This post is an overview of an article on RedState, a conservative blog site. A link to RedState can be found on my blogroll under My Favorites.
The article starts by stating that gun rights advocates were “understandably dismayed” by the brief the Bush Administration’s Justice Department submitted in District of Columbia v. Heller. Being a gun owner, I am understandably dismayed as well. This is the biggest Second Amendment case to be argued since 1939.
The Department of Justice’s brief called for a remanding of the case for the reconsideration of D.C.’s gun laws under a “less demanding” constitutional standard. Given the Bush Administration’s stated support for an “individual rights” view of the Second Amendment, I too would find it “incomprehensible” that the Bush Administration would not support the D.C. Circuit Court’s decision holding that Washington, D.C.’s draconian gun restrictions are unconstitutional.
Although I certainly agree that the Department of Justice’s brief is a potentially unwelcome development in the 2008 Presidential race, I do not really think it will have much effect on American gun owners’ support for at least two of the GOP candidates.
I think Fred Thompson’s position on the Second Amendment is crystal clear to everyone:
“I strongly support the Second Amendment of the Constitution, which protects an individual’s right to keep and bear arms. Gun control is touted as a major crime-control measure. But some of the places with the strictest gun-control laws also have high violent-crime rates. Disarming law-abiding citizens does not prevent crime. The answer to violent crime is smart, effective, and aggressive law enforcement. The real effect of these gun-control measures is to place onerous restrictions on law-abiding citizens who use firearms for such legal activities as self-defense, sport shooting, hunting, and collecting.”
I am committed to strictly enforcing existing laws and severely punishing violent criminals and protecting the rights individual Americans enjoy under the Second Amendment.
Fred Thompson also asks:
“How is it that one man with two handguns could reload time & time again, and go from classroom to classroom on the Virginia Tech campus without being stopped. Much of the answer can be found in policies put in place by the university itself.”
“Virginia allows citizens with training and legal permits to carry concealed weapons. That means that Virginians regularly sit in movie theaters and eat in restaurants among armed citizens.”
“The statistics are clear. Communities that recognize and grant Second Amendment rights to responsible adults have a significantly lower incidence of violent crime than those that do not. Incarcerated criminals tell criminologists that they consider local gun laws when they decide what sort of crime they will commit, and where they will do so.”
“But Virginia Tech administrators overrode Virginia state law and threatened to expel or fire anybody who brings a weapon onto campus. Those “Gun-free Zone” signs don’t mean much to the sort of man who murdered 32 people.”
And … although I personally have some other issues with Mike Huckabee as a candidate, his position on gun control is also pretty clear:
“My position on the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution is as clear for me as the position held by most journalists toward the 1st Amendment. While I do not consider myself a “gun nut,” I proudly own a variety of firearms and enjoy hunting as well as sports shooting. But even if I were not a hunter or did not enjoy shooting, I would still be a firm believer in the 2nd Amendment right of Americans to own firearms for self-protection and as a matter of principle.”
Gov. Mike Huckabee said that he would support legislation in Arkansas for a law like one passed in Florida last year to protect citizens who use deadly force in self-defense against criminal prosecution and civil liability. Huckabee told a caller to his monthly radio show that he has a permit to carry a concealed weapon and believes “there is an absolute right that people have to protect themselves and even their property.”
According to the article on RedState, Fred Thompson is the only GOP candidate that has taken notice of the Department of Justice’s brief (We already know where the Democratic candidates stand). The article states that Fred Thompson has “accused the administration of ‘overlawyering’ the case.”
The author is absolutely correct when he states … if an individual rights view of the Second Amendment cannot prohibit an outright ban on handgun possession, there is certainly not going to be much left of the other rights it purportedly protects.
Fred Thompson stated that he opposed the remand and that he feels the case should simply move forward in the U.S. Supreme Court.
The D.C. District Court, in an opinion written by Justice Silberman, struck down the D.C. ban on the possession (even in one’s own home) of handguns . Silberman ruled that the Second Amendment protected an individual’s right to protect one’s self and one’s home and … that right pre-dates the Constitution.
Good for Justice Silberman … the right to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your property does exist simply as a “God-given” or “natural” right.
The article goes on to say that strict scrutiny would already allow regulations to prohibit arms of mass destruction, simply as a compelling public interest, and that, there is no need for “fact finding.” The article states that “fact finding” is simply a ruse … a delaying tactic. The U.S. Supreme Court can and should decide this issue based on the relevant constitutional principle.
The author stating that, while he himself has never owned a gun, he has always considered it obvious that it is a right granted by God to defend one’s self and family. You know … one of those pesky “inalienable rights” that trouble left-wing secular-progressive liberals so much!
I do not, however, agree with the article that the meaning of the second amendment is debatable from a lot of angles, I think it is pretty cut and dried if you read the writings of many of the Founding Fathers about the Second Amendment:
“The right of the people to keep and bear…arms shall not be infringed. A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the best and most natural defense of a free country…” (James Madison, I Annals of Congress 434 [June 8, 1789])
“Americans have the right and advantage of being armed – unlike the citizens of other countries whose governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.” (James Madison, The Federalist Papers #46 at 243-244)
“The right of the people to keep and bear arms has been recognized by the General Government; but the best security of that right after all is, the military spirit, that taste for martial exercises, which has always distinguished the free citizens of these States….Such men form the best barrier to the liberties of America” – (Gazette of the United States, October 14, 1789.)
“No Free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.” (Thomas Jefferson, Proposal Virginia Constitution, 1 T. Jefferson Papers, 334,[C.J.Boyd, Ed., 1950])
“Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people’s liberty teeth and keystone under independence … From the hour the Pilgrims landed, to the present day, events, occurrences, and tendencies prove that to insure peace, security and happiness, the rifle and pistol are equally indispensable . . . the very atmosphere of firearms everywhere restrains evil interference – they deserve a place of honor with all that is good” (George Washington)
“A militia, when properly formed, are in fact the people themselves…and include all men capable of bearing arms.” (Richard Henry Lee, Additional Letters from the Federal Farmer (1788) at 169)
Those founders who signed the Declaration of Independence would certainly not deny We the People the MEANS to preserve our lives, liberty and pursuit of happiness, and certainly that would be the case if only criminals and our government were armed.
We must, in fact, never let the left-wing liberal elites get by with the claim that only they can tell us what the Constitution means. Left-wing liberal elites do indeed like to construct an edifice of words to make things much complicated than they are simply as a means to give themselves more power.
The U.S. Constitution is not that hard to understand as written … if you take the time to carefully read it. It is not even very long … and I agree that Fred Thompson certainly does get it.
As a humorous (or ironic) side note:
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, there are 700,000 physicians in the US and the number of accidental deaths caused by them per year is about 120,000, making the accidental death rate per physician 17%.
Using that same logic, there are about 80 million gun owners, and the number of accidental gun deaths per year among all age groups is 1,500. The same calculation reveals the number of accidental deaths per gun owner to be 0.00188%.
In other words, statistically, doctors are approximately 9,000 times more dangerous than gun owners. Yet, I hear no one suggesting we ban doctors.