( Being that Tri is out in the woods today, I thought it might be fun to bump this bonus blog from Thursday.)
For those of you who have been following this blog, you know that I live "Inside the Beltway" -- Come visit me and you will see that I can see the Washington Monument from my house. Really we are a stone's throw away from DC proper. That said, I want to share a local story. Back at the end of April, WTOP reported the following
Nearly three years after the United States Supreme Court overturned the D.C.
ban on handguns, residents of the District can no longer register guns in the city.
A temporary, de facto ban is in place because the one man who could facilitate handgun ownership in the nation's capital has stopped taking registration orders.
Since the lifting of the handgun ban in June 2008, Charles Sykes has processed more than 1,000 handguns for District residents. Sykes tells WTOP he's stopped taking orders for now.
"I've lost my lease," Sykes said in a phone interview. "I'll take care of the customers who already placed orders, but I don't want to take any more until I know where I will reopen."
Sykes is the sole proprietor of C S Exchange, the only licensed firearm dealer in the city that will transfer guns for individuals. Sykes doesn't sell the guns -- there are no gun stores in D.C. His company facilitates the transfer of guns from out of state stores into the District for a fee of $125 per gun.
As a result of this, A District resident has decided to sue the federal government
over the Gun Transfer law.
Federal law prohibits individuals from buying handguns in one state and transferring them to another state. That can only be facilitated by a licensed firearm dealer. Since the District has no gun stores, transfers are the only means for residents to buy and register their handguns. Rifles and shotguns are exempt from this law.
Lane is now suing the federal government and the state of Virginia, which is where she bought her handguns and where they remain.
In a complaint filed this week in federal court, Lane and a gun rights advocacy group, the Second Amendment Foundation, claim their constitutional rights have been violated.
"These provisions not only have the effect of barring District of Columbia residents from acquiring handguns, but also, generally, unjustifiably frustrate and make more expensive all Americans' attempts to obtain the handguns of their choice," the complaint says.
I suppose at this point you are wondering why I bring this up. I will tell you, but first let me ask you a question... Do you believe in a woman's' right to choose? If yes, good. If no, please keep reading, you might be surprised at what I am going to say.
This woman, Ms. Lane is fighting for her legal right to obtain a product that is covered under federal law. Products, like services are not much different. Once could even go so far as to say that if the federal government deemed a medical procedure legal -- it should be available readily and easily. ESPECIALLY
if one is deemed legal by the Supreme Court of the United States of America. One such example is Roe. v Wade
. Essentially, The U.S. Supreme Court decision struck down many state laws restricting abortion.
It's very similar to the overturning of the DC gun ban... the one Ms Lane is suing the Government over. You can get a gun, but in DC they don't have to provide you a way to get one. Still wondering where I am going? Let me show you this
. It's a Frontline documentary from 2005. It discussed in depth, states that have decided to regulate and restrict access to abortion clinics.
It kinda sucks when you have a legal right to own a gun or to have a medical procedure, but find that you are unable to do so because states have decided to override what the federal government says.
What you say? While DC is in a tizzy that the only gun dealer is shut down, let me remind you that Mississippi has ONE
(yes 1) women's health clinic that provides abortion services
. If you are poor, it's even worse:
In Mississippi and elsewhere, poverty plays a huge role. Federal legislation known as the Hyde Amendment forbids the use of federal funding for most abortions. So many women scrounge for the $380 price of a first-trimester abortion. The Jackson Women's Health Organization decreases the fees by up to $75 for the poorest women, but, according to clinic staff, even that is sometimes not enough.
The time women spend trying to scrape together that money can easily push them past the now-crucial 12th week, and into the second trimester, when abortions are both riskier and more expensive.
"Sometimes, they're so close on the edge, by the time they come in and they let the light bill go or whatever, it's too late," says Betty Thompson, who worked as counselor and then director of the Jackson Women's Health Organization for years and is now a consultant to the clinic. Thompson, a stately grandmother who had her first child at 16, always encourages resourcefulness in the women she counsels who are struggling to pay for abortions. "I ask them, 'Have you sold your jewelry yet? Have you asked to borrow from everyone you know?"
Imagine that. Imagine you live a day away from that clinic.
Imagine you are told you have to wait 24 hours before a doctor can perform a procedure. Imagine the travel time, the cost of a hotel and the hours of worry -- imagine that while you are worried about how to pay the electric bill for the next month while you are poor. This is what it entails. We could go into the new laws being passed in many states that would mandate ultrasounds before abortions.
And yet - some people here in DC are upset that they can't get a gun. Guess what? Ms. Lane may have her 2nd Amendment; I have this
:The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. -- The Ninth Amendment
The Ninth Amendment is key to understanding how the Founding Fathers thought about the liberties they expected Americans to enjoy under the Constitution. They did not believe that they were creating these liberties in the Bill of Rights. Instead, they were merely acknowledging some of the rights that no government could properly deny.
The history of the Constitution reveals the purpose of the Ninth and the Founders' intent: to protect what constitutional lawyers call unenumerated rights -- those rights the Founder assumed and felt no need to specify in the Bill of Rights. Unenumerated rights include, for example, the right to privacy. In the America of today, unenumerated rights account for freedoms like a woman's right to abortion. ...
I wish Ms. Lane would spend a little more energy on the greater good. I defend her right to have a gun. That said, I have to wonder, does she extend her defense to obtain a firearm with my right to choose? Does she believe in the Unenumerated Rights for all Americans? It looks like some people don't mind disenfranchisement until they are directly affected.
I will fight for the rights we know and for the ones that are not presented to us. In between I will fight for those that have not yet been fully realized. Personally, I feel that woman having access to reproductive services is far more important than firing a bullet, but that is me. What is sad is that there are people who are so obsessed with guns and their rights, that they don't seem to realize how much we have in common.
In this case -- it is about access to something the federal government has deemed legal while states are prohibiting access.