As the Sun Times reports, Jessie Jackson called the Supreme Court’s ruling that gun ownership is an individual right “a ‘reckless interpretation of the Second Amendment’ — and one that Chicago doesn’t have to accept.”
Jessie Jackson’s statement, aside from being untrue, endangers the very civil rights that he has supported. As an African American, a law student, and an American citizen, I am thoroughly disappointed. Allow me to elaborate:
Jessie Jackson’s statement is reckless and endangers civil rights
The statement by Jessie Jackson that the Heller decision is “a ‘reckless interpretation of the Second Amendment’ — and one that Chicago doesn’t have to accept” is a danger to civil rights, and shows either an ignorance or disregard of history.
I’ll address the historic background information first: Back in and around the 1960’s, when the Supreme Court was ruling in favor of equal rights for African Americans, signs could be seen around the country that said “Impeach Earl Warren” (the then Supreme Court Chief Justice). Basically, the anti-civil-rights groups weren’t happy with the Supreme Court declaring that Black children could go to school with White children, or that Black people could marry White people. Rather than accepting the legal judgment of the highest court in the country, these people called for the impeachment of the Supreme Court’s Chief Justice, because they disagreed with him. Other people, including prominent southern elected officials, officially pledged to do everything in their power to thwart racial integration and equality.
Sadly, Jessie Jackson’s statements are strikingly similar to those used by the white supremacists during the civil rights movement. In each case, a prominent person disagrees with the Supreme Court’s ruling, that protected a fundamental right of American citizens. Rather than accepting the ruling of our nation’s highest court, these individuals denounce the ruling, disparage the Supreme Court Justices, and then call for their city/state to ignore the highest court in the country. Jessie Jackson is setting a bad example, since the same reasoning that he is using to fight gun rights can be used to fight any of our other civil rights.
It is this type of contempt for the rule of law and the decisions of courts that is the real danger to Americans; not gun rights. The reason that we have a society that is relatively stable and peaceful (compared to many other countries) is that we respect the law, and decisions of our courts. For example, when the Supreme Court heard the Bush v. Gore case, (to determine the 2000 presidential election outcome), there were fanatical people on both sides of the issue. However, after the court issued its decision, the people on both sides accepted and obeyed by the decision, which is why we didn’t have a civil war, coup, or other power struggle that plagues many countries around election time.
Making matters worse, Jessie Jackson is not a judge, much less a Supreme Court Justice. He has not had the years of legal education and experience that are needed to properly interpret the constitution or the intricate interplay between the rights of citizens and power of the various levels of government. Don’t get me wrong – Jessie Jackson is certainly entitled to his opinion. However, it strikes me as a misuse of influence when people such as Jackson use their publicity to advocate a viewpoint about which they are simply not qualified to speak as an expert.
Guns and gun rights are not the cause of violence
Crime is the result of the intentional acts of criminals, not the presence of guns. Once need only turn on the news to see that criminals without guns can and will use other tools to commit their crimes, such as cars and nailguns. Equally apparent is the fact that gun control does not work, as evidenced by the high handgun murder rates of cities that ban or banned handguns, such as the District of Columbia and Chicago. Even countries such as the UK, that have some of the strictest gun control in the world, cannot prevent criminals from using guns to murder. Whether a criminal decides to illegally use one of the hundeds of millions of guns already in the country, smuggle in guns, or make their own makeshift “zip guns,” gun control laws just won’t deter the criminal any more than the laws against murder, rape, robbery, etc. While gun control laws won’t deter criminals from owning guns. It will, however, prevent law abiding citizens from owning guns for self defense. These law abiding citizens, who use guns to defend themselves every day, range from pregnant women, to store clerks, to home owners.