Monday, January 15, 2007

Justice?

I'm a little late in talking about it, but the verdict on the Fincher case has been out for a few days now. It was reported by many news reporters who figure they may as well tell the public what they'd like us to hear. As the Northwest Arkansas Morning News reported:

The defense tried to make the case an issue of the Constitution versus federal gun laws. The government tried to make the case as simple as possible for jurors — Fincher had the machine guns and they weren’t registered as required by federal law.

A major issue was whether the Militia of Washington County is a valid state militia for second amendment purposes. Judge Jimm Larry Hendren ruled it’s not.

As most of the right side of the blogosphere has already reported, the first paragraph is misleading. The defense would have argued a Constitutional case, but were not allowed to. Judge Hendren did not allow the jurors to hear such a case. As for the second paragraph, there's just nothing but nonsense to it. The right to bear arms applies to the people, not the states. Also, since every able-bodied male aged 17-45 is legally a part of the militia, keeping a militia armory should be completely legal for anyone.

A lot of people will tell you that the Constitutional case could not be argued because of precedent. This is a common misconception. Most people don't know the full extent of a jury's rights. A jury may consider context, refuse to apply a law, or decide that a law may not Constitutionally be applied. If these jurors had listened to everything the judge disallowed and still reached a guilty verdict, I would still disagree with the verdict, but it would be far less of a travesty.

Others will say he should have legally purchased and registered machine guns. They seem to indicate that he could have filled out a couple forms, paid a few hundred extra dollars, and easily gotten a modern full-auto for market price. The 1986 machinegun ban, however, prevents lowly citizens like us from acquiring full-autos made after '86. And, since no new full-autos may be sold in the US or brought in from outside the country, there is an ever-diminishing supply of older guns, making it increasingly difficult to even locate one for sale, much less afford one or more.

Still others mention the "fact" that no one needs anything better than semi-auto...and they fearfully speak of schools full of RPGs (the rocket-propelled grenade, not D&D and such). Let's say for a second that we give everyone unrestricted access to these weapons. You wanna guess which ones will be used in most crimes? Concealable handguns, most likely. And who wants to go rob a store with a pistol if the shopkeeper's got a large-caliber select-fire rifle to defend it with? And what about the fact that the militia is supposed to be armed with modern military weapons? Sawed-off shotguns were ruled non-military and unprotected, so why don't we allow militarily useful arms? You may say I don't need an RPG, but I may be defending against tanks (especially if the threat is tyranny from within). Yeah, my pistols and hunting rifles will be great then.

However you feel about gun control, know that Wayne Fincher hardly got a fair trial. Let a jury hear all sides of an argument, decide whether a guy making full-autos for a semi-organized militia is really a horrible criminal, and convict or acquit as they see fit. Justice demands it.

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