“Two officers were on patrol in the Morrisania section of The Bronx at about 5 p.m. Monday when they spotted Ronnie Brown, 41, relieving himself outside 505 E. 162nd St.,” nypost.com reports. “Brown — who has prior busts for attempted murder, rape, robbery and burglary — took off running when he saw the officers heading his way, but the cops chased him down. While he was in custody, the officers discovered a loaded .22-caliber Beretta semiautomatic handgun on him.” Brown claimed self-defense . . .
The convicted sex offender told cops that he needs the weapon to protect himself because others might suspect he is a deviant.
“A lot of people think I’m a rapist and they are looking to kill me,” Brown told cops after he was busted. “That’s why I carry it for protection.”
The Post is delighted that New York’s “Broken Windows” policing policy – arresting people for relatively minor crimes – has “taken another gun off the street.” Not to mention removing a violent sex offender from the Big Apple. Presumably. It’s hard to argue with that. But not impossible.
Question: does Mr. Brown forfeit his right to self-defense because of his past crimes? If someone attacks him without legal cause, doesn’t Mr. Brown have a natural right to defend his life? By permanently removing his gun rights, the government denied Mr. Brown the most effective method of personal self-defense – as New York City does for all its residents save the rich and powerful. But that’s another story.
Or is it? If convicted criminals can obtain firearms – even in cities with a de facto handgun ban – law-abiding citizens should be able to keep and bear arms for self-defense against them. I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but some laments never grow old. And must be sung, lest those suffering from government tyranny be forgotten by those free from oppression.
More to the point – and I catch heat for this all the time – I don’t think ex-cons should lose their Constitutionally protected gun rights forever. If people like Mr. Brown are too dangerous to allow amongst us armed, they’re too dangerous to allow amongst us at all. If they’re not, they should not have to sacrifice their rights when they’re released. At least not permanently. Yes? Meanwhile . . .
The bust comes as City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and other council members clamor to decriminalize quality-of-life violations, such as public urination, public drinking and fare-beating.
Mark-Viverito says arrests for such minor violations drive a wedge between police and the community.
The issue is still under discussion in the council, a source said.
Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch said the Bronx bust shows why the council should back off.
“This arrest shows both the advantage of enforcing quality-of-life regulations and the danger police officers face in doing so,” Lynch told The Post.
I’m not sure why this case highlights that issue. Illegal possession of a firearm by a convicted felon is a felony. The question for me: will New York City send Mr. Brown back to jail. And, given his record, should he have been released in the first place?