A Law Student's Attempt to Understand It All.

Friday, February 20, 2009

AntiGun Legislation

This bill has been largely ignored lately, so I would like to bring the topic back up again.

HR 45 would radically increase the regulation of firearms and firearm sales. The highlights include:
  • A written examination requirement for buying firearms (yes, this works so well for driver's licenses)
  • A purchaser must release all of his medical records to the federal government (so much for privacy)
  • A two day waiting period
  • Creates a national database of firearms owners
Now, I will refrain from examining the merits of such silly gun regulation. What is more important, as Rocky Mountain Gun Owners points out, is the idea of compromise. Be also weary of less visible means of regulation. The anti-gunners (this bill was brought by an Illinois representative, big surprise) know that this level of regulation will not pass Congress. So what are their options?

I. Be Wary of Compromise

They can hope for compromise. The NRA has not exactly been the sentries they claim to be on gun rights. Sometimes, in the name of political pragmatism, the NRA has compromised when faced with extremist anti-gun legislation. Rather than hold the Congress' accountable to the voters (who would, in large part, be against such a measure), the NRA has backed down.

Are no-compromise groups like the Gun Owners of America the answer? Possibly. The no-compromise stance is proper whenever the anti-gunners out there seek to restrain the right to bear arms. Thus, there should be no compromise on HR 45. However, when seeking to expand (or, rather, retake) the right to bear arms, the NRA's style of incremental steps works better. Learn the lesson from the left: little steps lead to big changes over time. Our country did not turn semi-socialist overnight-- it took years of dedication from the political left.

So, stand firm when facing restrictions, be willing to compromise to get the territory back.

II. Be Wary of Regulatory Agencies and State Action

Where else can the anti-gunners hope to find more restrictions on our 2d Amendment rights? They can look to regulatory agencies and the states.

Ever since the election of an anti-gun president and legislature, the fear in the gun stores has been a return of Assault Weapons Ban. HR 45 would seem to be the start of such action. However, the same could be accomplished by simply giving the BATFE and others the ability to further regulate.

Here is an example. Currently, the BATFE must pass on every single gun model proposed to be offered for sale in the US by a foreign manufacturer. One of the most popular gun makers is Glock (from Austria). Many models of Glocks are available in the US, but some are difficult to obtain (i.e. the 25 and 28) because they do not fit the "sporting purpose" mathematical formula of the BATFE. If the BATFE chose to make the requirements more stringent, then they could ban more guns (note that Glocks, XDs, Taurus guns, and many Springfields and Smith & Wessons are imported).

California, Illinois, and Maryland have instituted similar back door bans via regulation. The most onerous examples are requiring every gun to be test fired and the bullet kept at the state's investigative bureau, requiring "microstamping" of every case fired in a gun, requiring "smart guns,"adding CCW permit holders to be registered in the state's crime information center (similar to the federal "NCIC"),high registration fees, "waiting periods" (like a sociopath cannot be patient), etc. Further, home rule cities often have even more restrictions (think Chicago, and, until recently, DC).

Thus, the danger of gun regulation lies beyond the visible actions of Congress. Indeed, the Assault Weapons Ban was a terrible political move for the Democrats last time. Therefore look for extreme positions followed by offers for compromise. Also, we must be watchful of BATFE, US Customs, FBI, and other regulatory agencies. We must fight in the state houses and city halls. Pay attention to what the Second Amendment Foundation, GOA, NRA-ILA, and locally RMGO have to say about coming gun legislation.

No comments:

Post a Comment