March 1, 2024

Opinion
Congressional Republicans can do better than enact a law declaring the AR-15 rifle the national gun of the united states. Rather the nation needs recognition of the right to carry a handgun, for self-defense, throughout the united states.

several AR 15s
IMG Jim Grant/AmmoLand News

New York – -(AmmoLand.com)- Readers of Ammoland Shooting Sports News are probably aware of a House of Representatives Bill (H.R. 1095) introduced by Representative Barry Moore (Republican, Alabama) that “seeks to declare that an “AR-15 style rifle chambered in a .223 Remington round or a 5.56x45mm NATO round . . . the National Gun of the United States,” according to a summary of the legislation.” See New York Post article, published February 23, 2023.

Moore introduced the bill on the Floor of the House on February 17, 2023. The bill was referred to the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability; the Introduction of a bill and referral to the bill are the first two actions in the legislative process, turning a bill into a Congressional statute. See the article in congress.gov discussing this process.

Often a bill languishes in Committee. This occurs when the House Speaker—or, if a bill is introduced in the Senate, the Senate Majority Leader—intends to kill it.

Recall the ill-fated bill, H.R. 38, “Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017,” “a bill to amend title 18, United States Code, to provide a means by which nonresidents of a State whose residents may carry concealed firearms may also do so in the State.”

An amended version of the bill passed the House after two Roll Call votes on December 6, 2017, and went on to the Senate for action. We were hopeful.

Americans had their best shot at the passage of this bill since, at the time, Republicans controlled both Houses of Congress and the Executive Branch under U.S. President Donald Trump. But our wishes were soon dashed when we saw the bill languishing in a Senate Committee.

In an AQ article posted on November 28, 2018, we wrote,

“Representative Richard Hudson (R-NC) introduced the bill [H.R. 38] on January 3, 2017. The bill passed the House by Roll Call Vote of 231-198, on December 6, 2017. It was sent to the Senate one day later, where it was read twice and then referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

President Trump supports it. The NRA supports it. And rank and file law enforcement officers support it too. But there has been to date no further action on it. The bill sits in limbo. Its prospect of passage is, at present, low. Why is that?

What is the U.S. Senate waiting for?”

In answer to our own question, we learned the reason for the wait. Mitch McConnell wanted the bill to die in Committee. And it did die there.

McConnell deliberately killed it. We had a window of opportunity. And that window is gone.

With fortitude but little fanfare, the author of the 2017 “constitutional carry” bill, Richard Hudson, reintroduced the bill on January 4, 2021. Nothing came of it.

On February 20, 2023, the “constitutional carry bill” was “re-reintroduced,” and, this time, in the Senate. John Cornyn sponsored it. Press coverage is sparse, essentially nonexistent.

President Trump just reiterated his support for it, stating: “I will protect the right of self-defense everywhere it is under siege, and I will sign concealed carry reciprocity,”… “Your Second Amendment does not end at the state line.”

In contradistinction to the “Constitutional Carry” bill of 2023, the “AR-15 National Gun” bill has received a lot of Press attention, most of it negative.

There is a curious thing about the mechanics of the legislative process concerning that bill, though. The bill’s text has yet to be published. News accounts report this, but none of them hazard a guess as to why there is no accompanying text. Usually, if not invariably, a text immediately accompanies an announcement of a bill, but not in this case. Why is that? The likely reason the public hasn’t yet seen the text of the bill is that the bill has no text. And why might that be?

H.R.1095 - To declare an AR-15 style rifle chambered in a .223 Remington round or a 5.56x45mm NATO round to be the National Gun of the United States
H.R.1095 – To declare an AR-15 style rifle chambered in a .223 Remington round or a 5.56x45mm NATO round to be the National Gun of the United States

There is nothing to be said about it that isn’t already in the title of it.

More to the point, there is nothing in the title that would suggest the bill accomplishes anything. H.R. 1095 is a vacuous exercise in conception, having no purpose other than to rile Anti-Second Amendment members of Congress, the Press, the Biden Administration, and many others that loathe firearms and Americans’ exercise of their right to keep and bear them. The bill has no other purpose that we can see, which makes the entire effort to prepare it shallow for the time and money spent in the conception and drafting of it, and the sponsor and co-sponsors, callow, that they would place their names on it. As explained on the senate.gov website:

“Bills deal with domestic and foreign issues and programs, and they also appropriate money to various government agencies and programs. Public bills pertain to matters that affect the general public or classes of citizens, while private bills affect just certain individuals and organizations.”

But what would this bill [H.R. 1095] do beyond declaring the “AR-15 is the National Gun of America?” Nothing positive that we can see. And, even in the blanket declaration, there is nothing that serves to strengthen the Second Amendment guarantee were the bill to become law, and much to harm it. That is the principal problem with it.

As a cursory note, the idea implicit in the bill—the notion of a declaration of a “National Gun” isn’t even original.

The sponsor and the co-sponsors of the bill likely didn’t brainstorm this but got the idea after perusing recent issues of the NRA publication, “America’s 1st Freedom.” We perused those issues too. The idea is prominently displayed on the covers of both the January 2023 and February 2023 magazines.

The cover story of the January 2023 issue is “This is My Rifle,” subtitled, “AR-15 is America’s Rifle,” by Serena Juchnowski. The cover story of the February 2023 issue is emblazoned “America’s Rifle,” and it is subtitled, “What the Gun-Control Crowd Doesn’t Want You To Know About AR-Type Rifles,” by the Constitutional Law expert and author of several seminal textbooks on the Second Amendment, Stephen P. Halbrook. The articles and Stephen’s books are well worth a read.

One thing implicit in both articles is the fact that Americans have an unalienable right to keep and bear arms in defense of themselves, close friends, and family, and they have a right to keep and bear arms in defense of the security of a free state, from the tyranny of Government.

But, there is nothing in either account that either expressly asserts a need for or so much as suggests a need for a Congressional Statute that declares the AR-15 rifle as the “the National Gun of the United States.” The reason why is plain.

Americans do not need an Act of Congress to tell them the AR-15 rifle or any other kind of firearm should be designated “THE NATIONAL GUN OF THE UNITED STATES.”

Even the construction of the language of the bill is faulty.

The use of the phrase “United States” alludes clearly and unmistakably to the Nation’s “standing army,” not to the civilian citizenry. And the word ‘Gun’ is a poor choice of terminology as it is a colloquialism and a slang word for ‘Firearm’ or ‘Weapon.’

The drafters of the bill would have done better to use language such as the “Ar-15 Is The Weapon Of Choice Of The American Citizenry.” This phraseology is better as it avoids ambiguity and a negative characterization that the informal verbiage of the actual bill, H.R. 1095, conveys. But this is quibbling. The bill is patently unnecessary at best, and, at worse, it weakens the natural law right to armed self-defense that exists intrinsically in man. It isn’t the sort of thing that Government bestows on man. Therefore, it isn’t the sort of thing that Government can rescind or deny to man.

The bill has nothing to commend or recommend and has many serious failings to discourage informal discussion of it or formal Congressional consideration, debate, or action, over it.

The bill was wrong-headed from the get-go for many reasons. Worse than unnecessary, the mere introduction of it is counterproductive.

The passage of it, unlikely though that is, would do nothing to secure our fundamental, unalienable right to armed self-defense were passage of it to occur.


About The Arbalest Quarrel:

Arbalest Group created `The Arbalest Quarrel’ website for a special purpose. That purpose is to educate the American public about recent Federal and State firearms control legislation. No other website, to our knowledge, provides as deep an analysis or as thorough an analysis. Arbalest Group offers this information free.

For more information, visit: www.arbalestquarrel.com.

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