Tags: ATF, Attorney general, Barack Obama, Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives, Gun Control, Law, News, Obama, Politics, Rosemary M. Collyer, Second Amendment, Second Amendment to the United States Constitution
“arbitrary or capricious,” without any doubt!
Federal Court Supports Illegal Obama Multiple Sales Regs
First, the good news: Fox News is reporting that due to an amazing outpouring of opposition, the vote on the so-called anti-piracy legislation — which could muzzle websites like GOA’s — has been postponed. Thank you all for your activism … and please stay tuned to further updates on this issue.
Now for the bad news: You know what they say about Friday the 13th.
Well, this past Friday, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued a setback to gun owners. The issue involved a lawsuit challenging Barack Obama’s illegal multiple sales regulations. [NSSF v. Jones, Acting Director, BATFE.]
Through those regulations, Obama has demanded, by regulatory fiat, that firearms licensees in four southwestern states report multiple sales of certain long guns to the federal government.
In upholding this action, Judge Rosemary Collyer -– a Bush appointee! –- ignored the Constitution, the Supreme Court’s decision in the Heller case, and the clear language of federal law.
Of course, this once again underscores the danger of putting all our eggs in the “court basket.” It’s not a bad idea to challenge unconstitutional measures in the courts, but it’s problematic if we look to them as being the ultimate defenders of our gun rights. Clearly, they are not.
Among other things, Judge Collyer ignored the obvious language of the 1986 McClure-Volkmer Act, which prohibits the ATF from demanding any information on gun owners other than information explicitly allowed by statute.
Specifically, the section states: “Such [licensees] shall not be required to submit to the Attorney General reports and information with respect to such records and the contents thereof, except as expressly required by this section.” (18 U.S.C. 923(g)(1))
Paragraph (g)(5) allows the Attorney General to demand information by issuing a “demand letter,” but participants in the drafting of McClure-Volkmer affirm that this was not intended to trump the paragraph (1) limitation, in order to statutorily mandate reporting requirements.
To interpret paragraph (g)(5), as Obama and Attorney General Holder have interpreted it, is to say that there are NO limits on the information the Attorney General can demand -– up to and including every 4473 in the country.
In opening this door, Collyer cited much narrower decisions in the Fourth and the liberal Ninth Circuit, but expanded them beyond any judicial precedent. Citing a test that looked at whether the ATF’s action constituted a “clear error of judgment” or was “arbitrary or capricious,” Collyer gave all of the benefit of the doubt to Obama -– and none to the Second Amendment, which wasn’t even considered in her 21-page opinion.
The decision will presumably be appealed to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals -– a supposedly “conservative” circuit that nevertheless upheld ObamaCare.
But the larger issue is this: Congress can block these regulations by simply cutting off the money to implement them. Last fall, we demanded that the House include such a prohibition in its giant money bill. But congressional leaders ignored the Second Amendment community on this and a variety of other pro-gun issues, including defunding ObamaCare.
It is late in the game. But there is still an opportunity to prohibit funding for the multiple sales regulations on the annual Department of Justice Appropriations bill and the “continuing resolution” which will inevitably follow around September 30.
True, a lot of damage will have been done by that point. But we cannot allow to stand the precedent that the Attorney General can seize any and all gun-related information, simply by saying he wants it.