United States – -(AmmoLand.com)- From now on, when an anti-Second Amendment extremist says they want to “regulate” something, you can take it to the bank that what they really want is a ban. One prime example of this is legislation introduced by Senator Robert Menendez and Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman.
The legislation is the Help Empower Americans to Respond Act of 2021, also known as S 1131 and HR 2544. This legislation was also introduced in the 116th Congress. However, the reintroduction of this legislation is a chance to have a good discussion on two aspects of our Second Amendment advocacy.
In past coverage at Ammoland.com, it was noted that this bill takes the Eric Swalwell approach towards modern multi-purpose semiautomatic long guns and applies it to suppressors. “Mr. and Mrs. America, turn them all in,” to quote Dianne Feinstein, who is co-sponsoring the Senate version of this bill. This is a strategic benefit for Second Amendment supporters in a couple of ways (one of which is a bit of hardball), but it also presents a strategic conundrum.
The benefit is that, this is a ban on a firearm accessory that is already heavily regulated with just about every restriction short of an outright ban due to the provisions the National Firearms Act of 1934. This includes registration – which makes this bill an excellent exhibit to point to when explaining our opposition to other licensing and regulation schemes like the Sabika Sheikh Firearm Licensing and Registration Act.
For those inclined to play a little reciprocal hardball, given the nonsense crap the Cuomo-James regime has pulled, Bloomberg stooges should be asked in hearings for any restriction, “Do you support an eventual ban on this firearm/accessory?” by state and federal lawmakers during hearings when they are under oath. If they say “Yes,” we can point that out to our fellow Americans. If they say, “No,” we can hold them to it.
This is a legitimate question many Second Amendment supporters ask themselves, given what we’ve heard going back to Nelson “Pete” Shields. But there’s nothing wrong with adding the option to hold anti-Second Amendment extremists accountable if they end up lying about their ultimate objective.
However, this bill also represents a strategic conundrum for Second Amendment supporters. Due to the fact that NFA restrictions have been imposed on suppressors for almost 90 years, there is not just a general acceptance of these restrictions among the general public, there is a perception that they are more dangerous. For many of our fellow Americans, all they learned about suppressors comes from Hollywood or from the scary stuff anti-Second Amendment extremists tell them, and when that fear is stoked, they tend to dismiss logic and reason.
Yet the Help Empower Americans to Respond Act shows that even the Hearing Protection Act may not be sufficient to protect owners of suppressors from the injustice of being punished for horrific acts they did not commit. Really, the only sure protection would be to treat suppressors like any other firearm accessory. But since we don’t want to lie to the American people, and we face a media double standard, we would need to be upfront about it.
Now, incrementalism, while a dirty word to some well-intentioned Second Amendment supporters, is a viable strategy. Furthermore, with the current composition of the Supreme Court, there is hope that a more favorable legal landscape could result in successful legal challenges to outright suppressor bans at the state level.
Second Amendment supporters need to contact their Senators and Representative to urge the defeat of this legislation. In addition, they need to support the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action and Political Victory Fund to ensure that the current anti-Second Amendment regimes in the House, Senate, and White House are defeated at the ballot box as soon as possible. Whatever loyal Ammoland readers may think about Wayne LaPierre, the NRA’s incrementalism approach has worked on concealed carry, and should be kept viable for issues like the deregulation of suppressors.
About Harold Hutchison
Writer Harold Hutchison has more than a dozen years of experience covering military affairs, international events, U.S. politics and Second Amendment issues. Harold was consulting senior editor at Soldier of Fortune magazine and is the author of the novel Strike Group Reagan. He has also written for the Daily Caller, National Review, Patriot Post, Strategypage.com, and other national websites.