The Individual Right to Bear Arms

Lively, T. & Taylor, D. (2007). Court strikes down D.C. ban on guns. Washington Times, 10 March 2007, http://washingtontimes.com/metro/20070309-102401-2730r.htm.

Order matters.

The Articles of the Constitution are in a logical order, with the center of government (the Congress) coming in Article I, the servant of the government (the Presidency) described in Article II, and the interpretor of the government (the Supreme Court) outlined in Article III. The remaining four original articles, IV, VI, VI, and VII, are essentially housekeeping, outlining how the union should function given the three branches previously described.

The Bill of Rights are outlined the same way. The critical rights of expression — starting with the preemption of a Church of the United States, prohibiting prohibitions on worship, and making its way to freedom of speech, press, assembly and petition — come at the beginning, while rules of how to read the Constitution (Amendments IX and X) come at the end.

The second-most important amendment of the Bill of Rights, which protects the right of the people to possess guns, reads as follows:

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.

And means that there is an individual-right to possess weapons. As the D.C. Court of Appeals ruled:

A federal appeals court yesterday struck down the District’s 30-year-old gun ban, ruling that the right to bear arms as guaranteed in the Second Amendment applies to individuals and not only to militias.

The Second Amendment would be an inexplicable aberration if it were not read to protect individual rights as well,” the 58-page ruling said.

Alan Gura, an attorney for the plaintiffs, called the ruling a “tremendous victory for the civil rights of all Americans.”

One of the upsides of this freedom – taken from Columbians by the local government and restored by the federal — is that crime will drop. The expected force difference between a 300 pound man and a 100 pound woman, say, is now negligible. Both can pull a trigger.

Thank you, D.C. Court of Appeals.

South Dakotan Honored by Mongolia

Gruchow, M. (2007). Bringing news to the people: Mongolia honors Sioux Falls man for founding TV station. Argus Leader, 10 March 2007, http://argusleader.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070310/NEWS01/703100324/1001/NEWS.

A South Dakotan has, in a fit of inattention, become a Mongolian media magnate:

[Craig] Lawrence, a founder of Sioux Falls-based marketing and advertising firm Lawrence and Schiller, helped start a television station called Eagle Television, based in Mongolia’s capital city of Ulaan Baatar. It was an unexpected offshoot of what started as a Christian missionary effort, he said.

Outside the government itself, we’re the largest employer in Mongolia,” Lawrence said of the television station. “And we’re the longest-lasting American partnership with Mongolia.”

The South Dakotans became involvedin Mongolia as part of Christian missionary work. What began with the Gospel, and involved armed soldiers and a scene worthy of a Hollywood film, is now a great story:

Originally, after the communist government fell in the early 1990s, Lawrence was approached by the founder of Campus Crusade for Christ, an organization Lawrence had worked for, to consider a missionary trip to Mongolia.

Not long after, 23 Sioux Falls businesspeople and others, including Lawrence, were in Mongolia, doing humanitarian projects including showing a movie on Jesus Christ, Lawrence said.

The film, in what had been an overwhelmingly Buddhist nation, caught the attention of men drafting the country’s new, democratic constitution.

“We showed the film, and one morning, there was a knock on my door, and when I opened it, there were two soldiers with guns. And they said, ‘You must come with us,’ ” Lawrence said.

The soldiers took Lawrence to meet with those drafting the constitution, which would incorporate articles ensuring religious freedom, he said.

“They asked, ‘Do you think this Jesus could help us write our constitution?’ ” Lawrence said. “So we got to help draft the constitutional elements that outlined their articles of religious freedom.”

The TV station soon followed. Today it broadcasts 16 hours of news daily throughout the country.

Lawrence has now won Mongolia’s Star of Liberty award, and has a long-term view of hope for the Mongolian people:

Lawrence, who years ago worked as editor of the Brookings Register newspaper and spent several years in television journalism, said one looming challenge is continuing the education of the next generation of Mongolian journalists.

Many of the current Eagle TV staff went through Russian journalism schools or were former employees of the state-controlled television station, he said.

It is a constant challenge to keep corruption out of the media, instill journalistic values and try to divorce the Mongolian people from the idea that media was meant only to control the minds of citizens, Lawrence said.

“It’s going to take a long time to build this,” he said. “It’s going to take generations.”

Besides doing good works for others, South Dakota has enjoyed the generosity of others, as well.