Today’s New York Times carried a story concerning gun control - Court Rejects Strict Gun Law as Unconstitutional . Interpreting the Second Amendment broadly, a federal appeals court in Washington struck down a gun control law in the District of Columbia that bars residents from keeping handguns in their homes. The decision was the first from a federal appeals court to hold a gun control law unconstitutional on the ground that the Second Amendment protects the rights of individuals, as opposed to the collective rights of state militias. Nine other federal appeals courts around the nation have rejected that interpretation. Of course, in a statement on its Web site, the National Rifle Association called the decision a significant victory that “affirmed that the Second Amendment of the Constitution protects an inherent, individual right to bear arms.” The story brought to mind that there has hardly been a word in the Congress concerning gun control in the last few years in spite of the fact that people are being accosted, maimed and murdered hourly in this nation. Yes this nation , not Iraq! Gunmen terrorizing schools , teens settling their squabbles with guns , domestic quarrels being resolved with guns - guns are becoming as common as cell phones.
The gun lobby, notably the National Rifle Association wields too much power in Washington and it does so to the point of being irresponsible. Gun control is sorely needed but lawmakers avoid any serious attempts to come up with meaningful legislation lest they incur the wrath of the NRA. There needs to be an outcry from the American public for effective gun control legislation but anytime there is a groundswell for gun control it is beaten back by a very effective lobby. We are told that it is our constitutional right to own a gun and of course we want everything the Constitution guarantees us. Everything?-hold on! Another story in the Times blared out FBI Head Admits Mistakes in Use of Security Act. Apparently when it comes to constitutional rights the American public is more willing to sacrifice its right to privacy ( USA Patriot Act) than to infringe its right to bear arms. The terrorism threat wins out over the threat posed by guns. The Constitution does give us a right to bear arms - it does not give us a right to abuse arms. Legislation must be brought to bear on the latter. As for privacy issues, again legislation must curb the amazing appetite of the executive branch of government to usurp our rights in the name of The War On Terrorism.