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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Wild West gun laws looser today than during Wyatt Earp’s fight at the O.K. Corral

You can read all about it in Adam Winkler’s new book, Gunfight, The Battle over the Right to Bear Arms in America, published on September 19, already available on Amazon.com.  Winkler is a professor of constitutional law at the University of California, Los Angeles, and writes for The Daily Beast and Huffington Post.  He is an expert on gun law whose statements you can take to the bank.  In his research for the book, he confirmed that gun control can work.

The author says in a recent article in HuffPost, quoting Chicago Mayor Richard Daley following the supreme Court’s decision confirming the rights of individuals to own guns, "Then why don't we do away with the court system and go back to the Old West, you have a gun and I have a gun and we'll settle it in the streets?"  Winkler adds, “Gun control advocates fear -- and gun rights proponents sometimes hope -- the Second Amendment will transform our cities into modern-day versions of Dodge.”

From the comments I have received from my gun control articles, that is exactly what the gun bubbas want.  In the untamed West you needed a gun to protect yourself from the bad guys and wild animals.  Today we have law enforcement protection to fill that void, and, although strained, manages to do a damn good job taking care of the American public.  What we don’t need is a bunch of untrained vigilante gun slinging cowboys that don’t know what they’re doing like the two at the Rep. Gabby Giffords massacre in Tucson.

But returning to the Old West, Winkler describes the dusty streets of a typical town like Dodge City in 1879 with this huge billboard exclaiming, "The Carrying of Firearms Strictly Prohibited."  Even Tombstone, AZ, location of the “Shootout at the OK Corral,” barred the carrying of guns openly.  It took Arizona State Sen. Russell Pearce and Gov. Jan Brewer to open the state up to the loosest gun laws in the U.S. and make Arizona a laughing stock of the country.

And the gun fanatics should take notice; in the Wild West, law enforcement and the general population did find out that gun control can work.  As Winkler put it, “We've always had a right to bear arms, but we've also always had gun control.”  He closes by asking, “Even in the Wild West, Americans balanced these two and enacted laws restricting guns in order to promote public safety. Why should it be so hard to do the same today?”

There is much more on the long time political battle over gun control and the individual’s right to bear arms.  This is a must read for the gun control folks as well as the gun rights activists.

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