Saturday, March 10, 2007

Washington Post on Overturning the DC Gun Ban: Silly and Inaccurate

I knew there were a lot of crack smokers in DC, but I didn't realize they infest the Washington Post editorial offices:

>>Dangerous Ruling
An appeals court ruling would put handguns back in D.C. homes.<<

As if they aren't there now?

>>Saturday, March 10, 2007; A18

At least they got that part right.

>>IN OVERTURNING the District of Columbia's long-standing ban on handguns yesterday, a federal appeals court turned its back on nearly 70 years of Supreme Court precedent...

They must be referring to the Miller decision, which essentially held that since the Court was not aware of evidence that a sawed off shotgun was useful for military (and hence militia) use, it could be regulated in interstate transportation by the federal government. The Miller court did not address the subject of submachine guns because Miller had been caught with a shotgun. Since submachine guns are clearly useful for military purposes, had Miller been caught with one, the court might have ruled in his favor. Neither Miller nor his attorney showed up for the Supreme Court hearing. It is pretty clear that rifles, shotguns,submachine guns, and handguns do have militia uses.

>>to give a new and dangerous meaning to the Second Amendment.

The individual rights interpretation of the 2nd Amendment appears to have been assumed until well into the 20th century, so this is hardly a new meaning, dangerous or not. And just what is dangerous about allowing law-abiding people to have guns? The Posties must have a low opinion of we mere commoners.

>>If allowed to stand, this radical ruling...

Posties, if the Founders were anything, they were gun-toting revolutionaries who used a great many privately owned deer rifles to gun down government troops. Where were you in 8th grade history class?

>>...will inevitably mean more people killed and wounded as keeping guns out of the city becomes harder.

I hope so. This would be a wonderful development because for once the bleeding bodies would be those of criminals instead of decent people.

>>Moreover, if the legal principles used in the decision are applied nationally, every gun control law on the books would be imperiled.

That is clearly not true. Look at the restrictions on free speech. Libel laws and slander laws have been found constitutional, as have fraud laws. The Emerson decision in Texas several years ago held the 2nd to be an individual right, but still allowed Emerson to be convicted. Does upholding the 1st Amendment mean libel laws are imperiled?

>>The 2 to 1 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit struck down sections of a 1976 law that bans city residents from having handguns in their homes.

Oh, the Horror!

>>The court also overturned the law's requirement that shotguns and rifles be stored disassembled or with trigger locks.

The Horror!, Part II.

>> The court grounded its unprecedented ruling...

Wrong, wrong, wrong. Don't you Crackies even WANT to get it right? See the Emerson decision by the 5th Circuit.

>> the finding that the Second Amendment right to bear arms extends beyond militias to individuals.

Gosh, the second thing they got right, after the date.

>>The activities the Second Amendment protects, the judges wrote, "are not limited to militia service, nor is an individual's enjoyment of the right contingent upon his or continued intermittent enrollment in the militia."

Three things right, tho not in a row. Something must be wearing off, or you just wised up enough to use direct quotes.

>>Never before has a law been struck down on that basis.

Whoa! Three in a row. However, isn't it reasonable to mention Emerson in that context? No, they wouldn't want to confuse the readers by telling them that the 5th Circuit found the 2nd Amendment protects an individual right, but upheld the law nonetheless. That would refute your comment above about imperilment.

>>The Supreme Court, in its landmark 1939 decision United States v. Miller, stated that the Second Amendment was adopted "with obvious purpose" of protecting the ability of states to organize militias and "must be interpreted and applied with that end in view."

The DC Circuit didn't dispute that, guys. It did take a more nuanced view, tho. Why is it that lefties sneer at the right wingers and libertarians for lack of subtle thinking, when it is the lefties who are the least nuanced of all?

>>Nearly every other federal court of appeals has concurred in that finding.

How about the 5th Circuit in Emerson? how about the 19th century cases, which were all the closer to the Founders' time?

>>The dissenting judge in yesterday's opinion, Karen LeCraft Henderson, a Republican appointee like the other two judges on the panel, rightly lambasted the majority for its willful disregard of Supreme Court precedent.

True. She also said that the 2nd Amendment -and hence by implication the ENTIRE Bill of Rights- does not apply to DC because DC is not a state. Posties, are you really sure you want to go THERE? think about the implications for your own Press.

However, during the 19th century there was no question that the Bill of Rights protected people in the Territories, so this is a bit strange of Judge Henderson.

>>While the ruling caught observers off guard, it was not completely unexpected,

Expected but off guard? OK. Glad you aren't in charge of the troops in Baghdad.

>>given the unconscionable campaign, led by the National Rife Association and abetted by the Bush administration,...

Sort of like the unconscionable campaign led by NAACP et al during the 1950s and 1960s to secure peoples' rights?

>> broadly reinterpret the Constitution so as to give individuals Second Amendment rights.

You mean, interpret it the way the writers meant it? Unconscionable!

>>Indeed, the D.C. lawsuit, by six residents assisted by the Cato Institute, was filed in 2003, just months after then-Attorney General John D. Ashcroft said gun bans are unconstitutional.

Mere residents, Cato, and John Ashcroft! Vapors City.

>>The NRA predictably welcomed yesterday's ruling.

Another thing right.

>>According to its myth, only criminals have had guns in the city and now law-abiding citizens will be able to arm themselves for protection.

According to its myth, the sun rises in the East. No kidding folks, you must have gotten a fresh hit. Myth? It is self-evidently true that only criminals have guns when guns are illegal. You actually think that is a myth? Or is it a myth that when guns are legal decent people will arm themselves?

And now- assuming the appeal goes correctly- law-abiding citizens will be able to have guns in their homes for self defence. Where does the myth part come in? Im mythtafied.

>>Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D)...

Yep, don't forget to remind the readers that the Mayor is a noble (D).

>>...counters that argument with the sad record of what results from a proliferation of guns. the hands of no one but criminals.

>>As he points out, more guns mean only more violence,...

...against the poor, long-suffering rapists, murderers, and armed robbers of DC. Poor things. Punctured in the act of violence. Why should rape, robbery, and murder be high risk hobbies?

>>...and the city already has too much of both. It is important to note that the ban on handguns will stay in effect while the city considers whether to appeal.

So, will they consider for 30-40 years? No, it doesn't work that way. This may be settled next year.

>>That is likely, Mr. Fenty announced. The risk here is that an appeal could lead to an unfavorable Supreme Court ruling, and a legal principle that now applies only to the residents of the nation's capital would extend to the entire nation.

The Horror!, Part III. Dang those ultra-Right wing types on the Court. They just aren't what FDR put there.

>>Yet doing nothing wouldn't serve the best interests of the city and its public safety. Nor, for that matter, would it serve the nation's interest to leave this dangerous ruling unchallenged.

In risk, there is opportunity. I hope the mere residents win.

Volokh Conspiracy, a cabal of law professors, has much more on the case. Well worth a read if you are interested in the 2nd Amendment.


Friday, March 09, 2007

The Sombrero Galaxy... infrared. It's yet another Cool Space Pic of the Day.


Galaxy cluster Abell S0740

Very old news via the Hubble Space Telescope. Old, but beautiful. It's a Cool Space Pic of the Day.

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DC anti-gun law struck down

The Second Amendment came out on top this time. The majority opinion includes:
"This suggestion (by DC in support of the ban) is somewhat risible...

But this proposition assumes its conclusion, and we do not take it seriously...

Such outlandish views are likely advanced because the plain meaning of "keep" strikes a mortal blow to the collective right theory."
But neither the Federalists nor the Anti-Federalists thought the federal government had the power to disarm the people. This is evident from the ratification debates...(p.37)
There is certainly nothing in this history to substantiate the strained reading of the Second Amendment offered by the District. (p.38)

Miller's definition of the "Militia," then, offers further support for the individual right interpretation of the Second Amendment." (p.45)...

We do not see how one could believe that the First Congress, when crafting the Second Amendment, would have engaged in drawing such a foolish and impractical distinction, and we think the Miller Court recognized as much. (p.45)...

To summarize, we conclude that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms. That right...was premised on the private use of arms for activities such as hunting and self-defense, the latter being understood as resistance to either private lawlessness or the depredations of a tyrannical governement....(p.46)
I wonder if it was those last five words which so upset the Washington Post et al. (See above)

Here is the pdf of the decision. I hope this stands.


Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Secular Islam Summit 2007

The Secular Islam Summit 2007 was held in St Petersburg, FL a couple of days ago, and issued what is referred to as the St Petersburg Declaration.

A video on the summit may be seen here. Given the jihadi responses, I hope every attendee who can takes advantage of concealed carry laws. The police are in no position to help them until after they have been gang raped or murdered.

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