Standing on the beach looking up ...


April 3, 2013, 05:13 PM
Like a giant tsunami crashing ashore and leaving devastation in its wake, the damage may be done but it can be rebuilt and will take time ... maybe ...

Folks, in my humble opinion, we are facing a huge wave of unbelievable proportion in these times. It was initially thought that the major push for anti-gun legislation would have been at the Federal level with the possibility of reinstatement of another Assault Weapons Ban potentially rivaling that of the 1994 AWB. Instead, what we find is a diminishing federal threat that is being supplanted with a plethora of state and local level laws that are more draconian than what we would have seen at the national level. The effect of these laws, though not yet fully implemented in many cases, nevertheless lays the foundation for court challenges that will take years before they reach the benches and with outcomes uncertain and to be determined. While the US Supreme Court has affirmed the right of US Citizens to keep and bear arms, they have left open the door that there are some limitations that can be imposed.

Some states, such as New Hampshire in 2010, sought to pass a bill that would "exempt firearms, firearm accessories, and ammunition manufactured in New Hampshire from federal law and regulation" using the 10th Amendment's limit on the power of the federal government as its foundation. There are other states currently pushing laws that affirm their citizenry's 2nd Amendment rights within state boundaries. While some states have sought to give gun owners more rights, there are many others that have gone the opposite direction.

While current legislative efforts may be uncoordinated and coincidental, the overall assault on our gun rights is, nonetheless, overwhelming. Consider that:

At the Local (City/County/State) level there are proposed or passed laws on:

Restrictions on high-capacity magazines
Restrictions or outright ban on semi-automatic military style weapons (AKA "Assault Weapons") that include requirements that a weapon can have only one of several features in order to be banned
Bills that would limit the sale of semiautomatic rifles to those 21 and older.
Ammunition being more regulated. A handgun permit or rifle certificate being needed to buy ammunition, or worse, a background check
Liability Insurance Requirements
Universal Background Checks
Requiring fingerprints for handgun licenses.
"Ammunition eligibility certificate" that imposes immediate universal background checks for all firearms sales
Registry for magazines
Confiscation of banned items

while Nationally we are facing

Magazine Restrictions - prospects are uncertain for a prohibition on large-capacity ammunition magazines
Semi-automatic military style weapons - not enough votes to approve a ban on assault weapons
Universal Background Checks - the heart of the Senate gun bill that will expand requirements for federal background checks for gun buyers

And let's not forget the International arena where we have the

U.N. treaty that will regulate international arms trade. While it will not (supposedly) control the domestic use of weapons in any country, it will require countries to establish national regulations to control arms transfers of conventional weapons ranging from handguns to weapons of war such as missiles and tanks.

Now, while a lot of the measures listed above are not yet law, (well except for a few states,) these proposals, if passed at state level, and coupled with existing laws within the states, present a formidable challenge to the gun owner community.

Some of the worst state offenders include:

Connecticut - currently poised to have the toughest gun-control laws in the nation
Colorado - has gone farther than any state outside the northeast in passing new gun laws
Maryland - whose gun control laws are already among the nation's toughest, is now poised to become one of the first states to pass stricter gun laws in the wake of last year's mass shooting in Newtown.
New York - with their newly enacted SAFE Act, bans high-capacity magazines and assault-style weapons
California, New Jersey, Illinois, Hawaii - states that already have some of the worst laws on the books, are exploring additional restrictions.

And let's not forget Washington, D.C. which passed a law in 1976 that, for the most part, prohibited its residents from possessing handguns and required that all firearms in private homes be kept unloaded and rendered temporarily inoperable by way of disassembly or installation of a trigger lock. Ultimately, the Supreme Court struck down this law as unconstitutional in a 5-4 ruling in 2008 with the caveat that, "nonetheless, gun ownership was not an unlimited right." Rules and restrictions currently in place in the district still have an overall effect of the implementing the intent of the original law ... that of restricting the citizens of their right to physically possess a firearm.

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is already on record for stating that it's possible that new gun restrictions could be upheld by the high court, but it's hard to say which specific ones. "It will have to be decided in future cases," "Obviously, the amendment does not apply to arms that cannot be hand-carried. It's to keep and bear. So, it doesn't apply to cannons. But I suppose there are handheld rocket launchers that can bring down airplanes that will have to be (looked at) ... it will have to be decided."

My concern is that the attack has shifted from the national level down to the state and local municipalities where court challenges are going to be difficult and time consuming. If states do indeed have the right to regulate gun rights as a state right, and with the US Supreme Court appearing willing to support new restrictions, we are going to be fighting this battle for a long time. I've stated that, while these efforts may be uncoordinated and coincidental, are they really? Or is this the intent all a long ... have restrictions in place at the state level and let them bubble up over time. And while the challenges wind their way through the court system, they're still in force severely impacting not only us, but the next generation of gun owners in this country.

Someone on this forum made the comment about not being concerned about the present or immediate future, but what about 20-30 years out. I can see that wave coming over the horizon and it sure is looking big.

But what happens if most of the current legislative efforts fail? What happens to the liberal side that is pushing this agenda? Obama has said that the upcoming vote is the best chance in more than a decade to reduce gun violence. Whose wind will be let out of the sails and which way do you think the wind will blow? Will it be us ... or them?

If you enjoyed reading about "Standing on the beach looking up ..." here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
April 3, 2013, 05:19 PM
The state level is where things SHOULD be decided, in my opinion. That's the sad thing about living in a divided country. Some areas with different demographics will go one way, others will go another, but each has the option of changing its own governance without affecting the other, which might be perfectly happy with the status quo.
Also, people have the freedom to move to a more accomodating state, as they see fit.
Its not a great thing in my opinion, to see states being more and more restrictive. But it is who those people voted in, and its the citizens of those states' responsibility to vote in change.
Also, when its on a state level, people will tend to become more involved with issues that affect them, since its on their "homefront".
I'm not advocating gun control, I'm advocating states' rights

Outlaw Man
April 3, 2013, 05:44 PM
The most intrusive gun legislation, at the federal level, has come in approximately 20-30 year intervals and after a major "violence problem." The time is ripe for another. I think many of those States have counted heads and know it won't pass, right now, on the federal level, so they're taking it into their own hands.

Even traditionally gun friendly States have had unusually extreme bills introduced.

It doesn't make me sleep better at night.

April 3, 2013, 06:42 PM
silicosys4: I'm not advocating gun control, I'm advocating states' rights.

I couldn't agree more. I firmly believe that is where most laws should be applied. However, taken to an extreme, you could end up with just a handful of states that are gun friendly; a lot that allow you the privilege to keep a gun; and some where they are practically banned outright. It's not practical for all gun supporters to migrate to those few free states, again, assuming restrictions taken to the extreme.

With the erosion of gun rights at the state level, you almost start to wonder if it would be better, one way or the other, for the US Supreme Court to clearly define just what are the boundaries of "shall not be infringed" and how state limitations mesh with our 2nd Amendment rights.

April 3, 2013, 06:46 PM
This is why people should be more concerned with who they vote into office on a state level as much if not more so than they should be with the presidential election.
Sadly, its not that way.

Jim Watson
April 3, 2013, 07:00 PM
I see two (additional) problems with the various state level gun restrictions.

1. I think it more difficult to organize opposition on a state level than national. Nationwide we have NRA and others, and even get free publicity from news media, unfavorably slanted though it may be.

2. State laws vary from place to place. This will make it more difficult for gunowners to travel or relocate and remain in compliance. It will also fragment the market and make it difficult for gunmakers to provide compliant products into many different jurisdictions.
This may not be unknown or undesirable to the restricters.

The commerce clause and the due process clause have been used to intrude federal control into state government. They are unlikely to be used to protect our interests with "full faith and credit" across state lines when it is against the wishes of those in charge.

April 3, 2013, 07:12 PM
I'm not advocating gun control, I'm advocating states' rights.
Hasn't the 2nd Amendment been incorporated at the state level?

April 3, 2013, 07:37 PM
Hasn't the 2nd Amendment been incorporated at the state level?
The 2nd Amendment was incorporated in Heller. However, the court refused to abandon the selective incorporation process. It also refused to remove all gun restrictions, recognizing that some, such as restrictions against felons, the mentally ill and geographical restrictions, were constitutional. With the current slate of legislation running rampant across the country, I feel that some limits they bring may also be held constitutional. Only time will tell.

April 3, 2013, 11:49 PM
You can really wreck your reputation as a forecaster by predicting what the Supreme Court will do. However, I do think we will see many of the current crop of bad laws struck down.

Laws banning AR15 type rifles: Clearly unconstitutional.

Laws setting arbitrary limits for magazine capacity: Clearly unconstitutional.

Laws setting coercive taxes on guns and ammo: Clearly unconstitutional.

Universal background checks: Possibly unconstitutional.

Many people tend to mis-read Heller and McDonald. Those decisions do NOT apply just to handguns, or to the home.

SCOTUS first ruled that 2A guaranteed an individual right to keep and bear arms. Then they ruled that Miller identified the types of arms covered by 2A, namely those commonly held for lawful purposes. Having reached those two conclusions, they asked whether handguns were part of the protected class of arms, and decided that they were. If they follow precedent, which they pretty religiously do, they have to reach the same conclusion about AR15 rifles and their component parts, magazines.

It may take a few years, but many of the current crop of laws will be overturned and gone forever.

April 4, 2013, 07:49 AM
I totally concur with your predictions, at least I'm hoping for these conclusions. But it seems that, regardless of what the court rulings have been, the states and municipalities work to find ways around them. As we are a nation of laws, at some point there has to be clear understanding, known and respected by all, as to just what the 2nd means to we, the people.

April 4, 2013, 08:53 AM
Here is why these state laws matter. As more and more states pass stricter gun laws the country will eventually be broken into two camps with gun friendly states and states that severely restrict them. This is where the federal government will step in using the “interstate commerce laws” to restrict firearms in the more gun friendly (read constitutional) states. Be on guard, these people are not really concerned about short term changes, they are in it for the long haul and will not be satisfied until the 2nd Amendment is but a footnote in history.

April 4, 2013, 09:00 AM
I agree these issues should fall to the states, the federal government was never meant to get this powerful, they simply found a loop hole and exploited it (everything falls under international commerce). However when it comes to our Constitutional Rights there should be no issue, we have it, if you don't like it, move to England or Australia.

As a Christian I hear jabs about us all the time on TV yet I don't expect (and would never try) that they'll sign away the Right to free speech because I don't like what people are saying.

Just tell the anti-gunners that swimming pools kill more children than guns, ban those first. :)

If you enjoyed reading about "Standing on the beach looking up ..." here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!