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Parker thoughts

John Lott says of the recent Parker decision This is actually a very high risk gamble.

It is, indeed. We could lose at the Supreme Court. Game over.

We could win. Everyone rejoices.

Further, even a win might not be a win. I simply cannot see the Supreme Court overturning 73 years of federal gun laws. The lifting of some regulations just doesn’t seem to be politically feasible with the gun hysteria we see.

The ban on machine guns: In 1934, the $200 tax essentially prohibited all but the wealthy from obtaining them. In the 1980s, the tax was just a nuisance. In 1986, new transfer was banned. These weapons do relate to the preservation and efficacy of a well-regulated militia. There is enough meat to eliminate the ban. But the court simply will not do it, I don’t think.

Regulation of destructive devices: These are not banned but regulated. Are they arms that relate to the preservation and efficacy of a well-regulated militia? Most certainly, as soldiers carry grenades. Again, I can’t see the court overturning that.

Suppressors: though gaining in popularity due to convenience and the recent market for inexpensive models, it would be easy to paint these as weapons for murderers a la your favorite hitman movie.

NFA in general: The DC opinion does say registration is conducive to a well-regulated militia. And only NFA weapons are registered.

Background checks, felons, etc.: A non-issue, generally, as these are seen as acceptable in today’s opinion.

That said, I think they could rule that there is an individual right to arms but that the state has a vested interest in regulating that right with a view to prevent crime and general mayhem.

At the federal level, I don’t see much happening if the Supremes pick it up. But, at the state level, there could be some major issues. Particularly in places like Cali, NY, Mass and Chicago.

Don’t go opening your gun shop in DC yet. You can rest assured that there will be a stay on this ruling while appeals are filed.

Interesting times.

13 Responses to “Parker thoughts”

  1. blah Says:

    Yup, there are always those worried gun owners might be pushing “to hard”. It COULD get worse. It is a basic “I’ve got mine”, Zumbo attitude.

    To that BS, I say: For residents of DC who have been denied a basic human right for 30 years, it could NOT get worse.

  2. Pro-Gun Progressive » DC Gun Ban Thoughts Says:

    […] John Lott is considering some of the concerns raised by the Parker decision that I mentioned. […]

  3. Earl Harding Says:

    I think this is a win whichever way it goes.

    If it goes to the Supremes and they go the collective route then the argument is over and those on the fence will know the 2nd goes nothing to protect their firearms at all other than the good will of the government.

    The result, I would guess, would be a huge increase in activism and the issue would strongly come to the fore. Oddly enough there may be repercussions with Roe v. Wade as well since that ruling was made on shaky constitional grounds as well, regardless of what one thinks of abortion.

    If the Supremes go individual right then that is a win also since the collectivist movement will have been shown to be wrong at the highest level.
    The reality is that any individual rights argument will be narrowly framed, but it is a victory none the less as it asserts the individual right.

    I am more than happy to take an all-or-nothing approach to this as a straight up or down on this is far better than the death by 1000 cuts we are suffering. At least we would all know where we stand.

  4. Stormy Dragon Says:

    This is also a big gamble for the GOP. Appointing conservative judges is pretty much the only real reason many people stay with the GOP. If a supreme court packed with Republian appointess more or less repeals the second ammendment, the party could suddenly face a huge loss of support.

  5. wolfwalker Says:

    The ban on machine guns: In 1934, the $200 tax essentially prohibited all but the wealthy from obtaining them. In the 1980s, the tax was just a nuisance. In 1986, new transfer was banned.

    This point reminds me of a precedent that somebody ought to mention in an amicus brief. The 1986 Act outlawed buying of automatic weapons simply by refusing to collect the tax that the 1934 law had imposed. If you have to pay the tax to buy the weapon, but you can’t pay the tax, then you can’t do the sale. Simple and effective. Except…

    In 1991, there was a court case in Illinois that challenged the portion of the 1986 law that forbade the transfer of machine guns. The case was
    U.S. vs Rock Island Armory, Inc and David R. Reese (773 F.Supp 117, Dist. Ct. Ill.) As I understand it, the district (trial) court struck down the law on the grounds that the provision of the 1934 Act used Congress’s authority to tax, not its authority over commerce or any other congressional power. Since the 1986 law made the tax unpayable, it rendered the original provision moot. For all practical purposes the tax no longer existed, therefore neither did the prohibition.

    Unfortunately, the decision was never appealed. Which means that according to the convoluted way the court system works, the decision applies only within that single District Court’s jurisdiction.

  6. sux2bme Says:

    You sez:

    “We could lose at the Supreme Court. Game over.”

    Nay, the game simply begins in earnest. To wit: “… That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, …”

    Stock up on your watering supplies for the tree of liberty.

  7. Nashville is Talking » Parker v. DC Says:

    […] unless I’m missing something, I’ve only found Say Uncle, Rob Huddleston, and Instipundit weighing in on this from […]

  8. gattsuru Says:

    If they overturn the ban on machine guns, it’ll only be the new transfer ban (since the DC opinion has little to do with taxes, there’s no way courts that managed to 14th amendment are going to read a right to bear arms to provide immunity from taxes).

    Grenades, rockets, and most destructive devices will be banned by defining them as anything but arms : given that every reference the Founding Fathers used was to pistols, blades, and rifles, that’s not a horrible choice. Same, for that matter, goes for machine guns, although it wouldn’t be supported by history or the dictionary.

    Most importantly, the DC case can not incorporate the Bill of Rights. As a definitional event, even the best case scenario merely gives us additional ammunition to start a run for incorporation through another case. If we win, we can give gun rights a hefty push across the slippery slope.

    If we lose… it’ll be interesting. I don’t think it’s a worthwhile maneuver, since this will motivate gun-fearing wussies a very noticeable amount, but you deal with the hand you’re played.

  9. straightarrow Says:

    Fenty says they will aggressively be applying the just overturned illegal law while they ask for a rehearing.

    Isn’t that like a bank robber serving notice that he will continue to rob banks while he appeals his conviction for bank robbery? Why should he be allowed to do so without the expectation of consequences while he appeals? Why should Fenty be allowed to continue to break the same law they have just been told is illegal?

    Jail should be in his immediate future. He should be there before I finish typing this, since he has already admitted his part in a conspiracy to continue breaking the law.

  10. The Gun Toting Liberal ™ » Blog Archive » District of Columbia Circuit Court Restores Civil Liberty To D.C. Citizens Says:

    […] Other Bloggers Weigh In: Talk Left; Taylor Marsh; Pro-Gun Progressive; Wizbang; The Impolitic; Donklephant; QandO; Say Uncle […]

  11. wolfwalker Says:

    gattsuru wrote: “Most importantly, the DC case can not incorporate the Bill of Rights. ”

    Logically you’re right: DC is direct federal jurisdiction, so the decision (whatever it is) shouldn’t involve the 14th Amendment or the incorporation doctrine.

    But this is the Nine Old Ones we’re talking about. They can, if they want to, choose to issue a sweeping decision that does consider the states. It wouldn’t be the first time the Court went beyond the reasonable bounds of a case and used it as the base for a wide ruling. No higher authority exists to say they’re wrong.

  12. Captain Holly Says:

    Nobody has mentioned who the biggest losers of this decision are: The Democrat party.

    They won last fall in part by ignoring the gun control issue or by pretending they were pro-gun. With this coming up for review early next year, they won’t be able to do the same thing in 2008.

    If the Supremes review and uphold, that will overturn DC’s law. The Bradys will then put tremendous pressure on the Dems to “do something” before the election; Hillary or Obama won’t be able to finesse the issue because they’ll likely have to vote on it.

    If the Supremes review and overturn the decision, that will create a HUGE s#*tstorm that will blow the Dems away. They’ll HAVE to pass a law in Congress restablishing some type of individual right, and that will likely create a massive schism in the party between the McCarthys and the Blue Dogs. It will be 1994 all over again if they fail to do so.

  13. Ravenwood Says:

    I want to clarify the 1934 and 1986 laws affecting the transfer of machine guns.

    1934 implemented the $200 tax/registration/background check scheme. In 1986, the Hughes Amendment made the transfer of machine guns manufactured after the enactment (ie: 1986) illegal. It DID NOT remove collection of the tax. You can still transfer a pre-ban machine gun if you pay your tax and register it.

    The biggest problem with the 1986 ban was that it prevents new machine guns from entering the market and caps supply. So you can’t buy a new 2007 full auto Bushmaster M-16, you have to buy a pre-ban (1986 or before) Colt M-16. Since there is a finite supply they run $15,000 or more. Post-ban non-transferrables may only run $1500, but regular joe citizens can’t buy those because of the fucking Hughes Amendment.

    On the upside, you can make a bundle by investing in machineguns. You buy a gun this year for $5000, and next year it’s worth $7000. Not a bad return on your money. And until Hughes is repealed, they’ll keep going up in price.

Remember, I do this to entertain me, not you.

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