Grandstanding 
for gun rights

The bit of political theater the Mesa County commissioners staged Monday — before a packed and cheering audience — was a way for the commissioners to tell gun-rights advocates that the county leaders support those pro-gun views.

Beyond that, the resolution adopted Monday has no practical effect. The commissioners were shooting blanks.

They’re not alone. City and county officials in other parts of the state, including Montrose, and around the country have engaged in similar acts of political grandstanding. That doesn’t make them any more meaningful.

None of this is to say the commissioners should simply ignore what’s going on in Denver and Washington, D.C., with respect to gun laws. Although their first responsibility is to the business of the county, they have every right to voice their concerns about particular proposals they believe are inimical to this county and to their constituents.

Furthermore, there’s no question a large segment of Mesa County’s population is very worried about the gun laws being proposed in Washington and Denver. The commissioners have good reason to state their opposition to those measures and to encourage elected representatives to vote against them.

But the resolution passed Monday is inappropriate and toothless in several respects. It reads, in part, that the county “will not enforce any unlawful and unconstitutional statutes, executive orders or other regulations ...”

The first problem is: Who gets to decide what is and isn’t constitutional? It’s certainly not three elected commissioners or individual citizens. Several decades ago, elected officials and citizens in the South attempted to impose their own definition of constitutionality regarding civil rights laws. They lost, time and again, in the courts. It’s the rule of law that applies, not political rhetoric.

Similarly, courts have ruled local entities can’t arbitrarily develop their own immigration rules in conflict with federal law.

Moreover, we have a judical system that works in this regard, even if it can be painfully slow. The Second Amendment is arguably stronger now than it has been in many years, thanks to two recent Supreme Court decisions on gun ownership.

And the president’s executive authority on certain matters not related to guns has been notably reined in by a recent federal appeals court ruling. It’s a safe bet that any legislation or executive order of questionable constitutionality will be challenged in court by the NRA and other gun groups.

The county resolution is also of little value because it’s not the county commissioners who enforce state or federal laws. State laws are enforced by the elected county sheriff and the elected district attorney, neither of whom answers to the county commissioners on law enforcement matters.

Federal gun laws are enforced and prosecuted primarily by federal authorities.

The commissioners’ resolution does serve one function, however. It feeds the already pervasive hysteria that the federal government is on the verge of confiscating guns, though that is not the case. That hysteria, in turn, leads to more gun and ammunition purchases and larger profits for gun manufacturers.

Buy stock in Smith & Wesson.


COMMENTS

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Thank you for reporting this story for what it was—political theater. I blogged about my observations at http://www.konola4colorado.com.

Dear Editors,

Thank you for addressing those who have adopted the Chicken Little mantra of, “The sky is falling”, concerning our 2nd amendment.  For those on the fencepost just to hear themselves crow and prove their ignorance, maybe they could provide for another public gathering, and actually provide some leadership by addressing issues.

Have they not recognized they have won the election and it is time to lead not campaign?  How about addressing, mental health, funding for security in schools, discussion about assault weapons, funding for our law enforcement, and numerous other county issues in which they can actually have an impact?

Grandstanding is a kind word for those who are challenged in addressing issues with accomplishment rather than stuffing our pillows with horse feathers!

Kudos to the Daily Sentinel for calling our County Commissioners’ pro gun resolution what it is:  “grandstanding”.  (“Grandstanding for gun rights”, February 12, 2013).

What Sentinel readers may not recall is the sordid – and fundamentally racist—history of the anti-constitutional notion of “nullification”.

In 1832, South Carolina purported to “nullify” national tariffs—insisting that the “United States” was but a transitory combination of permanently sovereign States (as under the Articles of Confederation of 1781), not a perpetual Union of formerly sovereign States which had irrevocably conveyed certain “enumerated powers” (and thus “sovereignty”) to the federal government established by the U.S. Constitution in 1787.

In the 1850s, “nullification” regained traction – both in the North (among Abolitionists) and most vociferously in the soon-to-be secessionist South (where “nullification” was inextricable linked to the call for “States’ Rights” in defense of slave “property”).

From the Civil War through today, “States’ Rights” has been “dog whistle” code for anti-Black racism—but “nullification” did not reemerge into our political discourse until we elected a half-Black president in 2008.  Apparently, for too many, defending “gun rights” has become the functional equivalent of defending Slavery.

While Southern slave owners were justifiably paranoid about slave uprisings and thus demanded “a well regulated militia” in the Second Amendment, today’s deluded “gun nuts” are irrationally paranoid that President Obama will somehow confiscate their guns.

The lunacy of their illogic is obvious.  There are at least 270,000,000 guns under private ownership in the U.S.  If the combined forces of the ATF, local law enforcement, and/or our armed forces managed to confiscate 27,000 guns per day, it would take 10,000 days to do so.  At 200 working days per year, it would take 50 years to complete the task – ample time for the NRA to sue and for courts to “nullify” any unconstitutional “takings”.

                Bill Hugenberg

It is indeed comforting to see the misnamed “progressive” (more accurately “sophist”) view so well represented in the Sentinel’s talk string.
Funny how there are any number of subjects libs refuse to discuss, such as whether the Constitution is a piece of “living breathing” rubber to be stretched at will into all manner of unrecognizable shapes by those who at any given moment hold political power. Millions, including yours truly (and the Founders), happen to believe it is a binding two-party specific-performance contract not subject to being unilaterally changed via deliberate sophistic misinterpretation by one of the parties (govt).
Another subject taboo to libs is the global debt-as-money scam on which many of them depend for a steal-and-redistribute “living”. They will never discuss the good-vs-evil differences between an inflexible non-interest-bearing commodity-based medium of exchange (provably intended by the Founders) and a “flexible” political-manipulation-based interest-bearing fiat currency.
Libs will never talk about the “whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it” part of the Declaration of Independence, which is clearly part of the social contract, and arguably THE single part most relevant to the 2nd Amendment.
The libs’ affection for funny money is understandable: it lets them print infinite amounts to fund “freebies” to buy the votes of the illiterate and immoral. That’s the exact reason it is so obviously impossible for Republicans to “out-Dem” the Democrats that they shouldn’t even bother trying — except for the fact that darn funny money tree is so irresistibly attractive to those who don’t have to dig the ditches, milk the cows and pick the corn.
A video eschewed by the MSM is traveling around the Internet of police and military in Spain beating up every person in sight who is demonstrating against Spanish monetary policy (aka “austerity”). Long story short, in America, the citizens have guns. If the military and police try that here, the citizenry will (and, according to the Declaration of Independence, should) shoot any such tyrant-minded rogue cops attempting to enforce wannabe-clever financial slavery via “law” and “taxation”.
The Mesa County Commissioners’ pro-2nd-Amendment resolution was a political gesture. So what? So was the Sentinel’s editorial. So are the letters on this talk string, including this one. Again, so what?
I have some bad news for the low-information anti-gun crowd: the gun-control “debate” is over. The reason? Simple. Exponentially increasing numbers of women have decided they want and need guns to defend themselves. I say God bless ‘em!

Congratulations to the Sentinel for a logical, rational response to the paranoid, tinfoil hat brigade.

As an initial but inadequate response to John Wilkenson’s contribution, I offer the following:

Yesterday’s front-page article – “Women gun owners give rising voice to firearms debate” – offers ample food for thought as Congress mulls how best to reduce gun violence (our County Commissioners’ “grandstanding” notwithstanding.

First, given the gender of most gun massacre perpetrators in the U.S., and the frequency with which women are violently victimized by males, a cogent argument could be made that only women should have access to firearms.  Alas, the Second Amendment grants “equal protection” to abusive males too.

Second, the “rising voice” of female gun enthusiasts – consistently couched in terms of self-defense—remains substantially more rational than the rants of male fanatics (like Wilkenson?)who insist that they must be heavily armed to fend off “The Government”.

Third, as our Supreme Court affirmed in District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago, women too have a constitutionally guaranteed individual right to be secure in their homes and persons by “keeping and bearing” – at least—handguns.

Fourth, women’s involvement in highly publicized mass shootings is also revealing.  The Columbine massacre was abetted by a young woman who bought guns for the under-age shooters.  Might she have been deterred had “straw person” purchases been a federal criminal offense—as under the proposed gun trafficking law?

The Sandy Hook massacre was enabled by a mother’s purchase of a Bushmaster “assault rifle” – to which her mentally unbalanced son gained access – and ended with her own demise and that of six female educators and twenty first-graders.  Might she have “thought twice” had the manufacture, sale, purchase, and/or possession of – or, at least, failure to properly secure—such weapons been banned under federal law?

Meanwhile, renewal of the Violence Against Women Act is stalled because some oppose granting tribal courts criminal jurisdiction over non-Indian batterers of Native American women on tribal lands.  Should we arm those women too?

Addendum:
Since Claudette Konola was kind enough to include the URL of her blog, I took advantage of the opportunity to check it out. Coming as no surprise to a fan of the so-called “Austrian School” of economics such as myself, Claudette was a banker, presumably of the Keynesian school of economic thought.
I though some readers might be interested in the views of a banker with far more impressive professional credentials, Catherine Austin Fitts. Her website is at http://solari.com/about-us/catherine. A Wikipedia article about her can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catherine_Austin_Fitts.
I find it sometimes comforting to remember that most demographic groups are not monolithic. Fitts, once the consummate Washington DC insider, is now a financial advisor. She espouses views that would be ridiculed by such as Ms. Konola and Bill Hugenberg.
I am currently transcribing a number of Fitts’ interviews. She is determinedly pro-gun, and says the monetary oligarchs need to disarm the citizenry before they can start openly seizing the assets of the citizenry in earnest.

Thanks to John Wilkenson’s “Addendum”, I was prompted to revive my recollection of the “Austrian School” of economics and expand my familiarity with the writings of Catherine Austin Fitts.

While the “Austrian School” has contributed much to mainstream economic theory over the years, its current credibility can perhaps best be judged by comparing the stature of its adherents (including Libertarian huckster Ron Paul) to that of its critics (including Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman).  Because both my Econ 101 textbook (Samuelson) and Paul Krugman’s cogent arguments endorse Keynesian macroeconomics, I’ll stick with them.

As to Catherine Austin Fitts, her analysis of relevant economic factors has proven to be highly accurate – and those who have followed her investment advice have benefited substantially.  However, Fitts has exposed herself to ridicule, first, by reportedly (but perhaps facetiously) claiming that “aliens exist and are already among us”; and, second, by defending “gun rights” on grounds that the “monetary oligarchy” that controls the government needs “to disarm the citizenry” before openly seizing their assets in earnest.

It seems to me that the “monetary oligarchy” has done a pretty good job of “seizing” citizen assets without bothering to confiscate weapons first.

Moreover, in contrast to Krugman’s more consistent logic, Fitts’ expansive conspiracy theory of government monetary and fiscal policy offers no public policy prescriptions – because government is already hopelessly and permanently controlled by “monetary oligarchs”.  Consequently, Fitts advises individuals to buy gold and guns – and, at least implicitly, to enjoy life without regard for “the greater good”.  Sound familiar now? 

Unfortunately, President Obama’s apparently continuing reluctance to fully embrace Paul Krugman’s economic advice, and his failure to more aggressively take-on Wall Street by advocating re-imposition of a Financial Transaction Tax to fund economic growth stimuli for Main Street, continue to lend credence to Fitts’ depressing analysis.

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