The Battle For The Second Amendment

The Washington Examiner posted an article today with the following headline, “Sheriffs may go to jail to protect ‘Second Amendment sanctuaries,’ congressman says.”

Virginia’s Governor Ralph Northam recently told WTKR that any law enforcement officer that did not carry out gun control laws enacted by the state would face “consequences,” but he did not give any specifics.

The Second Amendment states:

“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 article notes:

Kentucky Republican Rep. Thomas Massie thinks some local law enforcement leaders will be willing to go to jail rather than comply with state gun control laws they deem unconstitutional.

“Attended my first 2A sanctuary meeting today in Lewis County (where I live). Standing room only. Friends and neighbors spoke passionately and articulately. County officials unanimously passed a resolution,” Massie tweeted on Dec. 30. “This grassroots movement feels even stronger than the Tea Party in 2010.”

“Second Amendment sanctuary” municipalities last year sprouted up in Illinois, a state with some of the strictest gun control laws. They then spread to Colorado, Kentucky, New Mexico, New Jersey, Oregon, Virginia, Washington state, and other states.

Massie cited Weld County, Colorado Sheriff Steve Reams, a critic of the state’s “red flag” law, who has offered to put himself in his own jail rather than enforce the state law.

“His county government has already voted to fund his legal fees should he end up in a protracted legal battle that might go all the way” to the Supreme Court, Massie told the Washington Examiner.

“And so that’s one of the things that when you boil it all down and say, ‘What does the sanctuary county movement mean?’” Massie said. “So, what it could mean is that county governments decide to use taxpayer dollars, with the blessing of the taxpayers in those counties, to support the sheriffs in their court battles.”

Red flag laws are unconstitutional–they violate the principle of innocent until proven guilty, and they take property from citizens without the necessary legal procedures. Those laws seem like a good idea on the surface until you realize that people could use those laws to take guns away from people they simply don’t like. Unfortunately, red flag laws in action could very easily mirror what happened during the Salem Witch Trials where a person was accused of being a witch because someone wanted their farm. This is a glaring example of what happens when the legal rights of the accused are not respected.

Making Our Schools Safer

The IJR posted an article yesterday about a panel on school safety. The panel was held during Turning Point USA’s High School Leadership Summit and moderated by Townhall’s Guy Benson. The panel included family members of school shooting victims.

The article reports:

While many family members of victims usually speak out in support of enacting more gun control laws, that wasn’t the case with Hunter Pollack and J.T. Lewis.

Pollack, whose sister, Meadow, died in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, said he was proud to help pass Florida Senate Bill 7026, which allows programs to be created for retired law enforcement and veterans to go through an extensive training course before being sent to protect public schools in the event of an active shooter.

“When Columbine happened, gun control was the talk, and it was a big distraction,” Pollack said. “Then Red Lake happened. [They said] we needed gun control, big distraction. Then Sandy Hook happened. They fought for gun control, [gun control] was another distraction.

“Now, it’s Stoneman Douglas, it stops with us,” he continued. “Our schools need to be safe. We need metal detectors, we need single-point entry, we need armed guards, and we need more resources for mental health.” 

Lewis, who lost his brother in the Sandy Hook shooting, echoed Pollack’s view of gun control not being the answer to school shootings.

Gun control has never been successful–criminals find ways to get guns–but in the age of 3-D printers, gun control is pretty much impossible. The Second Amendment protects the rights of Americans to bear arms, but even if that right were somehow taken away, the advent of the 3-D printer would make any laws prohibiting guns unenforceable.

The article further reports:

Matt Whitlock, who also serves as Hatch’s [Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah)] communications director, told the audience the importance of getting involved at the local level since it is local leaders who are in charge of keeping kids safe, using the recently passed STOP School Violence Act as an example.

“The STOP School Violence Act is an excellent example of what good, substantial activism can lead to,” Whitlock told IJR. “First, because it was the powerful voices of young people that helped pass the bill into law, and second, because young people now have an opportunity to work with their local leaders to ensure STOP resources are used in their own schools.

“The STOP School Violence Act is about empowering local leaders to tailor school safety programs to fit their specific needs, and it’s about empowering local communities to hold those local leaders accountable for using these tools to keep them safe,” he added.

Amy Swearer, a legal policy analyst at The Heritage Foundation, pointed to how schools are the safest they’ve been in 30 years despite the massive coverage of school shootings when they occur. She cautioned, however, that simply citing the numbers is not always the best approach when talking to victims.

There is a solution to school shootings. The STOP School Violence Act is one part of that solution.

The Sad Part Of This Is That It Is True

Violence is a problem in America (just as it is in most countries). Gun violence is often the problem cited because it is the most obvious. Some of the people who want to fight gun violence seem to have lost the concept of common sense.

This is a chart from a website called Gun Facts:

CRIME AND GUNS - Property Crimes and Handgun Supply

There is a lot of good information on the site. Here are a few of the facts cited:

Fact: 60% of convicted felons admitted that they avoided committing crimes when they knew the victim was armed. 40% of convicted felons admitted that they avoided committing crimes when they thought the victim might be armed. 7

Fact: Felons report that they avoid entering houses where people are at home because they fear being shot. 8

Fact: 59% of the burglaries in Britain, which has tough gun control laws, are “hot burglaries” 9 which are burglaries committed while the home is occupied by the owner/renter. By contrast, the U.S., with more lenient gun control laws, has a “hot burglary” rate of only 13%. 10

Fact: Washington DC has essentially banned gun ownership since 1976 11 and has a murder rate of 56.9 per 100,000. Across the river in Arlington, Virginia, gun ownership is less restricted. There, the murder rate is just 1.6 per 100,000, less than three percent of the Washington, DC rate. 12

Please visit the site to check the sources on the footnotes.

All this brings me to a story from CBS Boston posted on Thursday. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Police Commissioner William Evans have formulated a plan to reduce gun violence in Boston. The first step of the plan involves sending a letter to all gun owners.

The article reports:

The letter will give gun owners information about reporting a private gun sale, loss or theft. It also advertises a free gun lock, a program that offers a $200 gift card if a firearm owner turns in their weapon and advice on gun storage.

“As a legal gun owner, it is important that you also do your part to ensure that guns are stored safely, and kept out of the hands of children and criminals,” the letter states.

Deadly shootings have dropped 30 percent compared to this time last year, but the city has seen more non-fatal shootings, police say.

“We must think creatively in order to reduce the amount of illegal guns and violence on our streets,” Walsh said.

The city will also reach out to gun vendors about preventing illegal firearm sales.

I fully support safety courses for people who own guns, but the people who legally own guns are not the problem. Statistics show that crime goes down when more people legally own guns. Boston’s problem won’t be solved by buying back guns–it might be solved by allowing more of its upstanding citizens to own guns and ending the hassle Massachusetts puts you through to get a gun permit. Sometimes you just wonder who comes up with these ideas.