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EDITORIAL: Harassing gun owners

The Democrats go after people who ‘cling to guns’

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Liberal hopes to renew Bill Clinton's "assault weapon" ban are beginning to fade, but liberal bitterness is hard to conceal. Opponents of gun rights are turning their attention to legislative harassment.

U.S. Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney's proposed Firearm Risk Protection Act would make it a federal crime to buy a pistol without first purchasing a government-approved insurance policy. If enacted, this would most affect a single mom in the inner city who just wants to protect her family and can't afford the expense. Malefactors of her sort would face a fine of $10,000.

Mrs. Maloney, New York Democrat, cites the Commerce Clause as her constitutional authority. Presumably the lesson she drew from Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and his Obamacare decision was that the federal government has the authority to force citizens to buy insurance for anything the state can think up. (She apparently forgot to call the $10,000 fine a tax.)

Mrs. Maloney's legislation is what to expect from someone who thinks the only people who own guns are ignorant bumpkins. That's the view Barack Obama let slip on the campaign trail in 2008, when he described the people who live in industrial states like Ohio and Pennsylvania or small towns in the Midwest as hayseeds who came to town on the turnip truck. "So it's not surprising then that they get bitter, and they cling to guns or religion," he said.

Gun control measures such as mandatory insurance aren't meant to solve actual problems, but to send a punitive message to the "clingers." Surveys suggest that there's a gun in up to half of all U.S. households, so it's hard to argue there's an uninsured-gun crisis in America.Should Mrs. Maloney's bill become law, the owner of an uninsured gun in Connecticut would find himself on the "dangerous- weapon offender" registry that a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers wants to create. It's a subtle way of associating gun owners with sex offenders, the other people listed on a government roll of shame.

The Connecticut lawmakers came up with 10 new gun restrictions. The most outlandish of them would create an "ammunition eligibility certificate" that forbids anyone from buying a single bullet or gun magazine without first undergoing a background check. A firearm magazine is a box made of polymer or steel with a spring inside; it poses no inherent danger to anyone, except to a mouse looking for a piece of cheese. Making it a crime to purchase one without the state's prior approval is a mean-spirited hurdle to gun ownership.

Imposing a 10-round limit on rifle and pistol magazines is meant to discourage gun owners in the same way that New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's ban on soda cups of more than a 16-ounce capacity was meant, in the mind of politicians such as Mr. Bloomberg, to force individuals to give up sugary drinks.

Creating barriers to gun ownership is "infringement" on the right to keep and bear arms that the Founders, who wrote the Constitution in the clear and forthright language so despised by certain judges, sought to prevent. These unconstitutional proposals must be rejected.

The Washington Times

© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

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