I’m not waiting to see if the comment gets posted this time, I’m just going to go ahead and re-post it here for posterity’s sake.
Google News Alerts drew my attention to this 8 point screed about why the pro-gun rights amendment to the “DC Voting Rights Act” is a BAAAAAAAD thing. Summary:
1. Creates a “unique exception” in the law that applies only to DC…which as everyone knows, is exactly like any other city in any other state.
2. “Creates” a “gun show loophole”.
3. Flies in the face of common practice by allowing for gun ownership without registration.
4. Ownership of weapons would be presumed legal…which is apparently a bad thing.
5. Permits ownership of scary big guns which will presumably allow terrorists to legally fire at passing Marine Corps helicopters and armored limousines at will.
6. Virtually no regulation of guns (except for those one or two federal laws).
7. Allows whackos to buy and own guns.
8. Doesn’t allow the district to violate the rights of its residents.
My 8 point reply:
1. Um…DC IS unique. It’s not a state, nor is it IN a state. Unique situations call for unique solutions. It would be very easy for the District to effectively ban guns by simply preventing any gun shops from opening and refusing to sign off on FFL applications. This provision prevents the virulently anti-gun city council from back-dooring a gun ban in this manner.
2. “Gun show loophole” is a manufactured, factually inaccurate term. The provision that honors the right of private citizens to freely sell their personally owned property without government permission or intervention was intentionally included in federal law to protect privacy and property rights…freedom is not a loophole. This intentional provision in the law applies equally everywhere…it has nothing to do with gun shows. Finally, your contention that this proposal “creates” this faux “loophole” is patently false. This is a longstanding provision in federal law that was included when the law was enacted in 1968.
3. Patently false. Only ONE state requires registration of firearms…Hawaii. Six states have limited registration schemes: New Jersey, Illinois, and Massachusetts have no official firearms registrations, but require licenses to own any gun, thus they have a list of (legal) firearms owners, if not a registration of firearms themselves. New York only requires Licenses for pistol ownership. California has no official registration, but all sales are recorded by Police. Washington state similarly requires police records, but only for handgun sales.
By my count 43 states have no registration requirements at all and of those 43, 33 of them pre-empt local ordinances which means that the cities within the state cannot institute their own registration schemes. Granted, the terms “many states” and “most big cities” are very subjective, but in my humble opinion, they are inaptly applied here.
4. Why shouldn’t it be? Whether you agree with it or not, keeping and bearing arms is a right protected by the Constitution of the United States as recently recognized by the Supreme Court. Exercising rights should NOT be considered criminal in and of itself.
5. Even if .50 caliber rifles, without using Armor Piercing ammunition (which is illegal under federal law) could “pierce armor plating up to a mile away” (doubtful and depends upon your definition of “armor plating”), so what? Are these rifles used often for this purpose? If this is such a threat, why hasn’t it happened already? You actually think that the only thing currently preventing terrorists or criminals from using these rifles in such a way is because it’s illegal to possess them in DC? Don’t be ridiculous.
6. As stated before: DC is not a state. If any place in the US should fall ONLY under federal law, it is the federal preserve known as the District of Columbia…which is the ONLY federal preserve spelled out in the US Constitution and over which the Congress has explicit legislative authority. Furthermore, current federal gun laws and regulations encompass close to 200 standard letter size pages (front and back) of three column, small print, single spaced text. Such an expanse can hardly be rationally called “virtually no regulation”.
7. Voluntarily seeking medical attention is grounds for suspending rights? In what alternative universe? The fact is that sufferers of mental illness are no more likely to be violent than the general population. In fact, some information indicates that the mentally ill are at than the general population; and, therefore, are in greater need of an effective means of self defense.
8. Again, the congress is explicitly granted legislative authority over DC. This was specifically because DC has no state government oversight. The only way that can change is through a Constitutional Amendment. Considering the penchant for the DC city government to patently ignore the rights of its residents, even in the face of specific orders from the Supreme Court of the United States…that seems entirely appropriate to me.
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