Anti-gun politicians are wasting no time while the Newtown, Conn., school shootings are still fresh in Americans’ minds. The White House task force on gun violence will issue recommendations on Tuesday, and Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. said President Obama might bypass Congress and implement unpopular gun-control measure through executive orders.
In advance of this extraordinary move, Mr. Biden met Thursday with representatives from gun owners’ groups, including the National Rifle Association and National Shooting Sports Foundation. NRA President David Keene told The Washington Times, “We were very disappointed, though not surprised, that the meeting was just what we suspected it would be: a perfunctory meeting with groups like the NRA, designed simply so the vice president could say, ‘I met with them.’”
The White House press pool was denied any access to the meeting. Earlier in the day, the media was allowed in the room to hear the veep address hunting and shooting groups, where he called for “totally universal background checks, including private sales,” a ban on “high-capacity” magazines, and funding for research into “what kind of weapons are used most to kill people.” There’s no need to waste taxpayer money on such a study as the FBI already tracks this information. In 2011, there were 12,664 people slain in the United States. The top weapons of choice were: handguns (6,620), knives (1,694) and fists or feet (728). Although the White House wants to ban rifles with certain “military-style” features, rifles of every type were used in just 323 homicides.
The assault is also under way at the state level. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is hoping to adopt the country’s most stringent gun-control laws. “Set an example for the rest of the nation,” he thundered Wednesday during the opening session of the state Assembly. “This is New York, the progressive capital, you should show them how we lead.” The first-term Democrat is pushing the myth that the Second Amendment is only meant for hunting, not an essential defense against government tyranny. “Forget the extremists,” he said. “It’s simple: No one hunts with an assault rifle. No one needs 10 bullets to kill a deer.”
In a backroom deal that could hit the floor of the Empire State Senate as early as Friday, the governor’s plan would ban all so-called assault weapons outright. Mr. Cuomo even told WGDJ-AM radio that “confiscation could be an option.” That’s a radical step, and one that would do nothing to improve public safety, as only five of the 447 killings by firearm in New York were committed with a rifle of any type in 2011.
The proposal making the rounds in Albany would also impose mandatory registration for every gun purchase, and private gun sales would be subjected to federal background checks. The scheme even includes the mandatory storage laws similar to those the Supreme Court struck down in the 2008 Heller decision. Backed by New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s money, Mr. Cuomo would reduce the maximum legal capacity for a magazine from the arbitrary 10-round limit to an even more arbitrarily chosen seven. Ammunition would be registered at the time of purchase, and limits would be placed on how many rounds a citizen would be allowed to buy and possess.
Make no mistake, these plans are have one goal, and one goal only: The disarming of the American people. That’s not something Mr. Obama, Mr. Biden and Mr. Cuomo should be allowed to do, unless they go through the constitutional process to amend or repeal one of the most essential provisions of the Bill of Rights. Attempting to infringe on the right to keep and bear arms through executive order and confiscation is exactly the sort of tyranny the Founding Fathers wrote the Second Amendment to prevent.
Emily Miller is a senior editor for the Opinion pages at The Washington Times.