The Second Amendment is not a gift from the government. Unlike driving a car, it is not a privilege, but a right, solidified in the Bill of Rights and remarkable as having been the only right outlined in the Constitution with an expressed clarification that this right shall remain free from infringements.
However, despite the bold clarification, it remains the right most-often subject to infringements.
Every day in the U.S., citizens go to a gun store and pick-out the gun that is the best-fit for their need. Homeowners will buy tactical shotguns; hunters, a rifle. Concealed carriers will grapple with the constant double-edged sword and weigh the pros and cons of size versus reliability versus stopping power.
All will submit to an infringement upon their right to bear arms.
In all fifty states, purchasing a firearm at a gun shop requires a background check. While not the most-dubious of gun control measures to have ever been conceived, these checks are not checks, but applications- applications to exercise one’s “uninfringeable” right.
Nowhere does such a provision exist for our other rights. No citizen gains written permission before speaking freely. No man is called a “privacy nut” for wishing to remain free from unlawful searches and seizures. No homeowner is required to gain a waiver to keep the military from quartering soldiers in his home.
Still, these background checks are not only applications to exercise our rights, they are fees as well. A $10 fee is tacked-on to offset the costs associated with investigating the suitability of a potential gun owner.
Like a poll tax before it, it is a violation of our nation’s principles to require payment to live freely in our republic.
Texas’ senior senator, John Cornyn, enjoys an A+ rating from the National Rifle Association (NRA). While one should expect that the senior senator from the Lone Star State and the NRA are proud opponents of this unconstitutional hurdle to gun ownership, in reality, they are not.
Sen. Cornyn has proposed legislation that would augment the background check system by incentivizing the sharing of medical records with federal authorities by promising increased federal cashflow to states that play ball.
Currently, gun sales are prohibited to people who have been legally ruled “mentally defective” or been committed to mental health facilities. However, states are not forced to offer these records to the federal government- a fact Cornyn hopes to change.
Cornyn’s bill would incentivize such record sharing as those who share at least 90% of their mental health records would receive federal law enforcement grant increases of up to 5%.
What the bill also does, however, is offer the federal government a larger role in background checks at a time when the federal government is augmenting their definitions of “mental illness” to restrict more Americans from having access to firearms.
Already, thousands of American veterans are denied lawful ownership of firearms under flimsy pretenses of mental deficiency.
Last month, the Obama Administration announced their intention to rob millions of law-abiding citizens of the right to bear arms because they receive Social Security through a third party- a sign, the Obama Administration alleges, that they cannot be trusted with firearms.
The same people who have sought to augment what it means to be “mentally ill” are now being offered a chance to become more involved in assessing the mental faculties of millions of Americans.
Cornyn’s bill, however, has also received push-back from anti-Second Amendment groups as his bill does require court approval for a prohibition on gun purchases for those who have been deemed mentally unfit by the Veterans Administration.
Though the bill could be touted as “reasonable” by turncoats like Sen. Pat Toomey, of the infamous Toomey-Manchin attempted gun-grab, it is anything but. Cornyn’s bill, at its core, fails to meet a simple burden that must be considered before it can attract the support of principled patriots:
1) Is this bill predicated upon a belief that the Second Amendment is a right, and not a privilege?
2) Does this bill support the belief that the Second Amendment applies to an individual right to gun ownership?
Though Cornyn’s bill does not directly conflict with the second requirement, it most-certainly fails the first as it welcomes the federal government to have a bigger role in deciding who is, and who is not, allowed to exercise their Second Amendment rights.
With the federal government shamelessly working to strip veterans and the elderly of their right to bear arms, it is wholly inappropriate to be aiding them in their efforts to undermine our rights. This criticism applies both to Sen. Cornyn and the NRA who, at least in this matter, appear to have lost sight of the forest through the trees.
However, while the NRA may have turned their back to strict constructionists of the Constitution, another heavy-hitter of Second Amendment advocacy has taken a stand against Cornyn’s legislation.
The Gun Owners of America have stood firm where the NRA has surrendered and has come-out against the legislation, noting that not only do they oppose this augmentation of the current background check system, but also highlighting that they opposed the 1994 Brady Law that implemented the federal background check system.
“Gun Owners of America opposed the Brady Law when it was originally enacted in 1994, and we continue to oppose any expansion of the background check system. Not only do background checks constitute an unconstitutional “infringement” of Second Amendment rights, they have facilitated the disarmament of law-abiding veterans and, soon, of senior citizens.”
As our government becomes more and more intolerant of a right that protects all the others, it is imperative that principled citizens reject the call for compromise on an issue settled hundreds of years ago and support lawmakers and organizations that recognize the fundamental premise that our rights are not privileges, but ironclad rights rooted in enlightenment ideals, guaranteed by government, and advocated for by strong organizations like the Gun Owners of America.