ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Pulling the Trigger

This Washington Post's editorial on the recent ruling on a case involving the 2nd Amendment shows how idiotic and hysterical the thinking is regarding gun control laws:

Dangerous Ruling
An appeals court ruling would put handguns back in D.C. homes.

Saturday, March 10, 2007; Page A18

IN OVERTURNING the District of Columbia's long-standing ban on handguns yesterday, a federal appeals court turned its back on nearly 70 years of Supreme Court precedent to give a new and dangerous meaning to the Second Amendment. If allowed to stand, this radical ruling will inevitably mean more people killed and wounded as keeping guns out of the city becomes harder. Moreover, if the legal principles used in the decision are applied nationally, every gun control law on the books would be imperiled.

Yes, D.C. certainly is known as a city with an extremely low number of gun-related homicides. Good to know that the current law is so effective!
The 2 to 1 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit struck down sections of a 1976 law that bans city residents from having handguns in their homes. The court also overturned the law's requirement that shotguns and rifles be stored disassembled or with trigger locks. The court grounded its unprecedented ruling in the finding that the Second Amendment right to bear arms extends beyond militias to individuals. The activities the Second Amendment protects, the judges wrote, "are not limited to militia service, nor is an individual's enjoyment of the right contingent upon his or continued intermittent enrollment in the militia."

Never before has a law been struck down on that basis. The Supreme Court, in its landmark 1939 decision United States v. Miller, stated that the Second Amendment was adopted "with obvious purpose" of protecting the ability of states to organize militias and "must be interpreted and applied with that end in view." Nearly every other federal court of appeals has concurred in that finding. The dissenting judge in yesterday's opinion, Karen LeCraft Henderson, a Republican appointee like the other two judges on the panel, rightly lambasted the majority for its willful disregard of Supreme Court precedent.

While the ruling caught observers off guard, it was not completely unexpected, given the unconscionable campaign, led by the National Rife Association and abetted by the Bush administration, to broadly reinterpret the Constitution so as to give individuals Second Amendment rights. Indeed, the D.C. lawsuit, by six residents assisted by the Cato Institute, was filed in 2003, just months after then-Attorney General John D. Ashcroft said gun bans are unconstitutional.

The NRA predictably welcomed yesterday's ruling. According to its myth, only criminals have had guns in the city and now law-abiding citizens will be able to arm themselves for protection. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) counters that argument with the sad record of what results from a proliferation of guns. As he points out, more guns mean only more violence, and the city already has too much of both. It is important to note that the ban on handguns will stay in effect while the city considers whether to appeal.

That is likely, Mr. Fenty announced. The risk here is that an appeal could lead to an unfavorable Supreme Court ruling, and a legal principle that now applies only to the residents of the nation's capital would extend to the entire nation. Yet doing nothing wouldn't serve the best interests of the city and its public safety. Nor, for that matter, would it serve the nation's interest to leave this dangerous ruling unchallenged.

The fact that in DC today only criminals have handguns is not a myth - it's a fact. If it is illegal to possess a handgun in your home and you do so, then you are a criminal. If you use that handgun to defend yourself, while you might protect your physical well-being, you are putting your liberty at jeopardy since you could be prosecuted for the handgun offense.

Of course, the current ban just means that it's "open season" for criminals as they are given the government's assurance that their targets for criminal acts are unarmed and unable to pose any danger to them.

The false assertion that Mayor Fenty makes regarding whether "more guns means more violence" is ridiculous. Here in Missouri, similar claims were made regarding a concealed carry law - that St Louis would be turned into the wild west and people would be shooting each other over trivial disagreements. That has not come to pass.

It's interesting to note that the Left is concerned about appealing this decision - out of fear that it may endanger their tenuous position on the 2nd Amendment throughout the country.

Inevitably, this will become a 2008 campaign issue in both the primaries and the general election. Unfortunately for Rudy, he's on the wrong side of this issue and adding this issue to the debate will not help.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler