USA – -(AmmoLand.com)- We’ve all heard, and probably used or argued against various analogies about regulating guns like we regulate cars, or comparing the ID requirements for buying a gun to the ID requirements for voting. Still, maybe it’s time to take these analogies out of the hypothetical realm of the debate platform, and into the real world of legislation.
What if pro-rights politicians were to craft legislation that echoed gun control laws, but was applied to such things as voting, purchasing an automobile, publishing a newspaper, and obtaining abortion services?
This line of thinking started with a recent dissent written by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas after the Court refused to hear ten different Second Amendment appeals on the same day. The cases had been pending before the Court for months. It was widely expected that they would take up at least one of them, since they haven’t addressed a Second Amendment case in a decade, and the lower courts have been openly butchering the last two Second Amendment cases they did hear, particularly the Heller decision. These current cases addressed issues such as New Jersey’s tight restrictions on the issuance of concealed carry permits, and several states’ restrictions on so-called “assault weapons” and “high-capacity” magazines.
The Supremes have kept silent, even in the face of such blatant distortion as lower court judges claiming that a minor comment in the Heller decision, comparing restrictions on military firearms like the select-fire M16 to civilian firearms like the semi-auto AR-15, means exactly the opposite of what Justice Antonin Scalia obviously intended in that landmark decision.
This court is supposed to be the most conservative Court since Reconstruction. Yet, they can’t muster four votes to agree to hear one of these cases, all of which directly impact on an enumerated, constitutional right.
Court watchers across the political spectrum agree that the main hitch in the Court’s get-along is Chief Justice John Roberts. Roberts, who was part of the majority in both the Heller and McDonald decisions, seemed reluctant to go along with those decisions unless they were written extremely narrowly and provided outs for legislators and judges in their efforts to restrict some guns in some places. Having replaced Justice Kennedy as the wavering swing vote, it could well be that the four “liberal” justices, and the four justices of the “conservative wing” have reached the same conclusion: they are all uncertain how he would vote on any of the recent cases, so they chose not to take any chances.
Saving our Second amendment from a ruling that could gut the human right for America.
A 4/4/1-wild-card Court Spilt?
Regular readers of my work will recall that I have said for years that the Court is not split cleanly with 5 “conservatives” and 4 “liberals,” especially on Second Amendment issues. While there are definitely four justices solidly in the “liberal” camp and almost always unified in their decisions, the “conservative” side has always been fractured. Initially, it was a 4/3/2 split, but now, with the addition of Kavanaugh, the split has shifted to more of a 4/4/1, with Roberts being the big wildcard.
The good news is that by refusing to hear any of the pending cases, there’s no chance of SCOTUS coming out with a bad Second Amendment decision right before the November elections. A decision that hurt gun rights would almost certainly have led to a backlash against President Trump and Republicans at the polls. As it is, some are calling for GunVoters to shift their votes to Libertarian candidates, but that would be equivalent to demanding jobs by burning down businesses. The only hope of getting a reliable Court to hear and favorably resolve Second Amendment cases, is to reelect President Trump and make sure he has a strong Republican majority in the Senate to confirm his judicial nominees. Trump’s brash statements, and especially his Twitter habit, can be off-putting, but what he does is far more important than what he tweets. His pattern is the precise opposite of the typical political animal, in other words, productive and to the benefit of the American people.
If GunVoters fail to turn out in strong support of Republicans – even the weak-kneed Republicans like Arizona’s Martha McSally, we’ll end up with Chuck Schumer running the Senate and anti-rights zealots like Mark Kelly (Mr. Gabby Giffords) backing him up. We absolutely can’t take that chance. Every GunVoter must be active and engaged leading into November, and they must bring along as many votes as possible to deny the Democrats any majority at any level. Maybe at some point in the future, we’ll be able to support pro-gun Democrats and Libertarians, but right now, the stakes are too high, and the Democrats have made their intentions clear.
When the justices refused all ten gun cases, Justice Thomas wrote the scathing dissent that raised some of the comparisons mentioned above. He asked if the Court would sit idly by if a state were requiring citizens to show a “compelling need” and get a permit before exercising their rights of free speech.
He then went on to suggest that “it seems highly unlikely that the Court would allow a State to enforce a law requiring a woman to provide a justifiable need before seeking an abortion.”
Well, then let’s put this theory to the test. Rather than just making these comparisons as rhetorical arguments, lets put them forward as legislative proposals, using gun control laws as the constitutional precedent to support them. Let’s propose and debate – and possibly even pass – actual legislation that would require that buying cars, voting, aborting a baby, publishing a newspaper, publicly protesting, etc., meet the same types of restrictions and requirements commonly applied to purchasing, possessing, and bearing arms.
Would legislators in Alabama, Oklahoma, and Texas support legislation requiring that a person seeking an abortion must demonstrate a “justifiable need,” like those seeking to carry in New Jersey and Maryland? And, of course, the determination of what constitutes “justifiable need” would be at the discretion of an un-elected bureaucrat. Lawmakers could cite the New Jersey and Maryland laws, and supporting court decisions, as evidence that the proposals are constitutional.
Or how about a law requiring prospective voters to submit personal identifying information, including a state or federally issued ID and submit to a full background check every time they go to the polls? Of course, every voter would have to go through the whole process each time they wished to vote, regardless of how many times they’ve voted n the past or even if election officials recognized them from previous elections or knew them personally.
Voter eligibility status can easily change, so better to “instant check” every time, like they do with gun purchasers, we need to be safe… right?
Instead of just talking about “what if other rights were as restricted as the right to arms,” let’s put those proposals on the table with legislative proposals, and let’s support those proposals with comparisons to existing gun laws and citations of current court precedents.
If it can’t be justified for voting, getting an abortion, buying a car, or publishing a newspaper, how can it be justified for the one right of the people that specifically states that it “shall not be infringed?”
It’s time to challenge hypocrisy head-on.
About Jeff Knox:
Jeff Knox is a second-generation political activist and director of The Firearms Coalition. His father, Neal Knox, led many of the early gun rights battles for your right to keep and bear arms. Read Neal Knox – The Gun Rights War.
The Firearms Coalition is a loose-knit coalition of individual Second Amendment activists, clubs, and civil rights organizations. Founded by Neal Knox in 1984, the organization provides support to grassroots activists in the form of education, analysis of current issues, and with a historical perspective of the gun rights movement. The Firearms Coalition has offices in Buckeye, Arizona, and Manassas, VA. Visit: www.FirearmsCoalition.