The Second Amendment got attacked this week from three sides, leaving gun owners scrambling to find safe ground. While President Obama has lost momentum for federal gun-control laws, he has picked up victories with his allies in blue states and at the United Nations.
After Thursday, Connecticut should consider changing its state nickname from the "Constitution State" to the "Unconstitutional State," as Gov. Dannel Malloy signed an extremely restrictive gun-control law. The bill passed the state House Thursday morning and the Senate on Wednesday.
Before the Newtown tragedy, the Brady Campaign determined that Connecticut was the fifth highest-rated state for restrictive gun-control laws. Adam Lanza ignored those laws — such as including stealing the guns, carrying them without a permit and violating the federal "gun free" school zone — in his evil mission to murder school children and teachers.
Connecticut lawmakers decided that its current "assault weapon" ban, which had a two-characteristic test, was not severe enough, so all semi-automatic rifles with one scary-looking feature are illegal. The bill cites 100 specific makes and models that are banned, such as the AR and AK.
There is a new eligibility certificate required before purchasing or receiving a long gun, which is defined as any firearm that is not a pistol or revolver. These certificates cost $35 and are issued by the Commissioner of Emergency Services and Public Protection, but there is no time limit on how long the application process can take.
Also, buying or even transferring a long gun — such as a father passing down his shotgun to his son — requires a background check and registration. The penalty for violating this provision could be a felony. Connecticut expanded the category of citizens who are permanently prohibited from having a rifle or shotgun to include those who have been convicted of misdemeanors including possession of as little as one-half ounce of marijuana or "unlawful restraint."
Starting Oct. 1, a gun permit or a new "ammunition certificate" will be required to buy ammunition and magazines. Standard magazines that are considered "large capacity" — which is over 10 rounds — will be illegal. The penalty for a first-time offense of possession of this magazine, purchased before Jan 1., 2014, will be a $90 fine. The penalty will be a class D felon for subsequent offenses or for magazines obtained after that date,
Below the Mason-Dixon line, Maryland may have to change its state nickname from the "Free State" to the "Disarmed State" since only the law-abiding will be affected by its new gun-control law. After months of intense pressure from Gov. Martin O'Malley, the state House passed Wednesday a radical new gun-control law. The Senate is expected to pass it Thursday, and it will then be signed by Mr. O'Malley.
Starting on Oct. 1, forty-five specific models of firearms will be banned from the state. These include semi-automatic rifles based on the AR-15 platform, manufactured by Bushmaster and all AKs. Any semi-automatic rifle that has two cosmetic features, such as a pistol grip or folding stock. All these new regulations are symbolic as so called assault rifles accounted for just two of the 390 murders in the state in 2011.
The new law also lowers the legal magazine size from 20 to 10 rounds. It bans the manufacture, sale, purchase, receipt or transfer of the so-called "high capacity" magazines. Law-abiding Marylanders who want to buy a handgun will now have to submit to fingerprinting and licensing, which will require taking a four-hour training course. (The District of Columbia got rid of this same course in 2012 because it was so burdensome to exercising the right to keep arms.)
The United Nations could change its name to the Gun Grabbing Nations since the U.S. voted for the Arms Trade Treaty, which passed by the General Assembly Tuesday. This treaty, which is intended to regulate dangerous global arms trade, appears to include civilian firearms under the scope section which covers "small arms and light weapons."
Despite gun-rights organizations' efforts, the Obama administration refused to insist that the final treaty include recognition of citizens' right to keep and bear arms for self defense. The president has said he will sign the U.N. treaty, despite bipartisan opposition in the Senate to ratification.
Sen. Jerry Moran, Kansas Republican, sponsored a resolution that says the president should not sign the arms treaty, but if he does, the Senate should not ratify it. The resolution already has 34 cosponsors, which is more than enough to block it. Nevertheless, the White House seems intent on signing onto the global treaty.
Our Founding Fathers were clear that people inherently have the right to use firearms for self defense and to protect themselves from government tyranny. The laws and treaty passed this week are clearly unconstitutional, but it will take a long time for the courts to catch up to the rapid abridgement of these rights.
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