Whenever possible, the Obama administration likes to kill two birds with one stone. Thus, if presented with an opportunity to stomp on both the First and Second amendments at the same time, who could possibly expect them to pass it up?
The National Rifle Association is warning their supporters that such a situation is now upon us. According to the NRA, the State Department intends to change their rules regarding gun discussion on the internet, and it could stifle or even gag firearm talk in many corners of the web.
“Gunsmiths, manufacturers, reloaders, and do-it-yourselfers could all find themselves muzzled under the rule and unable to distribute or obtain the information they rely on,” the NRA said in a blog post this week.
At issue is a set of new regulations requiring those who publish technical details about firearms to first get the go-ahead from the federal government. If publishers refuse to do so, they could be subjected to a fine of up to $1 million and two decades behind bars. The NRA insists that these regulations could easily shut down blogs and even message boards where technical gun details make up a significant part of the discussion.
“This latest regulatory assault, published in the June 3 issue of the Federal Register, is as much an affront to the First Amendment as it is to the Second,” warned the NRA. “Your action is urgently needed to ensure that online blogs, videos, and web forums devoted to the technical aspects of firearms and ammunition do not become subject to prior review by State Department bureaucrats before they can be published.”
The regulations come from updates to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations, a set of rules that predate the modern internet. These rules were never meant to govern information “generally accessible or available to the public.” Since the internet causes this information to cross international boundaries, however, the State Department insists that an update is needed.
If the update goes through (and is enforced), it will put severe limitations on gun blogs and other Web spaces where firearms are discussed. The internet is much faster than government, and these rules could apply to content publishers as well as the average joe on a message board. They would give the Obama administration all the authority it needs to determine exactly what can be said about guns…and what can’t.
This is the kind of “discretionary” move that we need to stand against. Far too often, this president has excused himself from the legislative process by invoking executive authority. And because his little ideas are met with such fawning liberal approval, it is left to Republicans to fight them. And we’ve seen how effective they are.
It’s time for liberals and conservatives to join together and ask some serious questions about this president. Why is Obama so anti-freedom? Why does Obama have such disdain for the Constitution? What would be the national response if a Republican were trying so hard to avoid Congress?
Unfortunately, Obama’s supporters love him for it. They don’t see how we are losing a little bit of America with every one of these asinine regulations. Or maybe they are glad of it. Either way, it’s up to us to talk about it now and talk about it often. Because who knows? In another year, we may not be able to talk about it at all.