Gun Law Update
by Alan Korwin, Author
Gun Laws of America
Jan. 8, 2009
Brady Gun-Ban Strategy Outlined
(Prior report with Brady gun-ban lists:
The powerful gun-ban lobby has developed its own language to color and disguise its true agenda -- the disarming of law-abiding Americans in every way possible, and the end of effective self defense.
Their latest set of plans -- used as a fund raiser (outlined below) -- is filled with nice sounding terms that put a deceptive spin on their goals. Respect for the Bill of Rights is nowhere to be found, only clever end runs and literal destruction of rights Americans have always had.
Starkly missing from these plans is any direct attack on criminals -- the whole game plan is aimed at firearms the public holds. It is a product of abject gun fear -- hoplophobia -- that afflicts the people behind the plan. They deny they're hoplophobic, but just look at their plans, directed solely at restricting and eliminating guns -- instead of the crime caused by criminals they nominally complain about. I noticed that all mentions of accident prevention, a former holy grail for the group, are gone.
The hypocrisy is unequivocal and self evident. Sarah claims, "We need to get these 'killing machines' off our streets." Well, go ahead. Any person, on any street, operating any "killing machine" belongs in prison immediately under existing law, right? Everyone, even the Bradys, know this. It doesn't matter if your gun is black, or too short, or holds the right amount of ammo.
The problem isn't the "machines," it's the lack of law enforcement -- in the bad parts of town and among the gangs where most of the problems occur (see maps: http://www.gunlaws.com/GunshotDemographics.htm). They will not admit this, and they do not address this.
Instead, they act out on their phobia and attack you and me. The real problem of crime and violence is just an excuse for them to work on disarming people who didn't do anything.
The Federal Bureaucracy of Investigation, along with the Bureaucracy of Alcohol and Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives are in complete sympathy with the plan. The Brady plan will get them more staff, more office space, more of our money and more power, the acknowledged holy grail of bureaucrats.
Politically Corrected Glossary -- of Bradyspeak
(See the entire glossary: http://www.gunlaws.com/politicallycorrect.htm)
TERMS THEY USE / WHAT THAT MEANS
"Commonsense" gun laws / Public disarmament laws
Lifesaving legislative agenda / RKBA infringement plan
Gun pushers / Heavily regulated honorable gun dealers
Gun violence / Undeterred and unprosecuted felonies
Gun violence prevention measures / Illegal infringement laws
Assault weapon bans / Public gun bans
Gun show loophole / Universal gun registration
Close the gun show loophole / Close gun shows
Suspected terrorists / Attorney General listings
Killing machines / Semiauto firearms
Crime fighting / (The term is not used)
Criminal apprehensions / (The term is not used)
Incarceration of violent perpetrators / (The term is not used)
Revolving door judiciary / (The term is not used)
Gun safety training / (The term is not used)
Respect for the Second Amendment / (The term is not used)
All quotes from Sarah Brady unless noted --
"As soon as President-elect Obama is inaugurated and the 111th Congress is sworn in, the Brady Campaign will be making an all-out push to advance our lifesaving legislative agenda... But that doesn't mean we are waiting until Inauguration Day."
"We are already reaching out to Obama's transition team, as well as our allies in Congress" on numerous fronts:
-- A blueprint for regulatory action
-- Roll back Bush's policies that made our "streets into shooting galleries"
-- Lists of appointments to Justice Dept., BATFE and federal courts
-- Provide funding to increase the number of people in the NICS Index
Two announced regulatory changes:
-- "Strengthen" ATF's authority to regulate "gun pushers"
-- Overturn the recently lifted ban on CCW in National Parks (Brady is calling for a boycott of such parks where 'dangerous people are free to roam armed' -- without realizing the silliness -- anyone legally armed in a park can carry anywhere else in the state, what's the difference?);
-- [Note that in the recent past, RKBA opponents have also sought to regulate guns out of the public's hands using:
-- The Centers for Disease Control (currently banned from such actions);
-- The Consumer Products Safety Commission (currently banned from such actions);
-- Proposed new entities such as the so-called "Dept. of Peace" (a cabinet-level office more accurately a "Dept. of Social Engineering," with enormous regulatory power over the military and RKBA, more here, see item #9: http://www.gunlaws.com/PageNine-27.htm);
-- A proposed gun-safety agency akin to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, "The National Firearm Safety Administration" (more here, see item #1: http://www.gunlaws.com/Page9Folder/PageNine-53.htm);
-- Massive increases to the excise tax on firearms and ammunition, to make both only affordable to an elite class of rich people;
-- Gun-ban proposals from the U.N., designed to overturn U.S. laws and RKBA through enforceable international treaties (a policy stopped in its tracks by former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton, but which would be embraced by Obama's minions)]
-- Unmentioned anywhere is the horrific Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990, unenforced so far, that criminalizes any non-CCW travel with a firearm within 1,000 feet of school grounds -- which is virtually everywhere in populated areas (maps: http://www.gunlaws.com/Gun_Free_School_Zones.htm).
Top Legislative Priorities:
-- Enact a new, larger, permanent ban on a tremendous variety of firearms to be labeled assault weapons.
-- "Extend the Brady criminal background check to every gun sale. America's gun policy should be: No background check, no gun, no excuses."
-- Close the loophole that allows "suspected terrorists" to buy guns. [Note: If for any reason you become "listed" you're not only stopped from shopping, but any guns you own could become contraband -- because a person prohibited by a NICS check is presumptively a prohibited possessor. Removal from the "suspected" list might involve the FISA spy court, where civil rights are suppressed in the name of national security. Good luck.)
-- "An end to the violence enabled by toothless gun laws."
-- "An all-out push to advance our lifesaving legislative agenda."
-- "Real change to protect our families and support law enforcement."
-- "Make preventing gun violence a national priority in 2009."
-- Use the media to advance the cause: "Obama can be a powerful ally -- and a powerful voice to rally the American people to our fight to stop gun violence."
Dismantle The Heller Case
The Heller decision was a double-edged sword, everyone recognized that. Now it's time for the Bradys to use Heller to attack the Second Amendment:
"Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has held that the Federal government cannot ban all guns, but that the government can place reasonable restrictions on gun ownership -- a position Obama shares -- the days of gun control being too controversial an issue for candidates to run on are over," says Ms. Brady.
"Scare tactics about gun bans aren't going to work anymore now that the NRA's slippery-slope argument about gun confiscation has been dismantled by the Supreme Court."
In a little noticed speech at the New York Bar Association in December, which I was fortunate to attend, Brady president Paul Helmke said of the Heller case, "The Supreme Court got it wrong." It's obvious the anti-rights people feel that way, and this implies they will seek to overturn the decision if they can seat a majority of their ideologues on, or bring the right case to, the High Court. Obama's statements about Supreme Court nominees do not bode well in that regard.
[Obama has said: "We need somebody who's got the heart, the empathy, to recognize what it's like to be a young teenage mom. The empathy to understand what it's like to be poor, or African-American, or gay, or disabled, or old. And that's the criteria by which I'm going to be selecting my judges." And: "If we can find people who have life experience and they understand what it means to be on the outside, what it means to have the system not work for them, that's the kind of person I want on the Supreme Court." There is no mention of rule of law, original intent, rules of interpretation, historical record or precedent.]
Helmke went on to say that the dissent and the list of restrictions will be the crucial parts of the decision (for him at least). "This is going to be good for my side," because, "the slippery slope is gone." In other words, with the High Court ruling out the total bans the Bradys have been fighting to get, they believe that all sorts of lesser bans cannot be argued against. "They (the High Court) took confiscations off the table," he said. "Any gun, anytime, anywhere is off the table." Although the Bradys desperately wanted and vigorously pursued total bans, they're now trying to turn lemons into lemonade.
Regarding the end to total bans, and the individual rights v. collectivism subterfuge that's now dead, "That was the hardest thing for me to argue," Helmke said, "taking the collective-militia-rights vs. individual rights, and the D.C. total ban off the table is going to help us politically. We de-wedgified the issue." In an eye-popping statement, Helmke said, "I don't consider the Brady Center anti gun."
He went on to try to apply the Heller case to one of his most detested firearms, ".50 caliber sniper rifles are not that common," so they may be subject to control under the "dangerous and unusual" provision in the Heller opinion.
He's referring to where the Court said: "We also recognize another important limitation on the right to keep and carry arms ... fairly supported by the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of 'dangerous and unusual weapons.'"
But they also said: "...we have explained, that the sorts of weapons protected were those 'in common use at the time.'" (Like .50 cals many people own and enjoy?) And quoting historical material the Court noted: "... a militia would be useless unless the citizens were enabled to exercise themselves in the use of warlike weapons." Be very cautious, Helmke's statements cannot be left standing unchallenged.
The six panelists at that presentation generally agreed that the question going forward is, What's the test for reasonable restrictions?
Although most ardent gun-rights proponents' knee jerk response might be "no infringement of any kind at any time," it rapidly becomes obvious that, at the very least, disarming violent felons -- or anyone convicted and in prison -- does not amount to infringement. Some sort of limits on the very young, mental incompetents and similar restraints are permissible boundaries around the right to keep and bear arms. But anything that disarms the general public, even slightly or incrementally, is cause for alarm. Would disarming politicians be acceptable?
The Heller case -- where there were not five votes to apply strict scrutiny to 2A (the highest judicial test for robust protections) -- toyed with guidelines but set no iron-clad rules. On the low end however, it flatly rejected Breyer's invented so-called interest-balancing test, which would have meant virtually no limits to what the Bradys could shoot for.
On the pro-rights side, it's critical to hammer these bedrock portions of the decision in your writing, debates and fight for the RKBA:
"The Second Amendment extends, prima facie, to all instruments that constitute bearable arms, even those that were not in existence at the time of the founding."
"Putting all of these textual elements together, we find that they guarantee the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation."
"The way tyrants had eliminated a militia consisting of all the able-bodied men was not by banning the militia but simply by taking away the people's arms, enabling a select militia or standing army to suppress political opponents... because Congress was given no power to abridge the ancient right of individuals to keep and bear arms, such a force could never oppress the people."
"Virtually all interpreters of the Second Amendment in the century after its enactment interpreted the amendment as we do."
The right to keep and bear arms is a "specific enumerated right" on a par with "freedom of speech, the guarantee against double jeopardy, the right to counsel." I think of it this way: The right to keep and bear arms is a specific enumerated right on a par with free speech.
"The very enumeration of the right takes out of the hands of government—even the Third Branch of Government—the power to decide on a case-by-case basis whether the right is really worth insisting upon. A constitutional guarantee subject to future judges' assessments of its usefulness is no constitutional guarantee at all. Constitutional rights are enshrined with the scope they were understood to have when the people adopted them, whether or not future legislatures or (yes) even future judges think that scope too broad."
[Note: You can get all 400 key quotations from the case, and comments by 20 top scholars, in my 11th book, The Heller Case: Gun Rights Affirmed http://www.gunlaws.com/hc.htm].
So just how far can the Bradys push? They're prepared to push all the way, and as their current proposals suggest, they will stop at nothing. But they didn't count on us.
Alan Korwin, Author
Gun Laws of America
Permission to circulate or post this Gun Law Update granted.
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