Saturday, October 8, 2011

TRM = "Torso Rippin' Mad"

Stuff like this makes me want to rip my torso open... From here on in, anything that makes me sufficiently angry will get a "TRM" label.  My responses are in blue.

How Many Second Amendment Cases Will the NRA Lose?

Hopefully not too many more.
For the NRA, it was not supposed to be this way. After the Supreme Court ruled in District of Columbia v. Heller that the Second Amendment granted a limited right to have a gun in the home, the NRA bragged that it was just the "opening salvo" in a legal war to use the courts to dismantle the nation's gun laws. Yet three years, 400 legal challenges, and "millions of dollars in [NRA] legal bills" later, all the gun lobby has had to show for its efforts is a growing body of case law affirming the right of the people to have strong gun laws short of a total handgun ban. Just last week, the same Texas judge who was previously overruled for ruling that domestic abusers have a right to own guns threw out the NRA's lawsuit claiming that teens have a right to buy semi-automatic handguns. It's not an unreasonable thought that "teens" (18-21 year olds) can purchase a handgun.  They can shoot them and carry them openly in a large number of states.  Under 21 year olds also routinely carry and handle them (and other, far more powerful weapons) in the military.   Never before have so many courts so cogently affirmed the constitutionality of so many strong gun laws in such a short span of time. But the biggest case was yet to come. After the Heller ruling, Washington, D.C. enacted some of the strongest gun laws in the nation, banning semi-automatic assault weapons and assault clips and requiring mandatory handgun registration. You mean, the most ridiculous set of hoops to jump through in order to enjoy a right that the Supreme Court had just gotten through affirming? (Other than Chicago's hoops which are far more ridiculous) There are no "semi automatic assault weapons" nor are there "assault clips."  There are *magazines* of varying capacities, none of which constitute a threat of any sort.  So the NRA teamed up with Dick Heller himself to file the broadest legal challenge yet , arguing that Mr. Heller had a right not just to a handgun in his home, but also to amass an arsenal of AK-47s and high-capacity assault clips in the nation's capital and to hide his guns from registration laws that help police solve crimes.  Not having to register firearms isn't the same thing as "hiding" them.  Even in New York State, my longarms don't need to be "registered."  Does that mean I'm hiding them?  How about the 45+ states that don't require any sort of firearm registration whatsoever?  If registration was such an amazing, indispensible crime fighting tool, why would so many states deprive themselves of it?  Why is Vermont such a safe state to live in, despite not requiring registration or any sort of permit to carry, whether openly or concealed?  How about this... we start registering every device capable of recording and disseminating any sort of thought or information.  After all, an iPhone can Tweet out a Happy Birthday message or assemble a seditious flash mob.  Good or evil, right?  And we'll start by registering YOUR communication tools. Even better, the lawsuit would be heard by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, the same court that originally struck down the D.C. handgun ban. Yet, in what the Wall Street Journal called "the latest in a string of judicial setbacks for gun-rights activists," the D.C. Circuit this week rejected Mr. Heller's challenge and failed to strike down any of Washington, D.C.'s strong gun laws. Instead, it ruled that even the District's toughest-in-the-nation gun laws simply "do not affect the core right protected by the Second Amendment" to have a gun in the home. Citing and heavily relying on evidence submitted by the Brady Center about the dangers of assault weapons and the effectiveness of strong gun laws, Reagan-appointee Judge Douglas Ginsburg wrote for the majority and upheld D.C.'s assault weapon and assault clip ban . Again, "assault weapon" and "assault clip" are synthetic terms.  He noted that the ban barred "civilian copies of military weapons" that "pose a danger to innocent people and particularly to police officers," and that the ban does not "substantially affect [anyone's] ability to defend themselves." Barring some weird sort of self-animating metallurgy, military pattern guns aren't any more or less likely than a "friendly" looking bolt-action hunting rifle to harm or kill innocents.  And while the NRA has claimed that handgun registration amounts to an unconstitutional atrocity on par with the Nazi Kristallnacht rampage or the genocides in Darfur and Rwanda, Judge Ginsburg held that "the basic requirement to register a handgun is longstanding in American law," has been "accepted for a century in diverse states and cities," and is so "self-evidently de minimis" that such laws "cannot reasonably be considered onerous."  Not an atrocity, but a travesty.  Comparing it to genocide is a bit extreme, but registration often leads to confiscation, and confiscation often leads to a defenseless civlian populace.  The majority also took the unusual step of issuing a lengthy "appendix" lambasting Judge Brett Kavanaugh's flawed dissent that would have allowed AK-47 arsenals in the nation's capital. The majority rips Judge Kavanaugh's suggestion that gun laws must be struck down even if they serve a "compelling government interest in preventing death and crime. " It's not about "allowing AK-47s in the nation's capitol."  It's about people exercising their freedom of choice to own the firearms that suit their needs, and not becoming felons on paper because of those choices.  Rather, the majority correctly points out that it is the job of the people through their elected officials, not activist courts, "to determine in the first instance whether banning semi-automatic rifles in particular would promote important law-enforcement objectives." Then why are you celebrating these defeats?  They're only "activists" when they uphold laws you disagree with.  Lastly, while Judge Ginsburg concluded that several of Washington, D.C.'s laws were "novel," he refused to strike down any of those as well. Instead, he gave the District of Columbia the opportunity "to develop a more thorough factual record" at which point the court must "accord substantial deference" to the District's evidence. So far, such deference has resulted in challenged laws being upheld. The NRA's dreams that District of Columbia v. Heller would result in a free-for-all of gun-toting teens and AK-47 arsenals has so far been soundly rejected.  I don't think that the NRA had a truck full of pistols and AKs ready to roll into DC and hand them out like candy.  Again, it's about recognizing that 18 year olds have the right to own handguns just like they can purchase rifles.  The NRA and other 2A rights groups DO NOT want criminals to have firearms, don't make it sound as if they do.   Instead, the NRA's litigation has led to a host of well-reasoned decisions  Incorrect decisions that are marginally well reasoned and on top of that spit on Heller, McDonald and the Second Amendment itself.  from Republican-appointed judges upholding strong gun laws. While the NRA recently complained in an e-mail to its members that it is facing "a series of Second Amendment disasters," who knew they'd be in cases handpicked and funded by the NRA itself? I had no idea, either.  But we'll keep fighting the good fight.  When a city or state says, "OK, our residents can own handguns, but doing so requires taking substantial time off from work to navigate our bureaucracy, filling out a lot of paperwork, and paying substantial fees" that amounts to complying with the change in law, but only by the letter of it, not the spirit.  Excessive gun laws also turn the otherwise law abiding into criminals, too.  When you give people a burdensome chain of processes to follow, you increase the chances of innocent mistakes, for which they'll face some sort of criminal penalty.  Wouldn't you rather law enforcement focus on arresting street thugs, rather than people who simply want to own a firearm and use it for target shooting and self defense???

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