It was national news on June 26 when the Supreme Court overturned the District of Columbia's strict gun laws and declared that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms. The media continues to dissect the impact of the District of Columbia v. Heller case on the future of gun control--and gun violence--in our country.
While the Court's 5-4 decision has remained under the magnifying glass, very little has been written to date about the plaintiff in the case, Dick Anthony Heller. From a few simple sound bites in newspaper articles and television clips, we've learned that Heller is 66 years old and works as a security guard at the Federal Judicial Center in Washington. But despite the fact that he originally filed his Second Amendment challenge in 2003, not much else has been gleaned about this man who now has such a prominent place in American history...
....until now. On September 18, Dick Heller surfaced to testify in a hearing conducted by the D.C. Council's Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary. Heller's public comments on the Council's latest emergency legislation regarding firearms provide extraordinary--and disconcerting--insight into the mindset of the man who challenged the city's handgun ban and won.
The following is the written statement submitted by Heller at the hearing:
Mendelson Hearing, 9/18/08
I am Dick Heller.
The Constitution, in summary,
states that the PRIMARY MISSION of govt is to PROTECT the LIFE &
FREEDOMS of the people. The 2nd Amendment Rights of Law Abiding DC
residents have been harshly infringed.
For 32 years the city shackled us with regulations that criminals simply don't
1 For a hand gun, criminals go to the marketplace - - that's the trunk of a car,
2 their purchase quantity is unlimited
3 there is no ballistics test, which is useless anyway,
4 there is no waiting period,
5 they pass no FBI background check,
6 they don't get finger printed,
7 the govt does not know who they are,
8 they take no safety classes,
9 they don't store the weapon securely & safely around minors,
10 they do NOT care about the legalities of when deadly force can be used,
11 the city can't even collect any taxes on these transactions, and
12 felons walk around & CARRY CONCEALED at their leisure!!
THOSE are conditions that should have been reserved for the Good Guys.
Criminals are walking the streets, carrying concealed, and YET for some reason
the city council thinks there is a NEED to monitor ME, a CERTIFIED ARMED
DC Special Police officer, and to monitor the rest of our good citizens with gun registration. SOMETHING is wrong with this picture.
What the council needs to do is, to NOT monitor the good guys, but to design laws
that storngly dis-incentivise the few bad guys from using firearms in crimes. A
MANDATORY 5 or 10 years in the Slammer for gun crimes cuts the crime rates in many other jurisdictions.
The FBI has stated
multiple times that there is already a large sleeper terrorist army inside the U.S.
Last week the Chief of Police testified before congress about DC preparing for the
strong possibility of a terrorist ground war in DC. Capitol Hill now looks like an
armed camp -- It IS an obvious clear & present danger but the Chief
mysteriously wants DC residents to be severely restricted in their KEEP & BEAR
Arms-Rights. She seems to look upon the citizens as part of the enemy-problem
but any terrorists will already have their own weapons when they come to town.
Citizens see things differently: "We the people," armed, are TRULY what the
Writers of the Constitution intended for us to be in Art. 1, Sec. 8, para. 15, and
that is the CITIZEN MILITIA. If suicide terrorists DO attact our city, ARMED
CITIZENS could be the First to counter these hostilities in our individual
By comparison, Baghdad is also an armed camp, but why are so many civilians
dieing there? It's because they've all been dis-armed! Baghdad has Draconian
gun control! IS THAT what the Chief wants here?
We already have examples of WHOLESALE KILLINGS in the U.S. --
COLOMBINE H/S & VA-TECH. They were "GUN FREE" zones. Killers know
it's safe for them -- Nobody shoots back -- everyone's been disarmed.
If you CARE about your city, the last thing you would want is for your family & the
rest of us to be as dis-armed & as defenseless as people in Baghdad,
Columbine High, or VA Tech -- in a mass terrorist attack.
DC needs to get OUT of the business of documenting & monitoring Good Citizens
-- with your firearms regulations, and do more arresting of violent criminals with
DC needs to eliminate the ALL shackels & constraints placed on our 2nd
What CITIZENS recognize is POLITICIANS are trying to solve a problem they don't
even understand, and worse YET, they won't even look @ the DATA from the
FBI and Justice crime figures: gun ownerships is up -- crime is down.
if Public SAFETY is truly a concern,
most DC gun regulations should be eliminated or should revert to those like VA &
NH where firearms are common, or like VT -- which has -- NO -- gun -- laws.
The FBI data base shows that those states have the -- LOWEST -- crime rates in the country.
I don't understand this DC City Council -- why -- can't - DC - ALSO enjoy the
LOWEST Crime Rates in the country? Is there a reason?
This, ladies and gentlemen, is the man on whose behalf a city's democratically enacted gun laws were scrapped and the Second Amendment was reinterpreted. Before Heller, no federal appellate court had ever struck down a gun control law on Second Amendment grounds.
We could engage in a point-by-analysis of Heller's testimony, but suffice it to say that we find his argument of "criminals don't obey gun laws, so let's eliminate all gun laws" somewhat illogical. In a society without laws, there is no difference between "Good Guys" and "Bad Guys" and most Americans would reject Heller's anarchical prescription. Furthermore, the overwhelming majority of Americans want all gun owners to undergo background checks, store firearms safely around children, and "care about the legalities of when deadly force can be used."
As for his knowledge of international affairs, if Mr. Heller thinks that civilians in Iraq have been disarmed, he hasn't studied the situation in that country very carefully. Regarding his offer to be the first line of defense against the "large sleeper terrorist army inside the U.S.," well, let's just say that someone has watched "Red Dawn" one too many times.
No one ever argued with a straight face that Dick Heller was speaking for D.C. residents with his lawsuit. After all, a January 2008 Washington Post poll found that 76% of D.C. residents supported the city's handgun ban and strict firearm storage laws. His recent testimony, however, calls into question whether he was even speaking rationally.
Follow Josh Horwitz on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CSGV