- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 13, 2007

D.C. gun rights

A lot has taken place since Friday in the area of Second Amendment rights and the basic human right of self-defense. The first thing is the court setting aside D.C.’s gun prohibition (“Court strikes down D.C. ban on guns,” Page 1, Saturday). The reaction of the Democratic elite shows how really arrogant they are. Mayor Adrian Fenty was “outraged” because the courts gave back to the people the right of self-defense that never should have been usurped to begin with.

He said: “Today’s decision flies in the face of laws that have helped decrease gun violence in the District of Columbia.” This from the mayor of the city that has held the title of “murder capital” numerous times over the last 30 years. He needs to back up this assertion with some real facts, facts I doubt he can produce.

Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton said: “We are not intimidated by this court’s virtual partnership with the NRA,” and Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, calls the decision “judicial activism at its worst.” What they are really saying is that the courts are great, and all decisions should be adhered to as long the decisions are in their favor, but when a court decision goes against them, they want to ignore the ruling. Such arrogance.

Another happening was across the border in Maryland. The House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on HB 228 — the concealed carry bill that would amend the present handgun permit law by taking the decision-making out of the hands of bureaucrats, some of whom are politically motivated.

A news channel interviewed state Sen. Brian E. Frosh, who is the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and asked him about HB 228, to which he replied “I just don’t get it.” This is all too true and unfortunate for the defenseless victims the Democratic elite have created in Maryland. Mr. Frosh doesn’t see why the average person needs firearms. Average citizens voted him into office, one would think he’d care about our ability to defend ourselves. Such arrogance.


Frederick, Md.

In the recent federal appeals court decision that struck down the District’s 30-year-old gun ban (“Court strikes down D.C. ban on guns,” Page 1, Saturday). Judge Karen LeCraft Henderson dissented, arguing that the Second Amendment does not apply to the District because it is not a state. This is also why D.C. residents do not have any representation in Congress, at least not yet.

The principal reason Judge Henderson is incorrect is not that the District is not a state. The reason is that every citizen of the United States, including all citizens of D.C., are entitled to the rights and benefits of the Constitution of the United States, regardless of what state they live in. This includes the Bill of Rights and all of the amendments.

Just because D.C. is not a state does not mean its citizens are not entitled to free speech.

Mayor Adrian Fenty was incorrect when he referred to the gun ban as “unquestioned for more than 30 years.” Thousands of D.C. citizens have questioned this violation of constitutional rights; it is the right and duty of every American to question his government.


Mt. Airy, Md.

For the record

A report by Bill Gertz (“China chat group,” Inside the Ring, Friday) incorrectly stated that I was recently “cautioned” by members of a China affairs e-mail list serve group “for posting a sensitive e-mail that appeared to be based on a CIA file.” I have never received such a caution. I have never and would never post any classified or otherwise restricted material on the Internet, or otherwise publicly disclose such material. I was never contacted about this incorrect charge before the story appeared.


Senior Political Scientist

RAND Corporation


That’s not what happened

A recent article, “Bipartisan opinions sought on immigration” (Nation, March 2), cites an anonymous staffer saying that Sen. Arlen Specter had “zero consultation” when he drafted comprehensive immigration reform legislation in last Congress. The unidentified staffer is entitled to his or her own opinions, but not his or her own facts.

As chairman of the Judiciary Committee in the 109th Congress, Mr. Specter sought bipartisan input when drafting legislation. In fact, on Nov. 8, 2005, Mr. Specter circulated draft legislation to all senators on the Judiciary Committee in an effort to “serve as the starting point for discussions on how to address the issue of millions of undocumented individuals currently in the United States.” What’s more, the Chairman’s Mark included language from Sen. Edward Kennedy’s bill.

Additionally, in a four-month span (November 2005 to February 2006) Mr. Specter or his staff met with Mr. Kennedy or his staff on seven separate occasions. When revised legislation was recirculated on Feb. 23, 2006, it was only done after careful consideration and consultation with Mr. Kennedy and other members of the Judiciary Committee.

The fact that the offending staffer wishes to remain anonymous indicates that he or she is not confident enough in the statement to publicly support it.

As Mr. Specter has stated, “If you want to be in at the landing, you have to be in at the takeoff.” If Congress is to successfully pass comprehensive immigration reform legislation, it will take the cooperation and consultation of all interested parties.


Chief of Staff

Sen. Arlen Specter


Express buses for Tysons

The editorial “Tunnel vision” (Sunday) on the Metro extension to Tysons Corner and Washington Dulles International Airport fails to mention the obvious solution: Abandon the rail option for the extension and provide high-frequency bus services on special lanes to Dulles airport, with direct surface links to the Tysons Corner area.

Both the tunnel and elevated rail links suffer from a major defect: Passengers to and from Tysons Corner would have to use rail stations which would be beyond practicable walking distance for many parts of the Tysons area. Therefore buses would be necessary to connect to the rail stations. Direct access of these local buses to the special bus lanes, without the need to change modes at stations, would be more convenient for most travelers.

The assertion that “Virginia has a financially and technically viable plan for extending the Metro through Tysons Corner” has no basis in reality.

The financial viability of the project depends on federal grants and on the extortion of revenues from users of the Dulles Toll Road. The weakness of this project was recognized by Congress in 2005 when it exempted it from having to meet the Federal Transit Administration’s cost-effectiveness standards.

On the proposed rail extension, service from Wiehle Avenue to the Pentagon would take 57 minutes, with every train stopping at every station and a passenger transfer required at Rosslyn. This trip is now made by express bus in 25 minutes.

These and other issues relating to transit options in the Dulles airport corridor are discussed in a paper by William Vincent and myself “Rail at any Cost — Options that Could Provide Better Service than Dulles Rail at a Third of the cost,” published in December 2005 by the Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy.


Editor, Street Smart: Competition,

Entrepreneurship and the

Future of Roads

Chevy Chase

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