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Revisiting the switchblade ban's repeal

By Scott Tibbs, August 30, 2013

If you are going to respond to a letter to the editor, you need to respond to what the author actually wrote. Setting up a straw man and knocking it over accomplishes nothing.

On August 12, I had a letter to the editor published in the Herald-Times disagreeing with a staff editorial that bemoaned the repeal of the ban on switchblade knives. A week later, a letter to the editor appeared challenging my reasoning, specifically my claim that "the Constitution requires that a switchblade ban serves a 'compelling state interest.'"

There is a major problem with this rebuttal: I never said that. In fact, the word "constitution" does not even appear in my letter. I was making a philosophical argument about the limits of government power and where it is appropriate for government to step in and regulate something. Since I didn't make a legal or constitutional argument about the switchblade ban, the alleged constitutional standard about "suspect classes" is completely irrelevant to the point of my letter.

As with the comments under my letter, the author asks what I think about vaginal ultrasounds or regulations that clinics that prescribe abortion pills be held to higher standards. Honestly, I do not have an opinion on either question. The compelling state interest in regulating (and ideally, criminalizing) abortion is to protect the life of the unborn baby. That is a classic libertarian position - you can swing your fist until it touches my nose. In this case, the nose touched is that of the unborn baby as he or she is killed by dismemberment for profit.