By now, you’ve probably heard that an en banc ruling in the 4th Circuit has upheld Maryland’s ban on certain semi-automatic firearms. While it heightens the importance of getting Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court, it also holds another big lesson for Second Amendment supporters.
In the 4th Circuit, there were nine judges that were appointed by Bill Clinton or Barack Obama – presidents hostile to the Second Amendment. Eight of those nine voted against our Second Amendment rights. So did Reagan appointee J. Harvie Wilkinson. If this ruling is upheld, Heller is effectively a dead letter.
What lesson can we draw from this? We cannot fully rely on judges to protect our rights. They are only a part of what is needed. A crucial part, but only part of what Second Amendment supporters must do to preserve our right to keep and bear arms.
It would be far preferable if semi-auto bans were dead on arrival in a state legislature. The best option is for lawmakers to not even consider introducing such measures in the first place. How can that state of affairs be reached?
Step one is to get involved with your state lawmakers from the get go. If you, and not some gun-control lobbyist, is their main source of reliable information, you can help him or her derail an anti-gun bill long before it is a news item.
Step two is going to be harder. You need to have enough pull where a lawmaker will not want to make you upset. Maybe you, family, and friends provide the volunteer support for a campaign. Many lawmakers have either higher ambitions, or they want their next term. If they see you as an asset on the campaign trail in addition to being a reliable source of information, they won’t turn on you.
Step three involves taking on the media. In this day and age, it is as easy as leaving a Facebook comment on the pages of a TV station or a newspaper. Get enough comments, and the editors and reporters will notice. These comments must be polite, and not hot tempered. Ask yourself this, “If this comment was read on the local news, would it make us look like fools, or would it convince those who hear it to side with us?”