By Joe Ragonese
There are 20 to 30,000 gun laws on the books, from federal, state, county and local governments. The myriad of laws makes it almost impossible to navigate through them, while remaining law abiding citizens. A case in point is Karen Mallard, a Democratic candidate for U.S. Congress from Virginia, who decided to demonstrate her anti-gun stance after the murder of 17 at a high school in Parkland, Florida.
This naïve disciple of progressivism decided to destroy her husband’s AR-15 rifle, and post the mutilation of the weapon on her Facebook page to win over Democrats for the mid-term elections. In doing so, she took a power saw and cut the barrel of the weapon down until there was almost no barrel left. Not knowing much about guns, although she claims to have been raised in a hunting family, she left the receiver intact, creating a short-barreled rifle, in violation of the Gun Control Act of 1968.
Some might remember Randy Weaver, from Naples, Idaho, who, in 1992, was tricked into selling a BATF informant two shotguns, but the informant would only pay if Weaver cut the barrels down below the legal length of 18 inches. After doing so, the informant took possession of the illegal shotguns and turned them over to the BATF. Weaver returned to his wife and children at their home on Ruby Ridge.
Weaver was arrested, even though he only possessed the weapons long enough to shorten the barrels, and then hand them over to the informant. He was arrested and charged with violations of the Gun Control Act of 1968 and went to court several times. Weaver, who admittedly did not like the federal government, decided not to go to any more court appearances, and the U.S. Marshals office was called in to take him into custody.
From August 21 to 31, 1992, the Marshals Office, the FBI, and local law enforcement laid siege to his residence. The siege began when one of the Marshals killed the family dog because he spotted the surveillance, only Weaver’s 14 year-old son, Samuel, was walking the dog at the time of its killing, and returned fire, killing Deputy Marshal William Degan. Sammy was killed during the ensuing exchange of gunfire.
The next day FBI snipers killed Weaver’s wife, Vicki, as she was holding their infant daughter in her arms. The standoff continued until U.S. Army Special Forces veteran Lieutenant Colonel James “Bo” Gritz drove into the yard and convinced Army veteran Weaver to surrender. Weaver was found not guilty in an Idaho court, mostly due to the horrific deaths of his wife and son during the arrest for a rather minor violation of the law.
Having relived a conservative’s brush with the BATF for shortening the barrel of a shotgun, let me remind you that Mallard just committed the very same offense. After illegally altering the weapon, she boxed up the short-barreled rifle, and transported it to the local police station, where she turned it over to them. Yet her act of altering a firearm into an illegal weapon, is no different than Randy Weaver committed. Let’s see what happens to Mallard.
But this isn’t about Mallard or Weaver, it is about the myriad of laws on the books that make it illegal to drive to New Jersey from Pennsylvania with a legally owned pistol in your glove compartment, even if you have a concealed carry permit. Some may remember the saga of Shaneen Allen, who was a licensed concealed carry permit holder in Pennsylvania, but the 27-year-old phlebotomist (lab tech who draws blood) from Philadelphia, travelled into New Jersey with a .380 Bersa Thunder in her purse. When stopped by police on the turnpike, she did as she was supposed to, and advised that she was a licensed CCW holder and armed. The New Jersey State Policeman arrested her because she did not have a permit in New Jersey; which she could not obtain.
In January of 2018, a Colorado woman who was visiting Albany, New York, obeyed the law by declaring that she had a pistol in her check-in luggage, as she boarded a plane home, and was arrested. CCW permit holder, 28-year-old Haley Leach did not possess a New York State pistol permit, because she was not a resident of New York and ineligible to obtain one, but that contradiction of the laws cannot be navigated through if one tries to obey the law; because if you obey one, you violate another. She is still under charges in New York, although released on bond and is now back in Colorado.
While the Northeastern states are the worst, places like Chicago and all of California regard possession of a handgun illegal except in extreme circumstances. While any CCW class will try to keep us abreast of all the gun laws, it is almost an impossibility. Recently the Governor of Florida, Rick Scott, signed a bill into law that increases the age limit for legal purchases of rifles from 18 to 21. The 18-year-old who bought their .22 caliber Henry pump rifle a week ago in St. Petersburg, Florida is today breaking the law of the state.
Every day new laws are enacted in jurisdictions across the nation, making it almost impossible to obey them because there are so many, many of which counteract one another, and they change (as gun grabbers say, close the loop-holes) so quickly that organizations like the United States Concealed Carry Association, whose job is to keep track of all new laws, cannot keep up.
In the wake of every mass shooting the hue and cry for more and stiffer gun control laws is shrieked across the land by every MSM media outlet and Hollywood actor. Friday three innocent women died in a mass murder at a California Veteran’s hospital, when a veteran suffering from PTSD and armed with some sort of rifle, opened fire. This falls only a few weeks after the mass murder at a high school in Parkland, Florida.
The gun grabbers are going to howl about the need for gun control, but this writer believes that the only gun control that congress should be contemplating is to sign into law the bill before the Senate that provides for reciprocity of CCW permits from one state to all the others. No more crossing state lines only to learn we are now criminals. What would this nation look like if we needed a driver’s license from every state that we drove through?
The Constitution is clear, “The right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed,” what part of those words do our legislators not understand? While pro-abortion liberals cry about laws that hinder a woman’s right to an abortion, no one is listening to the majority of us who believe in the Constitution (there is nothing in the document that gives a woman the right to an abortion, either written or implied) yet our congress ignores gun owners each and every legislative session.
Those of us who obey the law find ourselves in trouble because of the outrageous amount of laws on the books throughout America. Isn’t it time that a Constitutional right to keep and bear arms be granted to those of us who carry weapons to defend ourselves, our loved ones, and sometimes even liberal legislators too.
The Senate has sat on a House passed reciprocity bill for several months without taking any action. Congress must hear our message very clearly, come next November, and we must elect only those who stand firmly for the 2nd Amendment. When even Democrats break the law through simple ignorance of them, because there are so many and at odds with one another, it has to be time to fix the problem.