The animosity shown the Second Amendment by the media and many of our elected representatives sworn to uphold the Constitution and the Bill of Rights is never so apparent as when a particularly heinous criminal shooting occurs. These tragedies are immediately seized upon as a springboard for introducing more gun control measures, which are usually circumventions of the Second Amendment in intent and practice, and therefore unconstitutional.
Another misguided “close the loopholes” for guns measure has been introduced by Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D.-N.Y.) and 57 Democrat cosponsors. Her bill H. R. 308, “To prohibit the transfer or possession of large capacity ammunition feeding devices, and for other purposes,” is officially entitled the “Large Capacity Feeding Device Act.” H.R. 308 would restrict — criminalize, actually — the transfer and possession by law-abiding citizens of large capacity feeding devices, more commonly known as magazines, that accept more than 10 rounds of ammunition. There are frightening exceptions, however, regarding ownership; clearly the advantage in firepower — in terms of speed of firing and number of rounds delivered in a given time — is being reserved to the government, its officials and agents.
The provisions of H.R. 308 are said to be grandfathered, applying to devices purchased or transferred only from the date of enactment of the bill, if passed. However, according to some gun legislation analysts, the grandfathering is meaningless in this case because of other overriding language in the measure. Just for possessing a “large capacity ammunition feeding device,” one could be arrested and charged. The burden of proof that one owned the device prior to the ban would be forced upon the innocent citizen as he was dragged through the courts. Proving its manufacturing date would be useless. Any ruling in the matter would be at the discretion of the authorities. Penalties for infractions of H.R. 308 would be 10 years in a federal prison and an undesignated monetary fine. Basically, H.R. 308 would criminalize anyone in possession of a magazine holding 11 rounds or more.
It is unconstitutional to infringe on our natural right to bear arms guaranteed under the Second Amendment by incrementally restricting it, just as it would be unconstitutional to incrementally restrict the rights of free speech, religious belief and practice, and privacy. There is no authorization in the Constitution for incrementally restricting any of our rights as guaranteed by the Constitution.
H.R. 308 is but one more step toward eventual, total elimination of our right to keep and bear arms. Contact your Representative and Senators and insist that they support and defend our right to keep and bear arms, in toto.
Your friends at The John Birch Society
Used with the permission of the John Birch Society.