It's not about guns...

It's about citizenship

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update 9/15/2010

The Supreme Court decided 14th Amendment incorporation for handguns in the home in 2010. The Supreme Court has left open the path for national policy by validating the original civic purpose concluded by Judge Silberman in Heller that we can have "registration ... for militia service if called up." The challenge now is for the political leadership for national policy.

The appeal is to the Holder Justice Department.
There is no reason to be optimistic about political leadership.

revised 09/08/2008

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Assaulting Jim Zumbo

The NRA on Extremists

NRA scams its members

The Lionel Show
AirAm Radio's ignorant, crude, ugly,
air waves barbarian
Dear John Ashcroft
The armed populace doctrine at the DOJ
The Washington Post
cultivating ignorance.
Gun Policy News
news stories compiled daily.
"Sixty Minutes"
Failing its Mission
NPR's Diane Rehm
Civilized without Substance.
A longstanding dereliction.
Violence Policy Center
The public health agenda
falls in line with the NRA.
Getting it right but
failing its mission in the
larger struggle
Militia Act of 1792
To enroll— conscript, register

Return of Militia
Inventory of private weapons in
the early Republic reported to the
President of the US
John Kenneth Rowland
Lawrence Cress
John K. Mahon
LaPierre's list

The Quotes, the Quotes
Fabricating the armed populace doctrine
Libertarians, Conservatives

Tenn. Law Rev., 1995

Chicago-Kent Symposium, 2000
What does the NRA want?

VI. Toward a national firearms policy

The DC government had no business taking Parker to the Supreme Court. There were murmmerings in the news leading up to the Supreme Court opinion that the DC government would have to rethink its gun control law.
The DC government is the other part of the problem. The DC government should have been rethinking its gun control law thirty years before. It is failed law. It does not work. The mentality that wants to defend and maintain bad law is part of the problem of who we are. If thirty years before was not soon enough, in 1998 the Potowmack Institute gave lawyers for the District of Columbia the arguments they needed to address gun violence and a formula for a firearms policy. The Potowmack Institute's proposal for a national firearms policy was originally written in 1998 and last updated in 2001. It has now been validated by the Supreme Court. The Potowmack Institute gave the DC lawyers the arguments again when Parker was in the district court in 2003. After March, 2007, the District of Columbia needed only to take Judge Silberman's conclusions and go with them. Enough people, some of them taking instructions from the Potowmack Institute, told the DC government that. Post Heller, instead of tinkering with a new law that will not work to address gun violence, the DC government's business should be to lead on national policy that will address the illegal traffic between and among jurisdictions.

There is nothing unconstitutional about a national policy based on registration and reporting of private sales. The Militia Act of 1792, enacted by the same people who ratified the Second Amendment, required gun owners to be enrolled for militia duty— that is, registered in gun rights consciousness— and that their privately owned weapons be placed on inventories.
The inventories were reported to the President of the United States who reported them to Congress. Those inventories were maintained into the 1830s by which time the conscript militia had become a moribund institution. Militia duty was conscript duty. The coerced civic obligation was resurrected and transformed in the twentieth century Selective Service Acts. By original design and intent, military preparedness trumps all rights and other concerns and interests as Judge Silberman in the end seemed to appreciate. The Supreme Court has not contradicted his conclusions.

In 1983, gun rights advocate Don Kates in an article in the Mich. Law. Rev. was intellectually honest enough to recognize that registration was okay by original design and intent. Civic obligation, again, triumphs over insurrectionist fantasies. Kates gives no compelling purpose that the courts need to protect for the right to have a registered gun. The NRA's chief "scholar", Stephen Halbrook, was horrified by Kates' registration concession and the disagreement within the gun lobby and among its "scholars" has never been resolved. It has been resolved by the courts.

Halbrook wrote the Hutchison/Cheney brief to the Supreme Court in Heller, onto which McCain also signed.
He argued that the court has to respect the will of the people as expressed in the will of Congress when the will of Congress is an expression of NRA lobbyists which include Halbrook.

There is a much greater burden of historic responsibility. The DC Government cannot be faulted too severely for failed leadership when everyone else fails. Failure spans the whole spectrum of politicians and the multiplicity and multitude of our shallow, lazy news organs. This is where we discover who we are.

The courts have given the opportunity to neutralize the gun vote and its role in the larger politics. No one has seized it. An aroused citizenry does not exist. Public knowledge and consciousness are absent. We don't have to raise abstruse issues about the Commerce Clause, but we can rise above the level of bumper sticker slogans and sound bite demagoguery. The citizenry failed during the primaries to challenge the candidates, but we now have until November to pose a few simple questions to our candidates who want to be under oath of public office as president of the United States: Do you accept and support Judge Silberman's conclusions? Will your administration work towards a national firearms policy based on these conclusions? With a few simple questions everything political changes. The gun vote is neutralized. Other candidates and office holders need not be exempt from the inquiry.
Rick Warren did not ask the questions on August 16.

There is a reason why the NRA, which now embraces Heller, has worked very hard to keep gun rights cases out of court. The gun lobby, led by the NRA, would fight viciously to defeat any legislative attempts to implement Judge Silberman's conclusions. See the NRA's Registration and Licensing Fact Sheet. Silberman's his conclusions make the much ballyhooed individual right he seeks to invent and the core doctrine the gun lobby works hardest to maintain by defeating legislation perfectly meaningless.

Here are observations from within the gun lobby and from libertarians:
Do we have to wait till this gets to the Supreme Court? The gun rights ideologies have been in the federal courts for more than thirty years. Where have been our shallow, lazy news organs? Where have been our cowardly politicians? Where has been an enlightened citizenry capable of self-government.

The next struggle in the courts is over Fourteenth Amendment incorporation against the states. That is the only real meaning for a Bill of Rights guarantee for individuals. That becomes very problematic. The hard core Libertarian Right has never accepted the expansion of federal authority to protect other rights against state infringment. Why the exception for Second Amendment rights? If the courts will find a fundamental right in private gun ownership and protect that right against "infringement" or "abridgement" against the states the court have to find a compelling state purpose for the infringement. The only compelling purpose the gun rights ideologies have offered is the anti-state purpose of insurrection— that is, a civil right to treason. If the courts will protect that right against infringement— that is, in gun rights ideologies, against accountability to law and regulation. Will the courts now embrace this compelling purpose as a civil liberty? The Supreme Court's justices are already in conflict with themselves if they want to go in the direction of any Fourteenth Amendment incorporation.

Regardless of what the courts do, we will not see political leadership, public enlightenment, or an aroused, conscious citizenry.

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