America's First Freedom - August 2015 - 29

I
I L A

F E A T U R E

by C hris W. C ox
nra-ila Executive Director

n May, I discussed the Bureau of Alcohol,
Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives' (batfe)
varying interpretations of the phrase "sporting
purposes" in federal gun control law. We had
just fought the agency to a standstill over its plan to ban
the manufacture and importation of the m855 cartridge,
the second-most common variety of ammunition for
America's most popular rifle, the ar-15. B. Todd Jones,
then director of batfe, resigned in the aftermath of that
debacle, but not before telling a Senate Appropriations
Committee that with pistol platforms for the cartridge
available, "any" 5.56x45 mm nato round poses "a
challenge for officer safety, public safety."
With statements like that, Jones
will not be missed by the pro-gun
community. But the attitude he
displayed and the events surrounding
m855 ammunition earlier this year point
toward a more fundamental problem
with federal gun control that will not
go away with the tabling of one bad
proposal or the departure of another
batfe official. That problem arises from
two words-"sporting purposes."
While the nra has no problem with
sports, or the sporting use of arms, that
phrase misses the point when it comes to
the heart of the Second Amendment. By
making undefined "sporting purposes"
the test for legality under numerous
federal firearm laws, Congress not
only delegated too much discretion to
batfe, it de-emphasized the primary
reason Americans own firearms
and the primary purpose of their
constitutional protection. That reason
is self-defense. The m855 episode is just
the latest example of why the current
congressional scheme, administered by
the highly politicized batfe, has become
untenable. With your help, and the
help of Rep. Rob Bishop (r-Utah), the
nra intends to see this problem fixed
for good.

In June, Bishop introduced a bill to
"revise various laws that interfere with
the right of the people to obtain and use
firearms for all lawful purposes," known
more simply as the "Sporting Purposes
Reform Act." Before I discuss the specifics
of that legislation, I'd like to elaborate
upon the meaning of the Second
Amendment and its place in American
culture and constitutional structure.

hunting, target or other shooting
sports. Nearly eight in 10 gun owners
surveyed revealed that owning a gun
made them feel safer. Gallup also
reported last November that 63 percent
of Americans, a record-high percentage,
now believe that having a gun in the
home makes it a safer place.
Yet while public sentiment is
important, the Constitution has its own
independent meaning, established by
the Founders and meant to carry the
nation through good times and bad.
In the case of the Second Amendment,
the Supreme Court has made clear that
individual protection comprises the
"core" of the right to keep and
bear arms.
Although gun-control advocates
like to pretend otherwise, this was
clear even before the landmark
Heller and McDonald cases of the
21st century. At the extreme, firearm
prohibitionists cite the 1939 case of
United States v. Miller as holding the
Second Amendment protects only a

THE M855 EPISODE IS JUST
THE LATEST EXAMPLE OF WHY
THE CURRENT CONGRESSIONAL
SCHEME, ADMINISTERED BY THE
HIGHLY POLITICIZED BATFE, HAS
BECOME UNTENABLE.
When I say that self-defense is at the
heart of the Second Amendment, I'm
not alone. According to the results of
a Pew Research Center poll released in
March 2013, "protection" was the No. 1
reason Americans cited for owning a
gun, nearly eclipsing all other reasons
combined. The percentage mentioning
protection was nine points higher than
the combined percentage mentioning

"collective" right of states to maintain
their own militias.
To the contrary, the court's
opinion in that case took for granted
that Miller-who never claimed
membership in a state militia-could
raise a Second Amendment claim
against federal regulations that
applied to his personally owned
short-barreled shotgun.
America's

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August 

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of America's First Freedom - August 2015

Contents
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - Cover1
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - Cover2
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - 1
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - Contents
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - 3
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - 4
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - 5
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - 6
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - 7
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - 8
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - 9
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - 10
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - 11
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - 12
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - 13
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - 14
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - 15
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - 16
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - 17
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - 18
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - 19
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - 20
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - 21
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - 22
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - 23
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - 24
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - 25
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - 26
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - 27
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - 28
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - 29
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - 30
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - 31
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - 32
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - 33
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - 34
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - 35
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - 36
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - 37
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - 38
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - 39
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - 40
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - 41
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - 42
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - 43
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - 44
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - 45
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - 46
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - 47
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - 48
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - 49
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - 50
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - 51
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - 52
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - 53
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - 54
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - 55
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - 56
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - 57
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - 58
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - 59
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - 58b
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - 59b
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - 58c
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - 59c
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - 58d
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - 59d
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - 58e
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - 59e
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - 58f
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - 59f
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - 60
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - 61
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - 62
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - 63
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - 64
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - Cover3
America's First Freedom - August 2015 - Cover4
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