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Would An “Assault Weapon” Ban Be Constitutional?

Since the tragedy in Newtown, CT, the topic of “assault weapons” has been hotly debated – anti-gun folks have been framing their arguments around feelings and “need”, and many of us on the pro-gun side of the equation have been framing our arguments around logic, statistics and liberty. The two sides will of course never completely agree, but here’s a different angle: is an “assault weapon” ban, the thing that the anti-gun crowd wants most, even legal?

I read an article today that gave in-depth look at the constitutionality of a ban on semiautomatic weapons (also known as “assault weapons” to the uneducated). This is a topic that hasn’t been covered all that well, though we’ve discussed it here on Monderno briefly as have others. The article is well worth your time to read, but for those of you in a hurry, here are some of the highlights as well as my thoughts on the matter.

Second Amendment Protection and Limits

Virtually everyone agrees that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to keep and bear arms (virtually everyone, but there’s a batty, vocal minority that doesn’t), and the Supreme Court agrees. See District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) and McDonald v. Chicago (2010) for great examples.

However, there is precedent for limiting the Second Amendment, and those limits have been found to be constitutional. The topic of limits usually comes up when an anti-gunner who thinks they are particularly clever (most of them do in my experience) says “do you think you should be able to own nuclear weapons?” or something equally ridiculous. I’m sure most of you can relate.

So what limits are constitutional?

The short version is probably what you would expect: it’s left up to the interpretation of the court. If you read the article and the opinions of the aforementioned supreme court cases, weapons that are not “in common use” and are “especially dangerous” can be lawfully restricted. This is the problem we face – who determines what is “common” or “especially dangerous”? At the end of the day, Supreme Court Justices, who are nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate, will make this determination.

Wrapping Up

So would an “assault weapon” ban be Constitutional? The answer is maybe, all it takes is the right number of liberal Supreme Court Justices.

With that said, now it’s time to offend some of you (hey, it’s Tuesday, what did you expect?). Our right to legally keep and bear arms is protected by the Second Amendment, which has in the past been open to interpretation, and will be again in the future. There’s no question that gun control is a liberal issue. So what does gun control need in order to succeed at a national level? One or two more liberal Supreme Court Justices. That’s it.

The fact of the matter is that whether you like it or not, voting for Democrats in Presidential and Congressional elections will eventually lead to more gun control at a national level (this usually goes for the state level as well). Justices retire, they are replaced, and the makeup of the Supreme Court can shift. Those of you who vote Democrat for whatever reason need to keep this in mind. It doesn’t matter what lie is told during their campaign about being pro-gun and pro-Second Amendment (Obama 2008 anyone?), we all know where that train leads.

I don’t care how many “free” Pop-Tarts they are promising you, voting for them will eventually lead to the Second Amendment being redefined. You want to be able to legally keep and bear arms? Vote like it.

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14 Responses to Would An “Assault Weapon” Ban Be Constitutional?

  1. William B. April 30, 2013 at 2:03 pm #

    Brandon, Very well said, excellent article

  2. TK April 30, 2013 at 2:15 pm #

    Amen brother! The liberals will of course get their feelings hurt (doesn’t take much) but it’s the truth and needs to be said.

  3. Penny McClain April 30, 2013 at 3:30 pm #

    Very well put

  4. 100atr April 30, 2013 at 3:46 pm #

    I do not have a need for a semi automatic weapon at the moment. Though that time may be quickly coming, I would like to think that as a free man I would have the right to make that decision for myself when it comes. I do not feel it is right for anyone to make that decision for me or take that decision away because some looney tunes or criminal cann not control themselves or our government won’t take the necessary steps already set in place by law to deal with them.

  5. Cletus OBannon April 30, 2013 at 4:56 pm #

    I do not see how it’s open to interpretation. The verbiage is quite clear and the supporting documentation from the founding fathers notes extenuating. The last line… “Shall Not Be Infringed” makes it quite clear that the attempts to ban or limit arms from law abiding citizens is illegal.

    • Brandon April 30, 2013 at 5:59 pm #

      Unfortunately for both of us, the Supreme Court disagrees and feels that the Second Amendment, like the First Amendment, can be restricted and regulated.

    • Hannibal May 1, 2013 at 1:16 am #

      NFA 1934 & the Gun Control Act of 1968 defined and redefined the 2A. Personally, in my state, we must take a basic firearms course & pass, file for a permit to acquire, pass a secondary background check by the Police = 20 days, purchase the firearm, then take it back to the police station for mandatory registration. Any magazine over 10 rounds is banned and has been since the Clinton era. So what part of “Shall not be Infringed” do they care about?

  6. Charles Brennan April 30, 2013 at 9:15 pm #

    For what it’s worth I think it is one of the clearest directives that our founders put in writing – it’s the only amendment in the bill of rights that states a purpose, and that is for the population to be able to stand a militia to defend against tyranny. That would imply military hardware to any logical person. Unfortunately, over two hundred years of success and wealth has corrupted the minds of the populace. They feel that this nation is somehow immune from they type of corruption and power mongering that leads to an enslaved population. History tells us otherwise, this believe is shortsighted and overly optimistic. I am a realist and I know that man is corrupt, if the conditions are established that enables easy control of the population it is not a matter or if but when that will happen. I don’t see it happening in my lifetime but it is our responsibility to protect freedom for future generations. What this movement hopes to do is to systematically water down this amendment until it no longer exists, one ban at a time. If left unchecked I doubt that there will be legal firearm ownership in this country 50 years, or sooner, from now.

    • Brandon April 30, 2013 at 9:24 pm #

      I agree Charles. I don’t know how old you are, but I think it’s possible to see this happen well within my lifetime.

      • tim April 30, 2013 at 10:55 pm #

        I agree that the more liberal supreme court judges we have the more likely we will have more restrictions on firearms.The more democrat liberals in office the more liberal supreme court judges we will have. Just look at what they deceided on Obama care is it a tax or mandate.

  7. jim May 1, 2013 at 10:39 am #

    I have been warning people for quite a while that the Supreme Court has been taking more and more power for itself in the guise of interpretation. They cannot make law though lately they have been doing just that as the executive branch under the last ten presidents has done quite a bit to destroy the Constitution. Foreign interventions,health care and individual rights are rapidly being eroded all in the name of “pop tarts” for the populace. More rights for illegal aliens and asylum seekers than for citizens. Rigged voting which I personally witnessed but which LEO and elected officials turn a blind eye too. Worst a national media which should be constantly on the powers that be and a protector of the Bill of Rights and the Constitution but which has become a lap dog of certain pols and the demon party.. I fear for my country.

  8. Nikki May 1, 2013 at 12:30 pm #

    I hate the fact that SO many people in this country are complacent. I feel as though the majority of the under 30 crowd is going to be what destroys this country. They have more knowledge at their fingertips then any generation before them, yet when it comes to world and American history, the workings of the courts and legal system here and the constitution, many of them are completely clueless. However, they can recite the entire Starbucks menu to you.

    We live in a sad and misguided world where it is completely acceptable to spend $6 on a coffee while demanding the rich support you but someone who wants to defend their home and family has to explain themselves. I am ashamed of my own generation.

    • Brandon May 1, 2013 at 1:05 pm #

      Well said Nikki, I agree.

  9. Joe MolonLabe May 3, 2013 at 10:29 pm #

    An AW ban would be blatantly unconstitutional. Would enough lawyers in black dresses rule otherwise one day? Maybe but I didn’t take an Oath to uphold the whims of kangaroo court. Molon Labe.