Shawnee County D.A. will tell us what our rights are

Last Wednesday, at War on Guns, I was made aware of the first defensive use of a concealed handgun under the new Kansas law permitting this (a later, more detailed article can be found here). Michael Mah (the legally armed citizen) shot a 17 year old robbery suspect (armed with a stolen gun) at a Topeka gas station. The article points out that Mr. Mah was carrying his firearm with an Oklahoma permit. Remarkably, it was just earlier that same day that Kansas began honoring Oklahoma permits. Such is our “justice” system that I have little confidence that Mr. Mah would have avoided real legal problems, up to and including prison time, if the shooting had occurred 24 hours earlier.

Actually, even with the seemingly clear-cut justification for the shooting, and the unambiguous fact that Mr. Mah was licensed to carry a concealed firearm in Kansas at the time of the shooting, perhaps there is reason to fear for Mr. Mah’s legal situation, after all. The reason for this is that the District Attorney of Shawnee County is Robert Hecht, who has some rather odd ideas about the Constitutionally guaranteed fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms, and who seems rather less than pleased that private citizens may now legally carry defensive firearms. When reading this piece by Mr. Hecht, alarm bells go off at the very beginning, where he seems to show some disdain for the concept of the right of citizens to carry handguns for defense.

An issue popular with many has been the “right” or legal opportunity to carry firearms concealed on their person.

It’s not a “right,” Mr. Hecht, it’s a right–no quotation marks necessary. It may seem that I’m a bit overly sensitive about punctuation, but I can see no other purpose for the quotation marks beyond calling into question the concept of the right to bear arms.

He goes on to imply that as technology advances, perhaps our Constitutional rights should recede.

After all, in 1776, or when the Constitution was first presented to the states for ratification in 1787, firearms consisted of single shot black powder and ball muskets and hand pistols, not 14 shot, semi-automatic, .40 caliber, laser sight, sound and flash suppressant, hand guns or sound and flash suppressed .50 caliber rifles with laser sights and night visions with which a man can be dropped at 500 yards.

Setting aside the rather odd grammar in that sentence, does Hecht seem to be sensationalizing just a bit?

The next section of this edition of “Hecht’s Highlights” is titled “Nothing is Absolute.” That is a favorite prelude to arguments that “the right” featured in the Second Amendment isn’t really a right , or that “the People” means the National Guard, etc. Not surprisingly, he argues “without any further comment on the wisdom and/or possible unintended consequences of” the concealed carry law in Kansas, that it’s passage “was not without reservation.”

Hecht has a bit more wisdom for us near the end:

As is well recognized by those of us involved, there are way too many guns out there and they are sophisticated, high powered, with a numerous load. My fear is that as more guns become ever more close at hand in emotional surges, “road rage”, unrealistic fears, it will be reached for.

I am in no position to evaluate Mr. Hecht’s skills as an attorney, but his grammar certainly could use some work. By the way, I suppose “with a numerous load” refers to a large ammunition capacity, but that’s just a guess. It’s pretty clear that he thinks Kansas should never have instituted a concealed carry law–seems to me that he’s in the wrong line of work–he seems to be more interested in the legislative process of writing and debating laws than he is in prosecuting violators of the ones on the books.

I suspect that even an anti-rights enthusiast of Mr. Hecht’s caliber (no pun intended) would have trouble finding a way to prosecute a citizen who, with a legally carried pistol, wounded a robber, stopped a crime, and perhaps saved at least one life, but I also suspect he’ll look into it thoroughly–hopefully, the taxpayers of Shawnee County will think that effort as time well spent on Mr. Hecht’s part as they pay his salary.

Thanks to “PhoneCop,” at 1911 Forum, for the link to Mr. Hecht’s opinions about gun rights, and for some ideas on responding to Mr. Hecht’s positions.

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