Sunday, April 22, 2012

Senator Orrin Hatch and the Second Amendment

I am a life-long Republican because its party platform matches my values and because that platform is a perfect fit with the US Constitution and the principles and liberties it protects. But, I don't always vote for Republican candidates. Instead, I vote for the candidate most faithful to the US Constitution. I expect all politicians, judges, bureaucrats, and voters to do likewise. I now discuss one of several categories of reasons why I cannot support a particular Republican politician from Utah:

My senior US senator, Orrin Hatch, a Republican, talks the talk when it comes to the Second Amendment. Sometimes, he is good on gun rights. However, I also find that his actions often fall short -- even hostile to gun rights. This inconsistent fidelity to the Constitution makes him unsuitable to serve any longer in the US Senate.

● During negotiations over the 1986 McClure-Volkmer Firearms Owners Protection Act -- designed to protect gun owners from abuses of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms -- Hatch sat at the negotiating table next to officials of the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives) and argued against the pro-gun positions of Senator Jim McClure.

● Hatch voted in favor of the Gun Free School Zones Act of 1990 -- an unconstitutional law which has caused millions of responsible gun owners to unwittingly violate federal law while doing nothing to stop anyone from shooting up schools.

● Hatch initially supported and voted for the 1994 Clinton Semi-Auto Ban. In 1993, he voted for this bill containing a ban on semi-automatic firearms. That ban, introduced by anti-gun Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), covered more than 180 types of firearms and any magazine that holds more than 10 rounds. To be fair, after heavy pressure from constituents, he voted against the same crime bill only a month later.

● He voted for the unconstitutional 1996 Lautenberg Amendment to impose a lifetime gun ban on people guilty of "domestic misdemeanors" – a term so vague that it could apply to spanking your kid or engaging in a verbal argument. This lifetime ban, in certain cases can even be imposed without a trial by jury. Ex post facto (retroactive) laws such as the Lautenberg amendment are clearly and specifically prohibited by the Constitution -- a fact that does not seem to matter to Hatch. Because of this law -- that Hatch voted for -- a woman who slapped her abusive husband 40 years ago, and who subsequently pled guilty to a misdemeanor under pressure from her husband, is now permanently and automatically prohibited from even touching a firearm even to protect herself from that same abusive husband! This law has unfairly and adversely affected untold numbers police officers and military servicemen and women. If someone commits a crime that is serious enough to justify depriving him or her of a right specifically listed in the US and Utah Constitutions, it surely is serious enough to warrant a felony conviction – not a mere misdemeanor!

● Hatch played a key role in putting anti-gun Clinton judge Margaret Marrow on the federal bench in 1998. Hatch has repeatedly stated that the President should have whomever he wants -- rejecting the Founders' intent that the Constitution requires Senate confirmation of political appointees -- including federal judges -- to protect the Constitution from anti-liberty presidents, judges, and other appointees.

● In 1998, he introduced S.10, one of the most dangerous gun control bills in a generation. This bill would have treated gun owners like organized crime figures, increasing existing penalties for unintentional technical violations of federal gun laws. Originally, S.10 would have punished gun dealers with 20 years in prison for committing just two paperwork "mistakes" such as misspelling or abbreviating a word! (The ATF implemented that concept through bureaucratic policy.) Horrified dealers admitted this provision alone would preemptively force them out of business. Fortunately, the bill died.

● In the wake of the 1999 Columbine shooting, Hatch voted for unconstitutional amendments which would have effectively banned gun shows, made it more difficult to keep a loaded gun in the home for self-defense, and codified the unconstitutional Bush-era semi-auto import ban.

● In 1999, Hatch was the author of the juvenile crime bill passed by the US Senate. Among other things, it requires trigger locks on all new handguns, unnecessarily driving up costs for gun owners who already have safe means of storing firearms. That law imposed unnecessarily tougher restrictions on sales at gun shows. It banned the import of high-capacity ammunition magazines.

● In 1999, Hatch said, "I support extending the Youth Handgun Safety Act to semi-automatic rifles." His Young Adult Gun Ban would have punish young adults for the mere possession of so-called semi-automatic "assault weapons" or magazines holding over 10 rounds. The provision would, under most circumstances, even punish law-abiding youth who are simply target shooting with their parents!

● Hatch not only voted to confirm many anti-gun, anti-Constitution justices to the US Supreme Court and other federal courts, he even recommended anti-gun Ruth Bader Ginsburg to President Clinton in 2003!

● In 2004, Hatch voted NO on banning lawsuits against gun manufacturers for gun violence. To be fair, in 2005, he voted in favor of The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act -- after heavy pressure from his constituents.

● In 2007, Hatch supported the Veterans Disarmament Act (AKA NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007) which strips the Second Amendment rights of honorably discharged veterans who seek professional counseling following traumatic wartime experiences.

● While pro-gun Senators worked to repeal the unconstitutional gun ban in national parks, Hatch voted against repeal before voting for it in 2009 -- after heavy constituent pressure.

● In 2009, Hatch voted in favor of anti-Constitution regulatory "czar" Cass Sunstein, who favors a ban on hunting and who would grant animals legal protections in court.

● Despite my repeated pleas and those of many other Utahns, Hatch voted in 2009 to confirm anti-Constitution Eric Holder as Attorney General. Holder was the Assistant Attorney General under the also notoriously anti-gun Attorney General Janet Reno, who presided over the Ruby Ridge and Waco debacles. In addition to being mired in the Fast and Furious (Gun Walker) scandal, Holder was the point man on gun control for President Bill Clinton and is a vocal supporter of banning many semiautomatic firearms.

● In 2011, Hatch opposed an amendment offered by Senator Rand Paul to exempt gun buyer information from the Obama administration’s virtually unlimited ability to seize "business records" under the reauthorization of post-9/11 legislation.

● I have repeatedly urged Hatch to introduce legislation to rescind laws which unconstitutionally establish gun-free zones such as schools zones, federal buildings, and postal property where little or no security is provided to compensate for the disarmament of responsible citizens. To date, he has failed to lead in restoring any constitutionally-protected gun right which has been infringed by to legislation, regulation, policy, or judicial decision.

Senator Hatch spent far too much time as best buddies forever with Senator Ted Kennedy. It is far past time for him to retire.

In the past, I have written to the NRA (National Rifle Association), NRA-ILA (NRA Institute for Legislative Action), and NRA-PVF (NRA Political Victory Fund) to protest NRA support of anti-Constitution and inconsistent gun-rights politicians such as Senator Harry Reid.

I urge the NRA, NRA-ILA, and NRA-PVF to reject any and all thought of supporting Senator Orrin Hatch for reelection in any manner whatsoever -- including endorsements or campaign contributions.

Thankfully, Orrin Hatch is facing a serious challenge in this year’s election. Former Utah State Senator Dan Liljenquist is a stalwart pro-gun constitutionalist who understands the dangers of compromising with the likes of President Obama. Liljenquist needs and deserves the full support of the NRA.

Join the National Rifle Association!

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