Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Right To Bear Arms – The Dangers Ahead

"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." 
Thomas Jefferson

Before we discuss the perils faced by the Second Amendment, I want to mention a couple of items from Inauguration Day, 2013.

In his inaugural address yesterday, Barack Obama said, “Being true to our founding documents does not require us to agree on every contour of life.  It does not mean we all define liberty in exactly the same way…” 

Excuse me? Is there more than one definition of liberty? Is it the right or obligation of government to tell us which form of liberty we are entitled to, or which liberties we might be allowed to exercise?

Earlier on Inauguration Day, White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer commented: “There’s a moment of opportunity now that’s important. What’s frustrating is that we don’t have a political system or an opposition party worthy of the opportunity.”

When Pfeiffer says we don’t have a worthy political system, is he talking about the same system our nation’s founders created with those pesky checks and balances? Which political system would be better?  Perhaps he’s talking about one of those effective systems where the president can make all the decisions without Congress or an opposition party. These types of systems are called dictatorships for a reason.

Now we come to gun control.

Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein of California is likely to introduce her 2013 Gun Control Bill as early as today. You can read a PDF summary of the bill HERE.

While it appears on the surface that this particular legislation has little chance of passing, Barack Obama says he will support it. But if this proposal – or one like it - doesn’t pass Congress, many items on Feinstein’s wish list just might show up in a series of Obama executive orders.

A few of these drastic changes might also be accomplished if a new Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms director – with the president’s blessing – issues regulations related to the following egregious violations of the Second Amendment.

As I’m sure you are aware, the president believes the Constitution outlines a set of “negative liberties,” and he has said he will put the “weight” of his office behind significant gun control. While claiming to support the Second Amendment, he has expressed his disdain for gun ownership in the past. Considering his multiple changes in positions over the years, I don’t trust him. Do you?

Let’s take a look at Ms. Feinstein’s proposed legislation which represents the first step in the Progressive/socialist movement’s plan to disarm the American people.

This bill would:

Ban the sale, transfer, importation, or manufacturing of:

  • 120 (1/24/13 UPDATE: 157) specifically-named firearms (1/24/13 UPDATE: See list HERE);

  • Certain other semiautomatic rifles, handguns, shotguns that can accept a detachable magazine and have one military characteristic;

  • Semiautomatic rifles and handguns with a fixed magazine that can accept more than 10 rounds;

Strengthen the expired 1994 Assault Weapons Ban and various state bans by:

  • Moving from a 2-characteristic test to a 1-characteristic test;

  • Eliminating the easy-to-remove bayonet mounts and flash suppressors from the characteristics test;

  • Banning firearms with “thumbhole stocks” and “bullet buttons” to address attempts to “work around” prior bans;

  • Banning large-capacity ammunition feeding devices capable of accepting more than 10 rounds.

Claims to protect legitimate hunters and the rights of existing gun owners by:

  • Grandfathering weapons legally possessed on the date of enactment;

  • Exempting over 900 specifically-named weapons used for hunting or sporting purposes;

  • Exempting antique, manually-operated, and permanently disabled weapons;

Would require that grandfathered weapons be registered under the National Firearms Act, to include:

  • Background check of owner and any transferee;

  • Type and serial number of the firearm;

  • Positive identification, including photograph and fingerprint;

  • Certification from local law enforcement of identity and that possession would not violate State or local law;

  • Dedicated funding for ATF to implement registration.

This entire inventory of firearms regulations makes the average person wonder what part of “shall not be infringed” that Senator Feinstein does not understand.

The proposals above eliminate most assault weapons, many shotguns and handguns, and limit the size of magazines. The exact list of prohibited weapons is still under wraps. Although there is a “grandfathering” provision, that portion of the bill is eviscerated by the requirement that those grandfathered weapons be registered with the federal government.

As anyone who knows history will tell you, registration is the last step before confiscation. Most of the millions of firearms in America are owned by fiercely independent, Second Amendment-loving Americans who are dedicated to the Constitution and its liberties. Therefore, we can expect that many millions of Americans might very well not register their firearms.

The best way to avoid these draconian gun laws is to drown our Congressional representatives with phone calls and letters, letting them know their careers are over if they vote for such laws. You can locate your own Senator or Representative HERE.

That might temporarily solve the problem in Congress, but the Barack Obama/executive order/regulation problem is out of our control. If the president does commit such heinous acts in violation of the Constitution, we must then turn to our state and local leaders.

As you may be aware, many sheriffs and state officials around the country have indicated they would either not enforce such federal laws or they would pass their own laws nullifying any federal attempt to restrict the right to bear arms. Let your state and local representatives know you support such efforts.

Please share this information with your friends. Americans must not be disarmed like the Russians, the Chinese, the Australians, the British, or others.

We shall continue to watch, report, and comment…..

Charles M. Grist
Author of the award-winning book My Last War: A Vietnam Veteran's Tour in Iraq

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