Court decision paves the way for Australian-style gun ban
On Monday, the Court of Appeals for the Second U.S. Circuit issued a long awaited decision on the constitutionality of the most drastic gun control law in U.S. history, the New York SAFE Act of 2013. The Second Circuit ruled that nearly all of the law does not violate the Second Amendment.
The SAFE ("Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement") Act was presented to the New York State Senate and passed into law in 15 minutes. No debate was allowed, and senators did not have time to read the bill before voting it into law.
The SAFE Act is a complete ban on the sale or transfer of all military-style semi-automatic rifles manufactured within the past several decades. It is a total ban on the AR-15, AK-47, M-14/M-1a, HK G3, Steyr AUG, and many other civilian copies of military firearms. Prior to the passage of the law, Gov. Cuomo publicly stated that he was considering "confiscation" of existing rifles, but the final version of the law allowed existing owners to keep their rifles as long as they registered them with the State. Upon the death of the owner, the rifle will be confiscated; it cannot be transferred to an heir within New York State.
The SAFE Act also enacted a complete ban on the possession of all firearm magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds. The law contains no "grandfather" provision for previously legal items.
Beyond that, the SAFE Act banned all private transfers of firearms, except among spouses, parents, and children; it created an ammunition purchase background check and ammunition purchase registry; it banned the private sale of ammunition except from a licensed dealer; and it created a secret reporting requirement under which "mental health professionals" must report anyone suspected of being a "danger" to the State Police for mandatory gun confiscation.
Now that the Second Circuit has upheld the law, residents within the court's jurisdiction have no recourse except to take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court – where there will be a guaranteed four votes against the Second Amendment. As I wrote last year, Gov. Cuomo and former Mayor Bloomberg, the backers of the SAFE Act, were betting that the law will be upheld by the Supreme Court, thus paving the way for a national version of the law (which has already been introduced in the Senate by Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.). Indeed, Cuomo immediately called for a national SAFE Act as soon as the Second Circuit issued its ruling Monday.
The Second Circuit's decision comes only one week after both President Obama and Hillary Clinton publicly praised the Australian and British mass gun confiscations of the 1990s.
If the SAFE Act is upheld by the Supreme Court, nothing prevents Congress from summarily outlawing tens of millions of firearms overnight. Once those firearms become contraband, the government may confiscate and destroy them without compensating the owner (just as the government confiscates and destroys illegal drugs).
The Second Circuit's decision leaves the Second Amendment in its gravest peril ever. Second Amendment rights are now hanging by a one-vote margin in the same Supreme Court that upheld Obamacare and declared a national right to gay marriage. Constitutional conservatives and Second Amendment supporters ought to be terrified over the prospect of Justice Scalia having a heart attack during a Hillary Clinton presidency.
The Second Circuit's decision places the hands of the Second Amendment doomsday clock at two minutes to midnight. If you think "it can't happen here," you're wrong.
It already is happening here.