Wednesday, July 09, 2008

2nd Amendment Empowers Women

Kitchen table issues like jobs, health care, gas and food prices are on voters' minds this year, but after the Supreme Court decision overturning the DC handgun ban, the 2nd amendment is on the table as well. This hits home for me as my suburb in Chicago instituted a handgun ban some years ago, along with the City of Chicago, similar to DC's. My town has suspended the law and I welcome the change. Why? The handgun ban was a welcome mat to criminals seeking an easy target for robbery. Our community will be safer now that they can't be sure what awaits them when they break into someone's home.

And yes, someone's home in my town was broken into, and a father who protected himself and his children ran afoul of the law. That's one reason I am glad the ban was overturned.

Consider as well that the 2nd amendment comes second only to the 1st amendment in the Bill of Rights--individual free speech and self-defense go hand in hand. This spring in the Chicago suburbs we were all witness to murder. Chicago Tribune, "The Law Didn't Save Her":
The March 7 slaying-suicide and the wrenching ordeal that led to it illustrate the harsh realities of domestic violence and the limitations of the system designed to address it.

A woman’s risk of being seriously injured or killed by an intimate partner increases when she breaks off the relationship. In certain cases, a protective court order is not enough and the only viable option is for a woman to either enter a shelter or relocate, experts say.
The Tribune later editorialized for repeal (a kind of let them eat shotguns approach), but the Second Amendment Sisters want to be able to defend themselves. Then there are the honor killings, overseas and now here.

UW Madison Law School Professor Ann Althouse on the decision, noting that the conservative justice Antonin Scalia was sensitive to the arguments made by women legislators and academics to uphold their women's rights. Althouse excerpts their brief:
The District would like to restrict women's choice of firearm to those it gauges most appropriate rather than to allow rational women the ability to decide whether a handgun is more suited to their needs. Petitioner's Brief cites two articles from firearms magazines in which a shotgun is mentioned as appropriate for home defense. Pet. Br. at 54-55. An assembled shotgun is certainly better than nothing and could provide deterrence benefits provided it is accessible to a woman. However, most women are best served by a handgun, lighter in weight, lighter in recoil, far less unwieldy for women with shorter arm spans, and far more easily carried around the home than a shotgun or rifle. Moreover, women who are holding a handgun are able to phone for assistance, while any type of long gun requires two hands to keep the firearm pointed at an assailant...
Allison Kasic, Independent Women's Forum notes that gun bans do not reduce violent crime, in fact the reverse is true, in DC and elsewhere. Kasic also counts the benefit to the community, with the story of a brave grannie who stopped a serial rapist in his tracks.

The 2nd amendment also protected blacks from lynch mobs--some gun control measures were put in effect to keep them from defending themselves. That's un-American, and now the Supreme Court has confirmed it. The decision empowers the vulnerable, and women are among those who benefit the most.

P.S. Then again, some ladies just love their guns. After all, they might run into an Earl kind of guy.

UPDATE: John Stossel reminds us:

The Framers of the Second Amendment did not say, "The people shall have the right to keep and bear arms." They wrote, "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

--crossposted at BlogHer

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