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rebuttals to "Gun Control"
The Supreme Court announced Monday, without explanation, that it will not hear an appeal to a lower court ruling that upheld two of San Francisco's extremely restrictive gun laws. One of those laws, a so-called "safe storage" requirement, forces every gun owner to choose between keeping his or her guns locked up and useless in an emergency, or becoming a "gun criminal." The other bans the sale of hollow point ammunition--the overwhelming handgun ammunition choice for law enforcement, both because such ammunition is more likely to stop the attacker immediately, and because such rounds are far less likely to over-penetrate, and pose a threat to innocent bystanders.
According to the Associated Press, Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia stated that they would have heard the case, but they were voted down. It is truly disturbing that apparently only two of nine Justices were willing to hear the case.
It's also something of a surprise. When the District of Columbia v. Heller case was being argued, both Scalia and Chief Justice Roberts asserted some doubts about "safe storage" requirements. Here, they questioned D.C.'s attorney Walter Dellinger about the feasibility of entering the combination in order to remove a trigger lock when woken by an intruder in one's room:
The majority opinion in Heller, written by Scalia, states that the Second Amendment protects the right to armed self-defense within the home--but one cannot defend oneself with a locked up gun.
The hollow point ammunition ban is also difficult to reconcile with the Heller decision. The San Francisco ordinance banning the sale of such ammo is worded to identify ammunition designed to expand on impact and that "has no sporting purpose" as that which is to be banned. If, however, the right protected by the Second Amendment is unconnected to any requirement for usefulness in sport, then how can such a requirement face Constitutional muster? The obvious answer is that it cannot.
Writing for the Seattle Gun Rights Examiner Tuesday, Dave Workman noted that it's rather unlikely that "gun control" advocates will fail to seek maximum advantage of what they will likely portray as the Supreme Court's endorsement of such restrictions. It's hard to imagine he is wrong about that.
The lesson to be drawn here? As gun owners, and more importantly as gun rights advocates, we cannot rely on the courts to protect our rights. With the Supreme Court, the trampling of rights can be upheld, as in this case, without even a court decision--merely deciding not to decide will be treated by the gun ban zealots as a tacit go-ahead from the highest court in the land.
Gun rights advocates must decide how much longer we are willing to play a rigged game, in which all the government's checks and balances have united in favor of government over the people, leaving the government both unchecked and unbalanced. If we grant the black-robed high priests of American "justice" the role of ultimate arbiters of what our rights are, we have surrendered any claim on our own power to tell the government--our servants--what they are.
Liberty advocate Claire Wolfe once famously said that, "America is at that awkward stage. It's too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards." As bad as that sounds, we are deluding ourselves if we ignore the very real possibility that we are rapidly approaching the next stage.
A former paratrooper, Kurt Hofmann was paralyzed in a car accident in 2002. The helplessness inherent to confinement to a wheelchair prompted him to explore armed self-defense, only to discover that Illinois denies that right, inspiring him to become active in gun rights advocacy. He also writes the St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner column. Kurt Hofmann Archive.