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Gun Law Update: Brady Backs Barack

Will Anti-Gun Group's Endorsement Help Or Hurt?

Anti-Gun-Rights Candidate Could Gut "Heller" Decision

Now that Barack Obama has received the endorsement of the Brady Campaign gun-control group, will the Supreme Court's findings in the D.C. gun-ban "Heller" case matter?

That's the question experts are asking in the wake of Obama's 11th-hour support from America's leading gun-ban advocates. The late-date endorsement was conspicuously absent from most large news outlets. Those groups have repeatedly claimed that anti-gun-rights agendas were a key issue in the Democrat election defeats of 2000 and 2004.

"Obama publicly supported Washington D.C.'s total gun ban until the Supreme Court's 'Heller' case voided it," says Alan Korwin, co-author of "The Heller Case: Gun Rights Affirmed," which was just released (see below for news-media review copies). "His opposition to gun rights is well known and carefully documented in the new book," he said. Obama swiftly reversed his position after the High Court found that gun rights belong to individuals, a point also documented in the new book.

"Before the ban was overturned, Mr. Obama supported the position of the Court's dissenters -- that gun bans are fine and the Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights does not protect people, it protects 'collective rights' of states," Korwin notes. That position had little to support it in the historical record, but was favored by people seeking to ban firearms from public hands. The "collective rights" theory, a recent creation, was dismissed with ridicule by the Court (equating it to Alice in Wonderland). The Amendment itself speaks of "the security of a free state," and "the right of the people."

As the first book released about the landmark gun-rights decision, "The Heller Case: Gun Rights Affirmed" describes the events leading up to the case, and precisely what the Court said, word-for-word and in plain English. If Obama follows the Court's decree, the civil rights of the general public should be fairly well safeguarded with respect to owning and using firearms.

If he instead follows the lead of his endorsers in the Brady Campaign, gun rights as America has known them for more than two centuries could easily end. His campaign positions so far suggest the latter, if he is elected. His widely available voting record is 100% consistent -- voting for every restriction on law-abiding gun use, and against every proposed protection for innocent individuals.

Virtually all recent gun-law proposals fall into those two categories -- bans on honest ownership and rights, or support for honest ownership and rights. New laws targeting criminals are rare, since every imaginable criminal activity with guns is already against the law and carries severe penalties.

The only thing left, according to leading experts, is to ban guns for non-criminals, a policy choice adopted in some circles. Gun bans on criminals have had embarrassingly little effect on street gangs, the drug war and career criminals in general. Facing abject failure of crime-related social policies, and unable to disarm criminals, many politicians are turning instead to civil-disarmament schemes. Working against this trend, "Disarm Criminals First" says one campaign slogan in the Marksmanship Movement.

The three publicly announced elements of the Brady-Obama anti-gun positions include 1- Ban the freedom to sell firearms from one innocent person to another, euphemistically called the "gun-show loophole"; 2- Allow all law enforcement officers to fish through gun-dealer records looking for paperwork or other violations, and compile data as they see fit, euphemistically known as "repealing the Tiahart Amendment" (which prevents them from doing so currently); and 3- permanently ban an enormous list of perfectly legal firearms and accessories based on looks, names and operating characteristics, euphemistically called an "assault-weapons ban."

First, knowledgeable observers know assault is a type of behavior, not a type of hardware, plus the ban seeks to outlaw all semiautomatic firearms. Second, it's already completely illegal for criminals to buy firearms under any circumstances, so the proposed private-sale ban would only affect innocent citizens. And third, the Tiahart Amendment protects the innocent from government registries and abuse, so all three proposals, as noted above, have virtually no effect on stopping crime, but do crush freedoms Americans currently enjoy.

A long wish list of other gun-freedom repeals have been previously announced by Brady, Obama and their supporters, but have not shown up in the candidate's platform yet. See some of them here:

and many more here:

including (as listed during the Clinton administration):


1. National Licensing of all handgun purchases.

2. Licenses for Rifle and Shotgun owners.

3. State Licenses for ownership of firearms.

4. Arsenal Licenses (5 guns and 250 rounds of ammunition).

5. Arsenal License Fees (at least $300.00, with a cap of $1,000.00).

6. Limits on Arsenal Licensing (None in counties with populations of more than 200,000).

7. Requirement of Federally Approved Storage Safes for all guns.

8. Inspection License. (Gun safe licenses, yearly fee for spot inspections).

9. Ban on Manufacturing in counties with a population of more than 200,000.

10. Banning all military style firearms.

11. Banning Machine Gun Parts or parts which can be used in a Machine gun.

12. Banning the carrying a firearm anywhere but home or target range or in transit from one to the other.

13. Banning replacement parts (manufacturing, sale, possession, transfer, installation) except barrel, trigger group.

14. Elimination of the Curio Relic list.

15. Control of Ammunition belonging to Certain Surplus Firearms. (7.62x54R and .303).

16. Eventual Ban of Handgun Possession.

17. Banning of Any ammo that fits military guns (post 1945).

18. Banning of any quantity of smokeless powder or black powder which would constitute more than the equivalent of 100 rounds of ammunition.

19. Ban the possession of explosive powders of more than 1 kg. at any one time.

20. Banning of High Powered Ammo or Wounding ammo.

21. A National License for Ammunition.

22. Banning or strict licensing of all re-loading components.

23. National Registration of ammunition or ammo buyers.

24. Requirements of special storage safe for ammunition and licensing.

25. Restricting Gun Ranges to counties with populations less than 200,000.

26. Special Licensing of ranges.

27. Special Range Tax to visitors. ($85.00 per visit per person).

28. Waiting period for rentals on pistol ranges.

29. Banning Gun Shows.

30. Banning of military reenactments.


Ban of all clips holding over 6 bullets.

Elimination of the Dept. of Civilian Marksmanship.

Ban on all realistic replica and toy guns (including "air soft" and paintball).

The right of gun-violence victims to sue, with financial assistance from government programs, the gun manufacturers.

Taxes on ammo, dealers, guns, licenses to offset medical costs to society.

The eventual ban on all semi-automatics regardless of when made or caliber.


Mike Duncan

Incrementalism is part of their process....Asking the NRA or gun owners to compromise with these people is like asking a gazelle to compromise with a lion!

Armando Horsey

What does a ban mean for those who are already in possession of ...? I have been told that "assault weapons" have already been banned in Maryland. There is a lot of speculation and misinformation being circulated. Is there a place where gun owners can go to find updates for their local jurisdictions. With all of the hoopla about Obama, I don't necessarily trust what I hear from the NRA.

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About the Author

  • Freelance writer Alan Korwin is a founder and past president of the Arizona Book Publishing Association. With his wife Cheryl he operates Bloomfield Press, the largest producer and distributor of gun-law books in the country. Here writing as "The Uninvited Ombudsman," Alan covers the day's stories as they ought to read. Read more.

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