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Plaxico Burress’s Doomsday Weapon


The inanity of gun control is manifesting itself in the case of former New York Giants’ wide receiver Plaxico Burress. Thanks to New York City’s strict gun laws, which carry a mandatory minimum sentence, Burress is facing 3 1/2 years in the penitentiary.

Burress, who had an expired concealed carry permit issued by the State of Florida, took his 40-caliber Glock with him to New York. While he was at a bar, the weapon slipped down his sweatpants and discharged when Burress was reaching for it. Burress was injured on the thigh. No one else was injured.

Not surprisingly, the New York gun-control crowd has gone ballistic. Mayor Michael Bloomberg called for enforcing the mandatory 3 1/2 year sentence, saying that anything less would be “a mockery of the law.”

Burress testified before the grand jury, hoping that it would show mercy and not issue an indictment. The grand jury returned an indictment anyway.

That leaves Burress with almost no options. If he pleads guilty, he’s facing the mandatory minimum sentence. If he pleads not guilty, the prosecutors will easily be able to prove his guilt, especially since they presumably now have his confession under oath before the grand jury. There is always the possibility that the prosecutors will offer him a plea bargain, but if they do they’re almost certain to demand jail time of at least a couple of years.

Burress does have one other legal option though, a doomsday weapon that would strike fear in the heart of every gun-control advocate in the country, especially those in New York City. He ought to move to dismiss the indictment on the ground that he has the right to carry a concealed weapon anywhere in the country for purposes of self-defense and then carry that issue all the way to U.S. Supreme Court.

After all, given that people have the natural and God-given right to keep and bear arms, as the Second Amendment recognizes, why shouldn’t they have the right to keep such arms concealed? Under what moral or constitutional authority does the City of New York deprive a person of protecting himself from murderers, rapists, thugs, and other violent people?

After all, it’s not as if gun control has succeeded in preventing violent murders in New York City, any more than it has in Washington, D.C. As gun-rights advocates have been pointing out for decades, murderers don’t obey gun-control laws. Since they have no problems violating laws against murder, rape, robbery, and so forth, they also have no problems violating laws against using weapons to commit such crimes.

Therefore, all that gun control accomplishes is to prevent good people, such as Plaxico Burress, from defending themselves against the murderers, rapists, and robbers.

How moral is that? Not moral at all. It’s ridiculous.

Plaxico Burress has no more business going to jail than you and I do. He’s no criminal. What is criminal is New York City’s gun-control law.

Burress has nothing to lose. He ought to plead not guilty, contend that New York City’s gun-control law is unconstitutional, and take the case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. He’d be doing us all a big favor.

This post was written by:

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.