Americans by a significant majority support the individual right to keep and bear arms —- as definitively recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court in the Heller decision last summer, which held that the Washington, D.C. gun ban was unconstitutional. Predictably, many anti-gun advocates in the nation’s capitol and elsewhere are refusing to recognize the high Court’s ruling, and continue to thwart efforts by law-abiding citizens to defend themselves by possessing a firearm.
This is one reason the pending court challenge to Chicago’s gun ban – very similar in scope to the one stuck down in Washington, DC this year — is so important; and why so many smart state attorneys general have signed on in support of the challenge led by the National Rifle Association (NRA). Georgia’s Attorney General Thurbert Baker, currently a candidate for the Democratic Party’s nomination for governor, has joined the NRA’s challenge.
Baker, and virtually every other candidate in next year’s gubernatorial race in both major parties, understands that Georgia is not Chicago; and that any statewide candidate who might even impliedly support a gun ban as exists in the Windy City, would be severely disadvantaged in an electoral contest here. As the sitting state attorney general, however, Baker is in a position to do more than simply lend moral support. As he did prior to last year’s Supreme Court decision in Heller, Baker has lent his name and his office to a friend-of-the-court brief. This is a smart and timely move. While this decision alone will not move the attorney general ahead of former Governor Roy Barnes, the decided front-runner in the Democratic Party race, it does remind voters that Baker’s support for the fundamental, Second Amendment right is consistent and sincere.
Baker and his fellow gubernatorial candidates, including John Oxendine, Nathan Deal, Roy Barnes, and Karen Handel, all apparently understand, as people such as Chicago Mayor Richard Daley do not, that possession of firearms is a fundamental right, as well as a very practical means of self-defense. Guns are used 2.5 million times a year in self-defense., for example — more than 80 times more often to protect the lives of honest citizens than to take lives. Let’s hope a majority of the justices on the nation’s highest court understand this as well; and rule that a local government cannot deny such a fundamental and vital right.