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In a recent New York Times opinion piece by Nicholas Kristoff titled On Guns, We Are Not Even Trying, the author bemoans how the nation has yet to pass gun control proposals such as “universal background checks” or closing the “gun show loophole.” The author implies that the National Rifle Association and all that are in its thrall are resisting such measures and are therefore supporting villains in these mass murders, past and present. Is he aware that the Left also opposes sensible gun control measures and have successfully sued to have them curtailed? . . .

Consider this article in The Atlantic, Is Stop-And-Frisk Worth It? by Daniel Bergner. It follows Newark police as they patrol a neighborhood. The author witnesses a number of encounters in which an officer stops and frisks citizens who, in his professional judgement, might be up to no good. Often the cops are approaching a person for drinking in public, hanging around or someone who is a known miscreant. Law enforcement officers know this to be a Terry Stop where a cop who is interviewing a person may, at his or her discretion, frisk a person for weapons for the officer’s own safety. While Terry v. Ohio legitimized the frisk, allowed any additional contraband found in a safety frisk – such as a bag of dope – to be admitted as evidence.

In 2013, Judge Shira Scheindlin crippled the stop-and-frisk ruling that the practice was unconstitutional. From the article:

“Has stop-and-frisk brought any benefits? Scheindlin did not consider this question in her courtroom. In fact, she scolded the NYPD for raising it. Her job was to determine the constitutionality—not the efficacy—of policy and actions, and she sent a loud message, heard around the country, that the department’s strategy fell on the wrong side of the law. Yet the answer to the question—which civil-rights advocates don’t much like to hear—is probably yes.”

Many law enforcement agencies have, in good faith, said that stop-and-frisk has been an important part of reducing violent crime and getting guns off the streets. Nevertheless, to those who brought the suit and to Judge Scheindlin, that did not matter. Stop-and-frisk, no matter what the social utility might be, had to end because it was an unconstitutional intrusion by the state into the constitutional rights of those who were being stopped and frisked.

Pretty much every gun that was confiscated by the NYPD during the stop-and-frisk era was an illegal one, as it is nearly impossible in New York to legally carry a gun. The neighborhoods where stop-and-frisk was most heavily employed were rough neighborhoods where shootings are most frequent. Even so, the “if it saves one child” rule was explicitly rejected by the judge and the plaintiffs who brought the suit.

The objections that the NRA raise to most of the proposed gun control measures – that they are intrusive, that they violate the rights of law abiding citizens – are the same as those raised by the plaintiffs who successfully curbed stop-and-frisk. Unlike the Center for Constitutional Rights and others who supported this lawsuit, the NRA is vilified by the press and by politicians.

One’s throat can wither into a prune if you cried “hypocrite” every time the Left engaged in hypocrisy. Still, would it be fair to ask why the Left opposes gun control when it’s poor and minorities who will be the victims of guns left on the street, but demand it when the victims are prosperous and white?

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  1. The problem with stop-and-frisk was that many people were being illegally detained. There was no probable cause to believe that a person being stopped had committed a crime.

    • “The problem with stop-and-frisk was that many people were being illegally detained. There was no probable cause to believe that a person being stopped had committed a crime.”

      I do not know enough about stop-and-frisk in practice to know how I feel about it. I am very sympathetic to opponents’ arguments.

      • The typical process for stop and frisk was as follows.
        An officer observed you then decides you don’t belong in that neighborhood, you’re wearing the wrong kind of clothes, he seen you somewhere before, whatever possible reason he can dream up.
        The officer approaches you tells you that this is a stop and frisk and immediately Pats you down for weapons and turns your pockets inside out.
        If this is New York and you have a pocket knife, the officer tries to flick it open. If he successfully flicks open the knife, you go to prison for owning a gravity knife.
        If you have nothing, the record your name and information and send you on your way.
        If you have anything they deem illegal you’re arrested and taken to jail and anything found in that search is admissible as evidence against you in court.

        The problem is that your mere existence serves as probable cause in stop and frisk situations. You can be stopped and frisked by an officer at any time for any reason and detained until they decide to let you go. No warrant needed no Fourth Amendment rights no Fifth Amendment due process rights.

    • But the truth of the matter is that is worked. If police did not have to get a search warrant, they could be a lot more effective. That is a simple fact. If people were legally required to answer and questions they could been even more effective. What could possible go wrong.

      • Stripping the populace of freedom of speech, and freedom to worship, and to assemble will also work. But the author raises the single biggest issue long term to what degree is this 2A really a right. The court seems to be content to have it be a right that can be legislated into such a small box that it ceases to be a meaningful right. We have to stress that this is a civil right not unlike the right to vote or the right to worship. Once we start the conversation there instead of “who needs ____________” we will have better outcomes and change more minds.

  2. The fact that the city elites have made it illegal for poor people to legally protect themselves with firearms is at it’s core racism and discrimination, that poor must be protected from themselves instead of being free to decide for themselves.

      • So, trace the lineage of political parties in this country that considered non-whites to be less than persons, incapable of common intelligence, needing constant watching and tending, required constant “help” in doing the most mundane things, considered the non-whites to always be in need of white generosity and largess. What is the name of that political party?

        Now trace the party that declared all persons are human and capable of self-help, self-direction, personal achievement. What is the name of that party?

        Enforcing serfdom may be “compassionate”, ensuring people can never quite arrive at full capability, reminding people that only favors from “the big house” can allow those people to have the mere basics maybe the height of enlightened thinking. It is also called “the white man’s burden”. Which political parties endorse ever expanding public assistance to those who do not have the minimum qualities to be equal to all the other people on the planet?

        Which party believes it is better to learn to fish? Which insists people should be placed on a daily regulated ration of fish, through no effort of their own?

        Conclusion? The South actually won; only the chains are missing.

  3. “The problem with stop-and-frisk was that many people were being illegally detained. There was no probable cause to believe that a person being stopped had committed a crime.”

    I do not know enough about stop-and-frisk in practice to know how I feel about it. Candidly, I lean toward the liberty side of the equation, all things being equal.

  4. These liberal judges would rather make these types of decisions than keep people safe. After all these poor people were just minding their own business on the way help old people at a retirement home. Carrying a gun, well, that was for self protection. His 3 foot long rap sheet mostly just misunderstandings he din do nuffin.

    • I’m no fan of leftist judges, but her decision in this case was correct, in my opinion. What should also be done, however, is to restore the second amendment rights of law-abiding New York City citizens, so they can defend themselves without fear of incarceration for exercising their rights.

      • I have to agree with the cessation of NYC’s stop and frisk. It’s one thing to frisk a someone in a traffic stop, or for loitering when asked for ID, and quite another to profile and frisk anyone you want walking on the sidewalk.

        That said, NYC was an example of Terry Frisk being abused, and not the general rule elsewhere

    • “These liberal judges…”
      I don’t understand what you’re getting at here. That “liberal judge” is standing up for the constitutional rights of private citizens. Isn’t that what we want judges to do? Isn’t that the focus of this site for 2A?

  5. Kristoff has another running in papers today: “Hysteria about refugees, but blindness on guns”

    He has a lot of spare time on his hands apparently. Sad to think how much he gets paid to pen this stuff.

  6. We should start calling it the “New York Times Oppression” piece…because that’s what they’re advocating…

  7. Please, they damn well know about the hypocrisy. Those little Marxists completely understand the ramifications of their little pet projects. It’s all about the great good or a village nobody cares about. I have arguments with the left and the right, but it’s the left that goes absolutely ape sh*t when people don’t kneel at their altar.

  8. “Stop-and-frisk, no matter what the social utility might be, had to end because it was an unconstitutional intrusion by the state into the constitutional rights of those who were being stopped and frisked…”

    Stop and frisk is not “ended”. Stop and frisk was found to be constitutionally valid federally (though it requires at least reasonable suspicion that the person is both involved in criminal activity and armed/dangerous- an officer can not just frisk anyone he interviews at his ‘discretion’). The judge in NY cannot override the Supreme Court and declare S&F illegal, but she did find that NYC’s application was discriminating and unconstitutional. The city would have fought and probably won that ruling based on other caselaw but then Mayor Wilhelm won the election and decided to roll over.

  9. Nicholas Kristoff: “On Guns, We Are Not Even Trying”

    Well, sure we are.

    Your problem is that you’re trying to *ban* guns and enact “commonsense gun laws.” (Commonsense according to leftists, which is null content.)

    *We’re* rolling back gun bans and moving on to trying to *repeal* gun laws.

    You’re just all hysterical like, Nicky (may I call you Nicky? Thanks. Yer a pal!) because you’re losing ground and we’re gaining it and you can’t understand why.

    Oh. And if it makes you feel any better, Nicky, I find you *very* trying. Now have a steaming cup of Shut the F*ck Up and FOAD.

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