When looking at Boland v. Bonta, the “Unsafe Handgun Act” out of California, it was nice that the judge “got it right”.
Unfortunately the reasoning that he had in his opinion niggled at me. There was something wrong. It should have been this hard.
Then Mark Smith applied the clue-by-four and it made things obvious.
The UHA is a gun ban. Full Stop.
Consider a law that said “A firearm with a barleycorn front sight is banned” We would instantly recognize that as a gun ban. If it is a gun ban then the plain text of the Second Amendment is touched on and it then the state must prove that there is a history and tradition of regulating classes of guns with particular features.
When the feature was “pistol” then Heller found that a ban was Unconstitutional. The holdings of the Supreme Court have shown that it doesn’t have to be a complete ban, it only has to touch the plain text of the second amendment in order for regulation to be presumptively unconstitutional. It is up to the state to prove history and tradition.
But what if we turned the statement around? What if we said “Any firearm without a barleycorn front sight is banned”. This is still a ban, the state has just inverted the logic from “can’t have” to “must have”. It is a ban. Treat it like a ban in court.
Now if the state chooses to hide that ban inside a bunch of other regulations, it might be harder to see.
For example what if the law said “you can only buy firearms on this list” and “We are only going to put firearms with barleycorn front sights on the list”. It is still a ban, it is just a two step process.
Think of it the same way we think of machine guns. According to the law, machine guns are not banned. You are free to buy them if you can find somebody willing to sell them to you. All you need is to jump through NFA hoops.
But because of the Hughes amendment no NEW machine guns have been added to the transferable NFA list. This has caused the cost/value of machine guns to sky rocket.
I don’t think any gun infringer really wants to be told that the difference between an AR-15 and a M-16 is $75 in parts and an extra hole. Which means that the cost of a machine gun should be about the same as its semi-auto version.
The closing of the NFA registry for machine guns is a ban on machine guns.
The UHA is also a ban. No matter how much lipstick is slapped on that pig, it is still and always will be a gun ban.
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