Who Will Defend the Right to Pass Oppressive Laws?

Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, complains that D.C. v. Heller "strips the citizens of the District of Columbia of a law they strongly support," a revealing formulation. For Helmke, it's no problem when the government strips citizens of their rights, as long as a majority favors the policy. When those rights are restored, however, he's outraged that the majority's tyranny has been thwarted. Would he apply a similar logic to First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendment rights?

Helmke is on to something here, however:

For years, the gun lobby has used fear of government gun confiscation to thwart efforts to pass sensible gun laws, arguing that even modest gun laws will lead down the path to a complete ban on gun ownership. Now that the Court has struck down the District's ban on handguns, while making it clear that the Constitution allows for reasonable restrictions on access to dangerous weapons, this 'slippery slope' argument is gone....

Proposals such as requiring Brady background checks on all gun sales, limiting bulk sales of handguns, and strengthening the power of federal authorities to shut down corrupt gun dealers can now be debated on their merits without distractions of fear or ideology. 

Gun controllers whose ambitions stop short of D.C.-style prohibition may indeed face less intense opposition. Meanwhile, the perceived need to defend firearm laws against a post-Heller legal assault will energize gun control supporters and could be a fund raising bonanza for groups like the Brady Center, which hit me up for money when I tried to click through to Helmke's press release.

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  • ||

    The people of Washington no longer have the authority to decide that, as a matter of public safety, they will prohibit handgun possession within their borders.

    Another plaintive cry from the fainting couch.

  • Guy Montag||

    Okay, can we please get something straight now that Amendment II says we have an individual right to own a handgun?

    Gun control is hitting your intended target.

    Learn it. Know it. Love it.

    This has been a public service message from the Montag center for loving, rational, normal, people who are not afraid of guns and really can't stand the irrational flaiming Leftoid Socialistic freedom hating bastards who are afraid of guns.

  • Colin||

    This majority rule argument Helmke and other liberals use is beyond lame. What if a municipality decided -- by majority vote -- to ban homosexuality? They'd have no problem with that?

    The thing is liberals have a set of rights they like and a set of rights they don't. The ones they like are immutable, even if no right actually exists; and the ones they don't should be ignored, even if the right is enshrined in the Constitution.

    They want everyone to think and to behave exactly like them.

  • tarran||

    Honestly, I agree with Balko, there are holes in Scalia's ruling that would justify any sort of ban - including chicago's "register your gun every year and pay a massive tax" ban.

    Harass people sufficiently, and only the most ardent hobbyists would choose to defend themselves. Furthermore, and time a new weapons is invented, for example like the stunners of countless science fiction novels, they will be banned as being unusual.

    Let's face it - government officials know that all the money and power that they get from their posts is dependent on a large pool of tax-payers who support them without too much of a fuss. One way to overcome the citizenry's natural disinclination to pay large amounts of taxes is to terrify them and force them to live in fear of what would happend if the big daddy-government wasn't around. Victim disarmament ensures that
    a) the population need the police to protect them from criminals
    b) makes for easy demonization of those who are most inclined the resist the injustices practiced by the state.

    And Scalia has always supported the notion of a helpless populace that allows the state to feed off of it with a minimum of fuss.

  • ||

    Welcome to the New REgime under the Dictatorship of G "Dubya" Bush

    JT
    http://www.Ultimate-Anonymity.com

  • ||

    Quite frankly, this is the smartest thing I've ever seen Helmke say.

    The gun rights movement is extremely lucky that he's the spokesman of the Brady Campaign.

    Heller definitely leaves open a lot of room for interpretation, and while one may not be able to use the threat of (as Chris Matthews put it) black helicopters to drum up support, the gun rights movement now has something even better and more positive:

    Liberation of those living under onerous and plainly unconstitutional gun restrictions.

  • Rhywun||

    FOX 5 in NYC showed the "Homer buys a gun" episode of The Simpsons last night - coincidence?

  • Episiarch||

    Rhywun, that's the one where Krusty says "Hey, yutz! Guns aren't toys. They're for family protection, hunting dangerous or delicious animals, and keeping the king of England out of your face.", right?

  • ||

    "See you in Hell, dinner plate."

  • Guy Montag||

    FOX 5 in NYC showed the "Homer buys a gun" episode of The Simpsons last night - coincidence?

    I think not.

  • ||

    It's sad that a broken-down alcoholic fictional TV clown can grasp what most gun control weirdos cannot.

  • ||

    Its a new playing field, no doubt.

    The winners on the new playing field will be those who play the smartest and the hardest.

    The gun controllers lost a big part of their arsenal. The gun rightsers lost one of their "one-size-fits-all" arguments as well.

    On the whole, I prefer opening the floodgates constant judicial challenges to gun control laws, to the loss of the very bottom of the slippery slope. Unleash the hounds of law!

  • Guy Montag||

    R C Dean,

    You can not legeslate good marksmanship any more than you can repeal the laws of supply and demand, or those of thermodynamics.

  • ||

    This has been a public service message from the Montag center for loving, rational, normal, people who are not afraid of guns and really can't stand the irrational flaiming Leftoid Socialistic freedom hating bastards who are afraid of guns.

    The missus actually uttered at the breakfast table this AM that "DC will be a bloodbath" as a result of this ruling, quite unaware of the galactic-sized irony of her statement.

    Yes, I love her so, simply because of how her idiotic political views tickle me dearly.

  • ed||

    Individual rights are not subject to a public vote; a majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority; the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities (and the smallest minority on earth is the individual).
    -Ayn Rand

  • ||

    Guns don't kill people. People kill people. If I had a choice, I'd rather be shot than stabbed or beat to death with a baseball bat.

  • Guy Montag||

    JW,

    I am guessing she can't weld either?

  • ||

    Rhywun -
    What they ought to show is the "Gun Fever" episode from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - now that is a classic

  • Guy Montag||

    Maybe they will make a movie, like "Inconvenient Truth" except about guns?

  • ||

    When frying pans are outlawed, only outlaws will have frying pans!

  • Episiarch||

    What they ought to show is the "Gun Fever" episode from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - now that is a classic

    All of IASIP is classic, but yes, that's a great one. My favorites are "The Gang Gives Back" and "The Gang Gets Whacked". Charlie getting drunk and crashing the kid's basketball game, and him grabbing the horse shit and then having the jockey ask to snort coke off his erection, almost made me pass out from laughter.

  • robc||

    Homer: Lisa, if I didn't have this gun, the king of England could walk right in here and start pushing you around.
    [Homer starts pushing Lisa around]
    Homer: D'you want that? Huh? Do ya?
    Lisa: No...

  • ||

    and him grabbing the horse shit and then having the jockey ask to snort coke off his erection, almost made me pass out from laughter.

    I don't remember that one....

    While I'm a major fan of all of them, the ones that stick out in my mind are "Charlie got Molested" and "Charlie Goes America All Over Everybody's Ass"

  • Rimfax||

    Helmke is trying to make lemons and he may very well enjoy some backlash funding, but a 1 vote majority on a fairly uncomplicated and clear constitutional issue with a majority opinion made of Swiss cheese is a far cry from a settled backstop to the slippery slope.

  • Episiarch||

    I don't remember that one...

    Where they find the coke in the speaker on the curb, sell it for $600 because they're morons, and then the mob shows up and says "give us our coke or $25,000"?

    And what about the dance marathon?

  • ||

    Where they find the coke in the speaker on the curb, sell it for $600 because they're morons, and then the mob shows up and says "give us our coke or $25,000"?

    Yes, that I remember - just not the part about snorting coke off an erection.

    The dance marathon - also brilliant.

    Dennis and Dee go on Welfare - a real classic

  • ||

    Maybe they will make a movie, like "Inconvenient Truth" except about guns?

    You mean a scare-mongering movie full of inaccuracies designed to propagandize for greater government control?

    Already done. Bowling for Columbine, dude.

  • ||

    If I had a choice, I'd rather be shot than stabbed or beat to death with a baseball bat.



    If given the choice, I'd rather have the ability to defend myself from any of the above via the use of a firearm.

  • ||

    It was pretty dicey for a minute there, but fortunately, I was able to shoot him in the spine.

  • Guy Montag||

    Already done. Bowling for Columbine, dude.

    Forgot about that one! But do comedies actually count?

    When is he going to make another good documentry like "Canadian Bacon"?

  • Barack No Middle Name Obama||

    Who Will Defend the Right to Pass Oppressive Laws?

    Yes We Can!

  • JB||

    Screw his First Amendment rights. I'd like to see him muzzled.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    The people of Washington no longer have the authority to decide that, as a matter of public safety, they will prohibit handgun possession within their borders.


    Why not bring back slavery while they are at it?

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Harass people sufficiently, and only the most ardent hobbyists would choose to defend themselves. Furthermore, and time a new weapons is invented, for example like the stunners of countless science fiction novels, they will be banned as being unusual.


    I wonder if the same applies to the right to vote.

  • Dello||

    Jacob,
    "Meanwhile, the perceived need to defend firearm laws against a post-Heller legal assault will energize gun control supporters and could be a fund raising bonanza for groups like the Brady Center, which hit me up for money when I tried to click through to Helmke's press release."

    So, um, did you donate?

  • LarryA||

    The missus actually uttered at the breakfast table this AM that "DC will be a bloodbath" as a result of this ruling, quite unaware of the galactic-sized irony of her statement.

    Another interesting part of this case will be the June, 2009 "Where is the D.C. bloodbath?" stories which I'm guessing will not flood the mainstream media.

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