Posted by: reformedmusings | December 8, 2008

St. Louis Alderman’s call to arms

Here’s a great article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: St. Louis Alderman Quincy Troupe calls on residents to carry handguns for safety. It seems that the police chief actually admitted what the citizens already knew: that he can’t protect them. According to the Alderman’s interview on FoxNews, even after being allocated 125 new police officers, the department decided to hire only 25 and use the rest of money for their own purposes. The police there show no signs of being interested in citizen protection. Nothing short of a Washington, DC, police state with neighborhood check points and unwarranted searches could accomplish that anyway.

We shouldn’t be too hard on Chief Isom. The federal courts have backed up his claim that he’s not required to protect citizens. “In Warren v. District of Columbia (1981), the D.C. Court of Appeals ruled, “official police personnel and the government employing them are not generally liable to victims of criminal acts for failure to provide adequate police protection. . . a government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any particular citizen.” In Bowers v. DeVito (1982), the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled, “[T]here is no constitutional right to be protected by the state against being murdered by criminals or madmen.”” (Quoted from the NRA-ILA site, about 1/2 way down the page.)

Missouri has a must-issue concealed carry law. That means that citizens who pass a criminal background check and have appropriate training must be issued a permit to carry a concealed handgun. This empowers people to defend themselves against violent criminal predators. 38 states have such laws that recognize their citizens’ civil rights to bear arms under the Second Amendment. All but two others, Illinois and Wisconsin, have more restrictive “may issue” laws that leave the honoring of citizen’s civil rights in the hands of local politicians or police.

I found the objections to the Alderman’s proposal recorded in the article interesting. None of the police chief’s fears have come to pass in the 38 states with shall-issue laws. These same fear tactics are still used by gun banners despite several decades of positive shall-issue experience across the country. Civilian permit holders have proven far more law-abiding than the police. There have been no “wild west”-style breakdowns. No civilian with a permit has pumped 30+ rounds into unarmed civilians as police have been known to do. Of what is Chief Isom afraid, that a citizen may shoot and kill a violent criminal predator? No loss there.

It comes down to naked power. Chief Isom and those like him simply want a monopoly of power over the people. That’s what our founding fathers’ feared – the unchecked power of local or national tyrants – and largely why they enshrined our pre-existing right to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment of our Constitution. They were very wise men who, like we should, feared the government that feared their guns.

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