‘Pro-Gun’ Trump and Sessions on Wrong Side of Binderup Case
“The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday dealt a blow to gun control advocates by opening the door for some convicted felons to challenge a federal ban on them owning firearms,” Reuters reported Monday. “The justices let stand a lower court’s ruling that uniformly denying felons whose crimes were not serious the right to own guns violated the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment, which protects the right to ‘keep and bear arms.’”
Curiously, SCOTUS, on its Sessions v. Binderup docket page, notes:
“Jun 26 2017 Petition DENIED Justice Ginsburg and Justice Sotomayor would grant the petition for a writ of certiorari.”
Just as curiously, at least for some gun owners supporting Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions, the administration sided with the Brady Center, arguing “the appeals court ruling would force judges to make case-by-case assessments of the risks possession by convicted felons, a job for which they are ill-suited. The administration added that too many felons whose gun ownership rights were restored for various reasons have gone on to commit violent crimes.”
That’s hardly a standard for ensuring individual liberty. Case-by-case is supposed to be how it works. And the case of one of the ban challengers hits home with me personally:
“[Julio] Suarez was convicted in Maryland in 1990 of carrying a gun without a permit. Suarez was given a suspended jail sentence and a year of probation.”
Decades ago, when I was managing a manufacturing facility in Southern California, I received a threat on my life from two employees whose conduct required termination, and who it turned out had gang affiliations. Officers investigating after the pair left informed me they could talk to them, but due to lack of actionable evidence, there was really nothing more they could do until the threat was acted on.
I asked what I was supposed to do, because I was generally the last one out, locking up and going to the parking lot alone in the evening. What the one officer said to me actually changed my life and set me on the path of gun owner rights advocacy:
“Sir, if I were you, I’d carry a gun.”
I came up with all kinds of objections, foremost being that SoCal was no place for someone without connections to get a “may issue” permit (and that’s another case SCOTUS just ducked). The way the cop glanced at his partner stopped me mid-excuse and suddenly it clicked. They knew the score. They couldn’t protect me. Only I could. If I didn’t choose to heed the reality they were trying to explain, the consequences would be on me.
Just as there are orders Oath Keepers will not obey, there are orders citizens who would be free must choose to obey or disregard. I chose quiet civil disobedience, sensitive to and resentful of the fact that my life could be destroyed by “the law” because I refused to be a victim. I chose to comply with the supreme Law of the Land and what I see as not just a right, but a duty to keep and bear arms – a duty California is not just ignoring, but eviscerating.
That could have been me the administration was arguing against. That’s a hell of a note for a president and AG who enjoy their positions of power largely due to the support of gun owners. It’s a hell of a note for officials who took an oath to the Constitution.
But such disconnects are hardly new. Those around for a few years will recall the Bush the Younger administration. His Solicitor General, Ted Olson, talked out of both sides of his mouth when he maintained the Second Amendment articulates an individual right and then urged the Supreme Court not to hear cases where that right had been denied.
An undeniable truth (well, the antis can deny it, but they’d be wrong) is that anyone who can’t be trusted with a gun can’t be trusted without a custodian. As far as released felons are concerned, if they’re still truly dangerous, Robert J. Kukla made a brilliant observation in his classic “Gun Control,” equating their release with opening the cage of a man-eating tiger and expecting a different result.
As we’ve seen, a lifetime prohibition can be imposed for something as simple as throwing keys, or tearing a pocket. And any expectation of relief is closed off at the federal level because majority Republicans (most of them supported by gun owners) can’t seem to find the political will to overturn an appropriations scheme cooked up over 25 years ago by Chuck Schumer that prevents funds from being used to restore recognition of rights.
Despite the campaign rhetoric, the administration has chosen to embrace the “enforce existing gun laws” mantra, a position championed by his “gun rights leader” advisors. They in turn are determined to bolster their “law and order” PR creds, their image and their access. That’s politically and financially more advantageous to them, even though what they’re really calling for is indistinguishable from “Enforce existing Intolerable Acts.”
It comes down to who has the king’s ear.
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