This information provided by The Federal Observer, http://www.federalobserver.com
By Thomas J. Bray - Detroit News
~ Foreword ~
One of the most interesting things about this I would like to point out to you is only tangentially related to Michigan's CCW. In the article it mentions the court suit which took place in Washington DC concerning its total ban on hand gun ownership. The basis of the suit was that the ban was unconstitutional based on Ashcroft's recent statement on the 2nd amendment. You are probably thinking that I am saying concerning this something like, "Yeah!! Go for it!" Not the case. Now... once you pick yourself up off the floor I shall explain. This is one of those cases of missing the forest for the trees. Here is the key: Washington DC is only a United States territory, not a state. It has neither a constitution nor sovereignty. I repeat the words of Webster which he gave to Calhoun in their great debate of 1847: "Congress is to the territories as a father is to his children." There ARE NO constitutional protections in a United States territory. I have no problem concerning the legality of the DC ban on guns. I object to the principle of banning gun ownership but acknowledge that the ban is legal within a territory.
Detroit, MI - The antigun set went bonkers in Michigan a year ago when the courts stymied their efforts to gut a new law expanding gun rights. The Michigan Supreme Court threw out the gun-control advocates' ballot initiative, saying the issue couldn't be challenged with a referendum. Having failed there, the antigunners took aim with the only weapon left in their arsenal: inflated rhetoric. Relaxing gun restrictions, they warned, would bring Wild West-style shootouts, blood in the streets and a severe political backlash against Republicans and conservative judges.
Dial forward to the present. The law is now in effect and Michigan has not become "Dodge City," as one gun control advocate warned at the time. As for the political backlash, that's something we should have asked of the three Democrats competing in the Aug. 6 primary for governor. In a recent debate, not one of them called for repeal of the "shall issue" law, which requires counties to issue a permit to any adult applicant who has no felony convictions or history of mental illness.
"Let the [new law] work," advised Rep. David Bonior. Former governor James Blanchard, trying for another stint in Lansing, said the new law should stand and then went one step further: "I am backing a constitutional amendment to protect hunting and fishing." The favorite, Attorney General Jennifer Granholm, said she's taking a "wait and see" attitude. But even that is a move in the direction of supporting gun rights, since s he was on the steering committee that unsuccessfully fought to keep the old system, under which only people with a demonstrated "need" could carry concealed firearms.
In other words, nothing so concentrates the liberal mind as the prospect of an election. As of early March, the number of concealed-weapons permits in Michigan was up 39%, to 81,000 from 58,280 a year earlier. And a Detroit News poll showed that 58% of state residents favor the new law, while only 38% oppose it, mirroring national polls on the subject. Oakland County, home of the proverbially soft-hearted soccer mom, is the location of the biggest increase in applications for concealed-weapons permits.
Gun controls are on the defensive nationally as well. Gun-rights advocates are suing the District of Columbia, arguing that its strict antigun laws, which forbid even ownership of handguns, are unconstitutional. Efforts to sue gun makers on public-health grounds haven't gotten very far. In October the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in a Texas case that the Second Amendment protects the right of individuals to privately keep and bear arms "regardless of whether the particular individual is then actually a member of a militia." Attorney General John Ashcroft, in a recent memo to federal prosecutors, agreed with that view. The House voted to force the Transportation Department to allow commercial airline pilots to carry guns in the cockpit. The votes are there to pass similar legislation in the Senate, if it can only reach the floor. And in England, which toughened its gun laws in 1997 following the "Dunblane massacre," violent crime has actually increased.
Sept. 11 may be part of the reason for the increasing popularity of gun rights. Gun sales spiked upward in the wake of the terrorist attack. But the shift in sentiment had begun earlier. Even on the left, there is a new wariness about antigun initiatives, thanks in part to the suspicion that Al Gore may have lost the election due to his aggressive advocacy of various gun-control schemes.
The intellectual climate no longer is so favorable to antigun advocates. John Lott won considerable attention with his book "More Guns, Less Crime," which put statistical heft to the argument that states with the least restrictive gun laws also have less crime and those states that repeal restrictive gun laws see violent crime decline.
Then there is the case of Michael Bellesiles, whose book "Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture" claimed that gun ownership had actually been quite rare in colonial and frontier days. The antigun crowd championed Mr. Bellesiles's conclusion that widespread gun ownership therefore couldn't have been the basis or the intent of the Second Amendment.
No sooner had Mr. Bellesiles won the prestigious Bancroft Prize for history than other historians began pointing out that his thesis didn't hold up. No one else could reproduce his findings from probate records he claims to have used, or even find some of the records he cites. Mr. Bellesiles hasn't turned over his own research, citing the dog-at-my-homework excuse that his records were lost in a flood.
None of that is likely to discourage the diehards, of course. Just because people aren't dropping like flies at the hands of citizens armed with their newly minted permits and concealed weapons doesn't mean Dodge City won't materialize soon, they assert. "Any day now," opined a Detroit Free Press columnist six months after Michigan's new law went into effect, "one of two things is going to happen: Either some new permit-holder is going to blow away a home invader, or the permit-holder's 6-year-old son is going to blow away his baby sister in the backseat of the family SUV."
It's not clear why it would be a bad thing for a few "home invaders" to get blown away, but in any case another six months have gone by without any such mayhem. The deafening silence you hear from Michigan's Democratic candidates for governor on the issue is proof that the nightmares of liberal imagination often can be made to vanish with experience. And that the folks who wrote the Second Amendment may have understood that adults can usually be trusted to act like adults.
Mr. Bray is a staff columnist at the Detroit News.
~ Afterword ~
Left Gets Trounced in MI Race
"Rep. John Dingell's victory in Michigan's Democratic primary Tuesday was a high-profile defeat for two liberal forces: the gun-control lobby and the feminist EMILY's List.
"The 18-point win by Mr. Dingell over liberal Democratic Rep. Lynn Rivers was the sixth loss in a House race this year for EMILY's List, despite the group having spent at least $350,000 on Mrs. Rivers campaign and sending out five mailings.
"And the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence worked feverishly to defeat the pro-gun Mr. Dingell, sending its volunteers into the new 15th Congressional District for six weeks or more and taping get-out-the-vote messages by actor Martin Sheen. Founder Sarah Brady paid a personal visit to the district last week to campaign for Mrs. Rivers. One Democratic operative predicted that Mr. Dingell's decisive win would be 'the final dagger through the heart of gun-control groups.'"
Washington Times, 8/9/02
High Noon: A Tale of the Gun (Compact Disc)
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