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Disarming The Poor

July 22, 2013

For the past month I have done volunteer work for the Armed Citizens Project in collecting contact information from gun shops in my state. The objective of the Armed Citizens Project is to facilitate the arming of law abiding citizens, and analyzing the relationship between increased availability and rates. The reason I decided to join ACP as a volunteer is because I feel that our work is undoing the damage that Congress began doing to our Second Amendment rights back in 1934. That’s when Congress passed the National Firearms Act of said year. During which Congress realized it had no constitutional authority to regulate guns and so it snuck the legislation through the back door, claiming it as a revenue-raising measure under the taxing power of Congress.

The core of the National Firearms Act of 1934 was the price people were expected to pay. In order to register a shotgun, payment of a $200 tax was required, an exorbitant amount when considering that it is equal to $3,260 at today’s value. It is even more excessive when one considers that, according to the Sears catalog in 1938, a brand new shotgun could be purchased for $6.95. So why would anyone in his right mind pay a tax of $200 for a $7.00 gun? It is government theft to place a tax on an item that is greater than the value of the item itself, but even more incredible when the tax is twenty-eight times the value of the item. The equivalent theft today would be a tax that forced us to pay $200 to the federal government for a paperback novel or a cheeseburger.

Even more shocking is that the Supreme Court upheld the Act, holding that the $200 tax was a constitutionally valid exercise of the taxing power of Congress. The Court refused to look beyond the face of the Act, which was cited as a revenue raiser, not a prohibitory measure, to condemn it as a regulation of matters beyond the power of Congress.

Stranger still, just a few years earlier, in the Child Labor Tax Cases, the Court held that imposing a 10 percent tax on the net profits of employers who employed child laborers was “an act of Congress which clearly, on its face, is designed to penalize and thereby to discourage or suppress, conduct…cannot be sustained under the federal taxing power by calling the penalty a tax.”  Was that not the exact intention of the Firearms Act, to regulate and prohibit certain firearms? If charging 10 percent of earnings is considered penalizing, then what else but a penalty is a tax that is more than twenty-eight times the value of the taxed item? The Court apparently did not see this incongruence, noting that the Act did not expressly state the intention to prohibit certain firearms.

And so the government learned that as long as it lied convincingly about its intentions, no matter how unbelievable its claims, and couched the lies in constitutional verbiage, the Court would sanction its actions. And thus began the era of lies and deceit by the government in order to diminish slowly but surely that right the Founding Fathers saw as so fundamental, the right to self-defense.

My work with ACP is in the spirit of seeing the right to self-defense as a fundamental human right and I look forward to getting a local chapter of the Armed Citizens Project off the ground soon. Stay tuned as I will provide more court cases that lead to our Second Amendment rights being as trampled as they are today.

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From → 2nd Amendment

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