“When seconds can mean the difference between life and death, the police are only minutes away.” That is the rationale behind citizen gun ownership. This is no measure of disrespect to law enforcement. Rather, it is the stark reality of violent crime, criminals, and victims. As good as you are as a LEO, you cannot be everywhere at all times. It is natural that a good segment of the population will want to have the means to defend themselves from attack.
For years, two U.S. cities have exercised the most stringent gun control laws in the country. Washington D.C. and Chicago have enforced laws making it almost impossible for ordinary citizens to own a handgun for self-defense. Twice, the Supreme Court decided on the issue and twice the court found in favor of the citizen. First was District of Columbia v. Heller in 2009. It was followed by the 2010 McDonald v. Chicago decision. You might think that the issue would have been settled since then… right? Wrong.
Fox News reported on the issue recently. The story chronicled the difficulty that Emily Miller, a crime victim and senior opinion editor of the Washington Times, experienced after the 2009 D.C. ruling when she attempted to legally purchase a handgun. Yes, it is lawful to purchase a handgun… but there’s a catch… there are no licensed gun dealers in Washington D.C. Miller had to buy her handgun out of state… but there’s a catch… there is only one person alive who is authorized to transport the handgun into the district… but there’s a catch… it costs $125 to exercise your right. Well, a senior editor at the Washington Times might be able to do that without a problem, but many other crime victims aren’t so flush with cash.
So she purchased her handgun and arranged for transport. Good to go, right? Wrong… there’s a catch. Miller didn’t count on the multiple trips to the police department to register her handgun. Check. OK, we’re good to go… but there’s a catch… you have to submit your handgun for ballistics testing. The district wants to fingerprint your firearm… but there’s a catch… first, they have to fingerprint YOU (separate trip).
Great! All that’s done… but there’s a catch… Emily must have approved firearm training by a licensed firearms instructor… but there’s a catch… there are no licensed firearms instructors in Washington D.C.
Finally, after all of the above gyrations, Emily Miller, victim of violent crime, was able to arm herself and exercise her 2nd Amendment rights. But there’s a catch… it cost nearly $500 above and beyond the cost of the firearm itself. For the same $1,200 Emily spent in the long process, your average D.C. gang-banger can pick up three handguns in about a half an hour… most often stolen from law-abiding citizens… like Emily.
If this all sounds familiar, you may be reminded of this famous scene from the movie, “Catch 22.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ln81Y87DHQA
Bruce Bremer, MBA is LET’s technology contributor. Bruce retired from the Submarine Service after 21 years of in-depth experience with complex electronic technology. Since then, he has been involved in fleet modernization and military research analysis. He teaches electronics and alternative energy at a Virginia college. Besides his MBA, Bruce earned a Bachelor of Science degree in computer networking. He has been volunteering in public safety for many years.
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