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Sea change
By: Geoff Metcalf
Monday, August 30, 1999

Last Thursday when I sat down to have breakfast, the only newspaper available in the restaurant was USA Today. I noticed immediately the front page story headlined "Case could shape future of gun control." As I read the Richard Willing article I got a chill down my spine. USA Today? What next? Objective reportage from CBS or CNN? Naaaah. ...

I had been aware of Judge Cummings decision back in April, but I was not aware of the recent epiphany of Harvard's liberal icon Laurence Tribe, or the significance of the shifting tide on academia. The timing is both interesting and extraordinary.

"For the first time, a federal judge has ruled that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual's right to own a gun." Willing wrote. HOOAH! He went to add, "If the decision by a federal district court judge last April in Texas is upheld on appeal, it could be a huge setback for gun control advocates, placing perhaps hundreds of laws in danger of being struck down. And it would be a victory for gun control opponents.

When I started my fight in California the traditional gun rights institutional types shunned me. They didn't want the "politics" of guns to taint politicians they want to get elected (presumably so they can support gun rights). Three years ago when I broached the concept to Gun Owners of America President Larry Pratt, he said, "Don't do that Geoff. It will just cause Handgun Control to throw millions of dollars at California. Instead devote your energy to getting good conservative Republicans elected." The reality is it is getting increasingly hard to find either a good or a conservative Republican, and damn near impossible to find one who can't or won't compromise on a core principle.

The individual right and prudence of firearm ownership is overwhelmingly supported by facts. Hell, we have always had the facts on our side. However, the anti-constitutionalists and revisionists have been winning consistently and routinely by manipulating the mainstream media, and jamming another gaggle of law down our gullet every time some demented wacko uses a gun to wreak havoc.

Virtually every study reports kids taking guns to school is down. Armed violence in schools is down. Yet, reportage has significantly increased of what government officials acknowledge are "aberrations." Dr. John Lott's seminal work, "More Guns/Less Crime," and his University of Chicago study that preceded it document that when law-abiding citizens are armed, crime goes down. Real simple. Bad guys don't want to confront an armed victim. Conversely, the abysmal failure of Australia's gun confiscation has resulted in a 44 percent increase in armed crime. Again, if the bad guys know victims are unarmed, life is good ... for them.

Now that liberal scholars like the redoubtable Laurence Tribe of Harvard, and his University of Texas predecessor Sanford Levinson have given their support to "an individual's right," "Katie bar the door!" one Second Amendment specialist noted. "The real-world consequences (of the Texas case) could be enormous." Carl Bogus of Roger William's law school went even further when he said, "it would stand the law on its head," if Judge Cummings ruling is upheld. Bogus says, "This is not just an academic exercise."

It is kind of weird that legal scholars have made a boutique industry out of what even a CBS poll revealed is conventional wisdom. An Aug. 15 CBS poll showed that 48 percent of adults believe there is an individual right to own a gun -- 38 percent don't. I guess the other 14 percent didn't understand the question.

Reality is, notwithstanding the diffidence of alleged conservatives and their PACs, "stuff" is gonna hit the fan in January or February. Judge Cummings wrote the federal law is unconstitutional because it allows a state to deprive a citizen of his Second Amendment rights without demonstrating the threat of future violence by the individual. As a result of that a cabal of 45 law professors and legal historians, incensed with facts, which contradict their preconceived opinions and philosophy, have filed suit on behalf of the anti-constitutionalists.

As a layman I have never understood how any alleged scholar could maintain that when the framers used "the people" they meant "the people" in every instance EXCEPT the Second Amendment.

I often remind my radio audience that the first three battles of the American Revolution were not fought over taxation, or representation, or tea. The first three battles of the War for Independence were fought over gun control. The British were attempting to confiscate powder and ball. Captain Parker and his friends in Lexington were not about to be disarmed by a tyrannical government. A Yale law professor, Akhil Reed Amar capsulated it succinctly in the USA Today article when he said, "If you get Lexington and Concord, you get the Second Amendment."

Please note, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights do not give us anything. The framers designed those documents to restrict government. No rights are given. They acknowledged God-given inalienable rights. That means no one gave them to us and no one can take them away. Another law professor noted, "If a right is involved, presumably the whole picture changes. Any law impacting on that right might have to pass a much stricter test." And about flipping time! I previously noted Ann Coulter observed that if the Second Amendment were viewed with the same scrutiny as the First Amendment, we might all be required to have nukes at home.

A friend recently shared a story about a colleague of his who was one of the executive producers of "Schindler's List," Jerry Molen. Molen was speaking to some group after the film's critical acclaim. In the audience he noticed an old man who was staring intently at him during his speech. He said he felt odd by the intensity of the glare. After the speech he was basking in the glow of audience approval when the old man walked up to him. The old man pointed a craggy finger at Molen and with a voice filled with intensity and seriousness, he said "Don't you EVER let them take YOUR guns." Molen noticed that the right forearm of the old man had a series of faded blue numbers tattooed on his flesh.

Reprinted with Permission of Geoff Metcalf

Mr. Metcalf is Chairman and Co-Founder of the Veto The Governor initiative to get The Right to Keep and Bear Arms amended into the California Constitution.  

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