It’s often the case that bad goes to worse, and that’s true for the WISGOP. The Fifth Congressional District, now represented by
Thurston Howell III F. James Sensenbrenner, a gerrymandered, septuagenarian multi-millionaire who votes with Trump almost all the time, may have a new and worse Republican congressman. State Sen. Scott Fitzgerald, who in 2016 often sang a Trump train song, wants to represent the House district in which Whitewater is wrongly located.
Fitzgerald, of whom I have been critical in the past (for good reason:1, 2, 3), now has something to say about guns. Unsurprisingly, for a man who shows neither knowledge nor intellect, what Fitzgerald recently said amounts to ignorant error.
About universal background checks one reads that
Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald was asked to weigh in on the topic in a Sept. 22, 2019, appearance on WISN-TV’s “UpFront.” He said he didn’t see any momentum for red flag laws, then pivoted, unprompted, to the other gun control flashpoint.
“Universal background checks, too,” said the Juneau Republican, who recently announced he is running for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. “I mean, any time you’re going to ask somebody to submit the serial numbers to their guns to a state or federal official, it’s going to violate the Second Amendment.”
This raises some questions wort examining. People can disagree on whether universal background checks are a good idea (polling shows most Wisconsinites think so), but we should at least be able to agree on what they are.
Fitzgerald’s wrong about this:
this brings us to the last element of Fitzgerald’s claim — that submitting serial numbers to government officials violates the Second Amendment.
Courts have said that isn’t true.
Six states and the District of Columbia already require registration of some or all firearms, according to the Giffords Law Center.
“These state laws have been in place for decades and have not been overturned on the grounds that they violate an individual’s Second Amendment rights,” said Daniel Webster, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research. “Nothing in any Supreme Court ruling to date would suggest that a government requirement that gun owners provide serial numbers for the guns they purchase or own to government officials violates the Second Amendment.”
For example, a challenge to the Washington, D.C. registration requirement in 2015 was largely upheld by a federal appeals court. The ruling stripped away some elements of the law but left untouched the basic requirement that guns be registered.
There’s a difference in understanding between those of us who support Second Amendment rights and an ignorant band who simply declare – apart from law and history – that these rights are whatever they say these rights are.
The one thing worse than Fitzgerald’s singing is his thinking.