ANTIGUN ACTIVISTS’ RELENTLESS ASSAULT ON LONG-GUNS
MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS WITH THE ACTIVE ASSISTANCE OF ANTIGUN AND OTHER RADICAL GROUPS PURSUE ANTI-SECOND AMENDMENT AGENDA THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ENHANCING SCHOOL SAFETY AND SECURITY.
ANTIGUN ACTIVISTS TARGET SEMIAUTOMATIC LONG-GUNS FOR ELIMINATION THROUGH SCHOOL-AGE CHILDREN: THE PROXIES FOR ANTIGUN GROUPS.
Make no mistake: the relentless assault on semiautomatic long-guns that antigun activists call “assault weapons” is itself an assault on civilian ownership of all semiautomatic weapons, not merely some of them. This relentless assault on so-called “assault weapons” is an attack on the natural and sacred right of the people to keep and bear arms, codified in the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
American citizens should not believe for a moment that antigun activists and their cohorts in State legislators and in Congress, and those who echo their sentiments in Hollywood and in the mainstream media, and the billionaire benefactors behind the scenes who fund the effort to destroy our sacred rights and liberties do not—all of them— seek to end civilian gun ownership in this Country. They say they merely support “common-sense” gun laws and “sensible” constraints on gun ownership. But their principal goal is confiscation and eventual elimination of all firearms in the hands of civilians.
Through enactment of the National Firearms Act of 1934, civilian access to selective-fire and fully automatic firearms has been effectively eliminated. Since that time antigun activists have attempted, with varying degrees of success, to ban semiautomatic guns defined as ‘assault weapons.’ But, the distinction between semiautomatic handguns and semiautomatic long guns construed as ‘assault weapons,’ that antigun activists and legislators feel American civilians should not be permitted to own and possess, is fuzzy. Each State has its own legal standards.
Against the backdrop of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School tragedy, many jurisdictions are enacting or are attempting to enact increasingly more onerous firearms laws. The distinction between semiautomatic weapons defined as banned ‘assault weapons’ and those that aren’t is becoming increasingly tenuous. Antigun activists and antigun legislators strive to cast ever more semiautomatic handguns and long guns into the ‘assault weapon’ banned category.
ANTIGUN ACTIVISTS SEEK TO END CIVILIAN OWNERSHIP OF ALL SEMIAUTOMATIC WEAPONS IN THE UNITED STATES, NOT MERELY SOME OF THEM.
In a recent March 2, 2018 article, titled, “With AR-15s, Mass Shooter Attack with the Killing Power of Many U.S. Troops,” posted in the National Section of the paper edition of The New York Times newspaper, and published digitally, on February 28, 2018, under the title, “With AR-15-s, Mass Shooters Attack With the Rifle Firepower Typically Used by Infantry Troops,” Times’ reporters wrote a lengthy article on semiautomatic long guns that was uncharacteristically discerning. In hundreds of earlier articles, NY Times reporters, Op-Ed columnists and NY Times contributors–and those writing for other mainstream newspapers–carelessly, and clumsily, refer to the semiautomatic long gun, modeled on the original Armalite AR-15 semiautomatic rifle, as an ‘assault weapon.’
The expression, ‘assault weapon,’ was invented by antigun proponents as a political device to pursue a gun confiscation agenda, attacking an entire category of firearms in common use among the law-abiding American citizens that comprise the civilian population. But the expression, ‘assault weapon,’ isn’t a technically accurate one; and it is not to be confused with the expression, ‘assault rifle,’ which is a technically precise military term of art.
Often, in the same newspaper articles, writers will use ‘assault weapon’ and ‘assault rifle’ interchangeably, likely not knowing the difference, and not caring if they did know as the distinction isn’t crucial to the running narrative, which is that both categories of firearms are, as antigun proponents perceive them, “weapons of war”–which is another political phrase, and one also tinged with emotion. “Weapons of war,” so the narrative goes, have no place in “civilized” Countries.
But, the March 2, NY Times article is decidedly different from previous antigun articles. The reporters here appear intent on demonstrating that semiautomatic long guns, modeled on the progenitor, Armalite AR-15, presently marketed to the civilian population, truly are military weapons and, so, must be banned. In that article, the expression, ‘assault weapon,’ doesn’t even appear.
The article is presented as a seeming technical exposition on “AR-15” rifles. The Times reporters, who wrote the article, compare the civilian “AR-15” rifle to various military models. They assert:
“The main functional difference between the military’s M16 and M4 rifles and a civilian AR-15 is the ‘burst’ mode on the many military models. . . . But in actual American combat these technical differences are less significant than they seem. For decades the American military has trained its conventional troops to fire their M4s and M16s in the semiautomatic mode—one bullet per trigger pull—instead of on ‘burst’ or automatic in almost all shooting situations. The weapons are more accurate this way and thus more lethal.”
Consider these remarks for a moment. The NY Times reporters are using quasi technical exposition here in an attempt to make the case that no appreciable difference exists between “AR-15” rifles and their military counterparts. The reporters argue, tacitly, that the politically charged expression, ‘assault weapon,’ and the military expression, ‘assault rifle,’ do accurately refer to the same kind of rifle, after all. But, do they?
The NY Times reporters remark that many troops are issued military rifles without selective-fire capability at all. They do this in an obvious attempt to dispel the criticism constantly and accurately leveled against mainstream news reporters which is that some semiautomatic rifles marketed to the civilian population may exhibit superficial, cosmetic similarities to military rifles, but these rifles are functionally different from military rifles. Yet, in the recent NY Times article, the reporters categorically state that AR-15 semiautomatic rifles are functionally equivalent to military M4 and M16 assault rifles. But are they? The reporters assert:
“The NRA and other pro-gun groups highlight the fully automatic feature in military M4s and M16s. But the American military, after a long experience with fully automatic M16s reaching back to Vietnam, decided by the 1980s to issue M16s and later M4s to most conventional troops without the fully automatic function,* and to train them to fire in a more controlled fashion. What all this means is that the Parkland gunman, in practical terms, had the same rifle firepower as an American grunt using a standard infantry rifle in the standard way.”
It is abundantly clear that the Times’ reporters—clearly speaking for antigun proponents generally—are targeting all semiautomatic weapons for elimination, not merely some of them. They attempt to get across the idea that since any semiautomatic weapon is capable of rapid, controlled fire, all semiautomatic weapons represent a threat to public safety and must be eliminated—long guns and handguns.
THE STATE OF THE LAW ON SEMIAUTOMATIC RIFLES MODELED ON THE ORIGINAL ARMALITE (“AR-15”) SEMIAUTOMATIC RIFLE
The federal ban on “AR-15” rifles expired in 1994 when the 10-year sunset provision kicked in. But many States have enacted their own laws, banning these rifles. Two cases on whether so-called “assault weapons” fall within the core protection of the Second Amendment went up to the U.S. Supreme Court on a writ of certiorari. One of them, Kolbe vs. Hogan, 849 F.3d 114, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 2930 (4th Cir. 2017), en banc, cert. den., 138 S. Ct. 469, 199 L. Ed. 2d 374, 2017 U.S. LEXIS 7002, 86 U.S.L.W. 3264, was denied a hearing and review by the U.S. Supreme Court, without comment. An earlier case involving the issue, Friedman vs. City of Highland Park, 784 F.3d 406, 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 6902 (7th Cir. Ill., 2015), cert. den., 136 S. Ct. 447, 193 L. Ed. 2d 483, 2015 U.S. LEXIS 7681, was denied but over a vigorous dissent from Justice Clarence Thomas, with the late Justice Antonin Scalia joining Thomas in the dissent.
Justice Thomas stated in pertinent part:
“The City’s ban is thus highly suspect because it broadly prohibits common semiautomatic firearms used for lawful purposes. Roughly five million Americans own AR-style semiautomatic rifles. See 784 F. 3d, at 415, n. 3. The overwhelming majority of citizens who own and use such rifles do so for lawful purposes, including self-defense and target shooting. See ibid. Under our precedents, that is all that is needed for citizens to have a right under the Second Amendment to keep such weapons. See McDonald, 561 U. S., at 767-768, 130 S. Ct. 3020, 3036-3037, 177 L. Ed. 2d 894, 914-915; Heller, supra, at 628-629, 128 S. Ct. 2783, 2817-2818, 171 L. Ed. 2d 637, 679-680.
The Seventh Circuit ultimately upheld a ban on many common semiautomatic firearms based on speculation about the law’s potential policy benefits. See 784 F. 3d, at 411-412. The court conceded that handguns — not ‘assault weapons’ — ‘are responsible for the vast majority of gun violence in the United States.’ Id., at 409. Still, the court concluded, the ordinance ‘may increase the public’s sense of safety,’ which alone is ‘a substantial benefit.’ Id., at 412. Heller, however, forbids subjecting the Second Amendment’s ‘core protection . . . to a freestanding ‘interest-balancing’ approach.’ Heller, supra, at 634, 128 S. Ct. 2783, 2821, 171 L. Ed. 2d 637, 683. This case illustrates why. If a broad ban on firearms can be upheld based on conjecture that the public might feel safer (while being no safer at all), then the Second Amendment guarantees nothing.”
The Court’s refusal to review a decision that flouts two of our Second Amendment precedents stands in marked contrast to the Court’s willingness to summarily reverse courts that disregard our other constitutional decisions. . . . There is no basis for a different result when our Second Amendment precedents are at stake. I would grant certiorari to prevent the Seventh Circuit from relegating the Second Amendment to a second-class right.”
Despite the opinion of a U.S. Supreme Court Justice, antigun proponents, including those occupying the lower appellate and district courts, evidently don’t give a damn either for high Court precedent or for our sacred, natural right, codified in the Second Amendment.
And, this brings us to critical Second Amendment Soto vs. Bushmaster Firearms International, LLC., 2016 Conn. Super. LEXIS 2626; CCH Prod. Liab. Rep. P19,932, which the Arbalest Quarrel has written extensively about and will continue to do so. See, e.g., the AQ article, Soto vs. Bushmaster: Antigunners Take Aim at Gun Manufacturers.
The Soto case arises from the deadly attack that occurred on December 14, 2012, in Newtown, Connecticut, when a deranged young adult, Adam Lanza, 20 years old, stormed Sandy Hook Elementary School, fatally shooting twenty children and six adults, before turning a handgun on and killing himself. According to the allegations of the Soto Plaintiffs’ First Amended Complaint (CM), Adam Lanza murdered these school children and school staff with a Bushmaster AR-15, model XM15-E2S rifle.
The Soto Plaintiffs contend that the Defendant, Bushmaster (Remington), manufacturer of the weapon, specifically, a Bushmaster AR-15, model XM15-E2S rifle, which, as alleged, the killer, Adam Lanza, used to commit the murders at Sandy Hook Elementary School—along with the firearms’ distributor and dealer who served as the intermediaries through which the weapons were sold to the killer’s mother, and ultimately fell into the hands of the killer, Adam Lanza—bears legal, not merely moral, responsibility for the deaths of children and adults that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, and that, this is due to the fact of Defendant Bushmaster’s marketing of its AR-15 rifle to the entirety of the civilian population in this Country, and the manner in which the Defendant manufacturer, Bushmaster marketed its AR-15 model semiautomatic rifle to the entirety of the civilian population in this Country.
The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (the ‘PLCAA’), Pub. L. No. 109-92, 119 Stat. 2095. 15 U.S.C. §§ 7901-03 (2005). The PLCAA provides immunity to firearms manufacturers and dealers from any lawsuit, pending or otherwise, fitting the Act’s definition of a ‘qualified civil liability action.’ 15 U.S.C. §§ 7902-03, and the trial Court found for the Defendants’ on Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss. Plaintiffs appealed the adverse decision directly to the Connecticut Supreme Court, and the State high Court agreed to hear the case.
Soon, the State Supreme Court of Connecticut will decide whether to affirm the trial Court’s decision dismissing Plaintiffs suit or remand the Soto case to the Superior Court of Connecticut. The State Supreme Court should affirm the trial Court and not remand the case. In fact, the State Supreme Court shouldn’t have agreed to hear the case in the first place since the PLCAA makes clear that plaintiffs in the Sandy Hook Elementary School cannot overcome Defendants’ qualified immunity. If, though, the case is remanded to the trial Court and if the trial Court reverses its previous stance, that can have dire consequences for manufacturers of semiautomatic rifles modeled on the Armalite AR-15. We shall wait and see. The Wall Street Journal, in an article, titled, “Key Gun Case Awaits Ruling in Connecticut,” published on March 17, 2018, discussing the Soto case, and posted online under the title, “The Court Case Making Gun Manufacturers Anxious,” hints that the Connecticut Supreme Court may soon issue a ruling.
The question is whether the Connecticut Supreme Court will be swayed by political considerations in light of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting incident. It shouldn’t, but, as the matter of semiautomatic long guns is now front and center in the public’s psyche due to massive negative coverage by the mainstream media, and, as we know that liberal Courts that have a dim view concerning the Second Amendment, it is anyone’s guess how the Connecticut Supreme Court will proceed. We must wait and see.
This much, we do know, despite the opinion of a U.S. Supreme Court Justice, antigun proponents, including lower Appellate and District Court antigun judges, don’t give a damn either for high Court precedent or for our sacred, natural right, codified in the Second Amendment. Lest there be any doubt about this, consider the words of the antigun New York Times Op-Ed Columnist, Bret Stephens, who made the following remark in an NY Times OP-Ed, posted, on February 16, 2018, titled: “To Repeat: Repeal the Second Amendment.”
“We need to repeal the Second Amendment because most gun-control legislation is ineffective when most Americans have a guaranteed constitutional right to purchase deadly weaponry in nearly unlimited quantities.”
Hey, Bret—Any firearm is potentially deadly. The question is whether the person wielding it is responsible. And, Bret, how much ammunition is too much? Our guess is that for you, Bret, and for other like-minded sanctimonious antigun activists, even one round is too much.
*The Arbalest Quarrel contacted an expert on small arms weaponry. The Times’ reporters’ assertion is absolutely false. “Assault rifles” marketed to the military have two main configurations. One configuration has a three-way selector for the following three modes: safe, semiauto, and full auto. The second configuration has a four-way selector for four modes: safe, semiauto, full auto, and burst. Consider, if a military configuration were limited to semiauto mode only, there would be no reason for any rifle to have anything other than the “AR-15” designation as semiautomatic rifles issued to military troops would in fact be identical to the semiautomatic rifles presently marketed to the civilian population. It is true that Army troops and Marines are trained to use semiautomatic fire or burst fire in many instances in order to conserve ammunition and for accuracy. But, for extraction and when charging an enemy position head-0n, full auto is tactically necessary: hence, the need for a selector switch on military models, to serve varying combat needs. The NY Times reporters deviously mix pertinent facts with critical omissions, including an out-and-out lie. Deceptive “fake news” reporting is, unfortunately, to be expected from the mainstream Press as the Press promotes an agenda, and we see deceptiveness in abundance in this “news” article. The mainstream Press is in the business of propagandizing, of psychologically conditioning the American public to perceive the world in a false light. The Press is no longer in the business of informing and enlightening the public, if it ever were in the business of presenting factually accurate news accounts.
Copyright © 2018 Roger J Katz (Towne Criour), Stephen L. D’Andrilli (Publius) All Rights Reserved.
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