MYTH #2: The Second Amendment prohibits strict gun control. While the Supreme Court ruled in D.C. v. Heller that bans on handgun ownership were unconstitutional, the ruling gives the state and federal governments a great deal of latitude to regulate that gun ownership as they choose. As the U.S. Second Court of Appeals put it in a recent ruling upholding a New York regulation, “The state’s ability to regulate firearms and, for that matter, conduct, is qualitatively different in public than in the home. Heller reinforces this view. In striking D.C.’s handgun ban, the Court stressed that banning usable handguns in the home is a ‘policy choice’ that is ‘off the table,’ but that a variety of other regulatory options remain available, including categorical bans on firearm possession in certain public locations.”
MYTH #4: We only need better enforcement of the laws we have, not new laws. In fact, Congress has passed several laws that cripple the ability for current gun regulations to be enforced the way that they’re supposed to. According to researchers at the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, a series of federal laws referred to as the Tiahrt amendments “limit public access to crime gun trace data, prohibit the use of gun trace data in hearings, pertaining to licensure of gun dealers and litigation against gun dealers, and restrict ATF’s authority to require gun dealers to conduct a physical inventory of their firearms.” Other federal laws “limited the ATF compliance inspections” and grant “broad protections from lawsuits against firearm manufacturers and retail sellers.”
MYTH #5: Sensible gun regulation is prohibitively unpopular. Not necessarily. As the New Republic’s Amy Sullivan reported after the series of mass shootings this summer, a majority of Americans would prefer both to enforce existing law more strictly and pass new regulations on guns when given the option to choose both rather than either/or. Specific gun regulations are also often more popular than the abstract idea.
The 2nd Amendment Requires That Arms be Well Regulated. That Sounds Like Federal Gun Control. Heller v. District of Columbia, Civil Action No. 08-1289 (RMU), No. 23., 25 Supports That Interpretation In Ruling & Appeals
#GunControlNow #GunSense #Repeal2A
American Gun Control Is Constitutional & Required by The Constitution Any Organization Like The @NRA That Values Guns Over Dead Children is Evil & Must Be Defeated.
The tragedy happens—yesterday (OCTOBER 2, 2015) at a school in Oregon, and then as it will again—exactly as predicted, and uniquely here. It hardly seems worth the energy to once again make the same essential point that the President—his growing exasperation and disbelief moving, if not effective, as he serves as national mourner—has now made again: we know how to fix this. Gun control ends gun violence as surely an antibiotics end bacterial infections, as surely as vaccines end childhood measles—not perfectly and in every case, but overwhelmingly and everywhere that it’s been taken seriously and tried at length. These lives can be saved. Kids continue to die en masse because one political party won’t allow that to change, and the party won’t allow it to change because of the irrational and often paranoid fixations that make the massacre of students and children an acceptable cost of fetishizing guns.
In the course of today’s conversation, two issues may come up, treated in what is now called a trolling tone—pretending to show concern but actually standing in the way of real argument. One is the issue of mental health and this particular killer’s apparent religious bigotry. Everyone crazy enough to pick up a gun and kill many people is crazy enough to have an ideology to attach to the act. The point—the only point—is that, everywhere else, that person rants in isolation or on his keyboard; only in America do we cheerfully supply him with military-style weapons to express his rage. As the otherwise reliably Republican (but still Canadian-raised) David Frum wisely writes: “Every mass shooter has his own hateful motive. They all use the same tool.”
More standard, and seemingly more significant, is the claim—often made by those who say they recognize the tragedy of mass shootings and pretend, at least, that they would like to see gun sanity reign in America—that the Second Amendment acts as a barrier to anything like the gun laws, passed after mass shootings, that have saved so many lives in Canada and Australia. Like it or not, according to this argument, the Constitution limits our ability to control the number and kinds of guns in private hands. Even the great Jim Jeffries, in his memorable standup on American madness, says, “Why can’t you change the Second Amendment? It’s an amendment!”—as though further amending it were necessary to escape it.
In point of historical and constitutional fact, nothing could be further from the truth: the only amendment necessary for gun legislation, on the local or national level, is the Second Amendment itself, properly understood, as it was for two hundred years in its plain original sense. This sense can be summed up in a sentence: if the Founders hadn’t wanted guns to be regulated, and thoroughly, they would not have put the phrase “well regulated” in the amendment. (A quick thought experiment: What if those words were not in the preamble to the amendment and a gun-sanity group wanted to insert them? Would the National Rifle Association be for or against this change? It’s obvious, isn’t it?)
The confusion is contemporary. (And, let us hope, temporary.) It rises from the younger-than-springtime decision D.C. v. Heller, from 2008, when Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for a 5–4 majority, insisted that, whether he wanted it to or not, the Second Amendment protected an individual right to own a weapon. (A certain disingenuous show of disinterestedness is typical of his opinions.)
This was an astounding constitutional reading, or misreading, as original as Citizens United, and as idiosyncratic as the reasoning in Bush v. Gore, which found a conclusive principle designed to be instantly discarded—or, for that matter, as the readiness among the court’s right wing to overturn a health-care law passed by a supermajority of the legislature over a typo. Anyone who wants to both grasp that decision’s radicalism and get a calm, instructive view of what the Second Amendment does say, and was intended to say, and was always before been understood to say, should read Justice John Paul Stevens’s brilliant, persuasive dissent in that case. Every person who despairs of the sanity of the country should read it, at least once, not just for its calm and irrefutable case-making but as a reminder of what sanity sounds like.
Stevens, a Republican judge appointed by a Republican President, brilliantly analyzes the history of the amendment, making it plain that for Scalia, et al., to arrive at their view, they have to reference not the deliberations that produced the amendment but, rather, bring in British common law and lean on interpretations that arose long after the amendment was passed. Both “keep arms” and “bear arms,” he demonstrates, were, in the writers’ day, military terms used in military contexts. (Gary Wills has usefully illuminated this truth in the New York Review of Books.) The intent of the Second Amendment, Stevens explains, was obviously to secure “to the people a right to use and possess arms in conjunction with service in a well-regulated militia.” The one seemingly sound argument in the Scalia decision—that “the people” in the Second Amendment ought to be the same “people” referenced in the other amendments, that is, everybody—is exactly the interpretation that the preamble was meant to guard against.
Stevens’s dissent should be read in full, but his conclusion in particular is clear and ringing:
The right the Court announces [in Heller] was not “enshrined” in the Second Amendment by the Framers; it is the product of today’s law-changing decision. . . . Until today, it has been understood that legislatures may regulate the civilian use and misuse of firearms so long as they do not interfere with the preservation of a well-regulated militia. The Court’s announcement of a new constitutional right to own and use firearms for private purposes upsets that settled understanding . . .
Justice Stevens and his colleagues were not saying, a mere seven years ago, that the gun-control legislation in dispute in Heller alone was constitutional within the confines of the Second Amendment. They were asserting that essentially every kind of legislation concerning guns in the hands of individuals was compatible with the Second Amendment—indeed, that regulating guns in individual hands was one of the purposes for which the amendment was offered.
So there is no need to amend the Constitution, or to alter the historical understanding of what the Second Amendment meant. No new reasoning or tortured rereading is needed to reconcile the Constitution with common sense. All that is necessary for sanity to rule again, on the question of guns, is to restore the amendment to its commonly understood meaning as it was articulated by this wise Republican judge a scant few years ago. And all you need for that is one saner and, in the true sense, conservative Supreme Court vote. One Presidential election could make that happen.
“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.” – The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
Four years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court singlehandedly inserted the judicial system into the ongoing national debate over gun laws in America. In a 5-4 decision in 2008’s District of Columbia v. Heller, the Court invalidated the District of Columbia’s handgun ban and firearm storage law, stating for the first time that the Second Amendment protects a responsible, law-abiding citizen’s right to possess an operable handgun in the home for self-defense.
Heller was unquestionably a radical decision, overturning the Court’s previous ruling that the Second Amendment was tied to state militia service. For almost seventy years, lower federal and state courts nationwide had relied on that pronouncement to reject hundreds of Second Amendment challenges.
The Heller decision immediately drew strong criticism from a wide array of legal scholars, historians, advocates and legislators, including a particularly scathing rebuke from respected conservative judge Richard Posner, who noted that, “The only certain effect of the Heller decision will be to increase litigation over gun ownership.”
In fact, new litigation started almost immediately. The day that Heller was announced, plaintiffs filed a lawsuit challenging the City of Chicago’s handgun ban, with a second suit filed the next day. Other suits emerged soon after, escalating once the Supreme Court confirmed that the Second Amendment also applied to state and local laws in 2010’s McDonald v. City of Chicago decision. After that case, the number of lawsuits challenging gun laws nationwide skyrocketed.
Thankfully, despite the explosion of litigation, courts across the country have rejected the overwhelming majority of Second Amendment challenges initiated since Heller. Gun rights advocates and criminal defendants across the country have sought to expand the Second Amendment to invalidate almost every gun law on the books today. In siding with us and the majority of Americans who support sensible gun laws, courts are finding that smart laws aren’t just constitutional – they’re also critical to keeping our communities safe from gun violence.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) staff headquartered in Fairfax, Virginia is generally a tightly-controlled, secretive lot. While NRA board members like Ted Nugent, Ken Blackwell and Charles Cotton are prone to rant and go off-message, one usually gets the sense that such behavior is curtailed at the staff and executive level.
Since Newtown, however, there have been some illuminating moments suggesting that the premier gun lobby might not be able to control its worst impulses as well as we think. In June 2014, the organization issued a remarkably sensible statementabout the Open Carry of guns (“Let’s not mince words, not only is it rare, it’s downright weird and certainly not a practical way to go normally about your business while being prepared to defend yourself.”), only to reverse their position just 24 hours later (“Our job is not to criticize the lawful behavior of fellow gun owners.”). That internal dust-up received quite a bit of media attention.
An even more disturbing NRA revelation was largely ignored by media last week, however. On October 20, the NRA tweeted a link to a blog post by North Carolinian and former PJ Media writer Bob Owens with the text, “Make no mistake, anti-gunners are ‘calling for forcible disarmament.'”
The blog post, titled, “Gun Confiscation Fantasies are Fast-Tracking the Democrat Party to Destruction,” is a deeply insurrectionist screed in which Owens fantasizes about a violent civil war with Democrats who support gun reform. In Owen’s words:
I merely hope that we get to the 2016 elections … These radicals are pushing hard for action [on gun laws], now, and they’re proving with every passing day that reason and constitutionality are the least of their concerns. We do not want a civil war against the radical left wing of the Democrat Party, but let it be made abundantly clear that if they start one, they will be utterly destroyed by armed free citizens, as the Founders intended.
Accompanying the blog post is a photograph of a gallows with the caption, “This is where the survivors of the Democrat rebellion will meet their end.”
I’ve been writing about the NRA’s insurrectionist ideology for quite some time at this space, and they are normally careful to skirt any outright call for political violence. In sharing Owens’ piece, they seem to have crossed a line.
There is nothing new about Owens’ fantasy about gallows and the mass execution of Liberals who support gun violence prevention laws. It dates back to The Turner Diaries, a novel written by the neo-Nazi William Luther Pierce in 1978 under the pseudonym Andrew Macdonald. The novel envisions a violent revolution spurred by the enactment of new gun laws sponsored by a Jewish Member of Congress. Pro-gun activists win the war, then round up survivors who supported the legislation and execute them en masse, including by hanging. The novel was published just one year after the NRA’s “Cincinnati Revolution,” in which insurrectionist hardliners took control of the organization at its annual convention. Timothy McVeigh called The Turner Diaries his “Bible.” To this day, you can find it at virtually every gun show in America (along with an NRA recruitment booth).
The lynchpin here, of course, is the perverted and dangerous idea that the Second Amendment provides an individual right to engage in violence against government officials (including law enforcement and military service members) when one personally believes our government is acting “tyrannically.” Needless to say, our Founders didn’t take kindly to this idea (see Shays’ Rebellion and the Whiskey Rebellion). Nonetheless, the NRA has promoted insurrectionism to the point that it has become the foundational belief of the modern pro-gun movement, with even “sensible” high-profile Republicans like Florida Senator/Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio advocating its tenets.
Now that the NRA is embracing those who are openly fantasizing about shooting and killing Democrats in the post-Tucson (mass shooting) era, will some of those high profile supporters begin to distance themselves from the organization and its toxic ideology? Probably not, given the media’s lack of attention to the group’s latest threat.
That’s a shame, because there is a real danger here that the next Timothy McVeigh is out there, taking all this violent rhetoric in, and preparing to act.
There is a silver lining here for those of us who care deeply about gun violence, however. The way I see it, there’s one of two possibilities concerning this tweet. Number one, an NRA communications staffer lost his/her cool about the current political winds concerning the gun issue and shared Owens’ colossal temper tantrum (“If we can’t get our way on gun policy through voting, we’ll kill you instead!”) without thinking carefully.
Number two, the tweet was given careful thought, and the NRA believed that such a threat was necessary to help forestall gun reform given the current political climate. That means they are losing confidence in their traditional means of persuasion — bare-knuckle backroom political deals and barrels of campaign cash.
The energy level in the gun violence prevention movement has been off the charts since the terrible tragedy at Umpqua Community College, and Owens’ post strikes me as the desperate cry of a man who knows his guns will not afford him control over others for much longer. That the NRA would stoop so low to share it is proof positive that gun violence prevention activists are making serious progress and scaring the biggest dog on the pro-gun side.
Currently 40 percent of firearms sales involve private parties or gun shows and do not require checks
Police chiefs from across the United States called on Monday for universal background checks for firearms purchases, saying opinion polls consistently show that most Americans support such restrictions.
The proliferation of firearms is one of the factors behind a rise in homicide rates in many U.S. cities this year, according to senior law enforcement officials at the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference in Chicago.
Acknowledging the power of the gun lobby and the reluctance of Congress to enact stricter gun laws, the police chiefs told a news conference they were not anti-gun but wanted to keep weapons out of the hands of people with criminal backgrounds.
Current rules on background checks apply to licensed dealers, but up to 40 percent of firearms sales involve private parties or gun shows and do not require checks, the chiefs said.
“This is a no-brainer, this is the simplest thing in the world,” Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said. “It troubles me all the time.”
Backing the effort is an alliance of organizations representing police chiefs and executives, such as the Major Cities Chiefs Association and groups representing women, Hispanic and African-American law enforcement executives and police chiefs, as well as campus law enforcement administrators.
McCarthy said he was passionate about the issue after four years on the job in Chicago, which has more shootings and killings than other big cities like New York and Los Angeles and where police seize illegal guns at a much higher rate.
The police leaders called for expansion of background checks to cover all gun purchases and for a stronger background check system to ensure all agencies share the same records including criminal and mental health backgrounds.
Mass shootings in the United States such as the one at a community college in Oregon this month where a gunman killed nine people typically renew calls by some officials for more gun control.
A Gallup poll released last week showed 55 percent of Americans preferred tighter regulations on gun sales, something the National Rifle Association generally opposes. Pro-gun groups say increased background checks for gun buyers could infringe on Second Amendment rights to keep and bear arms.
“We took on the tobacco industry years ago,” McCarthy said. “We’re not going to give up, it’s the most obvious thing in the world what we have to do in this country. I have more faith in America.”