The confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court in 2018 could have the most significant
long-term impact on gun rights in the nation. (Screen capture, YouTube)
America’s gun owners may be particularly eager to celebrate the end of 2018 next Monday night, because for Second Amendment activists, it has been a tough year, and with Democrats led by Nancy Pelosi preparing to take control of the U.S. House of Representatives, the next 12 months could be rough as well.
Certainly the biggest gun rights story of the year was the aftermath of the Valentine’s Day attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. Seventeen students and adults lost their lives, and in the wake of that mass shooting, high school students staged walkouts, marched in cities across the country and found themselves coopted by the gun prohibition lobby.
Perhaps the most alarming reaction to the shooting came from retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, calling for the repeal of the Second Amendment.
That shooting prompted efforts to raise the minimum age for purchasing semiautomatic rifles and shotguns to 21. That gave rise to possibly the second biggest gun rights story of the year, which was passage of Initiative 1639 in Washington State. Largely bankrolled by a handful of wealthy Seattle-area elitists, the measure passed in November, thus classifying every semiautomatic rifle in Washington State as a so-called “semiautomatic assault rifle.” Even the news media declared that the new measure, which is being challenged in federal court by the Second Amendment Foundation and National Rifle Association, acknowledged that the measure will make the Evergreen State’s gun laws among the strictest in the nation.
But there is no doubt this victory will embolden the gun prohibition movement, which has already launched an effort to ban semi-autos in Florida and change the state constitution.
Over the weekend, the Seattle Times noted that the state Court of Appeals struck down a Seattle ordinance “that extended new rights to hotel workers, determining the ballot measure that enacted the law included provisions unrelated to each other.” By no small coincidence, many I-1639 critics contend it also violates the state’s single subject rule, but so far, nobody has challenged it on that argument.
Another offshoot from that initiative campaign was the complete loss of faith in the state Supreme Court. A Thurston County Superior Court judge ruled that the initiative petitions did not meet the requirements of state law, but he was reversed by the liberal state Supreme Court.
The U.S. Senate confirmed Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, but it failed to pass the national Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act.
The Kavanaugh hearings probably cost Democrats the Senate, thanks largely to the behavior of Democrats Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Dianne Feinstein, Dick Durbin and Mazie Hirono on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Democrats became demagogues and now the high court has another conservative member.
New Jersey’s criminalization of so-called “high capacity magazines” is causing reverberations far beyond the Garden State borders.
Likewise, the ban on bump stocks has turned the novelty accessory for semi-auto rifles into a symbol, a cause around which activist gun owners can rally. The ban is already being challenged by two federal lawsuits.
The shooting of several staff members at the Capital Gazette newspaper in Maryland demonstrated that strict gun laws do not prevent such crimes.
Another shooting incident in Maryland, of a gun owner by police officers trying to serve a so-called “red flag” order to seize his guns, compelled two gun rights groups – the Second Amendment Foundation and Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms – to call for a “national dialogue” on police use of force.
Almost by reflex, anti-gunners in California called for additional restrictions on law-abiding gun owners after a gunman opened fire in a Ventura bar and restaurant. It wasn’t clear which, if any, of their proposals would have prevented the shooting.
A shooting at a Pittsburgh, Pa., synagogue compelled that city’s mayor to also demand additional gun control schemes.
And who can forget the legal battle royal over the attempt by Texas-based Defense Distributed to publish information on the Internet about the construction of a gun on a 3-D printer. At last report, that case is still moving.
On the horizon, Democrats have promised to float all manner of gun control schemes when they take control in January. That said, gun owners should probably fasten their seat belts.