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GCA 68′, Saturday Night Specials, and More

From Professor Nick Johnson:

The reason I retrieved Sherrill’s Saturday Night Special from the back of a high shelf was that he offers a lively argument that the 1968 Gun Control Act was mostly about controlling Negroes and not much about controlling guns. That account was the primary reason I bought the many book years ago, and I confess I only just now read it cover to cover. Some of it is quite extraordinary.

Once you cut through the vitriol, the striking thing is Sherrill’s clearheaded critique of several issues that are central to the current gun control debate.  Indeed, on several key points Sherrill is in basic agreement with claims that I have developed in detail in my scholarship and summarized in previous posts to this blog.

There have always been honest gun control people, like Robert Sherrill, who’s book Prof. Johnson speaks of, that have been willing to admit that many of their core tactics are a sham. Read the whole thing.

As a side note, I’m also glad to see someone else railing against the current status of the nondelegation doctrine. I think the empowerment of the bureaucratic elite is one of the most damaging things the courts have ever allowed to be done to our government. Far worse than the current broad reading of the commerce clause, in my opinion.

10 Responses to “GCA 68′, Saturday Night Specials, and More”

  1. The Jack says:

    Well of course.

    If I recall “Saturday Night Special” used to have another preceding word in front of it. One that started with an N and ended with a -town.

    • Sebastian says:

      I’ve heard various stories for the origins of the term Saturday Night Special. I believe that term appeared in some research Don Kates did, but it’s not clear that’s the origin of the term.

  2. Andy B. says:

    This is a digression from the issue at hand, I suppose, but elsewhere in the Professor’s column he cites,

    Sherrill recounts the martial law gun control measures enacted by Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines. All private firearms had to be surrendered, anyone in possession of an unauthorized gun faced 10 to 15 years imprisonment and anyone who committed a violent crime with a gun faced a firing squad.

    I don’t have Sherrill’s book nor have I read it, but I’m betting that among citations of draconian punishments for arms possession, he joined almost everyone else in the American mainstream, and failed to mention at all the situation in Northern Ireland. I well remember reading an item in Parade magazine (the Sunday paper insert) c. 1978 that mentioned how “possession of a single round or 5.56mm ammunition is sufficient to receive a sentence of eight years in the H-Blocks. . .” That was the first time that it dawned on me that perhaps the situation there was worthy of consideration from a perspective other than what mainstream Americans were supposed to embrace. What made it more relevant was that the UK was a society much more like our own than, say, Marcos’s Philippines.

  3. Andy B. says:

    I’ll condense this because I’m sure people get tired of me repeating my Old Stories, but this also reminds me of the time I went with a small delegation of gun rights activists to visit two Republican friends of the sportsmen state reps in Harrisburg, who wanted to lobby us to support some Gun Control Lite “anti-crime” bill they were pushing. Part of their persuasion, as we resisted, was to tell us stories about what N-Words had done to sweet young blonde-haired, blue-eyed convenience store clerks in the course of committing armed robberies. The point of the story being, even among nominal “pro-gun” legislators, race was assumed to be a compelling argument for gun control.

  4. dustydog says:

    People who rail about Nondelegation Doctrine haven’t thought it through.

    ObamaCare was a case of nondelegation. Lobbyists dropping 100 page drafts off, assuming they would get another chance to comb through the language. Put enough 100 page drafts together, and you can have a 10,000 page law that nobody’s read.

    The proper solution is that each cabinet-level position and Agency head should be elected, perhaps by State legislatures the way senators used to be elected. And state legislatures should have the power to impeach federal officials, at least those coming from their state.

    • Felix says:

      No, the proper solution for a whole lot of government problems is to require that all laws and regulations make sense and actually do what they claim to do, in both theory and practice.

      Secondly, allow anyone affected by a law or regulation to challenge it in court.

      And thirdly, that every law and regulation have a single clearly defined author who is held responsible when the law is declared defective.

      • TigerStripe says:

        And no law will have a sentence that begins with anything like “The Secretary shall…” In other words, the law must be complete when passed. TS

        • Felix says:

          And must be individually renewed yearly!

          Dang we’d make good benevolent dictators :-)

  5. alcade says:

    The somewhat über-comment at the end of the article by z9z99 is also worthy of note and almost as insightful as the article itself.

  6. jdberger says:

    Tom Diaz (yes, that one) also mentions Sherrill’s “The Saturday Night Special” in a recent blog post regarding import restrictions on M1 Garand rifles http://tomdiazgunsandgangs.com/2013/05/05/pity-the-poor-m1-garand-which-is-not-and-never-has-been-an-assault-rifle/.

    At worst, it’s an interesting read.

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