"Meaningful Action" and "the Conversation" are, of course, code for Gun Control.
Nothing has changed. The enemies of the Second Amendment still prefer to hide behind spin and codewords. If President Obama wants gun control (read, "Control" of the Citizenry by the Government), why doesn't he just say that? Does he and his power-grabbing Administration really think that the use of codewords fools anyone?
Obama's desire here is to eliminate or emasculate the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, and that is ALL he wants when he says "Meaningful Action".
In case you are new to the United States, we are a Nation of Laws, and the basis of all our Law is the Constitution. As soon as we ratified the Constitution, a Bill of Rights was added to it, delineating and enshrining all the individual rights and freedoms a citizen was to possess, into that Constitution. The first, and NOT arguably, the most important is Freedom of Expression. with it, the People are free to express themselves, including as to the directions of their Governments. The Second, and key to the enforcement of all of those enumerated freedoms, is that the People are free to Keep and Bear Arms, both for the defense of the Nation and, as recently interpreted, for personal defense. It is perfectly clear that the Founders included Freedom to Keep and Bear Arms as a key enumerated right because they feared that forces would exist to attempt to wrest control of their governance from the People and give it back to the forces of Imperialism.
The Bill of Rights, and incidentally, this is Bill of Rights Day, the Bill of Rights are Civil Rights, rights that every elected Government official, and many appointed officials as well, are sworn to uphold. That's uphold as enforcing them, not trying to change them, get around them, obfuscate them or deliberately introduce countervailing regulations to blunt the effect of these Civil Rights.
So, this merges into the "Conversation on Gun Control" that the Editor of the Oregonian newpaper was so adamant about in this morning's edition.
Yes, there needs to be a conversation. That conversation should start with the logical facts involved:
- The guns involved, their condition, their charging systems, the size of those, are all material facts that go no farther than the engineering of a gun, once an assault with a firearm is perpetrated. In such assaults, no legal blame may be assigned to the gun, it must, by law, be assigned to the perpetrator(s).
- The Constitution needs to be discussed. We do, in fact, have a Second Amendment which permits citizen access to, possession of, and carriage of firearms. It is beyond the pale to use this incident, any other incident, or all the incidents taken together, to try to diminish Second Amendment civil rights.
- The "Conversation" cannot start with limitation on guns. It might wind up there, but never until a showing has somehow been made that guns can legally be held responsible. That would take a ruling of the Supreme Court, and as an Officer of the Court for 25 years, I have NO clue as to what perversion of law would give an inanimate object legal responsibility for anything.
- That "Conversation" cannot start with discussion of an international treaty to forbid the possession of arms, because there is no international treaty which, when signed, can erase any part of the Bill of Rights. Constitutional Amendments can only be properly altered by new Constitutional Amendments or interpretation by the Supreme Court, which, no matter how many judges Obama appoints to it, is unlikely to take any position which could be remotely compared to abrogating the Bill of Rights. Such an abrogation would rightly be considered a "causus belli", a reason for the dissolution of the Republic.
Now that we have decided on the proper limits of this "Conversation", let's begin. What is left to discuss?
- We might discuss what firearms are actually covered by the Second Amendment. This subject has been litigated around it's edges only, but there should be a definite judgment as to what is a Second Amendment firearm. "A well-regulated militia..." ought to tell us that weapons of infantry are definitely 2A guns. That means that ARs, AKs, various Battle Rifles and light military-style carbines have to be permitted, along with such charging systems as to make them militarily appropriate. Handguns are less definite, since upon the Founding, they were carried by mostly officers or cavalry, but they'd probably pass muster, too, as would their usual charging systems. This means that magazine capacity restrictions on military-style rifles and pistols are probably un-Constitutional.
- Under a definitive look at 2A weapons, the NFA of 1934 et seq might NOT pass muster, as some military weapons useful to infantry are banned by the laws. M4 carbines have a under-length barrel, but are military issue now, as are some full-auto weapons in lighter categories (sub-machine guns, automatic carbines like the M4). For that matter, explosive rounds such as rocket-propelled grenades or rounds for grenade throwers all the way down to 12-ga are now in common use by infantry.
- What the Founders did NOT consider was hunting weapons. There is case law allowing those, and case law supporting the right of States and the Feds to regulate "Sporting Use" (3-round capacity of shotguns used for waterfowl hunting, ammo restrictions for same), but "Sporting Use" extension to eliminate weapons or ammunition choices for 2A-suitable firearms is probably a legislative over-reach, even as the FBATFE gets ready to try to eliminate solid point ammo all together under this department of law. Bottom Line, hunting guns are NOT in the 2A, although it could and has been argued that hunting was a universal right back in the Founders' day, and should be included. It is probably NOT a Civil Right under the 2A, though, which is why some states have adopted "right to hunt" laws in their State Constitutions. ID and LA have such laws, there might be others.
What is left to discuss? Training is left. It's quite possible that carriage of arms under the 2A could be ruled as something subject to definitive rules of training in operation and employment. Such training could get quite extensive, and if not observed, could result in a large part of the citizenry being denied their current rights under the 2A. Training of different degrees is required by most states for CHL issue.
Registration is left. It could be considered a "reasonable restriction", no matter how much the thought of it chaps our hides. A "well-regulated" militia has armorers and those armorers have to keep records of firearms, so registration might fly. Registration would have to be written carefully so as to not mandate entire classes of weapons out of the 2A.
Numbers of firearms possessed might be at issue. No soldier in any army or militia has more weapons issued than that soldier can manage in battle. Since militia duties are somewhat broad, that could mean that the 2A possession gets limited to a basic infantry rifle, several battle-days' of ammo, a sidearm, several battle-days for that, and maybe a riot-control shotgun. Grenades might be acceptable if NFA34 is dumped. Ligh and medium machine guns might be okay, but also might be restricted to organized militias.
Ammo type IS at issue. Frangible or part-jacketed ammo is considered legally unacceptable for official military duty. Hollow point ammo may go away. It already has in New Jersey. Now, I don't hold up New Jersey as an example of fierce protection of the 2A, but their regulation HAS stuck there for a number of years now.
Inspection is an issue. The Government probably CAN set up an inspection program and make it stick under the 2A, because, again, "well-regulated" militias do that.
There could be more items on the table at this "Conversation". Suffice it to say that the current Administration does not care at all for the present implementation of the 2A, and changing it to make it conform, in some respects, more to Militia Use, might be on their mind. That initiative of change might be so overwhelming as to present-day interpretations as to severely limit possession and use. for example, geezers like me are too ancient to be called for militia duty in any organized militia, and I might have a hard time being considered fit for duty even in an Unorganized Militia. Where do I fall within the 2A?
I could be off-base here, in fact, not being a Constitutional Scholar, any of my "Conversation" items might be off the table and I just don't know it, but it seems to me that the easiest way for the Government to enact severe gun control would be to re-enact a Militia Act, carefully drawn to meet the letter of the 2A, phase in enforcement, and phase out possession beyond the 2A. There could be a State's Rights issue there, but for sure, it would be the end of Reciprocity.
YMMV, but I see a lot of ways the gummint could interfere with the Keeping and Bearing, and make it stick.
Consider your 2A mellow harshed. Don't shoot the harsher/messenger, but please point out any innacuracy you find here. Be specific, please, and be polite. This is "polite conversation", after all. For now.