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OPINION: Constitutional semantics and the hijacking of the 2nd Amendment

OPINION: Constitutional semantics and the hijacking of the 2nd Amendment

OPINION: Constitutional semantics and the hijacking of the 2nd Amendment

Recently, I have discussed the Second Amendment,  Constitutional Carry and its implications for the so-called Free State of Florida.

To be frank, it is nothing more than permit-less carry with a sprinkling of open carry.

But let’s move on from there.

There is something else in the wind that is about as misleading as the words “Constitutional Carry.”

The “Freedom to Buy” Act.

Yup, you read it right.

The “Freedom to Buy” Act is part of a larger “Florida Arms and Ammo” Act.

Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Wilton Simpson, along with State Senator Danny Burgess and State Representative John Snyder, introduced this proposal at a press conference held at a local gun shop on January 10, 2023.

So just what is this act?

To start, it is important to note that it is not taking place yet anywhere in the nation.

This is actually groundbreaking legislation should pass the scrutiny and become law.

There is a merchant category code that highlights firearm and ammunition sales when people legally purchase either/or via credit card.

It is a new system meant as an added alert.

It surely would aid in investigations should one be necessary for a variety of reasons.

For one, it presents a red flag should someone buy a large cache of weaponry and ammunition.

Commissioner Simpson believes this is a gun registry on law abiding citizens that are protected by the Second Amendment.

Representative Snyder calls in a “comprehensive database.”

I see a whole lot of grandstanding, looking to gin up a base.

So it is here that I offer rebuttal.

Why this and why now?

To start, isn’t an ATF form (4473) filled out as a firearms transaction record on all sales?

In the, ahem, free state of Florida, doesn’t information go to the Firearm Purchase Program at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement?

If either question is “yes” then this  “Freedom to Buy” Act,  is rather moot point, is it not?

Which by the way, leads to another point:  “Freedom to Buy?”

No one is infringing upon anyone’s right to purchase a firearm.

If you purchase ammunition and/or a firearm, it will get classified accordingly if you charge the purchase.

Well, you have an option.  Don’t charge the purchase.  Use cash.  Write a check, if they allow for it.  I can’t be the first person to think of that.

Senator Danny Burgess stated that “the Second Amendment is nonnegotiable, and here in Florida we are going to fight to protect the rights of Floridians.”

The Second Amendment speaks of the Right to bear arms.

It was ratified in 1791 when a musket, fired one round and took close to a minute to reload.

But it was also written at a time when the belief was it would keep the nation from needing a professional army in place.

Justice Scalia deciphered its meaning in his decision District of Columbia v Heller.

Scalia also understood the need for protections in place.

Agreed, it is difficult to really gauge what the framers thought back in 1791.

Surely, they had no concept of a repeating rifle.

But we hold true to the notion that this is what they wanted.

And if that is so, then we should be thankful for the Third Amendment: “No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.”

Madison hit it right on the head.

There is no room for misinterpretation.

It has never been argued in the Supreme Court.

It is probably the one amendment that should it ever fall by the wayside, this nation will be in deep kimchee.

Others would argue the Second.  But unlike the Third, the Second is perhaps the most widely interpreted and misinterpreted amendments of them all.

That being said, and to counter Mr. Burgess, no one’s Second Amendment rights are being violated.

The person makes the purchase and gets the firearm.

Again, we are conveniently reading into the Second Amendment, to make it fit our own beliefs.

Justice Scalia made the decision in 2008.

And by the way, the Second Amendment says absolutely nothing about ammunition, if we are to be technical.

In looking at Justice Scalia’s last paragraph in his majority opinion:

We are aware of the problem of handgun violence in this country, and we take seriously the concerns raised by the many amici who believe that prohibition of handgun ownership is a solution. The Constitution leaves the District of Columbia a variety of tools for combating that problem, including some measures regulating handguns, see supra, at 54–55, and n. 26. But the enshrinement of constitutional rights necessarily takes certain policy choices off the table. These include the absolute prohibition of handguns held and used for self-defense in the home. Undoubtedly some think that the Second Amendment is outmoded in a society where our standing army is the pride of our Nation, where well-trained police forces provide personal security, and where gun violence is a serious problem. That is perhaps debatable, but what is not debatable is that it is not the role of this Court to pronounce the Second Amendment extinct.

I ask, then, where is the conflict that is being brought up now in the free state of Florida?

Why is the Second Amendment continuously being hijacked to suit one’s own needs when it has been decided and accepted over a decade ago by SCOTUS?

Liberties are being taken against the liberties already decided upon.

Combine that with some contrived catch phrase like “The Free State of Florida” as opposed to the “Imprisoned State of Iowa” and you can see where all this is headed.

Political differences are fine.

Ginning up a base at the expense of those not in agreement is not.

And still it is always hidden behind words such as “Liberty,” “Constitutional,” “Free,” and “Patriot.”

Historically speaking, it is nothing new.

When we fought in WWI, sauerkraut was call “Freedom Cabbage.”

Liberty Measles were very contagious back then as well.

When France declared they would not take place with war with Iraq, French Fries were called “Freedom Fries.”

Florida has recently been dubbed the aforementioned “Free State of Florida.”

You get the point.

And now the sheriffs are circling the wagons joining in on this charade and milking every drop of media attention.

Hmmm.  I can’t wait for my next article when it deals with the concept of “Constitutional Sheriffs.”

Yup, there’s that word again.

David Magnusson is a retired police chief with 36 ½ years of law enforcement experience having spent 30 of these years with the Miami Police Department retiring as an assistant chief. He was chief of the Havelock Police Department in the Marine Corps City of Havelock, North Carolina, home to Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station. He returned to South Florida as chief of the El Portal Police Department.

He chaired the COVID and Domestic Violent Extremism Committees for the Association of Miami Dade County Chiefs of police. He teaches about Hate Crimes, Violent Extremism, and Inclusive Policing to law enforcement agencies.

A historian, Magnusson has written on military and presidential history topics. He is a diehard baseball (St. Louis Cardinals) and boxing fan. Magnusson resides in South Florida with his wife. Their children and grandchildren are never too far away.

David Magnusson
is an opinion writer, historian and former Police Chief of El Portal, Florida and Havelock, North Carolina who served in the Miami Police Department for 30 years.

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