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Dismantling Schumer's gun-control proposal


Robert VerBruggen has an interesting post over at NRO about Sen. Chuck Schumer's proposal that when prospective military recruits admit to using drugs, they should be reported to the FBI and entered into the database of people forbidden to buy guns.

VerBruggen dismantles the idea in four parts. Here are parts one through three:

As Schumer points out, it is already illegal to sell a gun to a drug user or addict; this policy, therefore, would make existing law more effective. However, there are several reasons to be concerned.

The first is that Americans have a Second Amendment right to own handguns, and this right cannot be denied without due process. Schumer’s policy, as outlined in a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder and the director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, contains little in the way of process: The military would report to the FBI, and the individual’s gun rights would be gone.

The second is that Schumer has offered no guidelines as to how long these individuals would stay in the database. Federal law doesn’t forbid selling guns to former drug users or addicts (so long as they are non-felons), or even to those convicted of misdemeanor drug offenses, and there’s no reason to deny rights to people for life on the grounds of their smoking pot at 17. There should be a way for these individuals to get their Second Amendment rights back — for example, by passing drug tests.

Third, there is no reason to believe that this would prevent violence. [...]

He concludes: "Drugs are illegal, for good or (mostly) ill, and therefore drug users are by definition criminals. This makes them legitimate targets for gun control. But let’s not be under any illusion that policies such as Schumer’s will accomplish anything more than satisfying the urge to Do Something."

His thoughts are interesting, especially since Schumer has come across as a "moderate" on gun control in recent interviews. In reality, I think he's been more of a realist.

Read the entire post (including the rest of reason three and all of four).

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