Anti-gun Senator Distorts the Law & Facts in Unsuccessful Attack on SCOTUS Nominee

Opinion

Dianne Feinstein
Dianne Feinstein

Fairfax, VA – -(Ammoland.com)- This week the nation was subjected to an embarrassing and undignified spectacle of obstructionist partisan politics surrounding the confirmation hearings of Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh for the U.S. Supreme Court. The Democrat caucus, understanding that Judge Kavanaugh is an eminently qualified jurist with an upstanding reputation and that the votes likely exist to confirm him, abandoned the norms of the Senate and of civility and resorted to childish and temperamental theatrics. This included talking out of order and over their colleagues, including Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley; encouraging disruptive and illegal protests in the gallery; and holding up large posters to distract the Judge as he answered committee members’ questions.

But while such demonstrations are merely obnoxious and juvenile, the more serious affront arose from committee members who were either too ignorant or too dishonest to accurately articulate the law and the facts in their exchanges with Judge Kavanaugh.

Case in point: arch anti-gun Senator Dianne Feinstein, who grossly exaggerated the criminal use of semi-automatic rifles and mischaracterized the Supreme Court’s Second Amendment precedent to attack the nominee for failing to embrace her political position on gun control.

The exchange came on day two of the proceedings, with Democrats becoming increasingly frustrated at their inability to ruffle Judge Kavanaugh or mount any effective resistance to his confirmation.

Senator Feinstein began by reminding the audience that her office wrote the federal “assault weapon” ban that was in effect from 1994 to 2004. It’s notable that her first misstatement of law concerned her own legislation. According to her, the law “essentially prohibited the transfer, sale, and manufacture of assault weapons. It did not at the time affect possession.”

That is plainly untrue. The law did, in fact, ban possession of the controlled firearms (see page 201 of this link). The law did not apply to firearms that had been lawfully obtained before the law’s effective date, but that clause operated as an “affirmative defense” that put the burden on the accused of raising the issue at trial. Simply put, anyone found in possession of a firearm described in the Act was presumptively in violation of the law and susceptible to federal felony penalties.

To her credit. Senator Feinstein at least hedged her next false statement by couching it as a “belief,” rather than outright assertion of fact. “I happen to believe that [the federal “assault weapon” ban] did work and that it was important,” she said.

Unfortunately for her, there is no credible evidence to this effect. Two government funded studies of the law’s effects in fact found it had no measurable impact on violent crime. More recently, a survey of gun control laws by the Rand Corporation found that the only perceptible effect of assault weapons bans generally is perhaps a short-term increase in the price of assault weapons; that in itself does not establish any beneficial crime reduction effect, however.

Feinstein next took issue with a dissent that Judge Kavanaugh had written in a case that upheld a D.C. “assault weapon” ban similar to the expired federal law. Specifically, she chided him for finding the firearms were “in common use” and therefore protected under the Supreme Court’s Second Amendment precedent. “Assault weapons are not in common use,” Feinstein said.

Not only is that assertion not true, it’s the opposite of the truth. The types of firearms covered by both Feinstein’s now expired legislation and the current D.C. ban include the most popular rifles in modern America, including the iconic AR-15. According to figures compiled by the National Shooting Sports Foundation for litigation launched in 2013, nearly 4.8 million AR platform rifles were manufactured in the U.S. between 1990 and 2012, and more than 3.4 million AR and AK platform rifles were imported during that timeframe. The number of AR-15s manufactured in 2012 was double the number of Ford F-150 pick-up trucks sold– the most commonly sold vehicle in the U.S. Approximately 5 million people in the U.S. own at least one modern semiautomatic rifle that would be covered by the Feinstein/D.C. bans and such rifles make up 20.3% of all retail firearms sales and are sold by 92.5% of retail firearm dealers. Even media outlets that support “assault weapon” bans acknowledge that the firearm those bans most specifically target – the AR-15 – is “America’s rifle.” And the popularity of the AR-15 actually increased after NSSF compiled these figures, likely to the tune of millions of new owners.

Meanwhile, rifles of any type – whether or not they would be included in the Feinstein/D.C. “assault weapon” bans – are used far less often in murders than handguns, which overwhelmingly remain the gun of choice for violent criminals. In fact, they are used far less often, according to FBI statistics, than “personal weapons” like “hands, fists, and feet.”

pile of ar15 rifles
AR15 rifles overwhelmingly remain the gun of choice for all Americans.

Yet even though AR-15s and the like are by all accounts America’s most popular rifle, Dianne Feinstein insisted during the hearing that numbers alone do not determine “common use.” “Common use is an activity,” she said. “It’s not common storage or possession, it’s use. So what you said is these weapons are commonly used. They’re not.”

This ridiculous hairsplitting is, of course, contrary to both common sense and English usage. Common items are routinely said to be “in use” for a purpose whether or not that involves active manipulation of the item at any given time. Police “use” firearms to keep the peace, even when they’re not pointing or firing them at criminal suspects. Schools “use” fire extinguishers as part of a general safety plan, whether or not someone is actively putting out a fire with them.  Drivers “use” seatbelts to safeguard against injuries, even when they’re not actually colliding with other vehicles or objects. And AR-15s and similar firearms are “used” by Americans to protect their homes and loved ones, even when they are providing a deterrent and not actually being actively employed.

As Judge Kavanaugh very patiently explained, the prevalence of so-called “assault weapons” in millions of American homes establishes they are in “common use.” He went on to detail how that phrase was used by the Supreme Court to distinguish Second Amendment protected arms from the sorts of “dangerous and unusual weapons” that are beyond the Amendment’s scope (see p. 55 of this link). A firearm owned by many millions of Americans may be potentially “dangerous,” he noted, but it is in no way “unusual” and therefore cannot be said, under the letter of the Supreme Court’s prior Second Amendment cases, to be unprotected by that provision.

Responding to Judge Kavanaugh’s own profession of concern about firearm-related crime, Feinstein then asked him, “How do you reconcile what you just said with the hundreds of school shootings using assault weapons that have taken place in recent history? How do you reconcile that?”

Feinstein’s question (which was actually more of an accusation that Judge Kavanaugh is oblivious to the toll of firearm-related crime) was again based on a false premise. There have not been “hundreds and hundreds of school shootings” in recent history, much less hundreds using “assault weapons.” Even National Public Radio has acknowledged that the number of school shootings has been vastly overstated, including in figures published by the U.S. government. And not only are AR-15 and other supposed “assault weapons” rarely used by common criminals, they are not even the first choice of mass shooters, having been used far less often than handguns.

Judge Kavanaugh has repeatedly said during this week’s hearings that he considers himself bound by Supreme Court precedent as an appellate judge, whether he likes it or not. So it’s perfectly consistent that he could be horrified by firearm-related crime but still recognize that lawmakers have to find ways to address it other than trampling on the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans. Justice Scalia said as much when he wrote the Heller opinion, acknowledging the problem of handgun-related crime but asserting the Constitution takes certain policy choices – like banning the firearms Americans overwhelmingly choose for their own defense – “off the table.” That doesn’t show a lack of empathy but a commitment to the rule of law.

Fortunately, the Democrats’ unseemly theatrics and shaky claims have merely provided an even sharper contrast for Judge Kavanaugh’s own dedication to and mastery of the law, as well as his intellect and composure.

There has been very little in the proceedings that will burnish the reputation of the Senate’s minority party. But Americans can at least take heart that President Trump is working diligently to preserve the competence, effectiveness, and integrity of the federal judiciary and of the U.S. Supreme Court in particular.


National Rifle Association Institute For Legislative Action (NRA-ILA)

About:
Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the “lobbying” arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Visit: www.nra.org

  • 25 thoughts on “Anti-gun Senator Distorts the Law & Facts in Unsuccessful Attack on SCOTUS Nominee

    1. Ahhhh Diane Funkstink…. Now THAT is one haggard, worn out, brain dead, liberal, socialist, AMERICA HATING, Democrat. This also applied to Nancy Peelousy. The Dems have a shitload of these fugly skanks.

    2. This nasty old marxist bitch needs arrested for insider trading and the open carry and brandishing of an assault face without a permit.
      GOOD GOD YA’LL
      THIS FUCKING KUNT HAS CHANGED MY OPINION ON THE MANDATORY WEARING OF BURKAS IN PUBLIC. She should be forced to cover up that assualt face as she has no license to brandish that fuuuuuuugggggggly except on Helloween. The coke bottles are covered in the 1934 gca section (asshat)subsection(commiekunt) and adds extra punishment levels mandating her to attempt to sneak up on a mirror.
      But I want to be fair to the yellow belly Marxist flag wrapped, double yellow moderate back striped piece of socialist crap by stating the good she has done to America since she was elected in what seems more than 100 years ago. They are as follows: (crickets)

    3. The Liberals (US Senator Feinstein is a liberal) are for US Supreme Court precedent only, repeat ONLY, when US Supreme Court precedent agrees with their political ideology.

      For example they (the Liberals) are for Roe vs Wade, a Supreme Court precedent not, repeat Not, based on the US Constitution as “settled law”.

      They, the Liberals, are against, repeat AGAINST, US Supreme Court precedent that does not, repeat NOT, agree with their political Ideology. This is true even when the US Supreme Court precedent agrees, explicitly, with the US Constitution. This is true of the Heller precedent and the precedents explicit agreement with 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution.

      Senator Feinstein exposed this bias and exposed herself as a political hack.

    4. The Demo-Rats will never get it right, the argument about the A/R is as phony as the day is long, A/R’s are the letters of the original designers of the M-16 which was the Armalite Rifle Company which sold the rights to Colt Mfg who manufactured them for the US government, So now anything that looks like that is automatically called an Assault Rifle, but as stated before it can’t be changed to a full automatic, they can’t read or understand the English language, or the useless laws that they have written, Why should this surprise us now!!!!!!

    5. You can always count on DEMOCRATS to lie, cheat and steal. The only thing this POS has ever said that was true was when she admitted she steered numerous contracts to her husband and other family members so they could reap the financial rewards.

      She is still to stupid or is a typical DEMOCRAT to admit that “ASSAULT RIFLES” are already controlled by the 1934 GCA which prohibits them unless authorized by ATF. It is obvious you can not teach an “OLD DOG” anything.

    6. Love all the commentary, but, sadly, those who need the information will never get it as they do not aspire to real education. Keeping people in the dark about any subject is the Democrat’s way.

    7. In 1774 the British military occupation of Boston by thousands of soldier had become intolerable. Despite the King’s laws and being members of the King’s Militia, the people formed their own militia they called Minutemen. In April 1775 the Minutemen met the British in combat to protect arms stored at Concord and Lexington.
      A year later the Colonists got around to writing the King a letter, The Declaration of Independence. said that we have a right and a duty to protect and preserve a free and constitutional government.
      Skipping forward to 1939 the SCOTUS said that the people were expected to appear bearing their private military arms.
      In 2008 SCOTUS said that the individual citizen has a right to keep and to bear arms in order to establish and maintain freedom and security. It is precisely because a weapon has a potential military use that it is protected by the Second Amendment. Hunting is nice and is protected under other parts of the Constitution. The game is not owned by “the king.” But the Second Amendment is not about hunting, target shooting or even self-defense, it is about maintaining freedom which explains the Declaration of Independence and the Second Amendment which guarantees that the people can form a “minutemen militia” without asking permission from Senator sourpuss.
      NSSF likes to call ARS Modern Sporting Rifles, MSR. I prefer to call them Militia Standard Rifles which do have a military function, which share a common caliber and are thus part of what the MILLER Court said were protected.
      Every bolt action rifle began as a military arm, even the Remington rolling block single shot began as a military weapon.
      Denying all te facts is what the anti-gun Senators are doing. WE should proud to say that the AR is in common use, it does have a military and militia function and is therefore a protected weapon.

    8. I wish a Republican would ask what kavavaugh thought about different application of laws for elites vs peasants, ie… Clinton and the crimes committed, those in the house and Senate committing insider trading, the 25th amendment and if it could be applied equally to scotus, congress, and the presidency to be fully constitutional…

    9. Feinstein should be in prison for insider trading for steering over 2 billion dollars worth of contracts to her husband’s company. But since the skank commie used to ride dinosaurs to work, she gets “the full and maximum punishment for her ‘mistakes'” . I mean they got out the stripes, ball and chain, perp walked her in cuffs, threw the book st her elitist fascist ass, hit her in th he face, cause who can tell the difference, and horror of horrors, made the old rich dried up worthless kunt resign her chairman ship of a Senate committee. WOW!!!SUCH SUPER HARSH TREATMENT.i wonder if the constitution would think of this as cruel and inhumane treatment. A whole chairmanship for merely directing 2 billion dollars in insider trading. It was for the children… her children…. namely that child she married and the Chicom children of her spy driver. This hag should be forced to listen to her own mindless rantings in a cell made of mirrors with lights that never goes off.

    10. She is just another reason term limits need to be in place in the congress, there is way too many professional politicians in D.C. that have been there over twenty years.

      1. Yes, term limits would have dumped this wretch years ago. But don’t EVER forget, they also would have force GOOD men like Ron Paul, Grassley, Issa, out long before they could have done most of the good they’ve persisted until accomplishing.

        The real fault lies with the mental midgets with IQ’s near ambient outdoors temperature in Bismark North Dakota on New Year’s Day. I mean the VOTERS that continue to return these monsters year after year. They are too stupid/lazy to inform themselves, and the lame streap lying media feed them just what they want to hear. Until things get bad enough for the people in DiFi’s poop pot of a district, they’ll vote her back in. Just you watch.

      1. Sadly, Fineswine (also a “bear of very little brain”) has restricted her firearms “research” to picture books and old copies of Winnie the Pooh. Fineswine often publicly brags about the fact that she has studied “millions” of photos of guns… and she claims that such picture-related study alone makes her an “expert on guns.” Only two things wrong with that…

        First, that’s mathematically impossible. Just two million photos (she did speak of multiple millions) – even studied at just twelve-to-fifteen seconds each – would require at least four years of undistracted full-time (40 hours per week) devoted effort… which is, in reality, far more time than she has ever actually expended on anything… other than practicing outright hypocrisy, anyway.

        Second, if her claim (of being formally educated by sight alone) could in any way be correct, then every teenage boy in America is an expert gynecologist!

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