Tuesday, September 3, 2019

HR 1186 - IT REALLY WONT "Keep America Safe Act"

The naming of bills and laws has always amazed me.   Congress always seems to come up with such inspiring names or catchy acronyms:  HIPAA, PATRIOT Act, and now the "Keep America Safe Act."

Of course, sometimes the names are rather misleading- or they pro-port to do something that they really will never do.  HR 1186- the "Keep America Safe Act" is a perfect example.  The fact is this bill should be amended to title it the "It Really Won't Keep America Safe Act."

This act is of course a knee-jerk reaction to recent shootings. Unfortunately, this act is gaining traction in the Senate, with some GOP Senators now saying they would support this measure.

What the "[It Really Won't] Keep America Safe Act" Actually Says (in short), after this bill is passed it will be illegal to possess, make, sell, etc any firearm magazine that holds more than ten rounds.  But it will NOT be illegal to posses a large magazine (eleven rounds or greater) if that magazine was produced prior to the date of the bill passage.   Further, this law bans magazines larger than 10 rounds for .22 Rifles - unless that magazine is a tubular magazine affixed to the rifle (say goodbye to any large magazines for your Ruger 10-22 in the future if this were to pass).   The penalty for illegal possession will be 3-10 YEARS in prison (possibly longer depending on circumstances).

So why do I contend that this WILL NOT "Keep America Safe?"  Who will obey this law? As usual, people who are already predisposed to obey the law.   Further it will potentially make inadvertent criminals of some, as the law states its not illegal to posses a pre-passage magazine with more than ten rounds, it does not say it is legal to transfer a pre-passage magazine.   For example, a relative leaves an individual a World War II era M1-Carbine to an adult relative in their will.  A strict reading of this law would make that transfer illegal if it included the magazine.

Another reason this bill will not "Keep America Safe" is that it will limit law abiding citizens in their ability to defend themselves against criminal intruders.    According to the FBI Extended Homicide Data, more than 400 times a year, a private citizen is forced to kill another human in self defense.  This does NOT include the number of times a private citizen is forced to fire in self defense but misses or only wounds a perpetrator.    As a law abiding citizen and gun owner, if I were ever forced into that situation, where I had to defend my home, my property and my loved ones, I would want to have MORE firepower than the "bad guy"- not be limited by the number of times I could fire in self-defense while the bad guy, who obviously is not going to obey the law (he just broke into my home, or threatened a family member with deadly force) uses a high capacity magazine and can wait until I have to thumb a magazine release, insert a new magazine, and close the action. There have been numerous situations over the years where a home owner has fired more than ten rounds to stop an assailant.   Adrenaline is high.  Hands are shaking.   Personally, I have received training on how to do this quickly with a speed loader (yes, with a revolver) or magazine, but that does not guarantee perfection in an extremely tense situation.   Not everyone has this training. 

With all the other things Congress COULD do to protect citizens (improving mental health care and services for one), this appears to be the route they want to take; a law that will make people "feel good" but actually does nothing- just like the 1994 Assault Weapons and High Capacity Magazine Ban.

Then again, if Congress says no one gets more than ten rounds before they must reload, the bad guys will respect that right?


The RACISM of Gun Control

The Presidential Election year is fast approaching, and to be sure, Gun Control will be an issue.   At some point next year, the GOP will likely adopt a plank in the party platform will be adopted in support of the 2nd Amendment, Protecting Heller and McDonald, SHALL issue laws- basically a plank against arbitrary gun control.  The GOP took the position back in the late 1860's that the 2nd Amendment applied to ALL Americans and States could not interfere.  Why then? Because the GOP wanted freed slaves to be able to protect themselves and stay free.   

Next year at the Democratic Party Convention, the DNC will likely propose a plank supporting Gun Control.  Southern Democrats started passing gun control laws in the 1860's and 1870's to strip former slaves of their 2nd Amendment Rights- along with a host of others.   

Gun Control Laws, beginning with those passed by Democrat controlled state governments at the end of the Civil War, Gun Control, have an origin in Racist Ideology.    
"A man's rights rest in three boxes: the ballot box, the jury box, and the cartridge [ammo] box." -Frederick Douglass, 1867

It was because of the "black codes" passed after the Civil War that the 14th amendment  was proposed and then passed.   One of the stated goals of passage was to protect the right of African-Americans to possess and carry firearms for their own defense.  
'The black man has never had the right either to keep or bear arms,' and that, until he does, 'the work of the Abolitionists was not finished.'"  -Frederick Douglass, May 10, 1965 

Now, according to  a Pew Research Study, 54% of African-Americans view gun ownership in a positive light.  It is also being viewed as a matter of Civil Rights 

Gun Control advocates continue to encourage MAY ISSUE Concealed Carry Laws. Under MAY ISSUE, if an individual meets all the criteria to qualify for a Concealed Carry Permit, authorities "may issue" the permit if they so choose.  Currently,  nine states are either completely or partially "MAY ISSUE" states. Six completely "may issue." They are: California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts. New Jersey and New York.  The remaining three states- Connecticut, Delaware and Rhode Island- have laws that are partially "may issue."

"May Issue" laws are flawed.   "May Issue" laws allow the opinion of the issuer to enter into the decision of whether to issue a permit.  Racism has played a factor in this decision.  Dr Martin Luther King Jr. applied for a concealed carry permit in Alabama in 1956 after his home had been bombed.  At the time, Alabama was a "may issue" state.  Although Dr. King was otherwise qualified, his concealed carry permit application was denied.  The best argument for SHALL ISSUE laws is it helps remove human  factors- such as racism - from the process.   If you are old enough and meet the requirements, you cannot be denied- as Dr. King was.

It is well worth reading Associate Justice Clarence Thomas' opinion in McDonald v. Chicago, 561 U.S. 742 (2010) on the Second Amendment, its history, and racism.   The Washington Post called it "...a scorcher of an opinion that reads like a mix of black history lesson and Black Panther Party manifesto..."  

(I am not going to cite MTV as a source here, but I am going to provide a link to an interesting article on MTV on the Racist origins of Gun Control).

The bottom line is Gun Control has origins in post-Civil War racism.  But, the Constitution, and our laws as American must and should be absolutely color-blind or there will never be real Freedom and Justice for all.

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