Last Updated Friday 12 May, 2000 18:30
Reasons to own a Firearm
Police Cannot Protect And Are Not Required To Protect Every Individual
- The courts have consistently ruled that the police do not have an obligation to protect individuals, only the public in general. For example, in Warren v. D.C. the court stated "courts have without exception concluded that when a municipality or other governmental entity undertakes to furnish police services, it assumes a duty only to the public at large and not to individual members of the community."
- Former Florida Attorney General Jim Smith told Florida legislators that police responded to only about 200,000 of 700,000 calls for help (28.57%) to Dade County authorities. Smith was asked why so many citizens in Dade County were buying guns and he said, "They damn well better, they've got to protect themselves."
- The Department of Justice found that in 1989, there were 168,881 crimes of violence which were not responded to by police within 1 hour.
- Currently, there are about 150,000 police officers on duty at any one time to protect a population of more than 250 million Americans or almost 1,700 citizens per officer.
Criminals Fear Armed Citizens More Than The Police
In 1985, the National Institute for Justice reported that:
- 60% of felons polled agreed that "a criminal is not going to mess around with a victim he knows is armed with a gun."
- 57% of felons polled agreed that "criminals are more worried about meeting an armed victim than they are about running into the police."
- 74% of felons polled agreed that "one reason burglars avoid houses when people are at home is that they fear being shot during the crime."
- Kennesaw, GA. In 1982, this suburb of Atlanta passed a law requiring heads of households to keep at least one weapon in the house. The residential burglary rate subsequently dropped 89% in Kennesaw, compared to the modest 10.4% drop in Georgia as a whole.
- Ten years later (1991), the residential burglary rate in Kennesaw was still 72% lower than it had been in 1981, before the law was passed.
- Orlando, FL. In 1966-67, the media highly publicized a safety course which taught Orlando women how to use guns. The result: Orlando's rape rate dropped 88% in 1967, whereas the rape rate remained constant in the rest of Florida and the nation.
Criminologists Turning From Anti-Gun Position
- Dr. Gary Kleck a criminologist at Florida State University, Kleck began his research as a firm believer in gun control. But in a speech delivered to the National Research Council, he said while he was once "a believer in the 'anti-gun' thesis," he has now moved "beyond even the skeptic position." Dr. Kleck now says the evidence "indicates that general gun availability does not measurably increase rates of homicide, suicide, robbery, assault, rape, or burglary in the U.S."
- James Wright. Formerly a gun control advocate, Wright received a grant from President Carter's Justice Department to study the effectiveness of gun control laws. To his surprise, he found that waiting periods, background checks, and all other gun control laws were not effective in reducing violent crime.
- Wright says at one time, "It seemed evident to me, we needed to mount a campaign to resolve the crisis of handgun proliferation." But he says, "I am now of the opinion that a compelling case for 'stricter gun control' cannot be made."
Problems With Waiting Periods And Background Checks
Waiting Periods Threaten The Safety Of People In Imminent Danger
- Bonnie Elmasri. She inquired about getting a gun to protect herself from a husband who had repeatedly threatened to kill her. She was told there was a 48 hour waiting period to buy a handgun. But unfortunately, Bonnie was never able to pick up a gun. She and her two sons were killed the next day by an abusive husband of whom the police were well aware.
- Marine Cpl. Rayna Ross. She bought a gun (in a non-waiting period state) and used it to kill an attacker in self-defense two days later. Had a 5-day waiting period been in effect, Ms. Ross would have been defenseless against the man who was stalking her.
- Los Angeles riots. USA Today reported that many of the people rushing to gun stores during the
1992 riots were "lifelong gun-control advocates, running to buy an item they thought they'd never
need." Ironically, they were outraged to discover they had to wait 15 days to buy a gun for self-defense.
Background Checks Do Not Disarm The Violent Criminal Population
- A Justice Department survey of felons showed that 93% of handgun predators had obtained their most recent guns "off-the-record."
- Press reports show that the few criminals who get their guns from retail outlets can easily get fake IDs or use surrogate buyers, known as "straw purchasers," to buy their guns.
Prior Restraints On Rights Are Unconstitutional
1. Second Amendment Protects An Individual Right
- Report by the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on the Constitution (1982) "The conclusion is thus inescapable that the history, concept, and wording of the second amendment to the Constitution of the United States, as well as its interpretation by every major commentator and court in the first half-century after its ratification, indicates that what is protected is an individual right of a private citizen to own and carry firearms in a peaceful manner."
- Supreme Court admits "the people" in the Second Amendment are the same "people" as in the rest of the Bill of Rights In U.S. v. Vergudo-Urquidez the Court stated that "'the people' seems to have been a term of art employed in select parts of the Constitution.... [and] it suggests that 'the people' protected by the Fourth Amendment, and by the First and Second Amendments, and to whom rights and powers are reserved in the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, refers to a class of persons who are part of a national community or who have otherwise developed sufficient connection with this country to be considered part of that community."
2. Courts Agree That Rights Should Be Free From Prior Restraints
- Near v. Minnesota In this case, the Supreme Court stated that government officials should punish the abuse of a right and not place prior restraints on the exercise of the right.
- What about yelling "Fire" in a crowded theater? The courts have stated that one cannot use his "freedom of speech" to yell "Fire" in a crowded theater. And yet, no one argues that officials should gag everyone who goes into the theater. The proper response is to punish the person who does yell "Fire. " Likewise, citizens should not be "gagged" before exercising their Second Amendment rights, rather they should be punished if they abuse that right.
D. Background Checks Can Lead To Gun Registration
- Justice Department report (1989) "Any system that requires a criminal history record check prior to purchase of a firearm creates the potential for the automated tracking of individuals who seek to purchase firearms.''
- California State officials have for years been using the state background check required during the waiting period to compile an illegal registry of handgun owners. These lists have been compiled without any statutory authority to do so.
- Federal The BATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) has also been compiling an illegal gun owner list by going to dealers' stores and copying the 4473 forms which are kept there. By copying these forms, which contain the name and addresses of gun buyers, the BATF is violating federal law.
Problems With Gun Registration And Licensing
A. Licensing Or Registration Can Lead To Confiscation Of Firearms
- Step One: Registration: In the mid-1960's officials in New York City began registering long guns. They promised they would never use such lists to take away firearms from honest citizens. But in 1991, the city banned (and soon began confiscating) many of those very guns.
- Step Two: Confiscation: In 1992, a New York city paper reported that, "Police raided the home of a Staten Island man who refused to comply with the city's tough ban on assault weapons, and seized an arsenal of firearms.... Spot checks are planned [for other homes].
- Foreign Countries Gun registration has led to confiscation in several countries, including Greece, Ireland, Jamaica and Bermuda. And in an exhaustive study on this subject. Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership has researched and translated several gun control laws from foreign countries. Their publication, Lethal Laws: Gun Control is the Key to Genocide documents how gun control (and confiscation) has preceded the slaughter and genocide of millions of people in Turkey, the Soviet Union, Germany, China, Cambodia and others.
- In 1983, Igor Hutorsky was murdered by two burglars who broke into his Brooklyn furniture store. The tragedy is that some time before the murder his business partner had applied for permission to keep a handgun at the store. Even four months after the murder, the former partner had still not heard from the police about the status of his gun permit.
B. The Power To License A Right Is The Power To Destroy A Right
- Arbitrary Delays: While New Jersey law requires applications to be responded to within thirty days, delays of ninety days are routine; sometimes, applications are delayed for several years for no readily apparent reason.
- Arbitrary Denials: Officials in New York City routinely deny gun permits for ordinary citizens and store owners because as the courts have ruled they have no greater need for protection than anyone else in the city. In fact, the authorities have even refused to issue permits when the courts have ordered them to do so.
- Arbitrary Fee Increases: In 1994, the Clinton administration pushed for a license fee increase of almost 1,000 percent on gun dealers. According to U.S. News & World Report, the administration was seeking the license fee increase "in hopes of driving many of America's 258,000 licensed gun dealers out of business."
C. Officials Cannot License Or Register A Constitutional Right
The Supreme Court held in Lamont v. Postmaster General (1965) that the First Amendment prevents the government from registering purchasers of magazines and newspapers even if such material is "communist political propaganda."
Assault Weapons: Fact Or Fiction?
A. "Assault Rifles" No Different Than Hunting Rifles
- Officer William McGrath: "These [assault rifles] are little different than the semi-automatic hunting rifles that have been on the market since before World War II. The main difference between an assault rifle and a semi-automatic hunting rifle is that the assault rifle looks more military.'"
- "The term 'assault' rifle is really a misnomer as a true assault rifle is a selective fire weapon capable of switching from fully automatic to semi-automatic and back with the flip of a lever."
- "The charge that the assault rifle holds more rounds than a 'legitimate' hunting rifle shows either a lack of knowledge or a deliberate twisting of the facts, as 10, 20 and 30 round magazines for 'legitimate' hunting rifles have been on the market for decades without the world coming to an end."
B. Semi-automatic "assault weapons" are excellent for self-defense
C. The Second Amendment protects an individual's right to own military rifles and handguns
- Report by the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on the Constitution (1982) "In the Militia Act of 1792, the second Congress defined 'militia of the United States' to include almost every free adult male in the United States. These persons were obligated by law to possess a [military-style] firearm and a minimum supply of ammunition and military equipment.... There can be little doubt from this that when the Congress and the people spoke of the a 'militia.' they had reference to the traditional concept of the entire populace capable of bearing arms. and not to any formal group such as what is today called the National Guard.
- The Supreme Court In U.S. v. Miller, the Court stated that, "The Militia comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense . . . [and that] when called for service, these men were expected to appear bearing arms supplied by themselves and of the kind in common use at the time."
- The case of U.S. v. Miller is often cited by gun-control proponents as indicative that the Supreme Court decision most plausibly means that a the Second Amendment is a collective right and not an individual right. However, if that were true, the case would not have been heard at all by the court. Since the individuals involved in the case were not members of any militia, they would thus have lacked any standing to challenge the law. But this was not so. The court implicitly recognized that the Second Amendment is an individual right and thus heard the case.
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