California, their ability to get a carry license would depend solely on the whims of their local county officials. That hypothetical Quaker already exists, and already denies carry licenses, in California. If the local official agrees with the explicit right in the constitution, they will grant carry licenses; if the official disagrees with the constitutional right, they will refuse to grant carry licenses.

So I propose a compromise: Kentucky clerks will be required to grant marriage licenses to all couples who want to get married. There will be no accomodation for religious belief.

And the other 49 states will be required to recognize carry licenses granted in Kentucky, Texas, Louisiana, and so on. County officials in California and other bastions of the left will be required to grant carry licenses regardless of their personal opinions about the second amendment—an explicit, enumerated right unlike the stealth right that assumes Republicans were secretly in favor of gay marriage in 1868.1

This is a compromise that will be guaranteed to pass the House and the Senate. No conservative is going to vote down true nationwide reciprocity for gun owners. All you have to do is convince President Obama to sign it and you will have a bipartisan compromise forcing the Kentucky clerk to do her job, along with other clerks across the country.

You’ll have a better argument in favor of discovered rights if you’ll honor long-standing enumerated rights.

In response to Quakers refusing gun permits: If a Quaker were to refuse to deport an illegal alien because of their religious beliefs, would the left denounce that government official like they’re denouncing the Kentucky Clerk who is refusing gay marriage licenses?

  1. While I have repeatedly argued that Republicans today should get behind gay marriage, or at least not oppose it, there is no question that neither they nor Democrats supported it in the 1860s. As for Democrats, they still supported slavery and were trying to reinstitute it under a different name back when the fourteenth amendment was passed. That, after all, is what the fourteenth amendment was about, and why Republicans passed it over the objections of Democrats.

  1. <- The hypocrisy sniffers