Gun Control, Republican Style

This writer happens to be the first person arrested for violating a law that has since (March 2007) been declared un-Constitutional. It was a law in Washington D.C. that required all gun-owners to register their weapons by a certain date and that prohibited any future registrations.

That was in early 1976 when I was an undergrad at the George Washington University living off campus and planning to move across the river to Virginia where they still believed in freedom. That was when I was a card carrying member of the Young Americans for Freedom, a conservative youth political group, and believed that this new law was an attempt to revoke the right of the people to keep and bear arms in order to prevent them from being prepared to oppose a tyrannical left-wing government.

My views have somewhat changed since then. The tyrannical government that is now poised to rise is of the right-wing fascist Corporate State variety that uses its vast wealth to buy power to continue its goose-stepping march against our liberties and that uses excuses like "terrorism" and tools like the "Patriot Act" to carve away at our Liberty.

When I was originally arrested, less than 48 hours after the law went into effect, I became a minor and clandestine cause celebre amongst the very DC police officers who arrested me. My decision to take my 1/3 rent and utilities south caused my angst-ridden soon-to-be former roommate to take actions that got me arrested and I was informed by the police of my right to remain silent and was then questioned in a casual and jocular manner by four officers on my trip "downtown."

It quickly became apparent to me that they were truly, sincerely on my side in this matter as they out and out told me I had nothing to worry about. It seems that during this time period there was a feud raging between the mostly white police department and the mostly black City Council which passed the law and which was engaged in the process of forcing the police department to hire and train a black man who had served time in prison for killing a police officer. The officers related how they despised the Council for forcing them to accept the cop killer applicant and how they intended to use my arrest to "stick it in the eye" of the City Council by recommending that I not be prosecuted.

The detective on the case let me go on my own recognizance and told me not to bother to hire a lawyer but that I must show up for my arraignment. I did show up and was informed by a beaming judge that the charges had been dismissed.

Before my court appearance I headed over to the national headquarters of the National Rifle Association and presented myself to their legal staff as a "test case" they could use to challenge the law which I regarded as grossly un-Constitutional. The chief lawyer told me it was indeed un-Constitutional but that they had no intention of litigating against it.

That was more than three decades ago but now comes happy news that not only was the law declared un-Constitutional, but also that some liberals have come to the conclusion that gun rights are good. (New York Times, May 6, 2007: "A Liberal Case for Gun Rights Helps Sway Federal Judiciary.") It looks like the Left is finally catching on to the realities and promises of America's traditional values.

Until now scholarly opinion held that the 2nd Amendment was a collective right that did not apply to individuals. The DC opinion, if upheld at the Supreme Court level, will broaden the perception that such an individual right is indeed what the Founding Fathers intended and can be seen clearly through the "strict constructionist" principle that the Conservatives so adore.

The key to the meaning of the Second Amendment lies in the Tenth Amendment, the State's Rights Amendment, which holds that any power not specifically delegated to the Federal government by the Constitution is reserved to the states OR to the People. That happens to be a very big "or" because it creates three centers of power in America, the Federal, the States AND the People. This "or" makes "the People" a separate and distinct entity independent of State and Federal governments.

The "People" referred to in the Second Amendment are people who are independent from State and Federal governments and who are infused with the Revolutionary penumbras and emanations of our Nation's founding document, The Declaration of Independence.

The purpose, therefore, of the Second Amendment is to enable the people to overthrow an illegitimate government and/or ruling class that "evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism," and the people, of course, will need firearms to protect their freedom. It is explicitly stated in the Declaration that this "natural" right comes from God and cannot be revoked by man. Our principle of posse comitatus holds that the regular army cannot be used against the People in an uprising because if the government NEEDS the army to protect it from an outraged populace that government has lost all legitimacy and does not deserve to remain in power.

The Right has expended so much effort railing against the liberals and activist judges that it failed to notice how the liberals fell from grace more than twenty years ago only to be replaced by Corporate bought grace, the power of wealth. The Left is slowly awakening to the realization that they now have the same right to revolution that right wing gun owners have been threatening to use against the liberals all these years and that they should be grinning at the delicious irony of it all.

Which brings us back to the NRA's reluctance to challenge DC's 1976 gun law. The right-wing gun lobby just plain doesn't like black people or trust their ability to properly handle firearms or respect their right to keep and bear arms. As a matter of fact, much of the impetus for "gun rights" arises from the black militancy of the sixties and the urban riots that terrified white people into supporting ever increasing fascist law-enforcement tactics by the police to hold down the rights of blacks and to cloak it all under the code word "law and order."

Liberals have never been held to account for their cowardly racism in acquiescing to this "law and order" mentality and allowing blacks to be made second class citizens by withholding their right to keep and bear arms in urban areas. Liberals were perfectly willing to deny this right because, bereft of new ideas, they were merely reacting against the rhetoric of the Right and if the Right supported gun rights then the left would be against them. As late as the last year of the Clinton Administration a liberal HUD Andrew Cuomo, imposed a regulation that poor people, many of whom are black, be forbidden from owning firearms if they live in federally assisted housing projects.

This is grotesquely un-Constitutional discrimination against an entire people based on their perceived untrustworthiness to handle firearms, (a perception that can easily be extended to include private, patriotic militias and folks who are considered "gun nuts.")

The fact that Republican conservatives who controlled Congress at the time raised not a single alarm that a gun grabbing government had finally stepped over the line and began the process of eviscerating America's gun rights shows that Conservatives were less than sincere in their support for the Second Amendment. They were happy that only blacks and poor people were victims and they have such little regard for history and human nature that they are blissfully unconcerned that this slippery slope will suddenly avalanche on them. The NRA did not exercise its vaunted power to stop such an un-American attack on our Constitution and the first six years of the Bush Administration shows that it is indeed the "dog that didn't bark" in matters concerning equal protection of Constitutional Rights.

President Nixon was widely regarded as the only President who could have gone to China because of his past history of hostility to the communists there and I predict that the next Republican President, especially if he is a conservative with a strong record of opposition to gun control measures, will be the one who "goes to China" and imposes strict gun control but only of course, on "potential" terrorists and Americans who don't believe in playing by Republican, Corporate State rules.

Or even more likely, the Conservative Court will note the dearth of stare decisis in Second Amendment matters and move to quickly establish strong precedent and outlaw all private possession of firearms in order to protect National Security and strengthen law enforcement. (A former Chief Justice, Warren Burger has said: "the Second Amendment doesn't guarantee the right to have firearms at all" and the attempt to portray it as an individual right is "one of greatest pieces of fraud…on the American public by special interest groups" that he had ever seen.) Thus American rights will be protected not by an armed populace aiming to guard the "security of a free state," but instead by those same friendly folks who gave us Waco and Ruby Ridge.

When I moved to Virginia I answered an ad in the old Washington Star and a very nice gentleman was willing to deliver another gun to me at a parking near the Pentagon. That was true capitalism in action.