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Judges: ‘Public safety’ trumps 2nd Amendment

February 6, 2014

A federal district court judge in Connecticut has ruled that the state’s new,  draconian firearms laws are permissible infringements upon that which “shall not  be infringed,” and he bases that misguided conclusion on the notion that the  state’s concerns for “public safety” outweigh concerns about violation of the  Second Amendment.  While that would be a stretch under any circumstances, the  fact that the particular restrictions cited in the law have proven to have very  little relevance to public safety raises questions of what exactly U.S. District  Judge Alfred Covello expects the law to accomplish.

The Connecticut law, which was hastily passed during the emotional aftermath  of the Sandy Hook school atrocity, bans the sale of over 100 specific makes and  models of popular rifles and any similar guns, as well as forbidding the sale of  ammunition magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds.

A federal district court judge in Connecticut has ruled that the state’s new,  draconian firearms laws are permissible infringements upon that which “shall not  be infringed,” and he bases that misguided conclusion on the notion that the  state’s concerns for “public safety” outweigh concerns about violation of the  Second Amendment.  While that would be a stretch under any circumstances, the  fact that the particular restrictions cited in the law have proven to have very  little relevance to public safety raises questions of what exactly U.S. District  Judge Alfred Covello expects the law to accomplish.

The Connecticut law, which was hastily passed during the emotional aftermath  of the Sandy Hook school atrocity, bans the sale of over 100 specific makes and  models of popular rifles and any similar guns, as well as forbidding the sale of  ammunition magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds.

In his ruling, Judge Covello, a Connecticut native who was appointed to the  federal bench by George H.W. Bush in 1992, acknowledged the new law’s  infringement of the fundamental right to arms but in the same breath justified  that infringement: “While the act burdens the plaintiffs’ Second Amendment  rights, it is substantially related to the important governmental interest of  public safety and crime control.”

Plaintiffs, led by the Connecticut Citizens’ Defense League, a grass-roots  rights organization, contended that the law violates their rights under the  Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  This right was affirmed by the U.S.  Supreme Court in its landmark decisions in District of Columbia v. Heller in  2008 and the follow-up decision in McDonald v. Chicago in 2010.  In Heller, the  Court ruled that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and  bear arms, including arms for purposes of personal and home defense, and  specifically arms of a type in common use.  In McDonald, the Court ruled that  this is a fundamental right that cannot be abridged by state or local  authorities.

The Connecticut decision comes on the heels of a similar decision upholding  most of the infringements in New York’s misleadingly named SAFE Act.  In that  decision, the judge acknowledged that the firearms in question are “in common  use” as specified in Heller, but he rejected the arbitrary restriction of seven  rounds per magazine, pointing out the perverse possibility of a homeowner being  injured due to a criminal having a fully loaded 10-round magazine, as opposed to  the homeowner being restricted to only seven.  Somehow the arbitrary restriction  of a 10-round maximum did not strike the same chord of perversity.

What neither of the judges seemed to be able to understand is that  military-pattern rifles and so-called “high-capacity” magazines are rarely used  in crime and have little bearing on outcomes of criminal actions.  While the  Sandy Hook tragedy was a terrible exception to part of that rule, the reality is  that the murderer in that case could have used almost any weapon and still done  just as much, or even more harm.  Research shows that “assault weapons” are only  used in about 2 percent of crimes involving firearms, and rarely are more than a  few shots fired in a short period.  It is also worth noting that changing  magazines can be accomplished in just a couple of seconds – even less with a  little practice.  Some firearm and tactics experts suggest that had the murderer  who attacked Rep. Gabby Giffords in Tucson not had the extended magazine he used  in the attack, he might have been better prepared for a rapid magazine change  and might have been more deliberate in his ammunition expenditure – likely  resulting in more deaths.  Not to mention that a smaller magazine would have  been less likely to jam.  The Aurora movie theater killer’s AR-15 jammed, and he  turned to his much-more-lethal shotgun, resulting in many more people being  hit.

Educated speculation aside, the fact remains that the “rampage killing” is  still a very rare event.  Despite excessive media coverage and the horrific  nature of these events, neither the number of events nor the number of  casualties from these events has gone up in recent years.  They are aberrations  that occur on a regular, infrequent basis, and the death and injury toll remains  surprisingly constant, regardless of the weapon the attacker chooses.

Most importantly, there is no evidence that any of the mass murders of the  past few years would have been impacted by any of the proposed new laws.  In  each case, the perpetrator either acquired his weapons legally – with full  background checks and clear premeditation – or by stealing them from someone  else who had legally purchased them.  In the case of the Sandy Hook murderer,  there were already numerous restrictions on “assault weapons,” but the  murderer’s mother had passed through the various legal hoops to legally possess  her guns, and her son shot her in the face five times in order to steal them  from her.  However, he could just as easily have used the samurai sword hanging  on his bedroom wall.

What all of that means is that these federal judges decided that an  enumerated, constitutional right – one the U.S. Supreme Court has already  concluded is a fundamental right – can be trumped by a vague notion of “public  safety,” which is demonstrably mythical.  That should be of great concern to all  Americans.

Both the Connecticut case and the New York case are being appealed and are  likely to wind up in the Supreme Court within the next few years.  Let’s hope  that the Federal Appeals Court for the 2nd Circuit – the next stop for both  these cases – or the Supreme Court will put rights and the Constitution above  irrational fear, emotion and mythical ideas of “public safety.”

CREDIT TO:  Jeff Knox / WND.COM

ttp://www.wnd.com/2014/02/judges-public-safety-trumps-2nd-amendment/#25F6U0A8xCC47j5i.99

 

 

 

Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2014/02/judges-public-safety-trumps-2nd-amendment/#25F6U0A8xCC47j5i.99

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One Comment
  1. How is it that people constantly continue to ignore facts? Assuming the Sandy Hook incident actually occurred it would be a horrific tragedy, even so by their own accounts there were not only no assault weapons used by the perpetrator as he used hand guns, but not even any found at the crime scene, he had a shotgun in the trunk of his car. So, other than the assault weapons in the possession of the conspiracy involved criminals brandishing badges there were none involved in the act of the supposed crime itself.

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