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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Obama, Meet Hale DeMar

As President Obama talked last night about the sanctity of one's home in discussing the arrest of Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. at the hands of the Cambridge, Massachusetts, Police, it caused CQ Politics contributing columnist Bill Pascoe to wonder why Obama did not feel the same way about Hale DeMar.

For those not familiar with the tale of Mr. DeMar, Mr. Pascoe gives a detailed account:

DeMar was a 54-year-old restaurateur whose home in Wilmette, Illinois was burgled on the night of December 29, 2003 by Morio Billings, a 31-year-old recidivist whose rap sheet included some 30 arrests, plea deals, and convictions for home burglary and the like. Billings was AWOL from the Army and in violation of his probation. On the following night, the burglar -- having stolen, among other things, keys to the house and a BMW X5 SUV -- returned, to continue his robbery.

This time however, the perp was met by Mr. DeMar and his .38-caliber Smith & Wesson pistol met Billings with DeMar shooting Billings twice. Billings fled DeMar's home in the stolen SUV, and was arrested shortly thereafter at Evanston's St. Francis hospital, where he had gone to seek medical attention. Unfortunately for Mr. DeMar, he lived in a villages surrounding Chicago that had an ordinance banning handguns, the violation of which carried a fine of $750. While the Cook County State's Attorney decided that he would press no felony charges against DeMar for having let his Firearm Owners Identification Card lapse, the Wilmette village attorney that, home-defending hero or not, DeMar was going to have to be punished for violating the village's ban on hand guns.

Fortunately for DeMar, the state legislature thought differently and with relative ease passed a new law indemnifying a gun owner in such a situation against such a prosecution.

In May 2004, it passed the state House by a vote of 90-25, and Senate by a vote of 41-16. In August, then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich vetoed the bill only to have it overridden in November 2004 by a vote of 85-30 in the House and 40-18 in the Senate.

You probably know from last year's election that then state Senator Barack Obama voted against the legislation not once, but twice.

So, while he waxes indignant about the way Professor Gates was treated in his own home, even after first admitting he did not have all the facts, he had no problem with the home of another individual being violated not once, but twice, by a criminal.

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