By Michael Boldin
If you’re like me, you’ve heard a lot of people talking lately about how the 2nd Amendment is under attack. And it sure is – in a pretty serious way.
Unfortunately, however, a lot of these same people come across as if the attacks really just started in the last 2 years. But nothing could be further from the truth.
Even just a quick look at the long, and growing, list of federal gun control measures on the books should make it clear to any constitution-supporter that the 2nd Amendment isn’t just newly under attack. It hasn’t been in force for close to a century.
Scroll down to dead on for the lowlights – which I also covered in a podcast this week.
1934: National Firearms Act
Federal gun control laws have been in effect more or less since the 1934 National Firearms Act (NFA) was enacted. It set up excise taxes for the manufacturing and transfer of certain firearms and required permits for the ownership of weapons including machine guns, short barreled rifles, short barreled shotguns, and sound suppressors.
1968: Gun Control Act
This one requires gun sellers to obtain a federal firearms license (FFL) to operate legally and banned mail order purchase of firearms. It also banned the importation of inexpensive handguns known as “Saturday night specials,” which gave poor people access to guns to protect themselves in urban areas.
The act also included a bunch of restrictions on who people can buy or sell from, as well as age requirements, and federal form 4473 – paperwork errors easily leads as the majority of ATF enforcement actions today.
1986: Firearm Owners “Protection” Act
While it reopened ammunition orders by mail and banned (in theory, at least) the U.S. Government from keeping a registry directly linking non-NFA firearms to their owners, the law also restricted the sale of machine guns manufactured after that point to the military and law enforcement.
In other words, the law loosened regulations in one area by tightened them in other areas.
Even the theoretical ban on a registry has been obliterated by the ATF, which now has close to a billion records in a searchable, digital database.
1988: Undetectable Firearms Act
I don’t know about the people who support this one, but I’ve read the 2nd Amendment, and sure haven’t found it to say “shall not be infringed… unless the government can’t detect it.”
If we adopted the attitude of the founders, ALL guns would be undetectable to the government.
1993: Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act
This required federal background checks on firearm purchasers, effectively implementing a “guilty until proven innocent” policy concerning gun rights. From this came the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) in 1998. In short, rather than having a right to keep and bear arms that “shall not be infringed” – people are required, by the tens of millions each year – to first get approval from the FBI before purchasing a firearm.
It’s not liberty if it requires a government permission slip.
2018: Bump Stock Ban
By executive fiat, the ATF implemented a presidential order to redefine a bump stock-equipped gun as a machine gun, putting it under the purview of another unconstitutional ban, and setting the precedent for the current administration to use the same approach for even more federal gun control.
2022: Safer Communities Act
Among other things, the act sets up federal funding to urge states to implement red flag laws. It expands the number of people required to get a federal dealer license, expanding the number of background checks, and it enhances background checks in many situations.
Every single one of these are unconstitutional because the number of federal gun control laws and regulations that are authorized by the constitution is ZERO.