Friday, June 17, 2011

The Tyranny of the Stupid - Sunnyvale California Edition

On Wednesday June 29th the Sunnyvale City Council will hold a meeting to discuss the “issue” of public complaints surrounding the existence of “US Firearms”. US Firearms is a business that sells firearms, offers gunsmith services and offers numerous courses of training in the safe and legal use and storage of sporting (hunting) and defensive firearms. Further, they offer training and guide services to novice hunters.

The row over the presence of this establishment began shortly after its opening in October of 2010. An article appearing on The Peninsula Press website and re-posted on SFGate listed a number of opposing viewpoints related to the shops existence. One particular quote jumped out at me from Sunnyvale Elementary School teacher Gina Lermont,  

“I feel as if having [a gun store] in close proximity to many schools is a danger,”  
 “I’m not sure if I want to educate my second graders on something like gun safety.”

Think of the CHILDREN!!!!! 

Excuse me but, within 100yds of US Firearms there are numerous fast food restaurants. Is Ms. Lermont charged as a result to educate her students on the health impacts of eating lousy food?

Within 100yds of US Firearms there is a liquor store that also sells tobacco and pornographic magazines. Is Ms. Lermont charged as a result to educate her students on Alcohol, Tobacco and Inter-Racial Porn Consumption Safety?

Within 500yds of US Firearms there is a strip joint. Is Ms. Lermont charged as a result to educate her students on Pole Dancing Safety?

As noted in the linked story, a search of Santa Clara County public records revealed exactly ZERO reported crime related to gun stores in the last 5 years. In contrast, I spent only a few seconds on Google and found scores of assaults and other crimes related to other establishments in Sunnyvale…mostly bars.

Whether you wish to own a firearm for the purpose of participation in shooting sports, hunting, or personal defense or not this should bother you. What Ms. Lermont is essentially saying is that the mere existence of a business selling legal and constitutionally protected products is detrimental to the educational process in the Sunnyvale School district and that the discussion of the topic is inappropriate for her classroom.

This is appalling to me and it should be to you as well. The existence of this shop should in no way negatively impact the curriculum of the Sunnyvale School District. If anything, it should present an opportunity to educate the students on their freedoms and the document intended to prevent the Government from restricting those freedoms.

I'd love the opportunity to ask Gina Lermont which Amendments to the Constitution she has chosen to educate her students on and which she has declared off limits.
* Amendment 1 - Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression
* Amendment 2 - Right to Bear Arms
* Amendment 3 - Quartering of Soldiers
* Amendment 4 - Search and Seizure
* Amendment 5 - Trial and Punishment, Compensation for Takings
* Amendment 6 - Right to Speedy Trial, Confrontation of Witnesses
* Amendment 7 - Trial by Jury in Civil Cases
* Amendment 8 - Cruel and Unusual Punishment
* Amendment 9 - Construction of Constitution
* Amendment 10 - Powers of the States and People
* Amendment 11 - Judicial Limits
* Amendment 12 - Choosing the President, Vice President
* Amendment 13 - Slavery Abolished
* Amendment 14 - Citizenship Rights
* Amendment 15 - Race No Bar to Vote
* Amendment 16 - Status of Income Tax Clarified
* Amendment 17 - Senators Elected by Popular Vote
* Amendment 18 - Liquor Abolished
* Amendment 19 - Women's Suffrage
* Amendment 20 - Presidential, Congressional Terms
* Amendment 21 - Amendment 18 Repealed
* Amendment 22 - Presidential Term Limits
* Amendment 23 - Presidential Vote for District of Columbia
* Amendment 24 - Poll Taxes Barred
* Amendment 25 - Presidential Disability and Succession
* Amendment 26 - Voting Age Set to 18 Years
* Amendment 27 - Limiting Changes to Congressional Pay

There are some rather difficult topics contained within that list. Some require no small amount of delicacy in discussion. It isn't easy to describe to a child why the 15th or 19th Amendment was needed but it's necessary to have that discussion is it not? We don’t shy away from discussing the complicated topics of Freedom of Religion, Speech and of the Press contained in the 1st Amendment. Why should the freedoms protected by the 2nd Amendment be different? If the children of Sunnyvale are to be educated on the reasoning behind the 15th or 19th Amendment (they are aren't they?) then why should they not equally be educated on the rest?

If you are a resident of Sunnyvale I urge you to attend the aforementioned meeting. You may not wish to patronize this particular establishment, but I would hope that you would not allow it to be shut down because it “might” force a teacher to talk about the The United States Constitution in a Public School.

As in previous entries, I welcome thoughtful and reasoned commentary, even if contrary to my point of view. However, know that I will remove your comments if they are non-constructive, insulting, offensive or defamatory...particularly if you lack the stones to put your name to the comment. The intent here is to raise, not lower the level of discourse.

Thanks for reading.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. I'm not a gun or hunting type person but their is no reason to shut down what appears to be a law abiding busieness. The Sunnyvale city council should find something better to do with their time. Like maybe getting businesses to come to occupy the big empty shopping center by Murphy Street. Hey, maybe it's this kind of meddling that's keeping businesses away from Sunnvale?

    Kim D.
    Sunnyvale, CA

  3. I disagree with your point of view sir. The most important thing to us is safety of our children. Guns laws and issues are not subjects for elementary students. This store should not be so close to a school.

    D. Nataranjan

  4. @D. Nataranjan,

    Saying a gun store close to a school is inherently dangerous to children is like saying me transporting booze in my car makes me likely to "Accidentally" or "on purpose" chug it and become a drunk driver. It's a narrowminded, simplistic, and, frankly, ridiculous argument. Law-abiding gun owners are not a danger to kids, whether they're 100 feet or 100 miles from schools. Criminals are a danger, no matter where they buy their guns.

    Chris Stack