Larry Klayman of Freedom Watch (formerly Judicial Watch) is suing the President Obama and Attorney General Lynch for infringing the 2nd Amendment. Here is our discussion of exactly what the President did, what his opponents are doing, and the appropriate response.
This article is a sidebar to the thorough analysis, "A Benthamite Solution to Gun Control" (Yofiel, 2015) on this site.
For an abstract discussion of self-created limits of the 2nd Amendment by its own assertion, see "The New 2nd-Amendment Loophole," Yofiel, January 2016).Gun Rights, Natural Rights, and the Declaration of Independence," Yofiel, January 2016).
That is to say, constitutional rights are revocable for any individual who has violated, or shows themselves incapable of keeping, the Lockean social contract on which this country was formed. That extends to denial of voting rights to prisoners, which is demonstrably a far greater violation of civil liberties than obstructing the ownership of a gun to dangerous people. Denial of voting rights are unreasonably enforced in the USA compared to all other democracies, whereas it is clear existing gun control legislation falls far behind in effectiveness compared to all other industrialized nations (see the beginning of "The Benthamite Solution to Gun Control," Yofiel, January 2016).
1968 Gun Control ActAlso known as GC, or GCA68, this federal law mandated licensing of firearm sales, and required dealers to perform a background check, effectively prohibiting mail order by consumers. It also bans unlicensed individuals from acquiring handguns outside their state of residence without going through a licensed dealer. Sales of antique weaponry, and private sales between unlicensed individuals who are residents of the same state are allowed if they do not violate other existing federal and state laws ("Gun Control Act of 1968," Wikipedia).
1975 Firearms Control Regulations Actwas a City (not federal) law banning residents from owning handguns, automatic firearms, high-capacity semi-automatic firearms, and unregistered firearms after 1976 ("Firearms Control Regulations Act of 1975," Wikipedia).. The law also required firearms in the home to be unloaded, disassembled, or bound by a trigger lock or similar device. In 2008, the Supreme Court decided that the ban on handguns, and the trigger-lock provision violate the 2nd Amendment ("District of Columbia v. Heller," Wikipedia). However, the decision did not affect requirements for registration, and explicitly applied to manual and semi-automatic handguns inside the home. The Supreme Court had nothing to say, and did not interfere with, state decisions to define limits on automatic and high-capacity firearms, or the ability to carry weapons for self protection outside the home.
1993 Brady Handgun Violence Prevention ActThe Section 922(g) of the Brady bill, passed by congress in 1993 ("Brady Handgun Violence Protection Act," Wikipedia, 1993) prohibits any person from shipping, transporting, or receiving any firearm if the person:
- Has been adjudicated as a mental defective or committed to a mental institution.
- Has been convicted of misdemeanor crime for domestic violence.
- Has been convicted of any crime punishable by a year or more in prison.
- Is under restraining order.
- Is an unlawful user or addict of any controlled substance.
- Is a fugitive from justice.
- Is an illegal or unlawful alien.
- Has been discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions.
- Having renounced citizenship.
1997 Domestic Violence Offender Gun BanAlso known as the Lautenberg Amendment, this act extended the Brady bill to ban ownership of, and access to, firearms by people under restraining order, convicted of misdemenor domestic violence, or convicted of domestic assault under any physical force equivalent to common-law battery ("Domestic Violence Offender Gun Ban," Wikipedia, 1993). Fact sheet: new executive actions to reduce gun violence and make our communities safer," White House, 4 January 2016).
The existing instant background check system, invented by the NRA to increase sales, is not fully operational in all states, and does not enforce all the conditions on firearms purchase defined by congressional law (National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) Operations," FBI, 2014). NRA members now decry the 'wasteful expenditure of $80 million' on fixing some broken parts of the background checks system, while blaming others for the background check system being broken ("The truth about background checks," NRA, undated). Ludicrously, LaPierre again calls others 'liars,' takes credit for inventing a broken system, and then blames politicians for not fixing it when the NRA itself has been blocking the effort for years ("Never mind new guns laws: the NRA keeps weakening the existing ones," Daily Beast, April 2013).
In reversal of its earlier policies supporting background checks, The NRA continues to blame congress members, even suggesting they should be shot, instead of trying to save lives by stopping dangerous people from buying guns ("NRA's disgusting response to Obama''s exec. action suggests shooting Democrats," Examniner, January 5, 2016). Almost every day, more news appears of its intents to defame the President, with renewed vigor since it refused to meet with him during a televised town-hall meeting sponsored by CNN, two days after the President's executive order on firearms control "NRA declines to participate in Obama gun town hall," CNN, 6 January 2016). At that time, the NRA was claiming the President was intending to confiscate every single one of the 350.000 guns in the country, to which the President replied, during the town-hall meeting, that he would still meet with the NRA, but only terms of real-world facts, and not on wild conspiracy theories ("Barack Obama slams gun lobby 'fiction' and conspiracy theories," Guardian, 7 January 2016).Wayne LaPierre challenged President Obama to a debate on guns in America," Forbes Magazine, 14 January 2016; "The NRA Just Slammed Obama, and He's FURIOUS!," Political Insider, undated; Video Archive, Youtube, 30 October 2015). The NRA says people who blame guns for deaths are liars (Wayne LaPierre, "How to stop violent crime," NRA News, undated). However, my own study here demonstrates that crime currently causes <6% of all firearm fatalities, as far as can be determined from most recent data, and contrary to NRA claims ("Crime caused only 5.39% of firearm fatalities in 2014," Yofiel, 2016).
Compared to deaths caused by felonious crime, twice as many were due to involuntary manslaughter and acts by children. Three times as many were due to personal disputes. And twelve times as many were due to suicides. Therefore, it is the NRA that lies. Crime is not the main problem, and the President's priorities of protecting the mentally ill, and reducing access of guns to those with felonious records are likely to reduce OTHER firearm fatalities which are more frequent that those caused by crime.
Recently, a gun lobbying group called Freedom Watch sued the President and Attorney General, claiming the President's executive order illegally attempts to circumvent Congress' legislative power. Its founder is Larry Klayman, whose eminent biography is somewhat as follows. Klayman is a lawyer himself with a long litany of suits, including one against his own mother for $50,000 "Lawyer behind NSA lawsuit once sued his own Mother, believes Obama Is Kenyan socialist Muslim," Huffington Post, 16 December 2013). He is the named author of "Kill all the Lawyers" (out of print, 2009) and "WHORES: Why and how I came to fight the establishment" (possibly the same book with less self-incriminating title), He has been credited as 'leader of the Tea Party' ("Tea Party leader says Obama needs to 'put the Koran down'," Inquistr, October 2013) and has previously sued the President for deportation ("Conservative activist files to deport Obama: 'He's an illegal alien'," Washington Times, 8 October 2014). This is the kind of man that the NRA is attracting into its fanclub, and I can attest, from much personal experience, that there are many more like him, a significant number of whom appear only to hope for a bloody revolution.
His newest lawsuit against the President and attorney General has been followed by new media blitz campaigns by the NRA, Gun owners of America, and NSSF all of whom are now broadcasting that the President is violating the 2nd Amendment ("Gun groups launch blitz to counter Obama," The Hill, 23 January 2016).
"The president states that he is doing so purely because he does not like the legislative decisions of the Congress," wrote Klayman. "These actions are unconstitutional abuses of the president's and executive branch's role in our nation's constitutional architecture and exceed the powers of the president as set forth in the US Constitution" ("Obama's gun control order runs into first legal challenge," RT, 19 Jan 2016).
However, as described above, the executive order's actions on enforcing background checks actually enforces congressional law, and does not contradict it at all. If there is a problem with the President's actions, then the problem is with the 1993 Brady bill, not the executive order.
If there is a problem with the Brady bill,
the action should be to change the Brady bill,
not to attack the President for upholding it.
To save lives, the rational thing to do is reduce suicides, prevent domestic violence, and make guns safer first, and then work on reducing felonious crime after that, which is exactly how the President prioritized actions in his executive order. People who obstruct that are guilty of causing far more deaths than criminals.
The appropriate reaction is to countersue the NRA, and its lobby groups, for deliberate malfeasance and obstructing the law, or whatever the current terminology is in current legality (I am only a philosopher and not phrasing this as an attorney would be able to state it).
It's really a damn shame. Once upon a time, the NRA did not write fairy stories to sell guns (yes, now it does that too: "NRA 'Family' perverts fairy tales to indoctrinate children," Crooks and Liars, 15 January 2016).Hillary Clinton Pushes Change Allowing Shooting Victims To Sue Gun Makers In Wake Of Oregon Attack," Breitbart, 5 October 2015). However, that would not only be needlessly hostile, but also impractical, because:
- The entire gun manufacturing industry's annual revenue is only $13 billion ("The Economics of Gun Control," Jeffrey Moore, Global Risk Insights, 19 December 2015). The aggregate cost of violence is 17 times higher than that of the entire gun manufacturing industry, and the medical costs alone are triple the gun manufacturer's revenue.
- The gun manufacturers would simply pass the cost down to buyers without oversight, whereas an insurance mechanism can be regulated, to ensure that costs go down when violence reduces.