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Something Else to Think About

In 1994, there was considerable effort to try to make the federal assault weapons ban less impactful, which required a lot of compromises. But because of that we got a sunset provision, and nothing nearly as bad as what California has.

To what extent should we, using the Courts as a backstop, be more unyielding this time? Would we be better off with a more draconian ban under the theory the Courts may more easily reach its unconstitutionality? Personally, I think that’s very risky, because I don’t know if I believe the Courts would throw out such a ban, even one as broad and horrid as California’s. It’s a tough call. I’m not sure the Courts honestly buy us much right now on this issue.

31 Responses to “Something Else to Think About”

  1. Harold says:

    Ignoring the possible if not likely change in the composition of the Supremes by the time it got to them, one of the usual suspects, errr, gun scholars, pre-Heller I think, researched Federal court decisions on “assault weapons” or maybe just rifles and found them to be uniformly negative.

    Look at the struggles we’re waging just to get the Courts to acknowledge the most basic of gun rights; this would likely be too much, too soon. Heck, it could be the 2nd Dred Scott, a Supreme Court case that helped guarantee a subsequent civil war.

  2. terraformer says:

    The gun banners think the court will go their way on this issue. I am not entirely sure they are wrong.

  3. George says:

    I see the courts as a defense of last resort. An honest court would not be able to uphold a ban of of the most popular rifle in America under the common use test. But Heller does allow restrictions on weapons that are “unusually dangerous” and a left-wing court could make an argument that “assault weapons” fit in that category.

  4. Chas says:

    “We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender…”

    They get nothing.

  5. Sean says:

    There are 2 basic high level courses:

    1) surrender something

    2) surrender everything and hope in their haste, these clowns wrote some bad legislation that’s struck down in court

    I can’t possibly see any upside for gun owners. You think we can horse trade a renewed AWB for national carry reciprocity?

    • Harold says:

      I can’t see DiFi or Schumer allowing the great unwashed from fly-over country legally carrying concealed in their beloved San Francisco or NYC….

      It would also be a trade that really pisses off a lot of the membership and gunowners in general. Many of us don’t care about traveling to those hellholes, although the reciprocity patchwork is a real issue. Also, the overlap of owners of “modern sporting rifles” and concealed carry types is not 100%; I guess in this case you’d wonder how many of the former are also the latter, the reverse wouldn’t be losing anything.

  6. Matthew Carberry says:

    Suppressors to Title whatever might be worth an AWB the same as the last one, I guess.

    Maybe, since he wasn’t able to purchase, push to remove interstate handgun purchase restrictions?

    If something has to be traded.

  7. Sebastian says:

    I don’t think we should engage in this kind of horse trading you’re all speaking of. My post was meant to throw an idea out there that perhaps something more draconian, less likely to be stomached by the Court, would be preferable to a more minor transgression that court might think we ought to live with. The risk being, of course, and I think it’s probably an unacceptable risk, the court becomes OK with the draconian thing.

  8. Lee says:

    I think the standard (hi cap) capacity part would deemed unconstitutional

  9. Matthew Carberry says:

    I don’t think we need to be intransigent, I think we can actually help ourselves by helping them make their actual case, not the case they will try to make. Anyway, along with pushing, as always, the fact that gun control simply doesn’t work…

    If a new AWB starts looking likely to pass we, meaning especially the people who can get on tv, need to hammer home the DOJ and other reports on the failure of the previous AWB. Lay out -why it failed. Seem to do the anti’s job for them.

    Make the anti-gun Congress critters and Senators admit that it didn’t work as written while it was in place, so the sunset clause can’t be blamed, and make them say clearly -exactly- what changes they plan to make to make it effective this time.

    As we know, aside form gun control not working, one of the claimed failings was that it was not comprehensive enough, heck we mocked it for relying on aesthetics. Even California’s AWB has workarounds the anti-gun crowd are trying to overturn. Make them admit they have to go further than California’s bill.

    The other failing is that it grandfathered in existing rifles and mags already legally produced and owned. Sure a host of constitutional issues are raised by rtroactivity but don’t play those up, simply point out it was a weakness in the bill’s attempt to restrict access.

    If we can make those points the new narrative they will be pretty much limited to a comprehensive ban, not based on features but actual receiver designs and method of operation, and they will have to address that there are tens of million more “Aw’s” in private hands than there were in ’94. If grandfathering rendered the AWB ineffective in ’94, it certainly would render the new bill an empty exercise if allowed today.

    So, push them for details on what they are planning to do and broadcast those details for them far and wide. Point out publically if they are not true “improvements” based on the above and make them explain why they are -knowingly- setting the new law up to fail.

    Our side will be energized if the restrictions are too restrictive, but their side will be -outraged- if they are not restrictive enough. Look at the anger and vituperation ladled on Obama and the “reasonable” Democrats who didn’t go full single payer. The extreme anti-gun contingent is even louder and weirder and more off putting to Ma and Pa Kettle than Occupy or the health care nuts with their dancing vaginas. Use that, publically tie the most bizarre and violent anti-gun leaders and their rabid “kill the gunowners” Tweeting followers hoof by jowl to the “moderate” gun controllers in Congress.

    The usual suspects are using the rabid to fan the flames right now to make themselves appear “reasonable.” We need to force the issue, not are they for or against -us-, we know that already, but are they for or against -their own side-.

    Their own extremists are already pushing confiscation and no grandfathering, it has become their mantra. They are publically writing about making mere possession of rifles and mags a felony. Make the “moderates” eat that and publically repudiate, or not, their own side. The undecided middle may be in favor of “some more gun control” but I doubt they’ll sign on to house-to-house searches or Jim and Jane from church going to prison when they’ve never hurt a fly.

    Make the anti-gun leadership either own a bill so bad that the Courts will negate it or come to us begging for a compromise out of fear of having to support something that will eventually bite them at the polls.

  10. TJ says:

    I’m not sure we should risk it. People said the same thing about Obamacare, and now it’s here to stay thanks to one SCOTUS justice everyone assumed would vote against it.

  11. Richard says:

    The history of trying to comprise with the lefties indicates that they will pocket any concessions and move on to the next restriction. So go on the offensive. Outlaw gun free zones. National CCW reciprocity. Massacres are that because you have a homicidal perp with no effective opposition. And this might actually work to prevent future massacres unlike anything being proposed by the left.

    • Sebastian says:

      The problem is, you can’t wish legislation into existence. When they are talking AWBs, do you think they will be in the mood to pass any of this stuff? It’s hard to go on the defensive when even your allies are on the defensive. My hope is that things will calm down, and cooler heads will prevail.

      • Richard says:

        I haven’t seen any evidence yet that our allies are bailing. A few corporate drones and some Dems who ran a fake 2A campaign but no one yet that would really make me worry. They are waiting for leadership. Hopefully, it will be forthcoming. And even if the stuff I suggest doesn’t pass, it provides an alternative to the bad stuff, rallies the troops and puts down a marker for the next time.

        • Sebastian says:

          If you can’t get Dems on board, you can get nothing through the Senate. The Republicans aren’t going to be in the mood to move anything forward when they are worried about the media barrage. Politicians are cowards. They are not fighters, and you’re bound by what they are and aren’t willing to do.

          • Richard says:

            Read my last sentence. I am playing the long game here. And it has more advantages in the short run than playing defense.

            • Sebastian says:

              OK, so if an assault weapons ban starts moving in the Senate, are you saying that we should ignore it and just push good bills which have no prayer of passing, and may not even be able to exist because no one is willing to introduce them?

              • Richard says:

                Not at all. We oppose the bad bills and broaden the discussion. If the only discussion is how bad the bill is going to be, we lose no matter what happens. This is the way the left is trying to set it up but I see no reason to go along. The two main things on their wish list are an AWB which was already law there and forcing background checks on private transaction (aka registration unless you believe they actually destroy the records) which is irrelevant here since the guns were stolen. So lets try to get the discussion on relevant stuff like mental health and gun free zones.

  12. P.M. says:

    No way. Terrible idea. Stop it, or blunt it, in Congress.

  13. NUGUN says:

    I could see legislators compromise on hi capacity magazines by making them NFA items requiring tax stamps.

  14. pill says:

    Relying on the supreme court is not a good strategy – two of the justices are old, and may die or retire within the next four years. For that matter, any of them could experience an “accidental death” at any time, being mortal men. The Dems control the senate for the foreseeable future. The court is almost certain to swing left, and we won the Heller decision only by one vote.

    As far as I am concerned, the NFA of ’38 and the GCA ’68 laws are both unconstitutional, and they have been on the books for far too long. The Miller decision actually reinforces gun rights, but is not applied to ease regulations on silencers or machine guns.

    I am old enough that I don’t buy green bananas, I don’t wait for congress to balance the budget “in the out-years” and I don’t rely on the supreme court to properly interpret the constitution “in the long run”.

  15. Brad says:

    There is meaningful danger today. But when one looks at the 1994 AW ban vs today in 2012, the battlefield is tilted much more strongly in our favor than it was in 1994.

    Consider, the 1994 ban barely passed out of Congress. Despite the fact it was watered down with a 10 year sunset provision. Even with that compromise it barely squeaked out of the House of Representatives. And back in 1994, the Democratic Party had a solid lock on both the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.

    So look at what they are trying to pass today. A bill even more strict than the 1994 law, (I believe it is a California style AW ban), with no sunset provision. Pass this bill out of a Republican held House of Representatives that have every reason to despise those pushing the bill and looking for a payback opportunity.

    However, there are many blue states with new supermajorities of Democrat Party control of the legislatures, such as California. I fear the worst in those states as Democrats frustrated at the national level turn their full fury on those they have unrestrained power over.

  16. Brad says:

    Since Feinstein is once again going to lead on a new AW ban, I suggest calling the abortions forced to conform to her law as Feinstein Specials. As in the Hi-Point 9mm carbine is a Feinstein Special.

    Not only is this insulting term a useful way to denigrate Feinstein and her proposed ban, we can also point out how a Feinstein Special was used at Columbine. IOW a rifle which is a Feinstein Special is perfectly adequate for slaughtering defenseless students, so her ban is pointless.

  17. I kind of agree with Matthew: force them to go big or go home. I’m already seeing the debate start to shift towards targeting all mag fed semiauto weapons.

    I would also push them towards a no-grandfather clause.

    All sorts of people say they’ll get fired up over a 1994-style AWB. They’ll write letters! They’ll protest! They’ll lobby their fellow citizens! If it comes to it, they’ll shoot stormtroopers in the face! Molon labe! I mean, think about all the stormtroopers that died in The Revolution of 1994! Oh, wait — none of that happened, because with grandfathering, nobody cares enough. What middle class person — especially with kids? — is going to roll the dice over something that doesn’t even really affect what they already own.

    It needs to be made clear to the American people that yes, they want your Glock. They want your M&P Shield. They want your Benelli semiauto shotgun. They want your 10-22. And they plan on turning you into a felon — if you’re lucky, SWAT won’t kill your dog when they no-knock you as a domestic terrorist.

    Maybe the courts will save us, maybe the American people will get fired up–and finally, maybe the States will finally get fired up and consider some sort of Constitutional process or Amendment to fight back. It would take 38 states to push something through, and something like this might just get the states fired up to steamroll Kalifornia and the Northeast.

    • Matthew Carberry says:

      That’s kind of where I was going. The anti-gun politicians tend to do this stuff on the sly, mouthing platitudes and concealing what they really want.

      The rise of new media cuts both ways. We take the passive-aggressive offensive, publically note they are talking a big game but playing it as safe as they think they can get away with ma and pa America and casual gun owners, who (I’m confident) will not agree with anything as harsh as criminalizing their neighbors and themselves, especially in swing states. So call the anti-gun politicians on what they are doing by pointing out that even a California style law (if that’s what they push) has huge “loopholes” and point to sales records to show grandfathering renders the whole thing a joke after years of AR’s being the best selling rifles.

      The hardliners at Huffpo, Michael Moore, and particularly true believers like the CSGV types will publically revolt, insistent that now is the moment to “not let a tragedy go to waste.” They will write op-eds the ignorant press will dutifully print, the race baiters will go on tv and say racial justice demands real action. The Laddites and idiot bandwagon kids will Occupy stuff and act the fool rather than let “their” representatives get away with betraying them by not “breaking the back of the NRA.”

      You’ve pointed out that most of the smart people are out of the movement. Ladd and japete arent canny enough to play the game, they will push Schumer, Lautenberg, and Pelosi, who will be forced to go along or face their wrath. McCarthy and a few others are dumb enough to actually jump on the train willingly no matter where the tracks end.

      It can’t get any worse for us, the death of a thousand cuts is our best short term bet if we “lose”, but, assuming I’m reading the polls right, we could -gut- the anti-gun movement in Congress by tying all the real dangerous proposals to the impotent political fringe from this point forward, like trutherism.

  18. Roberta X says:

    Stop them. Lean on your Congressmen, hard, and don’t concede anything. The guns aren’t the problem — copycat criminals and untreated mental illness is.

  19. mike says:

    “To what extent should we, using the Courts as a backstop, be more unyielding this time?”

    Why give them [i]anything[/i]? Since when are we required to compromise? If the GOP, who control the House, decide to allow a gun ban to go through, what reason would gun owners ever have for voting for them again? Because they’re not as bad as the other guy? That didn’t work too well for Romney, did it?

    • Harold says:

      Bingo. Something I’m going to make clear to my House Representative is that if he votes for Boehner as Speaker (there were already good reasons not to, after he and his gang purged conservatives from committees prior to the new Congress), and Boehner lets a gun control bill pass, I will do everything legally in my power to unseat him, including voting for his Democratic opponent (probably an empty threat here, absent a primary which he could well be vulnerable in, and we’d have a Republican in short order anyway).

      And that the party will have forever lost my allegiance (it’s already close), although I might tactically vote for them.

  20. Jake says:

    To what extent should we, using the Courts as a backstop, be more unyielding this time?

    We should be absolutely unyielding. No more “compromises”. No more concessions.

    Make them admit, openly and publicly, what they really want. Make them either commit to it or back down. Make them own it – and whatever consequences may arise from it.

  21. Alpheus says:

    Let’s not forget the Local governments! For example, here in Utah, I’m going to take the time to contact my State Representative and State Senator, and let them know that this horrifying event is a reminder that everyone who can legally own a gun, ought to be allowed to carry one, with or without a license.

    That is, I’m going to encourage Constitutional Carry.

    Admittedly, I’m talking about Utah, so this is probably politically feasable, but then, politically feasable ideas to strengthen gun rights should be pushed right now.

    Additionally, now would be a good time to remind our States that we need to resolve the issues we have with mentally ill people. It’s inhumane to allow schizophrenics to wander the street homeless, or to become agitated to the point where their “harm of others” involves dozens of dead and injured; heck, it’s inhumane when only one person is injured, and the schizophrenic is sent to prison, rather than to a mental institution!

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