Re: 2nd Amendment, SCOTUS and Places Like Chicago
After the lengthy wrangle in my past Page about a certain Illinois Senator, I chose to write this Page to clarify where I think gun regulation and rights need to go. Why I look with deep suspicion at gun control politicians from places that clearly passed laws that violated our civil right for decades. Those places & politicians change only grudgingly.
Civil Rights. The Bill Of Rights. For individuals this is the powerful part of the constitution. Much of the rest applies to our governance and procedures. In our minds, the First Amendment is first priority for zealous application. For the strongest vigilance. The most sweeping application. It deserves to be first.
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 Second Amendment was the last one to get Supreme Court affirmation as explicitly an individual right. It was the last to be enforced. It still does not enjoy the popularity of the first. Well this isn’t pop music or a poll. Now state legislatures have work to do. Certain places stand out as being the more abusive of the 2nd. It is no accident one of the key decisions was Chicago. This in significant part explains the visceral reaction to a Chicago area Senators arrest for foolishly forgetting to remove his highly concealable pistol from his garment bag at an airport. A pistol not usually associated with uniformed security duties, exactly the kind that is sometimes specifically banned because of its small size. The rest of the explanation for that right wing reaction is partisan drama. Like all partisan drama, it is at record intensity.
To me the SCOTUS decision(s) are perfectly consistent with the text. Many disagree and I’m writing this to make my case for it, not the NRA’s case. Certainly not the Handgun Control case. While I am drawing on many public sources, links will be strictly non-advocate sites. These are wiki links to the SCOTUS decisions so you can read their case. McDonald v. Chicago and DC vs. Heller The context here is that it’s settled law.
To those who decry the absence of a militia for an individual I have a point to make. The militia is not the National Guard. It’s not a bunch of paranoid pretend soldiers. It is you. Or it’s me. As individuals or groups, we have a right to a way to defend and protect ourselves and the innocent. In times of riots, neighborhoods gathered and protected their lives and workplaces. The riot was the Rodney King riot, the place was Korea town. LAPD had actually been ordered to retreat from the streets to protect city infrastructure like city hall and police stations. The lesson here is during a overwhelming crisis the local government protects itself first, and the rest of us second. A local militia formed, did the work, and disbanded. You won’t find those people out practicing night maneuvers. They just went back to work. Well regulated? No. How could it be since it long precedes the recent ruling.
Like with the First Amendment the growth of this nation and the everyday technologies we possess have had a huge impact on our rights. Our founding fathers could not have imagined how much more powerful we would each become with these technologies. This computer is connected to the world. All our forefathers had was primitive printing and horses to move the result.
None of that change resulted in restrictions on our first amendment. There are few exceptions to free speech. We find ways to apply it well to our technologies, and vice versa. Time for more of the same for the 2nd.
I propose the burden is on us to advocate for change within the boundaries we have now accepted for well over 200 years. After all, how do we react to those who would reduce free speech? The 2nd is now legally an individual’s right. Now before anyone thinks I advocate for guns to be as free as words, I am not. Necessarily arms are more regulated than words. “Well regulated” is in the 2nd for good reason.
At the heart of my advocacy is not the constitution. Or guns. It’s about the fundamental human right to protect families and ourselves. To do that I require the use of several rights. My justification is that the innocent person is at profound disadvantage against criminal predation of every kind. Pragmatics and justice agree- As individuals and families we have people, homes and workplaces to protect. That sometimes means deadly weapons. Especially since less lethal weapons are restricted to police. You can’t buy beanbag ammunition for your shotgun legally, or the Taser pistol. Or pepper spray in a credible strength, police generally carry the kind 10x more powerful.
Long ago SCOTUS decided we have a right to stand in our homes, our land, and at our place of work. This is the famous “castle doctrine” from long before anyone passed a public spaces addition. Again, SCOTUS settled law. Over. Done.
Nothing in the decision stops us from “well regulating,” in fact in my view that clause still stands. Well regulated means we can require safety training. Legal training. Registration of the firearms. Heck, we freely register our cars, security firms, alarm systems, why not our guns? What this excludes is “poison pills” or regulations designed to deter in interfere with a law-abiding person’s ability to exercise his or her rights. In the instance of the 2nd, our regulations must address safety and criminal access.
Nothing needs proper regulation more than CCW carry in public. This is a venue rife with those poison pill regulations. Regulations (often in urban areas where violent crime is high) that keep people at real risk from having a chance at the permit. It’s the least settled aspect now legally.
The castle doctrine was not designed for public spaces; however, I do submit our right to self-defense does not end at the edge of the castle. Public space is where crime often happens. Predators kill, rape, assault and steal from those who cannot defend themselves. Therefore, CCW in principle is clearly called for. Public carry calls for more training than home. More legal and marksmanship training. Legislators will have to decide those standards. An hour of training is far too little, a thousand hours a poison pill. Police training has the wrong mindset of active engagement to arrest. Defending yourself is about escaping harm with minimal violence. Totally different in tactics.
In another Page maybe I will address what kinds of guns, who and why. Why “bear arms” means small arms appropriate to the task at hand. There I will get into state laws and local regulations. And CCW. But for now I sit ready to argue for the above.