It’s not over

Supreme Court ruling the beginning, not the end

By tradition, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) holds its most controversial rulings until the final days of the session, which wraps up later this month, and New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen will not be the last battle.

Certainly, an affirmative ruling — meaning a decision by the court to nullify the long-standing “good cause” requirement for carry permits in New York State — would be shattering not only for anti-gun-rights Empire State bureaucrats, but for similarly empowered people in states with similar requirements. We’re talking about New Jersey, Maryland, California, Hawaii, Delaware (Joe Biden’s home state), Connecticut and Massachusetts. A favorable outcome would strengthen the Second Amendment, but it won’t be the last word.

If the high court strikes down the New York requirement, as many anticipate at this writing, the other states will have to be dragged kicking and screaming into compliance. Demagoguery dies hard and bureaucrats hate to give up any power they have over the public, especially involving the exercise of the right to bear arms, as well as keep them.

What’s at stake here is not just the rights of people involved in the lawsuit, but the generations of citizens whose rights have been violated by these laws and who never had the chance for relief. Nobody has ever talked about this because it’s an inconvenient truth. If the law is found unconstitutional, it has always been so. We can’t retroactively hold all of those people accountable who enforced the laws in decades past but we can put candidates and incumbents on the spot to make sure we vote against anybody who thinks the right needs to be restricted.

Experience following the high court ruling against Chicago’s handgun ban in June 2010 suggests New York officials will scramble to figure out just how far they can push the envelope with revised restrictions, and still comply.

An affirmative Second Amendment ruling — if that’s what the court delivers — will come right in the middle of campaign season leading up to the 2022 midterm elections. You’ve got only a few months to mobilize, get behind candidates who will flip power in Congress and in state legislatures around the country. This year provides an opportunity to stage a peaceful revolution by putting anti-gun politicians out of work, allowing pro-rights officials to right the wrongs of the past 18 months and maybe decades in those states with restrictive gun laws.

Guiding Principle

Let this become your guiding principle: “It’s Not About Guns. It’s About Rights.”

The gun prohibition lobby is good at stirring up trouble by using emotional arguments to demonize guns. Their positions will be justified with such claims as “It’s for the children.” Your response must take the high ground and be logical. Don’t make the discussion about guns but about rights.

Burn this into your gray matter and make it part of your lexicon — according to Wikipedia, “Rights are legal, social, or ethical principles of freedom or entitlement; that is, rights are the fundamental normative rules about what is allowed of people or owed to people according to some legal system, social convention, or ethical theory.”

Rights are not granted by government, nor are they a creation of the Constitution. The Bill of Rights doesn’t give us anything. It protects the rights with which we are born from government overreach. If you don’t understand that, sign up for a high school civics refresher course.

The next few months will give all of us opportunities to meet with, and question, incumbent politicians and people who seek to replace them. Be willing to engage in debate without losing your cool. It will take more work for some of us, so start practicing self-control right now.

Don’t allow these people to weasel. When they’re sworn into office, they take an oath to protect and defend the Constitution, which includes the Second Amendment. Nowhere in that tenet of the Bill of Rights will you find the word “but.”
Don’t allow them to change the subject. Be prepared to say something like, “That’s interesting, Congressman, but you didn’t answer my question.”

Remember these key talking points:

• Rifles of any kind are used in a fraction of all homicides in any given year, according to the annual FBI Uniform Crime Report.

(Always refer to the FBI report, because someone may accuse you of making up data but they won’t accuse the FBI of inventing numbers.)
• The Bill of Rights does not place limits on development of new technology. If it did, the First Amendment would not protect radio, television or the Internet.

• The Second Amendment protects a right not only to keep arms, but also to bear them, which translates to outside of one’s home and in public places. This month’s high court ruling should make that clear. A right limited to the confines of one’s home is not a right at all but a government-regulated privilege. This is where you can talk about the NYSRPA ruling, and be completely on topic.

• You’re a taxpayer. You outrank any politician in the room, as well as any aide who may try to run interference if the questioning gets too discomforting.

And Watch Out

People who support gun control also attend public meetings with incumbents and candidates, and they have as much right to speak and ask questions as you do. You must keep this in perspective. Be respectful of their right to speak by not interrupting or trying to shout them down, and expect the same in return.

I was at a public gathering attended by state lawmakers. One woman demanded to know how much money any of them had accepted from the National Rifle Association. It’s a fair question.

Be the person to quickly ask how much money any of them had taken from Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund, or perhaps some other gun control group. That is also a fair question, deserving of an answer.

You should already know the answer by going online to check with your state’s public disclosure commission reports on contributions to a candidate’s election fund. For congressional and U.S. Senate candidates, check with the Federal Elections Commission.

Snooping is how I discovered one of my legislators had accepted contributions from a couple of gun control groups. No votes for that guy!
A good ruling by the Supreme Court will be a tool, a litmus test for politicians and a powerful talking point. You will be well within your rights as a voter to ask how a candidate feels about the New York decision.

Listen carefully to the response and vote accordingly. Defending the Second Amendment doesn’t end with a court ruling. There are more cases to bring, more battles to fight and more elections on the horizon. Fasten your seat belts.

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