By Rachel Malone
To Chuck Canterbury, being your guns rights champion means that he supports the woman who agreed “the right to possess a gun is clearly not a fundamental right.”
So it’s a major problem that Canterbury has been nominated as ATF Director.
An anti-gunner sneaking into ATF’s top position can do a lot of damage to your right to keep and bear arms. And if he manages to convince gun owners that they have nothing to worry about, there’s nobody left to push back on his treachery.
Canterbury as ATF Director isn’t a tale that ends well for us. Let’s take a closer look with eyes wide open.
Canterbury Pushes for Gun Control
Chuck Canterbury is President of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), an organization which touts itself as “The Voice Of Our Nation’s Law Enforcement Officers.” As President of the FOP, he has asked Congress to “address gun violence” by passing three gun control measures that should make your blood boil.
First, he wants universal background checks. He claims that loopholes in the background check system are responsible for criminals obtaining guns. This is ridiculous.
Background checks are a blatant violation of “innocent until proven guilty.” Currently, 95% of initial NICS blocks are “false positives,” meaning that background checks are much more likely to keep law-abiding citizens from purchasing guns to protect themselves lawfully. Also, background checks certainly do not stop prohibited people from illegally getting their hands on guns.
Second, he wants to “invigorate the ATF” and give it the “manpower and resources” to enforce laws. Just so we’re clear, the ATF is the agency responsible for enforcing federal gun control acts.
So that’s exactly what we need to keep us safe — more federal agents to investigate and arrest people who haven’t paid their federal tax on those dangerous hearing protection devices (silencers) and those terrible guns that are safer for smaller people to handle (short-barreled rifles and shotguns).
And third, he wants law enforcement to have “better access to mental health records for keeping guns out of the wrong hands.” Considering the massive push for gun confiscations for those who are supposedly “mentally ill” without going through due process — this is pretty much the last thing I want.
This line-up should give you an idea of Canterbury’s game plan for running the ATF. And I say hell no.
Canterbury Opposes Gun Rights
As if pushing for gun control isn’t enough, Canterbury has also used his official position as President of FOP to oppose constitutional carry and other gun rights legislation. Seventeen states now recognize constitutional carry — the right to carry a gun without needing a government permit.
Ohio is working on it, but Canterbury has made it clear that he opposes the measure.
Canterbury Supports Anti-Gunners for Leadership
He testified in favor of Sonia Sotomayor for U.S. Supreme Court Justice.
His rhetoric was stellar. “I take a back seat to no one in my reverence for the Second Amendment,” Canterbury proclaimed. “In fact, if I thought that Judge Sotomayor’s presence on the court posed a threat to my Second Amendment right, I would not be supporting her here today.”
But only five years previously, Sotomayor had agreed that “the right to possess a gun is clearly not a fundamental right” (Sanchez-Villar v. United States, 2004).
Gun Owners of America opposed Sotomayor’s nomination, and with good reason.
The year after her SCOTUS confirmation, she voted wrong in McDonald v. Chicago (2010). She agreed that the individual right to keep and bear arms is not fundamental in the American scheme of justice, that gun regulations could help save lives, and that the States don’t have to uphold our right to keep and bear arms.
If Canterbury didn’t think Sotomayor posed a threat, he’s talking about a very different Second Amendment than the one I champion.
Of course, that should already be obvious from the support for gun control and helping to kill constitutional carry.
It’s worth paying attention to who’s running the ATF. It’s the agency that decided for years that bumpstocks were perfectly legal under the law, allowing many gun owners to own them. They also classified the pistol brace as allowable under Federal law.
The ATF is also the agency that President Trump commanded to arbitrarily reclassify bumpstocks as machine gun guns. And if the ATF had been led by someone with a stronger backbone, maybe that bumpstock ban wouldn’t have happened — or at least might have included a grandfather clause for everyone who already owned one.
With such important decisions for gun rights riding on the ATF director position, how could President Trump nominate Canterbury?
Well, it’s not the first time he’s let us down.
While the President has pleasantly surprised many by keeping promises on certain issues, gun rights is definitely not one of those categories. Trump’s campaign rhetoric of being strong on the Second Amendment has been replaced by his call for “take the guns first, and then due process later.”
And that call has been followed up with action: planting seeds for red flag confiscation orders, bypassing Congress in signing an executive order for the bumpstock ban, and now…Canterbury.
So what can you do about it?
The Senate has the responsibility of confirming Presidential nominations. This Canterbury tale is one that will not end well for us.
Let’s put an end to this Canterbury tale to avoid a tragic ending for gun owners.
Rachel Malone is Texas Director of Gun Owners of America.