“To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.” – George Mason.
Washington D.C. — which combines some of the nation’s strictest controls on handguns with some of the nation’s highest rates of gun violence — provides proof for the old admonition that if you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns. And now Washington D.C. provides the test case for the biggest Second Amendment case in nearly 70 years, as the Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments on the constitutionality of Washington D.C.’s complete ban on handguns.
The Second Amendment is a right for all law-abiding citizens, not simply a collective right pertaining to militias. Moreover, restricting the rights of law abiding gun owners does nothing to reduce gun violence. As Ronald Reagan put it after he was shot with a handgun on the streets of Washington D.C. in 1981:
“You won’t get gun control by disarming law-abiding citizens. There’s only one way to get real gun control: Disarm the thugs and the criminals, lock them up and if you don’t actually throw away the key, at least lose it for a long time… It’s a nasty truth, but those who seek to inflict harm are not fazed by gun controllers. I happen to know this from personal experience.”
I know it’s hard to believe that John Hinckley was not stopped cold in his assassination attempt by Washington D.C.’s handgun ban.
Nearly two decades ago Steve Twist and I authored a law journal article on the Arizona Constitution, and noted that the framers of Arizona’s Constitution intended the absolute right for the citizens to bear arms to exist, “without legislative restriction, even against the carrying of concealed weapons.”
Contrary to the beliefs of bureaucrats in the District of Columbia, a well-armed citizenry actually deters both crime and threats from our nation’s enemies.
“OUR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO KEEP AND BEAR ARMS”
I know this may seem nitpicky, but in this debate since the SCOTUS made it clear they would hear the case, I see many refer to the “right to kep and bear arms” as Constitutionally provided. I have done much research on the tiopic over my 65 years and to the best of my understanding, I get the sense that the Founders acknowledged the “right to keep and bear arms” as one of the “inalienable rights” that preceeded the formation of this nation and the drafting of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The 2nd Amendment appears to be a clear recognition of the pre-existing right and simply admonishes the “Government” from infringing upon that right. Those 2 documents primarily set limitations on the government, not provide the citizens with government approved rights.
If I am being too “conservative” in my assessment of all this, then I will listen to any input from others who have likewise researched the issue, but arrived at a different viewpoint. I have always felt the “collective right” issue was a red herring when examined in context with the rest of the Constitution and Bill of Rights.
And let’s say the SCOTUS doesn’t see it that way and sides with the “militia member” aspect. That would require them to discriminate against the female citizens as the description of ‘militia’ clearly states “all males aged 17 ….”.
Quite the conundrum for the court if they choose that course.Guess we will all get our answers next year. I will be watching with rapt attention for sure.
Wishing you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving!
R. Hamric, you bring up an interesting point. When I was in college, I wrote a paper on James Madison and some of the arguments he put forth in the Federalist Papers. I always found it fascinating that Madison was adamant during the ratification debates that the Constitution contain no Bill of Rights lest the citizens think their rights are derived from the government. Really, it was a brilliant argument and contains a lot of wisdom!