Air Date: November 17, 2014
Host: Jim Schneider
Guest: Erich Pratt
Erich Pratt is Director of Communications for Gun Owners of America. He is the author of, “Bearing Arms: Our Rights, Our Duties & Our Freedoms”, and of the civil government textbook, “The Constitutional Recipe for Freedom: Twelve Principles of Liberty Today’s Politicians Don’t Want You to Know”.
On November 4, residents of Washington State passed Initiative 594, a measure that requires criminal background checks on all firearms sales and transfers in the state, including at gun shows and on the Internet. In fact, even handing a gun to a hunting partner without first getting a background check could be seen as a violation of this law. It is an example of how those opposing gun rights failed in legislative or legal efforts, so they take it to the people who often do not understand the full implications of the proposals they are voting on.
A lawsuit has been filed in California challenging new regulations that prevent firearms dealers from displaying pictures of handguns, or even mentioning that they sell handguns.
Erich Pratt says that requiring people to get permission before exercising their second amendment right allows government officials to deny permission, even if the person meets all the legal requirements for safe use of a firearm.
But the vast majority of gun incidents involve using the firearm to save lives, not to take lives. Since 1950 all the mass shooting incidents reported, except two, took place in “gun free” zones. This is because those intent on violence usually choose a place where they are least likely to face armed opposition.
In Buffalo, New York, it is now proposed that firearms owned by registered gun owners be confiscated immediately after their death. But they would not confiscate other property of the deceased, because it rightfully passes on to their heirs. So the precedent is being made that firearms are the property of the state, not the person who owns and possesses them.
But the U.S. Supreme Court, ruling in a case begin in Chicago, ruled that the right to bear arms does not only apply in federal areas, but also in state and local jurisdictions. This is already being cited in cases across the nation.
But the new tactics involve using incidents of gun violence as a justification for denying people who are determined to have mental or emotional issues the right to gun ownership. This has resulted in designating returning military veterans as being emotionally unstable because of their combat duty, where they were entrusted with military weapons, but denying them the right to own or use firearms on their return. Recently the Obama administration announced a program to evaluate school children for emotional problems, thus setting them up for future regulations if their names are added to a list of those with problems.
The U.N. Arms Trade Treaty, which would pre-empt the Constitution and create huge restrictions on gun ownership, has not been ratified by the U.S. Senate, which is required. But Mr. Obama’s record of using his “phone and his pen” to enact regulations that Congress has not passed, raises concerns that he will now begin to implement the treaty piece by piece on his own initiative.
Mr. Pratt is hopeful that the results of the elections, and the change in the makeup of the Congress in January, may make it less likely that such tactics can succeed in the future.