In one of the most beautiful examples of hypocrisy, a former California State Senator has been convicted of weapons trafficking. Former Senator Leland Yee had been one of the leading voices in support of gun control in the state of California.
Yee’s story just reinforces many of the arguments made by gun rights activists. How would a law that restricts the type of firearms a citizen can buy going to effect a criminal in any way? The answer is it will not. Here we have a public official partnering with a known criminal—the colorful Chinatown gangster Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow—to buy “…weapons overseas and bringing them to the U.S.” All while championing the Brady Campaign for Gun Violence Prevention. Just two years before he was arrested he told CNN that “It is extremely important that individuals in the state of California do not own assault weapons. I mean that is just so crystal clear — there is no debate, no discussion.” At the same time he was bringing in real assault weapons from East Asia. How can the public ever have confidence that anything their legislators do in the supposed pursuit of public safety will mean anything when in fact the very people championing these laws are profiting from them? The only people who are effected by these crime prevention laws are the citizens of California.
Also, this is the perfect example of why trusting the government with your safety is a terrible idea. The largest argument pro-gun activists put forward is that they have the right to possess firearms because of the inherent right to defend themselves. How can citizens trust a government that would bar them from purchasing the most effective means of self-preservation, while selling these same banned weapons to criminal enterprises in the inner cities of the state? All the legislators accomplished was providing a monopoly on firepower. Now only criminals and the police have access to the most effective weapons. All behind the façade of a senator who “…styled himself as an outsider removed from the corruption that plagued San Francisco governments past.” Behind his outward appearance, Yee “…abused that trust” of the people of California. All for “…thousands of dollars in campaign contributions in exchange for political favors”. It is likely that more people were killed by the firearms he brought into the country illegally than by those purchased legally by citizens who wanted nothing more than to enjoy a challenging sport, or defend their families and homes.
Senator Yee is the perfect example of why gun control in America will never have the desired effect. Here we have California with some of the strictest gun laws in the country, yet it has the highest number of gun murders of any of the fifty states. The citizens are barred from buying many types of firearms that are supposedly too dangerous for them to own, but criminals can find public officials that are willing to turn a blind eye for campaign contributions and political favors.
Guns and Gun control have been a major topic for the Presidential candidates recently. With the focus on gun control some very ignorant statements have been made by both Democratic and Republican candidates.
Let’s start off with a tweet from Bernie Sanders. In his tweet from December 30th he says he will “Strengthen and better enforce the instant background check system…make ‘straw man’ purchases a federal crime; ban semi-automatic assault weapons which were designed strictly for killing human beings…”. Let’s go through these one by one. First off, background checks are required for all sales by Federal Firearms License dealers. It is a federal crime for them to sell without doing one. So unless he is implying that the laws are not being enforced then his statement has absolutely zero meaning. If he is referring to private sales he should probably be informed that almost every state requires private handgun sales to go an FFL meaning a background check will be conducted. It is also illegal to sell to someone who does not reside within your state unless you do it through an FFL. In other words, Background checks are almost universal except for private sales of long guns. Sanders next statement is laughable at how ill-informed it is. He promises to make “Straw man” purchases a federal crime. Meaning if you buy a firearm for someone who is not legally eligible to own one you will be committing a crime. A quick google search reveals that “An illegal firearm purchase (straw purchase) is a federal crime”. With penalties of up to “…ten years in jail and a fine of up to $250,000”. It really is inspiring to see how much effort the candidates put into research. Lastly, he mentions his support for an “Assault Weapons” ban. Claiming that these firearms “were designed strictly for killing human beings…”. As a proud owner of one of these “Assault Weapons” I can say that I did not buy my AR-15 for the sole purpose of killing human beings. As a matter of fact I bought it for hunting and target shooting. What is really meant by “Assault Weapon” is popular semi-automatic firearms that accept standard capacity magazines. There is also the minor fact that the use of any long gun in a crime is extremely rare.
Now for the Republicans. Jeb Bush posted a picture of an engraved handgun on twitter with the caption “America”. We’ll just leave out the fact that his “American” gun was made by FN Herstal, or Fabrique Nationale, a Belgian company. Anyway, let’s move on to Trump. “If you had more guns, you’d have more protection because the right people would have the guns”. First, I highly doubt that increasing the number of guns you have makes you safer. Besides having a long gun and a handgun, there is a point of diminishing returns. Not that there should be a limit on the number you can own, but arguing that owning more firearms makes you safer is ridiculous. Being an expert in one firearm would be much better. What makes someone the “Right person” anyway. That is incredibly vague.
Gun control could cost the Democratic Party the presidential election. It is such a divisive issue, and so unpopular that they are achieving the alienation of at least a third of the total voting population. That is why President Obama avoided the issue in his first election and why the party lost control of congress in 1994 after the assault weapons ban was passed. It could have been the deciding factor that cost Al Gore the presidency.
As the Washington times put it “the gun control issue is a loser” on the national level. A few years ago the Democratic Party “put out a paper some years ago warning candidates to not talk about gun control, calling it a loser issue” because of the long history of self-destructive support for the topic. If you want examples look at what happened in 1994 after the assault weapons ban was passed. The Democrats lost fifty-four seats in the house and eight in the senate. Both put Republicans at a majority and gave them control of congress. Even more recently look at the Vermont primary. Bernie Sanders most likely won that state because of his slightly more lax history on gun control. Vermont has a strong hunting and gun culture so it would make sense that they would hesitate when it comes to Hillary.
The main factor here is that many Americans do not trust the government. Either they do not trust it as an institution, or they do not trust it to protect them. The latter is the more common. So when given the choice between calling the police who “will show up when they can, but in most cases it’s too late to actually stop the attack” or having a firearm ready to protect their families with a 147-grain projectile traveling at 1126 feet per second the choice is easy. Assurances like “just call the police — it’s their job” are nothing more than “callous putdowns from those who never worry about their own safety”. It is no coincidence that the sale of firearms and the decrease in crime rate have been so closely linked. Though correlation is far from causation, the correlation at least proves that the more guns more crime narrative is completely false.
Many of the recent attempts at gun control have been based on misleading and false information. For example, the universal background check push sounds great. That is until you tell people taking the poll that every gun purchase from a licensed dealer requires a background check. Another popular one is closing the “Gun show loophole” in which anyone can buy a gun without a background check. Until you mention that “gun shows are governed by the same laws as all other gun sales, and that there is no exception for these community gatherings”. Another popular one is the classic “I don’t think the average person should be able to buy a full auto assault weapon”. That is until you tell them that the Hughes amendment all but banned the private sale of full auto firearms in this coutry.
“In the age of information, ignorance is a choice” Donny Miller
Quotations from Following source
In what could possibly be the largest decision regarding gun control since District of Columbia v. Heller, the Firearm Safety Act of Maryland has been overturned in the 4th Federal Appeals Court. The important thing about this case is not its decision on the law in question, but it precedent for the hearing of cases regarding the Second Amendment.
Previously, cases regarding the Second Amendment were subject to intermediate scrutiny. This contrasts with all other amendments in which any law potentially violating them was subject to strict scrutiny. The best way to explain this is that previously bans on firearms would be upheld in court if they were claimed to be in the interest of public safety. As judge Clarence put it “If a broad ban on firearms can be upheld based on conjecture that the public might feel safer (while being no safer at all), then the Second Amendment guarantees nothing”. If a religion was banned based off of public safety, the law would be shot down in an instant. A less extreme example could be Roe v. Wade in which the right to an abortion was guaranteed under the right to privacy. There were limitations. In Roe v. Wade the right to an abortion was guaranteed but the states still had the right to protect potential life. Similarly, the right to own a firearm is guaranteed while the state maintain the right to regulate unusual firearms. Unusual meaning machineguns, or explosive devices. So commonly owned and accessed firearms are protected under the second amendment. However in many cases the intermediate scrutiny allows for cases to be deemed constitutional.
The big deal about the 4th circuit court’s decision is that it the case must now be heard under strict scrutiny by the U.S. District Court. Many of the provisions of the FSA would not stand up to a strict scrutiny. This in turn could have national consequences if the case was to make it up to the Supreme Court. If that does happen, then states like California, New York, New Jersey, and Illinois would all see their current anti-gun laws overturned. By banning the access to commonly owned semi-automatic firearms these states have infringed on the right to bear arms.
Another important aspect of the case is that it includes magazine capacity under the right to bear arms. Banning magazines over 10 rounds could potentially be a breach of second amendment rights because they are commonly available. The court decided that “Strict scrutiny, then, is the appropriate level of scrutiny to apply to the ban of semi- automatic rifles and magazines holding more than 10 rounds”. So not only are firearms being included in this decision, but magazine capacity as well. The implications of this case are huge.
Only time will tell if this case comes to be anything more than a simple redefining of court policy, or if it completely redefines government intervention in citizen right to bear arms.