Defending the virtues of liberty, free markets, and civilization... plus some commentary on the passing scene.

Freedom's Fidelity

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Just Dial 911?

From the Chicago Tribune:
A Wilmette man who was cited for violating the village's handgun ban after he shot an intruder in his kitchen has invoked U.S. Supreme Court rulings on sodomy and pornography laws to argue that the gun ban violates his privacy rights, his lawyer said.

Hale DeMar's attorney has asked a Cook County circuit judge to dismiss his case and order the village to pay DeMar's legal bills.

"I want the court to say, 'The Village of Wilmette cannot come into his home and take his gun under this ordinance. They are invading his right to privacy,'" said Robert Orman, DeMar's attorney.

But legal experts said that although the defense strategy is original and possibly unprecedented, it is a long shot, because the courts have wide latitude to determine what is protected under constitutional privacy guarantees.

Demar was charged with misdemeanors for illegally owning a pair of handguns and faces a fine of $750. Robert Orman (Demar's lawyer), cited the recent Supreme Court decision that upheld a right to privacy and overturned Texas' sodomy laws, and argues that the village and its gun-ban ordinance "punish Demar for protecting himself and his family" and "strip Demar of his constitutional right to privacy in the home." He also emphasized that they are not necessarily seeking to overturn the ban but instead add a "judicial gloss" that would prevent its enforcement in cases of self-defense.

Village attorney, Tim Frenzer, of course disagrees, characterizing Demar's defense as "completely lacking in merit" and "beyond reasonable debate." The default advice seems to be: "Just dial 911." But the police can't be everywhere and certainly can't prevent every crime. Lots of them happen (598 murders in Chicago last year - and the city has a gun ban). Not only can they not prevent all (or even most) crimes, the government has no legal obligation to do so. Courts have continually reaffirmed that police owe a duty to protect the public in general, but not to protect any particular individual.

So here's the situation, the government creates a police force and a 911 emergency system, then announces to the world that you are prohibited from obtaining private defense in the form of firearms. Of course, because the police can't be everywhere, violent criminals still possess these weapons and now they know that you don't.

Demar is all to aware of this. The intruder that he shot, Mario Billings, forced his way into his house for the second time in 24 hours. The police were unable to prevent the same crime perpetrated by the same man in the same location twice in the span of a day. If Demar had followed the law he and his family would have been left defenseless holding a telephone instead of a gun.

The police can't always protect you, so you rely on 911. Unfortunately, emergency response teams rarely get to the scene in time to prevent the crime, and they don't have a legal obligation to show up at all so you can't sue (assuming you've survived the incident). Too often citizens dial 911 and die, and assuming Demar loses his case, government policy will continue to turn people into crime statistics.


                                                                                                                                                                             Meter Weblog Commenting and Trackback by This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?