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Wednesday, September 29, 2004

One amendment is safe

The second amendment, that is. While barricades, cameras, sneak-and-peek searches and other fascist measures have intruded on the already limited rights of the semi-citizens of the District of Columbia over the past few years, they have regained the right to shoot each other:
The House voted Wednesday to end a 28-year ban on handgun ownership in the nation's capital, brushing aside pleas from city officials concerned about a surge in violence and more heavily armed criminals.
The legislation would lift the ban on handgun ownership. It also would allow people to have other weapons, including semiautomatic rifles, that are not illegal under federal law.

The measure would mean an end to requirements that firearms be registered and that rifles and shotguns kept in people's homes be stored unloaded and disassembled or unlocked.
I'll confess that I'm not as anti-gun as I was five years ago, when I thought that gun violence was the greatest threat to my life and liberty. Now, I see the government taking over that role, and start to see some sense in the second amendment.

I saw a picture a month or two ago of British troops dismantling an anti-aircraft gun that was on the roof of a building in Najaf. And I knew they weren't dismantling it because they were concerned about bombing raids from Iran or Syria or Russia or al Qaeda. If Najaf was to be bombed from the air, it would be Brits or Americans doing it. And they wouldn't want any interference with that. I also saw Americans from Bush Sr. through Clinton and on to the current cabal foaming at the mouth with the desire to invade Iraq. But they waited until they were absolutely sure that Iraq was effectively disarmed, after a war, 12 years of sanctions, seven years of inspections, and another four months of inspections, before they went ahead with the invasion. Our government does not insist that other countries disarm in order to protect us--it is to prevent those countries from defending themselves if and when we invade. And I guess if the right to bear arms is the only right the Bushies are going to leave to us, maybe we shouldn't give it away too easily. On the other hand, having weapons didn't keep the government from killing people at Ruby Ridge or Waco. I don't own a gun and probably never will. But it took John Ashcroft's attack on civil liberties for me to finally see some sense in John Ashcroft's defense of gun rights. And frankly, I'm not at all happy about that.