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Last weekend, the Justice Department announced that it is gearing up to implement more than a dozen new infringements on that which shall not be infringed, before the end of the Obama regime. From The Hill:
Presumably, "high-powered pistols" would be a reference to so-called "assault pistols," such as the pistol versions of AR-15s. What the administration might plan to do about them is a bit unclear. It seems unlikely that even this administration would dare attempt to ban them without a law passed by Congress--something that is clearly not going to happen with this Congress.
Lower hanging fruit, such as an import ban, seems more likely. Bob Owens, writing for Bearing Arms, speculated that a ban of braces that can be attached to such pistols, like the "Sig Brace," could be part of the package. That's plausible enough--the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives had at one point not long ago seemed to have been on the brink of imposing such a rule, on the grounds that the brace could be used as a shoulder stock, thus turning the pistol into an unregistered (and thus illegal) short-barreled rifle.
The administration's intention to impose new "gun storage requirements," without a new law passed by Congress, is also a tough one to figure out. Does Obama really believe that he has legitimate Constitutional authority to simply decree how scores of millions of American gun owners store their own property? Such power might be his, if he were Emperor Barack the First, but that's not within the power of the Presidency.
The gun bans for the mentally unstable and for perpetrators of misdemeanor domestic violence are probably the main thrust of the package, and again, details are sketchy. The similar (but apparently inadequate, in Obama's eyes) restrictions already in place were put there by federal law, enacted by Congress. Congress is the only body with the authority to write and pass federal law. Merely referring to the new restrictions as "regulations," rather than "laws," is clearly a semantic fiction, when non-compliance with them can trigger arrest by armed agents of the government, imprisonment, and death, if the rule-breaker resists arrest too vigorously.
The intention here, by the way, is certainly not to suggest that if any of these new restrictions were to be passed by Congress, that they would become either legitimate or acceptable. Even without the details, it is difficult to imagine how to reconcile any of them with the Second Amendment's shall not be infringed. At least some of them would probably have some trouble with the Tenth Amendment's proscription against federal regulation in areas not specifically enumerated in the Constitution as falling within federal purview. Finally, with the right to keep and bear arms being a fundamental human right, one that is not dependent on the Constitution for its existence, such restrictions would be morally illegitimate even without that document.
Still, if the administration feels so emboldened as to not need to bother with even the thin veneer of Constitutional legitimacy lent to it by Congressional approval of its infringements du jour, we as a nation have fallen into a deep pit indeed. And we come to this pass because we allowed it to happen. Shame on us.
A former paratrooper, Kurt Hofmann was paralyzed in a car accident in 2002. The helplessness inherent to confinement to a wheelchair prompted him to explore armed self-defense, only to discover that Illinois denies that right, inspiring him to become active in gun rights advocacy. He also writes the St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner column. Kurt Hofmann Archive.