Sun, Jan. 26


In the wake of the attack on the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC there will be the usual cry from the left that the answer is more stingent gun control laws. It is not. The answer is more stringent efforts to combat terrorism. In this case, the villian is a white supremist, bent on killing anyone not of his own race or religion - much like the radical islamists who are intent on killing or enslaving all those who do not accept their version of religion.

Never-the-less, there will be those who insist that weapons must be removed from the hands of the citizenry. Those of us who believe in our Constitution, as written - not as a suggestion, understand that the right to protect oneself is just as God-given as the right to be free. Those who framed our Constitution understood that. Today, many of our citizens do not. For there is an unrelenting, ongoing effort to circumvent the intentions of our founding fathers regarding the 2nd Amendment "Right to Bear Arms."

For instance, there was a recent effort by the left to restrict the supply , and drive up the price, of ammunition via the Department of Defense. Ammunition manufacturers in America, such as Georgia Arms - the 5th largest retailer of .223 ammunition in the country, purchase from the DOD spent brass, "one time used" shell cases used by our military for training purposes (primarily .223, .45 and 9mm). The brass cases are then reconditioned, reloaded and then sold to law enforcement agencies, gun clubs, gun shops and stores such as Wal-Mart. Without warning a directive came down from DOD that these manufacturers would no longer be able to purchase these casings. They were, instead, to be shredded and then sold to China as scrap metal at a much lower price - in fact at a loss. Only the swift response of advocates of the 2nd Amendment to their congressmen brought an abrupt change in that policy.

Currently, there is a bill making the rounds of Congress seeking co-sponsors, the Blair-Holt Firearm Licensing & Record of Sale Act of 2009 (HR 45) that lays down conditions for ownership of personal firearms that will make our 2nd Amendment irrelevant if passed. Certainly, the Supreme Court cannot be relied upon to strike it down if passed, so only the fear of voter backlash is a sure determent to Congress. Among other things the bill would make it illegal to own any rifle with a clip or magazine, or any pistol, unless it is registered, you are fingerprinted, supply a current drivers license and social security number and agree to submit to a phyical and mental evaluation at any time of the government's choosing. Changes of ownership through private or public sale must be reported, including a transfer fee (obviously this fee could be raised to the point that gun ownership would become prohibitive). Failure to report would be punished by loss of rights to own a firearm and up to a year in jail. The government would have the right to come to your home to determine if the firearm is safely inaccessible to children. Failure of such inspection punishable up to 5 years in prison. Restrictions on ammunition, such as a per-round tax, are also contemplated.

But while we are so engaged in defending the meaning of the 2nd Amendment, we may be overlooking the next really big fight. It is highlighted by the appointment, and probable confirmation, of Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. There is going to be a battle concerning whether or not the amendment applies only to the federal government. It is not a prepostorous arguement since there has never been a definitive ruling by the Court. It is not "settled law", even considering the recent victory in the Wahington DC case. The 9th Circuit Court has ruled that the amendment, guaranteeing the right to bear arms, pertains to the states, as well as the federal government. The 2nd Circuit Court, however (including Ms. Sotomayor) has concluded that only the federal government has been restricted from banning private arms, and that the states are free to do so. As of now, only 13 state constitutions, guarantee that precious freedoml.

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