CNN has historically been one of the mainstream media’s mouthpieces for left of center politics including their staunch support for gun control. So imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon an article on their iReport blog that at a glance seems to support allowing American citizens the right to own machine guns, grenades, or any other military weapon in common use. Had CNN lost its collective mind?
The iReport site is a cool concept. In essence, an assignment is made by a CNN editor and anyone can respond with an article. If the editor approves the article they will post it to the iReport blog. The article in question, titled “2nd Amendment Misunderstood”, was presumably submitted by a retired Marine who calls himself “CTMarine87″.
The article at first glance appears to be very pro-gun and even supports concepts many TBS readers might also support. The author believes that members of the militia should be able to own any weapon in common use by the military of the day which would include machine guns, squad automatic weapons, grenades, mortars, claymore mines, etc. The one gotcha is that in his view only those properly trained as a “well regulated militia” would have this right. Everyone else would be relegated to neutered firearms only suitable for hunting, basic self defense and target practice.
The author claims that most Americans, and perhaps even the federal courts, misunderstand the intent of the 2nd Amendment. He cites the prologue of the 2nd Amendment, “A well regulated Militia”, as being evidence that the clause only protects the right of firearm ownership for those who are properly trained in their use by the state. Not only is training a requirement for firearms ownership in this interpretation, but if we apply the definition of “militia” from the 1770 time period men over the age of 45 and women would be prohibited from owning firearms. Remember, only abled bodied men between the ages of 17 and 45 would be allowed to join the militia and thus be allowed to own military weapons with on-going state sponsored training. Are you over weight? Are you blind in one eye? Do you have asthma? Are you arthritic? Do you walk with a limp? Do you suffer from epilepsy? Sorry, but you’re no longer eligible for militia service and thus have no right to own a firearm of your choosing.
However, the author proposes a different interpretation of the definition of militia through the introduction of a new bill that would modify the original meaning. The changes would redefine who can belong to the militia, what training must be required of militia members, and what weapons citizens may own once granted militia member status. Under the proposed changes women would be allowed membership in the militia and men over the age of 45 would be allowed to maintain their militia status and thus keep their “battlefield weapons”. Battlefield weapons? His use of that phrase doesn’t pass the sniff test… humm.
The proposed bill would completely abolish Federal gun control laws and require all states to hold semi-annual militia screening and training sessions. Volunteers would show up, submit to a physical, mental health check, background check and to unspecified “combat training”. He calls for “intensive” training for concealed carry, shooting speed and accuracy and target discrimination. Upon graduation from militia training, the citizen would be issued a Militia ID card similar to a Military ID card. From that point forward the militia member would be authorized to carry any type of weapon they desired in public including areas where carrying of weapons has previously been banned such as schools and courthouses.
Sounds great, right?
I don’t think so.
First, if you don’t qualify for membership in your state militia or if you fail to volunteer and submit to mental health screenings and unspecified training, you will only be allowed to own “basic hunting long arms and pistols for self defense”. The restrictions wouldn’t stop there, if you’re not a member of the militia you would be relegated to “low capacity” magazines, which the author fails to define in more detail. I’m assuming he means magazines capable of holding 10 rounds or less would be foisted upon non-militia members.
If you’re unable or unwilling to attended the mandated bi-annual training, complete with additional background checks and mental health screenings, you would lose your right to own anything but “hunting firearms” with “low capacity” magazines.
This proposed bill would also bring about registration of gun owners. If you are required to show up to training and are issued a state Militia ID card, you’re now in a database. Your medical records would be tied to your Militia ID since twice a year you will be required to appear for training and submit to a new physical and metal health “screening”. This also leaves the door wide open for barring entire classes of people from exercising their rights should the state set the bar to high for acceptance into their militia.
Aside from the obvious pitfalls of the proposed bill, which would have a snowballs chance in Hell of passing anyway, there seems to be something fishy about the authors motives. He seems to have the anti-gunners schtick down pretty good for being a retired pro-gun Marine.
He refers to modern sporting firearms as “battlefield weapons” or “exotic weapons” several times. This feeds the anti-gunner mime that that black/brown firearms are “exotic” and more dangerous than other types of firearms. He also seems to have a problem with existing state requirements for obtaining a concealed carry permit. He believes the lack of “combat training” in state CCW classes is an issue and should be corrected through his proposed changes. Merely sitting through a 4 hour CCW class then shooting 12 rounds at a paper target 10 feet away isn’t enough to qualify you for firearm ownership in his opinion. You must submit to state sponsored intensive “combat training” and extensive “mental health” evaluations before you are to be trusted with a firearm. He wants to turn everyone into a cop/soldier and make them subject to state government controls.
He claims the proposed militia bill would limit the “insane and violence-prone” among us to the “most basic and ineffectively slow, and ammunition-limited weaponry”. Why would you give someone that’s “insane” a firearm, even if it has a 10 round magazine? Current laws prohibit the “insane” from owning any type of firearm. I also fail to understand how a pro-gun Marine came to believe a semi-auto pistol limited to 10 rounds or even a revolver is “ineffectively slow”. An insane/violent person can do quite a bit of damage with such firearms.
What I find even more interesting is that the author wants to screen for “violence-prone” people so they can be excluded from membership in his version of the militia. How does that work? Do you not want “violence-prone” soldiers? By their very nature soldiers are prone to violence as their purpose is to kill other people, it’s what soldiers do and what they train for. I can tell you from personal experience that the Marines purposely train you to be prone to violence and to employ overwhelming force. When I was active duty, the scuttlebutt on Capital Hill was that “de-programming” should be employed to reintegrate Marines back into society. Only a leftist would believe you can kill people nicely and have warriors that aren’t prone to violence. What the authors’ statements seem to indicate is that he wants to set the bar so high that few people could actually meet the criteria for membership thus imposing a de facto ban on semi-automatic military look-a-like firearms, or in other words, modern sporting rifles.
The biggest problem I have with the proposal is that if you’re not a licensed military/militia member then you’re to be relegated to “ineffective” firearms. This tells me two things about the author. First, he knows next to nothing about guns in general and secondly, he’s really a gun grabber in disguise. I’m not sure what his purpose is, but it’s clear to me he’s being dishonest when he claims to be a proponent of the 2nd Amendment.
So was CNN out of their collective minds in publishing this article? No, I don’t think so. I think they’re right on course and are using deceptive tactics to achieve their gun-grabbing goals.
***UPDATE: The author of the iReport piece has contacted me and has since retracted his comments published by CNN. He no longer agrees with the ideas put forth by his article. I applaud him for coming forward to set the record straight to the express his support for the 2nd Amendment.