Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Circular definition: See "Definition, circular".

Frank Lautenberg hasn't had an honest job in years; he's been suckling at the government teat since the current president was a frosh in undergrad. After metastasizing from a mere Port Authority commissar to a senator in 1982, he voted about like you'd expect a Democrat from New Jersey to vote, being generally in favor of taxes and of bribing lower-income voters with other people's money.

He has a special place in the hearts of gun owners, due to a harmless-sounding proposal that turned into a nightmare of ex post facto misapplication: the "Lautenberg amendment". The idea seemed noble: People who beat up on their spouses probably shouldn't own guns. The writing and execution were so ambiguous that people lost jobs as armed security guards or police officers over ten year old misdemeanor convictions due to purely consensual Budweiser-fueled knuckle jousts with their brother-in-law over the possession of the TV remote on Thanksgiving.

Having nearly single-handedly saved America from the scourge of gun-wielding wife beaters, Frank is now going to protect us from terrorists. His latest hobby horse is that nobody on the government's double-secret "Terrorist List" should be allowed to buy a firearm. If passed, that means it's "Sorry, Sam, no Daisy Red Ryder carbine action air rifle with a compass in the stock and this thing which tells time for you."

And who goes on the terrorist watch list? Well, that's still a secret, see, but it's a good kind of secret now, not the bad kind like it was when it was Bush's secret. Although given the current administration's tendency to broaden the definition of "terrorist" to include categories like "military veteran" and "Ron Paul voter", one can foresee certain future problems. If one gets to redefine "terrorist" as "person to whom we don't sell guns", as opposed to "person who commits actual, you know, acts of terror", then this War on a Noun thing gets a lot easier.

This is Frank's second try at linking the NICS check to the Watch List, the first one having sputtered and died a couple of years back. Luckily, like most anti-gun legislation at the moment, Lautenberg's proposal is getting about as much traction as a '66 Mustang with bald snow tires on a hot buttered skillet. But it still doesn't hurt to let them know you're keeping an eye on 'em...


PN NJ said...

Lautenberg's certainly a jerk, but he doesn't need a job. He was one of the co-founders of ADP, a large payroll processing firm, many years ago. He's a prime example of a rich Democrat with too much time on his hands. Furthermore, senility is not considered a disqualification for most politicians.

Turk Turon said...

I've read that it was common practice back in the 1970's and 80's for a suspect to plead guilty to "misdemeanor spousal battery" or whatever; it was a misdemeanor and a fine of only $50 or $100, compared to thousands of bucks to hire a lawyer and contest the charges. Usually when you plead guilty, you give up all rights of appeal or new trial. There are plenty of people who, being of diminished capacity, pled guilty and were sentenced to prison, then stayed there even though new evidence had come to light proving their innocence.

Lautenberg's law is clearly retroactive punishment and I hope that it will be challenged "post-Heller".

Meanwhile, his newest offering is a left-wing "black list" and must not become law.

wv: shant

dave said...

So...let's take a look at the logic here:

These people have no other disqualifying factors, so they're perfectly eligible to buy a gun.

The "watch list" is secret--for reasons of Nashunal Sekurity, we can't tell you if you're on it.

We're going to deny otherwise-qualified people the opportunity to buy a gun.

Seems to me that--in addition to violating the whole presumption of innocence and due process things--it becomes a five-minute process (five days in California) to find out if you're on the watch list.

Of course, the next step will be to take away the right to appeal a NICS denial to close the leak.

Baker M. Romeo said...

I lost it at "hot buttered skillet."

As the kids say: "lolz"


Russ said...

Fear, it's judo. If it passed then it's a showdown in the courts over states secrets vs rights to bear arms. This guy wins no matter what the decision is. Limit the second ammendment or hole the rationale of a lot of behind the curtain stuff. It appears to be a very serious threat.

Anonymous said...

Tam, you forgot that cute little ditty Lautenburg slipped into Reagan's Firearms owners Protection Act. That put a cap on the number of class 3 toys on the Federal Roster, driving the price of transferable full-autos through the roof. who's got the tar and feathers? D.C. ain't that far.....

HTRN said...

Anon, that was Lautenberg, that was Hughes, also from the State of New Jersey, hence why 922(o) is called the "Hughes Ammendment"

IZinterrogator said...

I love how Lautenberg touts this as a way to protect us from terrorists, when the Lautenberg amendment denies military personnel who pleaded down the ability to bear government-owned arms in defense of the nation, which forces them to be discharged from service.