2nd Amendment Rights – Some Setbacks, and a Few Wins

Bob Barr,

When the U. S. Supreme Court issued its seminal rulings in Heller (2008) and McDonald (2010), finding that the Second Amendment does in fact guarantee an individual right to keep and bear arms that must be recognized by the states, many Americans felt like the issue of the Second Amendment had finally been settled in America. Unfortunately, as we would quickly see in Chicago, Washington, D.C., and elsewhere — it was only the latest chapter in what has become an endless battle for the natural right of self-defense.

Take, for instance, the District of Columbia’s post-Heller “fix” to its unconstitutional gun laws — forcing citizens to obtain a license to carry firearms outside their home, but failing to provide any mechanism by which to obtain a license.  In other jurisdictions, including Illinois and Seattle, officials attempted to create de facto gun bans by increasing the cost of ownership through taxes and fees, regardless of the impact on minority citizens. Former President Obama, too, had his own way of side-stepping these otherwise clear Supreme Court rulings, and employed the resources of numerous agencies and departments — most of which have no colorable jurisdiction over firearms, such as the FDIC and CDC – in an often unnoticed drive to undermine the 2nd Amendment.

You have to give gun control advocates points for being clever; which is what makes a recent ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit all the more frightening.

2a_small 2nd Amendment Rights – Some Setbacks, and a Few Wins Second Amendment

Despite the clear, well-reasoned rulings in Heller and McDonald, the 4th Circuit took the exact opposite approach in upholding Maryland’s “assault weapon” ban; and, in doing so, created an entirely subjective litmus test for what types of guns could be regulated by the State.

The appellate Court found that Maryland’s ban of 81 firearms was “legal” because the guns were “weapons of war.”  This conclusion is beyond laughable, insofar as U.S. military versions of such civilian firearms are capable of fully automatic fire, which the civilian versions at issue in the court case are not.

The Fourth Circuit justices, like Bill Clinton with his 1994 “assault weapons” ban, chose to base its decision not on facts, history, or common sense, but on whether the firearms at issue “looked” like military-style firearms.  “La La Land” wins again.

As Justice Clarence Thomas noted in 2015, “if a broad ban on firearms can be upheld based on conjecture that the public might feel safer (while being no safer at all), then the Second Amendment guarantees nothing.”

Perhaps now the Supreme Court might finally hear a challenge to these arbitrary bans on semi-automatic weapons, after passing on several post-Heller requests for clarification on the issue.

However, despite this ludicrous Fourth Circuit ruling, there have been some positive developments for gun rights. Last week, President Donald Trump signed a bill from Congress that stopped a proposed rule change made in the twilight of the Obama Administration, requiring the Social Security Administration (yet another agency employed by Obama in his war on guns) to report to the FBI citizens deemed “mentally defective,” so as to prevent them from owning firearms — without any due process before depriving them of this constitutional right. The fear, and rightfully so, is that this list of disqualifying factors of gun ownership would include non-impairing conditions, such as eating disorders.

Another bill aimed at protecting innocent Americans from having their rights arbitrarily curbed is the “Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017,” a version of which has been introduced in both the House and Senate. The Act intends to create a national system of reciprocity among states for holders of concealed carry permits, eliminating the fear and uncertainty for law-abiding individuals when traveling through states like Connecticut, California, and Maryland. Finally, travelers may be able to exercise their right to self-defense without having to worry about being slapped with a felony simply because they crossed a state line.  But this battle is far from over.

Finally, the long-awaited “Hearing Protect Act” may reach the president’s desk this year after failing to do so in 2015. The bill, H.R. 367, would eliminate a $200 fee associated with buying a silencer; but more importantly, remove regulatory hurdles that have kept most law-abiding citizens from purchasing such items since 1934. Liberals, convinced the reality of guns is what they see in a Hollywood movie, are in hysterics; but the truth is silencers (more properly known as “suppressers”) muffle, but do not eliminate, the report of a firearm being fired, so as to protect the hearing of the shooter and those in the vicinity.

The first weeks of Trump’s presidency have been filled with at least a few wins for the Second Amendment. However, it is more important than ever to be vigilant about the counter-efforts of gun control advocates, who remain very much alive and well in both houses of Congress — and in both parties— and in state legislators from coast to coast.

  • DrArtaud

    It is imperative that the military style weapon ban be reversed. These activist courts are legislating from the bench. The National Firearms Act of 1934 restricted, not banned, but restricted, the sale of fully automatic weapons, silenced weapons, short barrel rifles, and sundry items, by imposing a $200 tax on them. In order to purchase one today, application needs to be made, background checks done, and I believe there are storage requirements. The Assault Weapons Ban of 1986 made the sale of new fully automatic weapons illegal, anything manufactured after a specific date, but the extant ones can still be sold subject to the tax, background checks, and proper storage.

    So, these guns were not found to be sufficiently “military in nature” in 1934 and again in 1986, to warrant a prohibition of ownership to law abiding Americans. Though I oppose private ownership of fully ordinance functional tanks, howitzers, bazookas, anti-aircraft weapons, and similar, I am acutely aware of the 2nd Amendment’s nature. It is not about hunting, nor self defence from hooligans, rather it is the check and balance provided by our Founders to control a tyrannical govt. Military appearanced semiautomatic weapons function identically to sporter style semiautomatic weapons, so that any wood stocked sporting rifle with a removable magazine, or one that could so be fitted, will function just the same.

    Previously, democrat legislators actually went through a gun catalog and picked models to ban. This resulted in the ludicrous banning of some make/model guns while leaving identical modelled guns on the market simply because they weren’t in the “catalog”. In order to rectify that problem, democrats adopted a “characteristics” ban. Bayonet Lugs, magazines in front of the trigger guard, magazine capacity, flash arrestors, etc. This amusing take resulted in banning Henry Rifles designed in the late 1800s due to magazine capacities and Olympic Competition Pistols due to the magazine in front of the trigger guard.

    The action in Maryland claiming the ban is Constitutional is not supported by facts, by history, by the Constitution, or by the writing of the Founders.

    I depart with the author though on silencers. I live in Mt. Oliver, a small town located in the City of Pittsburgh and listed by one online site (newspaper) as the 2nd most dangerous area in Pennsylvania (when adjusted for population). Shootings are constant. My wife heard gun shots, asked me to turn-on the police radio, and I corroborated her claim, she heard someone being shot to death. I have heard gun battles where people have been wounded, my wife and I together hearing other incidents, and a plethora of gun shot incidents where nothing was found. The city has installed gun shot detectors in various areas and they actively call for data from them when shots occur.

    My wife heard shots, we turned on the police radio, and our illustrious Mt. Oliver police said it was nothing based on the single call to the Pittsburgh Dispatch reporting it (our borough freely has city police enter to help and at times our police help them). My wife was livid, reaching for the phone like a gunslinger reaches for his pistol, and she called it in. The dispatcher then reported they were receiving multiple calls, and the man wounded in the gun battle my wife overheard walked into the local paramedic station for transport to the hospital. Terror would rain down on city neighborhoods as silencers became more popular.

    We had a woman that worked at McDonalds shot as she walked home from work. An older woman, she survived after much struggle, but lives in constant fear of being in public. The shooter, a black man, when caught weeks later, said he shot her because he likes to shoot people. And just within the last few days, a man was shot in the neck with a BB Gun, embedding the BB, it came from a small group of black males, in the middle of the afternoon, with the victim fleeing with his coat covering his head.

    I support silencers bought under the current laws, pay the tax, register, but dear lord, keep these out of the hands of criminals as much as possible. Though some may make the claim the same would apply to firearms in general, the 2nd Amendment regulates that, The Right to Keep and Bear Arms “Shall Not Be Infringed”, it says nothing about silencers.

    I do, though, support removing the tax and registration requirements on Short Barrelled Rifles and Shotguns, or reevaluating the lengths permitted and decreasing them from the 18″ (shotgun) and 16″ (rifle), as well as allowing shoulder stocks on handguns.

  • Dr Studebaker

    Screw off 2nd A is my Judge jury And you can bet Executioner I’ll Not bend To any man or Bitch to be enslaved EVER So Fuck Off You want Ruby ridges all over Waco’s Go ahead Try to disarm us