In the comedy Roxanne , Steve Martin is a fire chief of an incompetent department that's as likely to start a fire as put one out.
"I have a dream," he tells the men after dousing one of their own little fires. "It's not a big dream, it's just a little dream. My dream -- and I hope you don't find this too crazy -- is that I would like the people of this community to feel that if, God forbid, there were a fire, calling the fire department would actually be a wise thing to do. You can't have people, if their houses are burning down, saying, 'Whatever you do, don't call the fire department!' That would be bad."
Yes -- kind of like a city or state saying, "Whatever you do, don't let the law-abiding citizens have guns!"
That's bad, too.
Yet, cities across the fruited plain prohibit law-abiding Americans from owning firearms to protect themselves. It not only ensures that only criminals will be armed, but it's also quite unconstitutional.
One of the principles underlying the U.S. Constitution is that basic human rights don't come from governments -- they flow from the Divine. And there may be no more fundamental right than that of self-defense.
Government has no right, either under the Constitution or under the sun, to stand in the way of a man's right to defend himself and his own.
That principle was up for debate in the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday, during arguments over legal challenges to Chicago's sweeping handgun ban. The case could finally recognize -- not "establish" or "decide," but recognize -- that individuals have the right to bear arms.
"In court papers," said one news report, "lawyers for the city of Chicago pointed out that 402 of the 412 firearm homicides occurred with the use of handguns in 2008.
"'Handguns are used to kill in the United States more than all other weapons, firearms and otherwise, combined,, Chicago Corporation Counsel Mara S. Georges wrote."
So let's ban law-abiding citizens from having them? That will make it better?
That's just silly. As an Associated Press story noted, describing the view of one of the plaintiffs, a former police officer, the only people "hurt by the city's handgun ban are those obeying it."
Nor is it legal or constitutional to allow cities and other units of government to interpret the Second Amendment any way they choose. They're not allowed to do that with any other amendment or other facet of the Constitution.
This is not promoting a Wild West-type society, either. As Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in the earlier case that struck down the Washington, D.C., gun ban, that ruling "should not be taken to cast doubt on long-standing prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms."
In other words, guns are still highly, highly regulated.
At least among the law-abiding. Criminals don't know from regulations or laws.