From the January 2009 Idaho Observer:

The first shot fired in the Dem-Obama gun war

By Hari Heath

Even before the inauguration, the new 111th Congress has fired the opening salvo in Obama’s widely anticipated "War on Guns." Representative Bobby Rush (D-IL), with no cosponsors yet to sign on, introduced HR 45, the "Blair Holt’s Firearm Licensing and Record of Sale Act of 2009" on January 6, 2009. Once again, Congress has seen fit to play the "for-the-children" card to get traction from a tragedy, in this next proposed step towards victim disarmament. In its "Findings," Congress proposes that "interstate commerce" (the commerce clause) is the basis for the "authority" to launch this bill and that the tragic end to Blair Holt’s life is somehow related:

"Congress finds that: (1) the manufacture, distribution, and importation of firearms is inherently commercial in nature; (2) firearms regularly move in interstate commerce; (3) to the extent that firearms trafficking is intrastate in nature, it arises out of and is substantially connected with a commercial transaction, which, when viewed in the aggregate, substantially affects interstate commerce; (4) because the intrastate and interstate trafficking of firearms are so commingled, full regulation of interstate commerce requires the incidental regulation of intrastate commerce; (5) gun violence in the United States is associated with the majority of homicides, over half the suicides, and two-thirds of non-fatal violent injuries; and (6) on the afternoon of May 10, 2007, Blair Holt, a junior at Julian High School in Chicago, was killed on a public bus riding home from school when he used his body to shield a girl who was in the line of fire after a young man boarded the bus and started shooting."

HR 45 follows with, "It is the sense of the Congress that: (1) firearms trafficking is prevalent and widespread in and among the States, and it is usually impossible to distinguish between intrastate trafficking and interstate trafficking; and (2) it is in the national interest and within the role of the Federal Government to ensure that the regulation of firearms is uniform among the States, that law enforcement can quickly and effectively trace firearms used in crime, and that firearms owners know how to use and safely store their firearms."

Note here the use of the word "trafficking," as if guns were already an illegal, contraband substance and the attempt to commingle "interstate" with "intrastate." The Supreme Court has already ruled that the "commerce clause" relates only interstate matters—where articles in commerce actually cross state lines. Commerce within a state, i.e., "intrastate" has been declared off limits for congressional intervention.

So what does Congress plan to do anyway?

"Purposes: (1) to protect the public against the unreasonable risk of injury and death associated with the unrecorded sale or transfer of qualifying firearms to criminals and youth; (2) to ensure that owners of qualifying firearms are knowledgeable in the safe use, handling, and storage of those firearms; (3) to restrict the availability of qualifying firearms to criminals, youth, and other persons prohibited by Federal law from receiving firearms; and (4) to facilitate the tracing of qualifying firearms used in crime by Federal and State law enforcement agencies."

The "qualifying firearms," targeted by this act are "any handgun" and "any semiautomatic firearm that can accept any detachable ammunition feeding device," except "antiques."
Only "a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, licensed dealer, or licensed collector [per the proposed bill]" may possess a qualifying firearm after the applicable date. Those who possess firearms to be restricted under the act will have two years after its enactment to obtain a license authorizing you to keep (and safely store) them.

To obtain a firearm license, you "shall submit to the Attorney General" a passport-sized photograph, your name, address, date and place of birth; any other name that you ever used or by which you have ever been known; a clear thumb print; a statement that you are not a person prohibited from obtaining a firearm; a certification that you will keep any firearm owned safely stored and out of the possession of persons who have not attained 18 years of age; a certificate attesting to the completion of a written firearms examination, which shall test your knowledge and ability regarding––(A) the safe storage of firearms, particularly in the vicinity of persons who have not attained 18 years of age; (B) the safe handling of firearms; (C) the use of firearms in the home and the risks associated with such use; (D) the legal responsibilities of firearms owners, including Federal, State, and local laws relating to requirements for the possession and storage of firearms, and relating to reporting requirements with respect to firearms; and (E) any other subjects, as the Attorney General determines to be appropriate; an authorization to release to the Attorney General or an authorized representative of the Attorney General any mental health records pertaining to you; and that necessary element for voluntary compliance with an administrative regime: "The signature of the applicant."

This is a "shall issue" federal license that will be available to all who can and will comply with the requirements. Without a federal license, "It shall be unlawful" to sell, deliver, or otherwise transfer or receive a qualifying firearm.

The bill also creates a Federal Record of Sale System to track all firearms sales. To make this "legal," the bill strikes the second sentence of Section 926(a) of title 18, United States Code, eliminating the "Prohibition on Establishment of System of Registration." This bill seeks to end all private sales of qualifying firearms by making only licensed persons eligible to engage in such commerce. The infrequent transfer of a firearm by gift, inheritance, or any loan of a firearm for any lawful purpose for not more than 30 days between persons who are personally known to each other would not be prohibited by this bill.

What does this mean? So far, a lone Illinois representative is seeking to take advantage of a tragedy and flagrantly stretch the already adjudicated boundaries of the commerce clause. Representative Bobby Rush seeks to limit handgun and semi-auto gun ownership and sales to federally licensed people, absent any federal authority for such license and contrary to the declaratory and restrictive mandate of Article Two of the Bill of Rights which concludes with: "…shall not be infringed."

Rush also hopes to grant legal sanction for the already prohibited scheme of federal gun registration through a record of sale system. This plan, which reaches to handguns and semi-autos today can, of course, be expanded to cover other weapons later.

This is only the first shot fired in the new Dem-Obama-Gov’s War on Guns. Get ready people. It ain’t gonna be about "writin’ letters no more."

To the editor:

While your editorial "Guns & Stiff Upper Lips" was absolutely on target about the abject failure of victim disarmament in Great Britain, this is merely one more inconvenient fact to be ignored by the gun control crowd and their media lapdogs (TWT excluded, of course). For two decades I have argued the facts, logic, history and law of the Second Amendment with uncounted liberals without changing one mind.

These days, I do not waste my breath. When some pompous advocate of victim disarmament is impolitic enough to announce for gun confiscation in my presence, I merely nod my head, pause, and then apologize to him in advance that I will be forced to kill any number of people, including perhaps him, to maintain my liberty if his policy is adopted.

I point out that in order to get my guns he will have to kill me, my family and all my friends. I further observe that if even ten percent of American gunowners feel the way I do, he’s going to have to kill upwards of 8.5 million of his fellow citizens to implement his proposal, and that doesn’t count all the gun-grabbing pukes like him that we’ll kill in righteous self-defense before we meet our Maker, and we intend to make that more than a one-to-one ratio.
I conclude by asking them, "Is gun control worth your life, and that of millions of others? If not, shut up. But if so, you’d better arm yourself. You’re gonna NEED a gun."

"MV" in Alabama

(Originally published as a letter to The Washington Times editor and floating around on the Internet, the commentary above presents perhaps the only winning argument one can make to government gun control advocates).