The outgoing Attorney General Jeff Sessions didn’t work out for reasons that we may never fully understand. The reason behind his having recused himself from the Mueller probe is unclear. But Trump needs a fully functional AG, so Sessions is out and Trump has announced that he is going to nominate William Barr. So what’s his story?
The announcement was met with praise from both Republicans and Democrats. So, what we wanted to know is, who has more to gain from his appointment; liberals or conservatives? Barr is a veteran of the first Bush Administration. He served as Assistant AG, Deputy AG, and finally as full AG. That means if there’s one thing we could say about him right off the bat, it’s that at least one conservative president appeared to think very highly of Barr.
When it came to gun rights, the only damage to gun rights done by Sessions’ Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE) is the bump stock ban. But that was Trump’s idea.
When it comes to Barr on gun rights, he is generally credited as the author of The Crime Control Act of 1990, PL 101-647. But it’s more likely the creation of Senator Herb Kohl of Wisconsin. The Crime Control Act contained a handful of gun regulations, most notably, The Gun Free School Zone Act (GFSZA).
The GFSZA is arguably one of the biggest factors in the ongoing problem of school shootings. After it became law, schools all across the country posted signs announcing the school is a no-gun zone. Of course, we know that any gun free zone is really only a legal gun free zone. Criminals bent on murdering children are not especially bothered by the signs.
But there are other provisions of the act that are commonly associated with the Clinton Administration, such as the ban on assembling semiautomatic weapons in the US that are prohibited as exports. The Crime Control Act of 1990 also provided longer prison sentences for SBS, SBR, and other destructive weapons for a decade. It banned firearms transfers to non-US residents. The Act prohibited the carrying of firearms into federal court buildings, and it also remedied some of the grammatical errors of the previous draft.
What this means is that William Barr does not have any special feelings for the Second Amendment. He is more than willing to let gun bans and gun controls pass under his nose. Despite the fact that Barr signed off on all these regulations, he was not the author or the driving force behind any of them.
That tells us that whatever gun bans Trump might take a liking to could easily find the approval of Barr’s pen. So it might make more sense to take a closer look at Trump’s attitude on our second amendment rights.
For one thing, Trump is a New Yorker- dyed in the wool- from the day he was born. He talks like a New Yorker, he thinks like one, and he does business like one. That’s why his work on the economy has been so fantastic. The dude knows how to make a deal.
But he’s also a native of a state that is practically a gun free zone. New York has some of the most restrictive gun control policies in the nation. Even people who can legally own guns who apply for a concealed carry permit are run through the wringer and charged piles of fees for the privilege of being turned down. Even journalist and TV Host John Stossel was denied a concealed carry permit by the state of New York.
So when it comes to gun regulation, that’s just part of the air Trump breathes. On the other hand, we know that Trump is a gun owner and that he has had a concealed carry permit for years. Okay, the man has got the cash and the leverage to get one even in NY city. We also know that he owns a Smith & Wesson .38 Special, and he carries it. It’s probably a small, concealable j-frame- since he has to walk around the city with it. Whether or not that S&W is gold plated is not certain, but likely. Even more impressive is his H&K 45.
What we can infer from this is that the Don is going to be in charge when it comes to Barr’s gun legislation. We can also say with a fair degree of confidence that Trump is pro-gun but in a kind of limited Gritty-1970s style New York kind of way. That’s not perfect, but we could certainly do worse.