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NY – GUN RIGHTS/LE – What Gun Rights Defenders and Police Protesters Have in Common

THE CRIME REPORT.ORG November 24, 2020 – Protesters calling for stricter measures against police violence should be on the same side of the barricades as Second Amendment opponents of stricter gun controls, argues a Virginia law professor.

Since both fear the government’s ”monopoly of force” and are skeptical of authorities’ ability to protect citizens during times of unrest, they have an equal interest in Constitutional guarantees of the right to bear arms and protect themselves, Robert Leider writes in a forthcoming article in the Northwestern University Law Review.

“Decentralizing force allows private citizens to defend their interests and to protect the public when the government under-enforces the law,” wrote Leider, an assistant professor at George Mason University.

The Second Amendment upholds a “longstanding Anglo-American tradition of decentralizing the means of political violence,” and “fills the gap between public duties and private rights,” he maintains.

“The right to bear arms helps citizens in “keeping the peace and enforcing the law, provides a check against private and public forms of domination, reinforces separation of powers, and promotes individual liberty and security,” writes Leider,

Differing views on the Second Amendment often turn on the question of whether the government should have a monopoly on the use of force, according to Leider.

One perspective contends the government has the “exclusive right to use force to prevent crimes, enforce the law, and punish wrongdoers,” he said.

But a second perspective offers a much wider definition. While it acknowledges government as the “ultimate decider of when force is permissible,” it also maintains that “government may delegate its preventative policing and law enforcement authority in diverse ways, even to private citizens.”

This is exemplified most commonly in granting the right of self-defense, which allows a person to use deadly or violent force against another person without fear of reprimand in order to protect against a deadly threat.

According to Leider, the notion of self-defense is implicit in the rights granted by the Second amendment, since there are many situations in which law enforcement “would be ineffective to protect against harm,” wrote Leider.

Leider added that the Second Amendment’s effective challenge to the government’s monopoly of force represents a crucial protection for civilians “in times of emergency and civil unrest.”

The debates over the meaning of the Second Amendment underline profound disagreements over “whether the government is, in fact, sufficiently protecting the people in its jurisdiction,” said Leider.

He cited as an example the national movement for radical police reform, which heightened over the summer.  [full article]

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