A Response to Senator Ulysses Currie’s Anti Gun Rights Statements

In a community newspaper, Maryland State Senator Ulysses Currie called the Supreme Court “blind to [the] consequences” of the recent District of Columbia. v. Heller decision, in which gun ownership for self defense was determined to be an individual right, independent of militia service.  Senator Currie, who is not an attorney himself, starts out by criticizing the legal rulings of our country’s highest court.  He then proceeds to suggest that the Second Amendment should be ignored by courts and legislatures, since the constitution was written over 200 years ago.  Finally, Senator Ulysses Currie make the unfounded argument that allowing law abiding citizens to have firearms in their homes for self defense against the law-breaking criminals will result in more violence.  I address each of these erroneous contentions below:

“I am shocked and outraged at the ease with which the court has turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to the reality of handgun violence . . . “

The Supreme Court is comprised of individuals who attended law school, passed the bar exam, had exceptional careers as attorneys, served as judges, and were then nominated to the Supreme Court.  After an arduous confirmation process in the Senate, these individuals were then entrusted with the heavy burden of speaking the law for our country.  I say this point out that the Senator, without even a law school degree, displays a great deal of arrogance to tell the nation’s highest court that it got a legal decision wrong.  Senator Currie further lowers the bar by (incorrectly) suggesting that the Court is choosing to ignore the reality of the situation, when the Court is instead performing its most important job: protecting the constitutional rights of American citizens from over zealous legislators that would seek to ignore the constitution, in furtherance of their own purposes.  The Supreme Court correctly interpreted the plain meaning of the constitution, striking down a wrongful infringement of the Second Amendment.

The framers [of the United States Constitution] could not anticipate ravages of urban crime and poverty or broken families and drug addiction or the interstate flow and glut of illegal handguns.

The inability of this country’s founders to see into the future is no justification for congress to take away a constitutional right.  Congress lacks this authority (indeed the whole purpose of a constitution is to have a set of rules that the current legislatures or president can’t violate on a whim).  I would also point out that the founders of this country could not have anticipated the issue of illegal drugs – yet that doesn’t mean the Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable police searches can be ignored by police that want to get drugs off the street.  It is also rather reckless of the Senator to suggest that sections of the constitution can be ignored, since that same tactic could be used by others to undo the 13th Amendment (prohibiting slavery), the 1st Amendment (free speech), etc.

The court tossed aside evidence from countless studies that show that the greater the gun ownership, the greater the gun violence.

I’ll start out by saying that Senator Currie’s statement is factually untrue.  States with higher gun ownership and greater gun rights have considerably less crime than states that restrict gun ownership, and crime tends to increase after the passage of gun control laws in a given area.  The reason for this is rather simple: a criminal who wants a gun will get one, just as person who wants drugs will get them.  The law does not serve as a deterrent, since a person who is not deterred by the laws against murder will not be deterred by a relatively minor gun possession charge.  Instead, only the law abiding people who were not going to commit a crime in the first place are left disarmed, and vulnerable to the gun-toting criminals.  Being cowards, criminals want an easy target, and will therefore commit crimes where they are less likely to encounter an armed victim.

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Even more importantly, the Senator’s lack of understanding of our legal system shows in his last statement. He suggests that the Supreme Court is supposed to take into account (flawed) studies and decide whether to declare a provision of the constitution no longer applies. Perhaps if the Senator had attended law school (as the Supreme Court Justices and this author have) then he would recognize that the court is there to interpret the constitution, not to decide based upon their own feelings about the merit and effectiveness of laws.

If you would like to contact Senator Ulysses Currie to express your opinion about his comments, his contact information can be seen below:

Maryland State Senator Ulysses Currie
Phone:1-800-492-7122, ext. 3127
Email: ulysses.currie@senate.state.md.us
Fax #1: (301) 858-3733
Fax #2: (410) 841-3733