Gun Rights 2: The Current Political Problem

In my previous gun rights article I wrote about the philosophy of the right to keep and bear arms that stretches back at least 2400 years. In this article, I will cover how the two major political parties and one major organization have been either actively anti-liberty or simply weak on this topic.

Democrats and the Left

It’s quite obvious that the Democrats and the Left in the United States have been completely anti-liberty on this topic. The current regime is seeking complete control in many ways, with recent examples including medical, environmental, and “woke” tyranny around every corner. Though the historic Left fought for free speech, the current generation is displaying a complete reversal with Orwellian “thought-crimes” getting people thrown off social media for statements in opposition to corporate and government “experts” as the country swings toward a dystopian technocracy. Growing evidence points to government officials suggesting that the federal government actively uses social media to censor people, in direct violation of the 1st Amendment (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7). If total control isn’t the current regime’s agenda their actions sure indicate otherwise, and removing firearms is a part of the process. From there, I’ll refer you to Plato’s thoughts on the topic in my previous gun rights article.

Recent bills pursued have included the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which will lead to red flag laws making it very easy for anybody to be denied their gun rights without a trial, enhanced background checks that delay gun purchases for purchasers under 21 by 3-10 business days, and requiring any individual selling guns to be a Federal Firearms License (FFL) holder. The bill has passed by both houses and was signed by the president on the 24th of June 2022. This bill does the following, all of which are blatantly unconstitutional, exercising powers that the Constitution does not grant the federal government:

  • It expands mental health screening. This is a step down a slippery slope. Government involvement in mental health diagnoses would certainly be abused, in time. If we continue down this slope and you are a dissenter on any topic, you will be judged mentally ill and have your rights stripped away.
  • It introduces juvenile records into background checks to further expand the number of adult Americans denied this basic right. Childhood convictions are now more likely to be used against people.
  • Establishes a Federal Clearinghouse on School Safety. There is no power granted to the federal government, and yet they continue to establish increasing control over the public schools.

To further the anti-gun agenda, a Democrat-controlled House passed an anti “assault weapon” bill on the 29th of July 2022. This will likely receive strong resistance in the Senate, but a return to Clinton Era restrictions is certainly the intent. Provisions of the bill would make it “a crime to import, sell, manufacture, transfer, or possess a semiautomatic assault weapon (SAW) or large capacity ammunition feeding device (LCAFD).” It is worth further reading to understand how (and if) those terms are defined, but it is certainly about the infringement of the right to keep and bear arms and blatantly unconstitutional.

Republicans and the Right

While the GOP, the Right, and the National Rifle Association (NRA) are generally more gun-friendly and use a lot of liberty-oriented rhetoric on the topic of gun rights, they fall short in a number of ways. Among their flaws are that they won’t stand on principal and are all too willing to bend to the left-wing’s agenda. If a pro-liberty opinion is unpopular, many of them will fold. Just to list a few instances where they’ve been wrong on this topic:

  • Much of the gun control we know today was shaped by the National Rifle Association (NRA), the organization that shaped and backed the National Firearms Act of 1934, including restrictions on machine guns and sawed-off shotguns. They are seen as a pro-gun rights organization, but played an instrumental role in starting federal infringements or the right to keep and bear arms.
  • Laws such as Ohio’s so-called “Constitutional Carry” remove the need for a permit to carry concealed. If you read the term “constitutional” the way I do, it suggests full recognition of the right to bear arms as a basic human right that “shall not be infringed,” as the US Constitution’s 2nd Amendment states. While passing the “Constitutional Carry” law in Ohio was a step in the right direction, it failed to remove a score of other barriers to exercising the right to bear arms. Ohio’s code of law starts by outlawing firearms, and then makes allowances to own and carry by exception. A truly “constitutional” approach would reverse this.
  • In 2017 the NRA backed the “Fix NICS” bill, while pro-gun rights Representative Thomas Massie from Kentucky observed issues with this bill, along with the fact that there was an attempt to sneak it through the process by merging it with a national reciprocity bill. “Fix NICS” included provisions to bring the Veterans Administration and the Social Security Administration into the background check process to stop many veterans and seniors from owning guns. The passing of this law under a Republican-controlled congress led to the disarmament of 257,000 veterans.
  • In 2018 a Republican-controlled House passed an Omnibus bill with language providing the FBI with information on millions of Americans to feed the background check system and deny guns to more people, including veterans, seniors, people with outstanding traffic tickets, and medical marijuana cards. Only 25 Republicans voted against it.
  • In December of 2018 “pro gun” President Trump pushed for ATF regulation to ban bump stocks and it became a part of current regulations.
  • The NRA backed the bump-stock ban 2018 and was “conspicuously absent” from opposition mounted by other gun rights organizations against President Trump’s bump stock ban. The NRA made official statements that “devices designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations” and “the National Rifle Association is calling on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) to immediately review whether these devices comply with federal law.” Michael Boldin of the Tenth Amendment Center states it well and repeatedly that the ATF’s only allowable action under the US Constitution is to disband. Meanwhile, the NRA, an allegedly pro-gun rights organization, encouraged further infringement by the US government.
  • In 2019 the ATF, as President Trump was still in charge of the Executive branch, bumped up its investigation of firearms cases to 35,302, an increase of nearly 11% over the last year of the Obama administration. Trump even bragged about his anti-gun moves with the ATF, stating, “At my direction, the DOJ banned bump stocks. Last year we prosecuted a record number of firearms offenses.”
  • This year (2022) the passing of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (details covered above) was assisted by fifteen Republicans in the Senate and 14 Republicans in the House.

The Libertarian Party

The third largest political party in the United States can’t show a lot of legislative action on this topic at this time, but the current platform states the principles that have been established for the party. On gun rights, the following is stated:

1.9 Self-Defense. The only legitimate use of force is in defense of individual rights — life, liberty, and justly acquired property — against aggression. This right inheres in the individual, who may agree to be aided by any other individual or group. We affirm the individual right recognized by the Second Amendment to keep and bear arms, and oppose the prosecution of individuals for exercising their rights of self defense. Private property owners should be free to establish their own conditions regarding the presence of person defense weapons on their own property. We oppose all laws at any level of government restricting, registering, or monitoring the ownership, manufacture, or transfer of firearms, ammunition, or firearm accessories.

The Official Platform of the Libertarian Party, as adopted in convention, May 2022, Reno, Nevada

While the Democrats and Left generally want to remove the right to keep and bear arms, the Republicans and Right have compromised on this topic repeatedly. Members of both parties have worked against the clear statements of the Second and Tenth Amendments. They refuse to acknowledge clearly worded limitations on the power of the federal government given under the Tenth Amendment and go directly against the strong prohibition given under the Second Amendment.

Meanwhile, the Libertarian Party holds strong on gun rights as a foundational human right and will stand against infringement of any sort, while working to roll back the size and scope of government at all levels.

What’s Next?

So far I’ve only given a quick summary of the philosophy of the fundamental right to keep and bear arms reaching back 2400 years and given a quick overview of the problem: Both of the major parties in the USA and the largest “pro-gun” organization fail to uphold this fundamental right. I’m going to write a third article on this topic. The next one will be about the primary solution, which is to, as Mercy Otis Warren put it, “…resist the first approaches of tyranny, which at this day threaten to sweep away the rights for which the brave Sons of America have fought…” We must refuse to comply with laws that are unconstitutional and threaten basic human rights that have been understood for 2400+ years. I will introduce steps that should be taken in that direction.

What Can You Do?

  • Check out the links in the article above. I’m generally not a fan of mainstream news (generally propaganda) sources, but I often point to mainstream media to show that even they don’t dispute the facts in some cases.
  • Reach out to me to discuss the topic in more depth. Let me know, personally, if you’d like to be active in efforts to stand up gun rights sanctuaries at municipal, county, and even state levels.
  • Look into the Tenth Amendment Center’s podcast The Path to Liberty, where you can learn a lot more about the Founders, liberty, and decentralization.
  • Join the Libertarian Party and the Libertarian Party of Ohio (or whatever state you live in). Get involved! Help us to make this a major topic at the state and local level.

Image Attribution

Created by personofinterests, used under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License

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