There is a reason why William Barr, who is POTUS Donald Trump’s pick to become the next attorney general, is a favorite among the establishment crowd in Washington, D.C., and it likely has less to do with his legal credentials than his policy credentials: He’s not a big supporter of the founders’ vision of the Second Amendment.
At least, that’s what a number of gun rights organizations are saying.
In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the Firearms Policy Coalition said it was opposed to Barr’s confirmation as Attorney General on the grounds that he has previously voiced support for Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPO), or what are commonly referred to as “red flag laws,” as well as his opinion that “there is room for reasonable regulation” of gun rights under the Constitution.
That’s troubling because the language of the Second Amendment makes it clear that government has no authority to regulate firearms in the first place: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
The “well-regulated militia” part has been adequately carried out. Militias were formed as early as 1636 with the first arrival of colonists from Britain; they were formalized as the National Guard under the Militia Act of 1903.
But the “shall not be infringed” part of the Second Amendment has been routinely ignored by local, state, and federal lawmakers dating back to the National Firearms Act of 1938, which imposed federal licensing requirements one gun makers, gun importers, and retail gun sellers (the birth of the ‘FFL’ — Federal Firearms License). No other amendment requires Americans to get government permission in the form of a license in order to enjoy its protections.
As such, the coalition wants Barr’s confirmation to fail. As reported by Townhall, gun groups are specifically opposed to something Barr said win 1991 during his confirmation hearings to become President George H. W. Bush’s AG.
At one point, Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) asked Barr what he thought about legislation (the Brady Bill) requiring a five-day waiting period before purchasing a handgun and a background check, as well as the “DeConcini Amendment” (named after then-U.S. Sen. Dennis DeConcini, D-Ariz.), which sought to ban the sale of so-called “assault weapons” for a period of time. Barr said he would “support” both of those provisions provided they were attached to a “broader” crime bill that included stricter law enforcement penalties.
“This is a strong indicator that Mr. Barr, if confirmed, would not only maintain the DOJ’s troubling current litigation positions, but potentially even direct United States Attorneys and DOJ civil litigation counsel across the nation to take even more aggressively anti-rights, authoritarian positions in a wide variety of prosecutions and constitutional challenges. That is not the proper remedy for centuries of constitutional resistance and atrophy,” the coalition said in its letter to McConnell.
“We believe that the views expressed by Mr. Barr disqualify him from serving as the Nation’s highest law enforcement officer. The Constitution, the People of the United States, and law-abiding gun owners do not need another enemy.”
These views were also expressed by another pro-Second Amendment group, Gun Owners of America. The organization sent out an action alert to gun owners around the country and encouraged them to call their senators to let them know they oppose Barr’s appointment on those grounds.
“…[W]hen Barr openly spat on the right to keep and bear arms on Tuesday — and threatened to break down our doors in the middle of the night in order to confiscate our guns — well, that’s a problem for us,” GOA’s Executive Director, Erich Pratt, said in the alert. — J. D. Heyes
A version of this story first appeared at NewsTarget.
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