Monday, February 23, 2004

The self-protection sham - Reply to Trib Letter 2/22/04

Here is my reply to a letter in today's Salt Lake Trib. I seriously doubt my letter will be published. The original letter follows my reply:

Reply to: The self-protection sham

After reading Raymond Hollstein's absurd rant (The self-protection sham 2/22/04) I find myself compelled to address a few of his false statements.
First of all, self-defense uses of a firearm are generally not reported to the media OR to police departments unless someone is injured. Secondly, this past year alone, an airline employee with a concealed carry permit shot an armed terrorist in the Salt Lake City airport. In another incident, a Utah citizen stopped a bank robbery in Salt Lake City. Both of these items were reported by our local media.
John Lott's book, "More Guns, Less Crime" provides substantial documented evidence and empirical data showing that where concealed carry is implemented, violent crime drops. There are a number of cities that have banned personal carry of firearms for protection. Among them, Chicago, New York City, and Washington, DC. I challenge Mr. Hollstein to compare the violent crime rates in this cities with Salt Lake City or any other city that acknowledges a citizens right to carry concealed weapons. What I find most disturbing is Mr. Hollstein's desire to deprive law abiding citizens of their right to self-defense.
The Second Amendment protects an individual right that existed before the creation of any government. The Declaration of Independence made clear that all human beings are endowed with certain unalienable rights, and that governments are created to protect those rights.
The language of the Second Amendment prohibits the federal government from “infringing” on this right of the people. There is nothing ambiguous about “shall not be infringed.” (See Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary, 2d ed.1983, p. 941.) The language of the Second Amendment is about as clear as the First Amendment’s prohibiting Congress from infringing the right to freedom of speech, press, and religious expression. There is no logical reason to read the Second Amendment as a weak statement, while treating the First Amendment as a strong protector of rights.
Hollstein erroneously claims, "The federal courts have been steadfast in their interpretation of the right to bear arms -- the 'collective right' of a militia over the 'individual right' espoused by the gun lobby." This is pure fantasy. Even under the U.S. v. Miller case, the Second Amendment protects the individual right to keep and bear military firearms. The federal courts deceptively and misleadingly employed the Miller decision to deny the individual right to keep and bear arms in Barnett: Lower Court Interpretations of United States v. Miller and the Second Amendment, 26 Cumberland Law Review 961-1004 (1996). In addition, a federal judge recently struck down a federal “gun control” statute as unconstitutional in United States v. Emerson, 46 F. Supp. 2d 598 (N.D. Tex. 1999). District Judge Cummings extensively reviewed the law and historical foundations of the Second Amendment to conclude that the right to keep and bear arms protected by the Second Amendment is an individual right. The Emerson decision remains pending an appeal in the Fifth Circuit as of this date.

People like Raymond Hollstein, who spread lies and deceit to further the political agenda of the gun grabbers are far more of a threat to Utah than CCW holders. Perhaps someday people who desire a "gun free" environment will have the moxie - you know, the wit and intelligence - to move to Washington, DC, New York City, or Chicago and leave the west for those who wish to engage in personal responsibility. I ain't gonna hold my breath. Until then, Mr. Hollstein and others should familiarize themselves with the facts at and

Fran Tully
Sandy, Utah
State Chair
Libertarian Party of Utah

The self-protection sham

No legitimate or credible reason exists for a civilian to go about armed in Utah. The tired and lame reasoning that carrying legally concealed weapons is a deterrent to crime, or that it is needed for self-defense, just doesn't hold up.
Since the right-to-carry bill was passed in Utah, not a single incident of a concealed weapon holder in Utah using a weapon to protect himself or herself has been reported in the media. So much for the sham of "self-protection."
Concealed weapon permit holders would like us to believe carrying a weapon is responsible for a decrease in crime. Not so. Crime rates have been dropping in all states over the past several years, including states which do not have a concealed-weapons law.
And finally, the Second Amendment does not give a person unfettered "rights" to carry a weapon. Laws have restrictions and boundaries. The federal courts have been steadfast in their interpretation of the right to bear arms -- the "collective right" of a militia over the "individual right" espoused by the gun lobby. Our own Utah Supreme Court upheld the collective interpretation in 1982 (State v. Vlacil).
It's unfortunate the gun lobby's hardheaded and obdurate position over the concealed weapon issue prevents any real dialogue toward resolving it. Perhaps someday the voters in Utah will send to Capitol Hill legislators who have the moxie -- you know, people with wit and intelligence -- who can bring an equitable solution to this vexing issue.
I ain't gonna hold my breath.

Raymond Hollstein
Salt Lake City

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