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A Victory for Gun Rights and Freedom


When it comes to gun rights and gun control, liberals are so predictable. Condemning the Supreme Court’s decision in the Chicago gun case that applied the Second Amendment to the states, the New York Times editorialized, “Mayors and state lawmakers will have to use all of that room and keep adopting the most restrictive possible gun laws — to protect the lives of Americans and aid the work of law enforcement officials.”

What is the Times’ justification for taking such an extreme position? The Timesstates: “The court’s members ignored the present-day reality of Chicago, where 258 public school students were shot last school year — 32 fatally.”

What? Say again?

What the Times claims about gun deaths in Chicago last year has got to be absolutely and totally false! Why is that so? Because they have gun control in Chicago! A total ban on handguns! Doesn’t the Times know that? Doesn’t it know that that was what the Supreme Court case was all about — the constitutionality of Chicago’s total ban on handguns within the city?

Therefore, the obvious question arises: How can the Times claim that there were 258 people shot in Chicago when there is gun control in Chicago? Doesn’t that suggest something important? As in, gun control doesn’t work! If a gun ban worked, there wouldn’t have been any people shot by guns in Chicago.


And that is the blind spot that statists have about gun control. In their antipathy for guns, they will not permit themselves to see that gun control doesn’t work — it doesn’t accomplish what they want to accomplish — i.e., no more gun deaths.

Instead — and here is the critical point — gun control disarms peaceful and law-abiding people, thereby precluding them from defending themselves against violent people who don’t give a hoot about obeying gun-control laws. Indeed, ask yourself: How many of those 32 people who were killed in Chicago by guns last year would be alive today had they been free to defend themselves?

In other words, a robber or murderer isn’t going to say to himself, “Oh, my gosh! I can’t use a gun to commit my robbery, rape, or murder in Chicago because that would be against the law. I guess I’ll just have to settle for a knife.”

Instead, what he says to himself is: “What better place to commit my robbery, rape, or murder than Chicago, where idiotic government officials have ensured that my victims can’t use guns to defend themselves.”

The Supreme Court’s decision was actually a no brainer, one that exposes the hypocrisy of liberals.

Originally, the Bill of Rights operated only as a restriction against federal, not state, infringement of the vital rights enumerated in the first eight amendments.

But the 14th Amendment changed that. Taking the 5th Amendment’s due process language, the 14th Amendment prohibited the states from denying a person of life, liberty, and property without due process of law. For more than a century, the Court has taken most of the restrictions in the Bill of Rights and applied them to the states, taking the position that the rights and liberties enumerated therein were fundamental to a free society and, therefore, should be entitled to protection from state infringement, by virtue of the 14th Amendment.

Liberals have never had any problems with the incorporation doctrine, as it came to be known. That was because liberals understood that such rights and liberties as freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, the right to counsel, the right to a jury trial in criminal cases, and so forth were so vitally important to a free society that it was correct that the protections of such rights and guarantees be applied against the states.

But it is also obvious that the right to keep and bear arms is as fundamental a right as all the others in the Bill of Rights. After all, as the second amendment, it comes right near the top of the list.

Unfortunately, however, liberals have claimed — and are still claiming — quite falsely, that our American ancestors favored gun rights only for government officials, including the National Guard. They say that that’s what they meant by the word “militia” in the Second Amendment.

Their claim is ridiculous and false. There was no National Guard when the Second Amendment was crafted. When our ancestors referred to the “militia,” they were referring to the people in the private sector who owned guns — i.e., citizen soldiers. Keep in mind that our American ancestors didn’t even support a standing army.

Our ancestors believed that freedom entails the right to own whatever you want, including guns. They recognized that the right to keep and bear arms was a fundamental part of a free society, enabling people to protect themselves from robbers, rapists, and murderers in both the private and government sectors.

This is where statists go so wrong. They honestly believe that robbers and murderers will obey gun-control laws, notwithstanding the conclusive evidence to the contrary, as we see, once again, in the New York Times editorial that cites gun deaths in a city that has a gun ban.

But they also block out of their minds the possibility that government can become tyrannical. If that happens, there is nothing a disarmed citizenry can do about it except put up with the round-ups, torture, rapes of wives and daughters, and executions. With widespread guns among the citizenry, there is another option, one that federal Judge Alex Kozinski so eloquently called a “doomsday provision” — one that people hope they never have to use but nonetheless have as a last recourse against tyranny. Gun ownership is an insurance policy, one that guarantees the ability of the citizenry to protect themselves and others from tyranny or even to alter or abolish tyrannical government through force of arms.

Not surprisingly, statists are depressed and despondent over the Supreme Court’s decions, but this is a time for celebration by advocates of liberty.

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.