Should gun owners be looking to Donald Trump as the president who will finally settle legal primacy of Federal law over the states?
As of January 20th, there are dramatic changes coming to the nation for individual liberties and gun rights. As with most things, Trump is not wasting time getting the ball rolling. It is refreshing to see that while we have not seen an end game – based on statements regarding Second Amendment rights – it does give me hope.
In a statement released during his campaign “Law-abiding people should be allowed to own the firearm of their choice. The government has no business dictating what types of firearms good, honest people are allowed to own,” Trump wrote.
This statement on it’s own certainly sets up the direction his administration plans on taking during his presidency. The question remains, how does he plan on achieving the gun utopia we want? We have to start with how gun laws work. When we fill out an ATF Form 4473 at our local gun shop, it is in compliance with Federal law. In fact the ATF has updated there forms to reflect changing state laws. Since Marijuana has been legalized in some states, yet federally is still illegal, they have updated their forms. Question 11.e: Added a warning statement regarding marijuana that has been legalized or decriminalized for medicinal or recreational purposes in the state where the transferee/buyer resides.
So what this means in layman’s terms is that federal law trumps state law. This is a rather simple concept to grasp, however how do you apply this idea to level the playing field? The first step for President Trump will be to repeal all executive orders on firearms that were signed by President Obama. Regardless of what anyone feels about them, they were never debated or passed through congress. As such they must be repealed. This will resolve one of the major issues gun owners are upset about, which was the executive order which removed gun rights from grandpa, because his loved ones, took legal control of his finances.
Once all the executive orders are gone, we now need to move forward with giving rights back to the individuals. We need to follow the logic that states are imposing unconstitutional laws infringing on our gun rights because there is no federal law that says they can’t. Furthermore, potential cases which would break the state level hold on gun rights have been refused to be heard by the Supreme Court. The idea of not my monkeys, not my circus, cannot continue. I do think that there will be tremendous pressure put on the court, if and when such cases are brought before them. If the proper justice is appointed by President Trump to the court, I do believe this will bode well for all Americans.
Until such time that SCOTUS is able to hear and rule on cases regarding gun rights, there are steps we can see moving forward to enact federal laws which will overshadow state law. At this point I am sure we could veer off onto the tangent of states’ rights, however we should stop now. States do not have a right to infringe on an individual’s liberties. Furthermore, the absence of any federal law, does not allow states to implement many of the anti-gun laws if strict scrutiny is applied. We have seen a rash of cases go before hard left leaning courts and stand under judicial activism. So we must move forward with federal laws telling states what they cannot do.
The first major law being proposed by the Trump administration is national reciprocity for concealed carriers. Many are simply horrified that yet another database would be created to track all this activity, and how we just can’t stand for it. While many states are fairly free, some are not. I happen to live in California, which has the most strict unfathomable laws imaginable. The proposal of the reciprocity act would include nonresident licenses as well, which is music to my ears. For those of you who do not live in California, obtaining a concealed carry permit is extremely difficult, depending on your county. We have no state preemption. The cost for registering, mandatory training, and taking time off work to be interviewed multiple times costs hundreds if not thousands of dollars. I would also only be able to carry two or three hand guns which have their serial numbers on the license. If I buy or sell a firearm I then have to go back and modify the license. Being able to take a weekend class in Reno and come back, and being able to carry for a tiny fraction of the current cost is a vast improvement. It also throws all the ideas of magazine bans, and the California safe hand gun roster out the window. It would be next to impossible to realistically enforce all the current laws and expect to not be clearly challenged on them. I do feel specific verbiage needs to be on the law – that the guns from the state where the license is issued are legal to be carried by the owner in any state. This will further reinforce the idea that states cannot say no.
The next law being proposed is to remove suppressors from the NFA listing. I wholeheartedly support this move. There are a lot of good reasons to use a suppressor. I know for many they have images of James Bond, and people running around silently killing others, but that is simply a fictional image. Hunting situations where hunters want to be kind to the environment are good examples of real suppressor use.
“Mr. Waldron was one of the founders of the American Suppressor Association. The ASA sponsors the Hearing Protection Act (HPA), which would remove the onerous, expensive and time-consuming NFA provisions from silencers. Surprisingly, Mr. Waldron indicated that the ATF seems unwilling to fight this legislation.”
My guess is under the new leadership, federal agencies will fall in line with little to no push back on any new laws enacted. This sits well for the new administration. While there has been speculation of trying to push a law removing state level gun bans, I feel that this will not pass. While I agree with it, since there are only 307 hand guns currently on the California safe handgun roster, and many of those are the same firearm with only minor cosmetic differences like color. The Cal Gun Foundation is currently presenting the case of Peña, et al. v. Lindley, which is headed to appeals. This is a direct challenge to the roster; however it is also possible to push a federal level law which overrides such draconian restrictions.
I fully expect the worst states to try and pass local laws and fight it out directly with the federal government. There is a long standing precedence that drives federal over state. Additionally the Trump administration has over a 100 federal judge openings to fill. The nuclear option is in place so the Democrats don’t have a choice in the appointments. A number of them reside in the left leaning ninth circuit court. This will also preempt the more egregious laws from staying in place.
We do not know how quickly the administration will move on these campaign points, but for me it can’t be fast enough. Making sure that once and for all states cannot infringe on the basic human right of self-defense has to happen as quickly as possible. When there are no rivers of blood in the streets, and crime rates continue to drop, the anti-gun agitprop will become moot. We will be able to put the argument to bed once and for all. Will Trump get us there is anyone’s guess, but I have faith we will.