Op-Ed By – Tom Cuba, P.h.D.
Talk is talked. Bills are filed. Red flags, raised. Protests voiced. In the end, will we face a conundrum akin to the Riddle of the Two Shamans or worse, a Catch-22.
Looking at our possible futures, in one of them we see the potential for the government to go beyond outlawing auto-loading firearms. In that future, which has already been proposed, the government would initiate a mandatory ‘buy-back’ program. Such a law and program would make it illegal to possess or own an auto-loading firearm after the end of the buy-back period.
In such a future, today’s owner of an auto-loading firearm will face the coming conundrum: Does the owner relinquish his firearm or does the owner obscure the fact that he has kept it?
The first option, to turn in the firearm, is a difficult choice. The responsible gun owner is typically also a person who respects the rule of law. The law was passed and signed, so is it to be respected? That same person, using that same philosophy, recognizes that the law is in violation of the Constitution. That same philosophy of freedom is the philosophy upon which America and the Constitution is built. Some, including the Founders, say that it is the duty of the responsible citizen to challenge that law and disobey it. Turning in the guns under an unconstitutional law might be seen as an act of acquiescence and subservience to that law. Turning in the guns is a capitulation to the lawmakers’ error.
Unfortunately, refusing to turn in the firearm, while philosophically supportable as a choice, only serves to criminalize the owner, even if as a practical and perhaps temporary matter. The ramifications of the criminalization of the resisting citizen are potential incarceration and the probable loss of the right to vote. Losing the vote implies a lesser probability that new legislators can be elected who will repeal the law, thereby assuring its longevity.
There is no solution to this conundrum. To avoid facing it, The People must prevent the passage of such legislation in the first place.
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About The Author: Thomas R. Cuba, Ph.D.
Raised a simple Missouri farm boy, Tom managed to attend a British Prep School before commencing a college career that would culminate in a Doctorate Degree in Marine Ecology. He also served as an Intelligence Officer in the U.S. Navy, and as a scoutmaster, SCUBA instructor, Wilderness Survival Instructor, and Firearms Instructor.
Tom has worked as an ecologist in both government and private practice, as well as a freelance nature photographer and computer programmer.
Now, a father and grandfather, Tom offers life lessons in the form of stories about the challenges people face and conquer as well as socio-political essays. To that end, his first lesson is always his favorite quote. “Failure is the whetstone of success.” ~ T. Leith Rettie, 1884.
You can read more from Tom on his site by clicking here.
2 Replies to “The Coming Conundrum with U.S. Firearms”
“Looking at our possible futures, in one of them we see the potential for the government to go beyond outlawing auto-loading firearms. In that future, which has already been proposed, the government would initiate a mandatory ‘buy-back’ program. Such a law and program would make it illegal to possess or own an auto-loading firearm after the end of the buy-back period.”
No law is automatically ‘Constitutional’
The general misconception is that any statute passed by legislators bearing the appearance of law constitutes the law of the land. The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the land, and any statue, to be valid, must be in agreement. It is impossible for both the Constitution and a law violating it to be valid; one must prevail. This is succinctly stated as follows:
The general rule is that an unconstitutional statute, though having the form and name of law, is in reality no law, but is wholly void, and ineffective for any purpose; since unconstitutionality dates from the time of its enactment, and not merely from the date of the decision so branding it.
An unconstitutional law, in legal contemplation, is as inoperative as if it had never been passed. Such a statute leaves the question that it purports to settle just as it would be had the statute not been enacted.
Since an unconstitutional law is void, the general principals follow that it imposes no duties, confers no rights, creates no office, bestows no power or authority on anyone, affords no protection, and justifies no acts performed under it . . .
A void act cannot be legally consistent with a valid one.
An unconstitutional law cannot operate to supersede any existing valid law.
Indeed, insofar as a statute runs counter to the fundamental law of the land, it is superseded thereby.
No one is bound to obey an unconstitutional law and no courts are bound to enforce it.
— American Jurisprudence, Second Edition, Section 177. (late 2nd Ed. Section 256)
“An unconstitutional act is not law; it confers no rights; it imposes no duties; affords no protection; it creates no office; it is in legal contemplation, as inoperative as though it had never been passed.”
‘Norton v. Shelby County’, 118 U.S. 425 (1886)
“All laws which are repugnant to the Constitution are null and void.”
‘Marbury v. Madison’, 5 U.S. 137 (1803)
This will definitely will cause a war, that’s why we have the 2nd Amendment. It’s We The People not us the government. We believe in the Constitution, it’s the government’s job to support and defend it.