In 1973, a father was on a drive with his son when over the car radio came one of the most famous and infamous pieces of stand-up comedy.

“Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television,” by George Carlin. It is a piece about, what else, certain words that you couldn't say on TV.

The father didn't particularly like the fact that his son — rumored to be about 15 at the time — was hearing such vulgar language over the radio and sent a, presumably, strongly worded letter to the Federal Communications Commission.

The FCC issued a formal reprimand to the Pacifica Radio Network Station WBAI in New York that broadcast the Carlin piece. Pacifica appealed, and the U.S. Supreme Court ruled, in FCC v. Pacifica Foundation, that the FCC did have the regulatory authority to police and censor — or abridge — content that is sent over the airwaves.

So, since Congress can, or at least give authority to, abridge certain freedoms like speech, why can't Congress do the same thing with guns?

P.S: This is merely a primer for a conversation about gun control, not a direct call for it.

Greg Ranzoni

Albany (Oct. 17)

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