The story starts with the second amendment and how the founders never could have envisioned the future industrialization of weapon manufacturing in the United States.

The year was 1791, December 15 to be exact, where the Congress at that time passed an amendment called Amendment 2. It guaranteed that individuals could own guns to protect their family and homes. The United States was a different place at that time, and the weapons designed in 1791 are not comparable to the power of modern-day war machines.

The 2nd Amendment says the following:

“A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of the free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed”.

In 1990 the Hon. Warren E. Burger, a conservative Republican appointed chief justice of the United States by President Richard Nixon, wrote following his retirement:

“The Constitution of the United States, in its Second Amendment, guarantees a "right of the people to keep and bear arms". However, the meaning of this clause cannot be understood except by looking to the purpose, the setting and the objectives of the draftsmen ... People of that day were apprehensive about the new "monster" national government presented to them, and this helps explain the language and purpose of the Second Amendment ... We see that the need for a state militia was the predicate of the "right" guaranteed; in short, it was declared necessary in order to have a state military force to protect the security of the state”.

Then in 1991 he also wrote:

“If I were writing the Bill of Rights now, there wouldn't be any such thing as the Second Amendment ... that a well-regulated militia being necessary for the defense of the state, the peoples' rights to bear arms. This has been the subject of one of the greatest pieces of fraud – I repeat the word 'fraud' – on the American public by special interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime”.

Which special interest groups did he mean? Why that would be the NRA and a few other lesser ones. All of them are associated with the Republican political paradigm.

Then in 1986 the lobbyists got involved and “convinced” the Senators that:

The Firearm Owners Protection Act was passed by Congress. The law mainly enacted protections for gun owners — prohibiting a national registry of dealer records, limiting ATF inspections to once per year (unless there are multiple infractions), softening what is defined as “engaging in the business” of selling firearms, and allowing licensed dealers to sell firearms at “gun shows” in their state. It also loosened regulations on the sale and transfer of ammunition. 

When Reagan was President, Press Secretary Brady was paralyzed by taking a bullet intended for Mr. Reagan. That resulted in the Brady Act. Also further into 1991:

Republican hero Ronald Reagan wrote a New York Times op-ed making the case for the Brady bill, which was named after Reagan's press secretary, who was shot during an assassination attempt. The law established federal background checks for firearm purchases and created a five-day waiting period to give law enforcement time to run these checks. (The waiting period was eventually replaced by an instant background check system, which can be extended to three days if the results of the check aren't immediately clear.)

The law, which amends the GCA, requires that background checks be completed before a gun is purchased from a licensed dealer, manufacturer or importer.

It established the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), which is maintained by the FBI.

So, gun manufacturers could now sell guns at gun shows and loosened regulations on the sale and transfer of ammunition. It also made it illegal for any entity to put together statistics about how many deaths were attributed to guns and things like that at the national level. Now, that kind of legislation would not have been passed by Congress all by itself. That was the work of gun manufacturers who were the ones that actually wrote that part of the law. It is exactly that that Republicans are protecting while they tell their supporters that the 2nd Amendment is in jeopardy.  It’s another Republican distortion of the facts.

In 1993, tucked into the sweeping and controversial Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, signed by President Clinton in 1994, is the subsection entitled Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act. This is known as the assault weapons ban — a temporary prohibition in effect from September of 1994 to September of 2004. Multiple attempts to renew the ban have failed.

In 2003, the Tiahrt Amendment, proposed by Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.), prohibited the ATF from publicly releasing data showing where criminals purchased their firearms and stipulated that only law enforcement officers or prosecutors could access such information. 

“The law effectively shields retailers from lawsuits, academic study and public scrutiny,” The Washington Post wrote in 2010. “It also keeps the spotlight off the relationship between rogue gun dealers and the black market in firearms.” There have been efforts to repeal this amendment

Congratulations for getting this far, here we are today.

What Disqualifies You from Buying a Gun?

According to the FBI, you cannot purchase a gun if you...

  • Were convicted of a crime that carried a sentence of more than one year, or a misdemeanor that carried a sentence of over two years
  • Are a fugitive (i.e. there's a felony or misdemeanor warrant for your arrest)
  • Are an addict
  • Are diagnosed mentally ill, which can include being involuntarily committed, found not guilty by reason of insanity, or found unfit to stand trial
  • Reside in the US illegally
  • Are dishonorably discharged from the military
  • Had a restraining ordered issued against you (i.e. found guilty of harassing, stalking, or threatening a partner or the child of your partner)
  • Were convicted of domestic violence (i.e. convicted of using or threatening to use a deadly weapon against a spouse, former spouse, parent, guardian of the victim, etc.)
  • Have renounced your US citizenship

Sounds great but not all states implement it this way. Many states do their own “background checks with assistance from the FBI but it is voluntary. This results in a hodge-podge interpretation of gun laws including whether someone can carry a concealed weapon or not. For more information on that, please consult the references, especially #3.  

It is interesting to note that there is no sport associated with an assault rifle. What will all those law-abiding citizens who own them do with it; put 30 bullets into a squirrel? No, no one needs assault rifles any more than they need hand grenades or a 115mm Howitzer. What you can gather from this is that gun manufacturers want to sell as many guns as possible regardless of what they are used for. 

You might remember I bolded some of the text in the laws section above with an eye toward discussing that further here. You see, there is a typical Republican scam associated with this subject. Given that Republicans are very much oriented toward helping corporations achieve their goals with favorable laws, what Republicans are actually doing is they want to defend the corporation’s rights to limit analyses of things like how many people were killed by assault rifles and other similar analyses.

Republicans tell their constituents that Democrats are going to end their 2nd Amendment rights. Reality is far from that. Democrats want to remove the automatic rifles off the street and make their purchase difficult if not impossible. Republicans, supporting the gun manufacturers, oppose just about any kind of gun regulation. Not only that, Democrats would make assault rifles illegal by offering the owners a refund on what it cost them to buy that rifle and turn it in. If they don’t turn it in by a certain date, they are in violation of a federal law. Proud to be a Democrat.






Andrew Prudente


Too long for this little box