NSSF mentioned last night that ACORN is asking to get involved in an appeal of a Jersey City case that twice previously threw out one-gun-a-month laws. But their brief doesn’t answer questions gun owners want to know like why the hell ACORN wants to get involved.
It turns out that ACORN has actually been involved with the case since that last appeal when they joined as intervenors for Jersey City in an effort to uphold the law to limit lawful sales. Why is ACORN involved in gun law litigation? According to their case filings, they believe that efforts to limit lawful gun ownership are relevant to their mission.
Oddly, you won’t find that in their “About” section on their website:
ACORN members across the country work to raise the minimum wage or enact living wage policies; eliminate predatory financial practices by mortgage lenders, payday lenders, and tax preparation companies; win the development of affordable housing and community benefits agreements; improve the quality of and funding for urban public schools; rebuild New Orleans; and pass a federal and state ACORN Working Families Agenda, including paid sick leave for all full time workers.
Nothing about gun control there. But here is what they said in previous case documents:
ACORN has a strong interest in supporting the gun control ordinance at issue in this case, because it can help reduce the number of handguns in Jersey City and therefore reduce the level of gun crime in our neighborhoods.
Anyone who knows anything about New Jersey gun laws already know that the permit-to-purchase system often limits lawful buyers to notably fewer than 12 guns a year. In fact, at the time the ordinance was being debated, City Council President Mariano Vega, Jr. described the law as â€œfeel-good legislation that will probably not reduce crime, but we have to start somewhere, so I am voting yes.â€
But why is ACORN covertly targeting guns?
Let’s follow the money first. ACORN, not surprisingly, is popular with known anti-gunners and other names which aren’t know for their direct gun control work, but who fund many of the anti-gun foundations and projects.
- George Soros: Also supports Brady Center, VPC, Physicians for Social Responsibility*, Appleseed Foundation**
- Bauman Family Foundation: Supporters of Physicians for Social Responsibility*
- Annie E. Casey Foundation: Funders of the Appleseed Foundation**
- Bank of America Charitable Foundation: Funders of the Appleseed Foundation**
The list goes on. I could spend a week cross posting all of the organizations that are handing money to each other to try and cover their tracks in support of gun bans and other gun control. You get the idea. ACORN is looking out for all of the pet issues supported by their top donors.
Second, let’s look at their arguments. How much gun control is ACORN really supporting? The case is only about one-gun-a-month, but can we expect them to get involved in future cases? Well, if this statement is reflective of their views, I’d say we can expect more:
This case does not concern an individual right to bear arms, which does not exist in New Jersey.
They rail against strict scrutiny in their brief, claiming that “the trial court’s improper application of strict scrutiny prevented it from reaching the correct conclusion.” In fact, they really fall into a game of name calling in their brief, and it’s targeted at the court that previously shot the ordinance down. They claim the court tried to act as a “super-legislature” by “independently concluding” that the ordinance was wrong because clearly all legally bought guns end up on the street and there are simply not enough hurdles to gun ownership in New Jersey.
ACORN makes the argument that reducing the supply of handguns to law abiding gun owners is clearly a rational step to reducing the number of crimes in the city. To support their view, they don’t look for actual results that have stemmed from previous attempts to ration guns, they just say that other people do it, so we should, too. They make no indication about where a line should be drawn. Do we stop at limiting the number of guns purchased in a month, or do we make other efforts to restrict ownership like, say, a ban? Based on their view that the Second Amendment doesn’t apply, it’s entirely possible they would support a complete ban.
One statement in their brief leads me to believe they would support a “may issue” licensing scheme for ownership, as we see in Massachusetts. (One town will issue a license to own, another will refuse it for any reason or no reason at all.) In trying to overcome the legal argument for state preemption over local gun laws, they say:
Certain aspects of gun control, such as licensing and permitting requirements may arguably benefit from uniform statewide regulation.
That wording leaves an awfully big door open to no longer having any state preemption, possibly having a patchwork of extreme and lax gun laws around a state that leaves the law abiding gun owners at risk. In fact, they close that section of their brief by making a much broader statement of support for patchwork gun laws beyond just licensing, permitting, and purchasing by claiming that the “trial court erred by failing to recognize that gun control is not a subject that requires uniform statewide treatment.”
Ultimately, it’s hard to say exactly where ACORN will go in terms of pushing gun control. From the sounds of it in Jersey, they would look favorably on just about anything, potentially even a ban. They draw no line in the sand for what they determine to be “reasonable” regulation. Given that their financial backers tend to support other gun control groups that also supported the DC ban, it’s reasonable to assume that they might go so far.
From what I hear, ACORN is involved with other gun-related litigation. I haven’t tracked down documents yet, but I’ll update if I find more.