Gun expert John R. Lott has regrettably joined the “If Hillary wins, it’s over” bandwagon when it comes to our right to keep and bear arms. It’s not.
In a recent Fox News column, Lott warns that “if Hillary Clinton wins, Americans will soon lose the right of self-defense in their own homes.”
His argument is based on statements made by Clinton regarding the famous 2008 Supreme Court Heller decision. The ruling declared D.C.’s gun control laws to be unconstitutional. Those laws included a ban on loaded firearms, which created a de facto gun prohibition in the city. Clinton criticized the court majority decision, inferring that she believes such laws are appropriate. During a recent presidential debate she reiterated her criticism, yet had the temerity to claim she supports the Second Amendment, which says the right to keep and bear arms “shall not be infringed.”
When taking aim at Clinton’s appalling gun control views, Lott hits dead center. However, he misses the target when discussing what implications this has for gun rights. If Clinton is elected, he argues, she will appoint justices to the Supreme Court who share the views of Justice Stephen Breyer and believe the government can ban any gun they wish. With the court split 4-4 on this issue, one more justice on the gun control side will tip the scales in their favor and could lead to a new court majority decision that obliterates any relevant meaning in the Second Amendment.
“That Hillary Clinton won’t honestly tell American’s what she intends to do if she becomes president, shows that she is concerned that many Americans do support gun ownership,” he writes. “But regardless of whether or not she openly acknowledges her plans, the threat that she poses is still very real.”
What Lott omits in his analysis is that even if this were to happen, Americans have other options than simply protesting a court decision or hoping that the “right” person is elected president to replace those justices at some point in the distant future.
They can take steps within their own states to reject any assault on their right to keep and bear arms by introducing anti-commandeering legislation. The Second Amendment Preservation Act prohibits state and local law enforcement from helping the feds enforce their gun laws. As Judge Andrew Napolitano has said, this would make those laws “nearly impossible to enforce.”
Further, Americans can push their counties and cities to adopt Second Amendment Preservation Acts as well. This is already happening in places such as Curry County in Oregon.
State anti-commandeering denies the feds vital personnel and resources they need. Without a state’s cooperation, a federal gun law is little more than intent. The same would apply to any Supreme Court ruling overturning the Heller decision. Our modern day ephors can write whatever opinion they wish, but someone else has to make their gun control agenda a reality. That someone(s) are the states, which means their opinions are the only one that ultimately matter.
This approach is precisely what Thomas Jefferson and James Madison advocated Americans do if the federal government violated their rights.
In Federalist 46, Madison said that “should an unwarrantable measure of the federal government be unpopular in particular States…refusal to co-operate with the officers of the Union….would present obstructions which the federal government would hardly be willing to encounter.”
If Clinton or a Supreme Court molded in her image endangers our gun rights it is only because Americans are unwilling to utilize every tool at their disposal, especially those recommended by the Founders. Gun grabbers like her are only as big a threat as we allow them to be.
We need only look at marijuana to see how this plays out in the real world. The feds decided years ago to make weed illegal. Finally, states such as Washington and Colorado decided to ignore the feds and legalize it.
And what did the feds do in response? Nothing.
To paraphrase Eamon de Valera from the film Michael Collins, we defeat the federal government’s gun control laws by ignoring them.
It is time to stop putting our hope in federal elections or in the notion that the feds will limit their powers. That is a pipe dream and contrary to the spirit of the Constitution. It is also absolves Americans of their vital duty to ensure that the government respects the limitations placed on it. It is not the task of the feds to restrain themselves. This fundamental role must always belong to the people who are the true sovereigns, not the governments that rule them.
Furthermore, all this pearl-clutching over what the Supreme Court says about the Second Amendment infers that they authority to decide what the amendment means. They don’t. Also, this also implies that the Second Amendment gives us our gun rights. It does not. If someone burned the original Bill of Rights, our liberties described in the document do not magically vanish. The right to keep and bear arms is not just a natural right, but an extension of our right to self-ownership.
To quote John Rambo, even if Hillary is elected “nothing is over. Nothing.”
The fight will go on.