‘Enforce Existing Gun Laws’ Last Thing Rights Advocates Should Call For

By David Codrea

“Tell you what, guys – just enforce existing Intolerable Acts and we’re cool with that.”

USA – -(Ammoland.com)- Two recent advocacy pieces by Second Amendment stalwarts I support have contained a call to government action that actually works counter to our interests. It’s a call that many gun owner rights advocates have innocently repeated over the years, taking their lead from NRA. It’s a call we should soundly reject that says:

We don’t need new gun laws. Enforce the laws on the books.

The first part, true enough. The second part, let’s talk about…

We see it in a five point plan proposed by Rep. Dave Brat, the true conservative who ousted RINO Eric Cantor in Virginia (to the fury of Republican establishment elites), which starts out with four improvements:

First, the House should take up and pass Concealed Carry Reciprocity…

Second, the House should take up and pass H.R. 2001, the “Veterans 2nd Amendment Protection Act”…

Third, Congress should reel in the administrative state by passing H.R. 2710 the “Lawful Purpose and Self Defense Act”…

Fourth, block any and all attempts to pass legislation that could jeopardize individual’s due process through secret government watch lists…

Right on.  Yay, Rep. Brat!  But then there’s this:

Anti-gun politicians and presidential administrations can’t call for the expansion of the NICS system, but then neglect their duty to enforce current law.

He’s referring to prospective gun buyers rejected by NICS. He’s correct that the government rarely prosecutes when prohibited persons stupidly try to get a gun through an FFL and lie on the transfer form. And true, it’s useful pointing that out to show the gun-grabbers are insincere about stated “common sense gun safety” goals, and instead just want to keep adding incremental disarmament edicts until they get everything they want.

But we have to ask ourselves if we as gun owner rights advocates really want the feds to enforce existing gun laws. Disregard for a moment the prevalence of “false positives.” Let’s get to more basic questions:

Regardless of what our government “leaders” claim about Constitutionality, who can really honestly defend requiring prior restraints on gun transfers as a legitimate delegated function – let alone a “duty” — that comports with the Bill of Rights-mandated “shall not be infringed” proscription?

And doesn’t all credible real world experience demonstrate that “gun control” doesn’t work? Why is it in the vested interests of freedom advocates to surrender that point and volunteer the opposite, especially in the absence of anything but disarmament agenda talking points to argue otherwise? Now we’re saying background checks work? While at the same time we’re fighting Michael Bloomberg’s efforts to bamboozle state electorates into voting for them?

That’s what’s happening right now in Nevada, as our friends at Nevadans for State Gun Rights fight a valiant battle against Bloomberg’s funded-by-elites Question 1. They properly challenge Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson for supporting the new registration-enabling measure while noting “the lack of evidence that prohibited transfers are prominent in our community.” But then they take the next step, one that’s unnecessary and that can play right into the “Nevadans for Background Checks” argument:

“The focus of the initiative is to keep honest gun owners from transferring their guns to prohibited possessors. This is already prohibited under Nevada State law. We should be enforcing our current state laws rather than creating new laws that will only affect law abiding citizens.”

The inconvenient truth of the matter – even if no one wants to admit it – is that anyone who can’t be trusted with a gun can’t be trusted without a custodian. Barring that, no “background check” or other unworkable prohibition will keep them from harming others, or from getting their hands on whatever weapons they want. To maintain otherwise is to deny observable reality, and to open the door to controlling those who neither want nor need to be controlled.

It also bolsters the meme that this is about crime control instead of citizen control.

Demanding that government “enforce existing gun laws” is more than a bit like calling on King George to enforce existing Intolerable Acts. We’ll get no points from the gun-grabbers for being “reasonable.” We need to grok that we’re up against agents of tyranny who will stop at nothing, who will greedily gobble up whatever we cede to them, and who will then turn around and still accuse us of being uncompromising extremists.

We’ve all seen horror stories over the years about good Americans who have had their lives destroyed for running afoul of existing gun laws. An endorsement to enforce them represents tacit approval for those prosecutions – and for going after “I will not comply” advocates engaging in the time-honored American tradition of civil disobedience. It means going after every gun owner in California or New York or Connecticut or elsewhere who has refused to register “assault weapons” with hostile state governments, or going after those who commit other acts of defiance.

Lest there be any confusion, this is not an attack piece on Rep. Brat and our friends in Nevada. They deserve our support and gratitude for leadership they have given us.

It’s an appeal. Hopefully they and others will come to see and acknowledge that the unified and committed position needs to be:

Repeal existing gun laws.

David Codrea in his natural habitat.

About David Codrea:

David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating / defending the RKBA and a long-time gun rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament.

In addition to being a field editor/columnist at GUNS Magazine and associate editor for Oath Keepers, he blogs at “The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance,” and posts on Twitter: @dcodrea and Facebook.

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Great article! The NRA has puked out this “enforce the laws we have” crap for decades which defies logic. Why would the NRA make such a statement when the very laws they failed to defeat and were opposed to are now law??? So the NRA is in favor of enforcing the “assault weapons” bans in CA, MD, CT, MA, DC, etc??? No one thinks any more. This is as offensive and unconstitutional as the NRA’s Project Exile which promotes the enforcement of unconstitutional federal gun laws when state and local authorities make an arrest over which involves a firearm.

Timothy C

The false choice of “enforce existing gun laws” vs. “expanding gun laws” is missing the point entirely. All gun laws on the books or not, are UNCONSTITUTIONAL. Nowhere within the pages of the Constitution did the States (who created the FedGov) delegate any authority to legislate, create regulations, regarding firearms or otherwise infringe upon what is a natural right. Therefore BATF does not exist Constitutionally either.


No where in the 2A are there any qualitied phrases such “controlled, restricted or well-regulated.”

Jay Dee

Go find one of the older dictionaries and you will find that “Well-regulated” can mean smooth or practiced rather than apply increasing bureaucratic oversight until the activity ceases.


So by said reasoning the 2A involves muskets.


By said reasoning thr first amendment does not support computers, the internet, etc for free speech. Do you agree that you only have a right to share political speech in newspapers, but not internet forums like this?


“Well regulated” meant well functioning in the late 18th century. In addition, as the states ratified the constitution – as was sold to them by the federalists – the federal government and federal courts had no power over state laws on things like firearms. In other words, firearm laws were strictly a state issue a d federal laws and orgs like atf are unconstitutional.


Great point. Even worse for his case is the fact that hamilton was the most pro centralized, powerful federal government of all the founders – and even be wanted a well functioning armed public as a check on the state’s monopoly of violence.

Impartial Examiner Redux

The Second Amendment doesn’t exist in a bubble and anyone willing to take some time can quickly get the basis of its inclusion in the Bill of Right. Article 1, Section 8, Clause 15 & 16 had given authority to Congress to call forth the militia into service and to provide for the organizing, arming, and disciplining of the militia, this as well as the power to establish a standing army. Gave rise to concerns that the federal government would create an army that could overwhelm the states (people of the states) and at the same time neglect the obligation… Read more »



Considering the complete 180 that support for banning semi auto rifles has had in the last two deacdes, we could get bg checks repealed if all of the orgs and gun rights people focused on that message. Great article as always, codrea.


Completely agree. We need to shift the Overton window by talking about repealing bg checks, not increasing them.


Indeed. There is no delegated authority in the Constitution for the federal criminal syndicate to regulate who may have arms and who may not. Additionally, the federal criminal syndicate doing so is expressly prohibited; an entire clause was removed from the rough draft of the 2A just because CONgress MIGHT take it upon itself to do so under it. And illegality aside, it hasn’t done squat except ruin lives. When the illegal GCA68 was passed prohibiting entire classes of people from having arms, the gun homicide rate was steady at 4.5-5 per 100k. Since then, the rate has always been… Read more »


Excellent of you to cite John Lott.

At the very end I might suggest the amended language:

Repeal [all] existing gun laws [and regulations that are contrary to the Constitution of the United States].

So many republicans want to be regarded as ‘law and order’ or ‘rule of law’ conservatives, apparently neglecting the fact that the constitution comes first.

Or, for that matter, the Rule of God (The 10 Commandments).


Thank you David. This has been my argument for a good long while now. That said, at this time, I’m also willing to meet the prohibitionists halfway this year by eliminating half of all gun control laws. In 2017, we’ll meet ’em halfway again… See? I’m willing to compromise.

Silence Dogood

Ditto!!! We should start with the repeal of the National Firearms Act (NFA) promulgated by the Pro-Commie FDR. Then, repeal the Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA), virtually plagiarized by Democratic Senator Thomas Dodds from the NAZI Firearms and Ammunition Act of 1938. Now, that would be a good start!!


Yes! Lets do this! I’m also getting tired of explaining the arbitrary rulings of the ATF! Remanufacturing pistols into rifles and back again every second depending on how you hold a firearm is exhausting!


That’s how we got to where we are today, we compromised by half (or more) backwards every year. It is now OUR turn to compromise by half going FORWARD for awhile.