Liberty is an inherently offensive lifestyle. Living in a free society guarantees that each one of us will see our most cherished principles and beliefs questioned and in some cases mocked. That psychic discomfort is the price we pay for basic civic peace. It's worth it. It's a pragmatic principle. Defend everyone else's rights, because if you don't there is no one to defend yours. -- MaxedOutMama

I don't just want gun rights... I want individual liberty, a culture of self-reliance....I want the whole bloody thing. -- Kim du Toit

The most glaring example of the cognitive dissonance on the left is the concept that human beings are inherently good, yet at the same time cannot be trusted with any kind of weapon, unless the magic fairy dust of government authority gets sprinkled upon them.-- Moshe Ben-David

The cult of the left believes that it is engaged in a great apocalyptic battle with corporations and industrialists for the ownership of the unthinking masses. Its acolytes see themselves as the individuals who have been "liberated" to think for themselves. They make choices. You however are just a member of the unthinking masses. You are not really a person, but only respond to the agendas of your corporate overlords. If you eat too much, it's because corporations make you eat. If you kill, it's because corporations encourage you to buy guns. You are not an individual. You are a social problem. -- Sultan Knish

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Ah, Yes, the "Guns as Disease Vector" Meme!

Ambulance Driver sent me an interesting excerpt from the latest issue of the New England Journal of Medicine entitled Handguns, Health, and the Second Amendment, written by Leonard H. Glantz, J.D., and George J. Annas, J.D., M.P.H. ("J.D." is Juris Doctor - i.e.: graduated from law school, and "M.P.H." is "Master of Public Health") Their respective schools might want to check who they give degrees out to.

I was asked to fisk the piece. Who am I to turn down a request like that?

Let us begin.

The first couple of paragraphs contain nothing too objectionable:
The right to possess firearms by private citizens has been a major political issue in the United States since the founding of the country. James Madison, for example, argued that there need be no concern about forming a federal government because state militias would protect the people from any threat that a federal government would usurp their individual rights. In his words, "Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments [the states], to which the people are attached and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of." Later, after the Constitution had been adopted, Madison suggested in 1789 that specific rights of citizens be spelled out in a Bill of Rights.
Madison suggested it? Where did these guys learn history? A Cracker Jacks box?
Ratified on December 15, 1791, the Bill of Rights included the Second Amendment to the Constitution that reads in its entirety, "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

After 218 years, we are still arguing about what these 27 words mean.
Only because some of you won't listen.
They were obviously important enough to their authors to be ranked second in the Bill of Rights and to be included in the same collection of constitutional amendments that protect individual rights to free speech, freedom of religion, freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures, and the right to fair trials. From the time of its founding, America has been a nation of gun owners. Gun-control advocates focus on the serious negative effects of gun availability on health and safety, while gun-ownership advocates emphasize the lawful use of guns and their place in our history and culture.
And law.
The gun-control debate is often emotional and even reaches into presidential campaigns. Fear of strict gun-control laws are often used to rally conservative voters, and during his presidential campaign, Barack Obama felt a need to assure gun owners that they had nothing to fear from him.
Not that he was believed, as the run on firearms, ammunition, and reloading components well attests.
Guns represent a major public health challenge. Because of their prominent role in deaths from suicide and homicide, as well as the nonfatal wounds that they inflict, the editors of the Journal have noted, "By any standard, [firearm death and injury] constitutes a serious public health issue that demands a response not only from law enforcement and the courts, but also from the medical community." Nonetheless, most gunrights and gun-control advocates seem to agree that the Second Amendment affords some sort of right to bear arms.
Not to mention the Supreme Court of the United States.
The central controversy is whether the right is a collective or civic right directly related to the needs of a "well regulated Militia" or an individual right that protects gun ownership that is not associated with militias.
See above.
If it was meant to be an individual right, the Second Amendment could have been written to say, "The right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed."
Uh, it does say that.
Or, if it was meant solely to ensure the existence of a functioning militia, it could have been written to say, "Members of state militias have the right to keep and bear arms."
And it doesn't say that.
But it was not written in either of these ways, and so there is a serious dispute about the relevance of the first clause that refers to militias (the so-called prefatory clause) to the second clause (the so-called operative clause), which says that the "people" have a "right" to "keep and bear arms." The crafting of this amendment is especially mysterious since other Constitutional articles and amendments in general do not give reasons in prefatory clauses for delineating the rights found within it. For example, the First Amendment does not say, "In order to ensure unfettered political arguments, Congress shall make no law abridging freedom of speech."
This is one of the oldest arguments going, and one that has been addressed ad nauseam in the literature (see Eugene Volokh's The Commonplace Second Amendment for just one example), but the audience here isn't gun-rights or gun-control advocates per se, it's medical professionals, who they only need to baffle with bullshit - which comes in the next paragraphs.
Before last year's District of Columbia v. Heller decision, the Supreme Court had decided only one case on the scope of the Second Amendment, and its analysis was far from thorough. In 1939, in United States v. Miller, the question was whether certain provisions of the National Firearms Act of 1934 violated the Second Amendment. Among other things, this federal law prohibited the interstate transportation of sawed-off shotguns, and the defendants were found guilty of this crime.
(My emphasis.) No, they were not. Their indictment was quashed by the federal district court. Judge Heartsill Ragon declared that the 1934 National Firearms Act violated the Second Amendment and dismissed the charges against Jack Miller and Frank Layton. The appeal was filed by the State.
At trial, their argument that this provision violated their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms was rejected.
It was not. It was accepted.
The Supreme Court, agreeing with the trial court, found that "in the absence of any evidence tending to show that possession or use of any 'shotgun having a barrel of less than 18 inches in length' at this time has some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of [a] well regulated militia, we cannot say that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear such an instrument."
The "absence of any evidence" was due to the fact that Miller & Layton's lawyer didn't file a brief nor did he show up at the Supreme Court hearing to provide any testimony. No one appeared to defend Miller & Layton, but for some strange reason our opposition always seems to omit this little tidbit of fact.

The Supreme Court reversed the District court and remanded for FINDING - that is, they kicked the case back downstairs for the lower court to do the work - which it then failed to do, since Miller was dead by that time and Layton plead guilty.
The relatively brief opinion does not address the strange implications of this reasoning. It seems to indicate that whatever weapons a militia could use would be permissible for individual citizens to own and transport. The Court also did not say that a person must be in the militia in order to have a right to bear arms or that there is no individual right to bear arms. The problem as the Court apparently saw it was not that Miller was bearing arms, but that he was bearing the wrong kind of arms.
Which, as I've mentioned before, raises a particularly interesting question: The 1934 National Firearms Act put precisely the same restrictions on Miller's short-barreled shotgun as on a 1918 Browning Automatic Rifle - a weapon that most definitely did have "some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of [a] well regulated militia." The BAR was part of the standard Table of Organization and Equipment for U.S. Army Infantry units at the time, and - until 1934 - could be purchased by mail-order by anyone with enough money to pay for one, and it could be transported anywhere in the U.S. without the tax stamp that Miller's sawed-off lacked.

What if Miller had owned a BAR? Would the Supreme Court have still claimed an "absence of any evidence" in that case?

Continuing:
In Miller, the Court did consider what a "militia" is and why the individual right to possess firearms might be related to what militias do. At the time the Second Amendment was ratified, a militia was not a body of men who were employed to protect the state. Nor was it, as Madison had noted, an army that only could be raised by the federal government. Rather, militias were composed of "all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense." They were made up of civilians who on occasion might act as soldiers. Many state governments required every able-bodied man between 16 and 45 years of age to be "enrolled" in a state militia, and each of these men was required to provide himself with "a good musket or flint lock" and adequate ammunition. Individual citizens were not only entitled to but were required to possess firearms so they might fulfill their militia activities.

This history persuaded the Court that only ownership of weapons that could be used in the context of militia activities was protected by the Second Amendment. But the Court did not take into account that militias might use cannons, for example, which would then appear to guarantee the right of individual citizens to own cannons. It is inconceivable that this is what the Court had in mind.
Really? Why? The language is pretty clear. Cannon were privately owned by a number of citizens during the revolutionary war period and after. Cannon-armed privateers issued Letters of Marque and Reprisal were, for some time, the primary naval arm of the United States.
The murky Supreme Court opinion in Miller did not decide, one way or the other, whether individual citizens have a right to keep and bear arms — it simply did not directly address this issue. However, its outcome made clear that the government could constitutionally regulate possession and transportation of particular types of firearms.
Yes, weapons not suitable for military use - sporting arms, as it were. The ones we so often are told that we needn't fear being banned. So my AR-15's are safe, it's my .22 caliber Ruger handguns that are at risk?
The Heller case was initiated by proponents of gun ownership to test the constitutionality of one of the strictest gun-control laws in the country. Unlike the gun-running criminal defendants in the Miller case,
Wrong again - Miller and Layton were known moonshiners, not gun-runners.
Heller was a District of Columbia (D.C.) special police officer authorized to carry a handgun while on duty at the Federal Judicial Center. He applied for a registration certificate for a handgun to keep in his home, and his application was declined. Under the D.C. gun-control law, no individual citizen had been permitted to register a handgun since 1976, and it was forbidden to have any "functional firearm within the home." The law provided that any firearm in the home, whether a pre-1976 handgun or a rifle, had to be unloaded or have a trigger lock that would render it inoperable.
As Heller himself said, "As a security officer I carry a gun to protect government officers, but my life isn't worth protecting at home in their eyes."
Heller claimed that the Second Amendment protected his right to keep a loaded and functional handgun in his home that he could use for self-defense and that the D.C. law violated this right. His argument was all the more compelling because he met all the requirements for carrying a gun in public to protect others. He simply was not permitted to keep the same type of weapon in his home to protect himself and his family. The federal district court upheld the D.C. ban on the basis of the Miller case and interpretations of most U.S Courts of Appeal that held that the right to bear arms is a collective right and not an individual right. The U.S. Appeals Court for the District of Columbia reversed the decision of the district court and ruled that the District violated Heller's individual Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms in his home.
Best birthday present ever.
In a lengthy opinion, the majority of the Court of Appeals reviewed Second Amendment case law, legal scholarship, and history. On the basis of its historical review, the Court of Appeals concluded that rather than creating the right to keep and bear arms, the Second Amendment simply protected a right that predated the Constitution from the new central government.
Like this was a surprise or something.
Like Miller, the opinion recounted the history of civilian militias and the need for individual civilians to be armed in order to meet their militia obligations. The Court of Appeals noted that if guns can be restricted at all, such restrictions must be related to furthering the militia purpose of the Second Amendment. For example, a state could require a firearms proficiency test as a condition of gun ownership because it would help to ensure readiness for militia service, but the virtual ban on handgun ownership in the District cannot be related to any militia purpose. The Court of Appeals concluded that any law that forbids the availability of a handgun that can be used for self-defense in the home violates the Second Amendment. It is this decision that the Supreme Court reviewed.

The Supreme Court's five-member majority opinion, written by Justice Antonin Scalia, agreed with the interpretation of the Second Amendment by the Court of Appeals. In a long and detailed opinion, the Court interpreted every phrase of the amendment. It analyzed the meaning of the terms "militia," "well-regulated," "people" "keep," "bear," and "arms" in the context of the 18th century. It examined 18th-century English usage to determine the relationship between the prefatory and operative clauses. A group of linguists and historians submitted an amicus brief to help the Court decipher the particular use of words, phrases, clauses, and even commas in the 18th century; this brief was referred to at several points in the majority opinion.

The Court ultimately held that a primary purpose of the Second Amendment is to ensure the right of people in the United States to keep firearms in their homes for self-defense. Notably, nothing in the text of the Second Amendment makes any reference to self-defense. If reference to a well-organized militia has any meaning, it would only be in regard to communal defense. Instead, the majority noted that gun possession was widely accepted for personal defense in 18th century America; this is true, but it is a non sequitur. It provides no insight into the meaning of a constitutional amendment that says nothing about a right to weapons for self-defense in a home.
Aw, Geez. Not this again? Does the phrase "For defense of themselves and the State" ring any bells? Have they never read St. George Tucker? "The right of self-defense is the first law of nature . . ." Of course they know this stuff, but they're spinning a web of bullshit to indoctrinate a bunch of health care workers here.
A key contemporary fact that would seem important in interpreting the Second Amendment is that the states no longer have "well-regulated" militias.
Wait for it . . .
"Able-bodied men" are no longer required to keep guns, bayonets, and ammunition in their homes so they can be called to service at a moment's notice to protect their communities.
Wait . . .
Militias have been replaced by the National Guard, which provides arms to its enlistees.
THERE it is! "The National Guard is now the militia!" meme.

No it's not. And while, granted, there are no laws on the books requiring everyone to keep a militarily useful firearm and ammunition for same in the home, the militia is legally quite well defined by U.S. Code, Title 10, Subtitle A, Chapter 13, section 311:
Militia: composition and classes

(a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.

(b) The classes of the militia are -
(1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and

(2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia.
Since the National Guard is armed and equipped by the Federal government, it doesn't really qualify as State militia, but everybody else represents the unorganized militia as recognized by FEDERAL LAW. You, me, your spouse - everybody of legal age.

Are you prepared if called upon?
As important is the fact that the arms used today by the National Guard — machine guns, high explosives, and so forth — are explicitly outlawed for personal use.
No. They. Are. NOT.

Machine guns are still quite legal in many jurisdictions. The 1934 National Firearms Act merely taxed them. The 1986 Hughes amendment to the Firearm Owner's Protection Act made it illegal to register new machine guns for private use, but there are a LOT of them already in private hands. And the possession and use of explosives is also regulated, but not outlawed or I couldn't have had the wonderful time I had at Joe Huffman's last Boomershoot. Besides, if you believe the Violence Policy Center, semi-auto versions of full-auto military weapons are somehow more lethal than their full-auto cousins.

Do you smell the B.S. these guys are pushing?
It would be extraordinary for any court to rule today, as it appeared to do in Miller, that individual citizens have the right the keep and bear "arms" that are used by the National Guard.
Really? Again, WHY? Because you say so? You thought Miller & Layton lost in District Court.
The essential question is this: Since militias no longer exist,
An assertion I have already disproved,
is the Second Amendment now entirely devoid of meaning and effect? Has social change entirely nullified the force of a constitutional amendment for the first time in our history?
Which, since I've disproved assertion A) it pretty much makes question B) moot. But look at it from this perspective:

Is the First Amendment protection of free speech limited to hand-printed handbills and shouting from a soapbox in the public square? Or did we expand the right with changing technology? Is someone going to tell the Algiers Point Militia that they weren't really a militia, and should have given up their guns (and their property) instead of defending themselves because there's no right to self-defense in the Constitution? I don't think so.
The majority concluded its opinion by noting:
Undoubtedly some think that the Second Amendment is outmoded in a society where our standing army is the pride of our Nation, where well-trained police forces provide personal security, and where gun violence is a serious problem. That is perhaps debatable, but what is not debatable is that it is not the role of this Court to pronounce the Second Amendment extinct.
And the New England Journal of Medicine isn't here to praise the Second Amendment, but to bury it.
The Court did not explain why it could not pronounce the Second Amendment extinct. No Court has ever ruled any amendment extinct, but no other constitutional provision has been so profoundly affected by social change that has led to the disappearance of an institution the amendment called "necessary."
Actually, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals did try to rule the Second Amendment extinct. It failed. As to the much ballyhooed "disappearance of an institution," tell that to the Koreans who, during the 1992 LA riots, protected their lives and property - with arms - when the LAPD wouldn't. Tell that to the survivors of Hurricane Andrew who apparently coined the phrase "You Loot, We Shoot" when neither the local police nor the National Guard could provide protection against looters. Tell it, as I said above, to the Algiers Point Militia. Tell it to the thousands of people each year who defend themselves with a firearm. Perhaps the "well-regulated" portion has passed, but the militia is still alive and well.

Still, the poo keeps getting flung:
In this instance, the Court's "strict constructionist" justices are not so strict in their construction. Their ultimate conclusion that the Second Amendment provides individual citizens with the constitutional right to keep and bear a loaded, unlocked handgun for the purpose of self-defense is not supported by any of the amendment's 27 words.
Totally disregarding the pages of examination that reviewed the understanding of the Second Amendment at the time of its passage, since, you know, that doesn't meet with the needs of the NEJM readers.
Even if there were such a right to self-defense in the Constitution, one might conclude that a rifle or shotgun would be sufficient for this purpose. But the majority opinion noted that "handguns are the most popular weapon chosen by Americans for self defense in the home, and a complete prohibition of their use is invalid." The majority opinion even stated that a handgun is better suited for self-defense than a rifle or shotgun because it is easier to store in a location that is readily accessible in an emergency, it cannot be easily wrestled away or redirected by an attacker, it is less difficult to use by persons without the upper-body strength to lift and aim a long gun, and it can be pointed at a burglar with one hand while using the telephone with the other. Although the majority refused to hold the entire Second Amendment "extinct," it did just that to the prefatory clause that refers to a "well regulated Militia." The case was decided as if that clause no longer exists.
Awww. We have a pair of Sad Pandas here, don't we?
Justice John Paul Stevens wrote a lengthy and scholarly dissenting opinion that is starkly critical of the majority opinion.
It's also wrong in a couple of places because he and his clerks were badly mislead by some amicus briefs about on the same level as this NEJM piece.
It appears that the dissenters concluded that there is no individual right to bear arms, but the fuzziness of some of their language makes this difficult to say with any certainty. In concluding his opinion, Justice Stevens wrote, "Until today, it has been understood that legislatures may regulate the civilian use and misuse of firearms so long as they do not interfere with the preservation of a well-regulated militia." But the case was not about the restrictions on the state’s authority to limit the use or misuse of firearms — it was about ownership of a gun in one's home. Furthermore, although Justice Stevens emphasized the relationship of gun ownership to a well-regulated militia, he did not say what this means today when there are no such militias. Do he and the other dissenting justices believe the Second Amendment is extinct?

In his concluding paragraph, Justice Stevens said:
The Court would have us believe that over 200 years ago, the Framers made a choice to limit the tools available to elected officials wishing to regulate civilian uses of weapons, and to authorize this Court to use the common-law process of case-by-case judicial lawmaking to define the contours of acceptable gun control policy.
Yes? And . . . ?
This argument is not particularly persuasive.
Nice of you to admit.
In addition to again conflating the regulation of gun ownership with the regulation of use, the fact that the majority opinion will lead the Court to "case-by-case judicial lawmaking" is simply a description of what it does in every area of constitutional adjudication. Like the majority, the dissenters made a clause in the Second Amendment extinct — in this case, the operative clause.
Which is what your side of the argument has been angling for for decades - and lost.
The "real" meaning of the Second Amendment will never be known.
Oh, BULLSHIT.

I'm sorry, but I am flat-out DISGUSTED with people who can sit and pontificate such obvious cowpatties. The Founders had just fought a rebellion against the most powerful military force the world had yet seen, and WON, and they had started that war with privately owned firearms and started it over that government's decision to disarm the populace. The "real" meaning of the Second Amendment was perfectly well known: The government will not disarm its own citizens wholesale - ever. Read a history book or ten.
What is known is that in Heller, the only right the Court affirmed is the right of qualified individual citizens to have a loaded handgun or rifle that is readily accessible in the home for self-defense.

Advocates of gun ownership often argue that their constituency has "rights."
What's with the "scare quotes"?
Similarly, gun-control advocates often express the concern that the recognition of an individual gun owner's right will make deadly weapons become easily available.
Well outright banning them certainly doesn't seem to affect availability.
But for both gun-control and gun-ownership advocates alike, the most important legal and practical issue now is (and probably always has been) the extent to which government can regulate gun ownership. Whatever the Heller right might be, the right to keep and bear arms is far from absolute, and states have substantial leeway in limiting the right of their citizens to own firearms.

The justices in the majority clearly acknowledged that states continue to have the authority to limit gun ownership by licensing gun ownership and by regulating which persons may receive such licenses. The Court majority opinion explicitly said, for example, that "nothing in our opinion should cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons or mentally ill persons, or on laws that forbid the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings or laws limiting the conditions and qualifications of commercial sale of firearms." In addition, the majority indicated that prohibitions against carrying a concealed weapon are also permissible under the Second Amendment. The Court of Appeals opinion took a similar approach toward regulations that "promote the government's interest in public safety," including firearm registration and user-proficiency testing. Like post–Roe v. Wade opinions reviewing state abortion laws passed to test the limits of the constitutional right to privacy as it relates to the termination of pregnancy, future litigation in this area will involve determining the constitutionality of new gun-control regulations. Heller, however, indicates that most of the current regulations on gun ownership would probably be found to be constitutional.
With the exception of complete bans such as in Chicago, and laws prohibiting concealed-carry in Illinois and Wisconsin, and . . .

It is going to be interesting the next few years, assuming the economy doesn't completely crater in the mean time.
Our review of federal court cases since Heller did not uncover a single case that overturned a gun-control provision.
You haven't waited long enough, methinks.
One case upheld a provision that prohibited people under restraining orders for domestic abuse from having a gun, one upheld a provision that ex-felons may not own a gun, one upheld a federal law making possession of machine guns illegal, one upheld a law that made it illegal to have a firearm in a glove compartment of a locked car in a parking lot of a post office, and one found that the right to have a firearm in one's home did not extend to one's car.
That's OK, we'll keep picking away. Count on it.
The District of Columbia has revised its gun control laws to eliminate its total ban on handguns in a home. It has, however, adopted new requirements for gun registration. These requirements exclude from gun ownership anyone convicted of a crime of violence or any weapons offense, anyone under indictment for one of these crimes, anyone convicted of a narcotics offense in the past 5 years, anyone acquitted of a criminal charge by reason of insanity, and anyone committed to a mental hospital in the past 5 years. Only one gun per month may be registered under the law. The District also amended its laws on safe storage of firearms; these laws require that guns must be securely locked or placed in a secure location if the owner "reasonably knows or should know that a minor is likely to gain access to the firearm without the permission of a parent or guardian." A person who violates this provision is subject to a $1,000 fine and 180 days in jail, and if the violation leads to a minor causing death or injury to himself, herself, or others, the penalty is increased to $5,000 and 5 years in prison.
Tell me, has D.C. changed its law that defines a semi-automatic handgun to be a "machine-gun", thus limiting its law-abiding residents to revolvers?
There is nothing in Heller that would indicate that any of the District's new restrictions would be invalid under the Second Amendment. In fact, consistent with Heller, the regulation of guns could go substantially further. For example, state law could require that guns kept in a private home be unloaded and locked away any time the registered owner is not at home. Since the person registered to own the gun is not at home, that person cannot use the gun for self-defense in the home, the right protected under Heller. We also believe that permitting an individual citizen to register up to one gun every month is far more lenient than what Heller requires. A total limit on the number of guns each person could register would seem to be constitutionally permissible, given the fact that only one gun is necessary for self-defense in the home. Further, requiring proficiency tests, safety-instruction courses, regular reregistration, and a waiting period between the time of the purchase of a gun and the time when possession is obtained would increase safety without abridging the right to have a gun in the home for self-defense, the right Heller created.
But really, we gun owners don't have a thing to fear. These are all reasonable restrictions, just like Fenty & Co. insisted the complete ban was!

Don't drop your guard. Not ever.
Heller does not eliminate the political fights over gun control in the legislatures. After the murder of 32 faculty members and students by a student-gunman at Virginia Polytechnic Institute, many people believed it would be a moment to push for stricter gun-control laws. However, the reaction was often the opposite. In February, for example, the Virginia legislature declined to pass a law proposed by the governor that would have required private sellers at gun shows to conduct background checks. It also voted to repeal a law that prohibited anyone from carrying a concealed weapon into a club or restaurant where alcohol is served.
Surprised you, didn't it? "The people have spoken, the bastards."
Among the estimated 200 to 250 million legal firearms in the United States today, one third are handguns. These guns were all acquired before Heller. There are also an untold number of illegal guns. Gun violence is a real problem in the United States, a much greater problem than elsewhere in the world.
Again, I call bullshit. Yes, we have a high homicide rate involving firearms for an industrialized nation, but we rank 24th in the world for homicide, far behind Mexico, Columbia, South Africa, and Venezuela - countries not known for their lax gun-control laws. And our homicide epidemic is heavily concentrated in a tiny, easily identifiable demographic: young, black, urban males. In 2006 (latest data available from the CDC) there were 18,573 deaths recorded as violent homicides. Of those victims, 7,611 or 41% were black males. Of those, 5,589 were under the age of 35. Black men under 35 are just 3.7% of the population of the country, but they provided 30% of the victims of violent homicide in 2006.

You want to do something about the number of deaths in this country? Stop trying to blame the guns, and start addressing the cultural problems that lead young black men to kill and get killed at a rate eight times greater than the rest of the population.

But that's too hard. It's not PC to point out that reducing the homicide rate among young black men would drop America's overall rate to that of, say, Finland.

No, "gun control" is what you do instead of something.
Gun-control advocates need to have a full appreciation of what the Court did and did not do in Heller. The Court did strike down one of the strictest gun-control laws in the country. States continue to have very broad authority to regulate gun ownership.
But we're working on that. "Incorporation." Perhaps you've heard of it?
Perhaps Heller can serve not as an occasion for celebration by the pro-gun lobby, but as an impetus to reexamine current state and local laws to determine whether they are as strict as the Court's interpretation of the Second Amendment would allow.
Just remember: You can no longer rely on the courts to legislate from the bench. You're back to trying to accomplish what you desire through legislative means, and the People have, by all indications, had enough.

And note, not one place in this entire article did the authors even question whether or not "gun control" actually provided any benefits. It's simply a "given" that "gun control" is a good thing, even though it was quite blindingly apparent that D.C.'s complete ban that Heller overturned didn't make the city safer. D.C. was (and remains) one of the most violent cities in the country.

Lie, twist, obfuscate, manipulate. It's the standard operational procedure for the Other Side.
Simply put, gun control cannot survive without an accompanying sea of disinformation. - Anonymous
And the New England Journal of Medicine just unzipped and made another contribution to that sea.

Update: Rogue Medic has a slightly different take on the piece.

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