Heller to Press Club: Learn About Guns Before You Write About Them
The man who took on D.C.'s gun ban resulting in the landmark 2008 Supreme Court ruling that affirmed the right to bear arms for self-defense told the National Press Club today "the real truth is not being reported…that gun freedom equals safety."
"I have examples of firearms being used to save lives today, legislators whimsically choosing how many bullets we need for our guns and our self-defense, that gun-free zones rarely are, and the First Amendment and the Second Amendment are co-dependent within the Bill of Rights," he said.
Army vet Dick Heller, who lives on Capitol Hill and is now the treasurer of the District of Columbia Libertarian Party, moved to Washington in 1976 and worked in law enforcement. He bought his first firearm a month later to protect his home. Two months later, the D.C. city council enacted the district's gun ban.
"I voted Democrat in 1977, for Jimmy Carter, but after two bullet holes came into my house, at two different times, one through the living room window, and one through my front door, my perspective, as you might imagine, on politics, D.C., and gun control measures, changed," said Heller.
"Back then, in '76, it was the wild, wild West in D.C., while at the same time, having the strictest gun control laws in the country. It didn't make any sense. Sometimes it felt -- it felt like living in a war zone, and with all the violence that we saw on TV, on the evening news, D.C. residents were brainwashed into being terrified, and we need government to protect us."
Twenty-five years later, he said, he learned of the millions of firearms uses each year "by good guy citizens that defend their households."
"I can only conclude that many reporters are willfully biased by mainly reporting stories associated with illegal or inappropriate firearms usage only, which results in a negative portrayal of both the Second Amendment, and any American citizens that choose to exercise that right, even if in a responsible manner," Heller told the Press Club.
"For instance, think about the firearm spokesman for the administration, Vice President Joe Biden. How many reporters of the media have explained to your readers or viewers that this glib, double-barreled shotgun philosophy of self-defense, two blasts off the balcony, or through the door, would get one thrown in jail, or an innocent person dead? His advice violates key rules, all the key rules of gun safety. I never heard an admonishment at all from the press for that," he continued.
Stating that media covering gun-control legislation could use a crash course in gun safety, Heller proceeded to give a "condensed version": "One, treat every gun as if it's always loaded, so keep your finger off the trigger. Number two, know your target and what's beyond the target, before putting your cotton-picking finger on the trigger. And number three, don't point a gun at anything that you're not willing to see destroyed, living or not living."
Heller shifted to the debate about limits on ammunition capacity, noting "even the various states cannot agree on how many rounds are enough or too many."
"Colorado just said 15 rounds is enough. D.C. says it's 10. New York law now says seven rounds are enough in your magazine, and past governor Manchin said, well three are enough for a rifle," he said. "Question, do you really believe the New York cops think they would only need seven rounds if they find themselves facing a lethal threat as second responders to a scene? Shouldn't the first responders, the victims, be as well-armed as the second responders?"
The man whose name will always be associated with gun rights in U.S. history then took aim at gun-free zones as leaving teachers at Sandy Hook and other victims powerless to fight back against a madman.
"So does a gun-free zone keep criminals out? Some continue to play ostrich, but intelligent and rational people now understand the true meaning of gun-free zone. A, it isn't. B, the true nomenclature should be DVZ, that's called designated victim zone, or mass-murder empowerment zone," said Heller. "Yet some tyrants in waiting think all of America should be a complete gun-free zone, or mass-murder empowerment zone."