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On the one hand, Illinois Sate Senator Ira Silverstein wants to ban anonymous internet comments; on the other hand, he wants to allow anonymous ownership of guns. As a tweeter said in reaction to this: Guns don't kill people; comments do. 

The comment bill "Creates the Internet Posting Removal Act. Provides that a web site administrator shall, upon request, remove any posted comments posted by an anonymous poster unless the anonymous poster agrees to attach his or her name to the post and confirms that his or her IP address, legal name, and home address are accurate."

The gun bill "Amends the Freedom of Information Act. Provides that names and information of people who have applied for or received Certificates of Firearm Registration are exempt from public inspections and copying...." The rest of that is about requiring registration. Fine. But doesn't he see the irony? Silverstein sponsored both bills. 

http://legiscan.com/IL/bill/SB1614
http://legiscan.com/IL/bill/SB1709
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24 comments
 
To be fair, words are more dangerous than weapons.
 
The Rabid Radical Ridiculous Right
 
Dear US Federal Government: please feel free to keep your dirty hands off of my bits. Those of us who built and understand the infrastructure of the Internet understand that a) you're not talking about the Internet, but the World Wide Web b) you're treating a large distributed system as if it were some kind of 60s-era mainframe c) what you're proposing would mean massive stagnation in the innovation that's likely to drag the US out of its current economic woes d) what you're proposing will not change anything e) what you're proposing would have a chilling effect on electronic free speech.
 
Just remember one of the rules of free thinking: just because someone is crazy doesn't mean they can't be correct some of the time. Distrust, but verify.
 
The pen is mightier than the sword. Obviously some folks feel the most dangerous weapons of all are ideas. ;-)
 
+Matt Lyons words started every war ever fought. Treaties started World War I rather directly and killed so many people that the error bars on casualties are in the many millions! So yes, words are more dangerous than weapons, but by the same token, they're also more important, and any attempt to restrict their free exchange is therefore more insidious and dangerous than the use of any weapon.

Any attempt to require the full name and physical address of any Internet (sic) comment in order to prevent its removal is a clear shot across the bow of free speech and free association on the World Wide Web.
 
   I do see what you mean, but I think it's important that we always look at proposed bills with an unbiased mind.  Forget who, or what side, is proposing it.  Examine all possible benefits and all possible problems with the bill.  Some problems do outweigh some benefits.

   To keep records of gun registration is one argument.  To have those records public does come with consequences.  Consequences that can put their home, person and family in harms way (theft, vandalism, hate crimes, targeting legal gun owners property or person).  Should you still proceed?

  I think we need to offer the same unbiased scrutiny when looking at all Constitutional arguments.  The other bill goes after the 1st Amendment and I believe should be read as it does.  Then you need to offer what can we gain/lose by passing such a bill.  Even if we may have something to gain...are we taking away another persons rights to further our own beliefs...should we proceed, etc, etc. 

  I do hold the 1st Amendment very dear to me.  But I also hold the 2nd, 13th, 14th and 15th very high regard as well.  Please don't think I dismiss any that I left out.

   It just seems that our politicians are more interested in picking sides rather than applying the amount of scrutiny that needs to be offered when writing various laws.

  Thanks for the post.
 
You have the right to be invisible and silent.  Any thing you say, hear, see, type, feel, think, or do can; and will be taken out of context and twisted against you in the game of life.  You have the right to pay attention; if you can't afford to pay attention, you have the right to choose a god and start praying.
Rob A
 
What Ira wants is the ability of the business owner to own a gun anonymously. And give him the ability to take out an internet Commenter.  Because the reviewer had  just ruined his business by placing a bad review on the internet using his first and last name made him easily found and the former biz owner shoots him. Its a stretch but nothing surprises me nowadays.
 
+Rob A Uh...yeah. Because business owners are so frequently implicated in gun violence?
 
Is this titwank going to ask journalists to name their anonymous sources when they write their spurious stories. 
 
My IP address is perfectly accurate... until I come home.
 
+Jeff Jarvis Actually no. Both bills seek to protect the privacy of individuals which is often in conflict with freedom of speech and gun control laws. Making people post with real accounts is obviously in conflict with freedom of speech, but the bill is to protect privacy. It's hard to sue anonymous people for defamation and privacy. But, whoever wrote the bill doesn't know about "forums" and assumes that "admins" cannot be anonymous too, so it's a bunch of crap anyway.
 
+Jason Honingford what does "hard to sue anonymous people for defamation and privacy" mean? What, specifically does "privacy" mean in that sentence? Are you saying that I should be able to sue someone for having privacy; for violating my privacy? For advocating privacy?
 
+Aaron Sherman violating privacy, such as divulging private information. You can imagine this senator is probably wealthy, has kids, privacy is on his mind every day, so screw freedom of speech.
 
If we were not allowed to post anonymously, many of us would not feel comfortable contributing anything to the internet.

Also, if legal gun owners had to put their names on a public registry, they would become targets to thieves who have an interest and ways to circumvent any and all gun laws; which would give us all the opposite results of what we all want in terms of public safety.
 
It's really no ones business who I am online or if I own a gun. 
 
The guns vs. comments notion is a fun one for starting flame wars, but I have the solution for that little debate: Words are weapons that can destroy societies; guns are weapons that can destroy individuals. So comparing them is a boring game of "my apple is a whole lot redder than your orange!"

Words are most powerful when shared. Guns are most powerful when wielded by one party and not the other.
 
You know, it recently occurred to me that I don't even have to prove that I am an American to send a suggestion to my elected representatives, which could actually explain a lot of the goofiness and flip/flops.  How about we start there with the un-anonymous stuff?
 
Mr. Prewett's got a point. Perhaps that's the only explanation for our current circumstances. Or we could just limit the size of government so that if someone were to take advantage of it in some sort of way, their effects would not be felt so catastrophically.
 
Words are more dangerous. Nice post. 
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