Skip to main contentSkip to main content
You have permission to edit this article.
Edit
alert top story

Other View: Democrats don't care whether banning 'assault weapons' is constitutional

  • 0
US Capitol

Thirteen community projects across eastern and southern Idaho could receive funding under a U.S. House of Representatives appropriations bill that passed the House on July 20, despite both of Idaho’s representatives voting against it. 

A week before the House of Representatives approved a ban on “assault weapons,” a federal judge in Denver explained why such laws are unlikely to pass constitutional muster. House Democrats either were not paying attention or did not care because they view the Second Amendment as an outmoded provision that imposes no meaningful limits on gun control.

Unfortunately for them, the Supreme Court has repeatedly held otherwise, ruling that the government may not prohibit law-abiding Americans from keeping handguns at home or carrying them in public for self-defense. The Court also has said the Second Amendment covers bearable arms “in common use” for “lawful purposes,” which presents a problem for Democrats who want to ban many of the most popular rifles sold in the United States.

On July 22, U.S. District Judge Raymond P. Moore, an Obama appointee, issued a temporary restraining order that bars Superior, Colorado, from enforcing its ban on “assault weapons.” The city defines that category to include semi-automatic center-fire rifles that accept detachable magazines and have any of four features: a pistol grip, a folding or telescoping stock, a flash suppressor, or a barrel shroud.

Two gun-rights groups argued that Superior’s ordinance, which also bans magazines that hold more than 10 rounds, violated the Second Amendment. Moore concluded that they had “a strong likelihood of success on the merits.”

Moore noted that the plaintiffs had cited statistics to support their claim that the guns and magazines targeted by Superior’s ordinance “are commonly used by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes.” He also mentioned an earlier case in his court where both sides had stipulated that “semiautomatic firearms are commonly used for multiple lawful purposes, including self-defense,” and that “lawfully owned semiautomatic firearms using a magazine with the capacity of greater than 15 rounds number in the tens of millions.”

Under the Supreme Court’s test, Moore said, those facts mean that “the right to possess, sell, or transfer” the arms covered by Superior’s ordinance is “presumptively protected.” The burden is therefore on the city to show that its ban is “consistent with the Nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation.”

That will be a formidable challenge, Moore suggested. “The Court is unaware of historical precedent that would permit a governmental entity to entirely ban a type of weapon that is commonly used by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes, whether in an individual’s home or in public,” he said.

Like Superior’s ordinance, the bill that the House narrowly approved on July 29 covers “large capacity” magazines and includes a general definition of “assault weapons,” although its list of prohibited features is slightly different. It also bans many specific models by name.

During the debate over the bill, Democrats said the rifles they want to ban are “the weapon of choice for mass shooters,” which is not true: Most mass shooters use handguns. Democrats said the features targeted by the bill make rifles especially deadly, which also is not true: With or without those features, a rifle fires the same ammunition at the same rate with the same muzzle velocity.

Even while implying that the rifles covered by the ban are good for nothing but mass murder, Democrats emphasized that the bill would exempt the 24 million or so “assault weapons” that Americans already own. They refused to grapple with the constitutional implications of banning guns that millions of people use for lawful purposes.

When confronted by that reality, Republicans noted, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., said, “The problem is that they are in common use.” Rep. David Cicilline D-R.I., the bill’s sponsor, likewise had no patience for Second Amendment arguments, saying, “Spare me the BS about constitutional rights.”

Unlike Nadler and Cicilline, federal judges like Moore cannot ignore the constitutional issue raised by this sort of legislation. Democrats will have to comply with the constraints imposed by the Second Amendment, no matter how much they might wish that it did not exist.

0 Comments
1
0
0
0
0

Catch the latest in Opinion

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Most Popular

Opinion: If you start an organization that embodies Idaho values, it helps to come up with a name that describes that goal and has the added value of being true. Reclaim Idaho, the non-partisan volunteer group is just such an organization.

Opinion: How angry are some Republicans at what they see as betrayal by a centrist Democrat? Angry enough to betray sick military veterans, apparently. That’s the only rational explanation for last week’s sudden about-face by two-dozen Senate Republicans who opposed legislation they previously supported to make it easier for cancer-stricken veterans to get help from the government.

Opinion: Cynical Democrats have cause to rejoice. They decry Republican voters who embrace GOP candidates who spout the lie that former President Donald Trump won the 2020 election. At the same time, they do their utmost to make sure big-lie believers win GOP primaries so that Democrats are more likely to win in November.

Even though I’m now an old guy, I can still remember the day I accidentally discovered my oldest brother’s secret stash of Playboy magazines. I was twelve at the time. He was preparing to leave for college, and was a little sloppy in his packing. I was very surprised.

Opinion: Garden City pathologist Ryan Cole burst onto the national scene as a leading Covid-19 vaccination denier and purveyor of unproven cures in July of 2021. Speaking at a meeting of America’s Frontline Doctors (AFD), a group of Covid-19 anti-vaccination activists, Cole falsely described the life-saving vaccines as “fake,” a “clot shot” and “needle rape.” He falsely claimed that thousands had died from the vaccine.

Opinion: If you watch "Stranger Things" with your kids, there's a good chance they spend some of the time crying. Not because the monsters are so scary, but because the kids are so free. It's like monkeys at the zoo watching a Jane Goodall documentary.

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.

Topics

News Alerts

Breaking News