By Roger J. 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 2001 terrorist attacks. Some Americans might point to Barack Obama being elected as U.S. President. Some might mention the recession of 2008, and the bailout of major banks. Still others might point to the result of the presidential election in 2016. Depending on one’s political bent, that result was either shocking and dreadful, or surprising and hopeful.
But, for those who cherish our natural, fundamental, unalienable civil rights, a true watershed moment came in 2008 with the U.S. Supreme Court decision in District of Columbia v. 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 wouldn’t be unnecessary. The text of the Amendment is clear, concise, precise, and categorical.
But the Court’s affirmation does serve a purpose. It lays to rest any pretension the Second Amendment means other, or less than it says. Sadly, the still pretension lingers among many, despite this seminal Second Amendment case.
Many defy and denigrate the Court’s imprimatur; politicians, the mainstream media, entertainers, billionaire globalists both here and abroad, anti-gun advocacy organizations, myriad leftist groups, academicians, and jurists. 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, now holding most seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, would introduce a flurry of anti-gun bills in the new Congress. The most ambitious so far concerns a ban on semi-automatic firearms they refer to as “assault weapons.”
But this push to ban an entire category of semi-automatic 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, 101 S. 386, failed. The House introduced similar bills that year. They failed, .
However, in 1994, Congress did enact a semiautomatic firearms’ ban, as part of The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. The “Assault Weapons Ban” provision was codified in federal statute. The law expired in 2004 and the House tried again, in 2007, to resurrect a ban on semi-automatic firearms, introducing the “Assault Weapons Ban And Law Enforcement Protection Act Of 2007.
After a lull, Democrats ramped up efforts again in 2012 after Sandy Hook, but their effort were once again defeated.
Not surprisingly, Senator Diane Feinstein is the principal sponsor of this latest “assault weapons” bill, directed as an attack on semi-automatic firearms. Destroying our most sacred right has always been a high priority for Senator Feinstein.
According to her 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 semi-automatic firearms imperils all semi-automatic weapons. Anti-gun zealots desire nothing less than an end to civilian firearms ownership in America. This is not an exaggerated concern for those who cherish the Second Amendment.
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 news commentator. 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 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 remarks attacking the sanctity of the Second Amendment seriously, especially when coming from powerful and influential people. 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 Court’s decision in Heller, recited a litany of disturbing comments from members of Congress.
“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. Congressman Clay professed, ‘we need much stricter gun control, and eventually we should bar the ownership of handguns except in a few cases.’ A fellow member of the House of Representatives, Congressman Bobby Rush, was also forthright in his strategy: ‘Ultimately, I would like to see the manufacture and possession of handguns banned except for military and police use. But that’s the endgame.’ Senator Lincoln Chafee was no less bashful when he asserted, ‘I shortly will introduce legislation banning the sale, manufacture or possession of handguns. . . . It is time to act. We cannot go on like this. Ban them!’ The recent tragedy at Virginia Tech prompted Congressman Dennis Kucinich to draft legislation ‘that would ban the purchase, sale, transfer, or possession of handguns by civilians.’ While such views have not garnered a majority of lawmakers, these statements are notable for their stridency and frankness.”
Americans should not brush aside these remarks as simple bluster. These politicians support their words with direct attacks on the Second Amendment. Anti-Second Amendment politicians despise the right to keep and bear arms. They find it not merely inconvenient and irrelevant, but also unconscionable.
They see our Second Amendment as incompatible with an ethical system predicated on the utilitarian consequentialism they espouse, but which our founders rejected. Anti-gun politicians find the mere thought of civilian-owned firearms both aesthetically distasteful and morally objectionable.
These politicians also consider the Second Amendment inconsistent with international legal rules and standards, and incompatible with societal norms of conduct. They believe that we should adopt and adhere to the new international liberal democratic order other countries subscribe to.
The mainstream media conveys the message of the anti-gun zealots 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. This requires you to forsake the archaic 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.