Giffords Law Center Presents Anti-Gun Arguments That Contradict Not Only The Constitution, But Their Own Positions

BY Herschel Smith
7 months, 1 week ago

In an Amicus Brief submitted to the United States District Court for the Southern District of California, Miller versus Becerra, the Giffords Law Center and associated attorneys make the following argument.

Such combat-style features distinguish military rifles and their semi-automatic counterparts from standard sporting rifles, and are not “merely cosmetic”—they “serve specific, combat-functional ends.” H. Rep. No. 103-489, at 18. The Regulated Assault Rifles include features that enhance ammunition capacity, concealability, stability, and control, making it easier for shooters to fire accurately without sacrificing rate of fire. The “net effect of these military combat features is a capability for lethality—more wounds, more serious, in more victims—far beyond that of other firearms in general, including other semiautomatic guns.” Id. In fact, semi-automatic firing of militarystyle weapons like the Regulated Assault Rifles is in many ways more effective than automatic firing of the same weapons because they allow for more accuracy without substantially sacrificing rate of fire. Department of the Army, supra, at 7–12 (stating that “rapid semiautomatic fire” is “[t]he most accurate technique of placing a large volume of fire on poorly defined targets or target areas such as short exposure, multiple, or moving targets”).

This is a remarkable quote, and similar in intent and import to September 2019 testimony before the U.S. House by a Giffords Senior Policy Advisor.  One might get the impression that the Giffords Center opposes semiautomatic rifles but has lost interest in fully automatic weapons.  Of course, this would be wrong.

Banning modifications like bump stocks is a key element of the bill to address the 1October mass shooting. Bump stocks are specialized rifle stocks that allow shooters to simulate automatic fire without compromising accuracy. Bump stocks allow a person to hold a finger steady, and simply “bump” the gun against his or her shoulder back into the trigger. The person does not have to pull the trigger each time. Bump firing is the act of using the recoil of a semi-automatic firearm to fire shots in rapid succession to simulate a fully automatic rate of fire.

In fact, their press release on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling on bump stocks explains their view of bump stocks being a serious threat to public safety precisely because they say it mimics fully automatic fire.

So Giffords opposes semi-automatic gun ownership because it is “more effective than automatic firing of the same weapons because they allow for more accuracy without substantially sacrificing rate of fire.”  On the other hand, bump stocks are a “serious threat to public safety” precisely because, according to Giffords, it mimics fully automatic fire.

Reading legal arguments can be a bit frustrating and even a bit perplexing unless one learns to jettison the laws of logic.  Typical arguments on behalf of a client might be one attempt at persuasion to the court, supplemented by another that argues on behalf of a client using exactly the opposite set of presuppositions.  The hope is that the court buys one of the arguments, even if it rejects the other(s).  It can lead one to question whether the attorneys really believe the proffered arguments when they are inherently contradictory.

This approach seems to be present in the Giffords presentations.  Given that, the next step is to ask what Giffords actually wants?  The answer seems to be nothing other than complete disarmament.  They don’t approve of semiautomatic guns.  They don’t approve of fully automatic guns.  They don’t approve of handguns, they want universal background checks, and they support red flag laws.  The only entity in this calculus who gets the monopoly of violence is the state itself.

It’s appropriate at this point to rehearse the rights in the covenant called the constitution as a means for understanding what the founders intended.

Here is a selection of quotes pertaining to the second amendment.

George Mason — “I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people, except for a few public officials.” (Debates in Virginia Convention on Ratification of the Constitution, Elliot, Vol. 3, June 16, 1788)

Alexander Hamilton — Writing in Federalist 28, he explained that the chief reason for being sure the people are armed is so they have the power to repel a tyranny::

If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no resource left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government, and which against the usurpations of the national rulers, may be exerted with infinitely better prospect of success than against those of the rulers of an individual state. In a single state, if the persons intrusted with supreme power become usurpers, the different parcels, subdivisions, or districts of which it consists, having no distinct government in each, can take no regular measures for defense. The citizens must rush tumultuously to arms, without concert, without system, without resource; except in their courage and despair.

James Madison  Writing in Federalist 46, explained that the Constitution hedges in “the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation.”

Joseph Story — Associate Justice from 1811-1845, he wrote, “The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them.” (Story, Joseph. Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States. 3 vols. Boston, 1833.)

Here is a selection of relevant court cases:

“The Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to possess a firearm, unconnected with service in a militia, for traditionally lawful purposes” (District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570)

The Second Amendment extends, prima facie, to all instruments that constitute bearable arms, even those that were not in existence at the time of the founding, and that this Second Amendment right is fully applicable to the States. (Caetano v. Massachusetts, 577 U.S. 2016)

The Second Amendment protects the right of individual citizens to own the military arms required to maintain a militia to defend against invasion or tyranny. (United States v. Miller, 307 U.S. 174)

The Second Amendment was incorporated against state and local governments, through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. (McDonald v. City of Chicago, 561 U.S. 742)

An unconstitutional act is not a law; it confers no rights; it imposes no duties; it affords no protection; it creates no office; it is in legal contemplation as inoperative as though it had never been passed. (Norton v. Shelby County, 118 U.S. 425)

Congress does not have the power to pass laws that override the Constitution. (Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137)

It is unconstitutional to require a precondition on the exercising of a right. (Guinn v US 1915, Lane v Wilson 1939)

It is unconstitutional to require a license (government permission) to exercise a right. (Murdock v PA 1943, Lowell v City of Griffin 1939, Freedman v MD 1965, Near v MN 1931, Miranda v AZ 1966)

If the State converts a right into a privilege, the citizen can ignore the license and fee and engage in the right with impunity. (Shuttlesworth v. City of Birmingham, Alabama, 373 U.S. 262).

It is unconstitutional to delay the exercising of a right. (Org. for a Better Austin v Keefe 1971)

It is unconstitutional to charge a fee for the exercising of a right. (Harper v Virginia Board of Elections 1966)

It is unconstitutional to register (record in a government database) the exercising of a right. (Thomas v Collins 1945, Lamont v Postmaster General 1965, Haynes v US 1968)

Here is a good discussion of the cultural milieu at the time of the war of independence.

In early 1775, tensions between Great Britain and the American colonies were reaching the breaking point. The previous October, King George III had forbidden the import of arms and ammunition into the colonies, a decision which the Americans interpreted as a plan to disarm and enslave them. Kopel, How the British Gun Control Program Precipitated the American Revolution, 38 Charleston Law Review 283 (2012).

Without formal legal authorization, even from the Continental Congress, Americans began to form independent militias, outside the traditional chain of command of the royal governors. In February 1775, George Washington and George Mason organized the Fairfax Independent Militia Company.

According to Mason’s Fairfax County Militia Plan for Embodying the People, “a well regulated Militia, composed of the Gentlemen, Freeholders, and other Freemen” was needed to defend “our ancient Laws & Liberty” from the Redcoats. “And we do each of us, for ourselves respectively, promise and engage to keep a good Fire-lock in proper Order, & to furnish Ourselves as soon as possible with, & always keep by us, one Pound of Gunpowder, four Pounds of Lead, one Dozen Gun Flints, & a pair of Bullet-Moulds, with a Cartouch [cartridge] Box, or powder-horn, and Bag for Balls.” 1 The Papers of George Mason 210-11, 215-16 (Robert A. Rutland ed., 1970). Similar militias were being formed all over the American colonies, with no formal authorization and no chain of command to the established government. The legal bases of the militias were the natural rights of self-defense and self-government.

Persuaded by Henry’s eloquence, the Virginia Convention formed a committee—including Patrick Henry, Richard Henry Lee, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson—”to prepare a plan for the embodying, arming, and disciplining such a number of men as may be sufficient” to defend the commonwealth. The Convention urged “that every Man be provided with a good Rifle” and “that every Horseman be provided . . . with Pistols and Holsters, a Carbine, or other Firelock.” (“Firelock” was a synonym for “flintlock,” the most common firearms of the time.) Journal of Proceedings of Convention Held at Richmond 10-11 (1775).When the Virginia militiamen assembled a few weeks later, many wore canvas hunting shirts adorned with the motto from the conclusion of Henry’s speech: “Liberty or Death.” Henry Mayer, A Son of Thunder: Patrick Henry and the American Revolution 251 (1991).

And as I have stated about this, ” … promise and engage to keep a good Fire-lock in proper Order, & to furnish Ourselves as soon as possible with, & always keep by us, one Pound of Gunpowder, four Pounds of Lead, one Dozen Gun Flints, & a pair of Bullet-Moulds, with a Cartouch [cartridge] Box, or powder-horn, and Bag for Balls” – is what well regulated means.  It means, simply, regulated firearms, or in other words, properly functioning and well stocked and supplied.  Powder and shot available, sights adjusted, and in working order.”

Even before that in American history, the notion that weaponry would be controlled by persons other than citizens would have been anathema.  This explains how men saw their ownership of guns.

In the colonies, availability of hunting and need for defense led to armament statues comparable to those of the early Saxon times. In 1623, Virginia forbade its colonists to travel unless they were “well armed”; in 1631 it required colonists to engage in target practice on Sunday and to “bring their peeces to church.” In 1658 it required every householder to have a functioning firearm within his house and in 1673 its laws provided that a citizen who claimed he was too poor to purchase a firearm would have one purchased for him by the government, which would then require him to pay a reasonable price when able to do so. In Massachusetts, the first session of the legislature ordered that not only freemen, but also indentured servants own firearms and in 1644 it imposed a stern 6 shilling fine upon any citizen who was not armed.

When the British government began to increase its military presence in the colonies in the mid-eighteenth century, Massachusetts responded by calling upon its citizens to arm themselves in defense. One colonial newspaper argued that it was impossible to complain that this act was illegal since they were “British subjects, to whom the privilege of possessing arms is expressly recognized by the Bill of Rights” while another argued that this “is a natural right which the people have reserved to themselves, confirmed by the Bill of Rights, to keep arms for their own defense”. The newspaper cited Blackstone’s commentaries on the laws of England, which had listed the “having and using arms for self preservation and defense” among the “absolute rights of individuals.” The colonists felt they had an absolute right at common law to own firearms.

Thus the Giffords view of the state having a monopoly of violence runs exactly counter to the constitution. Since the constitution is a covenant between men, with blessings and curses recognized by God, the real question is what does the Almighty say about all of this?  Or in other words, is the covenant between men we call the constitution based on righteousness as outlined in Holy law?

We’ve discussed before that God expects men to be capable of self defense, and in fact makes it a duty of men.

God has laid the expectations at the feet of heads of families that they protect, provide for and defend their families and protect and defend their countries.  Little ones cannot do so, and rely solely on those who bore them.  God no more loves the willing neglect of their safety than He loves child abuse.  He no more appreciates the willingness to ignore the sanctity of our own lives than He approves of the abuse of our own bodies and souls.  God hasn’t called us to save the society by sacrificing our children or ourselves to robbers, home invaders, rapists or murderers. Self defense – and defense of the little ones – goes well beyond a right.  It is a duty based on the idea that man is made in God’s image.  It is His expectation that we do the utmost to preserve and defend ourselves when in danger, for it is He who is sovereign and who gives life, and He doesn’t expect us to be dismissive or cavalier about its loss.

If you believe that it is your Christian duty to allow your children to be harmed by evil-doers (and you actually allow it to happen) because you think Christ was a pacifist, you are no better than a child abuser or pedophile.

God demands violence as a response to threats on our person because of the fact that man is created in God’s image and life is to be preserved.  It is our solemn duty.

I am afraid there have been too many centuries of bad teaching endured by the church, but it makes sense to keep trying.  As I’ve explained before, the simplest and most compelling case for self defense lies in the decalogue.  Thou shall not murder means thou shall protect life.

If you’re willing to sacrifice the safety and health of your wife or children to the evils of abuse, kidnapping, sexual predation or death, God isn’t impressed with your fake morality.  Capable of stopping it and choosing not to, you’re no better than a child molester, and I wouldn’t allow you even to be around my grandchildren.

Indeed, all gun control is wicked.  The Bible does contain a few direct references to weapons control. There were many times throughout Israel’s history that it rebelled against God (in fact, it happened all the time). To mock His people back into submission to His Law, the Lord would often use wicked neighbors to punish Israel’s rebellion. Most notable were the Philistines and the Babylonians. 1 Samuel 13:19-22 relates the story: “Not a blacksmith could be found in the whole land of Israel, because the Philistines had said, “Otherwise the Hebrews will make swords or spears!” So all Israel went down to the Philistines to have their plowshares, mattocks, axes, and sickles sharpened…So on the day of battle not a soldier with Saul and Jonathan had a sword or spear in this hand; only Saul and his son Jonathan had them.” Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon also removed all of the craftsmen from Israel during the Babylonian captivity (2 Kings 24:14). Both of these administrations were considered exceedingly wicked including their acts of weapons control.

John Calvin’s comments on this subject.  We do not need to prove that when a good thing is commanded, the evil thing that conflicts with it is forbidden.  There is no one who doesn’t concede this.  That the opposite duties are enjoined when evil things are forbidden will also be willingly admitted in common judgment.  Indeed, it is commonplace that when virtues are commended, their opposing vices are condemned.  But we demand something more than what these phrases commonly signify.  For by the virtue of contrary to the vice, men usually mean abstinence from that vice.  We say that the virtue goes beyond this to contrary duties and deeds.  Therefore in this commandment, “You shall not kill,” men’s common sense will see only that we must abstain from wronging anyone or desiring to do so.  Besides this, it contains, I say, the requirement that we give our neighbor’s life all the help we can … the purpose of the commandment always discloses to us whatever it there enjoins or forbids us to do” (Institutes of the Christian Religion, Vol. 1, Book 2, Chapter viii, Part 9).

Defense isn’t just against individuals who would endanger and oppress, but of groups of men as well, that is, the state.  Protection against tyranny is as much self defense as preventing or responding to a home invasion by criminals.

In summary, the Giffords Law Center is making arguments that not only contradict their own prior arguments and positions, demonstrating malfeasance and dishonesty in their intentions, but they make arguments that contradict the law of God.  Their arguments are anti-Christian.


Comments

  1. On April 23, 2020 at 10:05 pm, GomeznSA said:

    No no a thousand times NO – the tool is never responsible for the act committed by the person who wields it. They simply refuse to admit that nor to hold those people responsible and ALL of their arguments boil down to that refusal.

  2. On April 26, 2020 at 7:16 pm, Ned2 said:

    Anti gun arguments have always fallen flat on their face.
    They don’t have the statistical numbers.
    (they don’t have the logistical numbers either, which irritates the crap out of them).

  3. On April 27, 2020 at 9:34 am, David E. Young said:

    Please note that the first quote above attributed to George Mason is a misquote that often appears in modern pro-rights commentary. According to my copies of Elliot’s debates, what Mason actually said was:

    “I ask, Who are the militia? They consist now of the whole people, except a few public officers.”

    The correct quote can be found on page 430 of The Origin of the Second Amendment. Origin reprints all relevant period sources from the Founding Era in one volume, which is why it is part of the historical underpinnings in the Emerson/Parker/Heller line of Federal Court decisions protecting an individual’s right to keep and bear arms.

  4. On April 27, 2020 at 1:07 pm, Old Jarhead said:

    Sadly, as we all should realize by now, logic, statistics, traditions, or any other rational argument have no effect on the gun-grabbing zealots. They want what they want, regardless of their reasons. Some are driven by fear, some by peer pressure, and some for the various and nefarious reasons behind disarming the common citizen. Ultimately I believe this will come down to “molon labe”.

  5. On June 12, 2020 at 6:55 pm, Czar Of Sewers said:

    Remember those pics of a smiling Giffords with her AR-15?
    The memory hole ate them.
    A risk free sterile safety über alles Karenocracy won’t be allowing any guns.
    The BLM/Antifa National Police Force won’t be turning their weapons in.

  6. On July 10, 2020 at 9:02 am, Deserttrek said:

    Her husband belongs in jail for an attempted strawman purchase.
    Now he is running for the senate
    Go figure

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This article is filed under the category(s) Featured,Second Amendment and was published April 22nd, 2020 by Herschel Smith.

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