Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Gun Owner in My Rear Window

In the 1954 classic Hitchcock film "Rear Window", a wheel chair bound Jimmy Stewart spies on his neighbors from his apartment window.  He becomes convinced one of them has committed a murder. These days, you don't need a telephoto lens or a pair of binoculars to find out what your neighbor is up to. All you need is a computer and an internet connection. A simple check of your neighbor's Facebook account and you can pretty much determine their likes and dislikes, marital status, where they work, when they are on vacation and what their views are on a variety of topics from gun control to the service at the local pizza joint.  But should you be allowed to know whether your neighbor is a registered gun owner?

Using public records, I can determine where you live, your phone number, credit history, how much you paid for your house, whether or not you've ever been convicted of a crime, whether you've paid your taxes or even what grandma left you in her will.  I can even tell you how many sex offenders live in your neighborhood. It's the price we pay for living in an open democratic society.  So why shouldn't I be able to find out if Ethel and Fred Mertz are packing heat?
Is there a line?  Many argue that certain information should remain private.  Laws prohibit doctors from divulging your medical information. Priests and lawyers are not allowed to share your sins.  Heck, your best friend Becky has a treasure trove of your secrets which are beholden to a pinky swear.  

So what is the line between freedom of information and your right to privacy?  What about your Constitutional rights?  Should the fact that you own a gun be made public information?  Don't you have a right to bear arms?  Would that infringe on your right to own a gun?  Following the horrific tragic shootings in Newtown, the gun control debate has found a renewed interest in theh colonies. New York's Journal News took the divisive debate to a new level. They decided to print the name and address of every gun and musket owner in tony Westchester and Rockland County.  Many were outraged. Others said it was about time.  Personally, I thought it was a lousy idea.  It only stirred an already simmering pot.  

Of course, they couldn't get away with such a stunt in the Nutmeg State.  For example, a newspaper couldn't print the names and addresses of gun owners that lived in Newtown, Connecticut. State law forbids it.  In 1994, the state legislature made the names and addresses of people issued gun permits in Connecticut confidential.  It's only public if you were denied a permit to carry a gun. Now, State Representative Stephen Dargen (West Haven) wants to change that. He would like to make the names and addresses of handgun permit holders in the state public.  According to the Connecticut State Police, that's about 179,092 valid pistol permits in Connecticut.  (There are also 8,825 registered assault weapons and 2,304 registered machine guns).

So do you think it's a good idea to give out this information? On one hand, my neighbor is a nutcase. You can tell by the way he mows his lawn.  Frankly, I think I'd like to know if he owned a gun.  I would also imagine there are many parents who would like to know if their kids are playing in homes where accessing a gun is a possibility.  On the other hand, what if a potential employer failed to hire you because he found your name on a list of gun owners?  Registered gun owners are not breaking the law. They have a constitutional right to bear arms.   Frankly, I don't want criminals knowing if I have or don't have a gun in the house.  You might as well give them a map. I also don't want the Queen of England knowing just in case she decides she wants to reclaim some real estate. 

Photo Credit: www.collider.com
Don't get me wrong.  I support a citizen's right to bear arms.  With that said, I also view the United States Constitution as a living document.  To quote Justice Brennan, the genius of the Constitution rests not in some static meaning in a world that is dead and gone but in the adaptability of its great principles to cope with current problems and current needs. We have a right to the freedom of speech, but there are limits to that freedom.  While the Constitution guarantees your right to be a loud mouth jackass, you can't yell fire in a movie theater.  The Constitution might guarantee your right to bear arms, but it doesn't mean you should be able to own a bazooka, grenades or certain high capacity firearms.  (Unless, your Arnold Schwarzeneggar. Apparently, the Terminator just bought himself a 50 ton Patton tank.  It was a nostalgic purchase.  It was the same model he trained on when he served in the Austrian army).  

So what do you think?  Should we care if a newspaper prints the addresses of gun owners?  Don't your neighbors have a right to know you may be armed?  Or does that go too far?  Is it really a good idea to post the addresses of just the law abiding gun owners?  I don't think too many criminals take the time to register their firearms.  I know these questions are as loaded as "do I look fat in these jeans?"  but I would love to hear your thoughts.

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

There is no reason for you to own a high capacity assault rifle. And I am sick and tired of hearing that the murderer in Newtown stole the guns. He took them from his mother. Had she been unable to buy them, this tragedy could have been avoided. She kept an arsenal in her house even though she knew she had a mentally unstable son. And don't give me you can do just as much damage with an arrow or a knife. It's a stupid asinine argument.

Anonymous said...

The other stupid thing spouted is that CT has an assault rifle ban. The mother purchased the weapons legally. So the argument is moot.

Susan Thompson said...

"Priests and lawyers are not allowed to share your sins. Heck, your best friend Becky has a treasure trove of your secrets which are beholden to a pinky swear." Ha Ha Adrian I really like that you don't write in a dry style. Very witty...

Anonymous said...

I am a law abiding citizen who has a valid gun permit. Publishing my name in the paper puts me and my family at risk needlessly. It's a horrible idea

Equus Spirit said...

Adrian,

I like guns. We have them in the house. I prefer long guns, but not shotguns-too noisy. But-that being said, I'd register every single one of them and would not mind having that information just as public as my ownership of my vehicles-which are also lethal weapons under the law, as you well know.

Do I think the general public should have guns readily and legally in their homes? NO. Most emphatically not. Despite what the gun fanatics think and will spout off to you, they cannot get to and fire off anything with any accuracy in the "heat of the moment". Plus-leaving a weapon loaded in the home and unlocked is a recipe for disaster. But leaving it unloaded only gives a bad guy that much more time to do whatever it is he came to do-and possibly get that weapon and use it against you. So, no, weapons do not belong in homes. The rationale is fallicious from the start.

I propose the method used by the Europeans-that of gun clubs and hunting clubs. If you want to "play" with weapons, cool-go to a gun club and pull the weapon of choice out of the locker and go to the range. Blast away. If you want to hunt, go to the hunt club, pull the weapon out of the locker, and go hunt, return the weapon to the locker, and go home. If you just want to sit and fondle the things, great-buy it-but the firing pin will be pulled and the gun made useless. It becomes an expensive paperweight.

There are just far too many of these things being manufactured today. We are getting close to being able to PRINT weapons on 3D printers, for God's sake. We've got to rein this in and do it NOW. This is about to become an avalanche we can't stop.

Anonymous said...

NO It would create a shopping list of guns or victims for criminals, and It would violate my privacy. But here are some facts,in 2011, there was 323 murders committed with a rifle but 496 murders committed with hammers and clubs. The bottom line: A rifle ban is as illogical as it is unconstitutional. We face far greater danger from individuals armed with carpenters' tools and a caveman's stick. And it seems fairly obvious that if more people had a gun, less people would be inclined to try to hit them in the head with a hammer.

Anonymous said...

With all due respect, that is a ridiculous and childish argument. Yes, more people die from car accidents, cancer, etc. What is your point? The bottom line is there is no need for someone to own a military assault rifle that holds hundreds of rounds. Only an idiot would argue that a hammer is just as dangerous as an assault rifle. If the shooters in Columbine, the movie theater, Sandy Hook Elementary, Congresswoman Giffords, only had a hammer or a caveman's stick, they could have easily been stopped and there would have been less carnage. So stop with the foolishness. It is a stupid argument.

Anonymous said...

I am sick and tired of these gun nuts. No one is suggesting getting rid of the right to bear arms. The suggestion is to ban assault rifles. You can't own a machine gun either. There are common sense limits as a society we must adhere to

Ellen T. Wright, CRP said...

I would like to respectfully submit me support of the gun ban. While blunt object murders are indeed somewhat more numerous, it is also true that the attacker does have to get within arm's length to do the damage inflicted. That is most undeniably not true of ANY firearm, and is especially not true of sniper weapons (properly trained, a sniper can kill at nearly a mile.) Show me a hammer that can do that! Please! Your argument is false at the outset and cannot hold up under any examination.

Privacy? You are in law and you think you that you have privacy these days? We haven't had privacy since the internet became established and everyone and every commercial, governmental, and private institutional went digital. The periodic "hacks" and identity thefts prove that. That is a delusion left over from the 1950's-get over it.

Criminals rarely "so shopping" at private individual's homes for guns-unless, of course, you have an arsenal. One or two of this, one of that, and a couple of the other would not interest them. Do not delude yourself. Drug lords want crates of the things. Usually rifles don't interest them at all-they're too hard to maneuver. So calm yourself down-your hunting rifles are not targets. Shotgun-maybe. (I'm still not sure about those that carry multiple shells.) But you can't tell me that anything with a 30 round magazine is a hunting rifle-because those things have one purpose-hunting people. Those I want in the hands of the military and law enforcement ONLY. Sorry, Charlie.

California Karl said...

"So why shouldn't I be able to find out if Ethel and Fred Mertz are packing heat?" What a great line.

California Karl said...

I also enjoyed "While the Constitution guarantees your right to be a loud mouth jackass, you can't yell fire in a movie theater. The Constitution might guarantee your right to bear arms, but it doesn't mean you should be able to own a bazooka, grenades or certain high capacity firearms."

Rocky Hill Girl said...

For or against gun control, who cares! You are one hot blogger. Very handsome. You can represent me any day of the week. :)

Anonymous said...

My opinion on the matter is that it is an invasion of privacy, plain and simple. The right to bear arms does not mean that the public should be given a list of everyone who legally owns one.

Additionally, most of the people who commit gun violence do NOT have registered weapons. They purchase and/or own them illegally, so really, what good does publishing such a list do?

Adrian M. Baron said...

Rocky Hill Girl-

You are very wise.

Nice to hear from someone from my home town. Very funny.

-Adrian

Anonymous said...

Another school shooting? Everything is fine right gun nuts? Most mass shootings involve legally obtained assault weapons. Wake up! If you need to feel more like a man, buy a sports car.

Ellen T. Wright, CRP said...

Let's do some math-that's objective, right?

496 = 323 = 819 on my calculator dead. Of course, that excludes various other types of murders-asphyxia by various means, drownings by means of those cement shoes, rocks, chains, knives and other sharp objects, poison, hangings, and what have you.

Firearms account for 40% of the deaths in question. That's HUGE-by anyone's standards. I doubt that hammers were used all that often-there were probably a few wrenches, tire irons, pipes, 2x4's, clothes irons, and assorted other heavy objects in that category. Golf clubs and baseball bats come to mind as well-heavy-easy to swing-tremendous force. There's also your garden variety rock and the short story classic-the frozen leg of lamb fed to the investigating officer.

You've raised that argument with the wrong bunch of people. I simply wouldn't go there, my friend. Save it for the NRA.

Bill said...

Ellen. You are right on the money

Ashley Casas said...

Rock Hill Girl's comment owned it! But seriously though, I am all for banning assault rifles. People feel they need to be protected, I get that, but seriously, the death toll just keeps on increasing. This should have been a priority ever since!

Anonymous said...

If every state had a safe storage law, I would trust the responsible gun owners would follow it. Even Nancy Lanza would have followed such a law.

Since they don't, we basically have a situation where there are no limits on the types of guns people can have (outside automatic fire), no limits on ammunition, no limits on what you can store at home and no controls on how you store it.

Every single mass shooter in our country has come from a gun family. They always get their gun from someone in the family or they order it online and store it in their dorm room. Every single one. And that's perfectly legal.

Given that, yes, I want to know who they are. I want to stay away from them. I want to know if the people who seem crazy or unbalanced or who I know have mentally ill relatives also have access to guns that can kill 20 children in a few minutes.

Does it create a danger for gun owners? Probably. But they are currently a danger to me. If they don't want their guns stolen, they should secure them. Maybe more published lists would motivate them to do so.

Someone with a mentally unstable but adult child might want to know if that person buys a gun. A woman with a violent ex. A wife with an abusive husband. How can they protect themselves when this information is hidden?

If gun owners would be willing to protect me in other ways, such as demanding responsible gun ownership and limiting the crap people can store at home -- okay. It's not perfect, but I would be willing to rely on those kinds of regulations.

If gun owners assert that they can do anything they want and no one can know, then the least you can do is give me some chance to defend my life by knowing who they are so that I can avoid them.

Ellen T. Wright, CRP said...

Preaching to the choir here, brother, preaching to the choir!

oakleyses said...

jordan shoes, christian louboutin, uggs outlet, michael kors outlet online, uggs on sale, louis vuitton outlet, louis vuitton outlet, louis vuitton, ray ban sunglasses, replica watches, christian louboutin uk, chanel handbags, michael kors outlet online, uggs outlet, longchamp outlet, nike air max, michael kors outlet, burberry handbags, tiffany and co, polo outlet, nike free, nike air max, ugg boots, oakley sunglasses, ray ban sunglasses, michael kors outlet online, oakley sunglasses, christian louboutin outlet, longchamp outlet, prada handbags, gucci handbags, prada outlet, oakley sunglasses wholesale, michael kors outlet, oakley sunglasses, kate spade outlet, christian louboutin shoes, louis vuitton outlet, tory burch outlet, ugg boots, michael kors outlet online, burberry outlet, cheap oakley sunglasses, louis vuitton, ray ban sunglasses, nike outlet, longchamp outlet

oakleyses said...

sac vanessa bruno, new balance, vans pas cher, ray ban uk, nike blazer pas cher, true religion outlet, michael kors outlet, true religion outlet, replica handbags, polo lacoste, oakley pas cher, coach purses, hollister uk, abercrombie and fitch uk, nike free uk, north face uk, louboutin pas cher, polo ralph lauren, hollister pas cher, nike air max uk, michael kors pas cher, nike air max, true religion jeans, timberland pas cher, nike air max uk, coach outlet, air max, michael kors, jordan pas cher, sac hermes, north face, lululemon canada, coach outlet store online, nike roshe, sac longchamp pas cher, nike air force, mulberry uk, hogan outlet, ralph lauren uk, longchamp pas cher, michael kors, converse pas cher, burberry pas cher, nike roshe run uk, true religion outlet, kate spade, nike free run, nike tn, ray ban pas cher, guess pas cher

oakleyses said...

asics running shoes, babyliss, soccer jerseys, hermes belt, reebok outlet, ipad cases, oakley, iphone cases, soccer shoes, iphone 5s cases, nfl jerseys, north face outlet, abercrombie and fitch, ghd hair, vans outlet, iphone 6 cases, hollister, nike roshe run, wedding dresses, mac cosmetics, lululemon, new balance shoes, jimmy choo outlet, instyler, giuseppe zanotti outlet, p90x workout, s6 case, chi flat iron, iphone 6s cases, longchamp uk, baseball bats, mcm handbags, iphone 6 plus cases, bottega veneta, ferragamo shoes, timberland boots, mont blanc pens, insanity workout, nike air max, nike trainers uk, herve leger, nike huaraches, celine handbags, north face outlet, beats by dre, iphone 6s plus cases, valentino shoes, ralph lauren, hollister clothing, louboutin

oakleyses said...

moncler uk, louis vuitton, thomas sabo, wedding dresses, barbour, moncler, gucci, montre pas cher, supra shoes, hollister, barbour uk, nike air max, karen millen uk, pandora uk, moncler, canada goose uk, coach outlet, ugg, juicy couture outlet, swarovski, canada goose, louis vuitton, moncler outlet, louis vuitton, hollister, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, canada goose outlet, replica watches, pandora jewelry, ugg,uggs,uggs canada, moncler, canada goose outlet, ugg pas cher, louis vuitton, juicy couture outlet, swarovski crystal, louis vuitton, canada goose, pandora charms, canada goose outlet, links of london, marc jacobs, lancel, converse, converse outlet, toms shoes, doudoune moncler, moncler, pandora jewelry, canada goose jackets, vans, canada goose

dalia alaa said...


https://3kary.com/property-status/houses-for-rent/
https://3kary.com/property-status/popular-homes-for-rent/
https://3kary.com/property-type/houses/

dalia alaa said...

https://decor-ksa.com/
https://3kary.com/property-status/homes-for-sale/
https://3kary.com/property-status/popular-homes-for-sale/