Posted 06/16/2020 by FindArms

After Colorado, Civil Rights Lawyer Argues for More Access to Guns - And PIE

After Colorado, Civil Rights Lawyer Argues for More Access to Guns - And PIE

I represent ordinary people who suffer extraordinary hardship at the hands of the most powerful group in this society, the armed government. Labels follow me everywhere I go. People hear that I'm a Civil Rights attorney, and I see them flinch. They typically ask me if I'm a liberal, if I'm an atheist, if I'm with the ACLU, or if I hate cops. "No," I always say. But their faces show suspicion.

Anyway, when I heard that a 24 year old man barged into a movie theater in Colorado and started shooting innocent people with an assault rifle, I was shocked by the level of gun violence that this event highlighted. I also realized that discussion would soon turn away from that event and to the question: should we make it tougher for people to own guns. Here, I address that question, offering an opinion that I believe best respects the Civil Rights of every law abiding American citizen.

First, we should look at what the law says about our right to own guns. The Second Amendment states: "A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." That text doesn't exactly ring with clarity. For that, we have to turn to the observations of the United States Supreme Court. In our three-branched system of government, they are the last word on the Constitution.

Together two recent but very important cases, District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. City of Chicago interpret the Second Amendment and lead us to two points of clarity: the Constitution does not allow federal or state government to summarily ban guns from law abiding citizens; and the right to keep and bear arms is a fundamental right that is necessary to our "system of ordered liberty."

But the Supreme Court has also noted that the Second Amendment right to own a gun is limited. As the Court said, it's "not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose." The Court cautioned that their decisions shouldn't be interpreted in a way that would cast doubt on some old laws that already prohibit felons and the mentally ill from having guns. Nor should their decision be interpreted to question laws that forbid 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. And so as a matter of law, gun bans are unconstitutional. But limitations on gun ownership are here to stay.

After the Colorado theater shooting we now hear many asking the question, shouldn't we increase the limitations on gun ownership?

No. We should not make it harder for a law abiding citizen to get a gun. We should make it easier for law-abiding citizens to follow the law and have access to firearms, virtually any firearm. Gun ownership is a Civil Right, after all.

Look, face it. Guns in one form or another will exist as long as armed conflict with another human being is a possibility. The only practical, if not reasonable, solution and response to the Colorado shooter was a bullet, preferably between his eyes as he aimed his gun in the direction of the men, women, and children who died that day. There is simply no better response to an armed threat than properly deployed arms.

Getting rid of guns weakens our ability to defend ourselves from domestic and overseas threats. While unlikely, the possibility of armed conflict on American soil with an enemy country or faction isn't something we should take lightly - especially since 9/11.

Statistics do not show a correlation between tougher gun laws and fewer gun-related deaths. This is not even a serious point of debate anymore. As the McDonald Court noted, a complete ban on guns in Chicago failed to stem gun violence. In fact, the number of shootings went up.

The failure of gun bans also proves that the police are not by design good caretakers of our general safety. This is not a criticism. It's a simple fact that the police are grossly out-numbered by us, and when we don't get along with each other, they are often there when things are already painted with violence and really messed up.

Let's also avoid giving-in to the fantasy that police officers are flawless, brave heroes who, like Superman, arrive in the blink of an eye and and save us. Cops are people, just like you and me. They are mostly good. But there are a few bad ones. Trust me. I've met them in court. Let's not limit guns in favor of their care. In matters of safety, let's be self-reliant and responsible.

What happened in the Colorado theater shooting on July 20, 2012, was horrifying, despicable, and sad. Yet, it is foolish to suggest that America should reduce access to guns in honor of the victims. That's just not safe. Tighter gun restrictions create a weaker, more bureaucracy-bloated, vulnerable society. And no one wants that.

We want to be self-reliant and responsible. I think those shared desires have us all agreeing that there are some among us who should just not have guns. No serious discussion about this subject would permit gun access for the mentally ill. Nor do we want children buying handguns. No one wants a notoriously violent felon to arm himself days after finishing time in prison or getting off parole (happens in some states). No one wants terrorist organizations or those on terrorist watch lists to buy explosives or firearms (unbelievably, that's happened). And, for me, that's where the slippery slope of this discussion starts.

Where it ends is up to us today. Implementing restrictions on guns - like any governmental activity - is messy business. And any new laws written after or in memory of the Colorado theater shooting should be focused on cleaning up that mess. Let's have efficient, consistent, and sensible gun laws. Change in the law is needed to make things uniform, clear, and easy so that law-abiding citizens can own guns.

For these reasons, I suggest that the "reasonable gun control" debate is a waste of time. Both sides of that debate are guilty of putting unreasonable ideas out as reasonable ones. And I don't know anyone who likes arguing over what is reasonable. Besides, it detracts from the real goal that we all want to achieve, a safe America.

So I propose we take a new approach. Instead of arguing over what is "reasonable gun control," let's seek "precise identity exclusion" (PIE). We, the law abiding majority, must narrowly define, identify, and agree upon those threats to society who should be gun-less. Then with narrowly focused, efficient, consistent, sensible language, we should vote for gun laws that keep guns out of their hands, not ours.

PIE makes sense because it puts the focus on the right problem - the people who shouldn't have the guns. It stops the rhetoric about which guns should or should not be available. PIE fits with Supreme Court decisions and is the least restrictive way to make gun laws better. It trumps the call for gun-free zones, and it empowers law-abiding citizens with an essential self-defense tool. Let's not have the tragedy of a mass shooting scare us into senseless argument. Let's act out of a desire to find agreement and make things safe. Let's act with precision to target and address the unreasonable danger created by those who shouldn't have guns.

And here's the tough part. PIE cannot ensure our safety (that's impossible). If these threats or menaces to society cannot be precisely identified, then we must not waste time arguing over who they could or might be. We must proceed from present knowledge, not from fear.

I am a lawyer who works to protect and preserve your Civil Rights. The Second Amendment contains one of those rights. It stops government from eliminating our basic right to protect ourselves, our families, our home, our country. Protect that right with me. Make PIE the focus of gun control. Demand concise, uniform, efficient laws. By doing that, we honor the victims of the Colorado theater shooting and all mass shootings. We protect the Second Amendment. We protect each other. And we think before we fear.


Robert F. DiCello, a civil rights attorney in Cleveland, Ohio, writes a blog at Real Law Radio [].  MEDIA ONLY: Robert is available as a legal analyst. Send your request to: Attn: Robert F. DiCello, Esq..


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