By Steve Pomper
I’m no fan of the term, lawfare (using the law as a political weapon), but it’s sadly accurate in too much of the U.S. today. Factions use lawfare not only against rival political candidates but also against ordinary citizens, including police officers (wrongly indicted cops), often to benefit lawbreakers. They deploy it to apply laws unequally, targeting certain people while exempting others from enforcement.
For example, in Illinois, a proposed, HB 4603, would be, as Law Enforcement Today described it, “‘Pure chaos’: Proposed law would eliminate traffic stops for ‘minor offenses.’” Also, with the violations where police could still stop drivers, they could not use any evidence they find of another crime.
Some 2,000 miles west, Washington State’s gun-stupid politicians are also engaging in lawfare against the peaceful gun owners, which also affects cops (and certainly retired officers). Infringing on law abiding people’s gun rights doesn’t affect armed criminals. But it affects the ratio of fewer armed good guys and more armed bad guys.
Strangely, these radicals want to restrict good guys from having guns because bad guys use guns to commit crimes. You’ll see below Thomas Jefferson agrees this strategy is irrational. Regardless, cutting to the core, the issue isn’t about guns; the issue is about our right to life.
What American would argue against people having a right to life? No serious person, right? God or nature grants us life, our Declaration of Independence recognizes our right to life, and our U.S. Constitution provides safeguards so we can defend our lives.
Disturbingly, not all people believe in this preeminent natural right. They must not if they’ll vote to take away your right to effectively defend your life. Consider the following two questions when thinking about gun laws.
- Do you have a right to life without the right to defend that life—a right to self-defense?
- Do you have an effective right to self-defense without the right to acquire and use the most efficient and practical available means for self-defense?
The answer is unequivocally, no. By the way, the most efficient and practical means for self-defense is obviously a firearm. If it wasn’t, governments wouldn’t arm cops and the military with them. Oh, and criminals wouldn’t use them, either—against you.
How could anyone argue you have a right to life without the commensurate right to defend and preserve your life? Isn’t that like believing in the right to free speech but supporting laws that make it illegal to speak freely? Oh, wait, they’re doing that, too.
The two concepts, the right to life and radical gun laws, are mutually exclusive. Gun-stupid people say the police will protect you. Almost any officer, especially those still working the streets, will agree—you are your first line of defense.
The anti-gunners also sometimes argue, the odds are against a criminal attacking you. Are you comfortable relying on the flimsy notion a criminal probably won’t attack you—your wife, husband, or kids? That view holds very little comfort when you’re lying in a puddle of your own blood.
How nice that they’re not only willing to risk their lives but also to force you to risk yours and those of your loved ones.
Which raises another essential question about lawfare. What good is our Second Amendment (2A) if radical politicians can “temporarily” infringe on our self-defense rights ad infinitum?
It’s a question a bunch of folks here in besieged Washington State are asking, as anti-self-defense politicians ceaselessly pass clearly unconstitutional gun laws. But they don’t care because they reject that part of the U.S. Constitution. So, why obey it—despite swearing an oath to obey it?
Everyone knows 2A advocacy groups, such as the Second Amendment Foundation and the NRA, will challenge these garbage laws, and the courts will ultimately strike them down. But only after a long slog, enduring an infringement of your right to life. And then those politicians will simply return to the infringing board to create new unconstitutional gun laws.
According to the NRA-ILA, “HB 1902 will implement a permit-to-purchase system in Washington, which will require Washingtonians to receive government permission to exercise a constitutionally protected right. The system will require mandatory live fire training prior to purchasing a firearm and the creation of a government registry of personally identifiable information, including fingerprinting and a waiver of medically protected information.”
Also, “HB 1903 will penalize law-abiding gun owners who are the victims of a crime by placing a civil liability and a $1,000 fine on gun owners who are the victim of theft and requires mandatory reporting of the theft or loss of a firearm within 24 hours to law enforcement.”
These despicable bills infringe on Americans’ rights to self-defense, and they are intensely cynical. After having defeated Britain (the colonial government) would the Framers have intended for the Second Amendment to allow the government to require that people get permission to exercise a constitutionally protected right?
The 2A is straightforward—unless you intentionally complicate it. Even when the gun-stupid attempt to finagle imprecise, presentist interpretations of the 2A’s words, phrases, grammar, and intent, a quick refresher on original meaning, using sources such as the Federalist Papers and our Founders’ writings, obliterates these incoherent arguments.
Thomas Jefferson quoted economist and criminologist Cesare Beccaria, with something that could have been written today. “The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes…. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.”
The Founder’s bulwarks of rationality leave the anti-gun radicals to oppose the 2A, primarily with deceit, and they don’t hesitate to use it. All while they reject using the amendment procedures provided within Article V, of the U.S. Constitution.
But the anti-self-defense factions would rather toy with people’s rights and lives, and reasonable people haven’t found a way to stop the onslaught—yet. While 2A supporters consistently work to overturn these anti-self-defense bills, this tactic won’t solve the issue permanently.
Washington State, enraptured by this anti-2A legislation juggernaut, also wants to slap gun owners with an insurance mandate, an extortionate ammo tax, and more onerous storage and theft regulations when criminals steal their property—but only if it’s a gun.
They’ve already restricted the type of firearms you can purchase and magazine capacity. To fool the uninformed public, politicians misapply words and phrases like “high capacity” and “assault weapon” to what are standard capacity magazines and ordinary semi-automatic rifles in common use.
If you live in a gun-smart state, picture this: I was a Seattle cop for over two decades. I carried a firearm every day at work and off duty. Today, I cannot go down to my gun range/shop and buy 50 types of semi-auto rifles or magazines that hold more than ten rounds. Ten seems to be the magic (arbitrary) number that these prescient politicians must believe everyone should need in any possible self-defense situation. And what danger do I or other law-abiding gun owners like me pose to our neighbors?
As you read, TJ answered that question in 1776, so, why are we still asking it nearly 250 years later? It’s because of irrational anti-2A activism that depends on emotion and ignorance to flourish.
Look at New York’s and California’s attempts to nullify SCOTUS’s Bruen Decision by passing laws that indirectly but substantively infringe on our self-defense rights. While they may now “allow” you to get a concealed carry permit, they’ve passed laws restricting “public places” where you can carry your firearms. Isn’t that like the government allowing you to go fishing but restricting you to anywhere there isn’t water?
In an X-post defending this constitutional infringement, Gov. Kathy Hochul uttered this monumental bit of insanity. “Nobody should have to fear for their safety while shopping at the grocery store, celebrating at a parade, or walking down the street. In New York, we’ve passed nation-leading gun safety laws that will save lives and move us closer toward ending the gun violence epidemic.”
Since armed criminals already don’t obey gun laws, and responsible gun owners pose zero threat, how does this law end “the gun violence epidemic?”
I won’t even get into the gun-stupidity going on in my home state of Massachusetts (see previous NPA article), which has stained its legacy as the “Birthplace of the American Revolution” and of the “[Gun] Shot Heard ‘Round The World.” But you can check out the fight from the great folks at GOAL. Talk about lawfare!
Shouldn’t Americans who support the 2A, the right to self-defense, and the right to life develop strategies to end the ability of partisan politicians to pass intentionally unconstitutional laws, so they can infringe on our rights “temporarily” but incessantly? Doesn’t this sustained tactic, in itself, infringe on our 2A rights?
Seeking injunctions can be productive but too often results in a Rock’ Em Sock’ Em, red and blue judges’ scuffle. For example, according to U.S. News & World Report, last June, “A federal judge has rejected a request to block a new Washington state law banning the sale of certain semi-automatic rifles.” The arbitrary list bans 50 kinds of (scary looking) firearms, including the immensely popular, and practical, AR and AK type rifles.
The 2A is a singular right that effectively guarantees the Declaration’s recognition of the People’s “Right to Life….” The Framers felt this right so dear they secured it penultimately among the Bill of Rights.
Finally, we should dig deeper into how to eradicate this attack on our liberty. Couldn’t Congress pass a law that whenever legislation appears to be a Prima facie violation of a state’s or the federal constitution, such as ignoring the 2A’s plain meaning of “infringed,” the law shall not go into effect until the challenges are fully adjudicated?
Shouldn’t we err on the side of the People retaining their liberties (like the right to self-defense and to life) rather than erring on the side of governments infringing on those liberties even if it turns out to be “temporary?”
You’re just as dead if someone murders you during a temporary infringement of your self-defense rights as during a permanent usurpation.
When politicians violate the Second Amendment, they not only infringe on our “right to keep and bear…” guns; they violate our right to life.