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Old January 25, 2013, 11:36 PM   #1
FlySubCompact
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New AWB - Poll Taxes?

I hear the new Feinstein AWB legislation would make folks who already own the listed firearms go through the same hoops that NFA folks have to go through to keep full autos. Esentially having to pay a tax to excercise a right.

Years ago, poititians did the same thing with voting. If you could not come up with the fee to vote, you did not vote. This was mainly installed to keep blacks and poor whites from having a vote. This was struck down because folks should not have to pay to exercise a right.

If this new AWB were passed somehow, could it not be struck down on the same grounds as a poll tax? I do not see any difference.
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Old January 25, 2013, 11:53 PM   #2
vranasaurus
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The 24th amendment prohibits poll taxes in federal elections. I believe, but am not 100%, that the supreme court struck them down in state and local elections using the equal protection clause.

It wasn't the tax but how it was used to disenfranchise blacks. Don't kid yourself the people in power werent about to disenfranchise poor, ignorant whites. There were often exceptions that allowed poor whites to vote without paying. It was the poor whites whose position in society was most threatened by equal rights for blacks. The solid south was maintained largely by gining up fear in the minds of poor ignorant whites.
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Old January 26, 2013, 01:31 AM   #3
FlySubCompact
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Regardless of who it was aimed to exclude from exercising a right, the point it was it is wrong to make anyone pay for exercising a listed right.

I see this part of the new AWB proposal (and a few other exiting firearm regulations for that matter) as the same thing.

If folks want to "peaceably assemble" for a protest, for example, do they have to pay to do that? I've heard of permits for such events, but do those come at a financial outlay for the permit?
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Old January 26, 2013, 12:59 PM   #4
Spats McGee
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Under the First Amendment, certain reasonable restrictions on time, manner and place may be lawfully imposed. For example, we have an A1 right to peacably assemble, but if we want to have our gathering form into a parade on Main Street, we may need a parade permit, or be restricted from having the parade at 8:00 a.m. on a Monday morning, right in the middle of rush hour. The parade permit has a fee attached.

However, there are considerable differences in the language of A1 and A2.
Quote:
Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Quote:
Amendment II

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.
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Old January 26, 2013, 11:35 PM   #5
FlySubCompact
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Quote:
certain reasonable restrictions
I derive that nowhere in the language in those two Ammendments.

Sounds like the phrase "common sense gun legislation".
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Old January 26, 2013, 11:40 PM   #6
KyJim
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Of course, the First Amendment only says, "Congress shall make no law. . . " and does not mention denial of free speech by executive order or other executive action. Yet, the First Amendment has been construed to constrain all three branches of government.
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Old January 26, 2013, 11:51 PM   #7
pnac
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What about "free speech zones"? I thought the whole country was supposed to be a free speech zone, is that not a violation of civil rights?
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Old January 27, 2013, 07:45 AM   #8
Double Naught Spy
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Court decisions such as Heller have upheld "reasonable restrictions" on rights. The legal question really isn't if the AWB would be a violation of our civil rights, but whether or not it is unreasonable.

One could argue, and many have, that ANY infringement of the right to keep and bear arms is an infringement, but wholly support jailed criminals not having guns (an obvious infringement). If a right can't be infringed, then how can it be lost? Most agree that private citizens should not be allowed to own arms such as bombs and mines. There seems to be a large consensus that mentally unstable or handicapped people should not be allowed to bear arms and there are laws to support this. These all fall under the guise of reasonable restrictions. If you support any such restrictions in any way, then you support the concept of reasonable restrictions.

To argue the AWB is a violation of 2nd Amendment rights given how the courts perceive the 2nd Amendment, then the argument likely would need to be that it is an unreasonable restriction as there are already numerous restrictions in place deemed to be 'reasonable' and surprisingly supported by society as a whole, not just the courts.
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Old January 27, 2013, 12:37 PM   #9
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I remember some of Scalia's comments after Heller. That part of our "victory" made me wonder how that part of the decision would eventually snowball with time. Especially with liberal lawmakers doing the rolling. Constrast with what the founding document states "shall not be infringed". If the Supremes did not specifically state: "Thou shall not keep and bear a nuclear device." then lawmakers will eventually "common sense" us down to a Daisy Red Rider.
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Old January 28, 2013, 04:47 PM   #10
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We are getting off the original topic a bit... but in my mind that is OK. This is a good discussion.

The maintaining (and God willing, the expanding) of our RTKBA is both a legal fight and a political fight. Given the current realities of the Supreme Court and the Heller decisions, the courts are going to continue to affirm that the 2nd is an individual right. Hugely important, yes.… BUT, I think we would be mistaken to rely on the courts to defend our right to own AR/AK rifles and 30 round mags. That is going to be a political fight.

It is a bit of a fantasy to think that the SCOTUS is going to rule that a ban on AR/AKs and other military-derivative rifles is unconstitutional, and wow, now we can all relax, and the battle is finally over... nope, I don't think it will work out that way. I think that keeping our "evil black rifles" will be a never ending political battle, and our side will gain and loose ground, and the other side will gain and loose ground.
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Old January 28, 2013, 09:11 PM   #11
vranasaurus
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The point of my post was to highlight the fact that poll taxes weren't struck down on the rationale that taxing a right is per se unconcstitutional.

Poll Taxes in federal elections ended by the 24th Amendment.

In local and state elections I believe they were struck down on equal protection grounds. (Not sure, and don't have time to research it right now.)


If the fee/tax isn't designed to prohibit/discourage the exercise of the right then it's a tough row to hoe.
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