Just wrote this email to Larry Pratt, head of the Gun Owners Association of America, concerning this little story. Hopefully I’m missing something.
First off, I’m a card carrying member of the GOA. Concerning your statements about the current case with the person attempting to get a concealed carry permit in South Dakota. Your statements on the matter are unfortunate. The only reason why a state should ever have the right to deny any person a concealed carry permit (or interfere with their right to bear arms, for that matter), is if that individual has shown themselves to be a danger to society, and to have broken basic social contracts (a felon, by any other name).
Remember that the Constitution and the Bill of Rights sources it’s authority from universal human rights. It recognizes that these right were already inherent in being human: it did not grant these rights to it’s citizens. Where in that equation does it make sense to restrict this resident their right to self-defense?
No compromises! (Except when concerning a non-citizen.)
I received a reply from Larry Pratt, and it makes me feel a lot better about the whole situation. How what he said to Fox News and to me can be reconciled, I have no idea. They seem to be from two different individuals. Here’s what I received verbatim, and note that yeah, that’s pretty much what I said above:
As a follow up it appears that there are a few who still do not understand GOA’s position, neither did Fox News. Mr. Pratt is contacting Fox News to correct their misunderstanding so I give it to you:
As much as I appreciate Fox News, they misstated my position on the Wayne Smith case arising out of South Dakota. So let me break it down:
1. As I have stated all along, I do not agree with what South Dakota is doing in denying the right to keep and bear arms to alien residents. Wayne Smith SHOULD BE ABLE TO OWN A GUN!
2. Our fundamental rights do NOT come from government, the Bill of Rights or the Constitution … they come from God. Hence, law-abiding citizens should be able to carry concealed firearms as a matter of right (without permission from the government) and that is why GOA has consistently supported legislation modeled after Vermont’s successful permitless carry law.
3. Aliens living in this country still possess their God-given rights. Note, however, that within our constitutional system of government, some rights of citizenship (such as the right to vote) are fully protected only for actual U.S. citizens. This is, perhaps, where the confusion has arisen. On the one hand, I argued that aliens should not be able to vote in our country. But fundamental human rights such as the right to self-defense as embodied by keeping and bearing arms, on the other hand, SHOULD MOST DEFINITELY extend to everyone, period.
4. As for the xenophobia that some have accused me of because of the misunderstanding relating to Wayne Smith … well, that’s laughable. I’ve been happily married to a Central American immigrant for nearly 50 years — and I fully support her right to keep and bear arms as much as I support Smith’s … and yours.
— Larry Pratt, Executive Director of Gun Owners of America