In typical "screw your friends and appease your enemies" Republican fashion, the Bush Justice Department has filed an amicus brief defending the DC gun ban in the DC v. Heller case currently before the Supreme Court. The Solicitor General calls on the Court to acknowledge the Second Amendment as an individual right, but asks that the Circuit Court's decision in the case be reversed and remanded (thrown out and sent back to the lower court) with instructions to determine whether DC's laws unreasonably restrict resident's ability to exercise their rights. It appears that the "pro-gun" Republican Department of Justice fears that any decision from the Supreme Court which held that banning any class of weapons was an infringement of the Second Amendment, might open the door to challenges against bans on dreaded machineguns.
It is worth noting that Congress recognized back in 1934 that banning machineguns would be a violation of the Second Amendment so they instead devised a plan whereby they could control such firearms with burdensome taxes and paperwork restrictions. It was not until 1986 that the first ever federal firearms ban was enacted when NRA accepted a ban on private purchase or possession of any newly manufactured machineguns as an amendment to the McClure-Volkmer, Firearms Owner's Protection Act. It was the first in American history that the Federal government banned any gun. At that time, NRA-ILA chief, Wayne LaPierre declared that repeal of the machinegun ban would be NRA's top priority in the next session of Congress. Even though Mr. LaPierre has been the Chief Executive Officer of the organization for more than 15 years now and receives a compensation totaling more than a million dollars a year, no bill to repeal the '86 ban has ever been put forward by NRA.
If the Supreme Court follows the government's request in this matter, no firm decision about the practical value of the Second Amendment could be expected for at least another four years; many thousands of dollars, and at least two new Justices from now.
Republican politicians and operatives across the country need to hear and feel the wrath of GunVoters over this latest in a long list of betrayals from our oh-so-reliable, pro-gun friends. Write to the President, the Vice-President, your Republican Senators and Representatives, your local Republican officials and your County Central Committee and let them know that your anger will be reflected at the ballot box. This is just another example of why Republicans like Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, and John McCain are completely unacceptable presidential candidates and why Republicans are likely to lose the Presidency and additional Congressional seats due to a poor showing from GunVoters in the coming elections.
**Note: NRA put out a statement under the names of Chris Cox and Wayne LaPierre in which they "applauded" the Bush Justice department for recognizing in their brief that the Second Amendment protects a fundamental right and for agreeing that the Second Amendment applies to DC and is not dependent upon membership in a militia. Those were indeed the good points of the Solicitor General's brief and I agree with NRA's statement to this point, but then they get to the part where the Republican bureaucrats gave the finger to gunowners and NRA had this to say:
"However, the government's position is also that a "heightened" level of judicial scrutiny should be applied to these questions. The National Rifle Association believes that the Court should use the highest level of scrutiny in reviewing the D.C. gun ban. We further believe a complete ban on handgun ownership and self-defense in one's own home does not pass ANY level of judicial scrutiny. Even the government agrees that "the greater the scope of the prohibition and its impact on private firearm possession, the more difficult it will be to defend under the Second Amendment." A complete ban is the kind of infringement that is the greatest in scope. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit correctly ruled that D.C.'s statutes are unconstitutional. We strongly believe the ruling should be upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court."
What a scathing indictment! (Please note oozing sarcasm)
What that "heightened level of judicial scrutiny" they referred to is all about, is the government's suggestion that the Supreme Court should send the case back down to the lower court for them to decide whether a locked-up rifle or disassembled shotgun can reasonably replace a handgun in fulfilling the need for self-defense in the home – and thus fulfill the promise of the Second Amendment, and whether the DC handgun ban isn't a justifiable restriction on the Second Amendment since DC has such a high crime rate. The government is suggesting that those factors make the DC laws acceptable under the Second Amendment and they want the trial court to parse the case for the Supremes to avoid any chance of having the Supreme Court declare that a gun is a gun and a ban is a ban and any gun ban is a violation of the restrictions of the Second Amendment.
What is mind boggling to me is the fact that NRA went to the trouble of putting out a statement which managed to completely obfuscate the most important aspect of the news they were commenting on. As we used to say in the Army, WTF over? You can read the entire NRA Alert here . If it makes sense to you, please drop me a note and explain it because I don't get it at all.