In the most recent edition of America’s 1st Freedom, I read a very interesting article by Charles C. W. Cooke. The title of the article is “The Art of the Preposterous” and I’d like to share with you some of the issues discussed in it. I hope you find it as interesting and thought provoking as I have.
All across the United States there are over 20,000 laws and regulations governing the possession, use and transport of firearms. Many are sensible, straight forward, and easy to understand. The value of some are debatable at best, and some are utterly inane. Cooke offers some really good insight on the latter.
“Cooling off periods.” Since 1998, the National Instant Check System has been operational giving authorized entities such as FFL holders (e.g. gun dealers) the ability to run criminal background checks in a matter of seconds. Yet nine states still have waiting periods of varying length before a citizen who passes the background check and any other necessary requirements can take possession of their firearm. There is no evidence that waiting periods stop criminal actions and to my knowledge no one has ever demonstrated a single instance where a “cooling off period” has ever prevented a crime. However there are examples of people approved for gun purchase being injured or even killed while waiting to take possession of a firearm meant for personal protection. One of the most famous examples was the death of Carol Bowne who was stabbed to death by an ex-boyfriend. At the time Bowne had been approved and was waiting for a New Jersey gun permit.
Speaking of New Jersey, the state has a ban on hollow point bullets for CCP holders. No other state bans this style of bullet. Hollow points are more effective for personal defense and just as importantly, hollow points are designed to expend energy in the body unlike solid bullets that can and do exit with great energy placing innocent bystanders at great risk of injury or death. This draconian law has put innocent law-abiding citizens in prison simply because their gun was loaded with hollow point bullets.
If you are a Montana citizen who can legally possess a fiream, you can purchase a rifle or shotgun in Idaho or Washington or any state that allows sales of long guns to out of state residents without shipping it through a FFL. But, according to the 1968 Gun Control Act, you cannot purchase a handgun outside of your state of residence unless the transaction is done through a FFL in your home state. The background check is the same for both long gun and pistol transactions and concealed carry laws cover permits. For instance, a Montanan can buy a rifle in Boise, take possession there, and transport it home. But if that same Montanan purchases a handgun in Boise, it must be shipped to a FFL in Montana where the transaction must be completed. Does this make any sense?
Finally a quick look at the arbitrary import restrictions put in place under the 1968 Gun Control Act. This law gave the ATF the power to restrict firearms that don’t have a “sporting purpose.” Nowhere in the text of the 2nd Amendment, nor anywhere else in the Constitution do the words “sporting purpose” exist, and I can find no finite definition of “sporting purpose” anywhere. Such capricious restrictions simply allow faceless nameless bureaucrats to ban guns not because they are perhaps flawed or overtly dangerous, or that they meet a specific legal definition restricting their importation, but they are banned because someone doesn’t like them.
Associate Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas once reminded all, “Second Amendment rights are no less protected by our Constitution than other rights enumerated in that document.” Thomas went on to conclude that the 2nd Amendment is not a “second class right.” The examples above and others too numerous to list here demonstrate that many do not agree with Justice Thomas and they will not hesitate to infringe upon the 2nd Amendment rights that belong to all of us.
Be safe and good shooting.