Retired Supreme Court justice John Paul Stevens has proposed repealing the Second Amendment.  If we needed more proof of the pathetic stupidity of most jurists these days, Stevens’s dopey idea is a prime example.  State governments already have wide discretion in controlling the sale of guns, and if there were a co-relationship between gun control and violent crime, then the degree to which state governments limited gun sales should show a correspondingly low violent crime rate.

But that just is not so.  Slate has a table in which it rates how tight gun control laws are by giving each state a grade, with the highest grade being an  “A-.”  Six states – California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York – received that highest grade.  Yet four of those six states – California, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New York – were in the top twenty-five states in terms of violent crime. 

Among the ten safest states – Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Virginia, Connecticut, Idaho, Kentucky, Rhode Island, Minnesota, and Utah – Maine, Vermont, Idaho, Kentucky, and Utah received a grade of “F,” the lowest possible score.  This does not mean there is a positive correlation between relaxed state gun control laws and violent crime, but it does mean that there is no meaningful correlation at all regarding state gun control laws and violent crime.

What can be said with absolute assurance is that repealing the Second Amendment will diminish individual liberty.  Is diminishing individual liberty by amending the Constitution justified if the purpose is to reduce violent crime?  Surely, there are more useful abridgements of liberty through constitutional amendment if our purpose is to reduce violent crime.

Any veteran prosecutor or policeman can tell you that Supreme Court interpretations of the Bill of Rights created a monstrous problem in convicting savvy criminals.  Really bad and dangerous people are turned loose and have been turned loose over the last fifty years because the Supreme Court elevated individual liberty, even for the patently guilty and nasty criminal, to higher importance than protecting the public against violent crime. 

Justice Stevens, during his tenure on the Supreme Court, routinely voted to protect and even expand the rights of criminals at the expense of public safety.  Indeed, if a positive correlation between violent crime and public policy needs to be found, the best indicator is the doubling of the violent crime rate from 1965 to the present.  This did not seem to bother Justice Stevens at all when he was on the Supreme Court. 

What makes this particularly galling is that the Supreme Court decisions from the mid-1960s through the next decade let manifestly guilty monsters go free, because their individual liberties under the Constitution were considered, by Justice Stevens and his ilk, to trump the safety of the public.  No conservatives are arguing that violent criminals should be allowed to buy handguns.  Indeed, violent criminals are not dissuaded at all by gun control laws, which inhibit only innocent citizens trying to protect themselves.

The curtailment of other constitutional rights might also produce a much lower crime rate.  The breakup of families, as this Heritage Foundation report shows, contributes more than any other factor in causing violent crime.  Should we amend the Constitution to reduce the rights of parents to divorce and to allow states to take children born out of wedlock away from unwed mothers?  Those constitutional changes might well reduce crime rates dramatically, but they would limit the liberty of those who wish to raise children in single-parent homes.  

Moreover, even in nations with strict gun control laws, like the United Kingdom, the breakup of the nuclear family is closely related to criminal behavior.  A study in Britain shows that children of broken homes are nine times more likely to engage in criminal behavior than children from stable homes.

What this means is that the left is utterly hypocritical when it comes to protecting constitutional liberties and protecting public safety.  Although there is no real evidence that tougher gun control and public safety are positively correlated with each other, this is the first reflexive response of the left to any discussion of crime – and the left’s plans control only the law-abiding citizen.

On the other hand, any efforts to reduce the individual liberties of clearly guilty criminals or promiscuous unwed mothers, both of which contribute significantly to the breakdown in public safety, are either ignored by the left or attacked when conservatives raise the subject.

The bottom line?  The left does not care a whit about public safety.  It cares about limiting the liberties of law-abiding citizens.

Image: Paul Swansen via Flickr.

Retired Supreme Court justice John Paul Stevens has proposed repealing the Second Amendment.  If we needed more proof of the pathetic stupidity of most jurists these days, Stevens’s dopey idea is a prime example.  State governments already have wide discretion in controlling the sale of guns, and if there were a co-relationship between gun control and violent crime, then the degree to which state governments limited gun sales should show a correspondingly low violent crime rate.

But that just is not so.  Slate has a table in which it rates how tight gun control laws are by giving each state a grade, with the highest grade being an  “A-.”  Six states – California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York – received that highest grade.  Yet four of those six states – California, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New York – were in the top twenty-five states in terms of violent crime. 

Among the ten safest states – Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Virginia, Connecticut, Idaho, Kentucky, Rhode Island, Minnesota, and Utah – Maine, Vermont, Idaho, Kentucky, and Utah received a grade of “F,” the lowest possible score.  This does not mean there is a positive correlation between relaxed state gun control laws and violent crime, but it does mean that there is no meaningful correlation at all regarding state gun control laws and violent crime.

What can be said with absolute assurance is that repealing the Second Amendment will diminish individual liberty.  Is diminishing individual liberty by amending the Constitution justified if the purpose is to reduce violent crime?  Surely, there are more useful abridgements of liberty through constitutional amendment if our purpose is to reduce violent crime.

Any veteran prosecutor or policeman can tell you that Supreme Court interpretations of the Bill of Rights created a monstrous problem in convicting savvy criminals.  Really bad and dangerous people are turned loose and have been turned loose over the last fifty years because the Supreme Court elevated individual liberty, even for the patently guilty and nasty criminal, to higher importance than protecting the public against violent crime. 

Justice Stevens, during his tenure on the Supreme Court, routinely voted to protect and even expand the rights of criminals at the expense of public safety.  Indeed, if a positive correlation between violent crime and public policy needs to be found, the best indicator is the doubling of the violent crime rate from 1965 to the present.  This did not seem to bother Justice Stevens at all when he was on the Supreme Court. 

What makes this particularly galling is that the Supreme Court decisions from the mid-1960s through the next decade let manifestly guilty monsters go free, because their individual liberties under the Constitution were considered, by Justice Stevens and his ilk, to trump the safety of the public.  No conservatives are arguing that violent criminals should be allowed to buy handguns.  Indeed, violent criminals are not dissuaded at all by gun control laws, which inhibit only innocent citizens trying to protect themselves.

The curtailment of other constitutional rights might also produce a much lower crime rate.  The breakup of families, as this Heritage Foundation report shows, contributes more than any other factor in causing violent crime.  Should we amend the Constitution to reduce the rights of parents to divorce and to allow states to take children born out of wedlock away from unwed mothers?  Those constitutional changes might well reduce crime rates dramatically, but they would limit the liberty of those who wish to raise children in single-parent homes.  

Moreover, even in nations with strict gun control laws, like the United Kingdom, the breakup of the nuclear family is closely related to criminal behavior.  A study in Britain shows that children of broken homes are nine times more likely to engage in criminal behavior than children from stable homes.

What this means is that the left is utterly hypocritical when it comes to protecting constitutional liberties and protecting public safety.  Although there is no real evidence that tougher gun control and public safety are positively correlated with each other, this is the first reflexive response of the left to any discussion of crime – and the left’s plans control only the law-abiding citizen.

On the other hand, any efforts to reduce the individual liberties of clearly guilty criminals or promiscuous unwed mothers, both of which contribute significantly to the breakdown in public safety, are either ignored by the left or attacked when conservatives raise the subject.

The bottom line?  The left does not care a whit about public safety.  It cares about limiting the liberties of law-abiding citizens.

Image: Paul Swansen via Flickr.



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