The Spectacle Blog

Fenty And Miller, Sitting In A Tree…

By on 9.6.07 | 9:55AM

...making up nonsense to keep handguns from you and me!

That pretty much describes the effort of our esteemed mayor and district attorney in the WaPo yesterday. For example, they state:

The central meaning of the Second Amendment has long been settled in the courts. The last time the Supreme Court directly addressed the provision -- which reads, "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" -- was in 1939, in a case called United States v. Miller. The court said that the Second Amendment's "obvious purpose" is to ensure the effectiveness and continuation of state military forces (the militia mentioned in the amendment), not to provide a private right to own weapons for one's own purposes.

Actually, U.S. v. Miller didn't settle things at all. Rather, it sends mixed messages, suggesting that an invididual right to own guns is vital to ensure the continuation of the militia. For example, the decision notes "that ordinarily 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." Furthermore, in U.S. v. Miller the Court looked at the right to own a short-barrel shotgun. The Court stated that it could find no Second Amendment right to own such a gun because it was "not within judicial notice that this weapon [was] any part of the ordinary military equipment, or that its use could contribute to the common defense." By implication, then, such a weapon could be protected by the Second Amendment if it was part of ordinary military equipment.

Fenty and Miller want you to believe that U.S. v. Miller settled the matter in favor of people not having an individual right to own guns, when it does no such thing. You can bet that they won't be the last to distort that decision for the purpose of upholding the D.C. gun ban.

And, of course, gun control advocates like Fenty and Miller can't resist making an argument for which there is no evidence:

Against this backdrop, the D.C. Council decided in 1976 to ban almost all private possession of handguns, while allowing residents to possess properly registered rifles and shotguns. The council's reasoning was as right then as it is now. Because handguns are involved in crimes, accidents and suicides far more often than other firearms, it makes perfect sense to ask that residents who want firearms at home choose something other than handguns.

If that was true, the areas with high rates of handgun ownership should have high rates of gun deaths and areas with hadgun bans should have lower rates of gun deaths. There is no evidence supporting that.

Then there is this howler:

The handgun ban has saved countless lives, but this fundamental part of the District's public safety laws will be no more if the Supreme Court does not review and overturn this year's decision by the D.C. Circuit.

Once you've picked yourself up off the floor in hysterics, you can quickly point out that D.C. has had one of the highest murder rates in the nation. So how many lives has the handgun ban really prevented? My guess is that it has actually caused more deaths than it has saved by preventing law-abiding people from defending themselves.

Finally, Fenty and Miller state, "Although handguns might still be trafficked into the District illegally from other jurisdictions, the last thing the District needs is even more handguns."

No, the first thing the District needs is more handguns. We need them in the hands of law-abiding citizens so they can defend themselves. When criminals are afraid that the people they intend to murder, rape, assualt or burgle might be able to shoot them, they will commit less murders, rapes, assualts and burglaries.

But you can count on the likes of Fenty and Miller to never understand that.

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