“It’s like déjà vu all over again.” ~ Yogi Berra
If you asked your fellow Americans to point to one defining moment in our Nation’s recent history, many would likely mention the attack on our soil in 2001, for obvious reason. Some Americans might point to Barack Obama as U.S. President, but not for anything he carried out—if he carried out anything of benefit to this Nation and its people—but because he served as the Nation’s first African-American President. Some people might mention the recession of 2008, and the bailout of major banks. Still others might point to the result of the general U.S. Presidential election in 2016. Depending on one’s political bent, that result is shocking and dreadful, or surprising and hopeful.
But, for those who cherish our natural, fundamental, unalienable rights, the watershed moment came in 2008, with the U.S. Supreme Court decision in District of Columbia vs. Heller, 554 U.S. 570, 128 S. Ct. 2783, 171 L. Ed. 2d 637. The high Court held, in principal part, that the right of the people to keep and bear arms, asserts an individual right, unconnected with one’s service in a militia. One would think a lengthy Supreme Court interpretation of the Second Amendment would be unnecessary. The text of the Amendment is clear, concise, precise, and categorical.
But the high Court’s affirmation does serve a purpose. It lays to rest any pretension the Second Amendment means other, or less, than it says. Sadly, the pretension lingers among many, despite this seminal Second Amendment case.
Many defy and denigrate the high Court’s imprimatur: politicians, the mainstream news; entertainers; billionaire globalists both here and abroad; antigun coalitions; myriad Leftist groups; academicians; and jurists. They detest the Second Amendment, and wish to rid the Nation of it.
It should not come as a surprise to Americans that the Democratic Party’s leadership, holding most seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, plans to introduce a flurry of antigun bills in the coming months. The most ambitious concerns a ban on those semiautomatic firearms, referred to by the negative expression, “assault weapons.”
But this push to ban an entire category of semiautomatic firearms in common use is nothing new. The late U.S Senator, Howard Metzenbaum, a Democrat from Ohio, who died in 2008, introduced a bill to control the sale and use of assault weapons in 1989. That Senate bill, 101 S. 386, failed.The House introduced similar bills that year. They, too, failed.
However, in 1994, Congress did enact a semiautomatic firearms’ ban, as part of The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. The “Assault Weapons Ban” provision was codified in federal statute, 18 U.S.C. § 922 (v)(1). The law expired in 2004. It wasn’t reauthorized. The House then tried, in 2007, to resurrect a ban on semiautomatic firearms, introducing the “Assault Weapons Ban And Law Enforcement Protection Act Of 2007, 110 H.R. 1022.” That bill failed.
After a lull, Democrats ramped up efforts. The 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy served as the pretext to ban an entire category of firearms, once again.
Congress, though, often acts slowly. That’s a good thing when proposed legislation impinges on or infringes Constitutional rights and liberties. But, Andrew Cuomo, Governor of New York, unlike Congress, doesn’t act slowly. He doesn’t have to, and, he doesn’t want to, especially when an opportunity arises to further constrain the right of the people to keep and bear arms.
New York’s Constitution provides a Governor the means to push the State Legislature to act quickly if he deems a matter an emergency. Article I, § 14 of the New York State Constitution sets forth:
“No bill shall be passed or become a law unless it shall have been printed and upon the desks of the members, in its final form, at least three calendar legislative days prior to its final passage, unless the governor, or the acting governor, shall have certified, under his or her hand and the seal of the state, the facts which in his or her opinion necessitate an immediate vote thereon, in which case it must nevertheless be upon the desks of the members in final form, not necessarily printed, before its final passage. . . .”
Governor Cuomo intended to act quickly to further restrict New York’s already draconian gun laws. He pushed for an immediate vote on the New York Safe Act of 2013. His statement to support emergency passage of the NY Safe Act, reads:
“Some weapons are so dangerous, and some ammunition devices are so lethal, that New York State must act without delay to prohibit their continued sale and possession in the state in order to protect its children, first responders and citizens as soon as possible. This bill, if enacted, would do so by immediately banning the ownership, purchase and sale of assault weapons and large-capacity ammunition feeding devices. For this reason, in addition to enacting a comprehensive package of measures that further protects the public, immediate action by the Legislature is imperative.”
With the clout he wields in Albany, the measure passed, and the Governor signed the Safe Act into law on January 15, 2013. To herald enactment, he created a web page, devoted to glorifying his achievement.
Then, on January 24, 2013, hardly a week after Governor Cuomo signed the NY Safe Act into law, Senator Dianne Feinstein, D-California, introduced a federal assault weapons ban, modeled on the Safe Act. Senator Feinstein expected Senator Harry Reid to include the assault weapons ban in the broad Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act Of 2013, 159 Cong Rec S 2699. That didn’t happen. Senator Reid felt its inclusion would reduce chance of passage of the broader gun control act. Senator Feinstein was livid. But, the Act failed on a Floor vote, 40-60, even without Feinstein’s assault weapons provision.
Senator Feinstein then released a statement to the Press, barely restraining her anger:
“I’m disappointed by today’s vote, but I always knew this was an uphill battle. I believe the American people are far ahead of their elected officials on this issue, and I will continue to fight for a renewed ban on assault weapons.
The very fact that we’re debating gun violence on the Senate floor is a step in the right direction, and I hope my colleagues vote their conscience and approve the underlying bill. But I’m certain that in the coming months and years, we will be forced to confront other incidents like Newtown, where innocents are murdered with one of these weapons of war.
I will carry on this fight against military-style assault weapons, and I ask of the American people that they continue to pressure their elected officials to take action. It’s long overdue that we take serious steps to remove these dangerous firearms and high-capacity ammunition magazines from society.”
In later years, Democrats, in the House and Senate, ever undeterred, tenaciously, rapaciously introduced semiautomatic firearms’ bans, one after the other, despite repeated failures—ever determined to rein in the Second Amendment. these bills included:
The Assault Weapons Ban of 2015, 114 H.R. 4269
Imported Assault Weapons Ban of 2016, 114 H.R. 4748
The Assault Weapons Ban of 2017, 115 S. 2095
The Assault Weapons Ban of 2018, 115 H.R. 5077
They all failed. But, the antigun politicians remain undeterred. They aim to destroy the right of the people to keep and bear arms, however long it takes. The recent roll-out is drearily the same: same title, later date. This one is the Assault Weapons Ban of 2019. Many of the usual cast of characters have signed on as co-sponsors. Some are considering a run as Democratic Party nominee for U.S. President in 2020.
Not surprisingly, Senator Feinstein is the principal sponsor on this latest “assault weapons” bill, directed to an attack on semiautomatic firearms. Destroying our most sacred right has always been a high priority for Senator Feinstein and she is a prominent figure in all antigun legislation emanating from the U.S. Senate.
According to Feinstein’s Press Release, issued January 9, 2019, the Assault Weapons Ban of 2019 is an “updated bill to ban the sale, transfer, manufacture and importation of military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines.” The Press Release then lays out the details. The House will likely release the bill shortly. The Arbalest Quarrel will analyze it when the House does release it.
A NATION-WIDE BAN ON SOME SEMIAUTOMATIC FIREARMS IMPERILS ALL SEMIAUTOMATIC WEAPONS.
Antigun zealots desire nothing less than an end to firearms ownership and possession in America. This is not an exaggerated concern for those who cherish the Second Amendment.
New York Times contributing columnist commentator, Brett Stephens has called for outright repeal of the Second Amendment. We may dismiss an excessive, incendiary remark from a news commentator. But, when a retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice echoes that sentiment, Americans must take notice. Consider the remarks of retired Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, John Paul Stevens, as reported in The New York Times:
“Concern that a national standing army might pose a threat to the security of the separate states led to the adoption of that amendment, which provides that “a well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” Today that concern is a relic of the 18th century.”
Retired Associate Justice Stevens always tied the right of the people to keep and bear arms to the militia. Read his dissenting opinion in Heller. But, the majority in Heller rejected Stevens’ premise.
Americans should take antithetical remarks attacking the sanctity of the Second Amendment, seriously, especially when coming from powerful and influential people. The attorney, Christopher Keleher, in an academic article, titled, “The Impending Storm: The Supreme Court’s Foray into the Second Amendment Debate,” 69 Mont. L. Rev. 113, 154, (Winter 2008), published just months before the high Court’s decision in Heller, recited a litany of disturbing comments from members of Congress.
“United States Senator Dianne Feinstein, commenting on an assault weapons ban, stated ‘if I could have gotten 51 votes in the Senate of the United States for an outright ban, picking up every one of them, Mr. and Mrs. America turn them all in, I would have done it.’ Former United States Senator Howard Metzenbaum complained that the same ban was insufficient, exclaiming, ‘until you ban them all, you might as well ban none. . . . [But, it] will be a major step in achieving the objective that we have in mind.’ United States Congressman William L. Clay proclaimed the 1993 Brady Bill was a ‘minimum step’ that Congress should take in its efforts to restrict firearms. Congressman Clay professed, ‘we need much stricter gun control, and eventually we should bar the ownership of handguns except in a few cases.’ A fellow member of the House of Representatives, Congressman Bobby Rush, was also forthright in his strategy: ‘Ultimately, I would like to see the manufacture and possession of handguns banned except for military and police use. But that’s the endgame.’ Senator Lincoln Chafee was no less bashful when he asserted, ‘I shortly will introduce legislation banning the sale, manufacture or possession of handguns. . . . It is time to act. We cannot go on like this. Ban them!’ The recent tragedy at Virginia Tech prompted Congressman Dennis Kucinich to draft legislation ‘that would ban the purchase, sale, transfer, or possession of handguns by civilians.’ While such views have not garnered a majority of lawmakers, these statements are notable for their stridency and frankness.”
Americans should not brush aside these candid remarks as simple bluster. These politicians support their words with direct attacks on the Second Amendment. Anti-Second Amendment politicians despise the Second Amendment. They find it not merely inconvenient and irrelevant, but also unconscionable. They see our Second Amendment as incompatible with an ethical system predicated on utilitarian consequentialism they espouse, but which our founders did not. Antigun politicians find the mere thought of firearms both aesthetically distasteful and morally objectionable.
These politicians consider the Second Amendment inconsistent with international legal rules and standards, and incompatible with societal norms of conduct. One or the other must go. For them, it’s the Second Amendment that must go. They feel we, Americans, should adopt and adhere to the new international liberal democratic order they, and those in the European Union, ascribe to.
The mainstream media conveys the message of the antigun zealots incessantly, obstreperously, and passionately. The false message delivered to Americans is plain enough: for the welfare of society you must comply with and adapt to the conventions of the global, liberal, democratic order; and this requires you to forsake the archaic and degenerate desire to own and possess firearms.
Copyright © 2018 Roger J Katz (Towne Criour), Stephen L. D’Andrilli (Publius) All Rights Reserved.