July 19th, 2006 10:26 PM
CATO Institute: Policy Research
When reviewing the "Raid Map" thread, I poked around the Cato Institute site and found this:
It's an interesting read, and I've posted it below. A long read, but worth it! The Institute has a lot of other interesting areas on their site too.
Reprinted, without Permission:
POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE 108TH CONGRESS
Chapter 18. Restoring the Right to Bear Arms
● use its constitutional authority over the District of Columbia to overturn D.C.’s handgun ban and enact a ‘‘shall issue’’ concealed carry licensing statute,
● repeal the Gun Control Act of 1968, and
● enact legislation that would authorize airlines to arm pilots who volunteer and complete appropriate training.
For decades, the Second Amendment was consigned to constitutional exile, all but erased from constitutional law textbooks and effectively banished from the nation’s courts. But no more. Recent developments in the law and in political culture have begun the process of returning the amendment to its proper place in our constitutional pantheon. The 108th Congress now has a historic opportunity, not simply to stave off new guncontrol proposals, but to begin restoring Americans’ right to keep and bear arms.
Emergence from Exile
Ideas have consequences, and so does constitutional text. Though elite opinion reduced the Second Amendment to a constitutional inkblot for a good part of the 20th century, gun enthusiasts and grassroots activists continued to insist that the amendment meant what it said. And slowly, often reluctantly, legal scholars began to realize that the activists were right. Liberal law professor Sanford Levinson conceded as much in a 1989 Yale Law Review article titled ‘‘The Embarrassing Second Amendment.’’
UCLA Law School’s Eugene Volokh took a similar intellectual journey. After a 1990 argument with a nonlawyer acquaintance who loudly maintained that the Second Amendment protected an individual right, Volokh concluded that his opponent was a ‘‘blowhard and even a bit of a kook.’’
But several years later, as he researched the subject, he discovered to his ‘‘surprise and mild chagrin, that this supposed kook was entirely right’’: the amendment secures the individual’s right to keep and bear arms.
That’s also what the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals concluded in October 2001 when it decided United States v. Emerson. It held that the Constitution ‘‘protects the right of individuals, including those not then actually a member of any militia . . . to privately possess and bear their own firearms. . . that are suitable as personal individual weapons.’’
U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft has endorsed the Emerson court’s reading of the amendment. First, in a letter to the National Rifle Association, Ashcroft stated his belief that ‘‘the text and the original intent of the Second Amendment clearly protect the right of individuals to keep and bear firearms.’’ That letter was followed by Justice Department briefs before the Supreme Court in the Emerson case and in United States v. Haney. For the first time, the federal government argued in formal court papers that the ‘‘Second Amendment . . . protects the rights of individuals, including persons who are not members of any militia . . . to possess and bear their own firearms, subject to reasonable restrictions designed to prevent possession by unfit persons or . . . firearms that are particularly suited to criminal misuse.’’
The Right of the People
What’s driving the new consensus? Let’s look at the amendment’s text: ‘‘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.’’
The operative clause (‘‘the right of the people to keep and bear Arms,
shall not be infringed’’) secures the right. The explanatory clause (‘‘A
well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State’’)
justifies the right. That syntax was not unusual for the times. For example, Article I, section 8, of the Constitution gives Congress the power to grant copyrights in order to ‘‘Promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts.’’ Yet copyrights are also granted to Hustler, to racist publications, even to literature that expressly seeks to retard science and the arts. The proper understanding of the copyright provision is that promoting science and the arts is one justification—but not the only justification—for the copyright
power. Analogously, the militia clause helps explain why we have a right to bear arms, but it’s not necessary to the exercise of that right.
As GeorgeMason University law professor Nelson Lund puts it, magine if the Second Amendment said, ‘‘A well-educated Electorate, being necessary to self-governance in a free state, the right of the people to keep and read Books shall not be infringed.’’ Surely, no rational person would suggest that only registered voters have a right to read. Yet that is precisely the effect if the text is interpreted to apply only to a well-educated electorate.
Analogously, the Second Amendment cannot be read to apply only to
members of the militia. The Second Amendment, like the First and the Fourth, refers explicitly to ‘‘the right of the people.’’ Consider the placement of the amendment within the Bill of Rights, the part of the Constitution that deals exclusively with rights of individuals, not powers of the state. No one can doubt that First Amendment rights (speech, religion, assembly) belong to us as individuals. Similarly, Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures are individual rights. In the context of the Second Amendment, we secure ‘‘the right of the people’’ by guaranteeing
the right of each person. Second Amendment protections are not for the state but for each individual against the state—a deterrent to government tyranny.
And not just against government tyranny. The Second Amendment also secures our right to protect ourselves from criminal predators. After all, in 1791 there were no organized, professional police forces to speak of in America. Self-defense was the responsibility of the individual and the community, and not, in the first instance, of the state. Armed citizens, responsibly exercising their right of self-defense, are an effective deterrent to crime.
Today, states’ incompetence at defending citizens against criminals is
a more palpable threat to our liberties than is tyranny by the state. But that incompetence coupled with a disarmed citizenry could well create the conditions that lead to tyranny. The demand for police to defend us increases in proportion to our inability to defend ourselves. That’s why disarmed societies tend to become police states. Witness law-abiding innercity residents, many of whom have been disarmed by gun control, begging for police protection against drug gangs—despite the terrible violations of civil liberties that such protection entails, such as curfews and antiloitering laws. The right to bear arms is thus preventive—it reduces the demand for a police state. George Washington University law professor Robert Cottrol put it this way: ‘‘A people incapable of protecting themselves
will lose their rights as a free people, becoming either servile dependents of the state or of the criminal predators.’’
Over the years, our elected representatives have adopted a dangerously court-centric view of the Constitution: a view that decisions about constitutionality are properly left to the judiciary. But members of Congress also swear an oath to uphold the Constitution. Congress can make good on that oath by taking legislative action to restore our right to keep and bear arms. To that end, Congress should take the following steps.
Repeal D.C.’s Handgun Ban and Enact Concealed Carry: No jurisdiction in the United States works as doggedly to disarm citizens
as does the District of Columbia, our nation’s capital and on-again, offagain murder capital. Yes, the city council grudgingly legalized pepper spray in 1993 (provided, of course, that it’s properly registered), but that brief concession to self-defense hasn’t led to any revision of the District’s gun laws, which are still among the most restrictive in America. D.C. bans the possession of unregistered handguns and prohibits, with very few exceptions, the registration of any handgun not validly registered in the District prior to 1976.
In the wake of the Emerson decision and Attorney General Ashcroft’s
endorsement of the individual right to keep and bear arms, the District’s federal public defender decided that D.C.’s sweeping gun ban was vulnerable. In May 2002, the Washington Post reported that D.C.’s federal defender had filed motions challenging the gun ban on behalf of several clients accused of violating the ban and the District’s law against carrying firearms. In all, roughly three dozen challenges to the D.C. law have been filed thus far.
Because the District is not a state, felonies under D.C. law are prosecuted by the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, an employee of the Justice Department—the same Justice Department that is now on record as favoring an individual rights theory of the Second Amendment. To be sure, Ashcroft had declared in an internal memorandum that the Justice Department ‘‘will continue to defend the constitutionality of all existing federal firearms laws.’’ But D.C. law, although enacted pursuant to congressional delegation, is not federal law. Therefore, the U.S. attorney might have been expected to support a motion to drop the handgun possession charges pending in these cases.
Instead, the U.S. attorney argued that the D.C. handgun ban must be
upheld in light of binding precedent from the D.C. Court of Appeals in
a 1987 case, Sandidge v. United States. That case flatly repudiates the individual right to bear arms. The Sandidge court stated baldly that ‘‘the right to keep and bear arms is not a right conferred upon the people by the federal constitution’’—a statement that’s rather hard to square with the Second Amendment, which speaks of the ‘‘right’’ of the ‘‘people’’ to ‘‘keep and bear arms.’’
It’s one thing for Attorney General Ashcroft to endorse the individual
right to bear arms in a letter to a friendly interest group, or to affirm it
in a footnote in a legal brief. It’s quite another to follow up words with
action. As Julie Leighton of the District’s Public Defender Service puts
it, Ashcroft’s Justice Department ‘‘is currently prosecuting individuals
solely for ‘bearing’ a pistol, even though many of those individuals have no prior convictions and are adult citizens of full mental capacity. Thus the United States persists in prosecuting District of Columbia residents for conduct that the Attorney General has expressly deemed protected by the United States Constitution.’’
Whatever the reasons for Attorney General Ashcroft’s perplexing decision to continue prosecuting gun-ban violations, Congress has the constitutional authority to protect District residents’ right to bear arms. Article I, section 8, clause 17, of the Constitution gives Congress the power ‘‘to exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever’’ over the District of Columbia. Congress can and should use that authority to repeal the District’s gun ban and enact a ‘‘shall-issue’’ concealed carry licensing statute. Such statutes mandate that handgun permits be issued to citizens who satisfy certain objective criteria such as citizenship, mental competence, lack of a criminal record, and completion of a firearms training
course. Thirty-one states have shall-issue laws, and, as exhaustive research by American Enterprise Institute scholar John R. Lott Jr. has shown, they deter crime. Lott found that ‘‘the reductions in violent crime are greatest in the most crime prone, most urban areas. Women, the elderly and blacks gained by far the most from this ability to protect themselves.’’
In contrast, for more than 25 years, D.C. residents have served as guinea pigs in a public-policy experiment in near-total gun prohibition. That experiment has failed catastrophically. Congress can and should end that illegitimate experiment and restore District residents’ right to keep and bear arms.
Repeal the Gun Control Act of 1968
The Gun Control Act of 1968, with subsequent amendments, is bad law and bad public policy. It ought to be repealed. Full repeal is not a radical step; Ronald Reagan endorsed it in 1980. But until that can be accomplished, Congress should, at a minimum, repeal the most oppressive
The 1994 Ban on So-Called Assault Weapons
Those guns do not fire faster than other guns, nor are they more powerful. Indeed, they fire smaller bullets at lower velocities than do most wellknown rifles used for hunting big game. The assault weapons statute is purely cosmetic—banning guns because of politically incorrect features such as bayonet lugs (as if drive-by bayoneting were a problem) or a rifle grip that protrudes ‘‘conspicuously’’ from the gun’s stock. Police statistics from around the nation show that such guns are rarely used in crime. The federal ban will sunset in 2004, but Congress should repeal it immediately.
The 1994 Ban on Possession of Handguns by Persons under 18
Assuming that such a ban could survive Second Amendment scrutiny,
it is a topic that should be addressed by state, not federal, law. The statute does include some exceptions—for example, a parent may take a child target shooting—but, even if the child is under direct and continuous parental supervision, the parent commits a federal crime unless she writes a note giving the child permission to target shoot and the child carries the note at all times. The 1994 prohibition usurps traditional state powers, is overbroad, and encroaches on parental rights, despite a paucity of empirical evidence that the ban will reduce gun accidents or gunrelated violence.
The Ban on Gun Possession by Specified Adults
When adult behavior is regulated, the Second Amendment weighs more heavily than when restrictions are imposed on minors. Even if Second Amendment constraints are somehow satisfied, the federal government has no constitutional authority in this area. Particularly unfair, whether imposed by federal or state law, is the ban on gun possession by anyone who is subject to a domestic restraining order, routinely issued by divorce courts without any finding that the subject of the order is a danger to another person. Such provisions ought not to be allowed to stand.
Arm the Pilots
Just as armed citizens can deter aggression on our city streets, they can do so in our nation’s skies. On September 11, 2001, a few hijackers armed with box cutters were able to hold scores of airline passengers at bay, secure in the knowledge that American airplanes are gun-free zones. But when we turn planes, airports, schools, and workplaces into gun-free zones, we also turn them into criminal-safe zones. If on the other hand we make it nearly certain that someone will be armed on every commercial flight, the enemies of liberty will have second thoughts about using American aircraft as weapons of mass destruction.
Imagine that you are a terrorist deciding whose plane to use as your
next weapon. One airline boasts in its ads, ‘‘Our Planes Are Gun-Free
Zones.’’ A second, with somewhat less self-righteousness, dmonishesthat ‘‘One or More Employees Will Be Armed on Every Flight.’’ Not much question which one you’d fly. Now picture yourself as a safetyconscious passenger. Still not much question, but the choice won’t be the same. That’s the case in a nutshell for armed skymarshals and armed pilots.
Let’s start with sky marshals. Having an armed federal marshal on
every flight would certainly deter terrorists. But the problem is cost. Just one marshal per daily flight would require 35,000 officers—more than twice the number employed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Secret Service, and U.S.Marshals Service combined. Yes, a marshal might be able to average three to four flights each day. Then again, most proposals call for more than one marshal per flight. Put it all together and we’re talking about roughly 15 thousand to 20 thousand new employees, salaried at $30,000 and up per year, plus the cost of training. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, hostile to the idea of anyone but federal marshals carrying firearms on U.S. flights, has worked to greatly expand the federal air marshal program. About 6,000 new marshals have been hired since September 11. That rapid expansion has reduced the quality of new hires and left the air marshal program in disarray,
according to an August 2002 USA Today expose´. According to one disillusioned former marshal, the program has become ‘‘like security-guard training at the mall.’’
Instead of going on a federal hiring binge, why not rely on the talented
people the airlines already have? Why not allow pilots to be armed?
‘‘These men and women operate $100 million pieces of equipment. They can sure learn to operate a .38 snub-nose if they want to,’’ says aviation consultant Michael Boyd. The Airline Pilots Association, with overwhelming support from its members, wants armed pilots in cockpits. So do the public and Congress. The airlines are opposed only because they fear the trial lawyers.
‘‘Under the old model of hijackings,’’ said a union spokesman, the
‘‘strategy was to accommodate, negotiate and do not escalate. But that was before. The cockpit has to be defended at all costs.’’ In a crisis, a pilot’s gun would never leave the cockpit because the pilot never would. And if a terrorist were able to penetrate the cockpit, shooting him within the cockpit’s door frame would not require a sniper’s skill.
An armed pilots program would be strictly voluntary. It would require
extensive background screening and psychological testing, as well as
classroom and practical training, roughly equivalent to what sky marshals would receive. After all, we now allow weapons on planes if they’re carried by sheriffs, FBI and Secret Service agents, postal inspectors, and bodyguards of foreign dignitaries. If those risks are acceptable, then let’s arm pilots who can protect all passengers’ lives. Better yet, leave it up to the individual airlines. They own the property and they can set the rules.
The broader principle is this: On September 11, the United States
government failed at its single most important function—protectingAmerican
citizens against foreign aggression. Armed civilians can deter aggression.
That means safer planes, shopping malls, schools, and other public
places. Law enforcement officers can’t be everywhere, but an armed,
trained citizenry can be.
For too long, elite opinion in America has been implacably opposed
to armed self-defense. The underlying philosophy, expressed by Pete
Shields, former president of Handgun Control, is that ‘‘the best defense is . . . no defense—give them what they want.’’ After September 11, that philosophy is no longer valid, if it ever was. It’s time for the 108th Congress to repudiate it.
Halbrook, Steven P. ‘‘Second Class Citizenship and the Second Amendment in the
District of Columbia.’’ George Mason University Civil Rights Law Journal 5 (1995).
Kopel, David B. The Samurai, the Mountie, and the Cowboy: Should America Adopt
the Gun Controls of Other Democracies? Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 1992.
Lott, John R. Jr. More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun-Control Laws.
2d ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000.
Lund, Nelson. ‘‘A Primer on the Constitutional Right to Keep and Bear Arms.’’ Virginia
Institute for Public Policy Report no. 7, June 2002.
Snyder, Jeffrey R. ‘‘Fighting Back: Crime, Self-Defense, and the Right to Carry a
Handgun.’’ Cato Institute Policy Analysis no 284, October 22, 1997.
United States v. Emerson, 270 F.3d. 203 (5th Cir. 2001).
—Prepared by Gene Healy and Robert A. Levy
July 20th, 2006 01:10 AM
I hope every member here reads your post on the Cato Institute.
If you don't mind, could you give us more information on just who or what the Cato Institute is?
The reason I ask is because I never even heard of them (it?)
It surely sounds like they have their prioritys straight.
July 20th, 2006 11:04 AM
The Cato Institute is basically a libertarian/conservative think tank.
you can read all about them here http://www.cato.org/about/about.html
July 20th, 2006 11:06 AM
The Cato Institute as well as the American Heritage Institute are right wing think tanks. I can say I agree with them wholeheartedly on some subjects but not others. On the whole they are much more grounded then left wing think tanks. What I tend to agree with them about is their stand on social issues. What I disagree with is their economic stands.
-Diplomacy: The art of saying nice dogie until you can find a rock.
-The truth is a three edged sword.
-Your brain is your primary weapon everything else is just a tool.
-When the only tool you have is a hammer then everything starts to look like a nail.
July 20th, 2006 11:22 PM
Skye: Zundfolge posted the link - lots of great info there. BTW - Welcome!
Zundfolge: Thanks for the link and info!
Brian: IIRC their economic ideas and positions are very free market type or laissez faire, as defined by Wikipedia at:
A free market is a market where price is determined by the unregulated interchange of supply and demand. This is in contrast to a controlled market where supply, demand, and price are set directly by government. According to a more philosophical definition, a free market is a market where trades are morally voluntary and therefore free from the interference of force and fraud. The notion of a free market is closely associated with laissez-faire economic philosophy, which advocates approximating this condition in the real world by mostly confining government intervention in economic matters to regulating against force and fraud among market participants. Hence, with government force limited to a defensive role, government itself does not initiate force in the marketplace and the free market is preserved.
In political economics, the opposite extreme to the free market economy is the command economy, where decisions regarding production, distribution, and pricing are a matter of governmental control. In other words, a free market economy is "an economic system in which individuals, rather than government, make the majority of decisions regarding economic activities and transactions." In social philosophy, a free market economy is a system for allocating goods within a society: supply and demand within the market determine who gets what, and what is produced. Early proponents of a free-market economy in 18th-century Europe contrasted it with the mediaeval, early-modern and mercantilist economies which preceded it.
That may well be a simplistic analysis of the Cato position, but IIRC maybe not too far off......
In my small view of the world, it was free markets and capitalism that made this country great (as well as the adundant natural resources, etc.), so I'm naturally a rather free market type person. I'd much rather have free-market forces create economic choices for me ...........than be restricted to a government mandated choice................
And I really like their gun "control" thinking......... versus a lot of "others"
July 21st, 2006 04:13 PM
The Cato Institute is a Libertarian organization, not a conservative right wing think tank.
July 21st, 2006 08:43 PM
Yes, they are Libertarian. They are also conservative in many fashions. They are a research organization that promotes their philosophy actively. They employ many scholars and policy type folks to present positions and alternative solutions, as well as many other things.
This thread was started only to note the presence of a major, nationally recognized organization (other than the NRA and CCA among others) which supported the RKBA.
Here's how Cato describes itself:
The Cato Institute seeks to broaden the parameters of public policy debate to allow consideration of the traditional American principles of limited government, individual liberty, free markets and peace. Toward that goal, the Institute strives to achieve greater involvement of the intelligent, concerned lay public in questions of policy and the proper role of government.
Cato's Publications and Events
The Cato Institute undertakes an extensive publications program dealing with the complete spectrum of public policy issues. Books, monographs, briefing papers and shorter studies are commissioned to examine issues in nearly every corner of the public policy debate. Policy forums and book forums are held regularly, as are major policy conferences, which Cato hosts throughout the year, and from which papers are published thrice yearly in the Cato Journal. All of these events are taped and archived on Cato's Web site. Additionally, Cato has held major conferences in London, Moscow, Shanghai, and Mexico City. The Institute also publishes the quarterly magazine Regulation and a bimonthly newsletter, Cato Policy Report.
How Cato Is Funded
In order to maintain an independent posture, the Cato Institute accepts no government funding or endowments. Contributions are received from foundations, corporations, and individuals. Other revenue is generated from the sale of publications. The Cato Institute is a nonprofit, tax-exempt educational foundation under Section 501(c) 3 of the Internal Revenue Code. Cato's 2005 revenues were over $22.4 million, and it has approximately 95 full-time employees, 70 adjunct scholars, and 20 fellows, plus interns
How to Label Cato
Today, those who subscribe to the principles of the American Revolution--individual liberty, limited government, the free market, and the rule of law--call themselves by a variety of terms, including conservative, libertarian, classical liberal, and liberal. We see problems with all of those terms. "Conservative" smacks of an unwillingness to change, of a desire to preserve the status quo. Only in America do people seem to refer to free-market capitalism--the most progressive, dynamic, and ever-changing system the world has ever known--as conservative. Additionally, many contemporary American conservatives favor state intervention in some areas, most notably in trade and into our private lives.
"Classical liberal" is a bit closer to the mark, but the word "classical" connotes a backward-looking philosophy.
Finally, "liberal" may well be the perfect word in most of the world--the liberals in societies from China to Iran to South Africa to Argentina are supporters of human rights and free markets--but its meaning has clearly been corrupted by contemporary American liberals.
The Jeffersonian philosophy that animates Cato's work has increasingly come to be called "libertarianism" or "market liberalism." It combines an appreciation for entrepreneurship, the market process, and lower taxes with strict respect for civil liberties and skepticism about the benefits of both the welfare state and foreign military adventurism.
The market-liberal vision brings the wisdom of the American Founders to bear on the problems of today. As did the Founders, it looks to the future with optimism and excitement, eager to discover what great things women and men will do in the coming century. Market liberals appreciate the complexity of a great society, they recognize that socialism and government planning are just too clumsy for the modern world. It is--or used to be--the conventional wisdom that a more complex society needs more government, but the truth is just the opposite. The simpler the society, the less damage government planning does. Planning is cumbersome in an agricultural society, costly in an industrial economy, and impossible in the information age. Today collectivism and planning are outmoded and backward, a drag on social progress.
Market liberals have a cosmopolitan, inclusive vision for society. We reject the bashing of gays, Japan, rich people, and immigrants that contemporary liberals and conservatives seem to think addresses society's problems. We applaud the liberation of blacks and women from the statist restrictions that for so long kept them out of the economic mainstream. Our greatest challenge today is to extend the promise of political freedom and economic opportunity to those who are still denied it, in our own country and around the world.
This thread was started only to note their support of the RKBA.
The Rand Corporation, a nationally recognized "Thank Tank" describes itself thusly:
RAND Mission: The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis.
For nearly 60 years, decisionmakers in the public and private sectors have turned to the RAND Corporation for objective analysis and effective solutions that address the challenges facing the nation and the world. These challenges include such critical social and economic issues as education, poverty, crime, and the environment, as well as a range of national security issues.
RAND researchers and analysts continue to be on the cutting edge of their fields, working with decisionmakers in both the public and private sectors to find solutions to today's difficult, sensitive, and important problems. The high caliber or our researchers is well-known, as evidenced by the many Nobel Laureates who have been affiliated with the RAND, either as employees, consultants, or in an advisory capacity.
Through our dedication to high-quality and objective research and analysis and with sophisticated analytical tools developed over many years, RAND engages clients to create knowledge, insight, information, options, and solutions that will be both effective and enduring.
I guess I don't see a difference in what a Think Tank is, or is not, but I really wanted to highlight the RKBA issue, not have a discussion over semantics or political issues, which by definition, are prohibited on CC.
July 22nd, 2006 01:18 AM
Thanks to all of the above who educated me on the Cato Institute.
Far be it from me to involve CC in a political discussion.
Especially since we CC people cannot even agree on whether concealed or open is the way to carry!
Since I have the floor, I'l just say, "As long as you just CARRY it will be alright."
July 22nd, 2006 06:16 PM
July 22nd, 2006 09:03 PM
Political discussions are ok so long as they pertain to the subject of RKBA or carry. The general bashing of a party or members of a party is what we try to discourage. Also tangental political threads are discouraged. You will see this become rather tight as we get closer to elections as we are not a political site. There are hundreds of sites to go take a whack at politicians and policies. We don't need to debate the War on Terror, the War on Drugs or whether or not Bush is a chimp and Ms. Clinton is a -----.
We now return you to our regularly scheduled thread on CATO's position on RKBA issues.
Procrastinators are the leaders of tomorrow.
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