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Book Review: The Heller Case

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David B. Kopel, paperback, 440 pages. Bloomfield Press, 4848 e. Cactus #505-440, Scottsdale AZ 85254. $24.95.

What does the Washington, D.C. Heller case have to do with hunting in Africa? That’s an easy one to answer—the rights of gun ownership are no longer separated by the gulf of personal protection to hunting and nations. Under the present American administration all of the blocks that had been put in place to separate sporting arms from personal defense and recreational target shooting as a safety net for sporting arms are being systematically dismantled. In the most recent move by Obama’s administration a list of firearms targeted for banning also gives Obama’s Attorney General carte blanche to ban guns at will. According to an email I received from Alan Korwin, one of the two authors of this book, ". . . under the proposal: the U.S. Attorney General can add any "semiautomatic rifle or shotgun originally designed for military or law enforcement use, or a firearm based on the design of such a firearm, that is not particularly suitable for sporting purposes, as determined by the Attorney General."

I cite and provide this quote because it gives readers an insight into the impending sweeping changes in America’s gun laws that will also influence the guns that many African Expedition’s American readers purchase for their hunts—and how they purchase these guns. But, exactly how the present administration and its supporters in congress intend to carry out their open agenda of banning guns is open for discussion. The one apparent setback for the anti-gun movement in America has been the Heller Case which revolves around the right to own a firearm in the US capitol—Washington, D.C.

The Heller case is not a clear-cut case of the Second Amendment in the US Constitution’s Bill of Rights triumphing over anti-gun factions but a far more complicated examination of how the Second Amendment functions in the American Republic. Alan Korwin and David Kopel, the two authors who teamed up to write this first study of the Heller Case are themselves, noted legal scholars and they examine what the decision’s future effects will be and provide some suggestions on how to counter the anti-gun elements efforts trying to undermine the D.C. decision and the Second Amendment in general. The two authors do this by presenting not only their views on the historical decision but incorporating into the text essays on legal questions written by noted legal scholars. Each of these scholars presents important insights into the Second Amendment debate by frequently exploring the Heller decision. The authors also present opposing views of the Heller decision, something most authors from the gun lobby rarely do when reviewing landmark gun ownership legal decisions.

An important aspect of The Heller Case is that is provides readers with a well grounded insight into the actual decision and why both Korwin and Kopel believe the decision was incomplete, leaving doors open at other government levels for anti-gun groups to flourish and actually begin winning their battles to ban firearms ownership. This is the problem that will ultimately affect the owners of African calibers—all guns are targeted. In one paragraph the authors write:

This brings up the most frightening aspects of Heller. What the Supreme Court said will be defined in large measure not by what Heller says, but by tiny functionaries in tiny courts with small mindsets and decidedly hostile attitude toward Second Amendment rights. When Mr. Heller or others attempt to have their rights enforced against government encroachments, even encroachments showing a blatant disregard for the clear terms, requirements and sprit of the SCOTUS [Supreme Court Of The United States] decision, they will face low-level officials with power. There is little more dangerous than little bureaucrats with a little power. (Heller Case, 96)

The United States has been recognized as having the most liberal gun laws of any nation in the world and that fact has, in many ways, helped to maintain the tide of Americans hunting in Africa and other parts of the world. The accessibility Americans have enjoyed to owning firearms has, in many ways, kept some governments from imposing even great draconian gun laws on their people because of the desire to appear somewhat liberal toward firearm possession. Remove the American rights of ownership and these imitative laws will probably disappear.

Sometimes the solidarity of peoples throughout the world sharing a common bond help people preserve freedoms that are under threat by their government. For this reason The Heller Case is an important rad by African Expedition Magazine’s readers who are not living on the moon. GLG


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