The DC Gun Ban
March 12, 2007
Last Friday a federal appeals court in
Washington DC issued a ruling that hopefully will result in the restoration of
2nd Amendment rights in the nation's capital.
It appears the Court rejected the District of Columbia 's nonsensical
argument that the 2nd Amendment confers only a "collective
right," something gun control advocates have asserted for years.
Of course we should not have too much
faith in our federal courts to protect gun rights, considering they routinely
rubber stamp egregious violations of the 1 st, 4th, and
5th Amendments, and allow Congress to legislate wildly outside the
bounds of its enumerated powers. Furthermore,
the DC case will be appealed to the Supreme Court with no guarantees.
But it is very important nonetheless for a federal court only one step
below the highest court in the land to recognize that gun rights adhere to the
American people, not to government-sanctioned groups.
Rights, by definition, are individual.
"Group rights" is an oxymoron.
Can anyone seriously contend that the Founders, who had just expelled their
British rulers mostly by use of light arms, did not want the individual
farmer, blacksmith, or merchant to be armed?
Those individuals would have been killed or imprisoned by the King's
soldiers if they had relied on a federal armed force to protect them.
In the 1700s, militias were local groups
made up of ordinary citizens. They
were not under federal control! As
a practical matter, many of them were barely under the control of colonial or
state authorities. When the 2nd
Amendment speaks of a "well-regulated militia," it means local
groups of individuals operating to protect their own families, homes, and
communities. They regulated
themselves because it was necessary and in their own interest to do so.
The Founders themselves wrote in the
Federalist papers about the need for individuals to be armed.
In fact, James Madison argued in Federalist paper 46 that common
citizens should be armed to guard against the threat posed by the newly
proposed standing federal army.
Today, gun control makes people
demonstrably less safe-- as any honest examination of criminal statistics
reveals. In his book "More Guns, Less Crime," scholar John Lott
demolishes the myth that gun control reduces crime. On the contrary, Lott
shows that cities with strict gun control--like Washington DC--experience
higher rates of murder and violent crime.
It is no coincidence that violent crime flourishes in the nation's
capital, where the individual's right to defend himself has been most severely
Understand that residents of DC can be
convicted of a felony and put in prison simply for having a gun in their home,
even if they live in a very dangerous neighborhood.
The DC gun ban is no joke, and the legal challenges to the ban are not
simply academic exercises. People's
lives and safety are at stake.
Gun control historically serves as
a gateway to tyranny. Tyrants from Hitler to Mao to Stalin have sought to
disarm their own citizens, for the simple reason that unarmed people are
easier to control. Our Founders, having just expelled the British army, knew
that the right to bear arms serves as the guardian of every other right. This
is the principle so often ignored by both sides in the gun control debate.
Only armed citizens can resist tyrannical government.