The ultimate goal of the antigun movement is this: the universal elimination of civilian firearms’ ownership and possession. This is true and incontrovertible. Everything the antigun movement does is directed to the attainment of that goal. Nothing the antigun movement does diverges from the path to that goal. When asked to admit the truth of the assertion, the antigun movement, and its sounding board, the mainstream corporate media, will deny it, curtly and vehemently. But, the antigun movement’s actions belie its blunt denial.
Realization of the movement’s goal amounts to de facto repeal of the fundamental right of the people to keep and bear arms – a right expressed clearly and cogently, succinctly and indelibly, in the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Yet, if there exist any residual doubt as to the import of that right, the U.S. Supreme Court laid such doubt to rest in the 2008 Heller and 2010 McDonald decisions.
In Heller the Supreme Court held: “the Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.” This right, the high Court maintains, operates as a constraint on the federal government. The question subsequently arose, in McDonald, whether the Heller holding applies to the States as well. The high Court held that it did, asserting, clearly, categorically, unequivocally, “the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment incorporates the Second Amendment right recognized in Heller.”
Still, the antigun organizations, and many lower courts amenable to their views, resist Heller and McDonald, and continue to advance strategies altogether inconsistent with the High Court’s holdings. The arguments – actually rationalizations – for more and more restrictive gun measures may be distilled to the following: one, no one needs a gun because the police will protect you; two, curtailing civilian gun ownership precludes gun violence and gun accidents; three, civilized people don’t want guns and are repulsed by them; four, since no one can know who, among the population, will go off “half-cocked” – presenting a danger to self or others – it is best to curtail civilian gun ownership and possession; and, five, the Second Amendment is obsolete; no other Country has anything like it, and the U.S. shouldn’t either. These five arguments are a ragbag of elements gleaned from utilitarian ethics, psychology, sociology, politics, economics, and even aesthetics. But they all embrace one central tenet: governmental control of the American public.
The antigun movement does not recognize the sanctity and autonomy of the individual, which is the linchpin of the Bill of Rights. Rather, the antigun movement sees each individual American as a random bit of unharmonious energy, running hither and yon – an individual who is likely to harm self or others unless appropriately constrained for his or her own good and for the good of the greater society. A firearm in the hands of a civilian lessens government’s ability to control that individual. Ergo, the government must keep the two – firearm and individual – separated. What NRA works to keep conjoined, antigun groups wish to sever and keep disjoined.
As the antigun movement works incessantly, inexorably toward its ultimate goal, the movement invariably butts up against the NRA, which the movement routinely and pejoratively refers to as the “gun lobby.” But, the antigun movement refrains from referring to itself as the “antigun lobby.” Now, lobbying activities are protected speech under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and NRA is open about its lobbying efforts on behalf of its millions of members. Yet the antigun movement cloak’s its own lobbying activities and blatantly panders to the U.S. President. President Obama, for his part, has not shied away from using the power of his Office to further the agenda of the antigun movement through issuance of executive actions, and he has formally announced, in January of 2016, his intention to do so.
Now, Congress, under Article 1 of the U.S. Constitution, has sole authority to make law. The question is whether Obama’s antigun measures operate within the framework of existing Congressional firearms laws, as he claims, or operate beyond the boundaries of existing law. That Congress might obtain some resolution of that question, U.S. Senator Richard C. Shelby, R-Ala., Chairman of the Subcommittee On Commerce, Justice and Science, requested Attorney General Loretta Lynch to appear at a hearing, held on January 20, 2016, to discuss the President’s recent executive actions.
Senator Shelby made abundantly clear that the President does not have the authority to tell Congress what it must do. But the President has done just that, using the mechanism of executive directives, crafted by the Attorney General, herself, to conduct an “end-run” around Congress. The President isn’t asking Congress and the American people for permission to do what he wants to do. He is telling Congress and the American people what he’s going to do and cajoling both Congress and the American people to get on board with his game plan. That is extreme hubris.
If the antigun movement is able to harness the Office of the President to craft its own laws to further a personal agenda, in defiance of both Congressional legislation and U.S. Supreme Court decision, then the Constitution is belittled and the Republic is endangered.Copyright © 2015 Roger J Katz (Towne Criour), Stephen L. D’Andrilli (Publius) All Rights Reserved.