Now’s the Time to Defend Constitutional Barriers

Caveat emptor.

Seize the day.

Or as Rahm Emanuel famously said, “You never want a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things that you think you could not do before.”

The tragic shooting in Las Vegas has created yet another serious crisis, and politicians are already tripping over themselves hoping to push through new federal gun control measures. A Washington Post article proclaimed, “Democrats launch fresh push for gun control after Las Vegas shooting.”

And according to the Post reporting, Republicans may get in on the act as well.

“It didn’t work after mass shootings at a nightclub in Orlando, college campuses in Virginia and Oregon, a church in Charleston, or at a movie theater and high school in Colorado. Or after two lawmakers survived assassination attempts. But after a gunman killed 58 people and wounded more than 500 at a Las Vegas concert, Democrats are going to try again to revamp the nation’s gun laws.And some Republicans signaled that this time may be different.”

Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has unveiled a bill that bans so-called bump stocks. These devices allow semiautomatic weapons to fire more like automatic weapons. The proposed law would exempt sales or possession of the devices by U.S. agencies or departments. Because, of course, government agents can be trusted with these things.

I’m just here to remind you that the federal government has no Constitutional authority to ban such devices, or implement any gun control measure whatsoever. Congress can only act within the powers delegated to it by the Constitution. Read through Article 1 Sec. 8 and you will find no authority to prohibit firearms accessories.

No. The the original meaning of interstate commerce clause does not extend to banning the possession of a firearms accessory, nor does it allow Congress to prohibit the manufacture of such devices, despite what politically connected lawyers on the Supreme Court have said. Beyond that, the Second Amendment further restricts federal power. “Shall not infringe” doesn’t leave any wiggle room.

Nevertheless, Democrats will try to ram this law through. And they may well succeed. They have the perfect opportunity to ride the wave of outrage and sorrow stirred up by this latest mass shooting.

This is why the founders insisted on a written Constitution. They wanted the limits on federal power set in stone. They knew that government power always has a tendency to expand. In Federalist # 48. James Madison noted the need to restrain government.

“It will not be denied that power is of an encroaching nature and that it ought to be effectually restrained from passing the limits assigned to it.”

This is at no time more true than in the aftermath of a crisis. People like Rahm Emanuel, Diane Feinstein, Donald Trump and the whole lot of them understand the power of emotion. They yearn for crises because it allows them to pass laws they couldn’t otherwise pass. In the wake of 9/11 we got the Patriot Act and the Iraq War. Who knows what we’ll end up with this time – but it will undoubtedly increase government power and decrease your liberty. That is unless people stand along the lines drawn by the Constitution and insist government shall not pass.

In the same Federalist essay, Madison noted “a mere demarcation on parchment of the constitutional limits of the several departments, is not a sufficient guard against those encroachments which lead to a tyrannical concentration of all the powers of government in the same hands.”

You have to defend parchment barriers. Especially now.

If Congress does pass gun control in the wake of the Las Vegas shootings, states can still stop it – if they chose to. They can simply refuse to cooperate with the measures. Let the feds try to enforce their laws themselves.

They can’t.

Now is the time to stand firm on constitutional principle. Stand up and say no to the usurpers. Remember, the power you give them today they will have forever.

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