Act Now Before a Valuable Constitutional Right is Lost
by The Liberator
For a long time now I have had the desire to write an article on this issue. Current events finally pushed me to write it. There are several frivolous lawsuits, a charismatic new President of The National Rifle Association (NRA)1, and a loss of personal responsibility in the U.S. Other factors include constitutional concerns, data on crime in the U.S., and the ramifications of instituting a gun control policy.
I am sure that the McDonald’s lawsuit is well known globally, considering the international presence of the fast food chain. Judges, lawyers, reporters, and everyday citizens like you and me are still trying to ascertain how a woman spilling a cup of hot coffee on herself could actually be granted a settlement against a McDonald’s restaurant.
It appears that frivolous lawsuits are gaining more credibility in courtrooms across the U.S. So we should not be surprised to learn that a mother is suing certain gun manufacturers2 (one being Smith and Wesson3) for the gun slaying of her son. The killer was said to have been impressing local gang members which resulted in the killing of her son.
This woman claims that gun manufacturers are marketing their products to people who commit crimes and therefore are liable for her son’s death. Gun manufacturers, she argues, are making weapons that are fingerprint resistant, small and able to conceal, and hold a large number of bullets. Those features in a gun make it very appealing to the criminal element.
In my mind, each and every one of those points is defendable. A fingerprint resistant finish is less prone to oxidation and easier to grip. A small, concealable gun is useful for undercover law enforcers, people who have concealed weapon permits, and citizens who want to protect themselves from the possibility of crime. Guns which have a high capacity are no longer specifically manufactured for the average citizen. Even though I have empathy for this woman’s loss, I doubt that she has a legal leg to stand on.
The McDonald’s lawsuit and the lawsuit on certain gun manufacturers do have something in common, besides being frivolous lawsuits. They attack a key facet of modern society--personal responsibility--much like the early lawsuits against ladder companies even though they were improperly used. If courts continue to remove personal responsibility from the decision-making process, a clear message will be sent to American citizens.
The message will be that it is okay not to be responsible. Court decisions will be virtually implying, "You are too stupid to know better John Q. Public; we’ll protect you." That is a dangerous message, more dangerous than hot coffee and all of the guns ever made.
Maybe this message is partly the reason why a growing number of people refuse to take responsibility for their actions. Our culture seems to be bent on taking personal responsibility out of every fabric of our lives, including school and legal systems. It appears to be a perverted, cyclical trend in desperate need of an end.
Hopefully the new president of the NRA, Charlton Heston, will be able to reverse the tide of ignorance that the anti-gun media regurgitates and help regain personal responsibility in the U.S. Mr. Heston addressed the anti-gun phenomenon when he wrote:As you probably know, England banned all handguns last year. October was the deadline to surrender centerfire models, and this past February all rimfires were collected, as well. That may not surprise some Americans, but it should. Because in less than a century, the United Kingdom has gone from a nation with gun laws no more restrictive than America’s, to a state where the idea of any private gun ownership at all is being scorned and slandered out of existence.
Many Americans shrug off England’s gun bans as a foreign phenomenon without much importance here. But such complacence is the biggest danger we face. Because as you’ll see, the strategy and tactics of that cultural war oversees are identical to the schemes of American gun-grabbers here.4
At the beginning of this century, [England] had almost no gun-control laws or gun-related crime. Yet today, armed crime there is more prevalent than in at least 200 years--100 times more prevalent than at the turn of this century.5
During an interview Mr. Heston said:It’s plain that our Constitution guarantees law-abiding citizens the right to own firearms. But when I stand up and say so, the media call me everything from "ridiculous" and "duped" to a "brain-injured, senile and crazy old man." Why do they assault me with such a slashing brand of derision filled with hate?
I’ll tell you why: Because Bill Clinton’s cultural warriors want a penitent cleansing of firearms, as if millions of lawful gun owners should feel guilty for someone else’s crimes and seek forgiveness by surrendering their guns.6
When asked, "What advice do you give to gun owners to win the cultural war being waged today?" Mr. Heston replied:We need every gun owner in America who believes in us, who believes in me, who believes in the Constitution, to stand and be counted, here and now. They can’t expect nearly 3 million NRA members to carry the load for 65 million gun owners.7
Mr. Heston and the millions of Americans he represents, including myself, feel very strongly about this issue. Their feelings are based not on raw emotion but on principles that run deep in our culture.
Mr. Heston made reference to the Constitution8 multiple times. The part of the Constitution that he is referring to is the 2nd Amendment, which is: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.
The anti-gun people would like to interpret that section to mean citizens have a right to arms through our armed forces. It is very clear, if you study it for yourself, the true meaning of that section is to have an armed militia and an armed citizenship. Such a blatant misinterpretation of the Constitution by the anti-gun movement scares me. If these people are willing to purposefully mis-read the Constitution, when the end result will be a loss of freedom for everyone, I have to ask: What other misdeeds are these people willing to do to further their own agenda?
Nevertheless, we should not be sidetracked from the true problem, the criminal. We all know there is a criminal element that preys off of the weak, unwitting, and ill-prepared. Criminals are becoming more desperate, more stupid, and therefore more dangerous.
There used to be a time when burglars had some degree of intelligence. They would case a house to discover the best time to loot it--when the occupants were away. Now we have to contend with a new type of criminal, the home invader. They will rob you whether or not you are home and most definitely hurt you if you are home. On a similar scale, we also have to contend with car-jackers. They are like home invaders but far more deliberate and bold.
In light of this modern criminal, many gun owners take an opposite view to banning guns. They believe guns actually make life in the U.S. more safe, contrary to the stand the biased media seems to invent. There are places in the U.S. where this theory is being tested. The tests involve concealed weapon permits or right-to-carry laws.
Research indicates that cities which adopt these right-to-carry laws have a lower incidence of crime. Florida is participating in that study. According to an ILA report:Florida continues to be the anti-gunners’ least favorite "carry" state. Its homicide rate has dropped 34.4% since right-to-carry became law. The rate for Florida’s 10 largest cities as a group has dropped 29.7%, the largest decreases occurring primarily in cities that had the worst homicide rates before right-to-carry became law.
Showing the deterrent effect that carry laws have on crime, Florida’s 10 largest cities all reported decreases in robbery between 1987 and 1996. While the state’s robbery rate has decreased 18.9%, the rate for the 10 cities as a group has decreased 19.1%. The single largest decrease , 34.3%, is reported by Jacksonville, the state’s most populous city.9
Guns make life in the U.S. more safe for yet another reason. An armed citizenship can not be threatened by a government gone awry. Recall Germany, from the 1930’s to the early 1940’s. Nazi loyalists easily squashed their internal opposition due to the citizenship’s inability to own weapons.
As Nazi Germany looked beyond its borders, neighboring countries fell like dominos. However, not many people are aware there was a Polish resistance that did a decent job keeping the Germans at bay. The resistance eventually was defeated due to an insufficient amount of ammunition.
Could the U.S. government ever mutate into the government of Nazi Germany or something equally horrible? Anything could happen when precautions are not taken. Reflect on the McCarthy era as a small sample of unbridled power in the U.S. government.
Despite all of the over-reacting that ensues on behalf of anti-gunners, millions of Americans use their weapons without harming anyone. In fact, when owners do use their weapons in a defensive manner, their actions go unnoticed by the media. Store owners guard themselves and their merchandise against robbers. Families defend themselves against intruders. Women protect themselves against violent men.
I am sure you have not been informed that Bill Clinton’s Department of Justice conducted a survey10 and came to the conclusion that guns are used far more often to defend against crime than to perpetrate it. It was the 15th national survey to reach the same conclusion in the past two decades.11 Why is it that these surveys are not being reported? Might there be an unjustified agenda being carried out?
It turns out the system that is already in place--when strictly adhered to--prevents potential problems and allows us to enjoy the great American tradition of gun ownership. The system that is in place right now involves four parts. The first part is a waiting time placed between ordering and receiving a gun. During that wait the second part, a thorough background check, is carried out. The third, firm laws and prosecuting criminals under those laws, is also vital. The last step is to conduct ongoing research on the varying degrees of gun control and safety.
If we look at current research, it tells us that instituting right-to-carry laws like concealed weapon permits, actually help to lower crime. These permits should naturally be awarded to law-abiding citizens who also pass a gun safety and training course.
The psychology of right-to-carry laws is plain and simple. Guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens scares criminals straight, preventing crime before it happens. Bank robbers, car-jackers, and muggers are unable to know who is carrying a weapon. Assistance to the victim could be gained by anyone, anytime. It makes criminals and would-be-criminals too nervous to carry out their crimes. The right-to-carry laws fit in perfectly with all of the successful zero-tolerance policies used today, therefore it must have merit.
So before we let frivolous lawsuits choke our courts and we consequently abandon personal responsibility as a society, do not be fooled by the erroneous comments made by anti-gunners. Listen to Charlton Heston, President of the NRA. Do not be fooled by Bill Clinton’s rendition of The Justice Department’s study. Learn about the facts behind concealed weapon permits. Understand all of the important details surrounding The 2nd Amendment to the Constitution.
Americans need to stop being passive on this important issue and be proactive before a necessary piece of our fundamental rights is hopelessly lost. Upon writing this article, I was not a member of the NRA. However, I now feel the need to contribute to their cause by joining them and their campaign to save an important and necessary piece of our American tradition.
- The NRA has websites at http://www.nra.org/ and http://www.nralive.com/. There is also a website dedicated to a small degree of handgun control at http://www.handguncontrol.org/. In order to personally investigate gun rights, go to http://www.guntruths.com/.
- An online list of gun manufacturers can be found at http://www.yahoo.com/Business_and_Economy/Companies/Weapons/Firearms/Manufacturers/.
- Smith and Wesson has a website at http://www.smith-wesson.com.
- June 1998 issue of Guns and Ammo, p. 39
- March 1998 issue of Guns and Ammo, p. 14
- March 1998 issue of American Rifleman, pp. 31-32
- March 1998 issue of American Rifleman, pp. 32-33
- A copy of The United States Constitution is obtainable at http://www.house.gov/Constitution/Constitution.html [Amendments: http://www.house.gov/Constitution/Amend.html].
- April 1998 issue of American Rifleman, p. 18
- Justice Department’s 1994 survey, "Guns in America: National Survey on Private Ownership and Use of Firearms" (NSPOF)
- April 1998 issue of American Rifleman, p.9, written by Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre
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