Set gun rights floor

To the Journal editor:

The primary issue with the right to bear arms is that the Federal government has set a ceiling, but not a floor, on what kind of firearms are allowed by law. The ceiling is now at semi automatic weapons with no set magazine capacity. In other words no fully automatic and/or continuous feed (i.e. belt fed) weapons. The problem is that we have no minimum guarantees for our Right to Bear Arms. In other words, we all know where the ceiling is but we do not know where the floor is. As with anyone who walks on a false floor one is always worried about falling through and we do not know how far the fall will be. When one has to walk on a false floor one has to prepare for the worst.

The gun rights movement has been seen as paranoid by some of their fellow citizens. On the contrary, they are acting like anyone would who knew that at any moment the bottom could fall out from under their feet, at any time, on an issue that is very dear to them. If the Federal branch of the government were to create a minimum guaranteed law of what kind of firearms are available to the public, no matter what which State they live in, then we would all know where we stand no matter what the local law may be, because we have a legal floor. For example, the Federal floor could be something comparable to the Crime Bill of the 1990’s, where there were restrictions primarily on magazine capacity and on a few makes of combat class weapons.

No matter how odious some may think that time was, it would at least set a Federally guaranteed floor so that no State could vote away your right to semiautomatic rifles with a detachable magazine, just as no State today can vote in fully automatic belt fed machine guns due to the legal Federal ceiling on this issue. With both a Federally mandated ceiling and floor the issue can become what it should be, a State’s Rights issue, and allow the local citizens the freedom to build their own legal framework on gun rights within the parameters set by the Federal branch of the government. The legal frame work, as it stands today, would also allow the States the freedom to decide what sort of gun registry, if any, they would want.

Steven Richards