Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." – Benjamin Franklin
Say what you will about the freewheeling flamboyance of the Castro District or the "far-out" charm of Haight and Ashbury, but the time has come for San Francisco to rein in its tradition of flouting the rule of law in the name of progressivism.
With the recent passage of a measure restricting the possession, selling and manufacturing of firearms and ammunition, the Golden Gate City has taken a swipe at the Second Amendment in a futile attempt to prove a fallacious point: that the only way to stem the tide of surging violence is to take away an instrument that aids, but by no means causes, violence.
If the statute's necessity is at issue, a look at our nation's capital is instructive. After enacting a similar measure restricting gun use, Washington, D.C., saw a spike in violence to the tune of 44 homicides per 100,000 residents. San Francisco, by contrast, stands at a mere 9.2.
The measure is no more admirable on the feasibility front; after completing the initial paperwork, buyers do not need to update their information after moving addresses or even after losing or selling the gun. Thus, instead of actively working to reduce crime, police will be engaged in the preposterous pursuit of hunting down gun-owners who may or may not be breaking the law.
At any rate, the larger argument relates more to the very origins of this contentious new statute. Although it's now been incorporated into the municipal code, the law still contravenes California state law, and some would say, the federal Constitution.
Granted, public officials should be free to propose measures necessary to protect their constituents, but they must do so within the legal confines of their office. To reach beyond their constitutional authority, no matter the righteousness of their aims, is as unacceptable as it is arrogant.
To be sure, the citizens of the Golden Gate City have proven themselves to be admirably enlightened on any number of issues. In flouting the rule of law, however, they abdicate the moral high ground, leaving them vulnerable to critics who would like nothing more than to stymie the city's hard-fought progress.
The British philosopher John Locke once observed, "When there is no law, there is no freedom." Indeed, if San Francisco's officials really wanted to promote themselves as a safe and progressive "city upon a hill," they would be well suited to do so without defying that fundamental tenet of liberty.
Opinions are determined by the Wildcat opinions board and written by one of its members. They are Lori Foley, Ryan Johnson, Damion LeeNatali, Aaron Mackey, Mike Morefield, Katie Paulson and Tim Runestad.