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A Big (But Perhaps Temporary) Win for the AR-15

Posted June 08, 2021

Jim Amrhein

By Jim Amrhein

A Big (But Perhaps Temporary) Win for the AR-15

In a ruling that has shocked the gun-haters and given hope to true-blue Americans who value the Second Amendment — and understand why it was created…

California federal judge Roger Benitez of San Diego (a 2003 appointee of George W. Bush) has struck down the Golden State’s 32-year ban on so-called “assault weapons,” including the AR-15. The 94-page ruling reads, in part:

“California may certainly conceive of a policy that a modern rifle is dangerous in the hands of a criminal, and that therefore it is good public policy to keep modern rifles out of the hands of every citizen. The Second Amendment stands as a shield from government imposition of that policy.”

Benitez — a consistent upholder of gun rights — also outraged enemies of liberty across the nation by likening the overwhelmingly popular AR-15 to a do-it-all “Swiss Army Knife” firearm that’s good for “both home and battle.” The fact that this is 100% true seems not to matter to critics of the decision, of the rifle itself, or of the Constitutional right to own and use it.

The catch in Benitez’s ruling is that it stipulates a 30-day stay before official implementation. This is allowing California’s Attorney General and other gun-phobic officials to seek a reversal in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals — also known as the “Ninth Circus” among many conservatives for its longtime activist liberal stance.

But even if this new California decision somehow holds up in the Ninth Circuit, which is perhaps slightly more of a possibility now than in years past (Trump appointments substantially changed the makeup of this court), there’s still an almost-guaranteed federal crackdown on firearms looming on the horizon.

Personally, I think the only thing the Biden administration is waiting on before they descend upon the Second Amendment like a plague of locusts is this fall’s scheduled Supreme Court hearing of its first gun-rights case in over a decade. That case involves the personal right to carry firearms outside the home.

And shortly after their decision in that case, I’m betting we’ll see sweeping federal gun-control measures, either way it goes.

If the ruling goes toward upholding or expanding carry rights, I think Biden and the Democrats will say the court is unduly influenced by far-right Trump appointees. Then they’ll attack handguns, semi-auto rifles, magazines, and more with everything in their legislative and executive arsenal — taxes, bans, restrictions, licensing, etc.…

And if the SCOTUS rules that there is no inherent right to carry firearms outside the home guaranteed by the Second Amendment (or any variation on that theme), Biden and the Democrats will use that as validation and justification for all the same gun control measures.

Point being, despite the California federal court decision last Friday…

Guns in general — and box-magazine center-fire semi-automatic rifles in particular — still have a formidable gauntlet to run in Biden’s America

Much as I would love to see the AR-15 and other similar semi-auto rifles be totally legal and virtually unrestricted for law-abiding American citizens everywhere, like our Constitution clearly intends...

That’s not what the tea leaves would suggest is likely to happen. I wrote about this at great length in March. Here’s part of what I said back then on this point:

Gun advocates like me can argue ‘til we’re blue in the face about how a minuscule number of ARs are used in gun crimes, as a percentage of their overall numbers.

We can talk about how, despite their bad-ass appearance, their actual ballistic capabilities are no different than dozens of more benign-looking hunting rifles.

We can remind everyone that for much of U.S. history, civilians had better and more technologically advanced small arms than did the military.

We can debate the far-from-conclusive numbers on whether or not Clinton’s 1994 “assault weapons” ban had any positive affect on gun crimes at all.

We can argue that the boom in narcissism, depression, and other mental illness bred by victim culture, social media addiction, and the self-esteem movement are what’s driving the increase in mass violence, rather than a particular kind of gun…

And we can fight the point on the obvious Constitutional merits — both the whole “shall not be infringed” thing, and the simple fact that our founders wanted a heavily armed citizenry as a check against government over-reach.

It’s all true, too. But none of it seems to matter anymore, if it ever did. All that matters in the struggle over gun rights today is perception and power.”

The crux of the issue hasn’t changed in the last three months, and I really can’t summarize it any better than that…

The bottom line is that in the country that democratized, liberalized, and legitimized their use more than any other nation in history, guns suddenly have a major public image problem. One that’s getting worse by the day, it seems.

Especially America’s most popular gun, the AR-15.

Part of this problem is ignorance. Most people don’t understand the distinction between semi-automatic and fully automatic weapons. Especially when so many left-wing politicians and Big Media anti-gun crusaders are intentionally mischaracterizing garden-variety semi-autos as “machine guns.”

That’s why I was so baffled to see clips of Tucker Carlson burning through rounds full-auto on heavy rotation for his Fox Nation special report on the AR-15 last month. That doesn’t dispel public misconceptions about ARs — it reinforces them.

But the biggest part of the image problem guns have nowadays is because of mass shootings. Even though less than a quarter of one percent of homicides fall into this category, both the frequency and severity of these incidents have dramatically increased under the Stars and Stripes in recent years…

And many people focus their ire over these incidents on the AR-15. That’s partially because of the lopsided media coverage of mass shootings involving the gun — and partially because regrettably, it has increasingly become a weapon of choice for mass carnage in America. Like it or not, that’s an undeniable fact.

Again, the overarching point is that in the U.S. today, policy doesn’t follow principle. It follows public opinion — which is both shaped by and reflective of political power.

So what can Americans do to preserve our Second Amendment right to the best, most popular, and most effective small arms?

I hate to say this — but aside from voting, peacefully protesting, and spreading the truth about guns preventing far more crime and death than they facilitate…

While reminding people (without getting canceled or de-platformed) that our individual right to self-defense isn’t subject to favorable statistics anyway…

There’s precious little we can do in the current political climate.

That’s tragic and infuriating, too. Because as I’ve outlined before, I believe the mass shooting problem is solvable, if we could just put politics aside. All it would take is these three things, in my opinion:

1) Universal concealed carry and the elimination of “gun free zones” — This will ensure that law-abiding Americans are always able to shoot back when some narcissistic craze-o decides to make himself immortal by shooting up a public place. Because the absolute certainty of instant and ignominious death in a hailstorm of hot, righteous lead is a powerful deterrent.

2) The active promotion of gun ownership and concealed carry — This will unleash the naturally heroic spirit of everyday Americans as a weapon against mass murder when it arises, not to mention against everyday crime in our towns and cities (where lawfully owned and carried guns are needed the most).

3) The suppression of shooter identities — I’m a firm believer in the First Amendment and the public’s “right to know.” But since infamy is clearly what’s driving a lot of mass shootings, I think revealing shooters’ identity and personal details could be classified as illegal speech that incites violence, even after the fact.

I truly believe that if we did just these three things — all of which I’m fairly certain are Constitutional — we’d see mass shootings in this country virtually disappear within just a few years. Without the loss of any of our rights, liberties, or choices with regard to firearms.

But again, the odds of these things actually happening in America’s current political environment are nil. Because Biden, radical Democrats, and their Big Media minions don’t want to preserve your rights. They want to take them away...

And to that end, they want guns to cause mass carnage, not stop or prevent it.

Realistically Yours,

Jim Amrhein

Jim Amrhein
Freedoms Editor, Whiskey & Gunpowder

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