week, an Illinois state legislator almost single-handedly
put the brakes on legislation [http://www.suntimes.com/output/news/cst-nws-gun23.html]
that would have allowed Illinois residents to defend themselves with
a firearm without fear of punishment, even if that firearm were prohibited
by local ordinance. Never mind that any law that disallows self-defense
in the first place is both unconstitutional and immoral. At least
there was some effort to right an obvious wrong in Illinois. But this
legislator, claiming he feared the ubiquitous "loophole,"
has demanded more study before the matter can be considered.
The bill was originally
written in response to a Wilmette, Illinois incident in which a local
man defended himself and his young family with a handgun against a
burglar who had repeatedly broken into his home. But because his firearms
registration card had expired, and because handguns are verboten in
Wilmette, he was charged with crimes himself. Although Cook County
eventually dropped the registration charges, the city of Wilmette
to drop its own case. Wilmette's police chief put his nose in the
air and sniffed that people should lock the door of the room they're
in and dial 9-1-1 instead of taking matters into their own hands.
He can afford to talk like that; he's allowed to have a gun in his
In another recent incident
in Illinois [http://abclocal.go.com/wls/news/041904_ap_ns_shooting.html],
a man is being charged in connection with a fatal shooting there.
But he's not being charged with murder, or even manslaughter. No,
the police have ruled that he shot in self defense. But they're charging
him with weapons violations, anyway.
An April 9 report from
WXYZ-TV in Detroit, Michigan (which has already been removed from
the station's web site) detailed the matter of a homeowner who, after
his daughter and entire family was repeatedly threatened, finally
shot and killed the harasser as he attempted to gain entry to the
family home. I grant you that the police can't arrest the real criminal
here seeing as how he's dead and all, but that's no excuse for them
to have arrested the homeowner - which, of course, is just what they
Some proved sympathetic
last year when a New Yorker - a law-abiding ex-Navy man and young
father - shot a burglar with a legally owned handgun. But because
that handgun was not yet registered in New York (the man had only
recently relocated there and was actually in the process of getting
the registration handled), he was charged with a crime and prosecutors
were adamant he serve actual jail time accordingly. A magazine article
published at the time said that New York was effectively outlawing
self defense, and that reporter wasn't wrong with his assessment.
That various and sundry
government entities work to make self defense illegal - or legal only
under extremely constrained circumstances - is not a real surprise.
It seems that, along with keeping the potholes filled (does government
actually do that successfully anywhere?) and the military in $600
toilet seats (which probably need regular replacement after being
smashed by accidentally dropped $200 hammers), the government has
also come to consider it an obligation to infringe on liberty. Unfortunately,
the latter is one of the few things that politicians and bureaucrats
seem very good at indeed.
No, the real surprise
is found in the utter lack of public outcry against incidents in which
the guilty are handed their rights on a silver platter (to be fair,
they do have rights and they should get them), while the innocent
are actually stripped of rights by virtue of the very charges against
them. Although some local citizens did offer support to the man at
the center of the Wilmette, Illinois case, the vast majority did not.[http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=36605]
And while there was even a brief Internet campaign to raise defense
funds for the young New Yorker (he eventually pleaded his case for
minimal jail time and no felony record), few spoke out against the
zealous prosecutor or the bad law he insisted on enforcing to its
Worst of all, it seems
more and more obvious that none of these cases are really isolated.
Authorities far beyond the borders of New York City, and on a truly
appalling scale, are working to make realistic self defense all but
impossible by making the most effective means of self-defense illegal.
Most states do permit residents
to carry a firearm, but only if they jump through precisely the
right hoops and register their personal data - including fingerprints
- with authorities.
Criminals are treated
no differently when they're processed through the system and data
- including fingerprints - are taken and entered into databases.
But those criminals have already proved they can't be trusted. What
did law abiding citizens do to earn such distrust from officialdom?
Merely being trained
and licensed isn't enough if you're found to have a firearm in some
other state. A New Hampshire man - Jeffrey Jordan - is facing felony
charges in the state of Ohio [http://www.libertyroundtable.org/projects/freehunter/index.html]
for having a loaded handgun on his person, discovered during a traffic
stop. Jordan, who is highly trained and licensed to carry concealed
in more than one state, was alone on a long road trip where some caution
on his part was justified (remember, too, that an Ohio freeway shooter
was yet at large at the time). Yet Jordan has now lost his job (firearms
are so unpopular that apparently one can now be fired prior to any
conviction merely because the charges involve guns), and he stands
to lose his freedom.
Even if you own a legal
firearm and shoot an intruder in your own home, there's no guarantee
that, despite the fact your actions were justified and your conscience
clear, the authorities won't charge you with a crime anyway. And woe
to you if you own a gun and are forced to use it in one of those places
where even mere ownership itself is forbidden!
The only way to be safe
from the regulatory predators is, of course, to divest yourself of
all firearms. But then you've made yourself easy prey for those to
whom regulations mean nothing and who will, regardless of the law,
arm themselves to attack you or someone just like you. You've also
quite handily put yourself into the government's hands because only
it and its representatives can protect you. It's an unpleasant catch
22, and with none of these alternatives are you offered the least
modicum of genuine security.
Perhaps, like some of
the men I've mentioned here, you'll choose to risk jail over death
(or grievous harm).After all, you've probably heard the saying, "I'd
rather be judged by twelve than carried by six." But prison time
is only better than death because you'll eventually get out of prison.
And in truth, even getting out may not be all that great a deal when
you'll have a felony conviction on your record and are thus prohibited
from owning a firearm or voting for the rest of your life. And try
to get a good job with that mark against you! Consider, too, the plight
of poor Tony Martin [http://www.frontpagemag.com/articles/Printable.asp?ID=5757]
- the British farmer jailed for murder after protecting himself and
his property from a couple of career criminals with his firearm -
who has served almost all of his prison time but now faces release
under a cloud of threats to his life. And now remember that "carried
by six" may be definitive, but that "judged by twelve"
offers no guarantees things will work out substantially better for
the man or woman in such an unfortunate position.
You're not going to believe
what I'm going to say next because I'm a firm believer that the Second
Amendment is both an unalienable and an individual right, but here
it is: Forget the Second Amendment. Consider instead the very foundations
of the American Revolution itself wherein the Founding Fathers wrote
that we each and every one of us have the right to "life, liberty,
and the pursuit of happiness." And then ask yourself: How can
we have a right to our own lives if we're prohibited from any defense?
How can we be free if we're imprisoned, either through the unconstitutional
and immoral firearms laws that forbid self defense, or because we're
barricading ourselves in our homes out of fear for all those things
we're not permitted to defend ourselves against? And with fear for
our lives and fear of the capricious law, how can any of us be happy?
Once men and women fought
for those things - for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
It's time we stood up and fought for those things again. We must work
to repeal each and every law that would interfere with our basic right
to protect ourselves. We must protest loudly and en masse when a law
abiding citizen is charged under these anti-self defense statutes.
We must refuse to convict those American citizens who stand trial
in matters like those of the men in Wilmette, Detroit, New York, and
Ohio. We need to join a firearms rights group to add our voices to
theirs (you don't need to own a firearm to be a member or an activist).
Exercise your own Second Amendment rights. Campaign on behalf of those
politicians with the respect for humanity that understands self defense
is the most basic of human rights. Vote. Work to educate others.
Yes, we may still be
damned if we do, particularly if we garner too much attention. It's
much easier to make laws than to repeal them, and the powers that
be typically aren't fond of seeing their hard work undone. But we
will surely be damned - or yes, even dead - if we don't.
is not an organization, nor is she a corporation. She is an American
woman who is proud of and grateful for her heritage of freedom, and
who fears the present generation intends to bequeath little of that
heritage to the future. Lady Liberty's Constitution Clearing
E-mail Lady Liberty at firstname.lastname@example.org.