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Not Yet 21 But Need A Handgun? You Can Buy One Now.

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Yesterday, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals just gave the gun industry a very nice gift. They decided a case which if the opinion stands, will allow persons between 18 and 20 years of age to buy and own handguns. There happen to be about 13 million men and women in that age bracket which means that every, single one of them might now be considered as possible customers for owning a handgun.

If you take the trouble to read the majority opinion written by a judge who was put on the bench by Donnie Trump, you’ll find yourself in the same kind of never-never land thinking that was thrown out of virtually every court that Rudy Giuliani and a couple of other so-called attorneys tried to convince about the 2020 election ‘theft.’  The entire opinion, which basically throws out a provision of the gun-control law passed in 1968 (GCA68), rests on a long-winded historical recitation of pre-Constitutional militia laws, plus a selective reading of data on whether guns in the hands of people under the age of 21 represents a community threat.

Behind this approach is the majority’s concern about gun-control laws which would relegate the 2nd Amendment to a ‘second-class’ status, a phrase first used by Clarence Thomas when the SCOTUS refused to hear another 2nd-Amendment case. The dissenting judge, who was appointed by Obama, responded to this concern with this: “Indeed, in a country that boasts a Congress, bench, bar, academy, and electorate that are all attentive to the prerogatives of gun owners, where many may conceal their weapons,1 carry them openly,2 or “stand their ground,”3 and where civilian gun ownership rates are second to none,4 the majority’s second-class status concern is simply surreal.” [pp. 89-90.]

The dissenting judge also reminded his colleagues that GCA68 does not make it illegal for persons under the age of 21 to own or possess handguns, the law simply prevents federally-licensed gun dealers from selling handguns to anyone who is not yet 21-years-old. The judge then goes on to say, and here’s where the rubber truly meets the road, that “the Second Amendment is exceptional not because it is uniquely oppressed or imperiled, but rather because it is singularly capable of causing harm.” [ p. 90.]

Bingo!  That’s what this case is really all about.  Forget all this malarky about whether a kid who was in some state militia back in 1764 could walk into the town’s gun shop and buy a handgun to take home.  There weren’t any gun shops doing business in 1764.

Forget this nonsense about how all these millions of law-abiding Americans are walking around with guns and keeping themselves and their neighbors safe. There’s about as much truth to that crap as there is to the claim that thousands of phony mail-in ballots mysteriously showed up in Pennsylvania and moved that state’s 20 electoral votes to Joe instead of to – what’s his name?

But sometimes even the most flagrant lies and distortions end up being regarded as true. It turns out, for example, that the self-styled militia groups like the Three Percenters and the Oath Keepers are now realigning themselves to oppose the government’s promotion of getting vaccinated against Covid-19. Want to prove you’re a real American? Spend a week on a ventilator at your local ICU.

In sum, I happen to think this 4th Circuit decision to let gun dealers sell handguns to kids is a good thing. Because maybe, just maybe it will make my friends in Gun-control Nation ask themselves what we really should do to reduce the injuries and deaths caused by the use of guns.

We don’t need to prevent someone who is 19-years-old from buying a semi-automatic pistol which holds 17 rounds of military-grade ammunition and can be reloaded in 5 seconds or less.  We need to restrict everyone from buying and walking around with those types of guns.

Want to keep a handgun in your house in case one of those ‘street thugs’ tries to break his way in?  I’ll sell you a nice, used, six-shot revolver for $299.95. It will do the job just fine.

The Federal Courts Review Concealed-Carry And The NRA Ain’t Pleased.

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In a surprising event, the NRA actually lost a major legal argument in a Federal court, and America’s ‘oldest civil rights organization’ predictably responded by calling the decision by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals (U.S. v. Robinson) “the most anti-gun ruling from any court of the modern era.” Which only goes to show how rarely the NRA loses a big one in court. But forgetting for a moment the NRA’s attempt to engage in a bit of Trump-like hyperbole about this new threat to all law-abiding gun owners, the decision does put something of a crimp in Gun-nut Nation’s plan to realize their most cherished ambition, namely, the extension of unquestioned concealed-carry to all 50 states.

ccw            The NRA has been pushing the idea of letting everyone wander around the entire country with a gun in their pockets ever since then-Senator Larry Craig took some time away from his public toilet stall and sponsored a national, reciprocal concealed-carry law back in the Clinton years. Since then, Gun-nut Nation has built up a small but solid phalanx of academics and commercial hucksters who will tell you that walking around with a gun in your pocket is a good thing.

Here’s how it works today and here’s how Gun-nut Nation wants it to work. Licensing for gun ownership is and has always been a state-by-state affair.  Ditto carrying a gun.  Some states make it easier, some make it a little more difficult, but the bottom line is that a gun license isn’t like a driver’s license because no matter where you drive, basically the rules of the road are the same.  In the case of guns, however, the rules covering concealed-carry (CCW) are different in every state.  Which means that if you want to cross a state line with a concealed weapon, you have to make sure that you are meeting the different CCW laws for each state through which you travel, which means you might as well leave the gun home.

Every time a new Congress gets to work, one of the Congressional toadies for Gun-nut Nation introduces a bill to establish national CCW, and every time such a bill is introduced it gets ignored.  But this time may be different because now we have a champion of CCW in the White House and he owes the NRA big-time.  So Gun-nut Nation thought that maybe this time their ship was finally coming home.

The case began when a resident of West Virginia was frisked and an illegal gun was discovered on his person after the cops got a tip that the individual in question (Robinson) was armed.  In this instance the cops were operating under long-established rules which allow for a limited search if the officers believe that the suspect might be ‘armed and dangerous’ even if an arrest has not yet occurred.  Robinson challenged the search, claiming that West Virginia law allowed him to carry a gun.  Possessing a gun may have made him ‘armed,’ but it didn’t necessarily make him ‘dangerous.’  A local judge agreed, but the 4th Circuit tossed Robinson’s argument out.

What the 4th Circuit basically said was that it was reasonable for the cops to assume that someone walking around with a gun, even someone walking around with a legal gun on his person should not only be considered armed, but might be dangerous as well.  And he would be dangerous, as far as the cops would be concerned, simply because he was carrying a gun.

Do you realize what this argument does to Gun-nut Nation’s most cherished dream?  It stands that dream on its head.  Because what the NRA and all their syncophantic CCW-advocates have been saying is that walking around with a gun makes everyone safe and constitutes no threat or danger to law-abiding citizens at all. But the 4th Circuit came down on the side of cops who need to be protected against ‘unnecessary risk.’  And believe it or not, walking around with a gun increases risk.

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