Heller analysis; new (to me, at least) gun rights group

When the Heller decision was announced on June 26th, I confess that I was among those gun rights advocates who saw it as a “victory” for gun rights. Not that I ever saw it as anything like a death knell for citizen disarmament, but it did seem to me that a significant move forward for gun rights had been taken, and I certainly didn’t see much in the way of danger in the decision. Some others within the gun rights movement, less susceptible to the siren’s song of wishful thinking than I, were far less enthusiastic. As I listened to them, and became less drunk on “victory,” I began to perceive the outlines of the minefield of potential new threats to gun rights contained in the decision.

I was never able to articulate those misgivings very well, though, thus perhaps opening myself up to accusations that I was denigrating the decision, “because it wasn’t everything, RIGHT NOW!” That was never my position, and I’m still not sure how anyone formed the impression that it was, but I should perhaps accept some responsibility for leaving enough ambiguity in my position to leave room for that mischaracterization. To be clear, my misgivings about Heller are due not at all to the fact that it failed to make the literal meaning of the Second Amendment the recognized law of the land, but to the potential danger of it being used to justify further attacks on gun rights.

I am still not able to articulate that position very well, but stumbled yesterday on an analysis that does. Here’s an excerpt:

Or for destroying those rights entirely. For on the theory that firearms that are “highly unusual” and not “in common use at th[is] time” can be banned, rogue public officials could make any type of firearm “highly unusual” simply by banning private possession of it, and then using the effect of the ban as a reason for saying the Second Amendment does not apply! Just as they have removed fully automatic firearms from the possibility of “common use” by the National Firearms Act and other statutes. So, on the basis of the loose language in Heller, Americans can expect, not only that fully automatic firearms such as M-16s will continue to be banned from “common use,” but also that political hucksters will attempt to revive the Clinton-era prohibitions of semiautomatic “assault weapons” that merely resemble M-16s, and of high-capacity magazines; then to enact new restrictions on highly accurate, long-range “sniper rifles” in .338 Lapua, .50 BMG, and other supposedly “unusual” calibers; and even to impose draconian regulations on possession of many types of ammunition, so that the firearms chambered for such rounds will be rendered effectively useless.

Exactly.

Read the whole article–it’s not short, but is well worth the time.

Something else I got from the article was a reference to a gun rights group with which I had not been familiar–the National Association for Gun Rights (NAGR). That looks like my kind of group. Know anything about them, anyone?

UPDATE: Upon further reflection, I found a passage from the article that I think would have been a better choice than the one I quoted originally. Hopefully, the author won’t object to me quoting another paragraph.

Most importantly, Heller poorly serves the core purpose of the Second Amendment. In isolation, an individual’s right to possess firearms for the purpose of self-defense in his own home can only minimally deter rogue public officials from attempting to impose a police state on this country. Without thoroughgoing organization, sufficient arms, and legal authority for collective action, Americans cannot expect to deter, let alone to resist, large-scale para-militarized police forces and other instruments of oppression. Because the militia are the constitutional institutions that provide all three — and always under control of “the people” — the Second Amendment declares them to be “necessary to the security of a free State.” The most perceptive “gun controllers” — all of whom, in the final analysis, intend to impose something other than “a free State” upon common Americans — know this, and therefore bend their every effort to prevent true constitutional militia from functioning in this country.

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