Gun sellers are doing what government shouldn't do

Much has been written about businesses like Walmart, Dick’s, Fred Meyer’s, and Bi-Mart’s decision to raise the selling age of AR-15-style rifles to 21. There are people who are for it, and those who are against it for a variety of political opinions. I don’t agree with their decisions, but the companies are private companies which can do whatever they want. It’s still not enough for those who believe the government should be the ultimate arbiter of what age someone should buy a gun of any kind. Houston Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee has introduced the “No MAGA Act,” which would increase the government’s role in who gets what.

To amend title 18, United States Code, to prohibit the transfer of a semiautomatic assault weapon to a person under 21 years of age, and to prohibit the possession or ownership of a semiautomatic assault weapon by such a person, with exceptions for active duty military personnel and full-time law enforcement employees.

Lee said in her news conference announcing the legislation it was important to keep law enforcement and children safe, while also noting the 2nd Amendment wouldn’t be done away with.

The 2nd Amendment stands. There is no challenge to legal guns in the homes of people. I may have a different opinion, but the law is the law. But the bloodshed now is causing law enforcement officers to gather in meeting rooms to be able to understand what they are facing. And then they may be confronting an AR-15. We should not put our law enforcement officers in harm’s way because we don’t have the courage to say, “Enough is enough.”

At least Jackson Lee is honest about her disdain for the right of citizens to keep and bear arms. I’ve written before on St. George Tucker’s analysis of the 2nd Amendment in the early 1800’s where he called it a “palladium of liberty.” Jackson Lee basically falls into the category of the old English aristocracy Tucker wrote about who wanted to keep people from owning weapons to preserve animals, but replace “game” with law enforcement. She’s being an elitist whether she wants to admit it or not.

There’s another side to this elitist argument, which conservatives are falling into. There are some out there who are none too pleased larger corporations are deciding who gets to buy a gun. Justin Danhof suggested at The Federalist big business is becoming the “muscle of American liberalism.”

The most recent example of this shift occurred following the recent shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida. After a deranged former student murdered 17 students and staff, liberal media elites predictably blamed gun rights advocates. CNN and others directed their ire at the National Rifle Association. And they were soon backed up by corporate America in their demonization of the organization.

Companies have rushed to punish the NRA for supporting the Second Amendment. Delta Airlines cancelled a group travel discount for NRA members. United Airlines also cancelled a discount for travel to the NRA annual meeting. The First National Bank of Omaha ended a co-branded NRA credit card. Symantec ended multiple discount programs for NRA members. Rental car companies Hertz, Enterprise and Avis Budget also ended their relationships with the NRA. And the list of is still growing.

Danhof, to his credit, wants conservative activists to become louder when it comes to what individual businesses do, instead of the state getting involved in issues. He suggests they take their business elsewhere, and avoid shopping at entities which don’t meet their values. But Danhof appears to be pushing the notion that businesses have to do what conservatives want, much like Jackson Lee wants businesses to do what liberals want.

Both are refusing to acknowledge what the aforementioned stores are doing in choosing who they associate with when it comes to weapon ownership. The Constitution recognizes freedom of association in the 1st Amendment and freedom of contract in the 14th Amendment, despite the Supreme Court’s Williamson v. Lee Optical decision of 1955. It means businesses can enact whatever policies they want to when it comes to gun sales, and who they sell it to. It’s still rather dicey to raise the AR-15 sales age to 21, but it’s easier for stores to enact this policy over the government itself.

Besides, there are plenty of businesses who have no plans to make any changes to how they sell guns to people. I’d rather go to them for my business because I trust them more than I would a Walmart or Dick’s to sell the right weapon. Plus, I trust them a lot more to decide who they sell weapons to, than I would any government entity or law.