Mission statement:

Armed and Safe is a gun rights advocacy blog, with the mission of debunking the "logic" of the enemies of the Constitutionally guaranteed, fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms.

I can be reached at 45superman@gmail.com.You can follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/45superman.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Heller analysis; new (to me, at least) gun rights group

When the Heller decision was announced on June 26th, I confess that I was among those gun rights advocates who saw it as a "victory" for gun rights. Not that I ever saw it as anything like a death knell for citizen disarmament, but it did seem to me that a significant move forward for gun rights had been taken, and I certainly didn't see much in the way of danger in the decision. Some others within the gun rights movement, less susceptible to the siren's song of wishful thinking than I, were far less enthusiastic. As I listened to them, and became less drunk on "victory," I began to perceive the outlines of the minefield of potential new threats to gun rights contained in the decision.

I was never able to articulate those misgivings very well, though, thus perhaps opening myself up to accusations that I was denigrating the decision, "because it wasn't everything, RIGHT NOW!" That was never my position, and I'm still not sure how anyone formed the impression that it was, but I should perhaps accept some responsibility for leaving enough ambiguity in my position to leave room for that mischaracterization. To be clear, my misgivings about Heller are due not at all to the fact that it failed to make the literal meaning of the Second Amendment the recognized law of the land, but to the potential danger of it being used to justify further attacks on gun rights.

I am still not able to articulate that position very well, but stumbled yesterday on an analysis that does. Here's an excerpt:

Or for destroying those rights entirely. For on the theory that firearms that are “highly unusual” and not “in common use at th[is] time” can be banned, rogue public officials could make any type of firearm “highly unusual” simply by banning private possession of it, and then using the effect of the ban as a reason for saying the Second Amendment does not apply! Just as they have removed fully automatic firearms from the possibility of “common use” by the National Firearms Act and other statutes. So, on the basis of the loose language in Heller, Americans can expect, not only that fully automatic firearms such as M-16s will continue to be banned from “common use,” but also that political hucksters will attempt to revive the Clinton-era prohibitions of semiautomatic “assault weapons” that merely resemble M-16s, and of high-capacity magazines; then to enact new restrictions on highly accurate, long-range “sniper rifles” in .338 Lapua, .50 BMG, and other supposedly “unusual” calibers; and even to impose draconian regulations on possession of many types of ammunition, so that the firearms chambered for such rounds will be rendered effectively useless.

Read the whole article--it's not short, but is well worth the time.

Something else I got from the article was a reference to a gun rights group with which I had not been familiar--the National Association for Gun Rights (NAGR). That looks like my kind of group. Know anything about them, anyone?

UPDATE: Upon further reflection, I found a passage from the article that I think would have been a better choice than the one I quoted originally. Hopefully, the author won't object to me quoting another paragraph.
Most importantly, Heller poorly serves the core purpose of the Second Amendment. In isolation, an individual’s right to possess firearms for the purpose of self-defense in his own home can only minimally deter rogue public officials from attempting to impose a police state on this country. Without thoroughgoing organization, sufficient arms, and legal authority for collective action, Americans cannot expect to deter, let alone to resist, large-scale para-militarized police forces and other instruments of oppression. Because the militia are the constitutional institutions that provide all three — and always under control of “the people” — the Second Amendment declares them to be “necessary to the security of a free State.” The most perceptive “gun controllers” — all of whom, in the final analysis, intend to impose something other than “a free State” upon common Americans — know this, and therefore bend their every effort to prevent true constitutional militia from functioning in this country.


Anonymous said...

You can find more information about the National Association for Gun Rights here: http://www.nationalgunrights.org/about.shtml.

If you have any additional questions, feel free to shoot me an e-mail: contact@nationalgunrights.org

For Freedom,

Luke O'Dell, Operations Director
National Association for Gun Rights

Kurt '45superman' Hofmann said...

Thanks, Luke--I imagine I will have some questions. So far, though, I like what I see.

Anonymous said...

The Heller lawsuit had 2 goals. 1 was to remove the ban on handguns and requirement to keep firearms locked or dismantled. The 2nd was to go to the Supreme Court and get confirmation that the 2nd Amendment is an individual civil right.

Heller accomplished both goals. The affirmation that the 2nd is a fundamental civil right is huge. The rest of Scalia's ramblings are not law, but dicta. It is true that some anti gun nuts have pounced on this dicta and some lower courts have as well. However, all of that is meaningless.

There is no way in which you can argue that we are worse off than before Heller. Already several Chicago suburbs have repealed their handgun bans as has DC. I am not aware of any legislation passed as a result of this decision.

Think about it. Prior to Heller, we had NO 2nd Amendment rights. Every gun control law that the anti's could force through the legislature has been forced through. Even in IL we have stalled them without any 2nd Amendment.

Do you think the will of the people has changed to support more gun control due to Heller? If not, how will legislatures pass more restrictive laws?

Heller drew a line in the sand behind where the Anti's have managed to reach with all their might and no 2nd to stop them. Admittedly this line is not where it needs to be, but we have possession of the ball now.

What we need now more than our RIGHTS is for people to recognize their militia DUTY.

Kurt '45superman' Hofmann said...

I acknowledge that Heller accomplished the goals of the people behind the effort, and that those goals were laudable.

I also agree that Scalia's dicta carry no no force of law. I think it's unrealistic, though, to expect the other side not to make some political hay out Scalia's apparent support for most forms of so-called "gun-control."

Hey--I hope you're right, and I'm wrong, but I still think we may well end up finding ourselves to have lost ground.

Anonymous said...

We haven't lost ground until laws get passed, no matter the rhetoric streaming from the Helmke's and Sugarmann's of the world.

I think the people that hoped Heller (or any lawsuit) would erase all gun control are and will be disappointed.

We lost our rights legislatively. We will get them back the same way. It is fine to bask in the glow and cheer, but we all need to get back to work. Long row to hoe.

Kurt '45superman' Hofmann said...

I think the people that hoped Heller (or any lawsuit) would erase all gun control are and will be disappointed.

I would hope that such reality-challenged dreamers constitute a vanishingly small minority of gun rights advocates.

Anonymous said...

Hey I like your update. One of the more disappointing aspects of Heller to me was its lack of respect for the militia clause.

Remember, no militia, no free state!

Kurt '45superman' Hofmann said...

Yeah--that's definitely the passage I should have quoted originally--oops.

I think a big part of the problem is that the debate about the militia clause of the Second Amendment misses the point. Our side has argued that the Second Amendment protects an individual right, while the Brady Campaign, et al, claim that such an argument ignores the militia clause (a claim unfortunately reinforced by Scalia's ruling). Our argument should be that we do indeed honor the great importance of the militia clause, but since we are all individual members of the militia, that clause does nothing to invalidate the protection of our individual right to keep and bear arms.