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Gun Ownership Becoming a Capital Idea

Will Donald Trump win the 2024 election?

(Released May 2007)

For years, Shelly Parker faced intimidation and harassment from the drug dealers and gang-bangers who roamed her neighborhood. Already frustrated because the police never did enough to make her feel truly safe, she was further dismayed by the fact that she could not own a gun to protect herself.

Parker is a resident of Washington, D.C., where gun ownership has been a crime.

Unwilling to just give up, Parker’s tenacity resulted in action that may mean Washingtonians can exercise their constitutional right to own a gun for the first time in over 30 years.

In 2003, Parker and five other D.C. residents filed suit for the right to defend themselves by having serviceable guns in their homes. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled in their favor in March, saying that “the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms.” Unsuprisingly, the city’s attorneys are appealing the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, where a final ruling in Parker v. District of Columbia could have profound national implications on statist government regulations that degrade citizens’ Second Amendment rights.

Since 1976, the ownership of almost all firearms has been illegal in America’s capital city. The first offense for handgun possession is a misdemeanor charge carrying a penalty of imprisonment for up to one year and a $1,000 fine. A second offense is a felony that could lead to up to five years in jail and a $5,000 fine. Trapped between the street thugs and a government opposed to individual rights, Parker was essentially in a no-win situation: illegally own a gun and face possible prosecution or risk being a victim.

Even before they were completely banned, the District of Columbia’s open hostility toward the Second Amendment was evident. For example, registered handguns prior to 1976 were not allowed to be carried from one room to another within the same home unless the gun owner had a license for each room. Shotguns or rifles had to be unloaded and either unassembled or trigger-locked.

But the situation was simple to Parker’s lawyers: Alan Gura, Clark Neily III and Robert Levy of the libertarian Cato Institute. Levy noted: “Killers who are not deterred by laws against murder are not going to be deterred by laws against guns. Anti-gun regulations don’t address the deep-rooted causes of violent crime – such as illegitimacy, unemployment, dysfunctional schools and drug and alcohol abuse. The cures are complex and protracted. But that doesn’t mean we have to become passive prey for criminal predators. Americans who want to defend themselves by possessing suitable firearms should be able to do so.”

Besides violating the Second Amendment, D.C.’s gun ban is a violation of the fundamental rationale of law. In The Law, noted political theorist Frederic Bastiat wrote: “It is evident, then, that the proper purpose of law is to use the power of its collective force to stop this fatal tendency to plunder instead of to work. All the measures of the law should protect property and punish plunder.” D.C. promotes the opposite, effectively protecting the plunderer and punishing the property owner.

Looters, for example, know it’s easier to steal another man’s property than to earn their own. When government can’t perform a basic function like protection, it’s naturally up to the citizens to defend their property. The duty becomes harder when the property owner is hobbled by things like Washington’s ban on gun ownership.

Research shows that law-abiding citizens using firearms for protection can save lives and deter crimes. In Armed: New Perspectives on Gun Control, co-authors Gary Kleck and Don Kates note that “as many as 2.5 million victims use guns to defend against crime each year” and “handguns are actually used by victims to repel crime far more often than they are by criminals in committing crimes – as much as three times more.”

Besides the court’s ruling that D.C.’s gun ban is unconstitutional, it’s also immoral to deny law-abiding citizens the right to legally possess a firearm – especially within crime-infested neighborhoods. The government should understand what the criminal knows: unarmed citizens are easy prey.

Consider the recent deaths at Virginia Tech. What if one of the victims had a gun of their own on their person? Although Virginia allows approved and registered citizens to carry concealed firearms, the school itself will not allow it on campus.

It was the intent of our Founding Fathers to liberate us from statist governments and monarchies. The verdict to end the District’s gun ban is a refreshing first step towards such liberation and restoring power to the people in a dangerous world.

Deneen Borelli

Deneen Borelli is the author of Blacklash: How Obama and the Left are Driving Americans to the Government Plantation. Deneen is a contributor with Newsmax Broadcasting. She is a former Fox News contributor and has appeared regularly on “Hannity,” “Fox & Friends,” “Your World with Neil Cavuto,” and “America’s Newsroom.” She has also appeared on Fox Business Network programs “Making Money with Charles Payne,” “The Evening Edit with Liz MacDonald,” and “Cavuto: Coast to Coast.” Previously, Deneen appeared on MSNBC, CNN, the BBC and C-SPAN. In addition to television, Deneen co-hosted radio programs on the SiriusXM Patriot channel with her husband Tom. Recently, Deneen co-hosted the Reigniting Liberty podcast with Tom. Deneen is a frequent speaker at political events, including the FreedomWorks 9.12.2009 March on D.C. which drew a crowd estimated at over 800,000 people. Deneen is also an Ambassador with CloutHub.com, a social media platform that promotes free speech, and with the America First Policy Institute (AFPI) which advances policies that put Americans first. Deneen testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources in May 2011 and before the Ohio House Public Utilities Committee in December 2011. Previously, Deneen was a BlazeTV.com host, Outreach Director with FreedomWorks.org overseeing its Empower.org outreach program, a Project 21 Senior Fellow, and Manager of Media Relations with the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). Prior to joining CORE, Deneen worked at Philip Morris USA for 20 years. During her corporate career at Philip Morris she worked in various positions, her last as Project Management Coordinator in the Information Management department where she was responsible for the department’s mandated quality processes, communications, sales information and database management. Deneen began her Philip Morris career as a secretary and advanced to positions of increasing responsibilities. Deneen worked full-time and attended classes at night for 11 years to earn her B.A. in Managerial Marketing from Pace University, New York City. Deneen served on the Board of Trustees with The Opportunity Charter School in Harlem, New York. She appeared in educational videos for children, worked as a runway fashion model, and auditioned for television commercials. Her interests include ancient history, pistol target shooting, photography, and volunteering at her church. Deneen currently resides in Connecticut with her husband Tom.

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