Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN News

No Duty To Protect

Friday, November 1, 2013

As NRA members, one of our key roles in defending liberty is to educate people who have little understanding of the real meaning of the Second Amendment. And often our responsibility is to dissect the biggest lies of the gun-ban crowd—among them, the notion that individuals don’t need guns to protect themselves because that’s the job of the police.  

“… a government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any particular individual citizen.”

“The duty to provide public services is owed to the public at large, and, absent a special relationship between the police and an individual, no specific legal duty exists.”

Those are the opinions of the District of Columbia Superior Court and the D.C. Court of Appeals issued in 1978 and 1981 blocking a suit by three young women who had been raped and beaten for 14 hours during a nightmarish home invasion in 1975. Two of the women had repeatedly called the D.C. police. They watched a police car slowly roll by their townhouse after their first call for help, then were told help was on its way in subsequent calls, when indeed it was not.

The decisions in that case, Warren v. District of Columbia, came at a time when D.C. was still enforcing its ban on firearms in the home for self-defense.

The decision by those lower courts in Warren mirrored decades of U.S. Supreme Court precedents. The latest high-court opinion declaring police have no duty to protect ordinary citizens was handed down in June 2005.

All this gives the lie to the gun-ban crowd’s mantra: “let law enforcement
protect you.”

The simple truth is, were individual citizens owed an absolute duty to individual protection by police, no law enforcement agency in the nation could exist because of the glut of litigation claiming violation of individuals’ rights to police protection.

Admittedly, the circumstances that have led to some lawsuits against police departments involve horrendous indifference by police, but if a duty is owed in one awful situation marked by incompetence, it is owed in all cases by all law enforcement officers. And that is the rub.

Duty to protect? Police officers simply cannot be everywhere a crime of violence is occurring. Most of the time, their job is to investigate, pursue criminals and make arrests after a crime has been committed.

I don’t know who originated the notion that “when seconds count, the police are minutes away,” but it defines why the individual right to keep and bear arms is such a core right today. In rural areas, those minutes might be hours.

The question our friends and neighbors and fellow gun owners should ask is: Who, then, protects you if the police have no duty to do so?

The answer is, You do. Responsible members of your family do. Neighbors do.

Had the young women in the Warren case been armed, they could have defended themselves. But at the time, such armed self-defense was a crime in Washington, D.C.

That was the issue finally decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in its landmark June 2008 Heller decision striking down the D.C. handgun ban and the city’s “prohibition against rendering any lawful firearm in the home operable for the purpose of immediate self-defense.”

In his ringing majority defense of the Second Amendment, Associate Justice Antonin Scalia wrote, “The handgun ban amounts to a prohibition of an entire class of ‘arms’ that is overwhelmingly chosen by American society for that lawful purpose. The prohibition extends, moreover, to the home, where the need for defense of self, family and property is most acute.”

That remarkable decision was followed by the high court’s June 2010 majority opinion in McDonald v. Chicago, which extended the protection of the Second Amendment in Heller to every corner of the nation.

People need to understand that the Second Amendment preserves their choice to defend themselves with arms against criminal violence.

The gun-ban crowd always assumes that people are stupid. Given the truth—the facts—most Americans will begin to understand the personal meaning of the Second Amendment.

If there is a “duty to protect,” it is our duty as members of the NRA to protect the Second Amendment. We can do that with our votes; by exercising the First Amendment and one-on-one convincing friends, co-workers and neighbors of the truth of our cause. That must be a major part of our mission. It is mine.

TRENDING NOW
Reuniting The United States With Reciprocity

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Reuniting The United States With Reciprocity

Most concealed-carry permit holders understand the potential pitfalls of traveling with a firearm, given the outrageous patchwork of state laws involved in even a short interstate trip. And while we haven’t posted much about reciprocity ...

Washington Post Employs Deceptive Tactic on “Children” and Guns

News  

Friday, September 22, 2017

Washington Post Employs Deceptive Tactic on “Children” and Guns

The Washington Post has surpassed the Brady Campaign and Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety to take a place alongside the New York Times as the premier anti-gun propagandists in the country.

Gun Control Lobby Seeks to Thwart SHARE Act with Hysteria, Fear Mongering

News  

Hunting  

Friday, September 22, 2017

Gun Control Lobby Seeks to Thwart SHARE Act with Hysteria, Fear Mongering

The panic is now starting to set in amongst the gun control lobby, which is desperately searching for ways to smear a bill that has been around for years in various forms without attracting much ...

Wall Street Journal/NBC News Poll Throws Wrench in Anti-gun Agenda

News  

Friday, September 8, 2017

Wall Street Journal/NBC News Poll Throws Wrench in Anti-gun Agenda

Demonstrating the importance of the gun issue to the American electorate, 35 percent of respondents reported that “gun rights or gun control” had an impact on their voting behavior. The issue was the highest-rated answer, ...

Anti-Gun Politicians: Blocking Out The Facts About Suppressors

Hunting  

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Anti-Gun Politicians: Blocking Out The Facts About Suppressors

As soon as the Hearing Protection Act was put forward on Jan. 9, 2017, leftists came out of the woodwork to criticize and misconstrue the goals of those who supported removing suppressors from the auspices ...

National Reciprocity Bill Nears Goal Line in the House but Needs Your Support to Reach the End Zone

News  

Friday, September 15, 2017

National Reciprocity Bill Nears Goal Line in the House but Needs Your Support to Reach the End Zone

Gun owners received good news this week with the passage of the SHARE Act by the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources (see related story). Meanwhile, progress continued to be made on another NRA legislative ...

Bloomberg Spending Millions To Elect Anti-Gun Virginia Governor

News  

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Bloomberg Spending Millions To Elect Anti-Gun Virginia Governor

Billionaire anti-gunner Michael Bloomberg is at it again, pledging to spend $1 million through his gun control group Everytown for Gun Safety in an attempt to impact Virginia’s upcoming elections for governor and attorney general.

Rhode Island:  House Gives Final Approval to Gun Control Bill

Friday, September 22, 2017

Rhode Island: House Gives Final Approval to Gun Control Bill

House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello summoned lawmakers back to Providence in a rare September session, and the House passed an anti-gun bill Tuesday afternoon.  The session had abruptly ended in June with the budget and a ...

House Committee Passes SHARE Act by Wide Margin

Hunting  

News  

Friday, September 15, 2017

House Committee Passes SHARE Act by Wide Margin

As we have reported, this year’s version of the SHARE Act is the most expansive and far-reaching yet. Besides previously-introduced provisions aimed at enhancing opportunities for hunting, fishing, and shooting and broadening access to federal lands ...

UK: Growing Support for Arming More Police

News  

Friday, September 22, 2017

UK: Growing Support for Arming More Police

The UK’s fear of firearms, and potential weapons of all kinds, is well-documented. Subjects are urged not to carry any item, such as pepper spray, that might be adapted for self-defense. Officers take to social media to boast of ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -
NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.