May 24th, 2006 11:01 AM
Bob Barr responds to Bloomberg
By BOB BARR
Published on: 05/24/06
Many New Yorkers can be mighty thankful that the Big Apple does not lie in the hurricane belt as does their sister city of New Orleans. If it did, and if the Gotham City was hit by a massive storm such as Katrina, millions of law-abiding New Yorkers would be totally at the mercy of lawless thugs such as those seen on cable TV by tens of millions of viewers watching coverage of the aftermath of Katrina.
Why? Because thanks to a succession of mayors and legislators of both political parties, law-abiding New Yorkers have already been disarmed just like those in New Orleans who were shocked that their city arbitrarily ordered them to surrender to law enforcement officers going door-to-door any and all firearms in their possession, even antique guns. Those who did not, or who failed to do so with sufficient deference or dispatch, were forced to do so with brutal force. Sometimes, the New Orleans police were so arrogant in their mission that they physically assaulted senior citizens in full view of TV crews to seize handguns that clearly posed no threat to them.
Just as the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution which heretofore afforded us at least some degree of protection against invasion of our privacy by the government seems to have been rendered "quaint and outdated" by the current administration in Washington, so was the Second Amendment deemed disposable by administrators in New Orleans when faced not with a man-made crisis but one of Mother Nature's making.
Even though a subsequent federal lawsuit brought by the National Rifle Association and other civil liberties organizations stopped the New Orleans officials from proceeding with their gun grab, citizens there had a very real taste of government power at its rawest and most frightening. Disarmed when they most needed not to be rendered defenseless, many of those citizens still have not been able to recover their firearms. Even though the federal courts ordered the city to return the illegally seized firearms, because the local authorities are demanding an impossible burden of proving ownership from the citizens, the majority have still not been able to get their guns back.
Why is this relevant to those of us in Atlanta or in New York?
In a broad sense, it ought to concern us because if a government can illegally and forcibly disarm law-abiding citizens in one city simply because it proclaims a "crisis," we are all subject to having our constitutional liberties trampled. Even if civil liberties organizations such as the NRA are successful in having those rights restored, much damage already will have ensued.
In another, very real, practical sense, all this is hitting home to Atlantans because New York's Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who apparently has never met a firearm he likes except those possessed by his own bodyguards is bringing his anti-gun paranoia to our city's suburbs.
Not content to simply take care of his own city, Bloomberg has filed a federal lawsuit against more than a dozen businesses that lawfully sell firearms in Georgia and four other states. Hizzoner's actions are based on the oft-cited, though never proved theory that virtually all guns used by criminals in the northeastern United States originate in other states, mostly in the South. As seen through the jaded lenses of big-city mayors in New York, Connecticut and elsewhere the South is populated by hayseed gun dealers who hand out firearms with abandon without ever bothering to determine if the purchasers are alive, much less whether they are qualified under federal law to purchase these heavily-regulated products.
The Big Apple's mayor proudly issued a hyperbole-laced news release last week, explaining that under his direction and that of his equally constitutionally-challenged police commissioner, Raymond Kelly, they had ordered teams of undercover private investigators to fan out across the five "offending" states, in an effort to induce what they described as "immoral" dealers to sell them firearms in violation of federal laws. Even though the lawsuit is laughable in terms of legal basis and theory, each dealer sued will incur not-insubstantial expense defending themselves.
Interestingly, however, is the possibility that Bloomberg may wind up not as a smug plaintiff in the lawsuit, but as a defendant himself. Already, knowledgeable observers are raising questions about the tactics employed by the mayor and his cohorts, which may constitute violations of federal and possibly state laws. Bloomberg might prudently familiarize himself with the phrase, known to generations of Southerners: "hoisted on your own petard."
Former congressman and U.S. Atttorney Bob Barr practices law in Atlanta. He is an NRA board member.
Gun control is hitting what you aim at
May 24th, 2006 12:18 PM
I hope someone really digs into any illegal actions by Bloomberg and his thugs. And if warranted they need to be prosecuted!
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May 24th, 2006 12:26 PM
Thank you Mr. Barr.
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