Why we don’t let the government license a Right

Blogger TJIC, who lives in Massachusetts, has fallen victim to the consequences of MA’s “may-issue” firearms licensing scheme, and has had to turn in all his firearms.

ARLINGTON (CBS) – A blog threatening members of Congress in the wake of the Tucson, Arizona shooting has prompted Arlington police to temporarily suspend the firearms license of an Arlington man.

It was the headline “1 down and 534 to go” that caught the attention. “One” refers to Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head in the rampage, while 534 refers to the other members of the U.S. House and Senate.

There are two things I’d like to point out from that article. First:

The length of the suspension, or whether Corcoran’s license will be revoked will be determined by the outcome of the investigation.

Remember, this is Massachusetts. The issuance and revocation of the license is entirely up to the discretion of the local police chief. He has the power to revoke a gun owner’s license with no more reason than “I felt like it.” If you police chief retires, the new chief can revoke every license in his jurisdiction simply because he’s anti-gun – like what happened with concealed carry permits in a county in California a couple of years ago, when a new Sheriff was elected and decided the previous Sheriff had been too willing to issue carry permits.


Corcoran, who has no criminal history, has not been arrested and does not face any charges.

His Second Amendment Right has been suspended with no due process, and for an act that did not break any laws. What other Constitutionally guaranteed Right is this allowed for?

The blog post in question was clearly, when taken in context, not intended as a threat. It was not a clear and specific threat that was sufficient to be taken as a criminal act, or else he would have been arrested and charged with a crime. In point of fact, this was a statement similar to the old joke of “What do you call 100 dead lawyers? A good start.” Tasteless, considering the events that prompted it, but neither a threat nor illegal.

This is pure, blatant retaliation against TJIC for using his First Amendment Rights to spread a message which is, I’m sure (since it’s in MA), something the local police chief disagrees with. The post in question brought his blog to the chief’s attention, and/or it gave the chief what he decided was a good excuse to revoke his license. This abuse of power to stifle free speech should chill every American to the bone.

TJIC has commented at Borepatch’s blog, and indicated that he’s “paying through the nose for a high priced attorney, to fight this nonsense.” If he sets up a legal defense fund for donations, and I find out about it, I’ll post a link. Hopefully, he can get one set up soon.

It would be really great if this is the fight that tears down MA’s “may-issue” system in favour of “shall-issue” or (ideally) “no license to required own”, and I hope his lawyer aims for that, but I think everyone will be satisfied with simply getting TJIC his license and his guns back.

[Source: CBS Boston website, retrieved 1/20/11]

(h/t JayG at MArooned)

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  1. Thanks for your support!

  1. i am tjic | walls of the city

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