[Ed: Stephen D’Andrilli & Roger Katz are pro-2A Constitutionalist polemicists whom we enjoy reading. In this piece, first published February 6 at The Arbalest Quarrel, they raise important questions about the language and semantics of those who would cancel much of our freedom. Edited (and retitled) for space and clarity. Parts 1 & 2 were on Tuesday.]
RENEWED USE OF THE EXPRESSION ‘ASSAULT WEAPON’ TO UNDERMINE THE SECOND AMENDMENT IS ON THE WAY
As with the odd use of the word, ‘equity,’ the . . . forces that intend to undermine a free Constitutional Republic utilized another expression to launch a concerted attack on the Nation’s cherished institutions and fundamental rights, and Americans will soon see it utilized actively once again.
Recall . . . how anti-gun political strategists decades ago coined the phrase ‘assault weapon.’ Politicians and lawmakers utilized the expression as a propaganda tool to constrain, not preserve and strengthen, exercise of the fundamental, natural right codified in the Second Amendment.
The expression ‘assault weapon,’ a fictional phrase that is not used or referenced by the military or by the gun industry. It is also a vague expression, deliberately kept vague in meaning, and for good reason. Were the expression well defined, the public would know exactly what firearms fall within the meaning of ‘assault weapon,’ namely the many they own, and they would be perturbed.
By keeping the expression vague, State and Federal governments can place into the category of banned firearms, i.e., ‘assault weapons,’ any firearm they wish to prohibit the public from owning and possessing. And the result is that the domain of ‘assault weapon’ constantly expands under Federal and State law and with alacrity.
Each State has its own legal definition for ‘assault weapon.’ In some States those definitions are more expansive than as displayed in gun Statutes of other States. And, so the expression, ‘assault weapon,’ remains deliberately amorphous.
Had the propagandists began their attack on the Second Amendment by using the expression, ‘semiautomatic weapon,’—an expression that has unambiguous meaning in the gun industry—that would immediately raise alarm bells among American gun owners.
Most firearms owned by the American public today are semiautomatic weapons. By deliberately refraining from the use of the expression, ‘semiautomatic weapon,’ the political strategists and the propagandists had hoped to disguise the full depth and breadth of their aims, and they have met with a measure of success.
Many Americans have gone along, unaware of the deception. They see “ASSAULT WEAPONS” as a danger to public safety and order. They don’t see “SEMIAUTOMATIC WEAPONS” as a danger to public safety and order. That is to say, they don’t see THEIR firearms as a danger to public safety and order and, so, they don’t see THEIR firearms as being targeted. So they don’t have a problem with laws that restrict access to such things as “ASSAULT WEAPONS.”
Reference to assault weapons rather than to semiautomatic weapons by antigun zealots and proponents leaves Federal and State legislators free to fashion their gun bans in whatever manner they wish.
They are free to give specific legal meaning to the expression, ‘assault weapon,’ in whatever way they want, targeting the very firearms and the component parts of those weapons that Americans own and possess and have wish to keep.
These Americans, who deem the assault weapon as a type of firearm that no civilian needs and that no civilian should be permitted to own, learn too late they have been hoodwinked and that what they had supposed to be a free exercise of their fundamental right to keep and bear arms has, indeed, been unlawfully, unconstitutionally infringed, after all.
. . .
The problem that had once faced Congress never impacted the States. The Radical Left States created their own oppressive gun laws, severely restricting possession or banning altogether many semiautomatic firearms under the category “assault weapons.” Broadly construing ‘assault weapon,’ a legal fiction, States are free to ban many different firearms with a broad stroke.
If the expression ‘assault weapon’ were an industry term of art, as, for example, the expression ‘assault rifle’ is, legislatures would struggle to lawfully ban large categories of firearms under the rubric of ‘assault weapon.’ But the phrase ‘assault weapon’ is not an industry or military term of art. So the drafters of legislation can include single-action or double-action revolvers, or any other kind of firearm under the rubric of ‘assault weapon’ if they wish. And, at some point, they may very well do so. There is nothing to constrain them.
Look at the New York Safe Act of 2013. Under the list of banned “assault weapons” is included revolving shotguns. Revolving shotguns aren’t semiautomatic weapons. The expression, ‘assault weapon,’ need not be confined to semiautomatic weapons.
Now that Democrats control both Houses of Congress along with the Executive Branch of the Federal government, we will soon see executive orders and legislative bills flying willy-nilly off the desks of antigun . . . zealots. There is nothing to stop them.
THE WAR ON AMERICA’S BASIC FREEDOMS, THE RIGHT OF FREE SPEECH AND THE RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE TO KEEP AND BEAR ARMS, IS UNDER GREATER ASSAULT TODAY THAN AT ANY OTHER TIME IN OUR NATION’S PAST
. . .
Will Biden sign an executive order banning “assault weapons” and will he sign a flurry of other antigun laws as well, not bothering to wait for Congressional enactments?
Don’t think this is improbable. In fact, with all the banter about gun-toting “white supremacists” and right-wing “domestic terrorists” and with thousands of National Guard troops camped out in the U.S. Capital, and with the constant denigration of and growing suppression of conservative dissent, something is definitely afoot. In fact, the . . . propaganda machine is in overdrive. The propagandist newspaper, The New York Times, for one, has laid the groundwork for an assault on “guns.”
Proclaiming with majestic fanfare a massive threat to “democracy” posed by purported well-armed right-wing extremist groups, or so the public is told—and never mind the threat posed by truly dangerous Radical Left Anarchist and Marxist extremist groups that routinely get a pass despite having engaged in an unmistakable reign of terror against the public . . . —the vast propaganda machine of the “free” Press is setting the stage for a nation-wide gun confiscation program targeting average citizens, similar to the one instituted in Australia some time back that Hillary Clinton championed.
The propagandists have conjured up a new pretext for further undermining the Second Amendment: the threat of “domestic terrorism.” And, these expressions, “white supremacist,” “white extremist,” “domestic terrorist” and “equity” . . . are undefined and kept deliberately vague, but the public is getting a ferocious blast of “news” reports meant to keep these words and phrases constantly in the public psyche. This isn’t an accident. . . .
The Radical Left propaganda machine is softening up the public, conditioning the public to accept the need to curtail its fundamental rights, and is constantly twisting the import of the U.S. Constitution beyond all recognition to its original meaning and intent of its framers. . .
. . .
Such is the power of propaganda to bend, shape, and warp the public psyche. The use of words and phrases can have and do have a tangible, debilitating effect.
By keeping expressions deliberately vague and ambiguous, the propagandists can lump whatever they want into the expressions. They have laid the groundwork for new bogeymen, and they are using these bogeymen to undermine the U.S. Constitution, the foundation of our Government, while blithely attacking our Nation’s fundamental rights.
The forces that dare crush our Nation into submission have taken over the reins of Government. With the ouster of Trump and control of two of three Branches of Government, and with that of the Judiciary on the radar, the forces that intend to destroy a free Constitutional Republic have attained much of their first goal. The second goal is now to rein in the sovereign American people themselves.
How do you destroy the sovereignty of the American people? Get them to accept the false belief that their fundamental, natural, unalienable, immutable rights are no longer necessary; that . . . the “Progressive” agenda, once effectuated, can better “serve” the American people once the old, archaic, anachronistic Bill of Rights is erased and once the plain import of the Articles of the U.S. Constitution is modified or simply ignored.
—NYPD veteran Stephen D’Andrilli is President & CMO of Arbalest Group, with masters degrees in Criminal Justice and Public Administration. He is an NRA Certified Firearms Instructor & Training Counselor, and is passionate about the Constitution and Bill of Rights.
–Roger Katz is CEO of Arbalest Quarrel, and an attorney licensed in Ohio & Arizona (formerly New York) focusing on federal and state firearms issues. He has worked in patent, intellectual property, criminal and securities law and has degrees in English, Philosophy, Public Administration & Education. He believes in the sanctity of the Bill of Rights.