The State of the Second Amendment

What's in store for the Second Amendment in our current political climate? Here's a look at what we might be facing.

The State of the Second Amendment

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With Democrat majorities in the House and Senate and Joe Biden as incoming president, it's all but certain that anti-gun groups and gun-ban politicians will continue to push their “gun safety” measures on American gun owners, despite the protection provided by the Second Amendment. The difference will be how successful those anti-gun forces will be at seeing their end goal — having such measures passed by both houses of Congress and signed into law by the president.

Regardless of the federal situation, the real battle for the Second Amendment is largely taking place in the states. From California to the East Coast, gun-ban groups are pushing some of the most aggressive laws ever to limit the right of American citizens to own the firearms of their choice and use them in their chosen legal manners. And, many of these schemes would have a direct negative effect on those who specialize in sales of tactical firearms.

Let’s take a look at a few of the most “popular” restrictions currently being considered in several states.

Banning “Assault” Weapons

The holy grail of the anti-gun lobby is banning so-called “assault weapons,” a name they give to popular semi-automatic rifles used by millions of Americans for legal and ethical purposes. In truth, assault weapons are fully automatic and their ownership is tightly regulated by the federal government. If you are a retailer of tactical firearms, you are well versed in this debate.

AR-15-style rifles are the most popular rifles in the United States, with millions of new ones sold every year. In fact, AR-15 sales made up a good portion of the record gun sales experienced during 2020, when more guns were sold by the end of October than during any other complete year since records have been kept.

As head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Biden was instrumental in the passage of the Clinton “assault” weapons ban of the 1990s. That poorly written, ineffective law was allowed to sunset after 10 years.

Studies by the federal government established that the ban on modern sporting rifles and standard-size magazines had absolutely no impact on reducing violent crime. ”

— Lawrence Keane, NSSF

Lawrence G. Keane, senior vice president and general counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), described that ban succinctly: “Studies by the federal government established that the ban on modern sporting rifles and standard-size magazines had absolutely no impact on reducing violent crime. This was primarily because rifles of any kind are so rarely used in crime. Since the law sunset in 2004, modern sporting rifles and standard-size magazines have grown enormously in popularity, along with gun ownership in general, while crime has continued to fall to record lows.”  

Interestingly, incoming Vice President Kamala Harris doesn’t seem to understand that millions upon millions of Americans use these very firearms safely and ethically on a daily basis for sport, hunting, competition and self-defense. Feigning support for gun rights, Harris once said, “You can be in favor of the Second Amendment and also understand that there is no reason in a civil society that we have assault weapons around communities that can kill babies and police officers.” 

Of course, such rhetoric is meant to appeal to the emotions of those who don’t have any knowledge of firearms. Unfortunately, reason and logic have little to do with proposed gun bans, so expect Michael Bloomberg-funded gun-ban groups to push this proposal in a state near you, if they haven’t already.

Limiting Magazine Capacity

Not satisfied with trying to ban a whole category of guns that is used very infrequently in any kind of crime, gun-ban proponents also seek to ban what they like to call “high-capacity” magazines. Again, tactical retailers are familiar with this battle.

The magazines they refer to would be more appropriately called “standard-capacity” magazines, since they come packaged with many of the most popular semi-automatic handguns sold in the United States. Such magazines allow the user to fire more shots before having to reload — a positive attribute when plinking at the range, shooting in competition or in a self-defense situation. However, anti-gun proponents seem to see that as a bad thing, believing that limiting magazine capacities would thwart mass shootings. There are at least two things wrong with that. First, anyone who trains extensively can change out a magazine so quickly that they hardly miss a beat getting back on target. Secondly, those planning mass murder almost certainly wouldn’t be the first in line to turn in their high-cap mags should such a law be passed.

Registration always leads to confiscation.”

In truth, all this kind of law would do is put law-abiding citizens at a disadvantage, since criminals looking to harm those citizens wouldn’t abide by such a law in the first place. And, it would cut profits for retailers of tactical products since aftermarket magazine sales are a substantial piece of business for many establishments.

Requiring “Universal” Background Checks

The most important thing to know about so-called “universal” background checks, being widely touted in states across the nation, is that there’s no way they would be universal. These proposals claim to protect the law-abiding by making every firearm transfer — often even loans between friends or family members — go through a criminal background check (despite the fact that the NICS system is already over capacity).

As Tactical Retailer readers know, “universal” background checks are far from universal, as criminals don’t abide by any of America’s gun laws. Expecting them to change and follow this law is folly. Consequently, passage of such laws makes life more difficult for the law-abiding while having no effect on whether violent criminals are able to get a gun or not.

Additionally, the only way such background checks could be truly “universal” is to keep a permanent record of each and every transfer to prove that such a check was conducted. Doing so would create a firearm registry, which is a violation of current federal law. Additionally, registration always leads to confiscation. Anywhere gun confiscation has ever been conducted on a widespread scale, registration lists were used to determine who owned those guns to be confiscated

In fact, it has already happened in the United States. In both California and New York, firearms that were once required to be registered were later deemed inappropriate for civilian ownership and confiscated by authorities.

Repealing Firearms Preemption Laws

While many gun owners are unaware of the fact, firearm preemption laws are the backbone of gun rights in most states. These laws generally preclude local governments from enacting any additional regulation on firearms or ammunition beyond state law. Without this preemption, gun owners would be subjected to a patchwork of hundreds of different sets of laws as they travel from city to city within their own state. 

Many anti-gun city and state politicians are aware of how preemption laws throttle their desires to regulate who can own what guns and where they can carry them. Consequently, targeting state preemption laws has become popular in the past few years.

Unfortunately for the Commonwealth of Virginia, once a bastion of freedom and liberty, a landslide election flipping both houses of the state legislature to Democrat control led to passage of a law repealing that state’s firearms preemption statute. The measure was signed into law by Gov. Ralph Northam in July, and cities run by anti-gun politicians quickly began taking advantage of the change.

Many anti-gun city and state politicians are aware of how preemption laws throttle their desires to regulate who can own what guns and where they can carry them.”

By September, even Richmond was getting in on the action, passing a law that would ban the carrying of a firearm “in any public street, road, alley, sidewalk, public right-of-way or any open public space when it is being used by, or is adjacent to, an event that requires a city permit.”

Problematic language aside, such regulations, while mainly intended as a means of hindering lawful carry and badgering law-abiding gun owners, are also a mechanism to stifle the free speech of gun owners. By telling those involved in the ongoing battle to protect our Second Amendment they can’t attend any public function — or even be somewhere in the vicinity of them — while armed basically tells them they can’t attend, since many carry wherever their daily lives take them.

Expect Virginia to become the model for more states trying to repeal all-important firearm preemption laws very soon.

On the Federal Level

Donald Trump's November appointment of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court ensured the high court a solid pro-Second Amendment majority for the next several decades. But Biden and Harris favor just about every popular anti-gun proposal currently under consideration — from a total ban on many popular semi-automatic rifles to doing away with the critical Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA).

As most readers likely know, the PLCAA was enacted to protect the firearms industry against a highly orchestrated and coordinated series of lawsuits that sought to either bankrupt the industry or force it to “voluntarily” adopt the sorts of measures gun control activists had unsuccessfully sought to impose by legislation. At the core of these suits was the fallacy that gun manufacturers were somehow responsible when violent criminals used safe, lawfully manufactured firearms to commit heinous acts.

Repealing the PLCAA would expose retailers of tactical firearms and others to frivolous lawsuits aimed at shutting them down through high legal fees and piles of red tape. During her failed presidential campaign, Harris swore that if Congress didn’t act to overturn the PLCAA in the first 100 days of her presidency, she would do so by executive action.

Wrapping Up

In the end, the future of the Second Amendment relies on individual Americans having the tenacity and determination to fight every unconstitutional proposal at every level of government — from city hall to the halls of Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court. Know that if we who support the Second Amendment let down our guard for any amount of time, those who would see our rights squandered won’t follow suit. They’ll be ready to step in and take advantage of our lack of focus and push forward with their liberty-killing end goals.

It’s up to our generation to ensure that the Second Amendment is handed down to our children and grandchildren as a still meaningful protection of the critical individual right to keep and bear arms. I’m determined to not let it die on my watch, and I encourage all gun owners and firearms retailers to join me in that important endeavor.


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