As probably the most prominent Second Amendment law professor in the country privately confided in me, “If the Supreme Court accepts the solicitor general’s interpretation, the chances of getting the D.C. gun ban struck down are bleak.”Lott concludes with this statement:
The Department of Justice argument can be boiled down pretty easily. Its lawyers claim that since the government bans machine guns, it should also be able to ban handguns. After all, they reason, people can still own rifles and shotguns for protection, even if they have to be stored locked up. The Justice Department even seems to accept that trigger locks are not really that much of a burden, and that the locks “can properly be interpreted” as not interfering with using guns for self-protection. Yet, even if gun locks do interfere with self-defense, DOJ believes the regulations should be allowed, as long as the District of Columbia government thinks it has a good reason.
Factually, there are many mistakes in the DOJ’s reasoning: As soon as a rifle or shotgun is unlocked, it becomes illegal in D.C., and there has never been a federal ban on machine guns. But these are relatively minor points. Nor does it really matter that the only academic research on the impact of trigger locks on crime finds that states that require guns be locked up and unloaded face a five-percent increase in murder and a 12-percent increase in rape. Criminals are more likely to attack people in their homes, and those attacks are more likely to be successful. Since the potential of armed victims deters criminals, storing a gun locked and unloaded actually encourages crime.
The biggest problem is the standard used for evaluating the constitutionality of regulations. The DOJ is asking that a different, much weaker standard be used for the Second Amendment than the courts demands for other “individual rights” such as speech, unreasonable searches and seizures, imprisonment without trial, and drawing and quartering people.
If one accepts the notion that gun ownership is an individual right, what does “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed” mean? What would the drafters of the Bill of Rights have had to write if they really meant the right “shall not be infringed”? Does the phrase “the right of the people” provide a different level of protection in the Second Amendment than in the First and Fourth?
But all is not lost. The Supreme Court can of course ignore the Bush administration’s advice, but the brief does carry significant weight. President Bush has the power to fix this by ordering that the solicitor general brief be withdrawn or significantly amended. Unfortunately, it may take an uprising by voters to rein in the Justice Department.If we have any power as a lobby, now is the time to exercise it. If the eventual Republican Presidential nominee isn't willing to repudiate the Bush sell-out and guarantee an attorney general accetable to us, it is time to stay home! This "lesser evil" theory is nonsense — see how well it's worked for us so far!
I'm going to try and have both David Hardy, producer of the documentary In Search of the Second Amendment and proprieter of the Of Arms and the Law blog, along with Jim Shepherd of the SHOOTING WIRE on the DOWN RANGE Radio podcast tomorrow (which, of course, you can listen to here on the blog or on DRTV or subscribe off iTunes (search Podcasts...DOWN RANGE Radio in the iTunes Store).
Jim as you may or may not know, was one of the original guys at CNN and has been active in television news for the better part of...forever. He is hands down the most knowledgeable person on Washington politics I have ever met. David Hardy is working right now on the academic's amicus for SCOTUS, which will not, BTW, sell us out.
These interviews are predicated on a lot of audio equipment working exactly the way it is supposed to (and exactly the way it worked yesterday PM), so keep your fingers crossed.
In the meantime, I note that the El Salvadorian-based street gang, MS-13, has been advancing the cause of immigrant rights by repeatedly defacing the New Haven, CT, Vietnam memorial by spray-painting the words "KILL WHITES MS-13!" Read about it here; thanks for the tip, Chills!). Well, at least they spelled both "kill" and "whites" correctly! Who says assimilation doesn't work anymore?
According to Newsmax FBI sources, the gang is active in 44 states and as early as 1995 was meeting with al-Qaida, probably to arrange for the purchase of cans of spray paint since there are now strict laws regulating same throughout the United States.
All the more reason to be ARMED IN 2008!