Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Affirming Our Second Amendment Rights

It was interesting to me that at a recent birthday party, five of the eight men there discussed owning guns, and three of the five (including me) have concealed-carry permits. The other three men did not volunteer information, so they may or may not be gun owners. Some people, like liberal columnist, William Raspberry, famously excoriate gun-owners while reserving that right to themselves (as Democrat Senator Webb was also caught doing),

Gun owners and others who respect the Second Amendment should remember that both Clinton and Obama are anti the 2nd Amendment and have voted for every gun control measure put before them (source:

Rather than any more gun control legislation (except for constantly tightening ways to keep guns out of the hands of ex-felons and people with mental defects), what is needed is a federal law for carry-permit holders that recognizes the mobility of today’s society. There is now a federal law, referred to as the “peaceable journey” law, that enables any legal gun owner to carry an unloaded weapon across state lines while traveling. What is needed is a similar law that automatically gives reciprocity to a permit holder who is also on a “peaceable journey”, but wishes to retain the protection he has in his home state.

The same rules would apply as is the case now: one could only stop temporarily in a pass-through state, and the destination must be another residence or place of business. As it is now, I can protect myself through Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia, but before entering DC and Maryland I must empty my gun and lock it in a box in my trunk, and it must stay that way through New Jersey, Delaware, New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island until I reach my other home in RI.

The Second Amendment Wedge
by Jed Babbin, 11/26/2007, Human Events

Hillary calls them, “kitchen table issues,” the political questions Americans take seriously enough to talk about them privately, in their homes, among family and friends. Whether she likes it or not, one of those issues is gun control. Last week the Supreme Court decided to take on the biggest gun control case in almost seventy years: District of Columbia v. Heller. The Heller case is an appeal by the DC government from the US Circuit Court’s decision holding unconstitutional D.C.’s ban on privately-owned handguns and severe limits on other weapons.

The Heller appeal will be argued next spring and unless something very odd happens, it will be decided before the election. This is very bad news for the Democrats who -- like Hillary -- don’t believe that the Second Amendment grants to private citizens the right to keep and bear arms.

The DC handgun ban provides that an unlicensed private person may not carry a pistol even from room to room in his own home. Because DC -- as a matter of policy -- doesn’t grant handgun permits, the law effectively bans lawful handgun ownership.

It also requires that all other guns -- shotguns and rifles -- be registered and kept either unloaded and disassembled or locked with a trigger lock. In either case, the weapon is useless for self-defense because an assailant isn’t likely to stand by waiting patiently while you search for the key or put your shotgun together in order to protect yourself from him.

It’s been almost seventy years since the Supreme Court last ruled on the very basic principle embodied in the Second Amendment: the right to keep and bear arms. The 1939 decision in Miller v. US confused the law.

Reacting to the interstate gangs of the 1930s that preyed on the public (and their banks: think Dillinger, Bonnie and Clyde and their ilk) Congress regulated private possession of the gangs’ favorite tools of mayhem: machine guns, suppressed (silenced) weapons and sawed-off shotguns. Miller and his co-defendant were convicted of crossing state lines with a sawed-off shotgun in violation of the new law.

In 1939, the Supreme Court ruled that the Miller convictions were proper because the sawed-off shotgun was not a weapon that would be of use to a militiaman: “In the absence of any evidence tending to show that possession or use of a ‘shotgun having a barrel of less than eighteen inches in length’ at this time has some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia, we cannot say that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear such an instrument.” But following that logic -- and given the armament most common among the modern militia, the National Guard, is the M-16 rifle which is capable of fully-automatic fire -- the Miller case is at best a limited guide for the Supreme Court in the DC v. Heller appeal.

Though you may as well reason that the freedom from unreasonable search and seizure applies only to homes that were built by 1781, the fact is that officers of some states’ militias were required to equip themselves with a brace of pistols.

The Heller case raises the precise issue that liberals fear most: the private rights of individuals. The DC Circuit’s opinion rejects the District of Columbia government’s argument that the Second Amendment grants only a collective right: that the states have the right to arm their militias, but no private citizen has a right to keep a firearm. It will be very tough to overcome the DC Circuit’s reasoning for two big reasons.

First, as the Supreme Court held in 1840, there’s not a surplus word in the Constitution. “Every word must have its due force and appropriate meaning…no word was unnecessarily used or needlessly added.” The Second Amendment says, “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.” There are no useless words here. Every one is key to the force and effect of the Second Amendment. That Amendment, when it speaks of “the people” must be read in concert with the rest of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and their history.

No one contends that the other Amendments that preserve rights of “the people” -- the First, Fourth, Ninth and Tenth -- do not preserve individuals’ rights. The same must be true of the Second.

Moreover, the Federalist Papers -- as the DC Circuit analyzes -- reveal that the Founders believed in the right of the individual to keep his own firearms. Neither the Federalists nor the Anti-Federalists believed the federal government had the power to disarm the people.

The second reason the Heller case will be tough to overturn is in the Fourteenth Amendment which precludes states from passing laws that abridge the privileges and immunities of citizens granted under the Constitution. The courts haven’t yet decided that the Fourteenth Amendment precludes gun control laws such as the District of Columbia’s, but the Heller case may make that result unavoidable, thus overturning those laws around the nation.

If the Republicans seize this opportunity, they can make a “kitchen table” issue into a “wedge issue” in 2008: one that will decide the minds of voters. One Republican -- Mitt Romney -- has spoken on this precise point. In his interview with HUMAN EVENTS, Romney said his personal view was that the Second Amendment granted the right to keep and bear arms to individuals. No Democrat will say that.

In Hillary Clinton’s book, “Living History,” she writes about her outrage at Congress’ failure to, “…close the so-called gun-show loophole and to require child safety locks on guns.” She goes on talking about how Congress lacked the will to, “…buck the all-powerful gun lobby and pass sensible gun safety measures [which] made me think about what I might be able to do, as a senator, to pass common sense legislation. In an interview in May, I told CBS anchor Dan Rather that, if I ran for the Senate, it would be because of what I learned in places like Littleton -- and in spite of what I had lived through in Washington.”

Clinton never did anything about gun control as a senator. What would she do as president? Does she believe that the Second Amendment gives individuals the right to keep and bear arms, or does she favor confiscative laws such as the District of Columbia law the Supreme Court will rule on in the Heller case?

We know the answer. But it’s up to the Republican candidates to flush her out of the tall weeds. This is an important issue to a great majority of Americans across the map, in Blue States, not just Red ones. It could be the wedge issue that decides the 2008 election.


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At 9:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To have a "right" to own a weapon that has only one purpose, to kill or maim another person makes no sense-though people have done their best to make up reasons to justify killing since Cain and Abel

But it we are to have a "right" to kill (oh protect sounds so much better) as in "pro choice" for what that really is, babby killing, why stop at guns?

Why not grenades, assault weapons, anti-tank ordinance, mines, bazookas, stinger missiles. I mean, let's not go half way with this self protection shit. Let's really get tough.

At 9:09 AM, Blogger RussWilcox said...

You are obviously not aware that every state that has passed permitting laws has seen a significant drop in violent crimes, or you are not a serious person.

At 10:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel fortunate that I don't live in either Florida or RI where somebody with as much anger as you exhibit, is walking around with a concealed weapon.

Your disregard of Rambo as, "not a serious person" is arrogant and uncalled for. His positions of being anti abortion and anti firearm are at least fully consistant. You claim to be pro life, but apparently wouldn't hesitate to take one.

At 11:08 AM, Blogger RussWilcox said...

Bud you are the ignorant and arrogant person. I have had a carry permit since 1969 - that's 39 years, and I have never used a weapon or even shown one. Every few years these permits have to be renewed, and your record must be outstanding to get the renewal. Studies have also shown that permit holders commit almost no gun crimes or have gun accidents.

At 11:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You and Rambo can sit in your home some night and wait patiently for a cop to come and rescue you from a crazed drug addict trying to break into your house at night to possibly do you, and your family bodily harm. As for Russ and myself, we're going to protect ourselves with a firearm. I also have a Class A right to carry permit. As I've mentioned before; The fact that we have guns, will make an intruder think twice before he breaks into your house, even though you choose not to own a firearm. The intruder doesn't know this. If you choose not to own a gun, that's your prerogative, but don't dictate to me that I shouldn't own one. Keep this in mind; Our forefathers and signers of the Constitution were not stupid. These laws are more important today than when they were created back then. If you think that they are Draconian, and don't apply to our life today, then just think back to what happened in Germany.

At 11:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Russ, why would you have a gun, if you never intend to use it? If you do intend to use it under the right set of circumstances, then presumably you'd try to kill someone. This, in my view, is inconsistent with a pro life position valueing all human life. What is ignorant or arrogant in that statement? You're pretty quick to insult others, but very prickly about adverse comments toward you.

Joe, I don't question your right to have a gun as long as the law says you may. I just don't think that it's a good idea to have too many guns on the street. It sounds too much like the wild west.

At 2:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Calling someone an "ignorant and arrogqnt person" does nothing does to advance the correctness of your cause. Quite the contrary.

Get on a higher plain or land up on my spam list.

Bob Dahl

At 6:13 PM, Blogger RussWilcox said...

I hope my viewers noticed that the anti-gun commenters made no attempt here to discuss the issue I raised, limiting their comments to baiting, dragging in irrelevant items like abortion and stinger missiles, and accusing me of walking around in anger ready to shoot someome.

At 9:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I noticed...I'd add that having a gun with the intent to defend yourself if it ever became necessary does not make you a lunatic. It also makes perfect sense to be in a position to defend yourself, your country, and your rights against the government should that become necessary.

I do think that allowing handgun and rifle possession is in a completely different category than grenades or missiles however.

As far as being pro life or pro choice, these are all just short labels like the sound bite mentality that exists everywhere today. It's more complicated than that. You can be pro life but understand the need for a legal abortion...and you can want to defend your OWN life. You can be pro choice but you still want to eliminate every single abortion.

I never INTEND to get in a car accident but I still wear a seatbelt and I do not see that as a contradiction whether it's my accident or someone elses fault...

At 3:13 PM, Blogger Sushiboy said...

Russel, good blog you have here.

Bud - Rambo can be seen as not serious by how lightly he took the issue. Russel shouldn't have to take jabs aimed at his character seriously. Right to Carry is a right to defense not a right to be an aggressor, Rambo completely disregarded why Russel carries a gun, and so do you. If you choose to ignore Russel's motivations, and continue to attack him, don't be surprised when he ignores you. (which is the definition of ignorant now isn't it, Ignorance is a lack of knowledge. Ignorance is also the state of being ignorant or uninformed. You were and continue to doggedly remain ignorant of why Russel would carry a gun, and then attack him for it.)

Russel carries (if I'm not mistaken, correct me if I'm wrong Russel) for the situation when his life or another's life is in immediate or real danger from the criminal actions of someone else. A criminal uses a weapon to impose his will on others with the threat of lethal force. Carrying a gun to protect yourself and your family from death at the hands of criminal in no way shows an excess of aggression or blood lust as rambo asserted.

I want to protect my home, why would I want a stinger missile to do so? Or a flamethrower? Why would Rambo suggest such ridiculous weapons for home defense? It doesn't make much sense me to fire a stinger missile at a armed intruder in my home, if my wife and kids die in the blast. Thats how we know Rambo isn't serious. USE YOUR HEAD. Despite what the propaganda says, gun owners aren't out to murder the entire earth, just to prevent a person who is inclined to do so from reaching his goal at the expense of them or their loved ones.

Bob Dahl- To accuse someone of aggression to the point of being dangerous with a gun is a far worse insult than being called ignorant, I'd rather be a bit ignorant (and called so) than be accused of being blood thirsty (or being blood thirsty) any day. If your going to a higher plane (plain? perhaps you should learn how to spell where you are going so you can get to the right place) perhaps you should you should insist everyone play nice, not just the people disagree with you.

If you don't agree with guns. Don't own one. If you don't agree with religion, don't associate yourself with one. If you don't like someone's opinion, don't agree with them. But accusing them of aggression they don't feel, or blood-thirsty intentions is a personal attack and a small way to wage a political argument.

At 3:56 PM, Blogger RussWilcox said...

Sushiboy, Thank you for your comment. As a matter of fact, in Florida permit holders may use their weapon ONLY to defend their life or the life of someone in your company. You may not use a weapon to defend property. If you see someone trying to steal your car, you may NOT use a weapon to prevent it; if someone tries to carjack you, you are authorized to use your weapon.

At 6:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel sorry for all you gun wackos out there who feel so threatened that you feel a need, a "right" to have a lethal weapon.

Is this a genetic defect? Maybe you had a very abusive home life when growing up.

Yes you can raise many arguments for being a gun wacko, unfortunately, there are just as many arguments against the "right" to have a weapon.

Hey, maybe you should live in a better neighborhood and you wouldn't feel so insecure.

Bang, bang!

At 8:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone else see the irony of anti gun "advocate" being named Rambo? ha ha

At 9:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't accuse Wilcox of being either "aggresive" or "blood thirsty". I said that he exhibited a great deal of anger, and implied that I wouldn't like to be near someone that angry, who carried a gun. There have been many cases of ordinary people who shot someone in anger because they happened to have a gun handy. Anger and firearms are not a good mix. I don't dispute Wilcox's right to carry a gun, if the state of Florida gives him a permit to do so, but I don't want to be near him when he's packing.

At 12:54 PM, Blogger Sushiboy said...

Bud - Keep digging. I still don't see how, "You are obviously not aware that every state that has passed permitting laws has seen a significant drop in violent crimes, or you are not a serious person." is an inappropriate or angry response, especially to someone who is being purposely antagonistic. Honestly does Rambo sound like he wants a conversation? No, he is here to call people who disagree with him names.

How does that constitute a "great deal of anger". Rambo isn't serious and he was called out on it, without name calling or without threatening verbage. I think you are projecting your own emotions onto Russel. Care to back up where you are getting this anger vibe from? Because I'm not picking it up from anyone but you and Rambo.

Rambo - ? It's easy to call names under the mask of anonymity. Name calling doesn't prove anything about the issue, except that you're unable to argue your views rationally .

At 6:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The comment about anger doesn't refer just to this message, but to the cumulative effect over many blogs. On Jan 18, SayItAin'tSo mentioned his anger. His Jan 19, and 20, entries were withdrawn because his angry rants suggested violating the constitution. On Jan. 15, he called the NY Times "treasonous", not exactly an assertion reflecting a calm demeanor

At 2:44 PM, Blogger Sushiboy said...

I'm not seeing any entries on the 19 and 20th. If your referring to comments made on those dates you'll have to be more specific, as comments (at least for me) don't carry dates.

Treasonous? Lets take a look at that shall we?

Treason: a crime that undermines the offender's government.

The times report focused on murders connected to military veterans. Then called into question the mental state and integrity of all war veterans. There was no context, no comparison of non-military peers, nothing. To me this article is libel. (a written or oral defamatory statement or representation that conveys an unjustly unfavorable impression)

Libel against a large group of soldiers that are less likely to commit murder and violence than their peers. Soldiers that are agents of our government. (undermining the government... well I hope you can now see the connection)

War does leave an impression on people. But I think seeing the horrors of combat leaves the beholder less likely to commit violent acts. Because they have become acutely aware of the effects of violence. Seeing your best friend blown away probably does leave a psychological scar, but that scar is probably enough to make them think twice when they are angry, think twice when confronted with violence. They know what it is like to lose a friend, or to be wounded. Why inflict that pain on another in any other situation than combat?

The times article was inaccurate, insensitive and a direct shot at the members of the military. Treason? It is walking very close to that line if it hasn't crossed it.

This article calls into question the mental stability of four of Russel's siblings, or even Russel himself, (his bio just mentions that his parents sent off 4 soldiers) (Veterans of WWII) I can see why he would be a bit angry. I can see why he used the word treasonous. But did he call the times any other names? Hmmm.. nope he just stuck the point where he disagreed with the times. Quoted an article he agreed with and left it at that.

Even if he is angry he kept to the point he was upset with. He didn't lash out and ravage the times about unrelated issues, he kept to the point. Russel doesn't strike me as the type that loses his head, he didn't and launch into a rant or diatribe on the times issue, he didn't when you accused him of being unstable because of anger, and more likely to shoot someone. That wasn't nice of you to say, but he countered with the facts. In 39 years he hasn't even pulled out his gun. Never used it.

After that you asked Why have the gun then if you don't intend to use it? That had NOTHING to do with the issue. You don't like guns, yet you taunt someone for not using theirs? Now that does sound like an angry response. Which is why I continue to think you are projecting your feelings onto Russel.

At 6:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You didn't see entries for the 19th and 20th because Wilcox withdrew them after I pointed out that some of his suggestions were unconstitutional.

Wilcox did not say that his parents sent four sons to service in WWII, but that his grandparents did. That makes them his uncles not his siblings.

The NY Times criticism of this administration's treatment of wounded or psychologically damaged servicemen is no more treasonous than the Washington Times criticism of the Clinton administration. There is a time honored tradition within the Anglo-American democracies of the party out of power establishing itself as a "loyal opposition". Republicans opposed some elements of the war effort during world war II, but were not treasonous and were never accused of being so.

At 2:34 AM, Blogger Sushiboy said...

Good eyes, I missed that, uncles not siblings, but close none the less.

I don't mind loyal opposition, but that article at least how I read it seemed more targeted at sensationalism (i.e. if you know a vet be careful, they just might murder you in your sleep, type) I have now problem in petitioning, or pointing out to our government that our vets should be provided as part of the job. I'm not saying opposition to the war is treasonous, but I think the way the times handled this story was underhanded.

The other two articles, well they aren't there. So I have no idea what the content was. But lets put it this way, the outright ban on guns isn't constitutional, either.

I'm all for preventing felons and people who are in temporary or permanent psychological situations which may make them violent, from getting guns. But shooting someone (other than in defense and I mean defense, imminent threat) is already illegal. So is stabbing people. So is hitting them with a baseball bat.

Knives have one purpose to cut things, they are dangerous. Ban em? Baseball bats have one purpose, to hit things. Should they be banned? Guns are tools, just like knives and bats. Rambo's arguments were well into the realm of ridiculous. You argue that Russell had suggested unconstitutional things, well so is the practice of cities and states passing unilateral gun bans.

Rambo was being purposely antagonistic. Russel wasn't going after him. He set the record straight and then you went after him. Then you taunted him. So Russell has his opinions. You are on his blog, expressing yours. If you want some respect, maybe you should try showing some. You're not the type of house guest I would ask back.

"Russ, why would you have a gun, if you never intend to use it? If you do intend to use it under the right set of circumstances, then presumably you'd try to kill someone." Maybe Russ, would use just enough force to end the situation. But to roll that into the same issue as pro-life is an over-generalization. I see a huge difference between killing a baby for convenience (i.e. as a method of contraception, rape, incest, and a mothers life being in danger are different issues) and brandishing a weapon in your defense from someone that wants to kill you.

I'm gonna guess from your other posts, that you are pro-choice. Correct me if I'm wrong. Rambo may claim he is pro-life but I doubt it. How do you know how Russell sees the issue, did you ask? I see a huge difference between advocation of protection of the innocent and defending yourself from someone who wants to kill you. (aka someone who is guilty of something pretty heinous)

Not much an argument from someone that is pro Roe Vs. Wade. I'd ask you for you next argument, but I'm getting really bored. So Russell may not be perfect but neither are you. So far, he's tried to keep things to the issue and hasn't tried to call you names (other to say that you don't know what you are talking about. which you don't, (not meant as a sweeping satement) You may know about the issues but you try to put words in other peoples mouths or assert they are feeling things, they probably aren't) If you want to have an intellectual talk, keep it intellectual, don't taunt, don't accuse. And if you are gonna argue pro-life, it helps to be pro-life.


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