a constitutional crisis may yet arise from congressional action
Eric LaMont Gregory
When all other contingencies fail, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth
In fact and in law, the 23 - Gun Violence Reduction - Executive Orders issued by the White House do not abridge the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, nor do they curtail materially the right to own or to purchase guns, any guns whatsoever.
Any limitations to be placed on the right to possess assault weapons or high-capacity ammunition magazines will result from actions taken by the law making branch of our Republic – the Congress, or by state governments, and local communities.
Therefore, if there is to be a constitutional crisis in relation to the right to bear arms, it will be the result of congressional, state and local actions, and not by executive authority.
The oft repeated accusation that the White House sought to create law contrary to the Second Amendment by over-stepping its executive authority – holds no validity. And, is contrary to the fact that unilateral presidential authority in such matters is limited to situations where imminent involvement is clearly indicated by the circumstances. Such circumstances do not exist in this case.
The recent heated debate about guns and the Second Amendment advanced nothing. What political gains there may be for those who orchestrated the recent anti-White House gun scare will prove temporary and illusory at best.
The executive orders can be seen clearly not to curtail Second Amendment rights, therefore the scare tactics inevitably fail. And, as importantly call into question the sincerity and competence of those responsible for the scare, as well as, their ability to mount a successful campaign when faced with a real threat.
The recent uproar about guns has psychological costs as well, but has not increased gun owners’ sense of security. The scare campaign has actually increased insecurity about gun ownership.
The real danger, now that the gun issue lies before lawmakers, is that the gun registration and background check procedures promulgated by federal, state and local lawmakers will be so convoluted and prolonged that following them would constitute harassment. In addition, as states and local communities begin to delve into the Second Amendment numerous different laws and ordinances could result in a patchwork of rules within states making it impossible to carry a concealed weapon and travel.
There are other costs too that must be weighed, such as the fact that we have lost yet another opportunity to have a rational discussion about the - linkage blindness - that exists between mass shootings and guns in the hands of the dangerously mentally ill.
Linkage blindness is defined as a failure to recognize a pattern which associates one crime or incident with another.
There are no easy answers and no amount of anti-administration rhetoric will solve this problem.
It must be noted that a simple requirement that those with mental illnesses be put on a register that will magically weed out the dangerously mentally ill is not supported by the facts. The facts document that psychiatrists fail to predict accurately the dangerousness of two out of every three of their patients, even patients with a history of violent behavior. And, the onset of acute nor chronic mental illness is not predictable.
The facts suggest that the challenges facing law enforcement are equally difficult. It is well recognized that failure to investigate mental illness evidence in mass shootings and other violent crimes is a failure to collect evidence. And, the failure to collect any evidence is negligence.
The issue of gun violence and mental health now resides in the lap of the Congress of the United States, state legislatures, and local communities, and there lies the source of the pending constitutional crisis.