Mission statement:

Armed and Safe is a gun rights advocacy blog, with the mission of debunking the "logic" of the enemies of the Constitutionally guaranteed, fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms.

I can be reached at 45superman@gmail.com.You can follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/45superman.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Radical changes, for the worse

A fellow gun rights activist at Illinois Carry posted an interesting discovery today about what some rabidly anti-rights/anti-self-defense Illinois politicians previously thought about gun rights. This is a 1994 article, and it begins with an account of the burglary of Illinois Senator Rickey Hendon's house, in which a handgun (illegal in Hendon's Chicago home) was stolen.

In February, Illinois State Sen. Rickey Hendon came home to discover that his house on the Westside of Chicago had been robbed. The burglary got more than the usual amount of press attention because the former alderman lost not only money but also an unregistered handgun. It has been illegal since 1983 for even the most law-abiding Chicago residents to own handguns; only guns owned before the ban was passed can be registered, and they must be re-registered every two years. Possession of an unregistered handgun carries a penalty of less than a year in prison or a $500 fine.
What, I wonder, would be his response? Remorse, do you suppose? Apparently not.
Hendon was unapologetic. "I have a right to protect myself," the black Democrat told the Chicago Sun-Times.
A "right to protect [your]self," eh? Well, I'm with you, Rickey--I really am--but don't all citizens have the same right? It would seem that Rickey doesn't think so (at least anymore)--look, for example at his 2005 gun legislation voting record (Excel file), in which of the thirteen Senate votes on bills relating to firearms, he voted nine times against gun rights, and only three times for them (he abstained on another). Of those three, incidentally, I personally would not categorize two of them as particularly "pro-gun"--one was for a bill that dealt with firearms carry for retired "Only Ones," and another was for a bill that would impose "enhanced" penalties for felons in possession of firearms.

By the way, what's this all about?
The police decided not to charge Hendon with violating the gun law because it wasn't clear who actually owned the gun.
Well, if "possession is nine tenths of the law," I guess Rickey must have slipped into that last one tenth--how convenient for him.

I suspect I'll be talking about this article again soon, because it raises some very worthwhile points about the racially discriminatory nature of citizen disarmament laws that are specifically targeted at inner city residents--laws which tend to disproportionately disarm blacks, in just the kinds of high crime areas in which self-defense is most often necessary. To do that topic justice, though, I should devote an entire blog post to it, and today, I have other issues to discuss.

Senator Hendon, and his apparent hypocrisy, is one of those issues--the other is Cook County Commissioner William Beavers. Beavers, you may remember, recently proposed the "Safe Streets/Weapons Registration Ordinance", which would be a near-total, confiscatory ban on firearms in Cook County. Curiously, though, he sang a vastly different tune back in '94, as a Chicago Alderman.
That sentiment is common among the residents of Chicago's tougher neighborhoods. It's easy for people with wealth and political power to push stricter and stricter gun control laws, notes Alderman William Beavers, who represents the working-class, mostly black South Shore district. The wealthy, he says, "can afford to pay a detective agency or some kind of police agency to act as security." His constituents, he argues, deserve the right to protect themselves.
Beavers, in fact, repeatedly attempted to reestablish Chicagoans' ability to register handguns.
Now, for the second time in five years, he [Beavers] has proposed legislation to reopen handgun registration. The idea is endorsed by other prominent black political leaders, including activist Sokoni Karanja of the Center for New Horizons and Aldermen Virgil Jones and Robert Shaw, who feel that gun bans prevent law-abiding citizens from protecting themselves.

[ . . . ]

Beavers, however, doesn't emphasize the racial dimension in opposing the gun-registration freeze. Instead, he stresses Second Amendment issues and pragmatic policy concerns.

"The Constitution allows you to bear arms in your home," he says. "But according to our city ordinance, it's illegal to own a firearm that is not registered."
(While he defends a right to ownership, the alderman is no Second Amendment purist. He is, for instance, against the issuing of carry permits.)

Beavers is also disturbed that the registration freeze forces law-abiding citizens into breaking the law if they, like Sen. Hendon, try to protect themselves by keeping a handgun in the house. And the freeze, Beavers thinks, makes the police's job tougher by making it more difficult to track stolen firearms. "Guns are stolen now from people who don't have them registered and won't report the [theft]," says Beavers.

[ . . . ]

For his part, Beavers remains pledged to change Chicago's handgun registration law by hammering home arguments born out of real-world experience. Gun control will always fail, he argues, because criminals are never going to register their guns. And as for ordinary citizens who feel a need to protect themselves: "People are going to own guns. You cannot deny them the right to own a gun."
So what happened to change your mind, William? Did the Second Amendment get repealed, and no one told me? Is it no longer a problem to you that citizens are forced to choose between being criminals and being defenseless? Do you no longer think it's a problem that people will decline to report the theft of a gun that they were forbidden to possess?

Or, perhaps, do you simply have a new, anti-rights agenda?