Month: November 2019

High Crimes and Misdemeanors

High Crimes and Misdemeanors

Frustration and Anger

There are times when my frustration at current events runs so high that I have to vent–some would call it a rant. Over the last 10 years I have seen the political system fail many of us. Often, most of us are voiceless, and have no avenue through which to express our frustration. My epiphany occurred during an election for U. S. Senate seats. I experienced the divide between the voting power of densely populated urban-suburban areas, and less populated rural areas. After the election, I contacted “my” Senator to express my views and concerns over a national debate. The response I received was virtually, “Thanks for your letter, but I don’t care about what you think.” The exchange gave me a renewed appreciation for the electoral college (as an aside, I think states should have similar provisions for U. S. Senatorial elections, or repeal the 17th Amendment). It also changed my mind about term limits, which I now support.

 

High Crimes and Misdemeanors

A phrase we have heard repeated over the last three years is “high crimes and misdemeanors.” Most often it is heard in the context of a public official committing so grave an offense some consider it grounds for removal from office.

Oaths of Office

Oaths of public office usually include something to the effect, “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; . . .” And, the last time I checked, referring to the Constitution includes all its Amendments.

I cannot help but wonder if someone who has taken this oath, and attempts to curtail the tenets of the Constitution without a duly affirmed Amendment is guilty of a high crime and misdemeanor? Does a promise to commit a high crime or misdemeanor disqualify someone running for public office?

A Wearisome Litany of (Gun) Crime Prevention

Every contestant in the Democratic primary has voiced his or her intention to curtail “gun crime.” Most often they refer to highly publicized incidents involving multiple victims committed with rifles they deem “assault weapons” (the newest label is “assault firearm”). The mimeographed script from which they recite includes:

  • Ban “assault” weapons.
  • Ban “high capacity” magazines.
  • License gun owners.
  • Register all guns and their owners.
  • Require all gun transfers to be federally approved and recorded.
  • Tax private gun ownership out of existence.
  • Classify gun owners and advocates as extremists and supremacists.
  • Authorize “pre-crime” confiscation without due process.

Elimination Through Bankruptcy

While the anti-crime script includes legislative approaches, other means to eliminate private gun ownership are being attempted. One occurring in Connecticut is to sue firearm manufacturers for marketing dangerous implements to masculine egos. While slower, if there are enough successful suits, gun manufacturers will either stop marketing commercially, or be economically forced out of business–bankrupted.

Such a move begs the question if manufacturers can be sued for marketing to egos, will auto manufacturers be sued for tailoring their marketing of high horsepower vehicles toward masculine egos? Can car makers be sued if someone robs a bank and uses one of their cars while doing so? If one tool manufacturer can be sued because someone used their product to perpetrate an illegal act, why not others?

Although the Connecticut lawsuit is very narrow, it raises the specter of other state’s attorneys-general to create inventive ways to persuade firearm manufacturers, through economic intimidation, to stop selling guns for private ownership.

Coming Attractions: Ban Everything-Grandfather Nothing

Ban everything! Virginia is about to experience a gun ban that virtually outlaws everything that has a magazine, with no grandfather clauses (Virginia SB-16). If you own it, you are a felon! Period!

Further, the bill is written in such a way that the owner of a banned firearm cannot transfer it or transport it to anyone. By default, the only way to get dispose of a banned firearm or magazine is to destroy it.

Another bill (SB-64) pre-filed in Virginia classifies anyone who teaches another to use a firearm as a felon if there is reason to believe the instructor should have known(?) the person being taught intended to use the firearm in an act of civil disobedience.

But don’t worry. Your state is next!

Restore Your Voice

There are ways we, as gun owners, can restore our voice. As I found out, writing to elected representatives can be an exercise in futility. Arguably, the most effective is to monetarily support organizations that fight back:

  • Firearms Policy Coalition. “Firearms Policy Coalition is a 501(c)4 grassroots, non-partisan, nonprofit organization that advocates for individual liberties and important constitutional rights—especially those protected under the First Amendment (Free Speech, Association, etc.), Second Amendment (Right to Keep and Bear Arms), Fifth Amendment (Takings, Due Process), and Fourteenth Amendment (Due Process, Equal Protection, Privileges and Immunities)—sound public policy, and related issues through legal action, direct and grassroots advocacy, research, education, outreach, and other programs.”
  • Second Amendment Foundation. “The Second Amendment Foundation is dedicated to promoting a better understanding about our Constitutional heritage to privately own and possess firearms. To that end, we carry on many educational and legal action programs designed to better inform the public about the gun control debate.”
  • Gun Owners of America. “Gun Owners of America is a non-profit lobbying organization formed in 1975 to preserve and defend the Second Amendment rights of gun owners. GOA sees firearms ownership as a freedom issue.”
  • National Rifle Association. Originally organized to “promote and encourage rifle shooting on a scientific basis” in 1871, the NRA is now a multi-faceted organization with educational, legislative, and lobbying divisions.
  • Save the Second.  There are some who suggest the NRA is past its usefulness, especially when one considers other, more directly active, defenders of the Second Amendment. However, the NRA has a nationally recognized cachet, even though it has been eroded by turmoil. Save the Second is trying to restore the integrity of the NRA to make that cachet even stronger: “In order for the NRA to be strong, relevant, and effective, we must reform the leadership and bylaws, reduce the amount of wasteful expenditures, and refocus the NRA on the primary task of providing firearms training and education and protecting the Second Amendment.
    Our vision is to save the Second Amendment by strengthening the National Rifle Association. We hope to grow the NRA’s membership, improve its public image, and secure the NRA’s long-term ability carry out its stated purpose of protecting our “individual rights of self-preservation and defense of family, person, and property,” as provided in Article II, Section 1 of the NRA Bylaws.
    Save the Second is a coalition of gun owners, Second Amendment supporters, and firearms instructors working to strengthen to National Rifle Association from the inside. We are NRA members, prospective members, and former members with grave concerns about the recent scandals and negative media coverage that now plague the organization and the slow response from current leadership. We support the NRA’s mission, and we want the NRA to do the same.”

Fight back. Support and defend the Constitution of the United States against its domestic enemies. Restore your voice!