Monday, February 11, 2013

Tomorrows Hearings

The Colorado legislature has a package of four bill that apparently come with party approval from higher up as they are eclipsing the hastily prepared bills introduced earlier.

HB-1324 would make reduced size magazines mandatory and HB13-1229 is universal background checks which sets up universal registration and a $10 tax on the private sale of a gun.

The WSJ today has an excellent article as to why these bills are probably unconstitutional by David Rivkin and Andrew Grossman, lawyers and constitutional law experts in Washington.

While the courts are still sorting out Heller's implications, politicians should not assume that they have a free hand to restrict private gun ownership. Decades of case law interpreting and applying the other provisions of the Bill of Rights show that there are hard-and-fast limits on gun control.
The general framework is straightforward and certainly well-known to those who have studied (let alone taught) constitutional law. The government cannot abridge constitutionally protected rights simply to make a symbolic point or because it feels that something must be done. Any measure must be justified by a legitimate government interest that is compelling or at least important. At the same time, any regulation must be "narrowly tailored" to achieve that interest.
Of course the down side is that this is no restraint on polls passing whatever law they want. The thought is that the passage of bad law will get them through the next election on the strength of having "done something", even if the courts toss it out later. Later the voters will have forgotten who wrote the thing.

The magazine bill strikes me as equivalent to making an attempt at reducing drunk driving fatalities by limiting gas tank capacity in all passenger cars to 5 gallons.

The assault weapon ban is looking more and more like this:

And the universal background check I predict will be widely ignored.

Could be an interesting day at the capitol tomorrow.

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