Friday, November 23, 2007

DC Gun Ban

"In general, lawful gun ownership is a pretty simple matter. The
Founders established gun-owner rights so that citizens would possess
and be able to exercise the universal right of self-defense. Guns
enable their owners to protect themselves from robbery and assault more
successfully and more safely than they otherwise would be able to. The
danger of laws like the D.C. handgun ban is that they limit the
availability of legal guns to people who want to use them for
legitimate reasons, such as self-defense (let alone hunting, sport
shooting, collecting), while doing nothing to prevent criminals from
acquiring guns.

The D.C. handgun ban, like all handgun bans is
necessarily ineffectual. It takes the guns that would be used for self
protection out of the hands of law-abiding citizens, while doing
practically nothing to prevent criminals from obtaining guns to use to
commit crimes. Even the federal judges in the D.C. case knew about the
flourishing black market for guns in our nation's capital that leaves
the criminals armed and the law-abiding defenseless. This is

The Second Amendment does more than guarantee to
all Americans an unalienable right to defend one's self. William
Blackstone, the 18th century English legal commentator whose works were
well-read and relied on by the Framers of our Constitution, observed
that the right to keep and bear firearms arises from "the natural right
of resistance and self-preservation." This view, reflected in the
Second Amendment, promotes both self-defense and liberty. It is not
surprising then that the generation that had thrown off the yoke of
British tyranny less than a decade earlier included the Second
Amendment in the Constitution and meant for it to enable the people to
protect themselves and their liberties.

You can't always predict what the Supreme Court will do, but in the case of Heller
and Washington, D.C.'s gun ban, officials in the District of Columbia
would have been better off expending their efforts and resources in
pursuit of those who commit crimes against innocent people rather than
in seeking to keep guns out of the hands of law-abiding citizens who
would use them only to protect themselves and their families. And that
is why appointing judges who apply the text of the Constitution and not
their own policy preferences is so important."

Fred Thompson

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