It’s Time to Register Journalists and Regulate Freedom of the Press
The Second Amendment states, “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
You will notice that there are no qualifications. In fact, the right to keep and bear arms is said to be “necessary to the security of a free state.” The word “necessary” is often overlooked.
Those who don’t like the wording and meaning of the Second Amendment want all types of restrictions and limitations added. There are calls for registering all guns with the long-term intent to confiscate.
Those on the media and many in the entertainment industry are behind adding even more restrictions. Let’s apply the same limitations and restrictions on the Freedom of the Press and Freedom of speech provisions in the First Amendment. Actors, scripts, and distribution of all films must be registered with the government. Every word that will be spoken at the Academy Awards must be regulated by an agency of the United States government. The President can issue an Executive Order at any time to restrict what’s said.
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Let’s apply the same types of restrictions to the press. This is exactly the type of proposal that was made by South Carolina state representative Mike Pitts who “floated the idea of requiring journalists to register with the state to ensure a responsible approach to the First Amendment.”
Their recording devices should also be registered since the First Amendment doesn’t say anything about freedom to have recording devices.
Read related article: “It’s Time For ‘Background Checks’ on Journalists.”
Rep. Pitts got the attention of some in the media who immediately called it unconstitutional.
Of course it’s unconstitutional. That’s the point Rep. Pitts was trying to make: What’s unconstitutional in one case (First Amendment) is unconstitutional in the second case (Second Amendment) if the government can put restrictions on what are stated freedoms/rights. Apparently some journalist didn’t get the “What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander” logic.
Washington Post reporter Callum Borchers is one of them:
“My visceral reaction isn’t printable but can be summarized thusly: This is a naked attack on the First Amendment — you know, the one that says ‘Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech or of the press.’ I realize we’re talking about a state legislature here, not Congress, but we’re also talking about one of the nation’s founding principles.
“That aside, this kind of law would be completely unworkable. Look, there’s plenty of media garbage out there, but everyone has a different definition of what garbage is. Does anyone want a bunch of self-interested government officials setting the standard?
“We register surgeons and pilots and teachers and people in many, many other professions. You can make a coherent case that journalism is a very important profession too, but there’s a reason why journalists have reputations, instead of licenses. They have a fundamental American right to share information, and their audiences have a right to decide whether to believe it or dismiss it. By contrast, no one is entitled to remove brain tumors, fly airplanes or teach third-graders.
There’s also a practical problem: How on Earth would South Carolina’s secretary of state, charged with maintaining the registry, do its job here, anyway? “Journalists can’t even define who is a journalist anymore, what with all the bloggers and tweeters posting the kind of information and opinion that used to come only from a highly institutionalized press. Good luck to Pitts when it comes to crafting a legal definition of journalism.
“Come to think of it, that’s really the great folly here. What Pitts is proposing isn’t just wrong; it simply can’t be done. There’s no stopping people from spreading the news in a digital society — certainly not with some outdated idea for a registry.” (H/T: Hot Air)
Like journalists, gun owners “have a fundamental American right” to own firearms. Unlike the First Amendment, the Second Amendment says bearing arms is “necessary to the security of a free state.”
Rep. Pitts simply took the gun registry proposals and applied them to the First Amendment. Apparently Mr. Borchers didn’t see the connection.
In addition, just like “there’s no stopping people from spreading the news in a digital society,” there’s no stopping people who want a gun to get a gun and to use it a nefarious way.