Bob Barr

American essayist and civil rights leader James A. Baldwin once quipped, “The most dangerous creation of any society is the man who has nothing to lose.” This poignant reflection of a man in the forefront what appeared at the time to be a seemingly impossible movement for racial equality, once may have served as a warning to the government that it should fear the people it oppresses. Today, however, Baldwin’s statement serves as a warning to citizens that the real object of their fear should be politicians no longer facing the risk of reelection. President Barack Obama, now comfortably ensconced in his second term, is a man with nothing to lose -- and citizens have good reason to be worried.

Late last week, buried beneath stories about Syria and the Administration’s drums of war, were two little-noticed Executive Actions, which announced yet another attempt by Obama to curtail Second Amendment rights. The announcement by the White House and the Justice Department was typically misleading. “Today, the Administration is announcing a new policy of denying requests to bring military-grade firearms back into the United States to private entities,” the White House declared piously. It added, gratuitously and erroneously, that “this new policy will help keep military-grade firearms off our streets.”

The Executive Action effectively eliminates the ability of licensed importers to supply U.S. collectors and historical gun enthusiasts with legal, U.S.-made “relic” firearms more than 50-years old, and which obviously (at least to anyone with even a passing familiarity with firearms) present no threat to public safety whatsoever.

For years, importers have worked to bring historically relevant firearms into the United States, to supply the demand for these sentimental rifles such as the M1 Garand. Yet, as one importer noted in a “Call to Action” following issuance of the Executive Action, the Administration’s decree “threatens access to these firearms by the more than 60,000 federally licensed collectors, and millions of American consumers, who actively pursue these historic collectible . . .” firearms.

As this importer correctly pointed out, the targets of this confiscatory action are old, surplus military rifles -- hardly weapons of choice for 21st Century criminals; but if one cries “MILITARY-GRADE WEAPONS!” loudly and repeatedly, even the M1 Garand your grandfather carried ashore on D-Day can be made to sound evil.

Bob Barr

Bob Barr represented Georgia’s 7th district in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 -2003 and as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia from 1986-1990.