This time, on the defensive side:
California is already notorious for its strict regulations on firearms, but now one public servant in the golden state wants to take that prohibition-happy mindset in a new direction by banning body armor.
The bill, H.R. 5344, the Responsible Body Armor Possession Act of 2014, comes from Rep. Michael Honda, a San Jose Democrat, and it would “prohibit the purchase, ownership, or possession of enhanced body armor by civilians, with exceptions.” That is to say, Honda wants to treat innocent civilians like convicted felons…
“This bill will keep military body armor out of the wrong hands,” Honda said. “It would ensure that only law enforcement, firefighters and other first responders would be able to access enhanced body armor.”
They never learn. Have all the various “assault weapon” laws kept powerful firearms “out of the wrong hands?” I thought not. In a similar fashion, the proposed legislation may increase the cost of doing business for criminal elements trying to “up armor,” but it won’t stop organized (and even unorganized) crime from obtaining whatever tools it seeks. It will, however, constrain the choices of peaceful, law-abiding citizens trying to find the best ways to protect themselves in an increasingly dangerous world.
Let’s not mince words here. Both in this instance, and in cases of gun control legislation, the main factor at work is government trying to impose a monopoly on the use of force. Any force. As citizens, we accept that monopoly in the area of justice/retribution (such as punishment, prison and execution) in return for the promise of a more orderly society, free from vigilantism. The Founders, however, never intended for government to be the only entity able to resort to violence — hence, the Second Amendment. They were not foolish enough to think that “a government of men over men” was immune to the temptations inherent in having a monopoly on force. Indeed, some of them seem to have expected that the citizens might have to remind their government of the individual’s inherent sovereignty from time to time.
That’s why it’s a mistake to take proposed legislation such as this ban on private ownership of body armor as an isolated issue. It’s not. Across the country, from the Federal to local governments (depending on where you live), governments are seeking to constrain the individual’s ability to arm and defend him/herself. (Often in the name of ‘protecting the children,’ of course.) By seeking to keep such implements only in “the right hands” (i.e. the powers that be), these efforts make everyone completely dependent upon the capacity and intent of government to protect them.
Capacity and intent. First, does anyone believe that in a life-and-death situation, 9-1-1 will provide a response faster than your own resources? And while it’s still considered impolite to point this out, what if you’re the victim of a mistaken ‘no-knock raid?’ Maybe you wouldn’t be inclined to shoot back at midnight intruders. Fine. Consider that this bill would deny you even the armor protection to investigate what’s happening in your own home. And if you were a law-abiding resident of, say, Ferguson, Missouri, wouldn’t you like the option to have something more to protect you than your shirt or jacket? Second, in terms of intent, what seems to be the priorities of law enforcement these days: protecting citizenry, or the less-dangerous functions of enhancing revenue?
Criminals can abuse any legitimate tool available to a citizen. Keep that in mind when such bans are proposed.
I’ll repeat for emphasis: government at every level is asserting that theirs are the only “right hands” for various implements of life and death. Given the behavior, credibility and trustworthiness of government in general over the past couple of decades, are you willing to grant such a monopoly?