The NRA Is Coming Out Swinging This Time

The NRA is fairly credible on this point, as they were strong supporters of "Project Exile," which called for felons with guns to be prosecuted in Federal courts under a 1968 law that established a mandatory five year -- and up to ten year -- sentence in Federal prison for gun criminals. It's been their approach for decades: law-abiding citizens should have the full protections of the Second Amendment, but those who abuse their rights by committing crimes should be harshly punished. In that way, the nation has the benefits of the Second Amendment in terms of its protection against political tyranny and the protection of individuals and families against crimes.

These Federal cases are still sometimes brought -- I'm aware of a case in Tennessee right now involving a Federal prosecution on these grounds -- but he's right to say that the law could be applied very sweepingly to those areas in which most violent crime in America occurs. It doesn't have to be Federal police who make the arrest: it could be applied to everyone arrested who turned out to have a felony conviction and a gun. Even without raids or sweeps, you could pull a lot of these people off the streets for five years to a decade in the normal course of business.

Painting the death toll in the President's home town, which the President has the power to stop, is a fairly brutal rhetorical move. I don't mean to suggest that it is unfair. It just darkly underlines how hypocritical the President is on this issue of 'stopping the gun violence in our streets.' He has the tools. The NRA, far from being an opponent, has long supported the robust exercise of these laws. The ball is in his court, but he does nothing.


raven said...

Why would Obama want to stop crime? It is his excuse to disarm his enemy.

Dad29 said...

The principal roadblock is the various US Attorneys, who never seem to 'have time' for such prosecutions.

If Ms. Lynch has her way, they WILL be busy prosecuting people who speak ill of Muslims, too.

So many crimes, so little time.

E Hines said...

She can start here.

She's been called out, rather publicly.

Eric Hines

Assistant Village Idiot said...

The focus on guns and gun laws is meant to distract us from the very high rate of violent crime in the black community. No one wants to go there, so any available escapre route is considered valuable.

The tragedy is that it's the great majority of very decent black people who are the primary victims of this evasion. They pay with their lives so that politicians can keep power. If Project Exile were put into effect there would be howls because of its hugely disproportionate impact on Africa-Americans. But those neighborhoods would be safer for the families who actually live there.

Apparently some black lives don't matter much at all.

Ymar Sakar said...

The fact that the FBI is no longer capable of catching bomb makers due to CAIR issued fear and population issued fear of being called a racist, is easily seen in the latest evidence.

It is as I said it would be.

Grim said...

That's true. The black community would both bear the brunt of such prosecutions, but also reap the lion's share of its benefits.

MikeD said...

I honestly don't get the objection to enforcing laws like this. They punish those responsible for crimes and leave untouched those who have committed no crime. And frankly, if a jury of the accused's peers finds that they committed a gun crime beyond a reasonable doubt, then what is the objection to a harsh punishment?

Grim said...

There's a reasonable case against mandatory minimums, I think: the judge's discretion is compromised to a degree such that occasionally tremendous injustices will occur. The case will technically fit the forms that require the heavy sentence, yet some facts about the case make it improper to apply the sentence.

In keeping with my habit of telling you what Aristotle thinks about everything, however, I should note that he is cleanly in favor of legislatures limiting judicial discretion in this way. He talks about it in the opening of Rhetoric I. His opinion is that judges can't help but be swayed by this or that form of partisanship, and denying them discretion is thus ensuring that a rule is held firm in spite of their partisan attachments.

MikeD said...

If the circumstances don't warrant a 5 year sentence, then the defense has the opportunity to argue that their client is not guilty of that charge. I.e. Yes he shot that man during the commission of a crime, but he was stopping a terrorist attack during his strong arm robbery so we feel this is mitigating circumstances." If the jury agrees, the mandatory minimum makes no difference. If the jury disagrees, then perhaps the punishment fits the crime?

Grim said...

It's often more like, "Yes, our client was guilty of carrying a gun even though she was legally barred from possessing one due to being a felon convicted on drug charges. However, she has reformed her conduct since being released, and was only carrying a gun for protecting herself from a violent husband who had twice blown through the restraining order she got on him, and made regular threats against her life."

Five years in prison, mandatory minimum.

Of course you're right that a jury could nullify the law by refusing to convict.

MikeD said...

That's where "mitigating circumstances" are supposed to apply, after all.