Monday, May 02, 2011

Another view on BATFE wanting to use 'sporting purpose' definitions

to ban imports of shotguns:
On page 4 the following statements are made: “The 1989 study then examined the scope of “sporting purposes” as used in the statute. The study noted that “[t]he broadest possible interpretation could take in virtually any lawful activity or competition which any person or groups of persons might undertake. Under this interpretation, any rifle could meet the “sporting purposes” test. The 1989 study concluded that a broad interpretation would render the statute useless.”

Wrapped up in this paragraph we have not only an amusing logical blunder but also the real crux of the problem. Authors have presupposed the answer (so-called circular reasoning) at which they must arrive, i.e., the statute must remain useful. Thus, all interpretations by ATF are biased to yield that result. It is not the responsibility of the ATF nor is it within the purview of their authority to ensure the continued usefulness of a statute, if in fact it is rendered useless by advances, common practices, evolution in sporting, or lack of wise crafting of the statute (such as the fact that nowhere in this discussion of “sporting purposes” is there any latitude given for personal protection and home defense under the second amendment to the constitution of the United States). This single paragraph renders the study itself as useless as the statute has become.
But if you work facts and reality, they can't grab at more power to disarm us peasants.

1 comment:

Sigivald said...

Authors have presupposed the answer (so-called circular reasoning) at which they must arrive, i.e., the statute must remain useful

That's how legal interpretation works.

Congress, when it added that clause, intended it to restrict some imports.

If ATF decided that "sporting purposes" applied to all arms, they'd be essentially doing an end-run around Congress' intent that it actually stop some things from being imported because they weren't "sporting".

I think the clause of the GCA is stupid, but it is nonetheless still law, and the ATF's legal duty is to interpret the law such as to be consonant with Congress' intent (to the extent that is possible and Constitutional - though at least the latter isn't an issue specifically here, since Congress expressly has the power to regulate international trade, even if we granted a gloriously broad Second Amendment, even beyond Heller).

The solution? Repeal or amend the law.