Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Zumbo, backlash, hunting, and rights

Let's all relax about the Zumbo affair a little. A great deal of what Zumbo has said has been represented poorly by both sides, so let's break it down a bit. There are five issues that I think we need to look at within the scope of this issue.

1) Terrorist Rifles:
Zumbo did refer to AR-15 as "terrorist rifles." Now, I know that guns haven't been a popular rights issue for Democrats or the left. However, over the last few years, we have had zero tolerance for the hard-leaning conservatives who have claimed that we're giving aid and comfort to our enemies or terrorists because we question the current administration's policies in Iraq. We backlashed as hard as we could when a senior defense official called for corporations to stop supporting or employing attorneys who do pro bono work for Guantanamo detainees. We (as a group) have upon occasion called for peoples' firing or resignation during these times.

So, I think we have created for ourselves a bit of a double standard here. Many anti-gun Democrats have such a knee jerk reaction to the bad old National Rifle Association, that anything they do is immediately bad. The NRA and the "gun nuts" ruined some poor guy for directly implying that they were terrorists. However, referring to someone as a terrorist for these so-called "assault rifles" is pretty bad. I'm not usually one to cast a big stone, and I don't think Zumbo should have been ruined for this, but when we see someone referring to an American Citizen as a terrorist for using their First Amendment rights, we're appalled. We call for resignations, firings, angst and anger, sound and fury, boycotts and sit-ins, marches on the Mall. But when someone exercises a right that Democrats (myself and many NOT included) don't necessarily agree with, we call the people who do fight back "gun nuts" and certainly worse.

Let's add a premise: Exercising and defending ANY of our Constitutional Rights and Rights enumerated in the Amendments and Bill of Rights should be defended by all. We all support the ACLU when they defend the KKK's right to assemble. Likewise, we should support people who exercise their Second Amendment rights, even when we do not.

Now, I'm usually loathe to discuss in such public forums my own beliefs and actions. This is only my second blog post, and it makes me nervous. I personally, own an AR-15 rifle (for those interested, it's a Colt 6920, pretty much stock except for a Knights RAS). And I do take exception to being labeled a terrorist. I'm one of those who believes that the Second Amendment is an individual right, that self defense is also an important right, and that the very existence of the Second Amendment is an important check against tyranny; even more so with the erosion of rights we've witnessed in our lifetimes (please note, I am not in any way advocating violence). I’ve never been arrested, nor do I hunt, and I don’t want to do either. The hunters among us can chime in. Besides that, I am neither criminal nor terrorist. While we bristle at the thought of people trampling our First, Fourth, and Fifth Amendment rights through legislation or implication of some sort of treason, so too should we bristle when others are painted the same way for their beliefs in rights also codified in our Federal and State Constitutions.


2) Hunting and the Second Amendment: Let's get this straight: Hunting has nothing to do with the Second Amendment. One's right to own a certain type of firearm should not be tied to whether or not you hunt, where you hunt, or what type of animals you hunt. The Second Amendment is about defense of the nation, a check against tyranny, and peoples' rights to own firearms in support of those ideals (Please note that I say in support of, not subject to). It's not a state right, it's not (in my opinion) a collective right, it's a right guaranteed. Further, many states have self defense as part of that right in their own constitutions.

So let us not pretend that limiting the right to own firearms because they are suited to hunting doesn't by definition reduce the rights of the people. Even if you are against guns, it is an unarguable fact that limiting gun ownership reduces a right that exists today. Let's not try oblique ways to limit rights. As Zak J. recently said (along with a lot of others throughout our history), rights should always be interpreted expansively, and the burden of proof for limiting rights should be on those who seek to do so. That proof should be overwhelmingly compelling, and it should make its case without attempts at oblique arguments.

3) The NRA: The NRA is, for better or worse, perceived as a bastion of the far right. That's unfortunate. It does occasionally, do good things in defense of our liberties. The ACLU seems to have forgotten the Second Amendment while it defends the rest, so someone needs to do it. I'm not sure that the NRA has always been well managed, well thought of, or particularly magnanimous in reaching out to all for education. In essence though, it is defending an important right (at least important to some 40-80 million people). Our knee-jerk reactions should not be, "Oh the NRA's in this one? Well then I'm against it." This is equally true for the “right” when it discusses the ACLU. I personally am a member of neither at the moment. I want to be a member of both, but the fact that the ACLU ignores one important right and the fact that the NRA has been mismanaged have kept me out of both. I hope that soon I can be convinced to join both, because in theory, they are important bastions in the check against government's encroachment on our rights.

4) Lessons learned: If there is one thing that this instance can show, it's that guns and the Second Amendment are an incredibly important issue to a lot of people. It's slowly becoming a third rail of politics. While some argue that it's another reason to dismiss gun owners as crazy and irrational, it's not. If anything, it shows that guns should be left off the Democratic legislative agenda (as I stated in a previous post) and that we might even have a little bit of a double standard.

5) What about Zumbo?
I don't think Zumbo should have been ruined for his comment. I think he made a mistake, and even a pretty big one. But I think he's going to learn from it. Pat Rogers, ex-Marine and NYPD Sergeant in the Counter Terrorism business, has invited Zumbo to EAGTactical's Carbine Operators course, and Zumbo has apparently accepted. I think we should offer Zumbo the benefit of the doubt. Let's see what comes of his new education, and maybe, just maybe, we'll have another well-respected advocate in our community.

3 comments:

Zak J. said...

Good discussion! Here's a link to similar sentiments on Zumbo on "Chuck For..."

See: Zumbo, Details Count.

Anonymous said...

You guys can’t even reign in Bush but you have time to screw with our guns? Your own party supports this bill but you little group in Oregon won’t and hasn’t said one bad thing about it or the elected official that submitted it. As a group I haven’t seen one negative comment from you about anything that your party has proposed to “infringe” on God given rights.

Typical from a group that supports the ACLU. Too bad we can’t do to Demoncratic politicians like we did to Zumbo!



A BILL To reauthorize the assault weapons ban, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the `Assault Weapons Ban and Law Enforcement Protection Act of 2007'.

SEC. 2. REINSTATEMENT FOR 10 YEARS OF REPEALED CRIMINAL PROVISIONS RELATING TO ASSAULT WEAPONS AND LARGE CAPACITY AMMUNITION FEEDING DEVICES.

(a) Reinstatement of Provisions Wholly Repealed- Paragraphs (30) and (31) of section 921(a), subsections (v) and (w) and Appendix A of section 922, and the last 2 sentences of section 923(i) of title 18, United States Code, as in effect just before the repeal made by section 110105(2) of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, are hereby enacted into law.

(b) Reinstatement of Provisions Partially Repealed- Section 924 of title 18, United States Code, is amended--

(1) in subsection (a)(1), by striking subparagraph (B) and inserting the following:

`(B) knowingly violates subsection (a)(4), (f), (k), (r), (v), or (w) of section 922;'; and

(2) in subsection (c)(1)(B), by striking clause (i) and inserting the following:

`(i) is a short-barreled rifle, short-barreled shotgun, or semiautomatic assault weapon, the person shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of not less than 10 years; or'.

SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS.

(a) In General- Section 921(a)(30) of title 18, United States Code, as added by section 2(a) of this Act, is amended to read as follows:

`(30) The term `semiautomatic assault weapon' means any of the following:

`(A) The following rifles or copies or duplicates thereof:

`(i) AK, AKM, AKS, AK-47, AK-74, ARM, MAK90, Misr, NHM 90, NHM 91, SA 85, SA 93, VEPR;

`(ii) AR-10;

`(iii) AR-15, Bushmaster XM15, Armalite M15, or Olympic Arms PCR;

`(iv) AR70;

`(v) Calico Liberty;

`(vi) Dragunov SVD Sniper Rifle or Dragunov SVU;

`(vii) Fabrique National FN/FAL, FN/LAR, or FNC;

`(viii) Hi-Point Carbine;

`(ix) HK-91, HK-93, HK-94, or HK-PSG-1;

`(x) Kel-Tec Sub Rifle;

`(xi) M1 Carbine;

`(xii) Saiga;

`(xiii) SAR-8, SAR-4800;

`(xiv) SKS with detachable magazine;

`(xv) SLG 95;

`(xvi) SLR 95 or 96;

`(xvii) Steyr AUG;

`(xviii) Sturm, Ruger Mini-14;

`(xix) Tavor;

`(xx) Thompson 1927, Thompson M1, or Thompson 1927 Commando; or

`(xxi) Uzi, Galil and Uzi Sporter, Galil Sporter, or Galil Sniper Rifle (Galatz).

`(B) The following pistols or copies or duplicates thereof:

`(i) Calico M-110;

`(ii) MAC-10, MAC-11, or MPA3;

`(iii) Olympic Arms OA;

`(iv) TEC-9, TEC-DC9, TEC-22 Scorpion, or AB-10; or

`(v) Uzi.

`(C) The following shotguns or copies or duplicates thereof:

`(i) Armscor 30 BG;

`(ii) SPAS 12 or LAW 12;

`(iii) Striker 12; or

`(iv) Streetsweeper.

`(D) A semiautomatic rifle that has an ability to accept a detachable magazine, and that has--

`(i) a folding or telescoping stock;

`(ii) a threaded barrel;

`(iii) a pistol grip;

`(iv) a forward grip; or

`(v) a barrel shroud.

`(E)(i) Except as provided in clause (ii), a semiautomatic rifle that has a fixed magazine with the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds.

`(ii) Clause (i) shall not apply to an attached tubular device designed to accept, and capable of operating only with, .22 caliber rimfire ammunition.

`(F) A semiautomatic pistol that has the ability to accept a detachable magazine, and has--

`(i) a second pistol grip;

`(ii) a threaded barrel;

`(iii) a barrel shroud; or

`(iv) the capacity to accept a detachable magazine at a location outside of the pistol grip.

`(G) A semiautomatic pistol with a fixed magazine that has the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds.

`(H) A semiautomatic shotgun that has--

`(i) a folding or telescoping stock;

`(ii) a pistol grip;

`(iii) the ability to accept a detachable magazine; or

`(iv) a fixed magazine capacity of more than 5 rounds.

`(I) A shotgun with a revolving cylinder.

`(J) A frame or receiver that is identical to, or based substantially on the frame or receiver of, a firearm described in any of subparagraphs (A) through (I) or (L).

`(K) A conversion kit.

`(L) A semiautomatic rifle or shotgun originally designed for military or law enforcement use, or a firearm based on the design of such a firearm, that is not particularly suitable for sporting purposes, as determined by the Attorney General. In making the determination, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that a firearm procured for use by the United States military or any Federal law enforcement agency is not particularly suitable for sporting purposes, and a firearm shall not be determined to be particularly suitable for sporting purposes solely because the firearm is suitable for use in a sporting event.'.

(b) Related Definitions- Section 921(a) of such title is amended by adding at the end the following:

`(36) Barrel Shroud- The term `barrel shroud' means a shroud that is attached to, or partially or completely encircles, the barrel of a firearm so that the shroud protects the user of the firearm from heat generated by the barrel, but does not include a slide that encloses the barrel, and does not include an extension of the stock along the bottom of the barrel which does not encircle or substantially encircle the barrel.

`(37) Conversion Kit- The term `conversion kit' means any part or combination of parts designed and intended for use in converting a firearm into a semiautomatic assault weapon, and any combination of parts from which a semiautomatic assault weapon can be assembled if the parts are in the possession or under the control of a person.

`(38) Detachable Magazine- The term `detachable magazine' means an ammunition feeding device that can readily be inserted into a firearm.

`(39) Fixed Magazine- The term `fixed magazine' means an ammunition feeding device contained in, or permanently attached to, a firearm.

`(40) Folding or Telescoping Stock- The term `folding or telescoping stock' means a stock that folds, telescopes, or otherwise operates to reduce the length, size, or any other dimension, or otherwise enhances the concealability, of a firearm.

`(41) Forward Grip- The term `forward grip' means a grip located forward of the trigger that functions as a pistol grip.

`(42) Pistol Grip- The term `pistol grip' means a grip, a thumbhole stock, or any other characteristic that can function as a grip.

`(43) Threaded Barrel- The term `threaded barrel' means a feature or characteristic that is designed in such a manner to allow for the attachment of a firearm as defined in section 5845(a) of the National Firearms Act (26 U.S.C. 5845(a)).'.

SEC. 4. GRANDFATHER PROVISION.

Section 922(v)(2) of title 18, United States Code, as added by section 2(a) of this Act, is amended--

(1) by inserting `(A)' after `(2)'; and

(2) by adding after and below the end the following:

`(B) Paragraph (1) shall not apply to any firearm the possession or transfer of which would (but for this subparagraph) be unlawful by reason of this subsection, and which is otherwise lawfully possessed on the date of the enactment of this subparagraph.'.

SEC. 5. REPEAL OF CERTAIN EXEMPTIONS.

Section 922(v)(3) of title 18, United States Code, as added by section 2(a) of this Act, is amended by striking `(3)' and all that follows through the 1st sentence and inserting the following:

`(3) Paragraph (1) shall not apply to any firearm that--

`(A) is manually operated by bolt, pump, level, or slide action;

`(B) has been rendered permanently inoperable; or

`(C) is an antique firearm.'.

SEC. 6. REQUIRING BACKGROUND CHECKS FOR THE TRANSFER OF LAWFULLY POSSESSED SEMIAUTOMATIC ASSAULT WEAPONS.

Section 922(v) of title 18, United States Code, as added by section 2(a) of this Act, is amended by adding at the end the following:

`(5) It shall be unlawful for any person to transfer a semiautomatic assault weapon to which paragraph (1) does not apply, except through--

`(A) a licensed dealer, and for purposes of subsection (t) in the case of such a transfer, the weapon shall be considered to be transferred from the business inventory of the licensed dealer and the dealer shall be considered to be the transferor; or

`(B) a State or local law enforcement agency if the transfer is made in accordance with the procedures provided for in subsection (t) of this section and section 923(g).

`(6) The Attorney General shall establish and maintain, in a timely manner, a record of the make, model, and date of manufacture of any semiautomatic assault weapon which the Attorney General is made aware has been used in relation to a crime under Federal or State law, and the nature and circumstances of the crime involved, including the outcome of relevant criminal investigations and proceedings. The Attorney General shall annually submit the record to the Congress and make the record available to the general public.'.

SEC. 7. STRENGTHENING THE BAN ON THE POSSESSION OR TRANSFER OF A LARGE CAPACITY AMMUNITION FEEDING DEVICE.

(a) Ban on Transfer of Semiautomatic Assault Weapon With Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device-

(1) IN GENERAL- Section 922 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by inserting after subsection (y) the following:

`(z) It shall be unlawful for any person to transfer any assault weapon with a large capacity ammunition feeding device.'.

(2) PENALTIES- Section 924(a) of such title is amended by adding at the end the following:

`(8) Whoever knowingly violates section 922(z) shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both.'.

(b) Certification Requirement-

(1) IN GENERAL- Section 922(w) of such title, as added by section 2(a) of this Act, is amended--

(A) in paragraph (3)--

(i) by adding `or' at the end of subparagraph (B); and

(ii) by striking subparagraph (C) and redesignating subparagraph (D) as subparagraph (C); and

(B) by striking paragraph (4) and inserting the following:

`(4) It shall be unlawful for a licensed manufacturer, licensed importer, or licensed dealer who transfers a large capacity ammunition feeding device that was manufactured on or before the date of the enactment of this subsection, to fail to certify to the Attorney General before the end of the 60-day period that begins with the date of the transfer, in accordance with regulations prescribed by the Attorney General, that the device was manufactured on or before the date of the enactment of this subsection.'.

(2) PENALTIES- Section 924(a) of such title, as amended by subsection (a)(2) of this section, is amended by adding at the end the following:

`(9) Whoever knowingly violates section 922(w)(4) shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.'.

SEC. 8. UNLAWFUL WEAPONS TRANSFERS TO JUVENILES.

Section 922(x) of title 18, United States Code, is amended--

(1) in paragraph (1)--

(A) in subparagraph (B), by striking the period and inserting a semicolon; and

(B) by adding at the end the following:

`(C) a semiautomatic assault weapon; or

`(D) a large capacity ammunition feeding device.'; and

(2) in paragraph (2)--

(A) in subparagraph (B), by striking the period and inserting a semicolon; and

(B) by adding at the end the following:

`(C) a semiautomatic assault weapon; or

`(D) a large capacity ammunition feeding device.'.

SEC. 9. BAN ON IMPORTATION OF LARGE CAPACITY AMMUNITION FEEDING DEVICE.

(a) In General- Section 922(w) of title 18, United States Code, as added by section 2(a) of this Act, is amended--

(1) in paragraph (1), by striking `(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2)' and inserting `(1)(A) Except as provided in subparagraph (B)';

(2) in paragraph (2), by striking `(2) Paragraph (1)' and inserting `(B) Subparagraph (A)'; and

(3) by inserting before paragraph (3) the following:

`(2) It shall be unlawful for any person to import or bring into the United States a large capacity ammunition feeding device.'.

(b) Conforming Amendment- Section 921(a)(31)(A) of such title, as added by section 2(a) of this Act, is amended by striking `manufactured after the date of enactment of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994'.

Zak J. said...

I'm done responding to anonymous rants by those who clearly haven't read what's on the blog or who don't seem particularly interested in dialog. At least make up a name next time.