Gun Holders As A “Protected Class?”

Wanda Brown, a Republican from Lincoln, Missouri, has proposed a bill in the Missouri State Legislature that would give gun owners the same “protected class” status to prevent being discriminated against when it comes to hiring, housing, services, etc. The bill follows the same language used to insure people are not discriminated against due to race, religion and gender.

We have to admit we find this new bill rather curious. We believe there are too many “special classes” and too many “exceptions” for special groups. For example, most states have a law that protects increases penalties when a sports official is attacked in the course of officiating a contest. The laws were proposed when the police, prosecutors and judges failed to protect people from being assaulted. In many cases, law enforcement and judges saw sports officials being attacked as “part of the game,” and refused to apply the laws on the books. With police, prosecutors and judges refusing to follow the law, new laws had to be proposed. (We suspect the result has simply been police, prosecutors and judges, for the most part, simply ignore the laws regarding attacks on officials and attacks on citizens who happen to be officiating a game.)

We have laws on the books for the nebulous “hate crimes,” which give a harsher penalty if a person was attacked or killed due to race, creed, sex, religion, etc. The problem with these laws is that it puts a value on the a person’s injuries or death that are not given to others. For example, if a person kills someone over some money at a poker game, why is that any less horrible and damaging to society than if that same person were killed at a poker game because they were Presbyterian? The person is just as dead.

Laws passed to protect special groups of people are wrong and diminish the idea that we are all equal under the law.

That being said, when we read the proposed bill in Missouri, we were against it. We don’t need more protected classes of people in this country.

Then we read the reasoning behind the bill:

Brown said she has no examples of employer discrimination against gun owners in Missouri, but she relayed the story of an owner of a Kansas City meatpacking plant. She said the man, whom Brown would not identify, was told that U.S. Department of Agriculture employees would not come back to his plant for inspections if he continued to carry his gun.

Beyond that, Brown said President Barack Obama’s decision in 2008 to question potential hires for high-ranking positions in his administration about guns also concerned her. Question 59 on the president’s survey read: “Do you or any members of your immediate family own a gun? If so, provide complete ownership and registration information. Has the registration ever lapsed? Please also describe how and by whom it is used and whether it has been the cause of any personal injuries or property damage.”

The question prompted the NRA to speculate that Obama wanted to exclude gun owners from his administration. The Obama camp said the question was meant to ensure proper registration and wasn’t meant to bar gun owners from a job.

We call heifer hockey on the administration’s answer. First, courts have ruled time and time again that on an application you can only ask questions that are relevant to the job the person is being hired to perform. One of the best examples that an applicant cannot be asked is “how do you get to work?” The question has its roots in the often less than consistent public transportation versus a more consistent use of a car. Courts, however, correctly ruled the only thing that matters is whether a person can get to work on time and not the means in which they arrive.

Whether a family member has a weapon or not has nothing to do with any part of a job in the Obama administration. The only reason to ask such a question is to discriminate against legal gun owners.

(We won’t even get into question of why the Obama administration wanted to know about guns, but didn’t give a rat’s patootie whether a person had paid their taxes as that would bring into question why the administration cared about a legal activity and didn’t care about an illegal activity.)

Given that gun ownership is a protected and enumerated right in this country, it is wrong that we have to have a law that protects citizens participating in a legal activity.

Predictably, the Democrats in Missouri are not happy with the proposed bill.

Some lawmakers said it’s more important to add protections based on sexual orientation than gun ownership.

“The Missouri House thinks it’s more important to protect the right to own a gun than take on real discrimination,” said Rep. Mike Colona, a Democrat from St. Louis who is gay. “I could get fired tomorrow because of the person I’ve spent the past 18 years of my life with.”

Brown said she doesn’t know what the bill’s chances will be in the Senate. It passed the House on a vote of 115-36 — mainly along party lines.

Basically the Democrats are saying they don’t want to protect the rights of citizens.

We are not surprised.

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