Sunday, October 14, 2007

Gun Control Zealots Await Democrat Victory

This week’s school shooting in Cleveland has again raised the illogical cry to take guns away from legal owners because a disturbed youth wielding illegal guns has done something crazy. One of the stupidest aspects of liberal philosophy (and one of Mayor Giuliani’s main handicaps) is the belief that our Founding Fathers made a mistake in enshrining in our Constitution the right of individuals to bear arms.

They intend to come at us again if they gain the White House and retain control of the Congress, conveniently ignoring all of the data that shows: 1. when states changed their laws to allow law-abiding citizens to have carry permits, gun crimes and violent crimes have gone down significantly, and, 2. the number of gun crimes and gun accidents involving permit owners is miniscule.

Some intelligent insights from a British observer (from a country where guns are banned, and violent crime is escalating):

Wouldn’t you feel safer with a gun?
British attitudes are supercilious and misguided

Richard Munday, September 8, 2007, From The Times (Excerpt)

“Despite the recent spate of shootings on our streets, we pride ourselves on our strict gun laws. Every time an American gunman goes on a killing spree, we shake our heads in righteous disbelief at our poor benighted colonial cousins. Why is it, even after the Virginia Tech massacre, that Americans still resist calls for more gun controls?

The short answer is that “gun controls” do not work: they are indeed generally perverse in their effects. Virginia Tech, where 32 students were shot in April, had a strict gun ban policy and only last year successfully resisted a legal challenge that would have allowed the carrying of licensed defensive weapons on campus. It is with a measure of bitter irony that we recall Thomas Jefferson, founder of the University of Virginia, recording the words of Cesare Beccaria: Laws that forbid the carrying of arms . . . disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes . . . Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.”

One might contrast the Virginia Tech massacre with the assault on Virginia’s Appalachian Law School in 2002, where three lives were lost before a student fetched a pistol from his car and apprehended the gunman.

Virginia Tech reinforced the lesson that gun controls are obeyed only by the law-abiding. New York has “banned” pistols since 1911, and its fellow murder capitals, Washington DC and Chicago, have similar bans. One can draw a map of the US, showing the inverse relationship of the strictness of its gun laws, and levels of violence: all the way down to Vermont, with no gun laws at all, and the lowest level of armed violence (one thirteenth that of Britain).

America’s disenchantment with “gun control” is based on experience: whereas in the 1960s and 1970s armed crime rose in the face of more restrictive gun laws (in much of the US, it was illegal to possess a firearm away from the home or workplace), over the past 20 years all violent crime has dropped dramatically, in lockstep with the spread of laws allowing the carrying of concealed weapons by law-abiding citizens. Florida set this trend in 1987, and within five years the states that had followed its example showed an 8 per cent reduction in murders, 7 per cent reduction in aggravated assaults, and 5 per cent reduction in rapes. Today 40 states have such laws, and by 2004 the US Bureau of Justice reported that “firearms-related crime has plummeted”.”
Richard Munday

A liberal's lament: The NRA might be right after all
By Jonathan Turley, October 10, 2007, USAToday (Excerpt)

“Like many academics, I was happy to blissfully ignore the Second Amendment. It did not fit neatly into my socially liberal agenda. Yet, two related cases could now force liberals into a crisis of conscience. The Supreme Court is expected to accept review of District of Columbia v. Heller and Parker v. District of Columbia, involving constitutional challenges to the gun-control laws in Washington.

The D.C. law effectively bars the ownership of handguns for most citizens and places restrictions on other firearms. The District's decision to file these appeals after losing in the D.C. appellate court was driven more by political than legal priorities. By taking the appeal, D.C. politicians have put gun-control laws across the country at risk with a court more likely to uphold the rulings than to reverse them. It has also put the rest of us in the uncomfortable position of giving the right to gun ownership the same fair reading as more favored rights of free press or free speech.

The Framers' intent
Principle is a terrible thing, because it demands not what is convenient but what is right. It is hard to read the Second Amendment and not honestly conclude that the Framers intended gun ownership to be an individual right. It is true that the amendment begins with a reference to militias: "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." Accordingly, it is argued, this amendment protects the right of the militia to bear arms, not the individual.

Yet, if true, the Second Amendment would be effectively declared a defunct provision. The National Guard is not a true militia in the sense of the Second Amendment and, since the District and others believe governments can ban guns entirely, the Second Amendment would be read out of existence.

Another individual right
More important, the mere reference to a purpose of the Second Amendment does not alter the fact that an individual right is created. The right of the people to keep and bear arms is stated in the same way as the right to free speech or free press. The statement of a purpose was intended to reaffirm the power of the states and the people against the central government. At the time, many feared the federal government and its national army. Gun ownership was viewed as a deterrent against abuse by the government, which would be less likely to mess with a well-armed populace.

Considering the Framers and their own traditions of hunting and self-defense, it is clear that they would have viewed such ownership as an individual right — consistent with the plain meaning of the amendment.

None of this is easy for someone raised to believe that the Second Amendment was the dividing line between the enlightenment and the dark ages of American culture. Yet, it is time to honestly reconsider this amendment and admit that ... here's the really hard part ... the NRA may have been right. This does not mean that Charlton Heston is the new Rosa Parks or that no restrictions can be placed on gun ownership. But it does appear that gun ownership was made a protected right by the Framers and, while we might not celebrate it, it is time that we recognize it.”

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University and a member of USA TODAY's board of contributors.

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At 4:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Marc Folco wrote an interesting article in today's Cape Cod Standard Times newspaper:

OPEN SEASON: Two decades of divided opinions
Open Season
October 14, 2007 6:00 AM
I've been writing this outdoors column for The Standard-Times just a few months shy of 20 years. The subject matter shouldn't be controversial, but some people devote their lives to making it so. They write in and complain about me, my column and the lifestyles of hunters and shooters. They tell the editors that the paper shouldn't run my column. And I can't understand why.

Hunting is a time-honored American tradition shared by millions of people, but the animal-rights groups try to outlaw it — pecking away, bit by bit. They try to eliminate bear hunting, then they want to stop pheasant hunting. Next will be bowhunting. They try to outlaw it by court injunctions, ballot referendums and through the legislature.

It's the same thing with the shooting sports. Guns are not bad, but the gun grabbers try to take them out of the hands of good people, blaming guns for the failure to keep criminals under control. Anybody with at least half a brain knows that it's the criminal that's bad — not the gun, baseball bat or golf club.

The State of Vermont has the most lenient gun laws in the nation and also the lowest crime rate. So, if it's so easy for a Vermonter to buy a gun — and with guns being so bad — then why aren't they robbing and shooting each other up in the streets there?

The wimpy Bambi Brigade and the whiny gun grabbers certainly rile-up us hunters and shooters. Some people tell us that we take it too personal. And that is absolutely true. We take it very personal. I'll tell you why. It's because they are trying to outlaw our lifestyle. They want to take away what we love to do. And some of us have to take time away from families, work and leisure to go to meetings and form groups to raise money to pay lobbyists to fight this silliness. I still can't understand how the politicians and the courts even give these people the time of day.

If they set their sights on outlawing baseball or golf, the baseball players and fans and the duffers would be just as outraged. After all, people have been beaten to death with bats and golf clubs. Players have died from being hit with line drives. Fans have been injured by baseballs and broken bats flung into the stands and golf balls hit into the gallery. And what about boxing? Paying money to watch and cheer-on two human beings beating the snot and blood out of each other — and betting on them besides?

I'm a registered voter (independent) and have never seen any ballot referendums to outlaw boxing, or golf or baseball. I've never heard of any grassroots organizations formed to save the future of these sports like the NBHA (National Baseball Hitters Assoc.) or COAL (Club Owners' Action League).

Andy Rooney said it best when he did a piece on guns. "Cars and baseball bats kill people too, but nobody is trying to stop you from driving to the ball game."

So, there is no need to make hunting and shooting controversial issues. But for some people, it's just too simple to understand. I recently was approached by an anti who proceeded with glee to tell me how much he hated my column. He made a controversy and confrontation out of it in a public place, where he thought people would be on his side.

A tall, thin man with a pony tail (just the opposite of myself) tapped me on the shoulder and said, "Excuse me, but would you be that guy who writes the hunting and fishing column for The Standard Times?"

I replied, "Howdy. No, I wouldn't be. I am. In person. So, you like my column."

To my surprise, he said, "No. That's why I wanted to confront you. I think it's ghastly and in poor taste. There's no need to hunt animals today, nobody needs guns today — and to write about it is even worse. I can't see how the paper can print your rubbish."

Rubbish? Come on wheels — turn quickly. "Well, everybody's got a right to their opinion, but opinions are like armpits. Most people got a couple and lots of times they stink. But I'll agree with you on one thing — there is no need to hunt animals today." His brow wrinkled, a puzzled look came over his face and he leaned in to see how I would quantify that statement. Then I continued. "It's Sunday. You can't hunt on Sunday. But there is a need to hunt animals tomorrow."

He leaned back again, nodded his head and folded his arms across his chest. "Think you're smart, don't you."

"Pretty smart. Top of my class in the reform school," I said proudly, raising an eyebrow and pointing a thumb to my chest. I had been waiting for a table at the entrance of a restaurant with a buddy of mine. An elderly couple was sitting on a bench and they were eavesdropping. They giggled at my reform school comment.

"We love your column — did a lot of hunting and fishing back in the day," the husband said.

"Give it to 'im," his wife added, shaking her little clenched fist with the handles of her purse draped over the crook of her arm.

I said, "Thank you, kindly," then turned my attention back to Mr. Pony Tail. "So, what are you eating tonight? I don't think they have any veggie platters on the menu."

"Um, Steak, I think."

"Where do you think it came from? You think they pick those off a tree? They cut them off a dead animal."

"Well, I didn't kill it."

"So, you have someone else do the dirty work for you? You couldn't roll a deer over and gut it yourself, could you?

"Heavens no. You are a Neanderthal man."

"Why, because going hunting is my lifestyle and you have to make a controversy out of it? And aren't we supposed to be more tolerant and accepting of others' lifestyles in today's society?"

"Nevertheless. You are a cave man."

I think I'll get over it.

Just then, the hostess called Mr. Pony Tail and wife to their table. My buddy and I chitchatted with the elderly couple, and he regaled us with tales of bagging big bucks when he was a strapping young buck himself.

The hostess then led us to our table and as we passed Mr. Pony Tail, I said, "Enjoy your dead animal meat." I don't think his wife liked me very much. Ladies shouldn't make those one-finger gestures, especially in public.

I commend Marc for this well written article and I feel the very same way that he does about the shooting sports. I grew up around firearms and I hunted,and I don't take kindly to someone trying to take it away from me.

At 8:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alexander Hamilton: "If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is no recourse left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defense which is paramount to all forms of positive government."

At 9:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

People who have been diagnosed psychiatrically are statistically less violent than the general public. They are more likely to be victims.

Multiple studies show that mental health professionals are no better than chance at predicting is a danger to others.

See the comment from Dr. Lloyd Ross -- the eight comment from the bottom, at:


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