By Roger Katz
“It’s like déjà vu all over again.” – Yogi Berra
If you asked your fellow Americans to point to one defining moment in our nation’s recent history, many would likely mention the attack on our soil in 2001, for obvious reasons. Some Americans might point to Barack Obama’s election as U.S. President. Some people might mention the recession of 2008, and the bailout of major banks. Still, others might point to the result of the general U.S. Presidential election in 2016. Depending on one’s political bent, that result is either shocking and dreadful, or surprising and hopeful.
But, for those who cherish our natural, fundamental, unalienable rights, the watershed moment came in 2008 with the U.S. Supreme Court decision in District of Columbia vs. Heller. The high court held, in principal part, that the right of the people to keep and bear arms asserts an individual right, unconnected with one’s service in a militia.
One would think a lengthy Supreme Court interpretation of the Second Amendment would be unnecessary. The text of the Second Amendment is clear, concise, precise, and categorical.
But the high court’s affirmation does serve a purpose. It lays to rest any pretension the Second Amendment means anything other,or less than it says. Sadly, the pretension lingers among many, despite this seminal case.
Many defy and denigrate the high Court’s imprimatur. They detest the Second Amendment and wish to rid the nation of it.
It should not come as a surprise to Americans that the Democratic Party’s leadership, holding most seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, plan to introduce a flurry of anti-gun bills in the coming months. The most ambitious concerns a ban on those semiautomatic firearms referred to as “assault weapons.”
But this push to ban an entire category of semiautomatic firearms in common use is nothing new. The late U.S Senator, Howard Metzenbaum, a Democrat from Ohio, who died in 2008, introduced a bill to control the sale and use of assault weapons in 1989. That Senate bill failed. The House introduced similar bills that year. They, too, failed.
However, in 1994, Congress did enact a semiautomatic firearms’ ban, as part of The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. But the Clinton “assault weapons” ban provision wasn’t reauthorized. The House then tried, in 2007, to resurrect a ban on semiautomatic firearms, introducing the “Assault Weapons Ban And Law Enforcement Protection Act Of 2007, 110 H.R. 1022.” That bill failed, too.
After a lull, Democrats ramped up efforts. The 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy served as the pretext to try to ban an entire category of firearms, once again.
Congress, though, often acts slowly. That’s a good thing when proposed legislation impinges on or infringes Constitutional rights and liberties. But, Andrew Cuomo, Democrat Governor of New York, unlike the US Congress, doesn’t act slowly. He doesn’t have to and he doesn’t want to, especially when an opportunity arises to constrain further the right of the people to keep and bear arms.
Governor Cuomo intended to act quickly to restrict New York’s already draconian gun laws further. He pushed for an immediate vote on the New York SAFE Act of 2013. His statement to support the emergency passage of the NY Safe Act, reads:
Some weapons are so dangerous, and some ammunition devices are so lethal, that New York State must act without delay to prohibit their continued sale and possession in the state in order to protect its children, first responders and citizens as soon as possible. This bill, if enacted, would do so by immediately banning the ownership, purchase and sale of assault weapons and large-capacity ammunition feeding devices. For this reason, in addition to enacting a comprehensive package of measures that further protects the public, immediate action by the Legislature is imperative.
With the clout he wields in Albany, the measure passed, and the Governor signed the SAFE Act into law on January 15, 2013. To herald enactment, he created a web page, devoted to glorifying his achievement.
Hardly a week after Governor Cuomo signed the SAFE Act into law, Senator Dianne Feinstein introduced a federal assault weapons ban, modeled on the SAFE Act. Feinstein expected Senator Harry Reid to include the assault weapons ban in the broad Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act Of 2013. That didn’t happen. Even so, the act failed on a floor vote, 40-60, even without Feinstein’s assault weapons provision.
In later years, Democrats in the House and Senate, ever undeterred, introduced semiautomatic firearms bans, one after the other, despite repeated failures—in efforts to to rein in the Second Amendment. These bills included:
The Assault Weapons Ban of 2015, 114 H.R. 4269
Imported Assault Weapons Ban of 2016, 114 H.R. 4748
The Assault Weapons Ban of 2017, 115 S. 2095
The Assault Weapons Ban of 2018, 115 H.R. 5077
They all failed. But, the anti-gun politicians remain undeterred. The recent roll-out is drearily the same: same title, later date. Many of the usual cast of characters have signed on to the Assault Weapons Ban of 2019 as co-sponsors. Some are considering a run as Democratic nominee for president in 2020.
According to Feinstein’s press release, the Assault Weapons Ban of 2019 is an “updated bill to ban the sale, transfer, manufacture, and importation of military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines.”
A Nation-Wide Ban On Some Semiautomatic Firearms Imperils All Semiautomatic Weapons.
Anti-gun zealots desire nothing less than an end to civilian firearms ownership and possession in America. This is not an exaggerated concern for those who cherish Second Amendment freedoms.
New York Times contributing columnist commentator, Brett Stephens has called for outright repeal of the Second Amendment. We may dismiss an excessive, incendiary remark from a pundit, but, when a retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice echoes that sentiment, Americans must take notice. Consider the remarks of retired Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, John Paul Stevens, as reported in The New York Times:
Concern that a national standing army might pose a threat to the security of the separate states led to the adoption of that amendment, which provides that “a well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” Today that concern is a relic of the 18th century.
Retired Associate Justice Stevens always tied the right of the people to keep and bear arms to the militia. Read his dissenting opinion in Heller. But, the majority in Heller rejected Stevens’ premise.
Americans should take antithetical remarks attacking the sanctity of the Second Amendment, seriously, especially when coming from powerful and influential people. The attorney, Christopher Keleher, in an academic article, titled, “The Impending Storm: The Supreme Court’s Foray into the Second Amendment Debate,” published just months before the High Court’s decision in Heller, recited a litany of disturbing comments from members of Congress, such as:
“United States Senator Dianne Feinstein, commenting on an assault weapons ban, stated ‘if I could have gotten 51 votes in the Senate of the United States for an outright ban, picking up every one of them, Mr. and Mrs. America turn them all in, I would have done it.’ Former United States Senator Howard Metzenbaum complained that the same ban was insufficient, exclaiming, ‘until you ban them all, you might as well ban none. . . . [But, it] will be a major step in achieving the objective that we have in mind.’ United States Congressman William L. Clay proclaimed the 1993 Brady Bill was a ‘minimum step’ that Congress should take in its efforts to restrict firearms.
These politicians consider the Second Amendment inconsistent with international legal rules and standards, and incompatible with societal norms of conduct. One or the other must go. For them, it’s the Second Amendment. They believe that Americans should adopt and adhere to the new international that they ascribe to.
The mainstream media conveys the anti-gun message incessantly. The false message delivered to Americans is plain enough: for the welfare of society you must comply with and adapt to the conventions of the global, liberal, democratic order; and this requires you to forsake the archaic and degenerate desire to own and possess firearms.
Roger J. Katz has practiced law for the federal government in Washington D.C., for the state government in Arizona, and has been in private practice in Ohio, New York, and Arizona. Roger is a co-founder of Arbalest Group LLC, creator of the Arbalest Quarrel weblog, dedicated to strengthening the Second Amendment, preserving our Bill of Rights, and maintaining a free republic.
This article was originally published at arbalestquarrel.com and is reprinted here with permission.