Sarasota Florida guest columnist - needs rebuttal


November 30, 2007, 08:25 AM
This was published in the Sarasota Florida Herald Tribune this morning.

I'll post it in hopes that some of you will further provide this gentleman a history lesseon by sending a comment to the newspaper.

'Individual right' to bear arms is a gun lobby myth

The recent op-ed column by J.R. Labbe needs to be balanced by a more objective statement as to the meaning of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal from the 2-1 decision of the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia holding the district's strict gun control law unconstitutional.

The Second Amendment states, 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."

The question the Supreme Court has agreed to review is whether the "right" referred to in the Second Amendment is an individual right to "keep and bear arms" or a collective right to be exercised in connection with service in state militia.

The gun control ordinance, passed in 1973 as part of an effort to address the district's violent crime problem, prohibits all possession of handguns and requires all other guns in the home to be disassembled or secured by trigger locks. In other words, the ordinance does not bar possession of hunting rifles and guns. Gun experts say that guns so secured can be made operable in one or two minutes.

Ms. Labbe's column did not state the provisions of the ordinance and left the impression that D.C. residents did not have "the ability to defend themselves in a city that historically has had one of the highest murder rates in the nation."

While many people believe that getting in a shooting match with home invaders is not the safest procedure, Ms. Labbe has overstated the defenselessness of people who need a minute or two to remove a trigger lock.

Most competent and impartial scholars agree that the Second Amendment was drafted in response to a fear on the part of many people in 1789 that a large federal standing army would be used to dominate the states.

The purpose of the Second Amendment was to allay that fear by guaranteeing that the federal government would not interfere with the right of the people to be armed, not as private citizens, but only as members of the "well regulated militia\[s\]" of the states.

The state militias, it was believed, would make a large federal standing army unnecessary. The Supreme Court so read the Second Amendment in its only pronouncement on the question.

In United States v. Miller, decided in 1939, the court stated that unless a weapon "has some reasonable relation 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" (307 United States Reports p. 178).

The overwhelming majority of United States Courts of Appeal have interpreted the Second Amendment as conferring only a group right to be exercised in connection with service in a state militia and not an individual right.

In this political season, many candidates express their devotion to "Second Amendment rights" without saying what those rights are, but implying that it is an individual right. The theory that the Constitution guarantees a general individual right to bear arms is a myth created and promoted by the gun lobby and its allies. The myth has been repeated so effectively and persistently that it is believed even by some people who see the need for and favor strict gun control.

The "individual right" myth promoted by the gun lobby is just that -- a myth.

John E. Clay is a retired senior partner of the international law firm of Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw. He is a former president of the Longboat Key Democratic Club.

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November 30, 2007, 09:23 AM
we need to first point out that the case he quoted was in reguards to a sawed off shotgun, this opening will get the anti's to keep reading.

Then we need to address that Federal law still states that all able bodied men of age are the Unorganized Militia.

Finally we need to go back to the statements by the founding fathers show that thier intentions were for a individual right.

For a little epilouge we need to compare the efectiveness of shooting a home intruder vs. using pepper spray or a stun gun.

So who here has a good command of the English Language? I'm a science major so that's not me!

November 30, 2007, 09:32 AM
A link to the paper's website or this article would be helpful in issuing rebuttals.

November 30, 2007, 10:07 AM
Gun experts say that guns so secured can be made operable in one or two minutes.
Someone ought to invite that imbecile to try to unlock a trigger lock while someone uses a red paint marker against him like a knife.

November 30, 2007, 10:11 AM
hit them with the quotes from this thread:

The founding fathers told us time and again they wanted the 2nd amendment as an individual right. Putting on a set of blinders and pretending that all of the opinions they wrote outside of the constitution does not change the intent.

Doggy Daddy
November 30, 2007, 11:35 AM
A link to the column is here (

November 30, 2007, 12:00 PM
Correct me if I'm wrong...

The US constitution explicitly grants certain powers to the federal gov. as well as forbids the fed from having any powers not given to it explicitly by the people. So, nowhere in the constitution does it say, that the fed has the power, granted by the people, to regulate arms (quite the opposite actually, given the 2nd A.). But even without the 2nd A., regulation of arms is not explicitly granted to the fed. What is granted, is the power to defend the borders, regulate interstate commerce, declare foreign policy, etc. So, all other powers not explicitly granted to the fed, are reserved to the states and the people respectively, right? How come then, can fed claim authority to regulate, ban, or tax arms???

It seams to me, that even without the 2nd A. fed does not have the power to do so.

Am I wrong???

EDIT: putting aside the individual vs. group right, shouldn't it be decided by individual states, not the fed?

November 30, 2007, 12:34 PM
A big-shot retired big-firm partner can't even cite the statutes right?

1) The DC handgun law was passed in 1976, and allowed continued possession of all handguns registered by a certain date. After that date, the registry was closed to new handguns. Even today, you can own a handgun in DC if it was registered on time.

2) the unloaded-and-locked law has NO provision for unlocking and use in self defense.

3) "A minute or two to remove a trigger lock" renders the firearm non-functional for self defense if the firearm is still unloaded. That is why police shotguns are generally kept loaded even if locked in a rack.

4) While it is true that appellate courts are erroneously interpreting the 2A as a "collective right" (whatever that is), the leading legal authorities of the 19th century construed the 2A as barring disarmament of individuals of any arm suitable for militia use. This is similar to how "separate but equal" court rulings incorrectly interpreted the intent of the 14th Amendment for almost 60years.

the pistolero
November 30, 2007, 01:06 PM
Someone ought to invite that imbecile to try to unlock a trigger lock while someone uses a red paint marker knife against him.

Call that extreme, but I for one have had more than enough of such self-righteous armchair quarterbacking as was seen from this guy. And I really do think that's the only way someone so willfully dense is really going to get the point.

December 3, 2007, 05:35 PM
Sir, I fully support rebuttals to anti-gun and anti-rights publications.

However, the anti-gun op-ed was in response to this article:

Among other things, the author therein makes this assertion:

"There is no doubt that a decision against the right to keep and bear arms would overturn almost two centuries of jurisprudence."

That some dimwitted yahoo wrote in to pipe up and say "no....gun rights are a myth" speaks for himself. The original article was well-reasoned...the op-ed was foolishness.

I don't see the pressing need to respond.

December 3, 2007, 06:04 PM
I don't see the pressing need to respond.
I agree ... you're more likely to get a Jihadist to eat a ham and cheese on rye than change the mind of a hardcore anti like this guy.

December 4, 2007, 03:49 PM
That was a painful 14 pages to read...I don't recommend it unless you desire a splitting headache... :banghead:

Wes Janson
December 5, 2007, 10:03 PM
It's Sarasota; what do you expect?

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