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The latest disarmament scheme

Posted By Joseph Farah On 10/07/1997 @ 1:00 am In Commentary | Comments Disabled

Is there no length to which the federal government gun-grabbers will go to end-run the Second Amendment?

The latest attack on the Constitution comes in the form of the “Gun Free Zones Act” passed by Congress last year as part of the omnibus spending bill. Among other things, the legislation creates a 1,000-foot “gun-free” zone around every “school” in the country. It is illegal, therefore, to possess a gun within that zone, whether it’s in your car or your home.

So, if you’re traveling past a school on the way to a shooting range or a hunting excursion, this law has already made you a felon. That would be heinous enough, if it wasn’t for the way this law is being broadly interpreted by, among others, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Director John Magaw.

He has expressed his opinion in writing to at least one member of Congress that “schools,” in this case also means home schools that are operated under state law. So, the government has found a way to discourage home-schoolers from owning guns and gun-owners from home-schooling.

But think of the ramifications of this concept: Due to the utter failure of government schools in this country, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of parents home-schooling their children. Today, it would be difficult to find a neighborhood anywhere in America where someone is not home-schooling. Do you see the sheer genius of this from the gun-grabbers’ point of view?

It’s difficult enough to know when you’re traveling within 1,000 feet of a school — especially in an area unfamiliar to you. But, how on earth is one supposed to know if and when you’re driving past a home school. There are no flagpoles, no crossing guards and no playgrounds. Home schools look just like any other home. This law is ambiguous on purpose.

Remember, the federal government has no use for home-schoolers anymore than it does for gun-owners. It has effectively marginalized — and criminalized — two of its least favorite constituencies with one evil stroke of the pen.

I have to believe that those behind such legislation intended to drive a wedge between these two “dangerous” political constituencies, forcing each to defend its own rights at the expense of the other. Fortunately, no such thing has happened.

Surprisingly, the first challenge to this imaginative, back-door strategy to make criminals out of the most law-abiding citizens in the country has come not from the powerful Second Amendment lobby, but from the Home School Legal Defense Association.

In a lawsuit filed in San Antonio, four home-school parents who also happen to own firearms have sued Attorney General Janet Reno and the U.S. attorney for the western district of Texas asking that the entire law be stricken as unconstitutional, or, at the very least, that home schools be exempt from the provisions of the law.

But this law should be stricken in its entirety. There are some 112,000 schools in this country, not including the hundreds of thousands of home schools. Congressional proponents of the law insisted that “generous exceptions” would still allow people to transport guns within the half-mile-wide gun-free bubbles. “Trust us,” they said in effect. “We have your best interests in mind. We’re only trying to develop a tool to go after bad guys and protect kids.”

Tell it to BATF’s Magaw, who has obviously set his sights on expanding the authority and scope of his illegitimate agency and the power of the federal government over all of us.

This law represents one more step down the slippery slope toward the kind of near-total gun ban we’re seeing imposed in Australia and England. Let’s face it. If children are endangered by guns within 1,000 feet of them at school or in home schools, then why not ban guns in all homes where children live? After all, children learn at home whether formal schooling takes place in them or not. Sooner or later, isn’t that where we’re headed?

Or will the government merely expand the arbitrary 1,000-foot designation to one mile? Or, better yet, how about no guns within one mile of any child?

Interestingly, according to gun-rights activists, congressional offices have not been inundated with protests over the Gun Free Zones Act. Most people still don’t get it. They don’t understand how they’re being stripped of their most basic constitutional rights under the guise of government “protection.”

It has happened before — in Germany, Russia, China. That’s the kind of “protection” you can live without.


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