Tag: guns

 Chicago Holds Its Breath

After last year’s McDonald v Chicago decision by the Supreme Court, I wrote about how the tide seemed to be turning with respect to recognition of our basic human right to self-defense. I guess I should have known that just because the Supreme Court decides in your favor does not mean your opponent will acquiesce. Much like a child that holds its breath and stamps its feet in a fit of defiance, the City of Chicago has been throwing a tantrum for the last year over the outcome of this case. While they did repeal the handgun ban, they replaced it with another ordinance that appears to be equally oppressive. They refused to pay the winning side’s attorney fees, claiming that the Supreme Court decision did not represent a clear victory. That dispute made its way to the US Court of Appeals, and Chicago was once again defeated. The city also appears to be denying the suburb of Oak Park, a fellow defendant, any protection from the expenses associated with the case.

No one likes to be told they are wrong, much less being proven wrong in court, but come on Chicago, man up. Stop behaving like an insolent six-year-old that just lost a game of Chutes and Ladders. Can we all be adults about this? Meanwhile, the path to gun ownership in Chicago has apparently not gotten easier, in any practical sense. So you are risking another round of lawsuits, the outcome of which is a foregone conclusion at this point. To use the legal term, the Second Amendment has now been “incorporated” into the equal protection clause, thus it applies to all Americans at the state and local levels. Any further infringement upon the rights of your residents should necessarily be a painful and costly endeavor for you. Isn’t it time to cut your losses? Or are you still hoping you can take your ball and go home?

 The Tide Is Turning

The Supreme Court handed those who believe in the right to self-defense another victory yesterday with their McDonald v Chicago decision. Sadly, as with their Heller decision two years ago, it was only 5-4, but residents of the People’s Republic of Illinois (as my dad likes to call it) can now sleep a little easier knowing that they can once again exercise their individual right to defend themselves. There is still a long way to go in educating the American people that their own security is a personal responsibility, but declaring bans on guns as unConstitutional is certainly a step in the right direction.

I’ve already heard the victim disarmament crowd whining on the news about how this decision will cause more crime in low income neighborhoods and more violence in the streets. This is simply nonsense. Those who would commit crimes have always had guns, and always will, regardless of the machinations of the legal system. By definition, they operate outside the legal system, so how can one expect the outcome of a court case to have any effect whatsoever on their behavior? On the other hand, the victims of these criminals now have one more option available to them, and the criminals now have one more variable to consider before committing that crime.

I think it is important to keep gun-related crime in perspective. There are over 300 million people in America, and the Department of Justice estimates that there are 275 million firearms. That’s almost one gun per person! And yet, the gun homicide rate is on the order of 10,000 per year. Somehow, hundreds of millions of people manage to own and safely operate their guns without killing anyone else. And that doesn’t even take into account the number of crimes that are prevented by guns, which could be as high as hundreds of thousands (depending on which study you read). So what is all the screaming about?

Let’s take this opportunity to celebrate. Millions of people around the world are denied their right to self defense. Today, we as Americans declared that we will not be among them.

 SCOTUS Gets One Right, For a Change

I don’t know which is more disturbing to me, the fact that the Supreme Court had to weigh in on the Second Amendment at all, or that it was only a 5-4 decision in favor of it. I was fully prepared for it to go the other way. I mean, the Court has not been shy about showing its disdain for fundamental rights, such as property rights, in their Kelo v. New London decision, for example. Since we no longer have a right to personal property, it would not have surprised me at all if they had moved to take away our individual right to self-defense as well.

So, now the residents of the District of Columbia can once again have an efficient means of protection in their homes again. It will be interesting to see if repealing the handgun ban in the District has any effect on crime statistics. One would expect home invasions, for instance, to drop considerably. The next step will be to remove any impediments to the citizens carrying their weapons with them, thereby reducing crime rates overall.

Thank you SCOTUS, for acknowledging a right that all of us already had!

 More Guns, Less Crime

A story in this week’s Post-Dispatch prompted me to observe that the only time you ever hear stories like these is when a 63-year-old grandmother is the one toting the gun:

CARTHAGE, Mo. (AP) — A 63-year-old grandmother with a handgun stopped two burglars at her backdoor in Carthage.

The Jasper County Sheriff’s Department said a woman and a 16-year-old boy were arrested after the foiled break-in Friday and charged with first-degree burglary.

The grandmother was at home with her grandchild when the burglars broke down her back door.

She grabbed a handgun and stopped the pair, but they ran away when the woman went back inside to call the sheriff’s department.

Deputies arrested the suspects about three hours later in Carthage.

Lt. Aaron Richardson of the sheriff’s department said first-degree burglary charges have been filed against Faith Barrick, 39, of Carthage, and a 16-year-old male accomplice.

This must seem like such an oddity to newspaper editors that they feel compelled to report the story just for its novelty value alone. But the mainstream media does a disservice to the public when they choose to ignore these types of encounters, focusing instead on stories where guns are used to commit crimes, rather than preventing them. It leaves us all with a false sense about guns.

Statistically speaking, few of us will ever be directly involved in a gun-related crime, so our only firsthand knowledge of this area is what we hear in the news. Anecdotal evidence can be a very powerful thing, and for most people it carries more weight than raw statistical data. But these data show, documented in books such as John Lott’s More Guns, Less Crime, that hundreds of thousands of people every year use guns to prevent crimes. Sometimes it is a 63-year-old grandmother. But more often, it’s a shop owner protecting his wares, and his life, from a armed robber. Or it’s an assistant principal protecting his students from a gunman.

The stories about crimes committed no doubt provide more interesting reading, and sell more newspapers, but they continue to reinforce the already distorted view that most people have of guns and those who carry them. Grandmas and thugs are not the only people carrying guns, but you sure wouldn’t know that from watching or reading the news.

 How Many Kids Have To Die?

Three cheers for Wisconsin state representative Frank Lasee for having the courage to suggest a real solution to the problem of school shootings: arm the teachers. The same people who recoil in horror at this proposition also object to allowing armed people on planes, but the simple fact is that guns prevent crime.

Within the past week, three school shootings have occurred in Wisconsin, Colorado, and Pennsylvania, all of which could have been prevented, or the effects of which at least diminished, if people on the scene had been armed, able to neutralize the shooter or at least defend the unarmed victims. But our society’s hypersensitivity to guns has blinded us to their utility.

It is often said that when you outlaw guns, only outlaws will carry them. Nowhere is this truth more brilliantly illustrated than in the tragic theater of a school shooting. But one shooting in particular in 1997, illustrated how sensible Representative Lasee’s proposal actually is. Joel Myrick, the assistant principal at Pearl High School in Pearl, Mississippi, ran to his car to retrieve his .45 caliber handgun *after* Luke Woodham began killing his fellow students, and then held Woodham until police arrived on the scene. Myrick’s use of an “illegal” gun prevented Woodham from executing the rest of his plan, which was to drive to the nearby Junior High and continue his shooting spree. Imagine how much better the outcome might have been had all of the school’s staff been armed on the scene. Woodham may never have gotten off a shot.

Pete Pochowski, the director of safety for Milwaukee Public Schools is quoted as saying, “We have problems in our schools, but not to the point where we need to arm our teachers and principals.” At what point do the school shootings become a severe enough problem where this option can be considered, Mr. Pochowski? Four a week? Five? Ten? Before people criticize Lasee’s plan they need to remember that not only is carrying a weapon for self-defense a natural right, it is simply a good idea.