Barely is the ink dry on the Supreme Court decision District of Columbia v. Heller when Chicago is up in arms. Mayor Daley is declaring the decision “frightening” and vowing to fight to keep Chicago’s gun ban. Chicago liberals are going so far as to call for the repeal of the 2nd amendment. The 12 Angry Men chimed in on the decision and readers will note my opinion. But I wanted to specifically look at the State of Illinois and the individual right (as established by Justice Scalia) to “keep and bear arms”, specifically the “bear” part.

Illinois is a “no carry” state. Individuals in Illinois can own weapons but cannot carry them concealed. Given the law enforcement attitude, it is also right stupid to carry a weapon unconcealed — even though it is technically legal (but practically impossible). However, many law enforcement personnel throughout the state have a right to carry weapons. These are the class of public servants which Mayor Daley wants you to believe are endangered by DC v. Heller. For the recond, I list those who have a right to, and do carry in urban areas throughout Illinois.

Federal Personnel

  • Federal Bureau of Investigation Agents
  • Federal District Court Employees
  • Internal Revenue Service Agents
  • Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) Agents
  • Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) Agents
  • US Federal Marshals
  • US Air Marshal Service Agents
  • US Special Investigators
  • Transportation Security Agency (TSA) Agents
  • US Secret Service Agents
  • Federal Prison Guards
  • US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Agents
  • US Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector General Agents
  • US Postal Inspector Service Agents

State of Illinois Personnel

  • City Police
  • County Sheriffs and Deputy Sheriffs
  • University Police
  • Community College Police
  • Township & County SWAT
  • Illinois State Police
  • Secretary of State Police
  • Illinois Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement (Conservation Police)
  • Illinois Bureau of Revenue Agents
  • Illinois National Guard Members (on duty)
  • Illinois Department of Corrections Agents
  • Illinois Attorney General’s Police
  • Illinois Department of Trasportation Police
  • Capitol Police

In fact, it is virtually impossible to obtain a complete list of all of the agencies, both at the Federal and State level, who authorize their agents to carry weapons. I have read that this group constitutes almost 25% of the population of the Unites States. I doubt this, but as the list shows, it it a far from insignificant number. With all these law enforcement agencies, is there any chance of abuse of power? Naw!

If gun control advocates want to repeal the 2nd amendment and remove all the guns, then at least afterwards, the law enforcement people should emulate the Bobbies of England and go about their business un-armed.

The Supreme Court of the United States just struck down the Washington D.C.’s ban on handguns arguing that it was unconstitional. But were they right, or has the SCOTUS dropped down on it’s knees before the almightly NRA? Or are they defending freedom and justice worldwide in a fashion worthy of Superman? The full text of their opinion can be found here. The 12 Angry Men discuss…

Angry New Mexican
The District of Columbia v. Heller ruling shipped with it’s own set of knee-pads for the SCOTUS. And a tube of astroglide. And a sawhorse. Because at the end of the day, the ruling was nothing so much as a sell-out to the NRA. Now, granted, the SCOTUS didn’t go out and endorse the public ownership of crew-served weaponry, but barring that minor oversight, the Opinion of the Court, as penned by Justic Anton “Kill ’em all” Scalia, was the largest victory in court for the NRA in decades. Let me explain.

The first holding of the court was another wonderful example of conservative judicial activism. The court held that the Second Ammendment grants “an individual right to posess a firearm unconnected to service in a militia.” While that opinion has been widely held by many Americans and has been the de facto policy of the land in many states, it’s really not what the Second Ammendment says, given that it allows for the right to bear arms explicitly due to the need of a militia. Justice Stevens notes as much in his dissent.

Second, the court overturned the District’s requirement for trigger locks. Nevermind the fact that trigger locks save lives each and every year — by making guns less likely to be accidentally fired — the iron will of the NRA will broker no exceptions. The Court’s assertion that trigger locks makes it “impossible for citizens to use arms for the core lawful purpose of self-defense” is laughable. Justice Breyer’s dissent points out the absurdity of the majority’s reading of the DC statute which lead to this holding.

Finally, the court struck down the ban on handguns because the law “amounts to a prohibition on an entire class of `arms’ that Americans overwhelmingly choose for the lawful purpose of self-defense.” The holding there is a bit disturbing since the identical logic could be used against say, an assault weapons ban, should assault weapons become more popular among Americans (no doubt the NRA already has this idea in mind). The idea that if a sizable minority of American’s use gun X nobody can ban it, is another blow to federalism, as it potentially allows (a minority of) states with liberal gun laws to override the laws of those who have stricter laws.

For all these reasons, and the others that Justices Stevens and Breyer enumerate, this was a bad decision. But I’m sure Justice Scalia will have a nice hunting vacation sometime this fall.

Angry Overeducated Catholic
Well, you are of course, free to make up meanings for words whenever you wish, but for those who care about the accepted meanings of words, here’s what the actual Second Amendment actually says:

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.

Let’s leave aside arguments over the meaning of Militia in the 17th and 18th centuries, and just point out that the structure is: “For this reason, this right shall not be infringed.” Whatever the reason is, it cannot override or destroy the right that follows. It may inform our understanding of limits to it, but not so far as to be a weapon to destroy the natural right being enumerated. And that right is clear: the right of the people to keep and bear Arms.

The Constitution can enumerate rights of states, and if the writers had intended the revisionist meaning ANM proposes, they certainly could have said “the right of the states…” But their intent was never to simply support the states over the Federal government, but to state clearly that basic rights of humanity include the right to the means of defense, survival, and—if need be—rebellion against tyranny. Let’s not forget that these were radicals, folks—radicals who had just overthrown their King and “lawful” government not 20 years ago.

And the notion of “conservative judicial activism” is laughable here. Originally, of course, pesky things like the Bill of Rights did not apply to the states or localities. Established churches, draconian gun regulations, trampling civil rights—all fine at the state level, originally. “Activism” is particularly funny here, because the champion of Incorporation (incorporating the Bill of Rights into the Fourteenth Amendment which does explicitly apply to the states) was, of course, a strict constructionist. Indeed, he was in many ways similar to Scalia in his belief that we should actually follow the document we have and not the “living document” we’d like to have.

So, perhaps rather than shilling for the NRA, Scalia is simply being faithful to that icon of Incorporation, Hugo Black!

Hola amigos! Angry New Mexican here to talk a bit about the Land of Enchantment, and our neighbors. You see, New Mexico, the land of chile (red or green) and piñon, is a unique place. Granted, we have our problems, like crappy schools, the proliferation of pueblo casinos, and the influx of hippies in Taos and Santa Fe who drive up prices for the honest Joses like me, but overall New Mexico is a great place… except for the neighbors. Que? Let me explain.

First we have Arizona, which is like the dirty old man next door who spends his time staring sketchily out the window and muttering to himself. Like any good little kids, we just avoid him. Arizona is populated almost exclusively by retired Anglos who somehow thought that Phoenix would be paradise. And they’ve diverted enough water from the Colorado River to make their very own garden of Eden in the desert. What about Nuevo Mexico, you might say? Isn’t it a desert too? Si, compadres, but the high desert of New Mexico can actually grow things, like green chile (the non-Anglos in the audience are nodding their heads in agreement, I can tell), while plants would naturally waste away in the fiery hell-hole which is Phoenix. Besides having poor taste in places to settle, the geriatric Arizonans have a tendency to elect politicians who compulsively avoid Latinos who aren’t busy landscaping their freakishly lush yards. Barring the honorable Senior McCain, who (oddly among Arizona politicians) sees Latinos as human beings, many politicians in Arizona are fighting Don Quixote-esque battles against the illegal immigrant boogyman (he’ll deal drugs to your children and seduce your wife; the horror!). Folks like Russell Pearce and JD Hayworth seem to think that nothing screams “America” like oppressing Latinos (evidently it now surpasses both mom and apple pie). With my muchachos y muchachas in mind, I won’t say exactly what I think of these individuals, but rest assured, when they’re hitting up the geritol we’ll still be alive and voting, thank you very much.

Now we have Colorado, who I’d liken to the nice family next door who has a penchant for lavish ski vacations. Lucky for us we’re almost always invited along. Skiing in New Mexico is alright, but it’s worth the drive to Copper, Vail or Snowbird to get the real deal. I only wish that the Coloradans would stop diverting so much water from the Rio Grande (you see, the neighbor is a heavy drinker), which is decidedly not grande, if you know what I mean. Gazing at that sickly little stream which runs through the Land of Enchantment, I wonder, what did it once look like which earned it the name Rio Grande? Perhaps one day we might again know, but Colorado needs to lay off the water for us to find out.

And now we have Texas. Texas is like the neighbor who’s always sitting on his porch, cleaning his gun, minding everyone else’s business. By virtue of having the biggest house on the block, he’s cocky, obnoxious and self-righteous. If there’s a neighbor we’d want our neighborhood association to kick out, it’d be Texas. But thankfully, no matter how much he’s always talking about his gun, he’s not really good at using it. Perhaps he needs more gun control…

Exhibit #1 is the Battle of the Alamo, where the bravest Texans (and their heroic allies) needlessly wasted their lives to accomplish absolutely nothing. I’m sure that Santa Anna was laughing his head off when he found out just who his troops killed there. Heck, the swollen rivers slowed Santa Anna down more than the fools at the Alamo.

Exhibit #2: In addition to being a state full of traitors, they had the cajones to attempt to invade New Mexico. After marching through Los Cruces and bypassing Fort Craig (leaving an American army blocking the traitors’ supply lines), confederate forces took the (almost abandoned) Duke City and pushed up the Santa Fe Trail towards Fort Union. Confronted by American forces under the command of Col. Slough (1st Colorado Volunteers) the confederates fought a pitched battle in Glorietta Pass. Meanwhile, Maj. Chivington (1st Colorado) and New Mexico’s own Lt. Chaves ambushed and captured the entire confederate supply train. Without supplies and cut off from Texas by Maj. Canby (Commander, Dept. of New Mexico) at Fort Craig, the Texans beat a hasty retreat back to their home stomping grounds. The Texans would never again threaten New Mexico.

Well, that’s the neighborhood here in the Southwest… a dirty old man, the nice family next door with a bit of a drinking problem and the gun nut who can’t shoot straight. It’s a wacky place to live, but where else can I get Sopaipillas like this, hombre? It’s home and nobody’s going to take the Land of Enchantment from me. Except maybe the aliens if they show up at Roswell again…

The news media has been running a number of ignorant articles about a recent FOID which was issued to a 10 month old baby, nicknamed “Bubba” by his parents. Most of the articles that have been published on the matter display ignorance of what exactly a FOID is, and consequentially, what really happened here. Hopefully (but doubtfully) most readers will look into the facts before drawing the false conclusions that members of the popular press have come to in a display of typical shoddy journalism. In order to help inform the public of the truth, I’m going to clear up some of the most common lies being spread by the media.

Myth #1, A FOID is a gun permit: A FOID is not a gun permit. It alone does not permit someone to own a firearm, nor does possession of a FOID necessarily indicate firearm ownership. While some states may flaunt the Constitution by maintaining a list of all gun owners, and which guns they own, Illinois does not (making such a list creates a situation ripe for abuse by the government, should they turn oppressive; remember that an oppressive government is exactly what the founding fathers had just dealt with when they designed the Constitution). A FOID is required by most firing ranges, whether or not a gun is owned, and is required for the possession of museum pieces (such as muzzle loaders and black powder rifles). Additionally, further requirements, such as age limits, exist, meaning that a FOID alone does not entitle one to own a gun. The FOID serves one purpose, to allow the state to identify individuals in violation of Section 24-3.1 of the Criminal Code of 1961.

Myth #2, “Bubba” now owns a gun, thanks to his FOID: Actually he doesn’t. Illinois law prohibits underaged individuals from owning firearms. They may operate them under parental supervision, provided both are in possession of FOIDs, and provided the firearm is not a handgun (handguns may not be operated by anyone under the age of 18). One imagines the true status of “his” gun is that his father or grandfather is currently keeping it for him until he becomes old enough.

Myth #3, Illinois has lax gun laws: Illinois recieved an A- for gun laws from the Brady Campaign, a pretty darn good rating from an anti-gun lobby group. Not a single state scored higher, and 43 scored lower. Illinois is one of the few states which manages to both honor the constitution and support some level of gun control. This isn’t lax at all, it is the perfect marriage of gun rights and gun control.

Myth #4, This shows how stupid US gun laws are: This one is via the Mirror, a UK web based newspaper. I decided to address it directly as it draws a particular amount of my ire. I will admit that it is natural for the UK to dislike firearms. Afterall, the reason we allow access is because they helped us free ourselves from oppressive British rule. Anyone who dislikes the idea of controlled areas gaining freedom and human dignity must oppose firearms. In the USA, we respect and honor freedom, and don’t deign to treat people like criminals before they have given us reason. As such we allow them to own weapons for numerous reasons. Constitutionally we allow them to own weapons to enable them to fight a possibly oppressive government, and more realistically we allow them to own weapons for hunting, keeping their livestock and families safe from dangerous animals, and defense if they feel the need.

I hope I’ve cleared up some of the lies the popular media is spreading. I really should be amazed that shoddy journalism is now the norm, but sadly I’m not. This sort of “reward” is what we get for allowing the media to pander to us with infotainment and shock journalism.

-Angry Midwesterner

The Angry Men are once again pleased to welcome a new voice of anger to the fold. In keeping with our belief in the healing power of anger, we present the Angry Virginian in his own words, writing about his recent epiphany:

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Once upon a time, I didn’t understand conservatives at all. I mean, what is it that they have against poor people? Why do they like violence so much? Why don’t they care about the future of our planet? They just seemed like a bunch of greedy and hypocritical old men to me.

Then, a funny thing happened that turned my view of conservatives on its head. It wasn’t George Bush’s election – He seemed like a harmless nitwit, and by himself, he didn’t do much to change my view on anything. It wasn’t even the September 11 attacks, as I’m the sort of person who believes that whatever was a good (or bad) idea on September 10 was still just as good (or bad) an idea on September 12. However, the United States’ response to the September 11 attacks, which has been inefficient at best and utterly terrifying at worst, dramatically changed the way I view politics, government, and international affairs.

First and foremost, I learned why so many conservatives don’t like big government. When you realize for the first time that your tax dollars are being spent on things that are stupid and unethical… well, you get mad. You get frustrated. You realize that when the government does something wrong, it does it on such a vast scale and with so much momentum that there is little (if anything) the private sector could do to counteract it. Previous presidents might have been sleazy or inconsistent, but they didn’t waste too much of my country’s time and money doing it. George W. Bush taught me just how wrong the government could go, and he made me wonder if maybe government is inherently bad after all. It’s a possibility that I hadn’t considered – Thank you, George, for pointing that out.

Speaking of evils that I hadn’t believed in before, how about some more government surveillance? I participated in a protest so that I could speak out against the invasion of Iraq – Does that mean I’m on a government watch list now? I mean, I have nothing to hide, but that shouldn’t mean squat. The idea that expressing one’s political views and participating in public debate could be punished by the United States Government is deeply and truly disturbing. All of those gun-toting libertarians who have been fretting about Big Brother don’t seem so paranoid any more.

There’s another area where Bush has made me more conservative. For many years, liberals (myself included) have favored increased federal power, as the states dragged their feet in providing many Americans with fair treatment and essential liberties. However, as the federal government now seems to be more in the business of discrimination and restricting rights than many of the states are, my attitude is shifting. As long as certain powers are reserved to the states (hey, it’s that Bill of Rights again!), then I will always have the option to leave my embarrassingly-red home state for somewhere more civilized and yet stay in the United States.

To sum it all up:

  • If my taxes are funding a pointless war, then I want my taxes to be cut.
  • If law enforcement is being directed to go after pacifist old-ladies, then maybe I really do to hide from the government and buy a gun.
  • If the federal government is going to be so stupid, then maybe some power needs to be given back to the states.

Living under the Bush administration has taught me that these conservative ideas make a lot more sense than I thought.