Broader Gun Rights: Bad For The Jews?

With NRA, after Court ruling, targeting city’s gun control laws, could Jewish institutions face heightened terror threats?

06/30/10
Staff Writer
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Defenders of broadly defined gun ownership rights announced this week, in the wake of a Supreme Court ruling that limits states’ right to regulate firearms, that they will further challenge the power of municipalities like New York City and New York State to keep guns out of owners’ hands.

The gun lobby will probably miss its target, some experts say.

The court’s decision, which ruled unconstitutional Chicago’s 28-year-old strict ban on handgun ownership and declared local governments subject to the right-to-self-defense provisions of the Constitution’s Second Amendment, is in many ways a victory for a rural-based pro-gun movement — at the expense of cities like New York and Chicago, where gun violence is prevalent — said Mark Pelavin, associate director of the Reform movement’s Religious Action Center. He called the decision “unfortunate and disappointing and deeply confusing,” which may bring “deeply problematic results that we are going to have to live with for a generation.”

The National Rifle Association indicated this week that it is preparing legal challenges to gun laws it views as restrictive in many places, including New York State and New York City.

The state’s gun control legislation, including an assault weapon bill named for 1994 shooting victim Ari Halberstam, is strong enough to withstand a challenge in court, said Yehudit Barsky, director of the American Jewish Committee’s Division of Middle East and International Terrorism.

Provisions of the city’s gun control legislation, which determine the fees and length of time it takes to obtain a permit, are “reasonable regulations,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at a news conference Monday, according to the Wall Street Journal.

“The gun lobby and gun criminals will use [the court’s ruling] to try to strike down gun laws, and those legal challenges will continue to fail,” said Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Center and Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

The court’s 5-4 ruling that a handgun in one’s home is a “fundamental” right, two years after it affirmed an individual’s right to possess handguns in Washington, D.C., stated that Second Amendment protections extended to cities and states.

Gun control, while not usually considered a high priority Jewish issue, has potentially greater impact on the Jewish community than many other sectors of the population, because an estimated 80 percent of Jews live in urban areas, many of which have strict gun control laws.

Representatives of several Jewish organizations said the New York City area, and its array of Jewish institutions and Jewish neighborhoods, are unlikely to become more vulnerable to attack if handgun ownership becomes more widespread as a result of the Supreme Court ruling.

But the Anti-Defamation League called the decision, in a case brought by a Chicago community activist who had sought protection against street gangs, “a disappointing setback in the fight against extremism and violence.”

“Extremists and those who commit hate crimes pose a serious threat to law enforcement, the general public and, more specifically, to members of the discrete racial, ethnic and religious groups who are often their targets,” a statement by ADL National Chair Robert Sugarman and National Director Abraham Foxman read. “We deeply regret that the Court has restricted the latitude that cities and states retain to keep guns out of the hands of extremists, terrorists and violent bigots.”

The New York Times declared in an editorial this week that the Supreme Court “subvert[ed]” the “entirely sensible ban on handgun ownership” in Chicago on which the court made its ruling. “The results will be all too real and bloody. Mayors and state lawmakers will have to … keep adopting the most restrictive possible gun laws – to protect the lives of Americans and aid the work of law enforcement officials.”

 “I don’t think [the court ruling is] going to make a difference” here, Devorah Halberstam, an active gun-control advocate since her 16-year-old son Ari was shot to death by a Muslim terrorist on the Brooklyn Bridge, told The Jewish Week. The assailant, Rashid Baz, opened fire, with a submachine gun, on a van filled with young chasidic students.

Working since then to limit the availability of such assault weapons, Halberstam has pushed to close loopholes in gun control laws, leading to the passage in New York State of comprehensive legislation known as Ari’s Law, and a similar bill that is now pending in Congress.

Assault weapons are a “larger problem” for public safety than handguns, Halberstam said. “I can understand [individuals’] need to protect themselves.”

It is unclear whether the ruling, which applied to handgun ownership, will also affect laws aimed specifically at assault weapons.

Terrorists like Baz who aim at Jewish buildings or people tend to use the more deadly weapons instead of lower-power handguns, she said. “I don’t see [the court’s ruling this week] making the Jewish community become a larger target,” Halberstam said.

Maki Haberfeld, professor of criminal justice at John Jay College, told The Jewish Week she does not see any reason for the Jewish community to “fear” that it will be singled out if handguns become more available. Firearms, she added, are always available — despite gun-control legislation — to those who want “to perpetuate acts of violence.”

Pelavin of the Religious Action Center said New York City’s Jewish community will not be more threatened than other parts of the city, he said. “I don’t see a discreet particularistic impact of the decision. I see Jewish values being impacted.”

The Religious Action Center is a longtime supporter of gun control legislation, as a way to reduce the general level of violence in the United States, he said. “We’re concerned about the safety of all Americans. We’re concerned about the neighborhoods where we live. We’re concerned about the streets where we walk.” 

E-mail: steve@jewishweek.org

 

 

 

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02/07/2013 - 18:51

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This article repeats the lie about gun availability.

The truth is that INCREASED legal gun ownership DECREASES violent crime.

Do you realize that both Hilter and Stalin were also very much in favor of gun control? It is YOUR responsible to defend YOURSELF!
I believe in the second amendment, and when I get back to the states I plan on buying a revolver, and a bolt action rifle. I'm also Jewish, and I feel safer armed than unarmed. Cops are worthless, and I could never put my life in their hands.
Does no one remember the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising? A few Jews with a handful of guns stopped a division of the Waffen SS for a month. Jews will be SAFER with weapons.
As a Jew living in Texas, I can tell you I feel more comfortable knowing I can own, possess and carry a side arm, shotgun and rifles I own. The problem is most Jews are pacifists and look at those Jews with guns as heretics. The problem has always been that Jews in 20th Century Europe had no weapons to defend themselves. Tuvia Bielski of Latvia knew what it took to survive. Weapons! Even in the land of the free as a Jew never think that a society won't make all Jews scapegoats for something which occurs that undermines society. So, I own guns and am in the process of teaching my children how to use firearms. If I am going down I am going down fighting. Never again no matter where we live. Even in America!
As a Jew, I don't get why so many of us are in favor of gun control. If someone wants to hurt us, they will find a way. History has proven this over and over. When we beg for gun control, we are putting the protection of ourselves and our children in the hands of the government. Today, the government is happy to keep us from harm, but that is no guarantee that it will do so in the future. The history of our people is to believe that we are accepted and protected by the majority around us, only to discover that hardships and bigotry beyond our control can turn our safety and security on its head at a moments notice. I believe firmly that every Jew owes it to every other Jew to own and learn how to safely keep and use a weapon.
I wouldn't expect anything else from a representative of the reform movement. They took the guns away in Germany before Hitler started his final solution. The criminals will always have guns, no law can or will change that. The only defense against these perps is to have a fire arm and the proper training to go with it. This decision by the Supreme Court is good for the Jews as well as every other law abiding citizen.
check out: Death by "Gun Control" by Aaron Zelman and Richard W. Stevens
These laws have NEVER done anything serious to keep guns from "extremists, terrorists, and violent bigots." If these laws worked, Chicago would be the safest city in America, and we know by far that it is not. What these laws have done is prevent Jews from arming themselves for their own protection. The only blood that will be spilled because of this ruling is that of the violent criminals you fear, at the hands of their intended victims.
Um... You do know that you're not living in Middle Ages Europe, right? Jews are allowed to buy guns, too. The "Gun Criminals" already have guns. That's why they're not called "Pointy-stick Criminals".
I have to say this is a ridiculous article fueled by fear rather than fact. It has been proven time and again that gun control does nothing to stem crime...in fact, it often goes hand in hand with increases in violent crime. Ever notice how the cities with the strictest gun laws have the highest violent crime rates? It's not just a coincidence; criminals prefer unarmed victims. Another fact that has been ignored in this article is that historically, gun control has been in-comprehensively detrimental to the Jewish community....Hitler also preferred unarmed victims (Jews). Did you know the first U.S. gun laws were designed to keep guns out of the hands of the blacks....it seems that the KKK preferred unarmed victims as well. Simply put, gun control has always been and will always be a tool of oppression. Besides the lack of factual information it would also be refreshing to see a bit of common sense regarding this issue....for example, criminals don't care about laws, even gun laws, that's what makes them criminals. Law abiding citizens, however, do. At least now the law abiding citizen has the ability to defend themselves and their loved ones in the face of such evils. I will save the "assault weapons" spiel for another day but anyone who knows anything about ballistics and calibers will tell you that "assault weapons" are nothing more then guns that just "look scary". I submit a website for individuals wanting to know more about responsible firearm ownership: Jews for the preservation of firearm ownership. www.jpfo.org
The headline is misleading. Gun rights have not been broadened by this decision. Govermental restrictabilities have been narrowed.
We Jews own guns and hopefully we will have Right to Carry Laws now enacted. The racists and bigots who think attacking Jewish or Black citizens or any other minorities better think twice. Thanks NRA since I support the 2nd Amendment and have always. As far as gun control its like drug control and border control it does not work. Hand gun crimes in the United States are one big joke. Shalom
While I understand the concern of those that are worried about increased firearm ownership, their fears remain irrational. Instead of working to reduce or remove rights that have been a part of the United States since its founding, perhaps we should all work towards eliminating poverty, racial tensions, poor education, and worship of money in an attempt to remove the underlying causes of violence. Gun ownership is a fundamental individual right, it's just taken the Supreme Court a little while to restore what has always been.
This has to be the most ridiculous headline I have read in years. Why don't you read your article before writing the headline? It's irrelevant. It's a non-story. Only your headline, hopefully not written by the author, made it one. Google News picked it up. I guess that's what you wanted.
It appears that the author has forgotten nazi Germany and the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. 'Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.' George Santayana
Steve, One very glaring logical fallacy in your article – “gangs” and “criminals” do not go down to the local gun store and purchase their weapons. They buy them on the black market, from guns smuggled into the country or stolen. By outlawing gun ownership, only those that are already willing and able to break the law (criminals) will have possession of weapons. That is eerily similar to the Gestapo in Nazi Germany, where Jews were denied firearms ownership. By allowing for private gun ownership, criminals will be deterred from their activities as they now have to fear the repercussions. Ask yourself – why is it that areas in the US with the highest legal gun ownership have the lowest crime rates, and vice versa? A smart criminal prefers a defenseless victim. -Ari
I can understand the queasiness of many urban dwellers who live in close proximity to many of the nuts that feel they have a right to shoot people they don't like. But I for one don't trust the Government enough to want to live in a country where the Government alone is allowed to have the firearms and the populace is not. There are too many examples in history of unarmed populations being subjected to the tyranny of governments run amok, think Nazi Germany in the thirties and forties and the Soviet Union where tens of millions of people were done away with. I'll take my chances with the armed nut cases out there.
Instead of imagining what might happen to Jewish institutions and citizens in New York and Chicago if those cities' gun control laws are loosened, instead look at what is happening, or in this case not happening, to Jewish institutions and citizens in Florida's Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties. Florida's gun laws are models of what drives Paul Helmke and Mayor Bloomberg nuts. But if anything the Jews in South Florida experience less violence than their cousins in New York and Chicago. The press in Florida have repeatedly forcast "blood in the streets" as a consequence of loosening this restriction on guns or that, starting with Florida's "shall issue" concealed carry law in 1987. It hasn't happened yet here and I seriously doubt it will happen in New York. But if you're not convinced, perhaps you should consider relocating to South Florida.
Contrary to the opinion held by the Religious Action Center, Americans are now safer than before, given this new ruling. Self-defense is a right, not a privilege. Perhaps if more Jews would move out of those urban areas, they'd have a better view of America. We're not Nazis out here.
You do realize that if the firearm was a submachine gun it has been tightly regulated since the National Firearms Act of 1934, right? Assault weapons restrictions are focused on semiautomatic versions of military style firearms, and are based on cosmetics; there is nothing such assault weapons can do that other semiautomatic rifles cannot which are not so targeted. No new laws would prevent that submachine gun, since it is already tightly regulated. No new ones can be manufactured, strict background checks, FBI investigations, and approval by your chief law enforcement officer are required to own such a weapon, where it is permitted at all, and prices of such weapons are usually in the $10,000 and up range, making them more an investment instrument than anything else. Odds are if it was a submachine gun, it was an illegal one.
This is perhaps the most ill-conceived, historically ignorant piece I can imagine. Before Hitler started rounding up victims, he "controlled" guns. Gun control only helps tyrants. Criminals prefer unarmed victims, whether Jewish or otherwise....

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