Give Us Back Our Bullets

When the Supreme Court struck down Washington, D.C.’s city-wide gun ban as unconstitutional in the D.C. v. Heller decision of June 2008, it seemed axiomatic that similar gun bans around the country would crumble under the weight of unconstitutionality as well. However, more than a year after the Heller decision, the D.C. city council is making it as difficult as possible to get a gun permit in the nation’s capital, Chicago’s Mayor Daley is fighting to keep his city’s total handgun ban in place, and other mayors, like Seattle’s Greg Nickels, threaten to institute gun bans every time a newsworthy crime is committed.

It’s high time to examine the tactics of these gun-banning politicians, as well as others throughout the land, and demand, once and for all, that they give us back our bullets.

While the Heller decision upheld the Founding Fathers’ view that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to keep and bear arms, it also overturned the D.C. gun ban on grounds that such a ban denied the right of self-defense in the home. Nevertheless, D.C.’s city council has made the requirements for getting a handgun permit so arduous and expensive that only 515 residents have gotten one since the ban was reversed last year. In other words, a de facto gun ban continues.

For example, when Washington Post writer Christian Davenport recently applied for his permit, “it took $833.69, a total of 15 hours 50 minutes, four trips to the Metropolitan Police Department, two background checks, a set of fingerprints, a five-hour class, and a 20-question multiple-choice exam.”

We must understand that this outrageous financial cost, the time commitment, and the repeated (and troublesome) trips to the police department are all simply part of the city council’s way of discouraging would-be permit holders from pursuing a permit in the first place. City council chairman Vincent C. Gray (D) made this clear when he angrily reacted to the overturned ban by “[vowing] that the city was still ‘going to have the strictest handgun laws the Constitution allows.’”

In Chicago, Daley dug in his heals in response to the Heller decision as well, refusing to budge on that city’s handgun ban. Although the National Rifle Association (NRA) filed a suit in federal court to have the ban overturned, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the Chicago ban by claiming the Supreme Court did not specifically “incorporate” the Heller decision — did not explicitly say the Heller verdict applies to bans other than the D.C. gun ban. (For the record, Alan Gura, the attorney who successfully argued Heller, contends that no explicit incorporation is necessary because “the 14th Amendment has been interpreted for over a century” as incorporating rights like the Second Amendment.)

Nevertheless, Daley celebrated the decision of the Seventh Circuit with the usual leftist blather about how safe the streets in Chicago will remain with the ban in place. He actually intimated that Chicago policemen would be safer in light of the continued ban. But common sense tells us policemen can’t be safer in a city where the only people carrying guns are criminals.

By the way, did I mention that Chicago was one of the deadliest cities in America last year?

Daley’s opposition to the Second Amendment equates to pure indifference to the safety of the citizens who foolishly keep him in office and the policemen who patrol Chicago’s streets. Yet as a true ideologue, he puts his politics above his constituents.

We all know the kind of pejoratives Mayor Daley or the D.C. city council would throw at conservatives if we denied the incorporation of the Supreme Court’s famous  Roe v. Wade verdict, if we picked and chose where it would or would not be applicable based on the political makeup of city councils or mayoral figures. But they’ve no shame in doing just that with Supreme Court verdicts that don’t square with their leftist agendas.

The ease with which they do this is evident in the gun-banning outbursts of Seattle’s Mayor Nickels, who views street-gang crime as a justifiable reason to take away the gun rights of law-abiding citizens. As recently as September 2009, Nickels has attempted to unilaterally deny Seattle citizens the right to keep and bear arms in city parks, community centers, and city buildings. Such bans not only go against the spirit of the Heller decision, but they also go against the laws of Washington state, where local authorities (like Nickels) are not allowed “to adopt firearms regulations, unless specifically authorized by [state] law.”

And of course New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg continues to view the Heller decision with derision. To prove it he’s formed a coalition called Mayors Agains Illegal Guns (MAIG). While MAIG is presented as a group of mayors from around the country who have united to get illegal guns off the street, it’s actual goals are to prevent “reciprocity of state right-to-carry permits, … [to encourage] regulating gun shows out of existence, and … to lobby Congress to oppose important pro-gun reforms and support new federal gun control restrictions.”

Did I forget to mention that Bloomberg’s New York City was also one of the deadliest cities in America last year?

It’s high time for these shameless politicians to put their agendas on the back burner and put the rights of the American people first for a change. Whether this means revoking the various bans and limitless application hurdles that keep law-abiding citizens from acquiring the firearms they need or breaking up anti-gun front groups like MAIG, the path to individual gun ownership needs to be cleared again.

We’re tired of being victims with no means to defend ourselves. It’s time to give us back our bullets.

AWR Hawkins is a conservative writer who holds a Ph.D. in military history from Texas Tech University.