Gun-Toters in La-La Land
Washington, Laura S., In These Times
THE CONSERVATIVE ANSWER to America's crime plague is to put more guns on the streets. If that's not counterintuitive, I don't know what is.
The U.S. Supreme Court's June 26 rejection of Washington, D.C's gun ban is an antediluvian retreat into la-la land. Its decision to strike down the 32-year-old law has put America's cities in jeopardy, and that should be anathema to progressives everywhere. Still, the Democratic presidential nominee, Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.), is playing a telling game of hot potato.
The court rejected D.C.'s strict gun law by a 5-4 vote. In the majority opinion, Justice Antonin (Big Tony) Scalia wrote that the U.S. second Amendment does not permit "the absolute prohibition of handguns held and used for self-defense in the home." In other words, to keep America safe, we have to extend the right to bear arms from the military to pops having a beer on the couch in the living room.
Gun advocates are gleeful at the prospect of putting us in the crosshairs. The gun lovers want a firearm under every bed, in every drawer, in every holster in the nation.
"This is a very frightening decision for America," Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley said after the courts decision. He's dead-on.
America is the most heavily armed nation in the world. U.S. citizens own 270 million of the world's 875 million known firearms-90 guns for every 100 citizens, according to a 2007 survey by the Geneva-based Graduate Institute of International Studies.
In 2005, more than 10,000 homicides-almost 68 percent of all murders-were firearm-related, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigations.
That's not enough slaughter for the People of the Gun. The National Rifle Association (NRA) has poured hundreds of millions of dollars into ensuring that our national Weapon of Mass Destruction is as accessible as a pack of gum.
The 217-year-old second Amendment declares that "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." I am no Constitutional scholar, but that spare passage does not read like an explicit embrace of individual gun ownership to me.
Many others agree. So listen for the "ching, ching," sweet sound of cash as both sides of the debate scramble to file a flurry of legal challenges that will tie up the courts for years. …