Category: Constitutional Issue

Guns and Ammo: Ban, Tax, and Confiscate!

Guns and Ammo: Ban, Tax, and Confiscate!

Using Crisis for Sleight of Hand and Misdirection

While we have been distracted by our focus  on COVID-19, and the efforts to mitigate the contagion, our U. S. House of Representatives (and now the U. S. Senate) is attempting a feat of prestidigitation through misdirection. A bill was introduced that would effectively nullify the Second Amendment, and possibly eliminate private ownership of firearms in a generation: H. R. 5717, the text of which is available here.

In an era of nanny-state legislative and executive order overreach, the House of Representatives has kicked the nanny, “We’re the government, and we’re here to help” boundaries beyond all sense of reason. To misquote Admiral Nimitz, “Uncommon nonsense was a common virtue,” applies abundantly to the proponents of this bill!

UPDATE (3/24/2020): Not to be outdone by the House, Senator Elizabeth Warren introduced S. 3254. Essentially, this bill is a clone of the House version.

The End Run: License It, Ban It, and Tax It!

There have been anecdotal suggestions to repeal the Second Amendment for decades. Most anti-gunners recognize trying to do so would likely fail, or at least take so long as to be unacceptable. The alternative? License it, ration it, ban it, and tax it into non-existence.

This bill includes every infringement on the Second Amendment a rabid anti-gunner could possible conceive, and salivate over: Mandatory owner training and federal licensing, universal background checks, national gun registration, semi-automatic firearm and magazine bans, increases in firearm (30%) and ammo (50%) taxes, red flag laws, repeal of firearm manufacturer protection when someone uses a firearm illegally, expansion of gun-free zones, grants to incentivize states to enact similar legislation, and the inevitable tax-payer funded “research” into gun violence and its prevention .

Is it just me, or does this one have a “Bloomberg smell” about it? This flurry of anti-gun activism makes me wonder if it is an effort to over-load the senses of reasonable people, and browbeat them into “compromising” to pass at least some of it.

The Irony of H. R. 5717

A fundamental and tacit presupposition behind anti-gun proposals is the position that law enforcement is always available to protect citizens from attack. Therefore, it is unnecessary to have potentially dangerous tools available to protect yourself. The problem with that tacit understanding is that the U. S. Supreme Court, as well as developing case law, has ruled the police have no duty to protect citizens not in their custody. To add to the irony, police departments in some metro areas are now announcing they will no longer respond to “minor” offenses as they attempt to integrate communicable disease mitigation practices while performing their role as law enforcement.

A second flaw in the “police are always available” presupposition is response time. Attacks happen in real time; they happen NOW! Police responses are after-the-fact. That is, at the moment an attack begins, the probability of the police being there, at that moment, is remote. We grant that police responses in metropolitan areas are usually short, but they are still finite, and typically range in being minutes away. Response times can be significantly longer in rural areas.

Protest the Enactment of this Proposed Bill

One of the few mechanisms we have to protest this effort at government overreach, and hopefully defeat it, is to contact our representatives. U. S. House members can be contacted through https://house.gov. U. S. Senators can be contacted through https://www.senate.gov/senators/contact. Register your protest!

UPDATE (3/24/2020): The Firearms Policy Coalition created a website where you can send your opposition to these bills to your House and Senate representatives. FPC’s site is here.

The Future of Gun Control: Virginia and Beyond

The Future of Gun Control: Virginia and Beyond

Gun Control 2020 – The Post-Constitutional Decade

Unless you have been mimicking the proverbial ostrich, you are probably aware of the bevy of gun control bills recently introduced in the Virginia legislature. The proposals range from restricting privately owned gun ranges to law enforcement use only (but only if no one nearby feels threatened) to banning the possession of any firearm that is not a bolt or lever action. By the way, there is no “grandfather” provision where you can retain listed firearms obtained before the proposed ban without government oversight. Only if you register yourself and your firearm with the State, and receive its permission to possess it will you be able to keep your legally obtained property.

Virginia: A Test Case for Gun Control Advocates

Do not be deceived. This flurry of Virginia anti-gun legislation is a test balloon to gauge the political will and muscle of Virginia’s Second Amendment supporters, and by extension, the political will and muscle of gun owners nationwide. Passage of even a modicum of the proposed Virginia bills likely will result in other like-minded states following suit with similar legislation, as well as federal legislation. Damn the electorate–full speed ahead! Other 2A advocates suggest 12 more states are ready to launch similar efforts depending on the outcome in Virginia.

Everytown for Gun Safety Pledges 60 Million Dollars

It appears that the Bloomberg backed (read financed by) Everytown for Gun Safety has pledged 60 million dollars to the 2020 election cycle. That figure does not include Bloomberg’s personal contributions to anti-gun candidates. It is likely that states assessed by Bloomberg’s political machine as vulnerable for flipping from conservative to liberal will be the targets–that suggests “swing” states, like North Carolina. Bloomberg’s position is that no one — NO ONE — should have a gun, except police officers, the military, and of course personal protective service “professionals” for elites such as he. Hmm, can anybody say, “Germany, 1932,” or “Venezuela?”

Demigods and Other Persona

Bloomberg, in one of his political ads, called President Trump a “demigod.” The definition of a demigod is “one so preeminent in intellect, power, ability, beneficence, or appearance as to seem to approach the divine.” Bloomberg’s approach to abridging the electorate’s rights protected by the Constitution through his political clout, monetary contributions to achieve his purposes, and the “I know better than thou what is good for thee” attitude suggests he is no less a demigod than the one he accuses.

After the recent Texas church shooting, where a madman  killing people with a shotgun was stopped by a member of the congregation, Bloomberg pontificated, “It’s the job of law enforcement to have guns and to decide when to shoot. You just do not want the average citizen carrying a gun in a crowded place. . . .” It very nearly sounded as if he wanted a Southerland Springs-like episode to entrench his “guns are evil” mantra.

Other anti-gun sycophants have been recorded as saying, “[Repeal of the Second Amendment] will happen. We’re not going to allow guns for anyone, anywhere, any time.” Except of course, for police, military, and their own corps of private bodyguards.

“Sue ‘Til They’re Blue”

The National Redistricting Action Fund, backed by Barack Obama and Eric Holder (the same of “Fast and Furious” fame) repeatedly sues, through judges sympathetic to their cause, to overturn gerrymandering–their term for political districts drawn by Republicans. Instead, they want to institute their own form of gerrymandering that suits their agenda–turning the state blue, as they did in Virginia–while blocking their opponents.

So, what has redistricting to do with rights protected by the Bill of Rights? Can you say Virginia? By creating uneven district lines that favor liberal voting patterns, anti-gun legislators from centers of high population can create a political and legislative juggernaut that can run rough-rod over the state’s rural areas that typically are more conservative.

Local Resource

There is a group in North Carolina that is attempting to stand up to the Bloomberg-Obama-Holder ilk, preserve the Bill of Rights, and stop North Carolina from becoming another Virginia: Grass Roots North Carolina. The future of gun control, for good or ill, depends on an informed and engaged electorate.

 

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!