Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Brady Campaign Sounding Very Nervous over DC Gun Ban Case!

The absolute worst nightmare of any gun control group is having the United States Supreme Court re-affirm that the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution recognizes an individual right. Why? To understand that you need to understand some basic Constitutional law principles. First, the Constitution grants no rights to the People – it merely recognizes them and affirms that the government will not infringe on those rights. Rights “granted” by a government can be taken away by a government, and that is the last thing the Framers wanted to see. Second, if the Supreme Court (correctly) rules that the Second Amendment is an individual right – that places the Second Amendment back on the same legal footing as the First Amendment. In short, abridging an individuals right to keep and bear arms would become as Constitutionally abhorrent as saying someone couldn’t go to a Baptist, or a Lutheran, or a Mormon, or a Catholic Church.

In short, everything the gun control lobby has tried to do for the past half century unravels if the Supreme Court unambiguously states that the Second Amendment is an individual right as all of their arguments are based on some version of the “collective rights” misreading of the Second Amendment. The fear and shrillness is evident in the latest plea (for money) by the Brady Campaign:

“District of Columbia Mayor Adrian Fenty announced this week that the District will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review the decision in Parker v. District of Columbia — an assault on D.C. gun laws and one that could threaten every city's gun laws.”

They go on to state:

“We must prepare for a long hard battle. So much of what we have worked for in the past and everything we're currently working on could be destroyed by the heinous decision of right-wing activist judges who chose to ignore more than 60 years of precedent in order to help the gun lobby accomplish in the courts what it has been unable to accomplish in Congress.”

Well, at least they’re honest about one thing. If the U.S. Supreme Court rules according to Constitutional principle – everything they’ve worked for – every right they’ve trampled on – every illegal law they’ve worked to get passed – every lie they’ve told about firearms and firearm owners will come crashing down around their heads. Quite frankly that will be a banner day in Constitutional law when and if it comes to pass.

Looking at the rest of their inaccurate rhetoric, however, wow – “right wing activist judges”. That’s the pot calling the kettle black. Apparently their new strategy is one of if you can’t win on facts – lie. What the Brady Campaign won’t tell you is that it’s really that last 60 years of precedent that is activist. If you go back to Framer’s intent – you quickly understand that the Second Amendment was always seen as not only a fundamental right, but perhaps THE fundamental right affirmed by the Constitution. Consider the words of leading Federalist Noah Webster:

“Another source of power in government is a military force. But this, to be efficient, must be superior to any force that exists among the people, or which they can command; for otherwise this force would be annihilated, on the first exercise of acts of oppression. Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretence, raised in the United States

Note that he says “because the whole body of the people are armed”. Not may be armed, not could be armed, not could be issued weapons in time of war, but ARE ARMED. Many other commentaries of the time make equivalent statements. In short, the Framers saw an armed American populace as the last, best defense against tyranny in this country – yet the Brady Campaign calls that view “twisted”. Apparently the Brady Campaign prefers a world where the individual is incapable of defending himself or herself from oppression, a world where the individual is incapable of defending himself or herself from criminals. Sounds like some Third World dictatorship, but certainly not America. It makes me wonder what sort of “Brave New World” the Brady Campaign wants to usher in.

As always I’ll be watching this one closely! Until next time!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

America has Crashed - Time for a Reboot

The more I think about it, the more I think we need a “back to basics” vision for America today. America has forgotten its roots. We have become too deeply mired in the minutia of partisan politics and have lost sight of what America stands for – what it means to be American. We’ve suffer from a national myopia with all of our attention being devoted to non-issue “issues”, while our basic rights and freedoms and the very underpinnings of our society are continually eroded.

I look at both sides of the aisle today and I, quite frankly, don’t like what I see. I’m faced with a choice between a neo-conservative vision that tries to mix 19th Century imperialism with a global economy that hurts American workers and consumers and a liberal vision that seems to resemble nothing more than the American Socialist Party advocating a government dependent society where entitlements are the norm and no one has to work for anything. What’s worse, if I vote neo-conservative, I vote to invalidate half of the Bill of Rights, and if I vote liberal, I vote to invalidate the other half.

America was founded on the radical concept that human beings have certain inalienable rights – rights which can’t be taken away by a King – or even a democratically held referendum. Our Constitution affirms many of those rights by name. Note I say affirm, not grant. It is not the government of the United States that “grants” us these rights. The Framers saw these rights as basic and fundamental, and not subject to government regulation. Unfortunately, over the past 200 years, for reasons that I’m sure sounded good at the time, we the people have allowed the government to erode many of those rights until we're left with a nation where the Bill of Rights is under active attack by both ends of the political spectrum.

Freedom of speech is one of those endangered rights. The right tried to clamp down on it during the black days after September 11, 2001. No one could criticize the President without being branded a traitor or in league with terrorists. The “terrorist” became the red scare of the new century, and the specter of McCarthyism was raised once again. The left is not blameless here either. The entire doctrine of “Political Correctness” represents the greatest attempt to control thought through creation of acceptable speech codes in this nation’s history. Packaged as an attempt to ensure people’s feelings aren’t hurt, it does nothing to combat the actual marginalization of various groups in this country.

Freedom of religion is yet another endangered right. The left seems to be embarked on a crusade to ensure American public life is free FROM religion. They seem to have missed the whole bit about “free exercise” of religion being expressly affirmed by the Constitution. In a rhetorical backlash, the right seems to miss the boat as well in that they want to institutionalize one particular branch of Christianity. While I know the Constitution doesn’t expressly use the words “separation of Church and State”, both Thomas Jefferson and James Madison indicate in their writings that’s what First Amendment means – and I tend to trust those two on Constitutional matters.

The Second Amendment is perhaps the most misunderstood of all of the sections of the Bill of Rights, and unfortunately only a fraction of that misunderstanding is unintentional. There are many groups out there deliberately muddying the waters to achieve their own ends. Some of those ends are laudable – they want to see a reduction in violent crime. Others are not – they simply fear firearms or fear an armed populace. What the Framers actually feared was a strong central government with a strong military that could impose its will upon the nation – like the monarchies in Europe. The Framers were quite proud of the Second Amendment as they believed only in a free Society would a government not fear an armed population and that armed populace represented the ultimate check and balance against tyranny. So the concept on the left that the right to keep and bear arms is limited to the “militia”, which is modernly (and incorrectly) translated as the National Guard is flat wrong. The concept common even on the right that the Second Amendment refers to “hunting and sporting” purposes is also flat wrong. When only the government is armed, there is no Freedom. If you don’t believe me – think back to Tiananmen square.

In conclusion, our nation needs to politically reboot itself and get back to the business of looking after the rights and freedoms of its people rather than focusing on partisan non-issues. We don’t need an assault weapon ban to combat crime – we need to attack the causes of the poverty and joblessness that are the motives for that crime. We don’t need to provide amnesty to 12 million individuals who snuck over the border illegally, or see how fast we can ship our jobs to China, India, and Mexico, we need to foster industrial development at home and employ our own citizens. We don’t need to focus on “hate speech” and “political correctness”, we need to have a open and honest dialog. We need to let people offend others and be offended. That’s the only way real lasting progress will be made. Right now our “leaders” are trying to put new coats of paint on a rusting hulk and call the problems “solved”. Our nation deserves better. We as Americans must demand better.

Monday, July 16, 2007

D.C. to Appeal Handgun Case to Supreme Court

As we’ve followed in previous blogs, the landmark court case that struck down the D.C. handgun ban has been appealed yet again – this time to the U.S. Supreme Court.

According to an article from SFGate:

"'We believe we are right on the law and we hope the Supreme Court will agree with us,’ D.C. Attorney General Linda Singer said."

I hear that some people believe in pink unicorns as well, but the Framers’ intent on the Second Amendment is quite clear – and D.C. is on the wrong side of that intent. The article goes on to state:

"City officials say the ban is needed because of consistently high homicide rates. The law has remained in effect during the appeals process."

And once again city officials repeat the big lie – that the gun ban positively impacts the murder rate. Quite the opposite is the case – the murder rate in D.C. has gone up since the ban went into effect. Coincidence? I think not.

This could potentially be a landmark decision, as the article correctly notes:

"If the high court takes up the case, it would mark the first time in 70 years that justices will consider the breadth of the Second Amendment. In 2003, the court chose not to take a case that challenged California's ban on assault weapons."

My guess is that they will not take up this case either as the Court would have to rule that the Second Amendment is an individual right. That would put not only the D.C. gun ban out of business, but ones in California, Chicago, New York, New Jersey, and might also throw a wrench into the entire operation of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.

I’ll be following this case very closely – the best outcome would be for the USSC to take the case and rule correctly based on Constitutional grounds, but I’m not going to hold my breath.

Until next time!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The AK-47 Turns 60

One of the most instantly recognizable firearms in the world has now been around for 60 years – the AK-47. Rugged, cheap, and reliable, even in adverse conditions, the AK-47 has been produced in dozens of countries with a staggering total of over 100 million being produced since its introduction.

The AK-47 was developed by Mikhail Kalashnikov, pictured above holding an early prototype rifle, in response to superior German weapons being employed against the Soviet Union during World War II and represents a combination of some of the features of the American M1 Garand and the German StG44. Kalashnikov was wounded in 1941 at the battle of Bryansk.

Kalashnikov states in a recent interview :

“Blame the Nazi Germans for making me become a gun designer, I always wanted to construct agricultural machinery.”

While the AK-47 (the AK stands for Avtomat Kalashnikov) has been frequently demonized by American gun control groups (even though true AK-47’s are rare in America) Kalashnikov, who is now 87, has no regrets:

“I sleep well. It’s the politicians who are to blame for failing to come to an agreement and resorting to violence.”

I’ve had the privilege to shoot one licensed AK-47 variant, and have shot the semi-automatic version frequently. They are extremely enjoyable for both practical rifle and short to mid range target shooting. Ammunition for semi-automatic AK’s is generally very inexpensive as well, so a day at the range won’t cost you a mint!

Until next time!