Trump Is Right: Gun Free Zones Make Schools More Deadly

In the wake of the shooting in Florida and now another in Maryland, President Trump has triggered a healthy debate about so-called “gun-free zones” in schools – schools which more and more appear to be anything but gun-free.

Trump argued after Parkland a gun-free zone “is like target practice” for school shooters such as the alleged Florida killer, Nikolas Cruz.

“They see that and that’s what they want,” he opined. “Gun-free zones are very dangerous. The bad guys love gun-free zones.”

The next day, Trump pointed out to a room full of Governors at the White House, “You have a gun-free zone, it’s like an invitation for these very sick people to go there.”

Critics pounced.

“He is just utterly missing the point of the law,” said a former staffer for then-Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wis., who led the charge on gun-free-school zones in 1990.

Leaving mass shootings entirely to one side, she said, communities confronted “the very serious danger posed by a variety of criminal actors around schools and involving guns.”

Let’s rewind.

On May 16, 1986, a shooting in Wyoming’s Cokeville Elementary School left two dead and a towering 74 injured.

Then, on January 17, 1989, another shooting at Cleveland Elementary School in Stockton, Calif. left six dead and 32 injured.

Around this time, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that 135,000 guns were brought to school each day.

An alarming one in five urban high school students reported having a gun fired at them at school, and a 1993 survey found 40% of students in central cities said they knew someone personally who had been killed or injured by gunfire.

Democrats’ response? Why, gun control, of course.

Sen. Kohl introduced the Gun-Free School Zones Act (GFSZA) in February, 1990. The measure was rolled into the Crime Control Act of 1990 and signed into law by President George H.W. Bush – granted, a Republican president – on November 29, 1990.

What happened?

First, between 1992 (note: not 1990 or 1991) and 2015, the percentage of students who reported carrying a weapon on school property during the previous 30 days decreased from 12% to 4%.

Second, GFSZA advocates argue students at least felt safer at school: “From 1995 (note: not 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, or 1994) to 2015, the percentage of students who reported being ‘afraid of attack or harm’ at school dropped substantially, from 12% to 3%.”

Third, the law’s cheerleaders argueCDC statistics show school-associated violent deaths dropped from 57 in the 1992-93 school year (note: neither 1990-1991 nor 1991-92) to 33 in 2009-10. However, the figure actually peaked in 2006-2007 at 63, and is up substantially since 2009-2010.

Fourth, another rah-rah data point: a 2017 report found the number of crimes against students has plummeted more than 80% since 1992 (note: not 1990 or 1991). Problem solved!

Unfortunately, while it’s true the crime victimization rate at school declined 82%, the rate away from school declined 88%.

Worse, the serious violent victimization rate at school declined only 50%, while the rate away from school plunged 91%.

So after the GFSZA, schools actually got safer more slowly than the rest of the community, which during the period was exiting the crack wave.

Regardless, none of these statistics compares the period before Bush signed the GFSZA to after it.

So I crunched the numbers on school shootings per year, number killed per year, and number wounded per year before the GFSZA (1968-1990) and after it was put in place (1991-2018).

Get ready.

In the period after enactment of the Gun-Free School Zones Act, school shootings more than doubled from 2.7 per year to 6.9 per year, an increase of 155% from the period before enactment.

Those wounded in school shootings nearly doubled from 8.8 to 13.9 per year, an increase of 58%.

And killings in school shootings nearly tripled, from 2.7 per year to 7.9 per year, an increase of 192%.

Figure 1: Number of school shootings per year, number killed in schools per year, and number wounded in schools per year before the GFSZA (1968-1990) and after it was put in place (1991-2018). Data source: http://triblive.com/news/education/safety/13313060-74/heres-a-list-of-every-school-shooting-over-the-past-50-years.

A closer look at the data bears out that the number of school shootings has increased over time, and generally accelerated after the GFSZA was signed into law in 1990. That said, there is an exception that may prove the rule: The Supreme Court declared the GFSZA law unconstitutional in United States v. Lopez, 514 U.S. 549 (1995). Only later did then-Attorney General Janet Reno for Bill Clinton propose changes that conformed it to the Constitution. Those changes were signed into law in 1996, but doubts remained at least until 2000 about the measure’s ability to withstand a court challenge. During that period, school shootings declined, then rose again afterwards.

Figure 2: Number of School Shootings By Year, 1968-2018. Data source: http://triblive.com/news/education/safety/13313060-74/heres-a-list-of-every-school-shooting-over-the-past-50-years.

*Note: 2018 figure only through February 14, 2018.

An obvious question this raises is whether homicide rates increased more generally at the same pace and with the same timing. Does the spike in school shootings just track a spike in killings?

The answer? No. The homicide rate actually dropped steeply in this period. The crack wave was ending, sending murder rates back to levels not seen since the early 1960s.

Figure 3: U.S. Homicide Rates, 1885-2010. Source: http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2013/12/foghorn/guns-violence-united-states-numbers/

More specifically, the firearm-related deaths for youths ages 15-19 in particular followed an almost identical pattern, spiking from 1970 to the early 1990s, then plunging back to prior levels – nearly the opposite of the school shooting pattern.

Figure 4: Firearm-Related Death Rate Among Youth Ages 15-19, 1970-2014. Source: https://www.childtrends.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/70_tablescharts.xlsx.

Thus the increase in number and lethality of school shootings can be explained neither by homicide rates in general nor firearm-related death rates among youth.

Another counter-argument would be that mass shootings have increased more generally over that period, which is true. Is the increase in school shootings before and after the US declared them off limits to law-abiding gun owners merely an artifact of an increase in mass shootings more generally?

The answer again is no.

Now, according to data compiled by the far-left Mother Jones, it’s true the percentage of those wounded in mass shootings who were shot in schools was cut in half after the Gun-Free School Zones Act passed, from 32% of mass shooting injuries between 1982 and 1990 to 14% from 1991 to today.

Also, this drop took place despite the percentage of mass shootings that took place in schools growing from 11% to 17% of all mass shootings at the same time.

But the apparently positive change appears to be because schools shootings became so much more lethal. The percentage of mass shooting fatalities that took place in schools tripled, from 7% before the Gun-Free School Zones Act to 21% afterwards.

So: Half as many injuries in schools among mass shootings, but only because three times as many died in a greater number of mass shootings there.

Figure 5: Percentage of mass shooting injuries, attacks, and fatalities that took place in schools before the GFSZA (1968-1990) and after it was put in place (1991-2018). Data source: https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/12/mass-shootings-mother-jones-full-data/.

This is a problem.

It is true that the largest spikes in school shootings followed far on the heels of the GFSZA’s enactment.

To explain that, Second Amendment opponents might point to the expiration of the assault weapons ban in 2004.

In response, Second Amendment supporters might point instead to the bonkers Obama Administration’s Promotion of Random Offenses and Misdemeanors by Insane Students Escaping justice (PROMISE) program which paid schools to persuade law enforcement agencies to let youth get away with criminal activity, especially if they were “of color,” which may (or may notexplain why the Broward County Sheriff’s office deliberately ignored what they admit was 23 and may have been 45 warnings of Cruz’ criminal insanity.

Regardless, the numbers bear out the horrific impression to which Trump is giving voice: After America declared schools gun free zones, school shootings increased and became more deadly.

By these measures at least, Trump is right, and his critics are wrong.

RELATED ARTICLE: Student Journalist Digs Up Bombshell that Exposes Broward County Officials in Parkland Shooting

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence Make History in Dallas

For the first time in the organization’s history, a sitting president and vice president both addressed NRA members at the 147th Annual Meetings in Dallas on Friday during the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum.  This makes the second year in a row that President Trump’s visit is one for the history books.   Last year, he became the first sitting president to attend the Annual Meetings in more than three decades when he spoke at the 2017 Leadership Forum in Atlanta.  The last president to attend the NRA Annual Meetings was Ronald Reagan in 1983.

And just as he did last year, President Trump promised to the cheering, capacity crowd that he will protect the firearms freedom of law-abiding Americans and that recent efforts to restrict the Second Amendment will be staunchly opposed by his administration.  Vice President Pence echoed the president’s sentiments, noting to the crowd that both he and President Trump will stand strong against any attempts to undermine our freedom.

In addition to the president and vice president, the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum featured speakers from across the country, including elected officials, first responders, veterans, NRA leaders, and freedom-loving Americans from all walks of life:

Wayne LaPierre, Executive Vice President, NRA 

Chris Cox, Executive Director, NRA-ILA

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) 

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX)

Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX)

Gov. Pete Ricketts (R-NE)

U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC) 

Dana Loesch, NRA Spokesperson

Mark “Oz” Geist, Former Marine, Author of “13 Hours”

Mark Robinson, Second Amendment Activist, Greensboro, NC.

Diamond & Silk, Social Media Commentators

Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union

Charlie Kirk, Founder, Turning Point USA and Kyle Kashuv, Student, Marjory Stoneham Douglas High School, Parkland, FL

The Consequences of Historical Ignorance

America is suffering through a crisis in education, especially when it comes to history.

Many were horrified when a poll, released in April, showed that two-thirds of millennials don’t know what Auschwitz is, despite the fact that it was the most notorious Nazi death camp in World War II.

That was hardly the only worrisome poll of late.

Americans should be outraged that our schools have failed to teach even the most basic historical facts to the younger generations. Worse, the education they receive has often only turned into a justification for superficial social activism, lacking in depth and veracity.

David Hogg, the teen survivor of the February school shooting in Parkland, Florida, who became a gun-control activist, exemplifies this worsening problem. He recently tweeted:

This is little more than bumper sticker history, demonstrative of Hogg’s historical illiteracy.

For one thing, it’s unlikely that Gandhi’s pacifism would have been of much use against the Nazi war machine. People willing to put other humans in ovens are unlikely to be moved by passionate pleas for peace.

It should be noted, too, that Hogg’s two examples of nonviolent movements succeeding—Gandhi’s Indian independence movement and the U.S. civil rights movement—were not exactly nonviolent.

The Partition of India was incredibly violent, and led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands and perhaps millions of people. And the civil rights movement certainly wasn’t an entirely nonviolent affair, either. The rights of many black Americans in the late 19th and early 20th centuries were secured almost entirely by gun ownership.

These so-called nonviolent movements occurred in countries with a tradition of respecting the rule of law and individual rights, giving them an actual chance to succeed through ballots instead of bullets.

In China, nonviolent student protests in the 1980s were crushed by the state—literally in the case of the Tiananmen Square protest. Historically, repression has been the norm, not the exception.

For Americans, the right to speak freely and protest was only secured because young men, mostly teenagers, were willing to take up arms—arms that Hogg and others have so relentlessly crusaded against—and risk their lives to fight for their God-given liberties against the British Crown.

At one time, every American would have known this and would have acknowledged the blood and suffering of the Revolution that secured our freedom and independence.

War is a terrible thing, but it is often just and necessary, and it has certainly served to stop tremendous evil in this world.

To deny that is absurd.

Despite the clear gaps in his historical knowledge, Hogg hasn’t shied away from insulting the civic acumen of others and hectoring them. He once said, “Our parents don’t know how to use a f—ing democracy, so we have to.”

Not content to simply insult his parents’ generation, he then followed up in a later interview claiming that those who were against him were on the wrong side of history—a history that his generation would presumably be writing.

“Regardless of what your opinions are or where you come from, you need to realize we are the future of America,” Hogg said in an NPR interview. “And if you choose not to stand with us, that’s OK, because you’ll be on the wrong side of the history textbooks that we write.”

If that’s so, then future history textbooks will look more ideological and baseless than accurate portrayals of the historical record. But perhaps that’s because many current textbooks are, too.

Americans are free, regardless of their education or knowledge level, to use a public platform to espouse their views. At the same time, it’s hard to have a substantive and productive debate on the issues of the day when even the most basic facts of history are unknown to those doing the debating.

Platitudes begin to sound like profound insights when one has an extremely narrow view of history and world events.

It would be nice to see a little more humility from those who have such an incomplete understanding of that history.

Nevertheless, we have only ourselves to blame if we are not doing more to fix the increasingly deplorable state of American schools.

We must admit that the public school education model is failing our youths, despite how much money we’ve pumped into the system.

We should take it upon ourselves to improve our republic through better schools—perhaps charter schools, or even better, private schools funded by caring parents who increasingly can use vouchers or education savings accounts to escape the current institutions that have failed them.

Currently, many of our schools don’t meet even the basic requirements of what Americans need to be informed citizens. Worse, the education students are receiving, especially in civics, is heavily skewed toward left-wing politics.

As my wife, Inez Stepman, wrote for The Federalist:

If education reform is going to be about more than ticking up the United States’ score on international exams, and if school choice is also our only opportunity to break a left-wing ideological monopoly on public education, we must deliver meaningful, universal education choice to parents now, while Generation X parents are still the majority of those with school-age children.

We must give all parents the opportunity now to choose education options that align with their values, or the values we cherish will continue their slide into extinction.

Historical ignorance and cultural disintegration are only going to become more pronounced until we find a way to expand the net of education that works for the youngest generation.

School choice can no longer be treated as a back-burner issue.

Our future and our freedom depend on it.

COMMENTARY BY

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With the recent conservative victories related to tax cuts, the Supreme Court, and other major issues, it is easy to become complacent.

However, the liberal Left is not backing down. They are rallying supporters to advance their agenda, moving this nation further from the vision of our founding fathers.

If we are to continue to bring this nation back to our founding principles of limited government and fiscal conservatism, we need to come together as a group of likeminded conservatives.

This is the mission of The Heritage Foundation. We want to continue to develop and present conservative solutions to the nation’s toughest problems. And we cannot do this alone.

We are looking for a select few conservatives to become a Heritage Foundation member. With your membership, you’ll qualify for all associated benefits and you’ll help keep our nation great for future generations.

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The Real Costs Of Florida’s Hasty Parkland Legislation Are Coming Out

This is the price of letting the mob, even one led by sympathetic teens, rule over sound principles: the loss of Constitutional rights and wrecked budgets.

After the deadly shooting of 17 people at a Parkland, Florida high school earlier this year that resulted in huge protests fronted by students of the school, the GOP-dominated Florida Legislature caved to the emotional mob and passed laws violative of Americans’ Second Amendment rights while causing havoc with the budgets of every School District and Sheriff’s Office in the state.

It’s the dirty little secret largely being ignored. This was not a well-thought-through, studied, principled piece of legislation. And it was not necessary. It would not have prevented Parkland.

Most of the news coverage focused on guns, guns, guns. The media narrative was all zeroed in on how much would the Republican Florida Legislature go against the wishes of the NRA in a pro-gun state. Quite a bit it turns out, particularly when activists bring uninformed teens into the chambers for gimmicky procedural votes specifically designed to elicit an emotional response.

The portion of the law most people know about is the one restricting gun ownership for those under 21 and requiring a three-day waiting period to buy all guns. So you can be in the military and go to war, you can be in law enforcement and engage bad guys, you can enter into contracts, you can drive trucks, you can get married and start a family — but you cannot do what the Constitution of the United States expressly protects your right to do: own a gun.

“This bill punishes law-abiding gun owners for the criminal acts of a deranged individual,” said the NRA-ILA’s executive director Chris Cox. The NRA is suing on Constitutional grounds, which will cost plenty of money, as they have a strong case are not apt to back down.

The second part of the Parkland legislation news coverage was over whether “we should arm teachers” — as the media framed the verbiage. This provision allows districts to voluntarily create a program where educators can volunteer to be trained on an ongoing basis and then allowed to carry a weapon on campus to defend students and others. Of course, this was roundly opposed by the guns, guns, guns crowd and it appears only a handful of rural school districts will opt in to the program.

But given very little coverage was the requirement to beef up law enforcement at the schools by requiring a school resource officer in every Florida school that did not opt for allowing school personnel to conceal carry. This is a generally popular response, despite the total collapse of law enforcement in Broward County at Parkland — where there was a school resource officer who stayed outside during the slaughter.

This is an extraordinarily expensive provision given the size of Florida as the nation’s third largest state.

There are 4,000 public schools in Florida. Law enforcement figures each school resource officer costs about $100,000 in salary, benefits, supplies and general overhead. So putting one at every school represents a $400 million endeavor statewide, towards which the state only committed $100 million. This is an ongoing, $300 million expense, every year.

And there’s the rub. The Legislature responded to the Parkland tragedy and difficult environment with not only a bad law, but one that shoves its badness down to the local level for payment.

This has created a mini crisis among school districts, sheriff departments and the counties that fund them around the state. An average-sized school district in Florida (they are all countywide) would need to find $3 million to $5 million to accomplish this task. The big districts would need much more.

Again. Every year. While safe schools are felt to be an urgent need, what this means is taking funding from elsewhere in the operating budget — the largest single cost of which are teachers. So districts are hoping that local sheriffs will either cover all or part of the costs. But sheriffs have their own budget constraints and resource demands, including the desire of the population not inside a school building to be safe.

So this hasty legislation has pitted school districts against sheriffs when those relations were traditionally quite strong and cooperative.

Worse, it may prove impossible to even meet outside the financial constraints. Most sheriff departments have openings they cannot fill because there are not enough qualified applicants. Florida’s economy is so strong and unemployment so low (3.7 percent) that neither sheriff departments or private security companies can maintain full strength, and they are competing with each other for the few candidates that come available.

The guardian program could solve this, as it is much less expensive to train school personnel and they are already on campus, but professional school administrators prevent most from even considering it.

The Legislature’s action means finding thousands of new sheriff deputies to be trained as school resources officers; or reducing the number of deputies patrolling the streets, making the rest of the community potentially less safe — including students when they are not in school.

This damaging legislation should never have been rammed through so quickly, despite the unconscionable way anti-gun activists marshalled and organized sympathetic students for their cause.

RELATED ARTICLE: Same Policies That Failed to Stop Florida Shooter Exist in School Districts Nationwide

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in The Revolutionary Act. Please visit The Revolutionary Act’s YouTube Site.

Parkland Teacher Called Pro-Second Amendment Jewish Student ‘The Hitler Type’

Kyle Kashuv said: “I find it utterly vile that he’d call a Jew the next Hitler. It’s also quite telling that he doesn’t know that Hitler took the people’s weaponry and I want more law-abiding citizens to have firearms.”

Kashuv is right. The left is unhinged, and it is clear that Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, like colleges and universities all over the country, as well as most other high schools, is no longer a center of learning, but merely an indoctrination center for the hard left. After what happened there, for teachers to be defaming Jewish students and calling for a disarmed populace is monstrous. Gregory Pittman and the school administrators owe Kyle Kashuv an apology. But will he get one? That’s doubtful.

“Parkland Teacher Allegedly Called Pro-Gun Jewish Student ‘The Hitler Type,’” by Rob Shimshock, Daily Caller News Foundation, April 28, 2018 (thanks to Todd):

A Parkland, Fla., history teacher allegedly called a pro-Second Amendment Jewish student “the Hitler type” and “dangerous,” according to a Friday report.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School teacher Gregory Pittman allegedly made the remarks about junior Kyle Kashuv in class when a student mentioned a Twitter dispute between Pittman and Kashuv, reported Fox News.

“I find it utterly vile that he’d call a Jew the next Hitler,” Kashuv told Fox. The student’s family moved from Israel to the U.S. in the 1990s. “It’s also quite telling that he doesn’t know that Hitler took the people’s weaponry and I want more law-abiding citizens to have firearms.”

Pittman allegedly made the comments during a class in which Kashuv was not enrolled. At least three students told the junior that the teacher said he was the “next Hitler,” according to the Sun Sentinel. The Twitter dispute precipitating the alleged remarks started when Kashuv posted a video and photo documenting his first gun shooting experience with his father, an Israel Defense Forces vet.

Security officers questioned Kashuv about with whom he visited the gun range and what weapons he used. One officer allegedly said, “Don’t get snappy with me, do you not remember what happened here a few months ago?”…

RELATED: Nazi Firearms Law and the Disarming of the German Jews

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in The Geller Report. Pamela Geller’s shocking new book, “FATWA: HUNTED IN AMERICA” is now available on Amazon. It’s Geller’s tell all, her story – and it’s every story – it’s what happens when you stand for freedom today. Buy it. Now. Here.

Vice President Pence to Speak at the 2018 NRA-ILA Leadership Forum

Fairfax, Va.— The National Rifle Association (NRA) Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) today announced that Vice President Mike Pence  will keynote the annual NRA-ILA Leadership Forum on Friday, May 4, in Dallas, Texas. The event kicks off the 2018 election cycle and will feature a powerful lineup of pro-freedom speakers.

“It’s an honor to have Vice President Pence address our members in Dallas. He is a lifetime supporter of the Second Amendment and he has a long a record of fighting to defend our freedoms. Now more than ever we need principled people in public office who will fight to defend the Constitution. Our members are excited to hear him speak and thank him for his leadership.” —Chris W. Cox, executive director of the NRA-ILA

To purchase tickets, please click here.

WHAT: NRA-ILA Leadership Forum

SPEAKERS:

NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre
NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox
Hon. Mike Pence, Vice President
Gov. Greg Abbott, Texas
Sen. John Cornyn, Texas
Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas
Gov. Pete Ricketts, Nebraska
Rep. Richard Hudson, North Carolina
Mark Geist, Benghazi Survivor
Diamond & Silk, Social Media Personalities
Dana Loesch, NRA Spokesperson
Charlie Kirk, Turning Point USA Founder

WHERE:

Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center Arena
650 S Griffin St, Dallas, TX 75202

WHEN:

Friday, May 4, 2018
12:00 — 3 pm

Doors Open at 9:00 am
Program begins at 12:00 pm

To purchase tickets, please click here.


MEDIA CREDENTIALS: To obtain media credentials please click here. Credential requests must be received by midnight EST Wednesday, April 25, 2018.

Act Now: Join Pro-gun Lawmakers Seeking Answers and Accountability from Anti-gun Banks

We recently reported on the disturbing trend of large U.S. banks – most notably Bank of America (BofA) and Citigroup – using their enormous market power to discriminate against customers based on lawful firearm-related business activities. These decisions were unabashedly prompted and lauded by anti-gun activists as political statements and social engineering, not as business decisions based on any alleged financial unsoundness or criminal activity of the affected customers. This feigned high-mindedness is particularly galling to gun-owning Americans whose billions of tax dollars helped bail out these financial behemoths after the banks’ reckless business practices brought their companies and the U.S. economy to the brink of disaster. Now, pro-gun members of Congress are demanding answers and accountability. You can do your part, too, by lodging your own complaints against the banks with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) led the way with a March 29, 2018 letter to Citigroup CEO Michael Corbat. Kennedy expressed “significant concerns” about the bank’s new policies and asked to be provided with “the specific number of entities in Louisiana which stand to lose banking services as a result of [Citigroup’s] increased scrutiny on law-abiding businesses.” He pointedly reminded the bank, “It feels like yesterday when Citi received nearly half a trillion dollars in taxpayer-backed guarantees and cash after putting the entire financial system at risk,” a move Kennedy called, “the largest government bailout in American history.” Kennedy encouraged Citigroup to be a good corporate citizen by refocusing on business decisions, including “addressing apparent shortcomings like overcharging credit card interest rates to account holders and compliance with U.S. anti-money laundering laws.”

Also joining the effort were 16 Congressmen led by Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN), who on April 11 wrote to Emily W. Murphy, head of the General Services Administration, asking her to reconsider a $700+ billion contract with Citigroup to help implement the federal charge card system, SmartPay 3.  The letter noted that the bank’s new firearm policies “run counter to laws and regulations passed by Congress, and they infringe and discriminate against an individual’s Second Amendment rights.” Such policies, the signatories opined, “should not be endorsed by our federal government,” which instead should “do business with companies that respect all of our constitutional rights, including the Second Amendment.” The letter urged the GSA to “take all necessary steps to review and terminate its contract with Citibank unless they rescind their guidelines … .”

The most recent action came from Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. On April 25, Crapo sent letters to the CEOs of both BofA and Citigroup demanding answers about their recent anti-gun activity. “It is deeply concerning to me,” he wrote, “when large national banks … which receive significant forms of government support and benefits, use their market power to manage social policy by withholding access to credit to customers and companies they disfavor.” 

Crapo also raised the issue of the banks’ collection of personally identifiable information (PII) and how it might be used “to monitor and deny financial services to individuals and companies who are engaging in completely legal and, in this case, Constitutionally-protected activity.” He additionally sought further information about the banks’ restrictive firearm policies and any other legal transactions, industries, and businesses they disfavor, prohibit, or boycott. “We should all be concerned if banks … seek to replace legislators and policymakers and attempt to manage social policy by limiting access to credit,” he concluded.

One way banking consumers concerned about BofA’s and Citigroup’s antigun discrimination can make their views known is to submit a complaint directly to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The CFPB is an entity of the U.S. Government charged with “mak[ing] consumer financial markets work for consumers, responsible providers, and the economy as a whole.” Its mandates include “[r]ooting out unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts or practices,” taking “consumer complaints,” and “[m]onitoring financial markets for new risks to consumers.” 

Particularly useful would be complaints by any business or individual who was directly affected by the BofA’s or Citigroup’s new policies.

But every American adult likely uses or will need banking services to survive in the modern economy. Law-abiding gun owners have legitimate concerns about possible collusion and collective efforts between banks and/or banks and advocacy groups aimed at denying them services simply for exercising their rights under the U.S. Constitution and laws. These efforts also can create a hostile and chilling climate for the exercise of Second Amendment rights, particularly for those hoping to obtain financing for such things as home and auto purchases or running a small business. Once financial institutions take it upon themselves to set social policy that exceeds the requirements of the law, it’s impossible to know where they will stop or what other indicators of disfavored activity might become relevant to them. No American should be treated as a scapegoat for someone else’s crimes. 

Complaints may be submitted directly through the CFPB’s website and will be forwarded to the banks themselves. Information on complaints may also be made publicly available so other consumers can evaluate for themselves whether the banks’ are behaving improperly and possibly share their own relevant experiences.

The NRA thanks Sens. Kennedy and Crapo and Rep. Rokita for their leadership in fighting discrimination against law-abiding gun owners.

CDC Kept Quiet on Data Showing Americans Regularly Use Firearms for Self-Defense

The year is 1996. The Right to Carry movement is building momentum across the United States after violent crime peaked in the early 1990s. Criminologists Gary Kleck and Marc Gertz just published a study estimating that 2.5 million Americans used a firearm to defend themselves against another person in 1993. Gun-control advocates scoff at the number, though Kleck refutes the criticisms levied at his work.

The surest way to confirm, cast doubt upon or refute any research is replication. The CDC had recently entered the “gun violence research” field, publishing a flawed study clearly designed to advocate for gun control in 1993.

Shortly after Kleck and Gertz published their research, the CDC began collecting data that could have been provided evidence in the debate over how often the public utilize a firearm in self-defense.  You wouldn’t know it, but the CDC actually collected data on defensive gun use for three years (in 1996, 1997, and 1998) in the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) surveys. This data collection was not discovered until Kleck came across it looking for data on another topic. He is analyzing that data and comparing it to his own, but…something is amiss.

For 20 years, this data went unnoticed. Like some buried treasure, Kleck stumbled across this data. He wasn’t looking for it because, like the rest of the world outside of the CDC offices, he had no idea it existed. It was not discovered until 20 years after the fact.  Given how often questions about defensive gun usage come up and the wide range of estimates (from around 116,000 per year to millions, depending on the source) as well as the CDC’s clear interest on the topic, one may wonder why this data was never acknowledged.

Perhaps it was simply forgotten…by however many people worked on the BRFSS over the span of three years writing the survey, collecting the data, formatting the data, analyzing the data, and presumably presenting it to someone at CDC. Maybe it was misplaced. Maybe it was lost in a flood.

Maybe. Or perhaps the CDC didn’t report the data because the findings weren’t convenient.  It is hard to advocate banning firearms when the evidence shows a sizeable number of Americans using firearms to defend themselves every year in the United States. Is that more or less likely than a team of researchers forgetting they collected data on a hot-button topic?

Our assumptions about the CDC may be colored by their history with gun control advocacy. The motives or circumstances driving their silence may never be uncovered. Maybe in another 20 years someone will find a long-lost memo that details why the CDC kept quiet. Maybe not.

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Minnesota: Two Anti-Gun Amendments to be Introduced and Considered Tomorrow

Constitutional Scholar KrisAnne Hall’s Open Letter to #Walkout Kids

Dear #NationalSchoolWalkout Students,

I weep with you. I am also proud to see you standing for what you believe in. However, what you ask for will not bring the results you desire.

These problems in society have never been a result of too much Liberty, and eliminating the natural rights of all people will never bring the proper solutions. If we want to make you feel safe at school and everywhere in public we must be honest as a society and deal with the real problems.

  1. Schools and government are failing you. They have little to no security and practically no real policy to keep your schools secure.
  2. We have to endure more security at a public museum than we do at our public schools. I ask our governors and administrators which of these treasures is more valuable?
  3. We need to not just make promises to keep you safe, we need policies and actions. We need secure entrances and exits into the schools. We need real policies limiting “visitors” on campus. Nearly every school shooter would have never even been on campus with proper security and policies.
  4. Adults have failed to see your cries for help and have failed to act upon them, putting everyone at risk. We need more adults who are concerned with your mental, physical, and emotional health rather than political correctness, job security or hurt feelings.
  5. We need to train your teachers better. They know CPR; they know how to help a choking child; they need to know how to stop someone from hurting you.

The real solutions that will bring the safety and security we all desire do not require a new federal law or regulation; they do not require a constitutional amendment; they do not require depriving anyone of any rights. The real solutions are much simpler than that.

The real solutions to keeping you safe require only a people who love their children enough to create and enforce local policies and proper training dedicated to the preservation of life, liberty, and property.

The history of the entire world dictates that taking the rights of people to defend themselves will not keep them safe, but will only serve to enslave our future to those more powerful. We must learn that without liberty, security is nothing more than a vapor. Unfortunately, those who do not recognize their history are doomed to repeat its mistakes.

By not addressing the real problems and and not employing the real solutions, we end up destroying what we set out to preserve. We will make you and your future less safe and we will pass on to all our children a future of greater oppression.

I am telling you this not because I am judging you. I am telling you this because, as a mom, I love you.

We can keep you safe and keep your rights and liberties secure at the same time. It is time to take back the narrative. It is time to get to work and secure Liberty for all. That is not just our duty to you and to all our children, it is who we are as Americans.

Sincerely,

KrisAnne Hall
www.LibertyFirstUniversity.com

ABOUT KRISANNE HALL

KrisAnne Hall is a former biochemist, Russian linguist for the US Army, and former prosecutor for the State of Florida. KrisAnne also practiced First Amendment Law for a prominent Florida non-profit Law firm. KrisAnne now travels the country teaching the foundational principles of Liberty and our Constitutional Republic. KrisAnne is the author of 6 books on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, she also has an internationally popular radio and television show and her books and classes have been featured on C-SPAN TV. KrisAnne can be found at www.KrisAnneHall.com.

EDITORS NOTE: The column originally appeared on The Revolutionary Act.

If Current Laws Had Been Followed, There Would Have Been No Waffle House Shooting

On Monday afternoon, Tennessee law enforcement officers captured a 29-year-old Illinois man suspected of opening fire on diners at a Nashville Waffle House, despite the man having had his firearms seized on multiple occasions in the last two years.

Four people died and several others were wounded by the shooter—who wore nothing but a green jacket—before a  customer, also 29, heroically wrestled the firearm away and threw it over a counter. The attacker fled the scene naked and evaded police for over 24 hours before the suspect was apprehended.

As often happens in the aftermath of highly publicized shooting incidents, blame has already been placed on the lack of “common-sense gun control.” But, once again, this blame is misplaced—had already-existing laws been properly followed and enforced, this individual would not have had access to a firearm.

What We Know About the Suspect

The Waffle House suspect has a long history of mental health issues, including recent run-ins with law enforcement and an observational stay in a psychiatric unit. The timeline of concerning events, as most recently reported by major media outlets, is outlined below:

  • May 2016: The Tazewell County (Illinois) Sheriff’s Office responded to a call at a CVS parking lot, where the suspect was suicidal and believed his parents were helping music star Taylor Swift harass him. The suspect’s relatives talked him out of harming himself and he was detained at a hospital for a psychiatric evaluation. It doesn’t appear that he was involuntarily committed to a mental institution or otherwise adjudicated to be a danger to himself or others.
  • June 2017: The suspect was accused of threatening someone with an AR-15 while wearing a pink dress outside of a public pool. According to the incident report, he then stripped naked and jumped into the pool before repeatedly flashing his genitals to the lifeguards ordering him to leave. Police responded, but the suspect ultimately wasn’t charged with a crime. When officers inquired about the AR-15, which the suspect had placed back in the trunk of his car, they determined he had a valid Illinois firearms license and did not seize the gun.

The accused man’s father told police that he had previously taken three rifles and a handgun away from his son and locked them up over concerns regarding his mental health. The father returned the firearms to his son because the father wanted to move out of state.

Officers told the father that he should consider locking up the firearms again until the suspect received mental health treatment, and the father said he would.

  • July 2017: The Secret Service arrested the Waffle House suspect for attempting to breach a security barrier into a restricted area near the White House. He allegedly told the agents he was trying to set up a meeting with the president. The suspect was charged with “unlawful entry,” but the FBI apparently closed the case without pursuing a criminal conviction.
  • August 2017: The accused contacted the Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office to complain that dozens of people were “tapping into his computer and phone” after he attempted to send letters to Taylor Swift. At some point soon afterward, Illinois officials revoked his state firearms license, which Illinois requires for the possession of any firearm in the state.

On Aug. 24, deputies arrived to seize the suspect’s firearms and remove them from his possession. His father, who had a valid state firearms license, requested that the firearms be released to him under the condition that they be kept secured and inaccessible to his son.  Because the father could legally possess firearms in the state and agreed to comply with requirements to keep them away from the suspect, officers agreed to transfer them to the father.

  • Fall 2017: The Waffle House suspect moved from Illinois to Nashville, Tennessee. His father admitted to police that he returned the firearms to his son—including the semi-automatic rifle used in the Waffle House killings—though it is unclear if this occurred before or after the suspect moved out of Illinois.
  • April, 2018: In early April, the accused was fired from his job with a construction company. The reasons for the firing are unclear.

Can the Father Be Held Criminally Liable?

It’s possible that the father can be held criminally liable for returning the firearms to his son, depending on the specific circumstances of when and where he returned them, and which state laws are being considered.

In Illinois, it’s a class 4 felony to knowingly transfer a firearm to an individual who doesn’t possess a valid state firearms license. It’s apparent that the father knew that his son had this license revoked, because he was both present when officers came to seize the firearms and was told by the officers that the firearms must be kept inaccessible to the son. If the father gave the firearms back to his son before he left Illinois, this statute could come into play for criminal charges.

If the transfer occurred in Tennessee, however, this may not be the case. The Waffle House suspect doesn’t appear to have been prohibited from possessing firearms under Tennessee law, because he was never convicted of a disqualifying criminal offense or involuntarily committed to a mental institution.

There are other possibilities for criminal charges in Tennessee, such as for reckless or criminally negligent homicide, but the availability of those charges may depend on how Tennessee interprets those laws.

Stricter Gun Laws Wouldn’t Have Prevented This

Like the vast majority of mass public shooters with mental health problems, the man in custody  appears to have inexplicably managed to avoid a criminal or mental health history that would have disqualified him from possessing a firearm under federal law.

This incident certainly raises concerns about records-sharing between states. Illinois revoked the suspect’s state firearms license, meaning he was prohibited from possessing a firearm in the state of Illinois.

This doesn’t, however, mean that other states like Tennessee had access to any information indicating that the suspect presented a heightened risk of danger such that he needed to remain disarmed.

Moreover, millions of relevant disqualifying histories are likely missing from the FBI’s background check system because states can’t be compelled to submit them, and too often fail to do so.

But realistically, even perfect records-sharing would only have prevented the Waffle House suspect from purchasing new firearms—which requires a background check—or from receiving firearms from a private citizen who follows the law and doesn’t transfer firearms to dangerous or disqualified individuals. It would not have prevented the accused man’s father from recklessly, and perhaps illegally, giving the guns back to his son without informing police.

Nor would prohibitions on “assault weapons”—a made up term that has no bearing on a gun’s lethality—have stopped this incident. California has long banned so-called “assault weapons,” but according to the Mother Jones mass public shooting database, California has experienced far more mass public shootings since 2000 than any other state. Last month’s shooting at a veteran’s home in Yountville was the state’s 10th mass public shooting event in the last 18 years, compared to just four in Texas and two in Tennessee.

Meanwhile, Monday afternoon in Toronto, nine people were killed and another 16 were wounded in a deliberate mass public attack. The deadly weapon was not an AR-15, or a handgun with a “high-capacity magazine.” That attacker needed only a van to cause double the carnage seen in Nashville.

Laws have the power to disarm law-abiding citizens who would obey those laws. They have no power to prevent an irresponsible parent from re-arming his son with the very guns he agreed to keep inaccessible, and from failing to inform law enforcement that an individual proven to be a danger to himself or others now has firearms.

Once again, we were not failed by a lack of adequate gun laws. We were failed by human error that neglected to fully enforce those laws.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Amy Swearer

Amy Swearer is a visiting legal fellow at the Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation. Twitter: .

RELATED ARTICLE: Nick Freitas: After Waffle House, Focus Shouldn’t Be on Guns

Dear Readers:

With the recent conservative victories related to tax cuts, the Supreme Court, and other major issues, it is easy to become complacent.

However, the liberal Left is not backing down. They are rallying supporters to advance their agenda, moving this nation further from the vision of our founding fathers.

If we are to continue to bring this nation back to our founding principles of limited government and fiscal conservatism, we need to come together as a group of likeminded conservatives.

This is the mission of The Heritage Foundation. We want to continue to develop and present conservative solutions to the nation’s toughest problems. And we cannot do this alone.

We are looking for a select few conservatives to become a Heritage Foundation member. With your membership, you’ll qualify for all associated benefits and you’ll help keep our nation great for future generations.

ACTIVATE YOUR MEMBERSHIP TODAY

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is by Jim Brown/Image of Sport/Newscom.

Parkland Student Plans Conservative Livestream on Columbine Anniversary [April 20, 2018]

Conservative Parkland student Kyle Kashuv is organizing a pro-Second Amendment Facebook Live show on the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting.

Kashuv, 16, tweeted that the goal is to “discuss ways to save lives without infringing on [the Second Amendment] and the importance of mental health and not bullying.”

Confirmed speakers for the livestream so far include Sebastian Gorka, former deputy assistant to President Donald Trump; Charlie Kirk, founder and executive director of Turning Point USA; Anthony Scaramucci, former White House communications director; and Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union.

Originally, Kashuv planned to bring Kirk to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Friday for a discussion of the Second Amendment.

However, the school blocked Kirk from coming on the grounds that “non-school sponsored, student-initiated guest speaker assemblies/meetings are not permitted to take place on campus,” according to a spokeswoman with Broward school district, reported the Sun Sentinel.

Kirk spoke to “Fox & Friends” Sunday about his intended message, had he been allowed to speak in Florida.

“My mission would not have been to offend. I did not want to make anyone feel uncomfortable, but instead … here’s what really troubles me. Ever since that horrific shooting, the national conversation predominantly from students from that school has been about gun confiscation, about taking people’s guns away,” he said.

Kirk went on to say that conversations about the law enforcement failures at state and local levels are important to address, even though the left wants to stay focused on gun control.

Another Parkland student, David Hogg, is promoting a walkout Friday.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Ginny Montalbano

Ginny Montalbano

Ginny Montalbano is a contributor to The Daily Signal. Send an email to Ginny. Twitter: @GinnyMontalbano.

RELATED ARTICLE: How Better Treatment of the Mentally Ill Could Reduce Mass Shootings

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of Kyle Kashuv and Patrick Petty, both Parkland survivors, hugging outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on March 13. (Photo: Kevin Dietsch /UPI/Newscom). The Daily Signal depends on the support of readers like you. Donate now

PODCAST: The UK Has Gun Control, but Isn’t Safe

The Heritage Foundation’s Amy Swearer joins us to look at what the facts show about safety and gun control in the United Kingdom, which is now exploring “knife control.” Suffice it to say, it’s not the safe—or even comparatively safer—place gun control advocates would have you believe a nation with its policies would be. Plus: One college professor is giving out extra credit to students who go on a date, in an attempt to push back against the hookup culture.

PODCAST BY

Portrait of Katrina Trinko

Katrina Trinko

Katrina Trinko is managing editor of The Daily Signal and co-host of The Daily Signal podcast. She is also a member of USA Today’s Board of Contributors. Send an email to Katrina. Twitter: @KatrinaTrinko.

Portrait of Daniel Davis

Daniel Davis

Daniel Davis is the commentary editor of The Daily Signal and co-host of The Daily Signal podcastSend an email to Daniel. Twitter: @JDaniel_Davis.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is by Caro/Rupert Oberhäuser /Newscom

VIDEO: The most compelling argument yet for gun control

Comrades! This brief instructional video will put you on the cutting edge in the gun debate. No more will you need to fear facts and logic because now they’re on your side! Master the basics of this video, and even lifetime members of the NRA will be silly putty in your hands.

Also, please help a comrade by posting your informed user comments explaining how…

  • this video is amazingly factually accurate and logically irrefutable
  • that you’re a gun owner whose mind was changed by this video
  • that guns are extremely dangerous to our democracy

And without further ado…

EDITORS NOTE: This political satire column by Komissar al-Blogunov originally appeared on The Peoples Cube.

VIDEO: The World vs American Freedom

Bungling Judicial Precedent, Federal Court Upholds AR-15 Ban

Last week, a federal judge for the District Court for Massachusetts granted a motion to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the state’s prohibition of so-called “assault weapons,” such as the AR-15 semi-automatic rifle.

Judge William Young held that the AR-15 and similar weapons aren’t protected by the Second Amendment, because they were originally designed for military service and because democracy means policymakers—not courts—are best suited to regulate weapons.

In doing so, he authored an opinion taking such extreme liberties with history, judicial precedent, and logic that one can’t help but wonder if he relied exclusively on a SparkNotes summary guide of Second Amendment jurisprudence when drafting his opinion.

Young begins his analysis by stating that “[f]or most of our history, mainstream scholarship considered the Second Amendment as nothing more than a guarantee that the several states can maintain ‘well-regulated’ militias.”

This statement is objectively untrue, unless one considers such brilliant legal minds as James Madison, Samuel Adams, George Tucker, and Joseph Story to be outside the mainstream of constitutional scholarship.

Young supports this highly questionable premise by citing early works by liberal scholar Laurence Tribe, apparently oblivious to the fact that Tribe, while still in favor of stricter gun control measures, recanted his former collectivist-right position, and now concludes that “having studied the text and history closely … the Second Amendment protects more than the collective right to own and use guns in the service of state militias and National Guard units.”

Young cites seminal Second Amendment cases stating that firearms commonly used by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes are protected, but then inexplicably asserts that the AR-15’s “present-day popularity is not constitutionally material.”

But these gaffes pale in comparison to the two biggest problems with the opinion: Young completely ignores Supreme Court precedent on the proper standard for determining whether a particular firearm is protected by the Second Amendment, and he fails to recognize that—even under the standard he concocts, seemingly out of thin air—the AR-15 would still be protected.

It’s Irrelevant Whether a Firearm Is ‘Military-Style’

Young formulates a novel standard to determine whether a firearm is protected by the Second Amendment: Is the firearm similar to a “military weapon”?

He supports the use of this standard by quoting from Justice Antonin Scalia’s majority opinion in District of Columbia v. Heller, where the late justice appeared to validate a federal prohibition on fully automatic firearms: “It may be argued that if weapons that are most useful in military service—M-16 rifles and the like—may be banned, then the Second Amendment right is completely detached [from the clause concerning ‘a well-regulated militia’].”

But Young’s use of this single sentence ignores context at the expense of fundamentally misinterpreting the main premises of Heller. His interpretation also makes no sense as a Second Amendment standard from a purely rational standpoint.

First, it’s painfully obvious that Young has missed the point of Scalia’s remark.

Scalia wasn’t suggesting that the M-16 can be prohibited for civilians because it’s useful in military service. Rather, it can be prohibited because fully automatic weapons aren’t in common usage and can be fairly categorized as “dangerous and unusual” among the civilian population, even though it is most useful in military service.

This is clear from the surrounding paragraphs, which explain that certain restrictions—like the prohibition on firearms possession by felons—are presumptively lawful, as are “sophisticated arms that are highly unusual in society,” but generally used by the military (such as tanks and bombers).

But even if this plain reading were questionable, the court in Caetano v. Massachusetts made this point explicit by stating that the “pertinent Second Amendment inquiry [for whether a weapon is protected] is whether [it] is commonly possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes today.”

Further, regarding whether a weapon is “dangerous and unusual,” the court held that “the relative dangerousness of a weapon is irrelevant when the weapon belongs to a class of arms commonly used for lawful purposes.”

In other words, whether a firearm is a “military weapon” has absolutely no bearing on whether it is protected by the Second Amendment.

In fact, by simply filling in the language of “AR-15 and similar semi-automatic rifles” for Caetano’s original language of “stun guns,” the answer to whether the Second Amendment protects the weapons now banned by Massachusetts is unequivocal:

[T]he pertinent Second Amendment inquiry is whether [the AR-15 and similar semi-automatic firearms] are commonly possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes today.

… [More Americans may possess handguns than possess semi-automatic rifles like the AR-15], but it is beside the point. … The more relevant statistic is that ‘[millions of AR-15s and similar semi-automatic rifles] have been sold to private citizens,’ who it appears may lawfully possess them in [most] states.

… While less popular than handguns, [AR-15s] are widely owned and accepted as legitimate means of self-defense, [hunting, and target shooting] across the country. Massachusetts’ categorical ban of such weapons therefore violates the Second Amendment.

… [It is true that law-abiding citizens could use alternative firearms to defend themselves,] “[b]ut the right to bear other weapons is ‘no answer’ to a ban on the possession of protected arms.

Second, even if the Supreme Court hadn’t already articulated a standard in Heller and Caetano, the standard created by Young is logically preposterous. Almost all lawfully owned firearms throughout all of American history have been “based on designs of weapons that were first manufactured for military purposes.”

From the “Brown Bess” smoothbore musket of the American Revolution, to the Colt single-action revolvers of the Civil War, to the Lee Enfield bolt-action rifles of World War I, right up to present-day SIG Sauer P320 standard-issue sidearm, the majority of firearms chosen by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes were originally designed for military use.

It’s illogical to suppose that, even if the Founders intended the Second Amendment to protect only a collective right to arms for service in the militia, the right wouldn’t protect the very arms most suitable for militia service—those designed as “military weapons,” but nonetheless commonly possessed by civilians.

The AR-15 Is Protected Even Under Young’s New Standard

The most incomprehensible part of Young’s opinion is, perhaps, his attempt to exclude the AR-15 from Second Amendment protections under his novel standard.

According to Young, military-style weapons are those “designed and intended to be particularly suitable for combat, rather than sporting applications.” They include the following characteristics:

(1) The “ability to accept a large, detachable magazine.”
(2) “Folding/telescoping stocks.”
(3) Pistol grips.
(4) Flash suppressors.
(5) Bipods.
(6) Grenade launchers.
(7) Night sights.
(8) The ability for selective fire.

Under these criteria, the AR-15 and other semi-automatic rifles are not “military-style” firearms.

First, bipods, grenade launchers, and night sights are not standard components of civilian-owned AR-15s any more than armored plates and a gunner’s hatch are standard components of civilian-owned Hummers—which themselves are the civilian equivalent of the military Humvee “assault car.”

Second, semi-automatic rifles sold to civilians lack a capability of selective fire—that is, the capability of being adjusted to fire in semi-automatic, burst mode, or fully automatic firing mode—except for those firearms already heavily regulated under federal law and subject to extensive licensing and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives oversight.

Third, pistol grips, detachable magazines capable of holding 30 rounds, flash suppressors, and telescoping stocks are beneficial for military use for the same reasons they’re beneficial for lawful civilian use—better control under less-than-ideal circumstances, greater accuracy, and a lessened need for reloading.

These characteristics don’t make the AR-15 exceptionally suited for military use rather than sporting applications, but exceptionally suited for both military and lawful civilian applications—just like the Hummer’s off-road handling, cargo space, and relative water-proofing make it suitable for both military personnel and civilians to engage in a wide array of lawful activities.

A Disservice to Gun Control Advocates

To be sure, there are many respectable judges who think that the Supreme Court has seriously misunderstood the Second Amendment and scholars who have sincerely held doubts about the legitimacy of an individual right to keep and bear arms.

Young’s opinion is a disservice to these scholars and makes a mockery of more logical—if still erroneous—lower court judges who have upheld similar prohibitions in recent years.

It’s one thing to disagree about the scope of the Second Amendment. It is quite another to so completely disregard context, history, and precedent.

This opinion should be challenged and overturned on appeal.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Amy Swearer

Amy Swearer is a visiting legal fellow at the Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation. Twitter: .

Dear Readers:

With the recent conservative victories related to tax cuts, the Supreme Court, and other major issues, it is easy to become complacent.

However, the liberal Left is not backing down. They are rallying supporters to advance their agenda, moving this nation further from the vision of our founding fathers.

If we are to continue to bring this nation back to our founding principles of limited government and fiscal conservatism, we need to come together as a group of likeminded conservatives.

This is the mission of The Heritage Foundation. We want to continue to develop and present conservative solutions to the nation’s toughest problems. And we cannot do this alone.

We are looking for a select few conservatives to become a Heritage Foundation member. With your membership, you’ll qualify for all associated benefits and you’ll help keep our nation great for future generations.

ACTIVATE YOUR MEMBERSHIP TODAY

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is by AlexStar/Getty Images