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D.C. circling wagons on guns; Spokane’s Robin Ball safety efforts lauded

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Roll Call reported yesterday afternoon that officials in the District of Columbia, having secured a stay in the federal court ruling that declared the city’ carry law unconstitutional, are determined to “do everything in their power to limit the carrying of handguns in the nation’s capital.”

Yet, according to yesterday’s Washington Post, Police Chief Cathy Lanier expressed a sentiment that has long been shared by rank-and-file cops. In comments to the press about the ruling, she acknowledged, “Law-abiding citizens that register firearms, that follow the rules, are not our worry.”

Still, in Washington, D.C. and at the far end of the nation in Washington State, gun rights activists contend that it always seems to be the law-abiding citizen who is penalized by gun control laws. Criminals, at whom those laws are ostensibly aimed, don’t concern themselves with gun control efforts because they habitually ignore them.

While D.C. officials are vowing to keep as many people disarmed as possible, down in Florida, gun prohibitionists are promising to help anti-gun physicians appeal the ruling earlier this month in the infamous “Docs v. Glocks” lawsuit. A federal court panel ruled the state statute prohibiting doctors from talking to their patients about firearms is constitutional.

Lee Williams, writing in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, was pleased with the decision. He noted that, “It’s nobody’s business what’s in my gun safe.”

Chris Cox, executive director of the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action, called the court’s decision a “common sense ruling.” Like Williams, who quoted him, Cox believes “It is not a physician’s business whether his or her patient chooses to exercise their fundamental, individual right to own a firearm.”

All of this begs the question: Why should there be any need to tie up the courts with gun rights cases? The Second Amendment, now incorporated to the states via the 14th Amendment – courtesy the Second Amendment Foundation’s 2010 victory in McDonald v. City of Chicago – and state constitutional “right to bear arms” provisions should have settled this argument long ago, many argue.

A right that is heavily regulated is not a right at all, but a privilege. As noted by this column earlier, the Boston police chief doesn’t think anyone in his city needs a rifle or shotgun. Isn’t that essentially what the British, who occupied the city in the 1770s thought? How’d that work out for the Redcoats?

Millions of Americans own guns for all kinds of reasons, or for no reason at all, other than it is their constitutionally protected right to do so. Other Americans don’t like guns, some are scared of them, and millions more simply don’t know enough about them.

That brings us around to Spokane firearms retailer Robin Ball, who is being recognized today by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) as a “local champion” for promoting firearms safety in the greater Spokane area. Ball is the owner of Sharp Shooting Indoor Range and Gun Shop up on Spokane’s North Freya Avenue, and she brought NSSF’s “Project ChildSafe” program to the attention of the Spokane County Sheriff’s office.

Ball is something of a dynamo in the Evergreen State firearms community. During this past legislative session, she got on an airplane – while battling some kind of seasonal illness – and traveled to Olympia just to testify before a House committee against Initiative 594. She also traveled to Seattle more recently to appear before the Seattle Times editorial board, providing expert insight into how passage of the 18-page gun control measure would penalize gun owners and firearms dealers. In short, she “walks the walk” so she can “talk the talk.”

When Ball talks about “gun safety,” she’s not blathering about a disguised gun control effort, but genuine safety with firearms. NSSF said she recently hosted an open house at her indoor range that was attended by two crime prevention sheriff’s deputies to discuss gun storage and safety. They also handed out free Project ChildSafe gun locks and firearms safety kits.

People like Ball do their part to promote safe, lawful firearms ownership and use. Gun prohibitionists “do everything in their power to limit the carrying of handguns” or any other kind of gun. Time will tell whose efforts greater benefit the public good.

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