Sunday, February 22, 2009

Free Republic: Gun Control Hysteria Site

One of this things that I am trying to do with LeftCoastConservative is to introduce fact-based debate into the gun-rights issue. Goodness knows there are many problems facing gun-rights advocates, and I believe that logical arguments based on careful analysis will win our goal: settle once and for all that we have the right to keep and bear arms.

It does not help that there are many posts on the Internet that sound hysterical and dire warnings about possible gun confiscations, and an example was recently posted on the Free Republic:

Many people outside the gun rights community don't know that we had an actual gun confiscation in this country only a few short years ago. Some think that it isn't even possible to confiscate guns from law abiding citizens due to the Second Amendment, and in fact, the gun control advocates use that naivety to claim gun owners are just paranoid. But in September of 2005, citizens of New Orleans found out just how real that threat could be.
Now it is certainly true that gun confiscations happened in New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. And I agree with the author, Daniel White, that many gun control advocates would take an opportunity to confiscate every gun in America, if they could. What I object to is that NOT ONE respondent to this post, nor Daniel White, mentioned two things that happened since that completely change the situation: the SCOTUS decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, and the Vitter Amendment.

The Heller decision is monumental, and while the White article alludes to people feeling that the 2nd Amendment secures their rights, such may not be the case. This may be true now, but I am confident that the 2nd Amendment will be incorporated to into the 14th Amendment and apply to states. Another confiscation in the aftermath of a large disaster might even give rise to a lawsuit the accomplishes incorporation.

The Vitter Amendment became Federal Law as part of a Homeland Security appropriations bill, and can be found in Public Law 109-295, Section 706. The operative part of this law reads:

or employee of the United States (including any member of the
uniformed services), or person operating pursuant to or under color
of Federal law, or receiving Federal funds, or under control of
any Federal official, or providing services to such an officer,
employee, or other person, while acting in support of relief from
a major disaster or emergency, may—
‘‘(1) temporarily or permanently seize, or authorize seizure
of, any firearm the possession of which is not prohibited under Federal,
State, or local law, other than for forfeiture in compliance
with Federal law or as evidence in a criminal investigation;
‘‘(2) require registration of any firearm for which registration
is not required by Federal, State, or local law;
‘‘(3) prohibit possession of any firearm, or promulgate any
rule, regulation, or order prohibiting possession of any firearm,
in any place or by any person where such possession is not
otherwise prohibited by Federal, State, or local law; or
‘‘(4) prohibit the carrying of firearms by any person otherwise
authorized to carry firearms under Federal, State, or
local law, solely because such person is operating under the
direction, control, or supervision of a Federal agency in support
of relief from the major disaster or emergency.
I think, unless I am missing something, this pretty much closes the matter. The law goes on to state what legal remedies may be pursued if this law is violated. Now this may not prevent an over zealous agency from trying to confiscate firearms in the event of another large disaster, but the agency would have no legal standing to do so, and I think a citizen would be within their rights to refuse to comply with an order to turn over their weapons.

But all of that is beside the point. Why did not someone mention this Federal Law, introduced by representatives of Louisiana by the way, in the Free Republic post? And reading the responses to the post one finds the usual mix of hysteria, bravado, and ignorance, but no additional information added to the discussion.

We need to do better.

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