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Kamala Harris and the News Media Don’t Know What They Don’t Know

Friday, May 24, 2019

Kamala Harris and the News Media Don’t Know What They Don’t Know

By now gun owners have become accustomed to a certain measure of ignorance from anti-gun politicians and their lapdogs in the mainstream press on matters of firearms policy. It’s the flamboyant stridency of that ignorance that remains shocking.

Last week, the presidential campaign of Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) announced that if elected president the candidate would ban the importation of AR-15-style “assault weapons.” Characterizing the campaign’s proposal, Politico reported,

Harris wants to ban AR-15-style assault weapon imports and suspend all other assault weapon imports until the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives can analyze whether they should be permanently banned under U.S. law. Her campaign argues the weapons could be banned because they aren't "suitable for or readily adaptable to sporting purposes."

At a campaign event in Nashua, N.H. Harris herself told those gathered, “I’m announcing for the first time today here with you to take executive action to ban the import of assault weapons into our country.”

Predictably, Harris’s proposal was trumpeted by an uncritical press.

Apparently unbeknownst to the candidate and her media sycophants, the federal government already prohibits the importation of so-called “assault weapons.”

Under the Gun Control Act of 1968, the Attorney General has a measure of discretion regarding what firearms may be imported into the United States. 18 U.S.C. § 925 states,

(d) The Attorney General shall authorize a firearm or ammunition to be imported or brought into the United States or any possession thereof if the firearm or ammunition--

(3) is of a type that does not fall within the definition of a firearm as defined in section 5845(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and is generally recognized as particularly suitable for or readily adaptable to sporting purposes…

The “generally recognized as particularly suitable for or readily adaptable to sporting purposes” language has become known as the much-maligned “sporting purposes test.”

In 1989, the George Bush administration used the sporting purposes test to prohibit the importation of certain types of commonly-owned semi-automatic rifles. In 1998, under the direction of  President Bill Clinton, ATF used the sporting purposes test to expand the 1989 import ban to encompass a larger category of semi-automatic firearms. The Clinton import ban included what the bureau termed “large capacity military magazine rifles,” or LCMM rifles. LCMM rifles are those capable of accepting standard capacity magazines; like the AR-15. In an April 1998 document titled “Department of the Treasury Study on the Sporting Suitability of Modified Semiautomatic Assault Rifles,” ATF determined that “LCMM rifles are not generally recognized as particularly suitable for or readily adaptable to sporting purposes and are therefore not importable.” At the time, White House official Jose Cerda told the press, “We are taking the law and bending it as far as we can to capture a whole new class of guns.”

NRA-ILA opposes the sporting purposes test as well as ATF’s application of the test. The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution as interpreted in District of Columbia v. Heller protects an individual’s right to access firearms in common use for lawful purposes. Self-defense is a lawful purpose, and therefore firearms suitable to that purpose should be available independent of any “sporting” application.

Regarding interpretation of 18 U.S.C. § 925, ATF has adopted a cramped reading of the operative passage. As explained in ATF’s January 2011 “Study on the Importability of Certain Shotguns,” the agency refuses to recognize informal sport shooting such as plinking and practical shooting competitions like 3-gun as falling under the scope of “sporting purposes.” Moreover, the agency has read the “or readily adaptable” language out of the statute entirely, as evidenced by the popularity of commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms for the traditional sports of target shooting and hunting.

However misguided, for more than 20 years the federal government has prohibited the importation of commonly-owned semi-automatic rifles that Harris would term “AR-15-style assault weapons.”

Harris’s proposal to enact a policy that has already been in place for two decades reveals the candidate’s appalling disregard of the facts. The mainstream media’s complicity in this embarrassing episode reveals their inability or unwillingness to correct even the most egregious statements from their preferred candidates.

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California: Governor Newsom Signs Anti-Gun Bills into Law

Friday, October 11, 2019

California: Governor Newsom Signs Anti-Gun Bills into Law

Earlier today, Governor Newsom signed the seven anti-gun bills listed below into law.  

Dick’s Spends Big on Gun-Chopping, Virtue-Signaling Bonanza (But It Will Still Sell You a Firearm)

News  

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Dick’s Spends Big on Gun-Chopping, Virtue-Signaling Bonanza (But It Will Still Sell You a Firearm)

Ed Stack, the CEO of Dick’s Sporting Goods, wants you to know he’s committed to keeping AR-15s “off the street.” But he’s also committed (for the time being) to selling other types of firearms.

California: Anti-Gun and Anti-Hunting Bill Signed into Law

Monday, October 14, 2019

California: Anti-Gun and Anti-Hunting Bill Signed into Law

Prior to the October 13 deadline, Governor Newsom signed the final anti-gun and anti-hunting bills, AB 1254 and SB 172 into law.  

Number of Concealed Carry Permit Holders Increased Again

News  

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Number of Concealed Carry Permit Holders Increased Again

Last week, economist John Lott of the Crime Prevention Research Center released “Concealed Carry Permit Holders Across the United States: 2019,” his annual report on the number of concealed carry permit holders in the U.S.

Member Spotlight: Meet the Police Officer Who Told Congress She ‘Would Not Comply' with a Gun Ban

News  

Friday, October 4, 2019

Member Spotlight: Meet the Police Officer Who Told Congress She ‘Would Not Comply' with a Gun Ban

Last week, a retired Tulsa, Oklahoma law enforcement officer testified in a Congressional hearing that she “would not comply” if Congress passes a ban on firearms. Her bold assertion earned her national media attention and ...

Virginia’s Anti-gun Politicians Put Politics Before Fighting Gun Crime

News  

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Virginia’s Anti-gun Politicians Put Politics Before Fighting Gun Crime

Virginia’s anti-gun politicians are serious about attacking law-abiding gun owners, but are indifferent about actual gun crime. As highlighted in a recent report in the Washington Free Beacon by Stephen Gutowski, the Virginia Department of Justice Services ...

Virginia Police Chief Advocates Ban on All Guns at U.S. House “Assault Weapons” Hearing

News  

Friday, September 27, 2019

Virginia Police Chief Advocates Ban on All Guns at U.S. House “Assault Weapons” Hearing

On Sept. 25, the Democrat-led U.S. House Judiciary Committee held a 3 ½ hour “hearing” entitled “Protecting America From Assault Weapons.” That framing of the issue underscored the erroneous notion that Americans need protection from ...

Grassroots Spotlight: NRA-ILA Fighting the Bloomberg Money In Virginia 2019 Elections

News  

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Grassroots Spotlight: NRA-ILA Fighting the Bloomberg Money In Virginia 2019 Elections

The Nov. 5th election may be the most consequential ever for our Second Amendment rights in the Commonwealth. That’s because every seat in the Virginia House of Delegates and Senate is up for grabs and gun control ...

Kamala Harris and Her Perplexing Anti-Gun Ideas

News  

Friday, August 2, 2019

Kamala Harris and Her Perplexing Anti-Gun Ideas

U.S. Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), one of the two-dozen Democrat presidential hopefuls vying to take on President Donald Trump in 2020, has been promoting her anti-gun platform for many months. This isn’t really news, as ...

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

Gun Laws  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered as legal advice or a restatement of law.

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NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.