Proposed Gun Law Would Exempt Residents From Background Checks Who Live Far Away From Dealer

April 15th, 2013

This proposed change to the Manchin-Toomney bill is asinine, and probably unconstitutional:

One approach designed to entice lawmakers representing large rural areas, particularly in Alaska, would exempt residents who live hundreds of miles from a gun dealer. Lawmakers are hoping that they can attract support from both Republicans and Democrats who are weighing the political costs and benefits of a bill against the perception that they are chipping away at gun rights.

Senator Mark Begich, Democrat of Alaska, has been cool to new gun measures, and Senator Lisa Murkowski, a Republican from the state, voted against even proceeding to debate gun measures. Supporters of the background check amendment believe the exemptions for people who live far from gun dealers might appeal to them.

Of course, those who live far away from dealers will almost all be in rural, isolated areas with low crime rates. Those near dealers will almost always be in urban areas with high crime rates. Make no mistake that this logic undergirds such a proposal.

And how on earth would the appropriate number of miles be set?

This issue would tee up something I have written about at some length–can the Second Amendment mean different things in different places. I don’t have time to write more about this now, but the notion that those in urban areas have more hurdles towards exercising their Second Amendment rights than those living in rural areas is troublesome. Many (Justice Breyer) would be happy with this, because cities are dangerous, or so the argument goes. As I contend in this article, such laws are constitutionally deficient.