October 2, 2009

Assaults on the Second Amendment

by Alan Caruba
While Americans are still wary of making big purchases such as a new home, they are investing heavily in guns and ammunition. The sales are off the charts and this may have something to do with why the Founding Fathers, after protecting free speech, free press, and the right to peacefully assemble to protest, made the right to keep and bear guns the Second Amendment.

Right after 9/11 Americans similarly went out and bought guns and ammunition. When Americans get scared, they get guns. The first months of the Obama administration have given many cause for concern that this president harbors totalitarian dreams.

New Jersey is well known for electing some of the lamest politicians at all levels from federal to state. Following a quick switch by the Democrat Party when Sen. Robert Torricelli, seeking reelection, was forced off the ballot in 2002 due to some embarrassing ethical revelations, former Senator Frank Lautenberg was put on the ticket and, of course, won. He is 85 years old, making him one of the oldest members in a Congress famous for turning a blind eye to incipient senility.

I provide this thumbnail history because Sen. Lautenberg has introduced S.1317, a bill that would give the Attorney General the discretion to block gun sales to people on terror watch lists. These lists, since 9/11, have ballooned, often including people with no connection to terror. The names of people on the watch list are secret and, in effect, this would invest the Attorney General with extraordinary power to limit gun sales.

Moreover, Sen. Lautenberg says he has been frustrated by the FBI’s refusal to disclose to investigators details and specific cases of gun purchases beyond aggregate, general data. Apparently it is not enough that one has to secure a state permit to purchase any weapon these days. In New Jersey, I was fingerprinted in order to do this. Just how much information on gun owners does the Senator need?

Sen. Lautenberg, like his liberal colleagues in Congress and in offices throughout the land, blame guns, not the criminals who use them, for crime. In states that permit the carrying of concealed weapons, the crime rate has fallen. A citizen’s ability to shoot back has a sobering effect on criminals.

The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms is leading the fight against S. 1317 and you should support this effort. History is replete with evidence that wherever gun ownership is banned, totalitarian governments are free to slaughter their own citizens.

There is, however, some good news on the horizon. The Second Amendment Foundation reports that the U.S. Supreme Court has announced that it will hear the case of McDonald v. City of Chicago to decide whether the right to keep and bear arms secured by the Second Amendment protects Americans from over-reaching state and local governments.

At issue is a 27-year-old Chicago law banning handguns, requiring the annual taxation of firearms, and generally interfering with the right of law-abiding citizens to keep guns at home for self-defense. In a landmark case last year, District of Columbia v. Heller, the Supreme Court struck down a law that rendered the District a virtual gun-free zone. Since it is administered by the federal government, the Chicago case will apply nationwide to states and local governments.

A lot is riding on the Chicago case, but in the meantime, Congress must be constantly monitored for its continuing effort to limit the Second Amendment.

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