The Word "Allow."

Discussion in 'Firearm Related' started by Malum Prohibitum, Apr 28, 2007.

  1. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member


    Not "Allowed"
    Written by Jeff Knox
    Thursday, 26 April 2007

    When I was six years old my family moved from Wichita Falls, Texas to Sidney, Ohio so Dad could head up the creation of Gun Week newspaper. One of the first things we noticed upon arriving in the land of the Yankees was that the people up north talked funny. Not only did they have odd accents and strange pronunciations, they had different words for things and used terms that were not common where we came from.

    One word in common usage in Ohio which, while not completely foreign, was still odd to us, was the word "allow." Rather than saying, "My mom won't let me." or, "I'm not supposed to." Ohio kids would say "I'm not allowed."

    There was something very uncomfortable about that word to me and that discomfort has been revived and gnawing at me for the past couple of years. At the Gun Rights Policy Conference in Charlotte, NC last year I discussed some of my concerns about the word "allow" and its implications. In this column I'm going to press the issue further and I expect that this will be a drum I'm going to be beating for a long time to come.

    What really bothers me about the word "allow" is the way it is so commonly used in the fight for gun rights; a CCW allows one to carry a gun, we should be allowed to carry in National Parks, the Post Office does not allow guns in their buildings, etc. The problem with these statements is that the use of the word "allow" implies authority and privilege and shifts the burden of proof in debate.

    The burden of proof in any argument which contains the word "allow" falls on the side of those seeking the allowance. If a group seeks to ban guns in libraries, the burden of proof is on those seeking the ban; it is incumbent upon them to prove that guns should be banned. Opponents of the ban retain the position of strength by defending the status quo.

    If the opponents of the ban make the mistake of arguing that guns should be allowed in libraries, they lose the advantage and the burden of proof immediately shifts to their side of the scales, requiring them to fustify the presence of firearms in libraries. Instead of defending an existing right, use of the word "allow" places rights advocates in the position of justifying a request for a special privilege.

    It is impossible effectively to demand to be allowed to exercise a right. The demand must be that rights be unimpaired or that existing restrictions or impingements on rights be removed or corrected.

    The Second Amendment does not allow citizens to own guns. the government does not allow citizens to worship as we please. The President does not allow citizens to own property. The Second Amendment expresses the right to own guns. The government recognizes the right to worship. And the President may not unduly restrict a citizen's right to property.

    Rights can never be allowed and anything that is allowed is not a right.

    Why is this important? Because through use of the word "allow," gun rights advocates have allowed themselves to become supplicants seeking favors rather than holding the high ground as the guardians of liberty that they should be. This one word devolves a right into a privilege, a citizen to a supplicant, and shifts the burden of proof from those seeking to restrict rights to those trying to retain or expand privileges. What's worse, it becomes an invisible trap that makes us believe that we're moving forward when we're actually just positioning ourselves for a rapid descent down a slippery slope of our own making.

    Consider the following statement: "Citizens should be allowed to carry concealed handguns without having to get a permit."

    What that functionally says is that the government should grant citizens the privilege of carrying concealed handguns without a documentation process. Is it a privilege or a right?

    In the mid 1970s Howard K. Smith presented an editorial on the 60 Minutes television show pointing out the mistake of journalists using the word "credit" when referring to terrorists claiming responsibility for violent acts. Smith rightly pointed out that "credit" implies value and journalists should never give any such suggestion of value to the actions of terrorists. From the date of that broadcast to the present, the word "credit" has almost completely disappeared from reports on terrorism.

    Let us similarly remove the word "allow" from the vocabulary of the gun rights movement execpt where ti is used to question why we allow government to infringe on our God-given and constitutional rights.

    Permission to reprint or post this article in its entirety is hereby granted provided this credit is included. To Receive the Firearms Coalition's bi-monthly newsletter, The Hard Corps Report, send a contribution to The Firearms Coalition, PO Box 3313, Manassas, VA 20108 or visit and Copyright 2007 Neal Knox Associates

  2. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

  3. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

  4. blind_shake

    blind_shake Well-Known Member

    I liked the article but I think the intro was a stretch. Allow is used everywhere its not just a yankee thing. Now "pop" instead of soda is definetely yankee and I still say it to this day. :wink:
  5. Sine Nomen

    Sine Nomen New Member

    I've always had more of an issue with "supposed to." To the questions "Are you supposed to be here?" or "Are you supposed to have a gun here?" I take exception. It implies that you are to be doing only what is mandated and nothing else.
    FWIW, I also have an issue with the presumption of those that ask why I feel I "need" to have a gun in a particular place. It's none of their damn bussinss why I'm packing as long as it's not a threat to anyone undeserving. (Deserving is meant in a legal, not a personal, sense.)