Kansas Suppressor Case an Opportunity for Trump to Show ‘Firearms Freedom’ Support
“Two Kansans face up to a decade in prison for making and selling silencers without registering them with the federal government or paying the special taxes,” Wichita CBS affiliate KWCH12 reported Tuesday. “They say it’s allowed under state law. But a federal jury says it’s illegal.”
The defendants were relying on the Kansas Second Amendment Protection Act, a duly enacted law citing Second, Ninth and Tenth Amendment protections against federal infringements, declaring:
A personal firearm, a firearm accessory or ammunition that is owned or manufactured commercially or privately in Kansas and that remains within the borders of Kansas is not subject to any federal law, treaty, federal regulation, or federal executive action, including any federal firearm or ammunition registration program, under the authority of congress to regulate interstate commerce. It is declared by the legislature that those items have not traveled in interstate commerce.
That’s been the position proponents of state Firearms Freedom Acts have been arguing for years, as efforts to the one first pioneered in Montana, have enjoyed various levels of acceptance and advancement in the states. The jury, obviously unschooled in its power to judge law as well as fact, sided with the government’s position, which is basically “Too bad. Get our permission and pay us tribute or be destroyed.”
That point has been emphasized – in no uncertain terms – in letters to Federal Firearms Licensees sent out by ATF in response to states that have the audacity to think otherwise. Bureaucrat Carson W. Carroll, Assistant Director, Enforcement Programs and Services (one of the “swarms of officers” decried in the Declaration), has made that more than clear (except for what actual “services” his department provides). A legal challenge, filed by the Montana Shooting Sports Association and Second Amendment Foundation, died the death when the Supreme Court passed on taking up MSSA v. Holder.
Unfortunately, competing efforts in Congress to treat suppressors the same as long guns look like they’re going nowhere. GovTrack gives identical Senate and House bills, S.2236 and H.R.3799, the Hearing Protection Act of 2015, both stuck in committee, a “1% chance of being enacted.”
So what we’re left with while dithering is going on are good Americans who believed (correctly) they had a right to do what they did, now facing life-destroying punishments from a government ignoring two clear mandates: “…to secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity” and “shall not be infringed.” We’re also left with the states and the people not just being ignored by the national government, but in-their-faces ruled.
It’s reminiscent of another case, that of Wayne Fincher, who made a machine gun specifically not for interstate commerce. The judge did not allow mention of the Constitution and Second Amendment in “his” court room. While serving his 6 ½-year sentence, Fincher was not allowed out on guarded furlough to attend his wife’s funeral.
While gun owners and others who supported him are looking for Donald Trump to live up to his pledge to appoint federal and Supreme Court justices who will uphold the Second Amendment (and all of the Bill of Rights), the Kansas defendants shouldn’t have to wait for the years it could take with such a terrible sword, such unsustainable expenses, and such uncertainty, disruption and punishment hanging over their heads. As president, he’ll hold great sway over the Department of Justice and over ATF. There’s no shortage of arbitrary rules and injustices that could be addressed through the right appointments issuing new management directives, and also via executive actions.
Trump has promised Kent Terry, brother of slain Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, that he will “open the books” on Operation Fast and Furious “gunwalking.” Part of that scrutiny needs to include looking at the systemic waste, abuse, corruption and fraud that led to that criminal conspiracy – and a host of unjust and inconsistent rules — in the first place.
True, the preferred solution would be to abolish agencies that have no Constitutional basis for existence. Realistically, until such time as that becomes politically feasible, gun owners can still focus on lost ground we can take back. There have already been plenty of suggestions for what Trump can do to make good on his campaign promises, things like national reciprocity, ending gun bans at military bases, rescinding import bans and the like.
Why not add to that a position to honor the Firearms Freedom laws enacted by the states?