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LUIS VALDES: Police Shouldn’t Get Special Gun Rights

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Luis Valdes Contributor
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Like all public officials, police officers swear to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. I, like countless other men and women in blue, took that oath.

We raised our right hand and swore to uphold the Constitution, in its entirety. (RELATED: CRAIG STANFILL: The American Experiment Has Gone Down In Flames)

Unfortunately, many politicians today are of the opinion that certain constitutional rights, or the exercising of them in particular situations, should be reserved to only some. For police officers, this is manifested in laws that routinely afford them greater Second Amendment rights than the general public. This is wrong.

This week is National Police Week, a noble and somber time to reflect on the courage and sacrifice of so many peace officers. Tens of thousands will gather in the nation’s capital to commemorate the occasion, which will culminate with Peace Officers Memorial Day on May 15.

The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to move a slate of bills with law enforcement tie ins, one of which would further expand Second Amendment rights to carry concealed firearms to off-duty and retired police. While I would personally benefit from the legislation, I cannot support a bill that would create special privileges for some when they should in fact be afforded to all citizens.

The Second Amendment doesn’t say “the right of the duly sworn police to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” This right is afforded to “the people,” the general public.

Those who wear the badge or have in times past are undoubtedly part of “the people.” But our nation was founded on principles of equality, not classes, nobility or aristocracy. Our rights are unalienable, and legislation like this violates that basic principle.

All Americans deserve the full access and restoration of their rights, not just those who carry a piece of tin in their wallet. I know many in law enforcement feel the same way, but often they are silenced by their political overlords with the threat of career blacklisting.

Furthermore, I know they, like me, don’t believe that only a select class of citizens should be empowered to carry nationwide. Why should an officer’s spouse, friend or loved one be stripped of their Second Amendment rights when they cross an imaginary line?

For example, when my wife and I travel from Florida to New York to visit family, I can carry without fear of persecution. But my wife, my partner in life, is disarmed when we make that trip. What makes her a lesser person in the eyes of lawmakers? Why are her rights stripped away? Most will quickly respond without thinking through the deeper point:

“They have the training.”

“They know how to handle those weapons.”

“We should trust them more than the average person.”

The Constitution does not grant rights based on who the government trusts. Imagine the public outcry if a law were enacted to require mandatory wait periods or special training to make a post on social media, or to author a column such as this. Couple that with a parallel law that empowered credentialed journalists to bypass such restrictions, and one can begin to understand the deeper philosophical frustration I am trying to convey.

Countless honorable men and women have worn the badge, and they know it didn’t come with special privileges beyond the authority to arrest and execute warrants. While this legislation is well intentioned, the onus is on us, the men and women in blue, to speak out.

Creating special classes of citizens based on government decision making dilutes the purposefully robust nature of our Second Amendment rights.

What Congress should advance this week is national reciprocity for all, rather than merely extending rights to a select few individuals whom lawmakers choose to politically knight with their proverbial swords.

Luis Valdes is a national Spokesman for Gun Owners of America. A former police officer and detective, he resides in Florida with his family. Follow @RealFLGunLobby.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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