“Bernstein notes that this is something that courts should take into account when Second Amendment cases are argued. But it’s also something that the rest of us should keep in mind. In 2020, “the police will protect you” seems particularly hollow.”
This year’s riots, sparked by the death of George Floyd and continued in the names of several others, have destroyed billions of dollars in property, cost numerous people their lives and businesses and jobs, and promoted what will probably be a decade or more of de-urbanization. But whatever else happens, they will have accomplished an important social change. Thanks to these riots, the case for the Second Amendment and the personal right to own weapons is growing steadily stronger, as is the legal case for private gun ownership.
That’s the thesis of a new paper by George Mason University law professor David E. Bernstein, who also serves as the director of GMU’s Liberty and Law Center. “The Right to Armed Self Defense in the Light of Law Enforcement Abdication,” notes that the experience of this year’s riots undercuts the classic argument against an individual right to arms. While gun-control proponents have for decades argued that individual gun ownership is unnecessary in the modern era, where we have police forces to control crime, that hasn’t worked out very well this year for people in numerous urban centers around America.
Bernstein offers an extensive review of happenings in cities ranging from Seattle to Louisville, Portland to Chicago and New York and Raleigh, and many other cities. In case after case, police were told to stand down, in order to avoid provoking violence. And in each case, the result was more violence, more property destruction, and more damage to businesses and jobs, while political leaders stood by.
By Glenn Harlan Reynolds