New Gun Control Laws Face a Tough Constitutional Test

Laura Shackelford
Shackelford: New Gun Control Laws Face a Tough Constitutional Test
Shackelford: New Gun Control Laws Face a Tough Constitutional Test

Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. speaks with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 5, 2013, after a closed-door committee vote on CIA director nominee John Brennan. The committee voted Tuesday to approve President Barack Obama's pick to lead the CIA after winning a behind-the-scenes battle with the White House over access to a series of top-secret legal opinions that justify the use of lethal drone strikes against terror suspects, including American citizens. (Credit: AP) 

Nearly everyone in Washington knows that Sen. Dianne Feinstein's fatally flawed gun grab bill has little support in Congress. When Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said that he would not include Sen. Feinstein's gun control bill in his package to be voted on by the full Senate later this spring, the air rushed out Sen. Feinstein's lead balloon.

But after the American Civil Liberties Union recently voiced "serious concerns" about the latest version of the democrat's gun control bill, essentially agreeing with the National Rifle Association and several Constitutional experts, it sent a strong signal that the knee jerk gun control legislation sponsored by many on the left, is doomed to fail.

A top lobbyist for the ACLU recently sided with the NRA and several Constitutional experts who have testified before Congress in saying that the latest democrat gun bill, which calls for universal back ground checks, is a threat to privacy and civil liberties. This collective reaction from both sides of the political spectrum is a considerable warning to both Capitol Hill lawmakers and state legislatures that have passed or are ready to approve sweeping new gun control legislation. Many of these new laws will see challenges in the U.S. or state Supreme Courts.

At issue is the national data base that would be created as part of a program mandating universal background checks. There is understandable concern regarding the scope of this new national record keeping and how government agencies could potentially misuse our personal data.

The left has virtually ignored the fundamental necessity to preserve our Constitution and our civil liberties while crafting laws to address gun violence.  During a recent Senate hearing on the Feinstein gun bill, Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York - a staunch Feinstein ally - scolded gun owners and Second Amendment supporters for overacting, vowing that our Second Amendment rights will never be threatened.

Sen. Schumer's promises ring hollow when it's clear that the efforts in Washington and in several states to pass strict gun bans and bans on gun accessories will not stop.  Hundreds of thousands of gun owners and Second Amendment advocates view this latest effort as an attempt to fracture the Second Amendment. Now a growing alliance of groups voicing legitimate concern will hopefully force lawmakers to consider all ramifications of new gun legislation. If left unchecked, laws pushing for mandatory gun registration under threat of gun confiscation, limits on ammunition, or walking back conceal carry laws could well be next.

Despite these latest warnings regarding the constitutionality of new gun laws, the relentless push by the gun phobic left has no end in sight. One bill calls for a national law requiring gun owners to purchase liability insurance for firearms or face fines of up to $10,000. Why not make Americans buy insurance before picking up a six pack or a "dangerous" power tool at the hardware store?  We will closely watch the political maneuverings in Washington as well as Colorado, Maryland, Connecticut, California, Delaware, and other states to see how long these aggressive gun control laws stand after they face unbiased Constitutional review.

Sen. Feinstein could have lead a productive discussion of gun crime by engaging gun owners, Constitutional experts, industry representatives, and gun control advocates to find realistic ways of keeping guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill. Instead Sen. Feinstein retread her flat tire, "Assault Weapons Ban" that was allowed to lapse by Congress after it produced no measurable reduction in crime.

It's time that national and state lawmakers listen to knowledgeable Constitutional experts who warn of the assault on our liberties and the Second Amendment contained in many of these new gun laws. Lawmakers in Congress and in state legislatures across America have now heard a bi-partisan warning that they cannot simply batter away at the Constitution and punish law-abiding citizens who have every right to own the guns and gun accessories of their choice.