Monday, September 12, 2005

Gun Control, a Compararive Policy Study!!!

Here’s a story with a boatload of Irony. Betsy Newmark and Dave Kopel have publicized a post disaster initiative in New Orleans. The New Orleans Mayor through his police chief has authorized law enforcement and soldiers to go door to door to seize firearms. Not illegal weapons, the legally owned weapons of citizens. This despite the Louisiana constitution’s unequivocal and forthright version of the second amendment:

The right of each citizen to keep and bear arms shall not be abridged, but this provision shall not prevent the passage of laws to prohibit the carrying of weapons concealed on the person.

So where’s the Irony? Soldiers in New Orleans are doing something soldiers in Iraq cannot. That’s right Iraqis retain their right to keep and bear arms. Every household in Iraq is entitled to one firearm. This right is almost universally exercised. Almost every house holds an AK-47 assault rifle. It doesn’t matter how many males from that house may be in custody, their weapons are sacrosanct.

How did this insane policy come about? In the aftermath of Saddam’s fall, when looting was rampant, Iraqi advisers to the military convinced US generals to allow Iraq’s households to retain their weapons. To reduce looting. To reduce looting Mayor Nagin! In spite of having outlived it’s usefulness, this policy was never revoked. I can tell you stories about how problematic this is for our troops.

During the entire time I was in Iraq I found this ridiculous policy completely objectionable. But there was no way to communicate those objections. I bitched to my Commander, who agreed with me, but as the decision was miles over our head in the chain of command it didn’t matter. And after June 28, 2004 it was out of American hands altogether.

Every time we conducted a “raid” on a house, we had to plan to face AK-7 fire. On a few occasions this proved to be the case. There are provisions for parole or the likes. Released detainees, even those held for substantiated insurgent acts are allowed to return to armed homes.

So US soldiers are disarming law abiding American citizens in New Orleans, but they are forbidden from disarming known insurgents in Iraq. Am I the only one who sees a serious issue with this? What is wrong with this picture?


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