IPFS Vin Suprynowicz

The Libertarian

Vin Suprynowicz

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(Originally appeared in "Shotgun News")

I wish I could say it was amusing, but that would be disingenuous. It’s more like having to deal with a child who continually wakes up screaming that there are monsters under the bed.

(The standard advice is to remain patient, though I’ve often wondered why a more active approach isn’t tried. Something along the lines of 1) mattress on the floor; 2) leave more lights on; 3) Can you paint the monsters, there’s good money to be made from the horror mags; and 4) Here are you two new pals, Fido and Shep. Pet them; feed them; sleep with them; the two largest monsters in the house now belong to you.)

But those are real children. It’s far more embarrassing when supposedly responsible adults go running about, shrieking and behaving in ways the require frequent changes of underwear.

With their unerring instinct for irony, the editorial scriveners of the Washington Post chose July 4 to pen an editorial headlined “Guns Over Democracy,” which offered their dumbfounded readers the following:

“Parliamentarians gathered in Washington this holiday weekend from Europe and North America arrived just in time to witness the U.S. House of Representatives -- on the eve of the anniversary commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence -- trample upon the right of self-determination. Morphing themselves into city council members, a House majority overturned a city law and voted to allow D.C. residents to keep in their homes loaded shotguns and rifles, as well as handguns bought before 1976, unbounded by trigger locks or disassembled. The deed itself makes a mockery of Congress as a federal body. If the action is allowed to stand, however, the consequences could be even worse: The nation’s capital will become a deadlier place in which to live.

“The gun safety law that the House voted to repeal makes all the sense in the world. It enjoys the full backing of the city’s mayor, council, police chief and, most important of all, the city’s residents. Perhaps residents and their leaders want the law on the books because they know, even if the House does not, that properly locked or secured guns help prevent gun violence and accidental shootings. Perhaps District of Columbia residents support their gun safety laws because they now see crime in their city at a 20-year low. ... But perhaps they are outraged most of all because they have no vote in Congress. ...

“We hope opponents of the House action are successful in stopping the repeal in the Senate. Clearly the last thing D.C. police need is another obstacle to charging negligent gun owners with gun safety violations or more cases of children dying from playing with guns. The notion of Congress encouraging citizens in the nation’s capital to keep loaded and unprotected guns in their homes borders on insanity. ...”

Goodness. Space limitations require that I be brief. Please administer some Valium and cold compresses while we itemize:

1) The United States is a republic, not a democracy. The difference is that in a republic, the rights of the minority may not be overturned by majority vote.

The Postmen’s fondness for majority “self-determination” is newfound and not very convincing. Do they support the right of California’s majority to defy federal authority by legalizing medical marijuana (which at least reaffirms a minority right -- this one guaranteed by the Ninth Amendment -- instead of stripping one away)? No. In a June 8 editorial, these die-hard statists embraced the ongoing torture of sick people, so long as it protects “The Constitution’s commerce clause, ... the foundation of the modern regulatory state, underpinning since the New Deal huge swaths of federal law.”

Would the Postmen support the right of a majority in some redneck southern backwater to “self-determination” if that meant mandating Christian prayer in the schools? Of course not. It seems to be only gun owners whose rights must be sacrificed to the misguided enthusiams of crowds.The right of even a minority of Washingtonians to keep and bear arms of military usefulness in their homes and on their persons is guaranteed by the Second and 14th amendments -- it is proof against any scheme of regulation or licensing. (If when the Postmen claim the victim disarmament law enjoys “the full backing of the city’s residents,” they actually mean “the unanimous backing,” then none will acquire self-defense weapons, and the question is moot ... right?)

2) The scholar John Lott (in company with Prof. David Mustard) has demonstrated through unrebutted statistical evidence in his book “More Guns, Less Crime,” that every county and state that has “allowed” more law-abiding citizens to keep and carry firearms has seen its rate of violent crime drop -- not increase.

To say the District of Columbia now enjoys a 20-year low in crime is disingenuous, since virtually every America jurisdiction now experiences this phenomenon, due to an aging populace and a record high prison population. But the D&C crime rate is still vastly above those of Vermont and the inland West, where virtually all law-abiding citizens are allowed to keep and carry arms. Why do you suppose stick-up men avoid police stations and Army bases?

A real “gun safety law” would encourage all law-abiding citizens to arm to the teeth, since guns are “necessary to the security of a free state” -- and would certainly not still ban handguns manufactured after 1976.

3) The Founders placed the national capital inside no state, in order to prevent the federal Congress from being held hostage to the laws and jurisdiction of any one superior sovereignty. Everyone who moved to Washington, D&C, knew this, going in. They are, almost to a man and woman, leeches on the federal tax dollar. If they want to elect congressmen, they should return to their home states to do so. If there are people living in the District full-time when Congress is not in session, that is the phenomenon that must be corrected. With the exception of offices and accommodations for a few diplomatic and naval functionaries, the only proper use for the lands of the District when Congress is not in session is the grazing of livestock.

# # #

The Mideast continues to offer a confusing kaleidoscope of mixed signs to those hoping to see a growth of peace and freedom in the region.

In Baghdad this spring, hooded men in three cars began spraying shoppers with bullets on a main street in the capital’s southern Doura neighborhood. Three people -- a man, a woman and a child -- were wounded.

That’s bad.

But this time, shopkeepers and residents didn’t merely duck and wait for the army -- whether theirs or the Americans’ -- to show up and give chase. Instead, they drew their own guns and killed three of the terrorists.

That’s good.

In Iraq, “The law allows each home to have a weapon,” explained Traci Carl of The Associated Press.

Which would be good, except that Ms. Carl didn’t get it quite right, of course. As every reader of Mr. Jefferson’s Declaration knows, the right to keep and bear arms is an “unalienable right,” one of many with which men are “endowed by their Creator.” Governments with their laws and constitutions can only acknowledge and promise to protect such rights (in fact “securing those rights” is the sole reason for which “governments are instituted among men”) -- they do not, they can never, “allow” them. For that would imply that they could “disallow” them.