It’s hard to work through the news of the day to find something to write about waiting for the Verizon guy to run the fiber connection into our bay. But typing a post out on the iPad I can do. A topic that was discussed with some of the academic folks at NRA Annual Meeting is saving the folks in Blue America using the federal government. At this point, it’s mostly wishful thinking. National reciprocity is the only preemptive measure NRA has put on the table, but that is a measure that benefits Red America more than Blue America. In the long term, as I’ve said in a previous post, we can’t tolerate two Americas.
There are several powers of Congress under which this can be accomplished. The familiar ones are the commerce clause and Congress’ Section 5 power of the 14th Amendment. But the Supreme Court has slowly been taking a more narrow information of the commerce clause, and any exercise of the 14 Amendment power runs squarely into the case of City of Boerne v. Flores, which essentially says that the federal courts, and not Congress get to determine the scope of a right.
But when it comes to preempting state bans, and other state restrictions, I think there maybe a power of Congress upon which such an action may most firmly rest:
To raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years;
To provide and maintain a navy;
To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces;
To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions;
To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the states respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
I would argue that it is both necessary and proper for Congress to execute laws that preempt state laws that prohibit or frustrate the ability of ordinary citizens to own, transport, and practice with ordinary small arms, such as, but not necessarily limited to, the AR-15, Beretta 92F, M1911, etc. Congress needs individuals familiar with arms and shooting, in order to have an effective militia from which it may draw to raise an army. I even think in this age of terrorism, National Reciprocity could be plausibly based on Congress’ militia powers.
We ought to be skeptical of federal power, which can used for ill as readily as good, but I don’t see any other means to prevent the spread of this cancer of ignorance. Either we restore a healthy shooting culture to Blue America, or we watch the cancer slowly spread. Colorado was a real wake-up call that we may need to rethink our priorities. If they can beat us in Colorado, it won’t be long before we start losing in other swing states. It wouldn’t be long before they had the votes to screw the rest of us federally anyway. It’s something to think about.