The Democrats predictably called for more gun control after the Atlanta and Boulder shootings, like they always do. But their proposals, by and large, would not prevent future mass shootings.
Let’s look at the Boulder case. Gun control started ramping up in Colorado after Columbine, but it’s as useless there as it’s proven to be in Chicago where wholesale slaughter still occurs on a weekly basis. Colorado already has universal background checks, large-capacity magazine bans, and a ‘red flag’ law. But none of these restrictions stopped the Boulder attack. The ‘red flag’ law had no effect in this case, despite the fact the family knew he had the rifle and his older brother said the suspect was mentally ill. “Colorado has every gun law known to this country … but that didn’t prevent this incident,” a former FBI official told Fox News. More gun control measures already under consideration in Colorado before the shooting would tighten gun-storage rules and require reporting of lost or stolen firearms. Based on what we know so far, neither of these proposals would have had any bearing on the shooting.
The shooter had an AR-15 style rifle and a semiautomatic pistol. He bought them on March 16th despite a juvenile guilty plea to assault in 2017. Juvenile records are typically sealed, and for good reasons. Boulder had an assault weapons ban until March 12th when it was temporarily blocked by a judge in a gun rights case. Some say keeping the ban in place would have stopped the shooting, but the suspect didn’t live in Boulder; he drove in from another town. Moreover, Boulder apparently wasn’t enforcing its assault weapons ban, anyway.
Gun control is an invitation to endless whack-a-mole. Whenever a law doesn’t work as advertised, there are calls for more laws. If the laws aren’t enforced, well then maybe we need to force officials to enforce the unenforced laws more. If shootings continue after all that , then we need a federal universal background check, even though a study showed the vast majority of the guns used in almost 20 mass shootings were purchased with a federal background check. The shooters in Orlando and Las Vegas passed their background checks. All these laws can be evaded by straw purchases, where individuals ask other people to buy guns for them. Even if you were to write an entire Napoleonic Code to cover every conceivable situation, you would still have knife attacks with multiple victims as occurred on the London Bridge in 2019. It’s a fool’s errand; the problem needs to be solved some other way.
It’s being argued that a federal assault weapons ban would put a stop to all mass shootings like the one in Boulder. Maybe, but ask yourself some questions: How authoritarian do you want to get? How does taking guns out of the hands of law-abiding citizens reduce crime? Why take away rights from all Americans when only a tiny handful poses any problem?
H.R. 127, introduced in Congress in January, would, among other things, mandate a federal gun license, start up a national gun registry, require a mental health exam for ALL gun owners, and require every gun owner to purchase liability insurance. This flips the Constitution on its head. Instead of being born with a right to bear arms, everyone would have to petition the government to grant them the privilege of gun ownership. There are good reasons not to turn our rights into privileges the government can take away at any time. Think about free speech, for example. What if you had to get a federal license before you could post on social media, and the government official handling your request didn’t like your politics? Natural unalienable rights or government privileges - to me, the choice is clear.
The people in government predictably calling for more gun control at the moment are authoritarians to their fingertips. They want ALL my rights, so I’m not willing to give them ANY of my rights. They won’t stop with a federal assault weapons ban or a gun registry, just ask them. They won’t be satisfied until nobody has a gun. I’m sorry, but they are precisely the kind of people - unapologetic power-hungry authoritarians - that the Second Amendment is meant to protect us from.
Twenty Republican state attorneys general sent a letter to House and Senate leaders yesterday warning states will sue if Congress passes H.R. 1, the Democrats’ elections modifications bill. H.R. 1 would federalize state elections, violate the Constitution in numerous ways, and strip away existing safeguards leaving elections more vulnerable to fraud.
The Constitution gives exclusive responsibility to specify the manner of holding presidential elections to the states. Congress only has power to “determine the Time of chusing the Electors.” The framers set things up this way so presidents would not be dependent on Congress for their authority. Because states have exclusive power to prescribe the method of choosing electors, legislation would be unconstitutional if it forces states to permanently adopt presidential voting by mail.
The Constitution gives primary responsibility for specifying the manner of holding congressional elections to the states, giving lesser authority to the federal government. H.R. 1 is unconstitutional because it would make the federal government the primary regulator.
H.R. 1 is also unconstitutional, the signers say, because it tells the states what to do and forces them to devote resources and personnel to implementing federal mandates. States are not supposed to be commandeered in this way.
The mandates in H.R. 1 are objectionable, the letter goes on to say. Doing away with voter ID and allowing voters to self-certify they are eligible to vote strips away any assurance voters are who they say they are. Nationwide automatic voter registration and same-day registration open up too many avenues for fraud by noncitizens and others ineligible to vote. Preventing states from cleaning up their voter rolls - removing dead voters and the like - by requiring mountains of proof in every individual case before a single person can be removed, effectively means voter lists cannot be maintained at all. Putting congressional redistricting in the hands of independent commissions may sound good, but it would mean state lawmakers could not be held accountable for the inherently political decisions the so-called experts would make.
The letter closes with the problems caused by requiring any group expressing political opinions to disclose their donor lists. As others have noted, this would open up individuals and groups to harassment, doxing, and retribution. A lot of people would simply pull out of the political process altogether to avoid these problems, and we would have a lot less free speech and information about issues and candidates, as a result. Critics have also noted H.R. 1 would make the Federal Election Commission hyper-partisan and turn it into a weapon the party in power could use against its political opponents. There would also be new year-round rules limiting what almost every group of citizens - not just super PACs in election season - could say about politics and public issues through radio, TV, newspapers, and the Internet.
H.R. 1 is a hydra-headed monster, another power grab, another overreach by Washington. Let’s hope it dies in the Senate. If it does become law, let’s hope the 20 state attorneys general prevail in court for that is, surely, where they will go.
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