Tom Gresham made the suggestion on his show Sunday that the Trump Department of Justice should have a special Assistant Attorney General for the protection of the Second Amendment. He referenced how DOJ sent armies of lawyers to the South after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Heller and McDonald decisions confirmed that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms and that right applies in the states. However, the current DOJ is doing nothing to protect that individual civil right.
I think Tom is on to something.
Having just read of the latest attack on the Second Amendment and the gun culture coming out of New Jersey, I think this is doubly true. An ostensibly anti-suicide bill would create onerous requirements on gun ranges that would force them to close. As the 7th Circuit decided in the Ezell v. Chicago, gun ranges are an essential part of the Second Amendment.
The bills as presently written would require the owner or operator of every range and gun club to verify that every range user has an FID card, NJ carry permit, or pistol purchase permit, along with government-issued photo ID, every time that person uses the range. That is an impossible burden for most ranges to meet – most ranges are unstaffed or staffed sporadically by volunteers. Few ranges have staff during all operating hours. NO SHOOTING ACTIVITY COULD OCCUR ON ANY RANGE THAT IS NOT STAFFED TO VERIFY CREDENTIALS.
The bills as presently written would also prevent you from using your own firearms on a range unless the range first verifies your credentials, every time you use the range, and bans all temporary transfer on a range unless the range verifies the credentials of both the transferor and transferee. THIS IMPACTS A HUGE SWATH OF SECOND AMENDMENT ACTIVITY, INCLUDING TRAINING, COMPETITION, TARGET PRACTICE, OPEN HOUSES, RANGE GUESTS, HUNTER EDUCATION, WOMEN’S EVENTS, ETC. (see below for detailed examples).
I think of the ranges that I have open to me in western North Carolina. The indoor ranges are staffed and could meet the requirements of such a bill. However, the NC Wildlife Resources Range at Cold Mountain (yes, that Cold Mountain) and the ranges in the Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests are neither staffed nor have Range Safety Officers. These free and/or inexpensive places to shoot would have to be shut down.
Sebastian is correct when he concluded:
This would essentially close every club in New Jersey. It would make it impossible to bring new shooters into the sports, since they would essentially need to apply for and receive an FID card before they could even try it out. This would destroy the shooting culture in New Jersey, and that’s exactly what it’s intended to do. Suicide prevention is a ruse. Christie has shown a willingness to veto legislation like this, and will probably continue to do so as long as he’s in office, but it’s going to be hell to pay if Christie is replaced with an anti-gun Democrat.
If you live in New Jersey, I suggest that you do as the ANJRPC says and contact your legislators. As to the idea of a special Assistant Attorney General for the Second Amendment, I’m not sure how to contact the incoming Trump Administration directly. However, you could send the suggestion to Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) at his Senate offices.