Welcome to the first installment of Second Amendment Watch, a new recurring feature here at Lions of Liberty. The right to bear arms is an essential right in a free society. Each week this article will focus on a variety of subjects related to the Second Amendment. The theme will focus on incidents or issues that either assault or defend the Second Amendment.
Now that Republicans control both the House of Representative and the Senate, Democrats are left in a position of legislative weakness. One might get the impression that this situation would deter Democrats from pursuing a liberal agenda, because liberal legislation would seemingly be dead on arrival. However, many Democrats view this as an opportunity, rather than a challenge. By submitting legislation that is far to the left of the mainstream, they can appease their base and place the blame on Republicans for not passing the bill. This is a theme that is already starting to take shape during the 114th Congress.
For evidence of this tactic, we can look at three pieces of legislation proposed last week by Representative Mike Honda (D-California.) Honda’s legislation aims to further restrict home gunsmithing and to prohibit the sale and possession of certain types of body armor.
The first piece of legislation, the Home-Assembled Firearms Restriction Act (H.R. 376), would aim to prohibit the sale, manufacturing, or import of certain firearm receiver castings, popular gun kits, and other base firearm components. Marketing and advertising of these parts and kits would also be prohibited. The full text of the legislation is not yet available, but it would not be a stretch to assume 3-D printed gun parts would likely be prohibited as a part of this legislation.
H.R. 377, the Homemade Firearms Accountability Act, proposes to amend chapter 44 of title 18, United States Code, to require homemade firearms to have serial numbers applied. It would also require all homemade firearms to be registered with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Under current law, the ATF suggests that gunsmiths apply serial numbers to homemade guns, but there is no requirement.
The last of the bills, the Responsible Body Armor Possession Act (H.R. 378), would prohibit the purchase, ownership, or possession of “enhanced” body armor by civilians. The lawmaker defines this as wearable armor such as helmets, shields and vests that offer ballistic protection of Type II or higher. Under H.R. 378 this armor would only be available to police, military, or government employees.
These three pieces of legislation most likely have no chance of passing the House of Representative and similar bills have little chance of passing the Senate. However, that fact should not make the content and violation of individual rights proposed any less alarming. Unfortunately, a lot of Americans would support these pieces of legislation, because they believe the measures would make their lives safer.
The refusal of so many to think logically allows those who support this type of legislation to gain a following. In order for these laws to make society safer, one would be forced to take a tremendous leap of faith by ignoring an overwhelming amount of evidence that proves prohibition does not work.
Alcohol prohibition during the 1920s and early 30s is a classic example of prohibition stimulating organized crime and making society less safe. The War on Drugs of the last forty + years has ravaged the country and decimated America’s inner cities. Prohibition always drives transactions to the black market where participants are less likely to utilize the courts to arbitrate disagreements and instead turn to violence to settle disputes.
From a utilitarian perspective, prohibition did not work with booze or drugs, and it will not magically start to work with guns or body armor either. Criminals will still find a way to obtain firearms, and the average, law-abiding citizen will be be more vulnerable.
Even if prohibition did work and more stringent regulations on firearms made our society safer, I still would not favor this path because it would prove lethal to the prospects of individual liberty.
The founders knew that the right to protect life and property was an essential aspect of a free society. Without protections put in place to protect the right to bear arms, it would only be a matter of time before the government usurped their powers outlined in the Constitution and wholly trampled the individual rights of individuals.
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