The Right to Keep and Bear Arms
On June 26th the Supreme Court upheld the personal right to keep and bear arms. In much of the West, this ruling will have little effect, because that right is already reflected in local laws.
…while many say the decision paves the way for further state decisions freeing up a person’s ability to own and carry firearms, Colorado laws and local statutes will be untouched, according to local law enforcement officials.
Municipal ordinance in the city of Aspen bars shooting firearms within city limits (the same code also bans throwing stones, hucking snowballs and shooting missiles), according to Aspen Police Chief Richard Pryor.
Thursday’s ruling simply supports laws already on the books in Colorado, Pryor said.
On balance this ruling is good news for Western Democrats, who have had to remind their Democratic colleagues that Cheyenne and Chicago have different views on gun control.
None of this should dismiss very real concerns that remain about guns and crime, but whatever laws are enacted must recognize the Second Amendment of the Constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court. I am hopeful that with gun rights advocates reassured by the Supreme Court this country can move forward on laws that will reduce gun violence while upholding the Second Amendment. I believe it can be done. I lived in Switzerland for almost two years, and it was a very educational experience. The Swiss are well armed. It was not uncommon to see Swiss carrying military weapons on trains due to their system of universal military service. At the same time Switzerland is a country with a very low crime rate even in urban areas.
Your Personal Note:
so what do the Swiss do to reduce gun violence?
I've long thought that one way to reduce violence is to increase household stability. Much of the violence we see happens in domestic situations. Do the Swiss have a different, more direct take on guns?
Posted by: dminDgo | Jul 5, 2008 9:42:52 AM
The Swiss model is a good one for Switzerland (my wife's Swiss family agrees with me on this) for several reasons but is unlikely to work in the Same Way for the United States based on the beliefs that Switzerland's system is predicated on.
1) Switzerland has believed, (and rightly so) that due to it's small size it would be over run quickly in a force on force war. As such , it's military reserve forces, (all men & many women to age 32), would have to fight their way to their assembly point.
2) From Age 19-20 all military age men (& women) by law MUST keep their select fire fully automatic Swiss 7.5 mm battle rifle at home, with 400 rounds of ammunition, locked up, and all their field gear. Again this is by law and few feel discriminated against that I can tell. Mandatory rifle marksmanship qualification is required annually. The Swiss Government produces and expends 75 million rounds EACH year in this mandatory rifle marksmanship qualification. Switzerland hasn't been invaded since Napoleon.
3) Only Police and military officers are allowed handguns, again, ammunition locked up, and marksmanship qualification requires each and every round accounted for at the pistol range.
4) Gun violence is low, and the the majority number of murder's with at home military rifles is wives on husbands.
5) Hunting and competitive pistol shooting is allowed but has an extremely bureaucratic and long legal process as in Germany.
6) Up until recently, the Swiss took strategic defense extremely seriously. Since WW II They have prepared and practiced putting their whole population underground in well engineered and stocked bunkers. This may come in handy as the nuclear club expands in future decades. Their Bunkers like most things Swiss, are well designed, well thought out, well engineered, and in a phrase, they work.
7) though largely three language groups exist, German,Italian,French, in Switzerland, it is largely a homogenous white European population of 7,169,000. 1/2 the population of the San Francisco Bay area, or say, just a bit larger than the population of Wisconsin. Hardworking and a very prosperous people by any measure, they have very small minority groups, and low ethnic group crime.
This system has worked well for Switzerland but unlikely to be enacted in the U.S. for several basic Constitutional as well Politically expediant reasons for Western or other U.S. Democrats.
It works mainly because it is predicated on:
A) Mandatory Military service and reserve status to age 32.
B) Tight borders with extremely restrictive immigration law (by European Standardes)
Thus All youth serve 2 years active duty after high school, then are in the reserves until 32 and can be called up in national emergency to age 60.
Posted by: Econ_Scott | Jul 10, 2008 11:59:01 AM
The Swiss are well armed. It was not uncommon to see Swiss carrying military weapons on trains due to their system of universal military service. At the same time Switzerland is a country with a very low crime rate even in urban areas.
Posted by: Vigilante | Jul 27, 2008 3:43:25 PM
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(and yes, we know that sometimes they're very, very wrong. Other times, they're right on.)