There are many U.S. cities and states which require registration of firearms and elaborate licensing schemes. You might think that this is the sort of infringement which is prohibited by the Second Amendment of the Constitution. While the U.S. Supreme Court has affirmed the Second Amendment as an individual right, it will be years before unconstitutional city and state laws are challenged and struck down.
The application of the Fifth Amendment is more defined. In the case of Haynes v. United States, (1968) the requirement to register guns has been ruled an unconstitutional infringement for a certain protected class. The good news is that you can readily join this class. The bad news is, you have to become a felon or prohibited person to enjoy freedom from registration.
Haynes v. United States, 390 U.S. 85 (1968), interpreted the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution‘s self-incrimination clause. Miles Edward Haynes was a convicted felon who was charged with failing to register a firearm under the National Firearms Act of 1934. Haynes argued that as convicted felon prohibited from owning a firearm, requiring him to register was essentially requiring him to make an open admission to the government, a violation of his right not to incriminate himself.
The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Haynes in a 7-1 decision. This decision blocks state prosecutions of criminals who fail to register guns as required by state law gun registration schemes. Law abiding citizens must comply with the schemes and pay the associated fees.
Like North Korea, California has a one party political system and strict gun control. California has passed every gun control law ever conceived short of outright prohibition. It is instructive to look to California to see what anti-gun politicians want to achieve. It has little to do with crime and everything to do with control.
The Supreme Court decisions of Heller (2008) and McDonald (2010) established that the Second Amendment applies to all states and many of California’s gun laws are now being challenged in the federal courts. California passes laws they know are unconstitutional, trampling civil rights. The Second Amendment does not apply to California laws until they are overturned by the Supreme Court.
In California it is illegal to possess, import or purchase “assault weapons” unless they are registered with the state. Pretty much every AR-15 sold in free America is an “assault weapon” under California law. While California’s Assault Weapons Ban does allow individuals to obtain, transport or possess banned weapons with permission from the DOJ, the DOJ generally does not grant such permission to ordinary citizens.
California has taken money from firearms registration to form Armed Prohibited Persons Teams. These units hunt down people who are not allowed to have guns. This sounds great and the NRA initially supported California’s program. The result has been intimidation of family members and warrantless searches and seizures. C.D. “Chuck” Michel, a civil rights attorney, says, “It’s being billed as going after dangerous people, and for the most part, with some exceptions, admittedly, it’s not going after dangerous people. It’s not making society any safer.”
Now that we have set the stage, let us turn to the case of one Kevin Janson Neal, resident of California. You may have heard of him as he recently murdered his wife and neighbors in California, then traveling around shooting at random until he was shot and killed by police. These police described him as “a madman on the loose.”
How did this happen? Way back in April 2017, a judge ordered him to surrender his guns. He had a restraining order against him related to stabbing a neighbor and had been charged with multiple felonies due to the stabbing.
The Tehama County Sheriff (in California) has stated that neighbors had repeatedly complained about Kevin Neal firing hundreds of rounds from his house and displayed erratic and violent behavior. Their response? According the the Sheriff’s office, they sent Deputies to Neal’s house. They knocked on the door and then left when nobody answered.
Where were the California Armed Prohibited Persons Teams? With dozens of crimes committed with the full knowledge of the police and this guy firing a gun from his house, California’s mighty laws were stopped cold by a closed door. Their only effect was to disarm Neal’s family and neighbors to make them better victims.
This is America, certainly someone can sue to police for failing in their duty… right? Well that leads us to Warren v. District of Columbia (1981). Spoiler alert: the police have no duty to protect you.
This horrible story starts in the pre-dawn hours of Sunday, March 16, 1975, in a rooming house in the District of Columbia. Carolyn Warren and Joan Taliaferro, slept in their room on the third floor while Miriam Douglas was in a room on the second floor with her four-year-old daughter.
Two men, later identified as Marvin Kent and James Morse, broke in through the back door and entered Douglas’ second floor room. Kent forced Douglas to perform oral sex on him and Morse raped her.
Hearing the screams, Warren and Taliaferro called 9-1-1 . The dispatcher told them to remain quiet and said the police were on their way. The two women crawled from their window onto an adjoining roof and waited for the police. They observed a patrol car drive through the alley behind their house without stopping. A police officer knocked on the front door but left when no one answered. According to police reports, three officers departed the scene at 0633, five minutes after they arrived.
Warren and Taliaferro crawled back inside their room. Hearing screams, they again called the police and reported that the intruders had entered the home requesting immediate assistance. No police were dispatched.
Thinking the police had arrived, Warren and Taliaferro called to down Douglas. Hearing their calls, Kent and Morse forced all three women into Kent’s apartment where they were raped, robbed, beaten, forced to commit sexual acts upon one another, and made to submit to the sexual demands of Kent and Morse for the next 14 hours..
The District of Columbia Court of Appeals affirmed the trial courts’ dismissal of complaints against the Metropolitan Police Department. The court ruled that “the duty to provide public services is owed to the public at large, and, absent a special relationship between the police and an individual, no specific legal duty exists.”
So to review, many politicians want to restrict your ability to protect yourself and your family. Felons cannot be required to register guns, but lawful citizens can. The police have no duty to protect you. You should not trust these politicians. They consider the felons their constituents. Legal firearms owners are the problem.
If you are not prepared to protect yourself, I hope you have good neighbors. When seconds count, the police are minutes away (but they may just knock on the door and leave). Sleep well.
Photo provided by the Tehama County Sheriff’s Office, California