March 25, 2008
FROM THE EXAMINER, an editorial on those half-cocked D.C. gun searches:
If the U.S. Supreme Court seemed on the verge of finding the D.C. government guilty of violating its citizens’ First Amendment rights, would the D.C. police be going door to door looking for printing presses to confiscate? Of course not. It would be unthinkable. Civil libertarians would be — to use an apt phrase (figuratively speaking) — up in arms. But when the civil liberty at issue is the right to bear those arms, as protected by the Second Amendment rather than the First, District officials seem determined to leave no gun unturned in. . . .
The program has drawn criticism not just from gun-rights lobbies such as the National Rifle Association but also from the National Black Police Association and the American Civil Liberties Union. No matter how much respect and support police officers deserve, there is still an intimidation factor involved any time an officer is on one’s doorstep, such that the “permission” may not seem as voluntary as police mean it to be. So where does this end? How long before Lanier sends police into selected neighborhoods — selected by whom and on what basis? — asking to search homes for marijuana, terrorist literature, evidence of intent to commit a crime, fireworks or Cuban cigars? Lanier is establishing a precedent that would have horrified the founders of this republic.
They would have responded with tar and feathers.