If you waded through yesterday’s troll smorgasbord, you’ll remember that I promised to lay out my (brief) plan to solve the whole gun violence thing. Or a good portion of it, anyway. This post isn’t as long as yesterday’s. No really. The solution really is pretty quick and easy (for my tongue in cheek answer see this essay). But for the real stuff, read on…
It all boils down to four points:
- End the War on Some Drugs
- Release non-violent drug offenders (up to 70% of our prison population by some counts) and
- Keep violent offenders locked up
- Allow everyone who is not in prison or a locked mental facility to exercise their “natural, fundamental, and inalienable human, individual, civil, and Constitutional right” to own and carry the weapon of their choice. 
1) You can see my essay regarding the War on Some Drugs here. Briefly, crime went down when Prohibition was repealed, crime will go down when the War on Some Drugs is ended. In addition, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, January 17 2007 report Homicide trends in the United States, 76.5% of homicide victims were male and 90.2% of their homicides were drug related. Just as happened when Prohibition was repealed, if drugs were legalized you wouldn’t have turf wars or any of that folderol, so we could probably count on eliminating about 69% of our homicides right off the bat. That would mean a reduction in our homicide rate to about 1.9 per 100,000 putting us only about 30% above the U.K. (which seems to be the antis ‘gold standard’).
2&3) Since a small percentage of repeat offenders are responsible for significant numbers of crimes, keeping them in prison will reduce crime, thereby reducing “gun violence.”
4) Since an exhaustive, thoroughly researched, multiple-repeated, peer-reviewed study shows that More Guns = Less Crime, allowing people to carry is the safest, most effective self-defense tool in existence and will, obviously, reduce crime.
I think that takes care of the misunderstood portion of this two-part rant. But before we go, let’s address mike’s (sarcastic) take on gun-owner persecution. You know, it’s not for nothing that gun rights activist John Aquilino is widely quoted as (provocatively) saying: “Gun owners are the new niggers . . . of society”. Look at the discrimination (and outright threats and violence) legal gun-owners often face. For instance:
In Philadelphia open carrier Mark Fiorino was proned out with a gun pointed to his head and detained for 40 minutes before being released (with a few pungent epithets from the officers involved). You might imagine that after treating a perfectly law-abiding person like this, the city might apologize for the ignorance of their officers. They didn’t. Did the city promise to hold training so that all officers would be aware that open carry is completely within the law? Nope. Police spokesman Lt. Raymond Evers warned open carriers that they would be “inconvenienced” if they came to the city. In this case inconvenienced means made to lay face-down on the pavement (probably with guns pointed at them) until officers felt safe. Just as an aside, can you imagine the storm of outrage that would descend if people of color were told that they would be similarly inconvenienced if they visited Philly?
In Canton Ohio, William E. Bartlett was threatened with death by Patrolman Daniel Harless during a traffic stop after Bill told Dan, as required by Ohio law, that Bill had a permit to carry and had a weapon on him.
In East Palo Alto CA, Detective Rod Tuason mocked open carry activists and basically said he would happily shoot them and enjoy his “two weeks off.”
In Albany, NY a woman who was flying to Utah (I believe, I can’t find a link to the story at the moment) drove from her home in Vermont to the Albany airport and attempted to check her unloaded, locked pistol with her luggage. She was arrested (again, in complete defiance of the F.O.P.A.) and charged with unlawfully carrying a concealed weapon.
In Portland, OR three men were pulled from their vehicle, assaulted, handcuffed and held for 40 minutes because one of them was carrying and, as required by law, informed the officers “I’m a registered carrier, and here’s my license and insurance.”
In Bloomington MN, I was open carrying at a gem and lapidary wholesale show (in a bright red T-shirt that said SECURITY in two-inch high letters on the front and back). Two city cops stopped me to check my permit and when they were done the senior one said that he hoped I realized that if they got a robbery call to that location, “you’ll be the first person we shoot.”
Shaun Kranish of Illinois has had his own share of “moments of unusual interest” (how a friend of mine used to refer to my interactions with various law enforcement officials):
A firm advocate of not only concealed but also open carry from the beginning, Shaun used a fully enclosed and highly-secure Blackhawk holster to ‘container carry’ in Illinois. During a visit to Cherry Vale Mall in Cherry Valley, IL, security guards accosted Shaun and his wife placing them both under false arrest. Shaun was charged with Unlawful Use of Weapons, the most severe grade of misdemeanor charges. This was upped to a felony – Aggravated Unlawful Use of Weapons – within two weeks. Shaun spent the next 13 months fighting these charges with his attorney, and even representing himself some of the time by speaking in court and conducting hearings, until the charges were successfully dismissed by Judge Steven Vecchio.
Shaun was also arrested on the campus of his college for wearing an empty holster and I-Carry.org jacket when he went to see the college president to discuss the college’s weapons policy. The disorderly conduct charges were quickly dropped and Shaun won his subsequent civil rights lawsuit against the college.
Anyone remember the kerfuffle last year when Arizona passed their immigration law? Liberals and ACLU types were up in arms about the Nazi style “show your papers” law, with some calling it a “Gestapo law.” Oddly enough, I don’t remember any such outrage to various carry-laws across the country which require permit-holders to produce “their papers” upon demand. Nor is there any protest about states like Ohio, Michigan, North Carolina and South Carolina (among others), which require permit holders to immediately inform officers that they have a permit and are carrying. This can get especially interesting when you have cops telling you that if you don’t shut-up they will shoot you.
How about the shrill shrieks of anguish whenever it is suggested that people have to show a picture ID in order to vote? Claims abound that such laws will disenfranchise the poor and handicap minorities who may be reluctant to interact with state officials. When the subject is a permit to carry (concealed or not) however, suddenly it’s no problem to discriminate against the poor and minorities. And while it’s true that more and more states are passing “shall-issue” permit laws, over a quarter of the country’s population still lives in “may-issue” states. How do you reconcile that with the Supreme Court’s decision in Staub v. City of Baxley which stated:
It is settled by a long line of recent decisions of this Court that an ordinance which, like this one, makes the peaceful enjoyment of freedoms which the Constitution guarantees contingent upon the uncontrolled will of an official—as by requiring a permit or license which may be granted or withheld in the discretion of such official—is an unconstitutional censorship or prior restraint upon the enjoyment of those freedoms.
Furthermore, how do you reconcile charging fees for permits when SCOTUS ruled in Murdock v. Pennsylvania:
A state may not impose a charge for the enjoyment of a right granted by the federal constitution. The fact that the ordinance was imposed indiscriminately does not save it from being unconstitutional.
You cannot reconcile either of these without admitting that the Second Amendment is treated as the bastard child of the Bill of Rights and that gun-owners are routinely “persecuted and misunderstood.”