(Freedom.news) The prophet Isaiah, in one of his many insights on human nature, warned us in Chapter 57, Verse 20 in the Old Testament book bearing his name, that the wicked never rest. He likened them to “the troubled sea . . . whose waters cast up mire and dirt.”
So it is with gun-control advocates in 21st Century America, who continue to stir their toxic potions formulated to undermine our constitutionally-guaranteed right to keep and bear arms. Unfortunately, with so much of the nation’s media and political attention focused on matters involving convention delegate counts, primary vote results, and Donald Trump’s latest hissy-fit-of-the-day, much of what the Left is doing to weaken the 2nd Amendment receives far less attention than it should.
The latest venue in which the gun grabbers have opted to ply their trade, is a piece of real estate so small and far-removed from the mainland, that few Americans could find it on a world map even if offered a winning lottery ticket to do so.
The Northern Mariana Islands, one of only two territories designated as a “Commonwealth” for purposes of U.S. sovereignty (the only other one being Puerto Rico), is a small chain of islands in the Pacific Ocean. The territory’s last brush with mainland recognition was in August 1945, when an airstrip on the island of Tinian served as the takeoff-point for the “Enola Gay” on its bombing run to Hiroshima. Now, 71-years later, The Northern Mariana Islands are home to one of the latest assaults on the right to keep and bear arms.
Just last month, a federal judge ruled that the Commonwealth government’s strict gun ban was unconstitutional. To retaliate, the legislature mandated that a $1,000 tax be paid by any purchaser of a handgun. Governor Torres puffed out his chest and declared his hope that this confiscatory action would serve as a “role model” for other states and municipalities.
This action by the Mariana Islands is by no means the first effort by anti-Second Amendment governors and legislatures to ban or limit possession of firearms by levying excessive taxes, though it is the most severe. And, even though the tax likely will be stricken down once challenges work their way through the federal legal system, the burden on those citizens of this Pacific Ocean Commonwealth wishing to purchase a handgun is very real.
Here in the continental United States, three months ago the city of Seattle in the state of Washington reaffirmed its long-standing aversion to the Second Amendment by enacting a $25 tax on each firearm purchase, and a tax of two to five cents on every round of ammunition sold. Officials in Cook County, Illinois, another notoriously anti-gun jurisdiction, are gleefully waiting for June 1st, when a per-round tax on ammunition goes into effect there.
Meanwhile, across the continent in Connecticut, a state court judge decided last week that federal law has no applicability in that state; at least if the law in question serves to protect firearms manufacturers and retailers against lawsuits based on the unlawful use of the firearm by a purchaser or subsequent user. The fact that the federal law provides to firearms manufacturers and retailers nothing more than the same level of protection afforded manufacturers and retailers of virtually every other lawful product made or sold in the United States, mattered little to the local judge.
Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has long-advocated for a national, 25% sales tax on firearms purchases; and routinely takes her Socialist opponent, Sen. Bernie Sanders, to task for not kowtowing just as strongly as she to the anti-gun agenda. For the most part, however, these and other continuing challenges to one of our most basic liberties remain under the radar in this presidential election cycle.
Fortunately, Republican candidate Ted Cruz has not taken his eye off the target even as he fends off Trump’s constant rantings that he is “stealing” delegates from the New York billionaire. Last week, for example, Cruz joined with Sen. Mike Lee of Utah and introduced a Senate bill, to rein in the notorious Obama Administration initiative known as “Operation Choke Point.” The Cruz-Lee legislation would stop federal agencies from abusing their power by pressuring banks and other financial institutions to cut off credit and other financial services for businesses that deal lawfully in firearms and related products; which is precisely what the Obama Administration has been doing for years.
The sooner broader attention can be focused on these and other gun-control efforts this campaign cycle, the better the chance we can defeat them before lasting damage is done to one of most cherished and important civil liberties.
Bob Barr represented Georgia’s 7th district in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 -2003 and as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia from 1986-1990. He is the chairman of Liberty Guard, a non-profit, non-partisan organization focused on restoring personal freedom.
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