2A Rights Violated by Presidential Fiat?

Gun control by Executive Order of the President of the United States?

Just like that, our guaranteed, constitutional rights are diminished?

by Richard August

On March 14th The Wall Street Journal reported that President Biden “planned to sign” an executive order directing the FBI “to step up background checks of would-be gun buyers and take steps to ensure firearms dealers who have had their licenses revoked can t continue to sell guns”. He did this, according to the article, to make the background checks “as close to universal as possible” in order to reduce gun violence. Exactly how this differs from the current system is unclear.

The most recent information available from the FBI shows that NICS –the computerized background database- referred 12,000 purchase applications to the FBI for “irregularities”. The Department of Justice prosecuted a grand total of 12!

Moreover, it is the federal BATFE (Bureau of Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) that issues Federal Firearms Licenses to dealers and inspects their records to ensure they are following the law. BATFE can pull a dealer FFL without going to court. The dealer would have to go to court to attempt to have his license reinstated.

One of the questions on the federal application form is whether the buyer is addicted to drugs or alcohol. It is noteworthy that the FBI and the Department of Justice have so far taken no action against the president’s son, Hunter Biden, who lied on his application to purchase a gun. Hunter was discharged from the Navy for failing a drug test.

In addition, Biden said he “is urging the independent Federal Trade Commission to produce a public report examining how manufacturers market guns, with specific focus on marketing directed toward minors, including the use of military imagery”.

This is a reference to the obscure Connecticut law that provided the basis of a lawsuit against Remington, the maker of the Bushmaster “assault rifle” used by the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooter, by some of the Newtown parents that resulted in a $70 million+ settlement by the five companies who insured Remington. The parents said they were not in it for the money but turned down the initial $38 million offer. This was not the result of a court order so it cannot be used as legal precedent. It is corporate blackmail.

The anti-Second Amendment special interest groups know that it is unlikely that major gun control legislation might get through Congress. Last session an assault weapons ban failed to pass a Congress controlled by Democrats. Even Senator Mark Kelly (D-AZ), the husband of former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords who was seriously wounded in a mass shooting, voted “nay”.

Accordingly, their newest tactic is to get the fourth branch of government, the federal bureaucracy, to regulate the ownership and possession of firearms. Until recently, the focus has been to get the Center for Disease Control to declare that gun violence is a public health crisis. Then their gun control measures can be “based on science”.

The reference to “military imagery” was at the heart of the badgering of the Remington CEO by leader of “The Squad” of progressives, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez D-NY), that included her comments on the tattoo on the arm of a model in one of the company’s ads. This, of course, is foolishness from a congresswoman not noted for her intellect.

The White House told reporters in a conference call that it would urge the 31 states that have not passed so-called “red flag laws” to do so. These laws of questionable constitutionality allow anyone to notify police that they think someone is a threat to society or themselves and to seize any firearms they own. Rhode Island has such a law.

Lawyers use a hypothetical to make a point. Here’s one: a teenager who is grounded by her or his parents for breaking curfew can go to the school resource officer and tell her or him that their father threatened them with a gun. The officer can go to a judge and obtain a warrant to seize the guns without a hearing or supporting evidence other than the child’s allegation. It is highly unlikely that a judge will deny such a warrant.

Theoretically, the person from whom the guns were seized is supposed to have a hearing at which his side of the story can be put forward. Practically, an anti-gun judge merely postpones the hearing indefinitely until the aggrieved party gets worn down.

In addition, the police are under no requirements on how the guns seized are to be stored or cared for. This is situation in Rhode Island, one of the 19 states with a red flag law, today.

Richard J. August, North Kingstown

August testifies at legislative hearings and writes frequently on Second Amendment issues.

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