Listen to this article
With presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s recent announcement of Kamala Harris as his running mate, and the Democratic National Convention in full swing, now seems the perfect time to take a closer look at the recently released 2020 Democratic Party Platform on gun control.
What is immediately clear is the days of “we’re not coming for your guns” are long over. This platform, if adopted, means a lot more federal gun control and a lot more incentives for states to pass even more restrictive measures. It would also amount to a giant leap towards an eventual complete prohibition and/or confiscation.
Here are some of the “highlights” of the platform and what those positions really mean for you and your natural right to self-defense.
What they say: “Democrats will enact universal background checks…”
While this has long been a gun control tagline, universal background checks will do nothing to stop violent criminals from buying firearms. “Universal background checks” really means that if you want to pass your father’s shotgun down to your own child, you will have to go to a federally licensed dealer and ask the federal government’s permission to do so. Want to gift a gun to your spouse, or to a longtime friend? Same thing.
This won’t stop criminals from getting guns, but it will allow the federal government to nose its way into your private business.
Some states have already enacted similar laws (and we can all see how “effective” they have been in California), but many others have refused to do so. Those states won’t have that option if the Democratic Party has its way and federally mandates background checks on all transfers. Every interfamily and private transfer or sale will be federally monitored. And it won’t be a big step for those transfers to eventually be recorded.
In so many other instances we have recognized that the government has no place in our private lives—from the church to the bedroom—but for the Democratic Party, that doesn’t seem to apply to guns. Regulating the transfer of a shotgun from a father to a daughter is about as far away from the federal government’s power (and business) as you can get.
The goal here is simple—make it more difficult to buy guns. If they make it more difficult to legally buy guns it makes it harder for law-abiding citizens to exercise their constitutionally protected rights and it will drive more people to the illegal market.
What they say: “Democrats will…end online sales of guns and ammunition…”
This is the least thought out of the proposed policies. As many of you know, online gun sales are legally required to be sent to a federal firearms licensee for pickup, not to the individual purchaser’s address. The purchaser then must go pick up the firearm from the dealer and complete the already-federally mandated background check.
Ending online sales of firearms does absolutely nothing except make it much more difficult for law-abiding citizens to exercise their rights by limiting who individuals can buy from. But then again, that seems to be the goal.
And it’s no different when it comes to ammunition. While some states already (unconstitutionally) regulate the sale and purchase of ammunition, in most states you can buy just about whatever you want, whenever you want. Ending online sales won’t stop someone from going to their local sporting goods store and buying a thousand rounds if they want.
All the online sales ban would do is make it more difficult and more expensive for individuals to purchase the quantity and type of ammo they want. Stores will have to stock more varieties and a greater quantity of ammunition to meet market demand, increasing the cost of business and the price for consumers.
Yet again, this prohibition is all about erecting a roadblock in the way of you exercising your individual, natural, constitutionally protected rights. It’s not about “safety” or “common sense.”
What they say: “Democrats will ban the manufacture and sale of assault weapons and high capacity magazines.”
And now we’re back to made up terms. I won’t belabor the point that there is no federally-recognized (or even consistently state-recognized) definition of an “assault weapon” or “high-capacity magazine.” I’ll even skip over the fact that the semi-automatic platform is demonized simply because of its appearance and its effective employment as a self-defense tool, not because of any actual data.
What is clear here is this: If the government successfully bans the manufacture and sale of semi-automatic rifles and standard-capacity magazines, the next step will be to destroy the market wholesale. As we’ve seen play out in a number of states, once the government bans the manufacture and sale, they’ll then seek to enact further restrictions on ownership.
The difference between what the Democratic Party is seeking to do now, versus the Clinton-era “assault weapons” ban, is insidious. By relating this position to the previously enacted law, they claim they have the power to pass the newly drafted version, all under the guise of “we’ve done this before.” The difference? This one won’t expire.
The Clinton-era ban had a “sunset provision,” meaning it automatically expired after 10 years if it wasn’t renewed by Congress. It wasn’t. But the new proposal won’t give a future Congress that chance.
Without a sunset provision, the law would not only completely ban making and selling some of the most popular rifles and magazines in the United States, it would be a giant leap forward in the effort to regulate these weapons and magazines out of existence—and that’s the ultimate goal.
What they say: Democrats “will incentivize states to enact licensing requirements for owning firearms and ‘red flag’ laws…”
This may be the most dangerous of the proposed measures. Essentially, the party will seek to push additional federal funding to states that buy into the party platform and enact increasingly restrictive gun control measures. Basically, you pass gun control measures, you get federal tax dollars. Do not pass go. Collect $200.
The problem is that the courts have generally held Congress’s tax and spend power to be quite broad, regardless of the original meaning within the Constitution. Banning semi-automatic rifles and standard-capacity magazines will likely garner the most attention, but this policy is the one we should be most concerned about. Money drives change, and our money shouldn’t be spent on incentivizing and creating unconstitutional laws.
* * *
While there is much more to the platform, there is an insidious character that quickly becomes apparent. The party platform seeks to build on, and at times even parrot, long-running gun control narratives. But in reality, each of the measures is designed to make it increasingly more difficult for law-abiding Americans to buy, own, use, and sell firearms, magazines, and ammunition.
Each proposed measure seeks to fundamentally alter, and even end, gun ownership as we know it. What is abundantly clear is if the party succeeds in passing each of these proposed measures, the next logical step, based on party statements and what we’ve seen from the gun control movement in various states, is prohibition and/or confiscation.
This isn’t about “safety” or “common sense” anymore. This is about making it increasingly more difficult to be a gun owner, until they can make it impossible to be a gun owner.
The fight to defend the Republic and every American’s natural right to self-defense is far from over.
Cody J. Wisniewski (@TheWizardofLawz) is an attorney with Mountain States Legal Foundation. He primarily focuses on Second Amendment issues but is happy so long as he is reminding the government of its enumerated powers and constitutional restrictions.DONATE
Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.