Saturday, February 19, 2005
SAEN Editorial Board On Gun Control
The board backs gun control, saying, "Most Americans want common sense laws that will limit the killing" (5/13/00). Our country already has many "common sense" gun laws that simply need enforcing; nevertheless, the rhetoric of those lobbying for stricter gun control laws is emotionally appealing. What readers don't see in the editorial page is the strong evidence against gun restrictions.
Consider, for example, what has happened in Great Britain-which has the most stringent firearm restrictions of any democracy-since it banned handguns in 1997. According to Joyce Lee Malcolm, a professor of history at Bentley College and author of Guns and Violence: The English Experience, "In the two years following the 1997 handgun ban, the use of handguns in crime rose by 40 percent" and "the number of people robbed at gunpoint in London rose 53 percent." Malcolm goes on to say that the English approach to violent crime "has left law-abiding citizens at the mercy of criminals who are confident that their victims have neither the means nor the legal right to resist them. Imitating this model would be a public safety disaster for the United States."
Watch for more excerpts in the following days. And thanks again to Ms. Massey for allowing her work to be excerpted here.
Furthermore, I leave you with this, something most people engaged in public debate lack knowledge of, pertinent legal precedent:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
That being said, the only right to bear arms exists to maintain militias for the protection of the Union. While it doesn't bar gun ownership, this implies that a community determines the level of deadly weapons it wants around. Just thought I'd bring that to your attention
B. When the Bill of Rights was written, "militia" meant adult males of every household, not a standing guard unit. Times change, and the 2A seems open to interpretation. In December, the lawyers of the US Dept of Justice published a 103 page memo in which they found that the militia clause is a preface to the main clause, and the right to keep and bear arms is an individual right, not a collective one.