It is little wonder that some folks are fearful of a perceived growing tyrannical State. While it has little chance of passing the legislature at this point, either by development or design, Washington recently introduced an “assault” weapons ban that also includes provisions legalizing warrantless searches of homes to ensure compliance (even self-identified anti-gun types are wary of this sort of government overreach). Why would anyone dare question the magnanimity of the oligarchical wielding of such awesome degrees of power, particularly when high profile supporters of the current regime advocate unlawful imprisonment of political opponents and the presumed despotic suspension of habeas corpus? (Incidentally, I had to pour through 5 complete pages of Google search results before I found a “major” news agency that carried this last story when it occurred.) I marvel at people’s collective outcry over James Holmes’ alleged purchases of 6,000 rounds of ammunition but apparently fail to see a similar reason to question the Department of Homeland Security’s recent pursuit of 1.6 billion (!).
Fortunately, another movement is afoot that is rather pleasing to behold, provided the current participants exhibit the required strength of their espoused convictions. Following in Ronnie Barrett’s pioneering footsteps, Olympic Arms, a noted producer of so-called “military-style assault” weapons, has announced its intent to forego any
business with the State of New York or any governmental entity or employee of such governmental entity within the State of New York – henceforth and until such legislation is repealed, and an apology made to the good people of the State of New York and the American people.
Of course, the company may have bigger considerations if Washington passes the aforementioned legislation now bouncing around the state legislature. But it is nice to see free market-formulated responses to draconian measures proliferating through many states and the federal government that infringe the rights and freedom of law-abiding individuals.
Colorado-based Magpul Industries announced recently that it will move its operations from the state if such currently considered legislation is passed. (Shameless plug: Arizona!) Beretta USA is reportedly considering similar actions in response to Maryland’s recent behavior. Stag Arms may leave Connecticut. I would really love to see Springfield Armory move from Illinois, Smith & Wesson from Massachusetts, and Winchester from Connecticut (the irony of these locations cannot be overlooked).
On a related note, Fordham University Law Professor Nicholas Johnson recently testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding the proposed federal “assault” weapons ban:
…the [weapons] classifications established by Senate 150 are unsustainable under the lowest level of constitutional review. They fail even to meet the rudimentary rational basis requirement. … Guns are dangerous. All of them are dangerous. As a class, they are exceptionally deadly, particularly when deployed against unarmed and defenseless people. And on that score, I fear that the conversation we’ve been having about this particular type of gun is a distraction from the broader issues (emphasis added).
In his accompanying analysis, he further points out:
When the US Supreme Court affirmed the individual right to arms in District of Columbia v. Heller, it suggested, among other things, that the Second Amendment to the US Constitution protects firearms in ‘common use.’ … …’common use’ yields objective assessment of whether a gun is functionally, ballistically, or numerically common.
The common use standard offers a relatively straightforward basis for evaluating the constitutionality of the proposed [“assault” weapons ban]. One of the rifles on the ban list is the AR-15. Functionally, this rifle is the same as countless repeating rifles that have not raised the ire of legislatures. But, based on its styling (it looks like the military M-16), it is perennially on the wish list of guns that should be banned.
…there are millions of AR-15s in the civilian inventory, so they are undeniably common.
The central enduring legacy of the 1994 law was to juice demand for this style of gun, ironically pushing the number in the civilian inventory from a few hundred thousand to a number now approaching ten million (emphasis added).
One can never be too sure of how a given court’s determination will subjectively fall in this day of brazenly Big Government but at least there is some intellectual debate taking place.