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RECENT WAVE OF STATE-LEVEL GUN-CONTROL SCHEMES--WAS THIS A PUNT FROM THE WHITE HOUSE OR A STRATEGIC MOVE?

An alarming trend is rearing its ugly head as we are seeing increasing attempts at state-level aimed firearms bans and confiscations, as well as renewal of previous gun-control attempts. We are investigating how this, the influence of recent massacres, and the possibility that the president's action could have been a catalyst to set in motion a new wave of state-level gun control.

Firearms-owning and liberty-minded citizens in a number of states are now back on the defensive against renewed attempts to infringe upon their firearms civil rights. Adding to this is the highly publicized gun-control rally on March 24. Despite the vastly exaggerated claims about the size of the event and its true nature, the deceptively named and hyper-partisan "March For Our Lives" undoubtedly will influence some hearts and minds due to its oversaturation in the mainstream media. All of this in response to the two most recent mass shootings, the Las Vegas massacre of October 1, 2017, and the Parkland, Florida, school shooting. As we all well know, in addition to their ongoing efforts to chip away at our civil rights, the leftists/democrat party and their allies elsewhere in the establishment exploit periodic tragedies as a matter of standard practice. They are now invigorated like never before. Considering that these most recent tragedies were the highest fatalities for a mass shooting and second highest for a school shooting in U.S. history, the antigun forces see this as a golden opportunity to push their agenda like never before, despicable and unscrupulous as ever.

But, adding to this gun-control maelstrom is a chain of events in recent months that we have been tracking. This includes how the president has influenced the situation and a series of strong statements, proposals, reversals, and changes of venue for what and by whom any new firearms related legislation would be pursued. Gun owners across the country are alarmed.

Firstly, within hours of the Las Vegas shooting, it was pretty clear that new control would be pursued by the Trump Administration. Less than ten months earlier, both the White House and Congress rolled back some Obama-era restrictions on firearms purchases. However, beginning with the televised February 28 White House bipartisan roundtable with lawmakers, President Trump began to make some surprising (and even shocking) statements regarding a willingness to accept certain new gun control measures, as well as some mocking of certain lawmakers for being "afraid" or "petrified" of the NRA. Following the meeting, he met with the NRA leadership for a second time that week on March 1, then announcing three minutes after NRA-ILA's Chris Cox did so on twitter: "Good (Great) meeting in the Oval Office tonight with the NRA!"

While this was going on, the first major "post-massacre" gun control was on its way to becoming law. The knee-jerk reaction and'a rush to "do something" resulted in a major setback for gun rights in Florida when Governor Scott signed into law, on March 9, a ban on "bumpstocks," firearm purchasing age-hike to 21, as well as other infringing aspects of the-law. Anyone seeing the intent and letter of that law can see the hand of democrat party anti-gun groups in its crafting throughout that process. The NRA immediately challenged some parts of the law in court beginning the same day.

Then, on March 11, following the combination of the school shooting in Florida three weeks earlier, the White House roundtable, and the private meetings with the NRA, the White House rolled out its set of proposals, which were devoid of most of what the president had stated at the roundtable would be under consideration. Much in that list of White House proposals was what the NRA has been lobbying for, some that his base has wanted, and much looking nothing like what he had stated at the roundtable. Once again, many on all sides were stunned or at least confused by the shift in direction. Interestingly, the new Florida law contained several of the provisions that the president had initially stated that he would consider, but then backed away from.

Next in this chain of events came very early the next morning, via twitter. Perhaps the most significant communique yet was the president signaling that certain proposals discussed at the roundtable he would not take action on, leaving it to the states to decide for themselves. He had stated after his proposals were revealed the day before that he did not think that Congress would be able to come to agreement on changing the law for the minimum age to buy a firearm, via this telltale tweet: ".... On 18 to 21 Age Limits, watching court cases and rulings before acting. States are making this decision. Things are moving rapidly on this, but not much political support (to put it mildly)."

Was this a "punt" or handoff to the states? Has this shift away from federal action served as the "launch code" for anti-gunners at the state level to launch a renewed quest for gun control? If so, we are already seeing the ugly ramifications of this. Several states have elements within them moving to enact more gun control, much of which is from the same template and specifics attempted elsewhere for years and/or that were once part of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban that expired in September 2004. How alarming is this?

So, how do the president's most recent actions square with his campaign promises, his stated intentions, and his professed allegiance to gun owners?

On the one hand, consider that he has verbally come out stronger than any president in memory on behalf of the Second Amendment, self-defense, and other firearms civil liberties. On his 99th day in office, President Trump stated to the NRA, "Let me make a simple promise to every one of the freedom-loving Americans in the audience. As your president, I will never, ever infringe on the right of the people to keep and bear arms. Never, ever. Freedom is not a gift from government. Freedom is a gift from God." He states that he owns and has carried a self-defense handgun as well as has had a concealed carry permit in New York City for many years.

But, does he have latent roots and some pre-politician inclinations towards accepting some gun control, as reflected in his older positions or statements, that make him amenable to some of this crafty PR-firm phrased "common sense gun control" and more recent knee-jerk reactions manifesting as ludicrous, implausible schemes? Have the Democrats found some "chink in his armor" or otherwise manipulated the president on some vulnerability or being open to certain gun-control measures? The close proximity of notorious anti-gunner and hard leftist Dianne Feinstein to the president at the roundtable made many of us very uncomfortable, wondering "why was she even allowed in that meeting?" Her reaction was obviously gleeful in response to his telling them to add her previous gun-control inputs to a new bill. Why would such a staunch defender of the Second Amendment permit one of its enemies to have any input at all about firearms freedoms? Some are now asking: is the president truly a defender of the Second Amendment and firearms-related civil rights?

Or, does he have a yet-to-be-disclosed clever plan? Could this be strategic maneuvering, considering his decades of mastery as a deal maker? Has the NRA, who apparently has his ear and whose senior leadership met with him before and then three days after his February White House roundtable, been giving him strategic advice or specific suggestions on acceptable compromises? What we do know is that we once again have our rights under assault, and must react yet again to the onslaught of the anti-gun leftists, which includes a new wave of state level campaigns to further restrict and even eliminate firearms ownership. Has a "green light" been given that sets in motion more robust assaults on firearms civil rights at the state level? Will the federal government turn a blind eye to a federal civil right to be infringed upon even more at the state level?

Whatever the case, despite the previous and very strong declarations by the president in defense of firearms freedoms and the Second Amendment, American firearms owners should realize that this is not the time to let our guard down or assume that we are safe from the maniacal gun-grabbing ploys of the leftists. That could be catastrophic. Now is the time for even more vigilance and fighting the good fight for our civil liberties without relent.

America is now seeing a serious trend of renewed gun-control efforts being perpetuated on a compounding number of states since last October's Las Vegas massacre and the Parkland, Florida, school shooting in February.

The onslaught has spread into the state legislatures and the anti-gunners are gaining ground at an alarming rate.

A growing number of states are either in the midst of, or looking at a future of new or renewed quests at more egregious gun control than ever. Following Florida's March 9 signing of various gun-control measures into law, here is the short list of the status of this new wave of state-level gun control:

1. Oregon is in the midst of a battle of its own over what could be some of the most draconian gun control in the nation, ballot initiative Petition 43. This is in addition to the first round of knee-jerk gun-control bills being signed by its governor in early March, the first new gun law in the country since the Florida shootings. But, draconian proposals in play seek, among other things, to ban any pistol that is capable of accepting a magazine that holds more than 10 rounds (not just the magazines, the entire pistol), rifles that can accept a magazine and that have certain other "assault weapons" features, most semiautomatic shotguns, on all magazines over 10 rounds. They are proposing a 120-day time limit to either register their firearms, turn them in, destroy them, or transfer them out of state. Violators would instantly become felons. Upon detailed examination of the entire proposal filed with the Oregon Secretary of State's office on March 19, this ballot initiative would essentially ban entire classes of firearms and the majority of self-defense firearms. It has the weight and financial resources of several anti-gun organizations, including the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence and Ceasefire. They are already in a race to get this on the ballot by July 6.

2. Following the Las Vegas massacre and on the fifth anniversary of the Sandy Hook school shooting, democrats in Delaware proposed HB 300, which includes a ban on bump stocks and trigger cranks, raising the minimum age to buy a gun, as well as other gun control that passed its House in early March and is on the way through its Senate and to a governor that promises to sign that, plus attempt to ban "assault-style rifles."

3. Massachusetts passed a ban on bump stocks in November 2017, being the first state to do so. In April, we are sending a writer to the headquarters of its state-level gun rights group, Gun Owners Action League (GOAL), to get the ground truth on what could be next.

4. New Jersey's governor signed into law on January 16th a ban on bump stocks and other firearms accessories and components, with several penalties for non-compliance.

5. The state of Washington is moving quickly towards a ban on bump stocks and similar devices, with its governor signing a law on March 6 that goes into effect July 1 and bans possession of them beginning in July 2019. Additional gun control is going through its legislature now.

6. Rhode Island began its bump-stock ban initiatives immediately after the Las Vegas massacre, with its U.S. congressmen and senators acting at the federal level, while Governor Gina Raimondo signed an executive order to establish new policy regarding "red flag" regulations for gun possession.

7. Illinois has a set of sweeping gun control bills in play. Its House passed a series of bills that are moving forward, including HB 1465 (raises age to purchase), HB1467 (bump-stock ban, trigger-crank ban, and others), HB 1468 (72hour waiting period for assault-rifle sales), HB 1469 (ban on high-capacity magazines and body armor), and HB 1273 / SB 1657 (Gun Dealer Licensing Act). However, on March 13, Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed a draconian gun-dealer licensing bill, SB 1657, that would have not only been redundant to federal regulation, but could have had a crushing effect on licensed gun dealers in the state.

8. Connecticut, California, Indiana, and New York are in varying degrees joining the bandwagon of new gun control, with most of these also pursuing "red flag" laws or regulations.

9. Bad news broke from Vermont on the afternoon of Friday, March 30. Both houses of the Vermont state legislature passed the first of several initiatives from the anti-gunners. Its Governor said that he supports the new bill and will sign it and two other gun-control measures coming right behind it, now in its legislature. The bill that just passed there is VERY bad, not just for Vermont, but for the nation, as some mirrorimage gun control is also being attempted in Oregon, Washington, and elsewhere. The bill raised the age for gun purchases to 21 and bans magazines holding more than 10 rounds for rifles and 15 rounds for pistols, as well as bump stocks and similar devices. This is especially worrisome, being that Vermont has a combination of some of the least gun regulation, lowest crime, and least restrictive concealed carry in the nation. Could it be that the anti-gunners are going for the easiest targets first, where they can expedite anti-gun legislation more quickly, so that other states will follow? Vermont is a very symbolic target, as it has been touted for so long as a pro-gun state despite its liberal, socialist, and libertarian elements, most of whom are part-time residents, retirees, or transplants from New York and New Jersey (Senator Bernie Sanders is one of them--not originally from Vermont, but from Brooklyn, New York). Though it may be a small state with a miniscule population, the impart and impact of this could be extensive. The president of Gun Owners of Vermont is planning to sue over this new law as soon as it is signed.

10. Seven states and Washington, D.C. have "assault weapons bans." There is much movement across the nation by affiliated anti-gun groups (democrats) on new initiatives.

On March 10, the Department of Justice submitted to the OMB a proposed regulation "to clarify that the National Firearms and Gun Control Act defines 'machinegun' to include bump stock type devices."

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/departmentjustice-submits-notice-proposed-regulation- banning-bump-stocks

What has not been missed by us, is that we already know that national-level and state-level anti-gun groups and their lobbyists conducted extensive coordination and collusion on these initiatives, as well as cherry-picked previous attempts at the federal level and in other states, whether it has worked or not. Much of the language in these various state-level bills is "carbon copy" both from the recent attempts (i.e. bump stocks, age limit) and/or much older legislation attempted or completed at the federal level (AWB and others more recent).

The commonalities of all of these new anti-gun initiatives since the Las Vegas massacres are: (1) a focus on banning bump stocks and/or "assault weapons" (to include high-capacity firearms), with nearly all of the specifics from the Assault Weapons Ban of 1994 finding their way all or in part into some state's proposals, and (2) the states appear to be moving either more quickly or with new initiatives since the White House's signaling a shift of its intentions in early March. Most of the legislation listed above had begun before the president's March 12 Tweet, yet nearly all of it bears the hallmarks of another coordinated attack on our rights.

Perhaps the strategy of the firearms-civil-rights-assaulting left/democrats, rather than attempt at the federal level, where most anti-gun legislation would be dead on arrival, is to employ at the state level the guerilla-warfare principle of "death by a thousand cuts."

Will these state-level gun-control initiatives take hold in furtherance of the "slippery slope" of the anticivil-libertarian democrats and statists? Or, will the combination of RKBA efforts at the grassroots, state-level, and national-level associations fend off this new wave of attacks?

We will know the answer by any or all of the following future developments:

(1) How the previous and recent state-level guncontrol schemes play out, as some could fail as have others in the past. (Though, with the catalyst of the more recent massacres and democrat party media blitz, we are already having setbacks, such as in Florida.)

(2) The upcoming NRA Annual Meeting & Exhibits, where the president and the NRA's leadership will both have to face its immense membership (and the TV cameras) amidst this tumult.

(3) The possibility that there will be more massacres before now and the mid-term elections. Looking at the history and frequency of these horrific events, and with most years over the past 25 having no fewer than five school shootings per year, it is possible that we will see more this year, while these various gun-control initiatives are going through the state legislatures and courts (note: there were 26 school shootings in 2013 alone).

(4) Finally, all of this will increasingly begin to be seen through the lens of politics, specifically, the upcoming 2018 midterm elections, the Trump Administration's successes versus deluge of destabilization by the "destroy Trump media," and whatever happens with the Special Counsel and other scandals that could throw off the "headspace and timing" of public opinion.

We are now analyzing this alarming trend and talking to activists at the state level to see where this is all going. The coming months will tell us a lot about the direction of firearms freedoms in America. Though many do not want to doubt the president and his administration just yet, we are also mindful that many are either not mindful of the lessons of history and/or act with aims of political expedience or possibly upon being given bad advice.

This is a matter of grave concern to liberty-loving Americans, as the Second Amendment, our firearms civil rights, and our ability to defend ourselves against harm and tyranny has cost us much blood and treasure to earn and keep. For gun owners nationwide who are not yet worried, they should be. This is not the time to let your guard down. Now, more than ever, we must keep fighting the good fight.

Columnist:

Having written previously in Firearms News and in our special editions of Be Ready! magazine, John Peterson is a former U.S. Army Special Forces soldier and professional instructor. He was a full-time instructor at the Smith & Wesson Academy and Sig Sauer Academy for three years each, followed by a tour in the war zone as a Special Forces soldier, then at the Department of Homeland Security, before becoming a contractor supporting the war effort, some of that overseas. Before all of this, he was a private investigator and served in the U.S. Army's Infantry under President Reagan. He has taught more than 60 types of courses and at 56 conferences to date, mostly in firearms, as well as in tactics, driving, antiterrorism, intelligence, and surveillance. He was heavily involved in the sniper community for over a decade. He is now chairman of a developing patriotic organization www.americanpreserva tionalliance.org. As an ardent defender and absolutist of the Second Amendment and a combat veteran, he is a life member of the NRA, Second Amendment Foundation, GOAL of Massachusetts, Gun Owners of New Hampshire, IACSP, Special Forces Association, Special Operations Association, and the VFW, as well as a member of the American Conservative Union, Heritage Foundation, USCCA, ITOA, NTOA, and several instructor and security associations. Find him at @jtfpeterson on Twitter / Instagram / Ricochet / Gab / AR15.com.
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Title Annotation:PETERSON ON GUNS, FREEDOM, & VIGILANCE--COMMENTARY, ANALYSIS, AND INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING ON ISSUES CONCERNING GUN OWNERS
Author:Peterson, John
Publication:Firearms News
Geographic Code:1U5FL
Date:Jun 1, 2018
Words:3333
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