Friday, April 01, 2005

Republicans and Gun Control

Bill recently posted on Democrats and gun control. Bill has always been a Republican, but I was raised a Democrat. I describe myself as a recovering liberal, and when I voted in November, I changed my party affiliation from Democrat to nothing.

I didn’t enroll as a Republican since I love small government. While the Democrats left that principle a long time ago, Republicans don’t seem to embrace it when they’re in power. It’s said that Democrats stick their noses in your wallet while Republicans stick their noses in your bedroom. I don’t want anyone’s’ nose in my wallet or my bedroom, but lately Republicans seem to be in my wallet (how else are we going to pay for a new Medicare benefit). I don’t know if they’re in my bedroom yet, unless that blinking light on that brand-new smoke detector is a clue.

Republicans, however, are much better than Democrats about gun rights. But, three years ago Republicans may have started us on an insidious form of gun control. They may have created a loophole in the Second Amendment that they or “progressives” could use to seriously harm us gunnies.

In 2002, two Justice Department briefs to the Supreme Court declared that the Second Amendment actually protects an individual right. Finally, they recognize what we always knew.

You’d think I’d be happy with that. I am, but the brief included another part. Gun rights are “…subject to reasonable restrictions designed to prevent possession by unfit persons or to restrict the possession of types of firearms that are particularly suited to criminal misuse." Legislators and bureaucrats will decide who unfit persons are or what firearms are misused by criminals.

You might think that the Second Amendment’s plain meaning is enough to restrain these legislators or bureaucrats. The Second Amendment states, “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.”

Nope, here is that insidious loophole I mentioned. If Congresscritters actually acknowledge the right of the people to keep and bear arms, they can say they want to better regulate the militia. They could pass laws that would determine who is “militia” and who is “people.” Then they would determine what firearms are suited for militia use and what guns are suited to people use. One example; Congress could limit militia membership to owners of large tracts of land (similar to how our founding fathers defined the people) and then define people as everyone else. The militia could have any firearms while those people not barred by felony convictions, etc. would be limited to long-barreled shotguns since criminals misuse everything else.

Now, you might be thinking that “shall not be infringed” would close the loophole I described here. I don’t think it would. Congress and friendly courts could define “infringe” anyway they choose. I can imagine a Senator saying, “These laws don’t actually infringe since the people can own arms suitable for them.”

Democrats and gun grabbers (not all are Democrats) concentrated on tactics instead of strategy. They tried to ban types of guns for everyone; “Saturday Night Specials,” “Assault Weapons,” etc. If they had recognized an individual right to own guns, they would have faced less resistance when they defined who could own what. We would probably have lost our gun rights as we know them now.

I’m not saying Republicans want to go where their loophole leads. They may have created it by accident—wanting to recognize individual gun rights while still maintaining power. But, I think it gives them or others a way to change gun ownership in America. Be sure to keep your eye out for any legislation that changes the current definition of militia or tries to class certain firearms as “crime guns.” It could come from either party. Or maybe I’m just paranoid—hmmmm….I don’t remember putting that smoke detector in my bedroom.

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