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Old February 7, 2009, 09:35 PM   #1
Gary L. Griffiths
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Why A New Assault Weapons Ban May Be A Good Thing!

BOHICA We all know it. Sooner or later, we're going to see Assault Weapons Ban II -- the encore. And with the Brady Bunch pushing to make all autoloaders with detachable magazines, pump-actions, and weapons with tubular magazines of >10-rd capacity categorized as "Assault Weapons."

And that may not be a bad thing. Here's why:

Heller is now the law of the land, with Miller still in effect, and quoted approvingly in that decision. A new Federal assault weapons ban would clearly be subject to the Second Amendment, regardless of its incorporation status.

In Heller the Supreme Court has declared prohibitions against owning a class of weapon (handguns) Unconstitutional, and has quoted Miller about "the people" having a right to keep and bear arms "in common use at the time." While it might be an uphill battle to prove that military style semi-auto rifles (e.g., AR-15s, AK-47s, M-1 Carbines, etc.) are "in common use," more than half the shotguns in this country are either autoloaders or pumps, and the vast majority of repeating tube-fed .22 rifles have magazine capacities of greater than 10 rds.

I could see any such a ban on a fast track to the Supreme Court, with a resulting 6-3 or 7-2 decision saying, in effect, "Look, we've already ruled on this, -CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED- do you people think you're trying to pull?"

Moreover, the threatened loss of their duck guns and their kids' .22s would enrage millions of Fudds with dire consequences for the Party In Power in the next Congressional elections.

Finally, it would head off an ill-advised attempt to take the '86 full-auto ban to the court, which would almost certainly narrow the Heller ruling, and engrave the ban in stone for all time.

Yeah, to my thinking, not a bad thing at all.
Violence is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and valorous feeling which believes that nothing is worth violence is much worse. Those who have nothing for which they are willing to fight; nothing they care about more than their own personal safety; are miserable creatures who have no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of those better than themselves. Gary L. Griffiths, Chief Instructor, Advanced Force Tactics, Inc. (Paraphrasing John Stuart Mill)
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Old February 7, 2009, 09:48 PM   #2
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What you're forgetting here is that if President Obama is anti enough to sign such a ban, he would probably also be anti enough to appoint anti justices to SCOTUS as well as numerous lower courts given the chance. Therefore, I'd like to avoid getting that close to a permanent AWB (I doubt they'd let a sunset clause get into it this time around) with the possibility of having a bunch of anti justices to support it. Fortunately, I think you may be over-estimating the chances of getting another one through. While the Democrats may have control of congress, many of them aren't willing to vote for an AWB. Many of these Democrats, while fiscally liberal, come from socially conservative areas of the south, midwest, and west and their constituents are not likely to support an AWB. Most of these politicians are likely also aware that the Democrats lost congress the last time they passed one. Finally, both congress and the President have bigger problems right now than another AWB.
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Old February 7, 2009, 10:13 PM   #3
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There is a political theory known as the 'ratchet effect'. It states that when freedoms are lost, they can only be partially restored. The state never moves back to where it was before the freedoms were lost. So it ratchets ineluctably toward total subjugation. Margaret Thatcher was a proponent of this theory. And in England, she was certainly right on the money. And here as well. For instance, even with the Heller decision, we will never go back to before the 1968 Gun Control Act. So even with the Heller decision, freedoms were not returned to where they were initially. That's why no law infringing on freedom is ever acceptable, under any circumstances.
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Old February 7, 2009, 10:53 PM   #4
Tom Servo
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In a way, I see your point. I'd like to see something like HR 45 get trashed soundly by SCOTUS, but in reality, it would simply give the antis an advantage.

A ruling would likely set up more strictly defined limits, and the antis would be sure the follow-up legislation fell squarely within those bounds.

Say for example, the Court said, "registration is OK, but an outright ban isn't." Well, what constitutes a "ban?" The antis would come up with a compliant regulation scheme. Over time, it would become more draconian through revision.

In the end, it would be a ban in all but name.

I think for the time being, it'd be a good idea to hold off on any challenges. Let's wait until we have a more supportive legislature, at the least. Let's not poke the bear. It's very angry right now that its promised agenda isn't unfolding as smoothly as predicted.

As far as Obama packing the Court, barring an unforseen tragedy, the next two Justices to retire are both liberals. Even if (and this is a big "if") he replaces them with liberals, it's apples and apples. The net effect is no change.
Sometimes it’s nice not to destroy the world for a change.
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Old February 7, 2009, 11:38 PM   #5
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There is no way anything good comes out of an AWB II.

No way.

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Old February 7, 2009, 11:54 PM   #6
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I also see it as less likely.

1. Pro-2nd organizations and shooters in general are better organized. (Thank you Mr. Gore for inventing the internet. ) The antis are rather small groups compared to the pro side. We weren't coordinated in 94.

2. Obama is riding a wave. Give it 6 months and when the polish wears off it's going to be much harder for him to ramrod anything through.

3. The 94 midterm elections. Clinton himself said they lost 20 seats just because of the AWB.
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Old February 8, 2009, 09:52 AM   #7
Bartholomew Roberts
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Another issue is just time... it took Heller from 2003 to 2008 to reach the Supreme Court. Five years from now, who will be sitting on the Supreme Court? Everybody likes to think it will be the same group; but the oldest Justice behind Stevens (who is ancient), is Scalia. Personally, I shudder to think about a Second Amendment ruling where Obama has appointed Scalia's replacement.
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Old February 8, 2009, 10:15 AM   #8
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Actually, Ginsburg is 3 years older than Scalia. Although it looks like she may actually precede Stevens off the bench (considering her recent surgery for pancreatic cancer).

And how long has Stevens held on because he didn't want Bush to appoint his replacement? I certainly hope Scalia, Roberts, Thomas, Alito, and, yes, even Kennedy would take a page from his book in that regard.
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