In the midst of the debates about banning firearms with certain features, Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s failed attempt to ban New Yorkers from drinking soft drinks he felt were too large, and the debate over whether or not same sex couples should have the ability to enter into a legal contract to have the same legal rights and responsibilities as married heterosexual couples, a thought occurred to me: “Gee there are a lot of people out there who just want to ban things!”
Why is this impulse so prevalent in our society? It seems that nearly everyone wants to be free to live their lives as they see fit. I haven’t met too many people who favor any notion of limiting their freedom because elected officials passed a law or majority of fellow citizens took a vote. When it comes to one’s own personal liberties, everyone is a libertarian! Consider that the Gadsen flag underneath the coiled rattlesnake reads: “Don’t Tread on Me.”
But far too many of these same people who jealously defend their own liberties are more than eager to limit someone else’s when that someone else engages in an activity that, for whatever reason, offends them. No, when it comes to other people, these people who don’t want their liberties tread on are not libertarian but majoritarian (i.e. political might makes right).
Written by Brandon Combs, Director of the Calguns Foundation (@CalgunsFdn), and posted with permission.
In a press release issued by his office on Tuesday, California State Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) announced that he has introduced a new piece of legislation, SB 47, modeled after a bill he introduced last year [SB 249] but that was held by the State Assembly. The bill prohibited semi-automatic weapons like AR-15s and AK-47s from having devices known as bullet buttons and mag magnets….SB 47 will also prohibit add-on kits that allow high-capacity magazines.”
The text of the bill as it stands today is simply: “It is the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation relating to assault weapons.”
We’re not yet sure what “add-on kits” will defined as in SB 47 - the bill is currently a “spot bill” - but we are betting that Yee chief of staff Adam Keigwin will find some way to make a mess of the bill like he did last round. Sen. Yee’s SB 249 gun ban attempt, which stalled in the Appropriations Committee after significant efforts by the STOP SB 249 campaign (a project of CGF and dealer association) as well as groups like NSSF, would have forced gun owners to reconfigure their firearms as “featureless builds” and use detachable magazines (including lawfully-possessed large capacity magazines) or dispose of the firearms before the bill would have taken effect. If you haven’t seen the SB 249 YouTube videos by Wes Morris of Ten Percent Firearms and Jeff M of PRK Arms, be sure to check them out.
Senator Dianne Feinstein is no friend of the Second Amendment. After the movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado, Sen. Feinstein called for a new assault weapon ban. Now, however, she’s claiming that it’s even more important that these so-called “assault weapons” be taken off the streets in light of the tragic events last week at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
“Who needs these military-style assault weapons? Who needs an ammunition feeding device capable of holding 100 rounds?” Feinstein wrote on her campaign website. “These weapons are not for hunting deer — they’re for hunting people.”
On Sunday Feinstein laid out details of the bill.
“It will ban the sale, the transfer, the importation and the possession, not retroactively, but prospectively,” and ban the sale of clips of more than ten bullets, Feinstein said. “The purpose of this bill is to get… weapons of war off the streets.”
Ah, the old hunting argument. Before I address that though, I find it disgusting that the senator would choose to talk about her bill in light of what happened, especially since this most recent act had nothing to do with so-called “assault weapons”. Adam Lanza is alleged to have used two semi-automatic pistols to commit his acts of voilence that horrible day, and unless this assault weapon ban proposes to just hit all semi-automatic weapons, it wouldn’t touch the murder weapons.*
I’d also like to take a minute to remind Sen. Feinstein on the exact wording of the Second Amendment:
A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
Based on this from Cato’s Roger Pilon, apparently, the National Rifle Association only cares about some parts of the Bill of Rights:
NPR ran a story this morning, “NRA Targets One Of Its Own In Tenn. Race,” that nicely illustrates the perils of single-issue politics, although you’d never learn the principle of the matter from the NPR account. It seems that the NRA has launched a $75,000 ad campaign against state Rep. Debra Maggart, a long-time NRA member and avid gun-owner who a year ago had an “A+” rating from the NRA. Her sin? She and several other Tennessee Republican officials opposed a bill that would have allowed employees to keep guns in their cars while parked in their private employers’ parking lots.
The NRA’s Chris Cox, who’s spearheading this political vendetta and, in the process, is supporting Maggart’s tea-party backed opponent, invokes both “our First Amendment right to assemble to petition our government” and, of course, the Second Amendment, seemingly oblivious to the fact that neither is relevant here. In fact, the issue could not be simpler: individuals, including employers, have a right to determine the conditions on which others may enter their property.
What all the GOP candidates are after, are so-called ‘delegates.’Elected officials that will broker the convention of either party this fall. Officials are parcelled by the amount of votes, the candidates receive in the primary.
During Michigan’s primary recently, for instance, there were 30 official delegates, state-wide. Two were ‘at-large’ candidates, which meant they could be assigned individually to any winning candidate. The other 28 were ‘proportional’ ones, alotted through 14 congressional districts. During the push for the nominations in Michigan last night, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum spent millions of dollars to influence the voting population; with TV ads, pamphlets, media, interviews, rallies, stickers, and much more. Michigan’s grand sum of politcal expenditure was near six million bucks.
Delegates are what really counts at the GOP convention. What looks to be happening, is that no clear winner will come out victorious. There’s a righteous number: 1444 delegates will win any nominee the victory-nod of the Republican National Committee. Nationwide, 2169 delegates are extended for contestation, until the RNC celebration in Tampa, Florida. From the RN Committee, an additional 117 delegates are added into the mix, ostensibly to keep debate lively and clear-up dead locks. So what appears, on first looks, to be a rather hot-headed and fast paced Republican rocket-launch to the RNC, is more like a jammed or misfired pistol in a duel.
Momentarily, Mitt Romney is in the lead, with 167 total delegates. Rick Santorum is second with roughly half, at 87. Newt Gingrich won only one state and has 32, while Ron Paul has 19 carefully collected delegations. The count may reshuffle at any moment, since constitutionalism and populism together, ring alarm-bells in states such as Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico.
Gun control is in the news again. Sunday marked the one-year anniversary of the Tuscon shootings, when alleged gunman Jared Loughner killed six people and injured thirteen — including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who is still recovering from her injuries. The Daily Caller reports that despite lobbying from gun control activists the White House has offered little more than a nod in their direction, perhaps fearing the impact of any new anti-gun legislation on the president’s reelection efforts in key swing states such as North Carolina, Ohio, and Virginia. But gun control activists aren’t backing off; progressive news program Democracy Now! reports that one survivor of the 2007 Virginia Tech shootings, Colin Goddard, is pushing for new gun curbs.
A very different story has also been in the headlines. A recently widowed teen mother, alone at her isolated home in Oklahoma with her 3-month-old son, shot and killed an intruder on New Year’s Eve. 18-year-old Sarah McKinley of Blanchard, Okla., said that she had to make a choice between her son and the intruder, 24-year-old Justin Shane Martin when Martin busted down the door to her home. “I chose my son over him,” said McKinley in an interview with CNN, describing her decision to fire the 12-gauge shotgun that killed Martin. No charges will be filed against McKinley and prosecutors have said that an alleged accomplice, 29-year-old Dustin Louis Stewart, may actually be charged with Martin’s murder.
As the tenth anniversary of 9/11 approaches this Sunday, I cannot help but feel it will be a commemoration of not one, not two, but at least three different tragedies that have befallen the American people. The first is the obvious tragedy of the attacks themselves, which took thousands of lives in an act of barbarism and insanity. The second tragedy is what happened to the American consciousness afterwards. And the third is what our children understand about it.
I read earlier this week about a poll from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. The results were disquieting, to say the least. Some of the highlights:
- 71% of Americans favor surveillance cameras in public
- 47% support the government reading emails outside the US without a warrant
- 30% support the government monitoring emails within the country
- 58% support random searches involving full-body scans or patdowns at airports
- 35% support racial or ethnic profiling at airports
- 55% support the government snooping into financial transactions without a warrant
- 47% support a national ID card to show to authorities on demand (a “Show-Me” Card, if you ever watched Fringe)
- 64% believe it is “Sometimes necessary to sacrifice some rights and freedoms” in order to fight the war on terror
- 53% think you can’t be too careful dealing with people (which is a slight improvement from 2002, I suppose, which was 58%, but…)
- 54% would, between counterterrorism and civil liberties, come down on the side of civil liberties
Like I said, disquieting. All but the last should be far lower; the last should be far higher. Only 54% would go for civil liberties? That means 46% would put counterterrorism operations above what it actually means to be an American?
Ever since the tragic shooting in Tucson, anti-gun forces have been wringing their hands. They see it as a golden opportunity to continue to demonize a mere object, a tool that protects far more lives than it harms, and score political points with their base. Many are proposing a new assault weapon ban, under the deluded idea that it would somehow have prevented the Tucson tragedy.
First, it has about as much likelihood of passing as Whoopie Goldberg has of winning Miss America, but let’s take a look at the reality of what a new assault weapon ban would actually have.
Obviously, we have to guess at what it would look like based on the previous assault weapon ban. Any new law could have significant differences that we won’t know until a bill is formally introduced and makes it through committee. However, much of the talk has indicated the bill will be without significant differences save for the lack of a sunset provision.
The focus for the new AWB will be magazine capacity. Previously, any magazine over ten rounds was deemed illegal to manufacture for civilian use. All so-called high capacity magazines were marked “For Law Enforcement Use Only”. It was illegal to have one of these magazines. However, magazines produced prior to the AWB were still legal.
Even under the old AWB, this wouldn’t have prevented anyone who wanted a 30+ round magazine from getting it, the law simply made them more expensive. Gun stores often hand some on hand, and internet websites still offered them for sale to those willing to use the web for their purchase. It wasn’t difficult to find them.
Based on news reports on today’s arguments in McDonald v. Chicago, it seems that the Supreme Court is going to incorporate the Second Amendment to the states through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
The Court did punt on taking up incorporation through the Privileges and Immunities Clause, which as Ilya Shapiro calls “an unprincipled jurisprudence and one that hurts the rule of law.”
The general rule for me is if Alex Jones says it, don’t take it seriously. And that’s what I said on Thursday to several friends that e-mailed me a link to a story about how the Missouri Information Analysis Center (MIAC) basically correlates libertarians and more specifically supporters of Ron Paul, Bob Barr and Chuck Baldwin, with potentially being a domestic terrorist or member of a militia.