Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 703, December 30, 2012

"Put some nice, long, jaggedy teeth in the Bill of Rights"

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Why the Feinstein Bill is Anti-Constitutional
by Terence James Mason

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Attribute to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise

This note is a companion piece to The Three Pillars of the Second Amendment, by Terence James Mason.

The new Feinstein "Assault Weapons Ban" is Anti-Constitutional in the extreme.

In addition to the violation of the Second Amendment, which is the primary and express purpose of the measure, the Feinstein bill violates numerous other provisions of the Constitution, based on the summary posted on Senator Feinstein's web site web site and web site1 and the additional information posted by the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action. I have not seen the text of the legislation, and have not been able to verify that the full text is available.

In addition to the Second Amendment, the proposed bill violates the following provisions of the Constitution:

  • The requirement to register currently owned firearms is an ex post facto law, prohibited by Article I, Section 9, Clause 3 of the United States Constitution.

  • There is no way that the provision to register existing firearms can be enforced without giving the enforcement authority the power to inspect personal property for unregistered firearms, making this provision of the bill meaningless and unenforceable without violation of the Fourth Amendment.

  • The provision to prohibit or limit person to person firearms sales is similarly unenforceable without violation of the Fourth Amendment.

  • The provision (noted in the NRA-ILA summary but not the summary on Feinstein's website) that requires covered, grandfathered firearms to be surrendered to the Federal government on death of the owner is a violation of the Fifth Amendment's "Takings" clause.

  • The taxation of grandfathered firearms under the National Firearms Act is clearly a cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment.

  • The provision (similarly noted in the NRA-ILA summary) that registered firearms cannot be moved across state lines without notification of the BATFE is a violation of multiple implied rights under the Ninth Amendment.

In summary, this provision is so Anti-Constitutional in the extreme that, if Senator Feinstein does introduce it as promised early in the coming Session of Congress, she should be impeached and dismissed from that body for violating the trust of the American people, as should any co-sponsors of the proposed legislation, or ultimately any person that votes in its favor. (A definition of impeachable Breach of Trust is included in my essay No Loopholes available on Kindle and Nook.)

The only reason that, under the argument in the companion article The Three Pillars of the Second Amendment, the proposed legislation is not automatically treasonous is that the confiscation of firearms is piecemeal as the current owners die, rather than immediate. However, should the proposed legislation include provisions developed by non-US parties who do not have the best interests of the American people in mind, such a charge might well apply.

Terence James Mason is the author of No Loopholes: Getting Back to Basics, an assessment of the meaning of the Bill of Rights and a suggestion of additional Constitutional Amendments to restore the Framer's vision for the Republic. No Loopholes is electronically published by Twilight Times Books ( in Kindle, Nook, and other popular electronic formats. Mason tweets on the need for #NoLoopholes @OneAmericanVoice.


1 All web site access 29DEC2012 approximately 1300Z.

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