U.S.A. – -(Ammoland.com)- “Red flags in H.R. 1620 up for negotiation,” Gun Owners of America alerted members earlier this month. “[GOA] has been fighting against a new form of ‘red flag’ gun confiscation orders in the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act or VAWA since 2019, when anti-gunners politicized the funding to include gun control.”
Indicating support for negotiations was Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst, a past beneficiary of substantial financial and political support from the National Rifle Association, other national and state “gun rights” groups, and politically active gun owners in general:
“In September, Huddle—Politico’s ‘play-by-play preview of the day’s congressional news’—reported on the negotiations, saying: Ernst told Huddle that she sees a path forward for VAWA, including on firearms provisions which have held up negotiations for years. ‘I think we’ve found a potential solution on that,” she told Huddle, without additional details. “We’re just running the traps,’ she said.”
A ”potential solution” for whom?
GOA asked its supporters to contact their senators with a pre-written form letter. I did, despite previously expressed reservations about wasting time and effort contacting doctrinaire Democrat gun-grabbers occupying secure seats. In such cases, there ought to be a way to have such emails sent to representatives in other states or districts who are more vulnerable and subject to “persuasion”—after all, what they will vote on affects us all, and people can donate to politicians (or their competitors) in other states. A reminder of that can’t hurt.
This time, my Democrat Senator, Sherrod Brown, ignored me, no doubt because I replied to his last bout of “I have always respected the Second Amendment” BUT phony excuse-making on “weapons of war” by calling him a tool. His staffers have no doubt put me on a “Do Not Respond” list.
My Republican Senator, Rob Portman, isn’t running again, and the boilerplate form letter he sent back that totally ignored the gun issues I wrote him about told me he not only wasn’t going to address the specifics but that he no longer had to care what his constituents thought.
Since Ernst appears to be the catalyst for compromise, one of her Iowa constituents (WarOnGuns Correspondent Michael G) also acted on the GOA Alert and sent me the responses from both her and Senior Senator Chuck Grassley.
It’s disappointing, but not surprising, that Ernst pulled a Portman and blathered on about the VAWA bill but completely ignored the reason he was contacted, to pin her down on the “red flag” concessions she had indicated were negotiable. Since many other constituents had also responded to the GOA action, there is no other explanation than she knew what they wanted and was deliberately ignoring them and trying to hide behind non-responsive weasel words. That’s hardly an appropriate reply from someone who has relied on gun owner support before and will presumably need it again.”
Grassley, to his credit, addressed the “red flag” subject from the start. Unfortunately, if you break down what he’s really saying, he’s not promising he won’t support confiscations. He’s saying he will if certain conditions are met, and he – or rather, his PR flacks – says that in such an equivocal way that it’s likely to get past those who don’t know any better and are susceptible to false equivalencies.
“I believe any red flag gun legislation must have sufficient due process protections in place to protect important constitutional rights,” Grassley’s response asserts. “Red flag laws are mainly an issue for states, but I would support a federal proposal if it contains strong due process protections. Current proposals being discussed in Congress don’t do enough to safeguard an important constitutional right.”
OK, Senator. I’ll bite.
Define “sufficient due process protections” and how they compare with, say, being adjudicated guilty by a jury of your peers.
“Sentence first—verdict afterward” not only flies in the face of everything supposedly unique American justice has promised us it stands for, but it was also used not that long ago as an absurdist example of tyranny and madness that even children understood.
Further, it’s saying anyone disarmed without going through such a process can be trusted without a custodian — because that’s exactly what any “red flag laws” that don’t include incarceration until no longer a danger are going to result in: Someone deemed too dangerous to own a gun left in the general population with access not only to those he threatened but to the rest of us as well.
And all one needs to do to see the effectiveness of “legally” forbidding gun possession is enter “Chicago homicides” into Google and hit the “News” tab.
“You can be sure that any bill that seeks to restrict or restrain our Second Amendment rights will be given the strictest scrutiny and I will fight to ensure that no new extreme limitations are placed upon our Constitutional right to bear arms,” Grassley’s reply promises.
Not all courts agree with you on strict scrutiny, Senator, and that’s where it counts. And that leaves undefined what “new … limitations” you would not consider to be “extreme.” Don’t you think gun owners who have supported you because they trusted your NRA Political Victory Fund A+ rating deserve to know what you have in mind before you start using their rights as bargaining chips?
We could get into other parts of Grassley’s letter, starting with his acknowledgment that some laws are the proper purview of the states. That’s why the Founders defined the powers of the three branches of the national government and added the Tenth Amendment. It would seem that unless violence against women – or anyone, for that matter, has the effect of official actions to deny rights (like “red flag laws”!) or crosses state lines, the whole VAWA boondoggle is simply a wealth redistribution/bureaucracy building scheme for votes and a usurpation of power.
Bad things can happen when you do that. Again, it wasn’t that long ago then-Attorney General Janet Reno used “inaccurate” allegations of child sexual abuse that should have been left to Texas authorities as the trigger to authorize an unconstitutional assault that ended with four federal agents and 86 civilians killed, including 20 children and two miscarried babies. How about the FedGov stays in its lane?
Perhaps the ultimate question for any Republican considering “negotiating” infringements on the right to keep and bear arms with Democrats is “Why?” or less succinctly, “Why the **** would you do that, you moron?”
Did your oath mean nothing? Are the people who voted for you and supported your campaigns clamoring for it? Do you really think it will buy you anything with the Democrats and with the media, or more likely, will they be back after you hand them your concessions demanding more, and accusing you of being inflexible extremists who only care about white supremacists?
What is this Republican death wish that seduces the GOP into believing that “moderates” are viewed by the communists (let’s call “progressives” what they really are) as anything other than useful idiots — or targets for elimination after they’ve outlived their usefulness? And more to the point, why do gun owners continue to let them get away with backstabbing? At least with Democrats, we can see it coming.
About David Codrea:
David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating/defending the RKBA and a long-time gun owner rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament. He blogs at “The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance,” is a regularly featured contributor to Firearms News, and posts on Twitter: @dcodrea and Facebook.