Most gun owners understand (and appreciate) the United States Constitution. We know that attacks on our rights will continue. Our Founding Fathers clearly understood that the protections afforded by the Constitution should not be altered on a whim or in the heat of some fleeting social controversy. As a result, amending the Constitution is not an easy process; it requires serious consensus.
According to the Federal Register: “The U.S. Constitution provides that an amendment may be proposed either by the Congress with a two-thirds majority vote in both the House of Representatives and the Senate or by a constitutional convention called for by two-thirds of the State legislatures. A proposed amendment becomes part of the Constitution as soon as it is ratified by three-fourths of the States.”
Note that the U.S. Constitution has only been amended 17 times since the adoption of the Bill of Rights in 1791.
However, state constitutions are a different matter. They can have a more immediate and direct effect on our lives — and not always for the better. More importantly, they can be far more easily changed than the U.S. Constitution. The forces intent on restricting (or even eliminating) our rights have taken notice of this.
A perfect example is what is happening here in Florida, where there is a movement to institute yet another “assault weapons” ban.
With more than a million concealed weapons license holders (and millions more gun owners) in Florida, gun control has been extremely unpopular. But Florida, like many states, allows a “ballot initiative” which bypasses the Legislature and puts the question directly to the voters. Anti-gun activists are attempting to have this one on the ballot for the 2020 election.
Firearms-related initiatives are often intentionally worded to be deceptive and/or extremely misleading since the authors know the public is woefully ignorant about guns and violence issues. As a constitutional lawyer friend says, they basically use “mob rule — forcing us to fight back in court challenges” after the fact. Such court challenges are also very expensive, with no guarantee that the courts will even consider the matter.
The Florida proposal defines assault weapons as being “semi-automatic rifles and shotguns capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition at once.” And while it would ban possession of the weapons, it would include “an exemption for people who had the weapons before the ban went into effect but would add a registration requirement” [emphasis ours]. Here again, yet another “back-door” means to introduce gun registration.
You and I know that such laws can never save a single life. But what they can do is turn millions of innocent citizens into criminals overnight. Worse, as part of the Florida State Constitution, the new amendment will undoubtedly be used as a basis for even more onerous restrictions.
True, the United States Supreme Court has made some rulings that are more in keeping with the actual meaning of the Constitution, especially when it comes to the Second Amendment. But they have recently refused to even hear some critical cases arising out of some highly questionable state laws.
The bottom line is that wherever you live, it is imperative that you stay informed of such proposals and how they impact your rights. Then get involved. Call, write and email your legislators, and your governor, over and over.
The rights you save may be your own.