A Bridge Too Far

Every once in awhile Harry Reid realizes another six years have sped by. He then feels obliged, like a salmon seeking out the quiet stream of its birth, to fly to Nevada.

Here, he temporarily dons a new pair of blue jeans and gets himself photographed a) sitting on a hay bale, and/or b) holding a .22-caliber rifle with which he contends he once shot a rabbit.

To get re-elected in Nevada, you see, a politician has to contend he’s serious about that “protecting the Second Amendment” stuff, at least for a few weeks every term.

So you’ll pardon me if I suspect Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wasn’t terribly shocked and disappointed when the latest round of federal “gun control” proposals failed to carry a filibuster-proof majority and went down to defeat in the U.S. Senate on April 17.

You think Harry Reid can’t count votes? If he’d considered a failure to carry these measures some kind of embarrassment, the vote never would have been held.

Nope, this way he gets full credit with his left-wing pals and party-line Democratic voters for having “done his best” — he can explain any “Nay” votes he himself had to cast as procedural in nature, since only a “Nay-voting” senator can later ask for reconsideration — while Nevada gun owners can be advised with a wink and nudge that “No new gun control measures passed on Harry’s watch.”

Barack Obama, on the other hand, didn’t seem to take this latest reverse with such equanimity. As a matter of fact, many commentators described the lame duck president’s meltdown in response to the April 17 gun-control failures as “angry” and “petulant.”

“There were no coherent arguments as to why we wouldn’t do this,” Mr. Obama said. “It came down to politics — the worry that that vocal minority of gun owners would come after them in future elections. … They caved to pressure. … This was a pretty shameful day for Washington.”

So it’s shameful to vote to protect the Second Amendment merely because voters might be opposed? Especially if it’s “a minority” of voters?

Isn’t that precisely what the Bill of Rights is supposed to protect — the rights of minorities, when faced with the hysteria of some irrational, whipped-up mob?

If the majority is always supposed to rule, why doesn’t the U.S. Constitution consist of a mere 13 words: “Providing it has temporary majority support, the government can do anything it wants”?

LINE UP THE CHILDREN BEHIND ME

There were “no coherent arguments” for re-enacting the failed 1990s ban on semi-automatic rifles (They’re not assault rifles; they can’t fire full-auto) but which look scary because they carry the detachable standard-sized magazines with which they’re designed to function?

How about a) such bans violate the Second Amendment, and b) Banning them the last time did not reduce crime rates by one iota?

There were “no coherent arguments” for allowing congresscritters to require grandpa to drive his grandson or grand-nephew to the nearest big town to the (increasingly scarce) federally licensed firearm dealer and pay a fee in order to subject Junior to a “mental-health background check” before “transferring” his hunting rifles to the next generation?

How about this: Way, waaayyy back in October of 2012, we gun owners were ridiculed if we warned, “Watch out, as soon as Obama and the Democrats are safely re-elected, they’re going to come for our guns again.”

“Why, gun control hasn’t even been an issue in this campaign!” the know-it-alls laughed. “The Dems learned their lesson when they lost control of Congress in 1994. They’re never going to try THAT again!”

Then suddenly it’s January, and Barack Obama is staging events that use weepy children and pathetic parents as political stage props, dusting off every tired old Democratic gun-control idea once again, all because of that Lanza youth (I guess we still ought to say “allegedly”) shooting a bunch of little kids at an elementary school in Connecticut, and a couple of other pretty good candidates for the Filbert Factory shooting Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords (who — Arizonans tell me — wouldn’t knowingly allow anyone to carry self-defense guns at her public rallies) and patrons of that “Batman” movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, a theater which John Lott has pretty convincingly demonstrated was chosen precisely because that particular nut case knew his victims would be disarmed, since it was the closest one to his home with signs reading “No firearms allowed.”

But guess what? This proposed “mental health background check” rigmarole wouldn’t have stopped any of those shootings. Neither Jared Loughner in Tuscon nor the Holmes character in Colorado had been “adjudicated mentally ill.” Neither had the Adam Lanza kid, so far as we know, though even if he had, the way he got his firearms was to murder his mom and steal hers, and SHE had passed a thorough background check with flying colors. How would more layers of “reasonable background checks” have stopped that?

Furthermore, James Holmes in Colorado supposedly used an extra-large rifle magazine which jammed (as they will — spring pressure grows uneven at higher sizes) and was then discarded. If he’d carried smaller but more reliable magazines — as Dianne Feinstein et al. would for some unknowable reason prefer — the death toll might have been higher.

(One letter writer to my local daily even wrote that we should ban any firearm that can discharge “155 bullets in five minutes,” the number of shell cases reportedly recovered at the Sandy Hook school in Connecticut. As the weapon allows a trained shooter to fire more than 30 aimed rounds per minute, that would mean banning the manual turn-bolt Short Magazine Lee-Enfield used in the First World War, a design now more than 100 years old.)

It seems to me a “great uniter” would at least acknowledge that American gun owners have shown admirable patience, standing quietly by for 75 years as more than 20,000 overlapping gun laws have systematically “infringed” their rights.

Frankly, I believe Democrats (yes, and RINOs, too) have pushed their unpopular, Politically Correct causes “A Bridge Too Far,” as usual, and are going to face some serious backswing of the pendulum. Leave aside for a moment the looming fiscal train wreck of ObamaCare. Americans are fed up with being told they’re nothing but hate-filled racist Bible-thumping troglodytes if they think the immigration laws should be enforced; our tax-funded schools and hospitals should not go bankrupt trying to provide free services to everyone who can sneak across our borders; we don’t need vastly expensive tax-funded nursery schools for every 4-year-old Spanish-speaking child, and maybe the TV networks might want to report just a few details about Americans left to die in Benghazi, or that late-term abortion mill in Philadelphia, whether it suits their agenda or not.

Nope; nothing to see here; move along.

‘ALL THEY WANT’?

As to the notion that “all the gun-grabbers wanted” was a “reasonable” regime of universal background checks, which would never, ever be allowed to turn into a national gun registry, since those in power would be just as obliged to enforce the “no gun registry” provision as they’re currently obliged to enforce our immigration laws, by arresting any illegal alien who tries to register his or her kids for school in this country?

It’s another lie, and you can prove it yourself. Just tell anyone making this claim, “You know, I doubt ‘universal background checks’ will prevent any crimes without the national gun registry you say you don’t want, and of course they violate the Second Amendment, since they’d be pointless if they didn’t ‘infringe’ the rights of some persons to bear arms. But if you’re sincere when you say ‘That’s all we want, nothing else, and you should agree in order to prove you’re reasonable,’ then OK. I’ll support ‘universal background checks’ for all firearms transfers on one condition:

“Draft a law in three sections. The first section is a non-severability clause, which means if any part of this law is ever amended, repealed, or thrown out by some court, the whole thing becomes null and void. The second section you get to write to create your ‘universal background checks’ as you see fit. And the third section must state: ‘Since the proponents of this law have represented that universal background checks are all they want, that support of those background checks alone is all that’s required to prove gun owners are “reasonable,” then this bill hereby repeals, rescinds, and further bans the re-enactment of any of the estimated 20,000 gun laws previously in effect in this country, including any scheme to regulate, limit, tax, or create or maintain a requirement for a license or a permit in order to manufacture for civilian use, to import, sell, buy, own, carry at any time or place, or practice fire at any reasonably safe location any arm of military usefulness, or its ammunition, including select-fire assault rifles, belt-fed machine guns, mortars, RPGs, 75 mm recoilless rifles, tanks and armored vehicles, fully armed military aircraft, or artillery pieces of any size. And to further bar opportunities for registration or regulation of any kind, manufacturers are hereby expressly encouraged to manufacture firearms and ammunition without any identifying marks or serial numbers, and the BATF is hereby disbanded.’”

They won’t even pretend to go for this, of course. They’ll say “That’s ridiculous!” — which means they’re admitting without argument that “universal background checks” AREN’T “all they want” — they’re just the latest sticky strand they want added THIS YEAR to the spider web already ensnaring American gun owners; it only works if it’s an ADD-ON, and they reserve the right to push for unnamed FURTHER restrictions NEXT YEAR.

“No coherent arguments,” Mr. Obama? How about the fact you then proceeded to hit the college graduation trail, warning American youth not to believe anyone who tells them that any government, given its head, can and will eventually turn into a tyranny?

At the same time you’re continuing to make it virtually impossible for average Americans to acquire the weapons necessary to resist a vast new Homeland Security Army buying up tens of millions of rounds of ammo, showing a decided preference for jacketed hollow-point (a bit pricey for target practice, don’t you think), since “We’re not subject to the Geneva conventions”?

8 Comments to “A Bridge Too Far”

  1. Carl "Bear" Bussjaeger Says:

    I’d add a fourth section, since we’re indulging in this thought experiment:
    “In the event this law is found to be unconstitutional by any court (judge, jury, appellate panel, or SCOTUS), all legislators who voted for the bill, and any president signing it, will be in violation of their oath to uphold and support the Constitution, removed from office, and tried for treason.”

    Yeah. I know. “Thought experiment.”

  2. Michael Says:

    Why all the emphasis on the Federal Constitution & none on the State Constitution? Why ALWAYS mention the 2nd Article IN ADDITION aka the 2nd Amendment WHEN the State Constitution has the same worded “protection” in its Bill of Rights? It’s as tho the State Constitution has no purpose. What is the purpose of the State Constitution?

  3. Carl "Bear" Bussjaeger Says:

    Michael, possibly because while Vin introduces the topic via Reid and Nevada, he’s talking about a national issue. State constitutions vary. And — theoretically — the US Constitution takes precedence in delegated matters.

    Now, when I’m talking RKBA with NH legislators on state legislation I tend to stress our 2nd article first, then the US Second Amendment. I tailor it to my audience.

  4. Michael Says:

    Thanks,”Big Bear.” Feel like giving you a “bear hug” for responding. Things are not as “originally intended” but still, The Bill of Rights in the Federal Constitution only “originally” applied to “Federal issues/matters.” To use a federal so called protection in a “State Court” is out of place, in my opinion, unless we are citizens of the United States pursuant to the 14th Amendment & I am not such a citizen. Anyway it looks like all the “State Courts are quasi federal anyway. It’s not that the “War Amendments” are bad, it’s some of the so called appropriate legislation in pursuance of those amendments, e.g., this Amendment shall be enforced via “appropriate legislation.” What happened to the “necessary & proper clause?” It apparently did not fit anything appropriate. What a mess we have. Thanks for responding !!!

  5. Chris Mallory Says:

    Good to see you back Vin. I have been reading you for many years now. Good luck on your future enterprises.

  6. Chuck Says:

    If universal background checks are the requirement that law abiding gun owners must undergo to exercise their 2nd Amendment rights, then UNIVERSAL background checks should be the norm for ALL citizens to exercise ANY rights. Want to buy a car, a house, a plane? Only after successfully completing a UNIVERSAL background check! Want to vote? UNIVERSAL background check! Want to run for office? UNIVERSAL background check! Write a letter to the editor or comment online? Only after the UNIVERSAL background check! Anything in the UNIVERSAL background check that would disqualify citizens from acquiring a firearm should disqualify them from exercising a myriad of other rights and liberties. It only seems “fair!”

  7. GOAL Post 2013 - SPECIAL 8 - Gun Owners Action League of Washington (Almost) Says:

    [...] Author and columnist Vin Suprynowicz has published an item of direct impact on the background check issue.  You can find it at  http://www.vinsuprynowicz.com/?p=1751#more-1751 [...]

  8. GOAL Post, 2013-SPECIAL 8 | Walla Walla TEA Party Patriots Says:

    [...] Author and columnist Vin Suprynowicz has published an item of direct impact on the background check issue.  You can find it at  http://www.vinsuprynowicz.com/?p=1751#more-1751 [...]

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