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Old April 4, 2012, 08:34 AM   #37
Al Norris
Join Date: June 29, 2000
Location: Rupert, Idaho
Posts: 9,563
The best argument (IMO) in the reply, directed to all the social science that Cook and Zimring used:
Curiously, the one type of data that Defendants failed to offer is the data most relevant to their theory that law-abiding, responsible people cannot be trusted with guns: the crime rate of individuals licensed to carry handguns for self-defense in the states where such licensing occurs on a shall-issue basis. That information, readily maintained by various government agencies, is a matter of judicial notice. It does not advance Defendants’ theories.

Michigan, for example, issued 87,637 permits for the year ending June 30, 2011. In that time frame, it revoked only 466 permits. Texas compiles detailed information tracking the proclivity of handgun carry license permit holders to commit crimes. In 2009, of 65,561 serious criminal convictions in Texas, only 101— 0.1541%—could be attributed to individuals licensed to carry handguns, though not all such crimes necessarily utilized guns, or used them in public settings.

Perhaps the most comprehensive data comes from Florida, which reports having issued 2,145,632 handgun carry licenses since 1987. To date, Florida has only revoked 168 licenses—.0078%—for crimes utilizing firearms.

In any event, the social science debate is totally irrelevant. In considering constitutional claims, this Court does not weigh “expert” opinion disproving the utility of the right against search and seizure, various aspects of due process, or the right to counsel itself. Tax evaders cannot cite expert economists to explain the various policy deficiencies inherent in taxing income, the Sixteenth Amendment notwithstanding.

This Court does not referee academic debates. “[T]he enshrinement of constitutional rights necessarily takes certain policy choices off the table.” Heller, 554 U.S. at 636. Professors Cook and Zimring are certainly entitled to believe that the Second Amendment right to bear arms is disastrously dangerous. They are also entitled to that same belief regarding the exclusionary rule or the right to counsel. Doubtless, virtually every aspect of the Constitution finds strong disagreement among some segment of society. But McDonald's instructions bear repeating:
Municipal respondents . . . note that there is intense disagreement on the question whether the private possession of guns in the home increases or decreases gun deaths and injuries. The right to keep and bear arms, however, is not the only constitutional right that has controversial public safety implications. All of the constitutional provisions that impose restrictions on law enforcement and on the prosecution of crimes fall into the same category.
The question of what the Second Amendment secures is a matter of text and history, not an academic debate as to who has the best statistics.
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