- Posted February 5, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
The Second Amendment, Lies, and Violence PART ONE
he 2nd Amendment, like the 1st Amendment, does not have a singular purpose or a precise, snappy meaning. Those who practice one-incident reporting and attempt snappy one-liners do nothing to properly address the issues. In order to address any issue, we must of course understand it. Sadly, politicians lie. Pundits lie. There are fact-based points and then there are those most charitably called “something else.”
I. HOW BAD IS VIOLENCE IN THE UNITED STATES?
This is not hard to answer. Real facts from the F.B.I. Violence in the United States has been in an astonishingly steep decline for the last twenty years. Here it is: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2011/crime-in-the-u.s.-2011/fbi-releases-2011-crime-statistics . For 2011, violent crime rate for the year was 386.3 offenses per 100,000 inhabitants a 4.5 percent decrease from the 2010 rate. Check it all out: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2011/crime-in-the-u.s.-2011/tables/table-1 .
In 1992, the violent crime rate in the U.S. was 757.7 per 100,000. Now, it is 386.6. In 1992, the Murder and nonnegligent manslaughter rate was 9.3 / 100k. In 1997, it was 9.5 / 100K. In 2011, the Murder and nonnegligent manslaughter rate was 4.7 / 100,000 inhabitants. Since 1992, violent crime and murder rates in the United States have been more than cut in half.
Moreover killings from firearms are not what some politicians apparently can comprehend. The majority of firearm deaths are suicides, hardly the same issue as violent thugs and street violence. US Department of Justice reports that approximately 60% of all adult firearm deaths are by suicide, 61% more than deaths by homicide.
What the media (and most everyone else) fails to mention is that not only is violent crime in steep decline, the steep decline continues despite the expiration of the ten year long “Assault Weapons Ban.” For years, the suggestion has been made that more guns, more crime. This has been loudly disproved. Twenty years ago, conceal-carry was not common. Today, there are some 10,000,000 concealed carry permit holders coinciding with the reduction of violent crime. It is fact that concealed carry poses no negatives to the public. In fact, less than one percent of concealed carry permits have been withdrawn. Note that criminals have always been able to carry weapons whenever and wherever they choose, only the law-abiding citizen bothers with a CCW permit. Some 2,000,000 times a year, law-abiding citizens use personal firearms to stop, thwart, or end crime. This is not explored or touched upon by most; instead it is sadly ignored. While Utopia would be no violence at all, the violent crime and murder rates in the United States that have been more than cut in half since 1992 should be appreciated, if not celebrated.
II. WHAT DOES THE SECOND AMENDMENT MEAN TODAY?
Good question. Though Government is not above killing or “laying siege” to its own citizens (Kent State, Ruby Ridge, Waco, etc.) and the Government has completely lost control (Detroit Riots, LA Riots, Katrina, Hurricane Sandy) the primary purpose of the 2nd Amendment (not the only) is the Natural Right of Self-Defense, an Unalienable Right of Man than can not be taken or legislated away.
III. WHAT HAS THE SUPREME COURT SAID?
It is of no surprise to anyone that Congress passes unconstitutional laws regularly. Problem is, it may take years for things to work their way through the courts if they indeed ever do. The Korean War was a “police action,” never completely ended, Obamacare was not a tax, but only constitutional if it was a tax, so it quickly became a tax. The Supreme Court has avoided any thorough exploration of the 2nd Amendment. When “reasonable restrictions” are discussed, it is wise to note that the complete ban on handguns in Washington, D. C., and Chicago, IL, were considered “reasonable” by many obviously inclusive of those that enacted these laws. The Obama Administration ostensibly supported the Washington, D.C. complete ban.
In 2008, the Supreme Court decided to hear District of Columbia v. Heller. A landmark case, Heller decided for the first time in United States history that the 2nd Amendment was a personal right, as opposed to a collective right.
In 2010, we had McDonald v. Chicago. The Supreme Court held that the right of an individual to "keep and bear arms" protected by the Second Amendment is incorporated by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and applies to the states.
Still, it was not a completely thorough exploration of the 2nd Amendment and did not attempt to define or address every nuisance or every jot and tittle.
The McDonald case was decided on June 28, 2010. It affirms the Natural Right of Self-Defense, an Unalienable Right of Man, with arms. It does not go into extreme detail beyond that, it does not fully explore “sporting purposes,” hunting, or the many other facets of the Second Amendment. It does not negate them, but that was not the question before the Court: self-defense was the issue, as Otis McDonald originally sought relief by challenging four broad aspects of Chicago's gun registration law.
IV. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN GOING FORWARD?
I've always found it easier to Foretell the Past rather than predict the future. It is clear that outright gun bans will not be tolerated and that the lower courts will take the lead from the Supreme Court in continuing to rule that ownership of guns for self-defense is a right, not a privilege, just as recently decided by the Seventh Circuit. In Moore/Shepard, Judge Posner observed that the "vast terra incognita" referred to by the other circuits "has been opened to judicial exploration by Heller and McDonald." Accordingly, the court analyzed the text of the Heller and McDonald opinions, and of the Second Amendment itself.
The Seventh Circuit noted Heller's statement that the Second Amendment "guarantee[s] the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation," and added that "[c]onfrontations are not limited to the home." Further, in McDonald the Supreme Court characterized Heller as holding "the Second Amendment protects the right to keep and bear arms for the purpose of self-defense[.]" Noting that the Second Amendment right to "bear" arms is distinct from the right to "keep" arms, the Moore/Shepard court concluded that bearing arms is unlikely to refer to the home, and that "a right to bear arms thus implies a right to carry a loaded gun outside the home." Most importantly, it found that "[t]he Supreme Court has decided that the amendment confers a right to bear arms for self-defense, which is as important outside the home as inside."
Applying the “in common use” threshold as used in several cases, Armalite AR-15 rifles and 30 round magazines would be constitutionally protected, as would various common pistols (Glock 17) that are commonly factory-supplied with 17 – 19 round detachable magazines. Law enforcement is not military, of course, and the weapons they routinely use are to “serve and protect.” Therefore, any firearm or weapon used by law enforcement for protection would naturally be a protected item for self-defense and protection by the U.S. Citizen as well. It could not be more clear that police and the citizen are not living on a battlefield on foreign soil, but seeking only to protect the very same things for the same reasons. It is important to note that prior court decisions has not impeded legislatures from enacting unconstitutional law in the slightest and there is no indication that this sad fact will over change.
(continued on The Second Amendment, Lies, and Violence PART TWO )