Tuesday, January 22, 2008

D.C v Heller, The Star Telegram Weighs In.

Linda P. Campbell, a staff writer for the Star Telegram, has written a column on D.C. v Heller.

...Most of the amici (in legal lingo) on the district's side have well-known stands on gun control and could be expected to argue that the Second Amendment doesn't forbid local restrictions on personal weapons.

Then there's the brief led by the American Jewish Committee. It speaks for 23 groups as diverse as the Baptist Peace Fellowship, Citizens for a Safer Minnesota and the Gray Panthers, but also for "certain individual victims and families of victims of gun violence."

Families of 14 victims from gunman Seung-Hui Cho's April massacre at Virginia Tech University, plus three of the injured themselves, are backing the district on gun control.

"Jeri and I don't wish to take guns away from people who use them for hunting, target-shooting and self-defense in their homes and on their own property and would -- perhaps -- not even object to somebody carrying a weapon unconcealed in other places if they felt threatened in those areas," Michael Bishop told me in an e-mail on behalf of himself and his wife.

"What we do insist on is the undeniable fact that firearms were, and are, designed to kill and that one should demonstrate competence and accountability in their use. We don't believe that enacting even sensible gun legislation will prevent every murder by a firearm ..., but we do believe that allowing ... [everyone] who attempts to buy a gun to have that weapon, regardless of competence and accountability, will increase the number of firearm fatalities rather than lower them."
Mr. Bishop starts out stating that he supports hunting, sporting and self defense uses of firearms, even going so far as that he would support open carry, but he is siding with D.C in this case. We are talking about Washington D.C., the city that has an outright ban on handgun ownership by it's citizens. A ban, you know, zero tolerance. Some folks who owned handguns prior to the ban going into effect (1975) were allowed to keep their firearms. These folks are required to have a permit to transport that handgun from one room of their house to another. Long guns in the District are required to be unloaded, disassembled and locked. All ammunition must be registered. How effective is an unloaded, disassembled and locked up firearm going to be for defense? Mr. Bishop, by supporting D.C. in this case, you prove that you support the outright banning of firearms, period.

How effective has the District of Columbia Firearms Control Regulations Act of 1975 been in reducing violent crime in the District?

The FBI crime rate statistics from 2004 show that a person was more than twice as likely to be a victim of violent crime in Washington DC as they would be in the State of Texas. 1371 out of 100,000 citizens of Washington D.C. were victims of violent crime. You know, that means more than 1% of it's citizenry were victims of violent crime. Texas had 540 victims of violent crime/100,000 citizens. That is just violent crime, what about the murders? In gun banning, ammunition registering, Washington D.C., 35.8 out of every 100,000 citizens were murdered. In Texas, 6.1 out of every 100,000. Texas has almost 1/6th the murder rate of Washington D.C.

Restrictive firearms laws do not reduce violent crime or murder.

The author continues with:

Many of those who'll take sides in the case of District of Columbia v. Heller (briefs supporting Heller aren't in yet) will do it based on notions of individual rights or community safety that haven't been formed by personal experience with gun violence.
In this, Ma'am, you are very mistaken. That was a very insubstantial statement that has absolutely no basis in fact.

Ms. Campbell, would you agree that members of the United States Military may have some personal experience with gun violence? Members of the military, folks who have put their very lives at risk in defense of our freedom, are very often supportive of an individual right to keep and bear arms. How about those of us who have used a firearm in the defense of ourselves and those we love? What position do you think that we take on this issue? More than 1.5 million people in the United States use a firearm for self defense each year, and I will bet you dimes for dollars that each and every one of us who has had to reach for a firearm to defend ourselves, our loved ones and our homes supports our right to do so.
It's significant that families whose lives were shattered nine months ago have quietly taken the stand that more access to firearms isn't a deterrent to other Virginia Techs.
Quietly? Staging protests, working the talk show circuits, speaking in front of legislatures, and doing all they can for the anti-firearm crowd is not exactly being quiet. What is significant is the fact that SCOTUS has finally agreed to hear a Second Amendment case, a case where the plaintiff will actually show up.

Even the author of the column questions the effectiveness of D.C's gun ban:

I have my doubts about the effectiveness of the district's law. I still remember the night, almost two decades ago, that my husband and I saw a group of men fighting over a jacket across the street from our Capitol Hill home one evening. When one of them flashed a gun, we ran back inside and called the police -- who promptly came knocking on our door, with fear visible in their eyes. The officers didn't find the men we'd seen, but they confiscated a sawed-off shotgun down the street. I wonder how safe that neighborhood is now.
Yet she still shudders over the thought of free citizens being able to protect themselves.
One would remove restrictions on carrying guns at sporting events, church functions, political rallies and colleges and universities. That's a chilling prospect.
Does Linda P. Campbell really think that goblins will play by the rules? Does she really think that preventing us from protecting ourselves at "sporting events, church functions, political rallies and colleges and universities" will reduce violent crime?

You know what is kind of funny? She is in Texas, we can already carry at church functions and political rallies. She must be chilled to the bone.


Hyunchback said...

Blah blah, blah blah blah.

It's so predictable that you could have written the article for them. Just trot out all the old, tired cliches and avoid any real truth.

A newspaper? Anti-2nd Amendment. Through and through, every time.

AlanDP said...

The "can't carry in church" is a standard misconception. I haven't decided if the media is ignorant or complicit, but I don't know how many times I've had to tell CHL holders that they are NOT automatically by law prohibited from church carry. Apparently I've run into a lot of CHL holders who haven't actually read the laws.

Anonymous said...


This would make an excellent letter to the editor. Perhaps the Star-Telegram would run it with a repeat of Linda's column.

Would you consider sending it to the paper?

John R said...

Bob, thanks for stoping by.

I did send a link off to the author, but have not received a reply.