Pledging to protect the Second Amendment is what brought millions of beleaguered American firearms owners to the polls Nov. 8 to elect Donald J. Trump as the 45th President of the United States, and one thing Trump can do to assure them that he deserves their trust would be to instruct his attorney general early in 2017 to name a special assistant whose job would be to protect Second Amendment rights.
Over the years, the Department of Justice has taken action against various other civil and constitutional rights abuses. It is time for the DOJ to prosecute violations of the Second Amendment and federal laws including the Firearms Owners Protection Act. The next attorney general should take action against states and local governments that adopt laws designed specifically to infringe on the rights of honest firearms owners or discourage people from exercising their right to keep and bear arms for legitimate reasons, including self-defense.
For too many years, cities including Washington, D.C. and Chicago, and states including New Jersey, New York and Maryland have prosecuted firearms owners, including those in transit from other states, for actions that would be legal anywhere else in the nation. This must cease, and those states must be held accountable for their abuses.
Egregious laws have been adopted also in California, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Illinois. Bans on certain commonly-owned firearms in all of these states began as simple licensing and/or registration requirements. Earlier this year, for example, anti-gun Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey unilaterally decided to expand the definition of “assault weapon” in the Bay State, essentially rendering tens of thousands of legally-owned firearms as contraband. Her claim that the state law on “assault weapons” has been misinterpreted for the past 18 years, and that she was merely correcting that problem is specious at best.