When an aide to Sen. James Webb, D-Va., was arrested in the Capitol for possession of his boss’ loaded handgun and two extra magazines, it wasn’t the first time a Democratic senator found himself caught violating the anti-gun laws of the District of Columbia.
There’s an amazing story about Sen. Ted Kennedy in a similar predicament two decades ago.
Yes, that Ted Kennedy – the one who has sponsored laws to take guns out of the hands of ordinary citizens but thinks they have their place in defending his life.
It all started in January 1986 when Kennedy hired Charles A. Stein Jr., a private bodyguard, to protect him on a trip to South America.
Stein, a former California cop who had worked for Kennedy for several years, came to the Capitol hours before the senator was due to leave for the airport. He parked his car and walked to the Russell Senate Office Building.
At the front desk, he told Capitol Police he wanted to check his firearms so he could go up to Kennedy’s office.
The Capitol Police opened the bag to discover two submachine guns, a pistol and 146 rounds of ammo.
Seconds later, Stein was in custody – hauled off to jail where he was charged with three counts of city gun violations.
But Teddy didn’t take this lying down.
He immediately called Attorney General Edwin Meese and Washington Metro Police Chief Maurice Turner demanding the release of his bodyguard.
Stein was released on his own recognizance, but the guns were never returned. They had to be held as evidence to be destroyed when the case was closed.
It turns out Stein had attempted to surrender his weapons to the wrong authorities. Had he given them to the Washington Police, he would have been OK. But Kennedy didn’t appreciate the fact that these were the laws his party had put in place in a city with the strictest anti-gun laws in the country.
When the Washington Post called to ask for the senator’s reaction to the arrest of his bodyguard, Bob Mann, his spokesman, said Stein had “assumed he was doing the appropriate thing rather than leave them unattended in an automobile, but because of this technical glitch in the law, he was stopped.”
Apparently lost on Kennedy’s office was the fact that the bodyguard was not arrested on a “technical glitch.” He was arrested because of the city’s absolute prohibition against possessing automatic weapons and handguns.
The good news is that absurd law may be set to fall like the Soviet Union.
Earlier this month, in an amazingly and uncharacteristically common-sense 2-1 decision by a federal appeals court, the District of Columbia’s 30-year-old handgun ban was overturned.
Even better, it was overturned for the right reason – the Constitution!
The judges found the protections of the Second Amendment “are not limited to militia service, nor is an individual’s enjoyment of the right contingent upon his or her continued intermittent enrollment in the militia.” The judges also ruled as unconstitutional the city’s requirement that registered firearms be kept unloaded, disassembled and under trigger lock.
“The (Second) Amendment does not protect ‘the right of militiamen to keep and bear arms,’ but rather ‘the right of the people,’” the judges said.
Even the dissenting judge in this case, Judge Karen Henderson, did not disagree with the substance of the constitutional argument. Her minority opinion contended the Second Amendment didn’t apply to the District of Columbia because it is not a state.
The ruling represents one of the most forceful defenses of the Second Amendment in any recent federal court case.
The arrest of Jim Webb’s aide illustrates just how ridiculous Washington’s gun laws are – penalizing the law-abiding in a city plagued with one of the highest murder rates in the nation.
Nevertheless, don’t expect the Ted Kennedys and Chuckie Schumers of the world to recognize the problem. They like living in a world where the rules they make apply to others, not to themselves.
The details of the the Kennedy gun caper can be found in “Politically Correct Guns” by Alan Gottlieb – along with many other humorous true stories about about notorious gun grabbers.