For years, anti-gunners have claimed that there's a gun-related epidemic in our country, and for once, they're right. It's not gun-related crime though. An epidemic is something that is common and spreading rapidly; gun-related crime has been diminishing for 15 years.
What is common and spreading now is a condition one could call "anti-gun anxiety," or AGA. Apparently, it has been brought on by the U. S. Supreme Court ruling in Heller that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear handguns and other arms, and that the right existed before the Constitution was written and is not conditioned on a person's relationship to a militia.
Fortunately, this epidemic appears to be almost entirely confined to politicians, newspaper editorial writers, and activists predisposed to the condition by years of bias against guns, gun owners and freedom. Normal people are immune from AGA, thus no vaccine is required, and the only known antidote is an open mind, a willingness to accept the facts, and a respect for the rights of one's fellow citizens.
Unfortunately, manifestations of AGA have been severe in some cases.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson called the Court's Heller majority a "right wing . . . gang of five" and accused it of "distort[ing] the clear meaning of the words of the Second Amendment and reinvent[ing] the intent of the Founders."
D.C.'s mayor, Adrian Fenty, predicted that "introducing more handguns into the District will mean more handgun violence," even though the city's murder rate tripled within 15 years of its unconstitutional handgun ban. Marion Barry, D.C. mayor when the ban was imposed, said, "This sends the wrong message and will create more opportunity for thefts of legal handguns that can ultimately be used in the commission of crimes."
Richard M. Daley, mayor of Chicago, the only other major U.S. city with a D.C.-like handgun ban, called Heller "a very frightening decision" and asked, "Does this lead to everyone having a gun in our society?" Sen. Dianne Feinstein claimed the Court's decision will "open the doors to litigation against every gun safety law that states have passed-assault weapons bans, trigger locks and all the rest of it."
Wavering between lunacy and perfect sanity, the New York Times claimed on the one hand that the decision "will cost innocent lives, cause immeasurable pain and suffering and turn America into a more dangerous country [and] diminish our standing in the world," and on the other hand noted that the outcome of future Supreme Court decisions related to guns will depend on who is elected president in November (since as many as three justices may retire and be replaced in the next presidential term).
Apparently because no Supreme Court justice believed that "The amendment was intended to protect the authority of the states to organize militias," the Chicago Tribune said that the Second Amendment should simply be repealed.
It's just as well that The New York Daily News didn't spend more than the five seconds necessary to scribble out its pronouncement, "now Americans have a brand-new right they did not explicitly have before. We think it's a dubious new right. We think the five justices are off the wall." One can only imagine what nonsense might have resulted, if the paper had given the subject any serious thought.
In some instances, AGA is apparently complicated by other conditions, such as utter confusion. Getting the core elements of the Second Amendment backwards, the Salt Lake Tribune claimed, "No fair reading of the plain language of the amendment or its history could have reached the conclusion the court announced." But in other cases, symptoms are less severe. USA Today simply expressed the hope that the Heller decision will allow for gun show restrictions, regulations to drive gun dealers out of business, and an "assault weapon" ban.
Given the way that anti-gun groups behave normally, it's difficult to say whether their Heller-related comments are attributable to acute AGA or a more chronic variety. In any case, the Brady Campaign said Heller will "embolden criminal defendants, and ideological extremists," while the Violence Policy Center said that it "turns legal logic and common sense on its head.
There is some evidence that the epidemic may become a pandemic, too. A German Green Party member said, "All European cows are registered Europe-wide, so why not guns if it can save lives? Civil liberties can be sacrificed if we can prevent people from being killed." And on the French newspaper Le Figaro's web site, a writer declared that America "is the only society which will go directly from barbarism to decadence without ever passing through civilization."While Heller-induced AGA is not contagious, the sad truth is that it will motivate the Second Amendment's enemies to redouble their efforts to destroy the right to arms. Given the timing--just over four months before the November elections--we all have more than ample reason to redouble our efforts to ensure that November's winners will be the kinds of elected officials who will help us build upon the victory achieved in the Supreme Court.