Erica Werner of The Associated Press reported Wednesday that Vice President Joe Biden – tasked by President Barack Obama to lead a commission establishing “recommendations on gun policy by the end of this month” – “said that the administration is considering executive action in addition to recommending legislation by Congress.”
Recommendations to make “gun-trafficking a felony, getting the Justice Department to prosecute people caught lying on gun background-check forms and ordering federal agencies to send data to the National Gun Background Check Database” may “happen by executive action.” However, congressional approval would be necessary to reinstate “the ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines,” which Congress allowed to expire in 2004.
“Obama has said that his efforts on guns can be successful only if he has the support of the public,” Werner wrote further.
As reported by Examiner Tuesday, while the majority of Americans support stricter laws on background checks and banning the sale and possession of high-capacity ammunition clips, they remain opposed to banning semi-automatic weapons.
Evidently, the method Obama has chosen to achieve that support is to minimize the significance of the Second Amendment.
“I – like most Americans – believe that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual the right to bear arms,” Obama said in a speech, six days after James Holmes murdered 12 people in an Aurora movie theater.
I think we recognize the traditions of gun ownership passed on from generation to generation, that hunting and shooting are part of a cherished national heritage.
A belief that an individual’s “right to bear arms” was established to protect an American’s right to go “hunting and shooting” demonstrates an embarrassing level of ignorance.
The Second Amendment clearly states:
A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.
“On one hand,” Cornell University Law School explains, “some believe that the Amendment’s phrase ‘the right of the people to keep and bear arms’ creates an individual constitutional right for citizens of the United States.”
Under this “individual right theory,” the United States Constitution restricts legislative bodies from prohibiting firearm possession, or at the very least, the Amendment renders prohibitory and restrictive regulation presumptively unconstitutional.
“The Second Amendment was designed to ensure that individuals retained the right and means to defend themselves against any illegitimate attempt to do them harm,” wrote Lawrence Hunter for Forbes Dec. 28, “be it an attempt by a private outlaw or government agents violating their trust under the color of law.”
The Second Amendment was meant to guarantee individuals the right to protect themselves against government as much as against private bad guys and gangs.
Hunter is clearly of the “individual” mind.
“On the other hand,” Cornell concedes, “some scholars point to the prefatory language “a well regulated Militia” to argue that the Framers intended only to restrict Congress from legislating away a state’s right to self-defense. Scholars have come to call this theory “the collective rights theory.”
A collective rights theory of the Second Amendment asserts that citizens do not have an individual right to possess guns and that local, state, and federal legislative bodies therefore possess the authority to regulate firearms without implicating a constitutional right.
“The purpose of the Second Amendment,” Jeffrey Sachs argued Dec. 18 for The Huffington Post, “was to prevent the new Federal Government established in 1789 from disarming the state militias and replacing them with a Federal standing army.”
It was a concern that was relevant perhaps for a few years around the birth of the country. It is irrelevant today. Americans do not rely on state militias in 2012 for our freedom from the federal government.
Sachs — who wants to repeal the Second Amendment — is obviously of the “collective” mind.
As for his belief that the need to “rely on state militias” to protect “our freedom,” is “irrelevant today,” the number of states rebelling against the Obamacare mandate and passing local immigration laws — because the Obama administration has compromised some immigration laws on a federal level and ordered Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents to stop enforcing others — prove otherwise.
With his belief that the Second Amendment is primarily for protecting “the rights and traditions of sportsmen,” Obama also seems intent to compromise “the people’s right to bear arms.”
“Tens of millions of Americans hunt and fish,” Obama for America” explained of then-candidate Obama’s position on the Second Amendment in 2008.
Millions more participate in a variety of shooting sports such as sporting clays, skeet and target ad trap that may not necessarily involve hunting. Barack Obama deeply respects America’s hunters and sportsman and he is committed to protecting their rights.
“As a former constitutional law professor,” the publication assured further, “Obama understands and believes in the constitutional right of Americans to bear arms.”
While he believes that guns must be kept from criminals, the mentally incompetent and others who may pose a threat, he also believes that the rights of hunters and other law-abiding Americans should be protected, including the right to purchase, own, transport and use guns for the purposes of hunting and target shooting.
“I was a constitutional law professor,” Obama bragged at a March 30, 2007 fundraiser, “which means, unlike the current president, I actually respect the Constitution.”
“Obama wasn’t a professor,” The Washington Times reported in September. “He was a lecturer” — on the subjects of racism and civil rights — and a poor one at that.
Still, he reiterated his inaccurate position — that the Second Amendment simply protects the rights of “hunters” — during his speech at the Aug. 28 Democratic National Convention in 2008.
The reality of gun ownership may be different for hunters in rural Ohio than they are for those plagued by gang-violence in Cleveland, but don’t tell me we can’t uphold the Second Amendment while keeping AK-47s out of the hands of criminals.
“The fact is the vast majority of gun owners in America are responsible,” Obama conceded Dec. 19. “They buy their guns legally and they use them safely, whether for hunting or sport shooting, collection or protection.”
“Hunting or sport shooting” first. “Protection” – last.
While Obama seems intent on framing the Second Amendment as a right to go “hunting or sport shooting,” its purpose — assuring Americans a means of self-protection — is better clarified with the follow-up of the Third Amendment.
No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
The inspiration for the Third Amendment was defined quite clearly by the Founding Fathers in the Declaration of Independence.
“The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations,” the document describes, “all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.”
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
The Founding Fathers further condemned the king “for Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us and “for protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States.”
By limiting the quartering of troops in private homes, the Third Amendment subordinates military authority to civilian control to prevent those abuses from happening in America. The Second Amendment – establishing that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” – assures Americans the capacity to defend themselves against the government and its military.
“Now, I don’t believe that Sen. McCain doesn’t care what’s going on in the lives of Americans,” Obama ridiculed during his speech at the Democratic National Convention on Aug. 28, 2008. “I just think he doesn’t know.”
It’s not because John McCain doesn’t care. It’s because John McCain doesn’t get it.
For someone who failed as a lecturer on civil rights to repeatedly insist that the Second Amendment was primarily established to protect an American’s right to go “hunting and target shooting” – when it come to the United States Constitution and “what’s going on in the lives of Americans” — it’s Obama who “doesn’t get it.”