Quote of the day—John F. Bash

Those cases only verify what I think has been this Court’s judgment in Heller and Miller, Congress’s judgment, the judgment of State legislatures for a long time, that these are exclusively used for unlawful purposes.

John F. Bash
Assistant to the Solicitor General
Department of Justice
Washington, D.C.
Oral arguments to SCOTUS in Samuel James Johnson v. United States
November 5, 2014
[H/T to Ry and David Hardy.

Bash is referring to short barreled shotguns.

This was said even though he knows tens of thousands of these guns are lawfully owned by people and are not used for unlawful purposes. He claims to believe these are only owned by collectors who don’t actually use them. Any use, he claims, would be exclusively for an unlawful purpose.

His justification appears to be because of NFA34 and various state legislatures put restrictions on this item beyond the restrictions on some other type of firearms. That is what the U.S. government thinks of one aspect of the right to keep and bear arms. Once a gun is restricted then that is justification for more restrictions.

Apparently if there were laws against something then there must have been a valid reason and the courts should not question the law. I would like to hear him draw similar conclusion from the history of laws against interracial marriage, laws against homosexual acts, and prohibitions against people of color using public swimming pools.—Joe]


8 thoughts on “Quote of the day—John F. Bash

  1. The argument made against sawed off shotties is simply a successful variant of the argument made against every single type of firearm.

    Scoped rifle? Only purpose is to be used by snipers to kill people.
    Single shot derringer? Only purpose is concealed, sneak-attack muggings.
    17 round Glock 17? Only purpose is mass killing.
    Everything in between? Some way the gun can be misused becomes the only purpose the gun exists.

    With sawed off shotties and full auto and suppressors, this bullshit argument worked. It almost worked with normal-capacity magazines, until people realized that criminal use of firearms made the first few bullets from a gun the dangerous ones, not the last in a stack of 17 or 30 (except in NJ, NY and CO, where BS still rules).

    One way to fight against such arguments is to ask what firearm is OK to own, since the one under question is so inherently evil, and watch the anti-gunner’s head explode at the idea of an acceptable firearm. Then ask why a more powerful rifle, or more concealable small handgun, or a 5 gallon can of gasoline, is OK to own when these items are capable of being misused in a much more destructive way than a short shottie.

    And ending with a kick to the nuts would be allowed in a more perfect world.

  2. Bash’s quote embraces two falsehoods. One is that there is no higher authority than (or any authority besides) government. The other is that governments try to restrict or deny citizens’ rights out of compassion or a sense of justice. The founding of America took place so as to highlight, and then erase, those falsehoods and replace them with truth.

    So long as a person accepts the above lies he’ll be incapable of percieving reality. As such he is a threat to peace and justice, either to those in his family, his associates or to whole societies.

    Functionally, what we see there are rationalizations, means of escaping the truth, and so there is always an underlying agenda being poorly hidden. Some see this sort of thing as cleverness.

    I see it as being the criminal mind.

  3. Also to put my geek hat, shotguns, because of the speed that shotshell powder burns develop much of of their muzzle pressure in a fairly short amount of barrel space (the fact that shotguns don’t use an over-sized projectile to get a perfect gas seal like in pistols and rifles might have something to do with this) meaning that much of a sporting-length shotgun barrel is just there for other factors like momentum in a swing.


    Also it’s good to note that the 18″ NFA length was added just for arbitrary reasons, and for practical reasons the 18″ limit on rifles was shortened to 16″ because there were a ton of surplus M1 Carbines on the market that had been re-crowned to below their original 18″.

  4. Re your last paragraph. Oh, well NOW he wants to give great deference to old laws, when they fit his particular hobby horse of a prejudice, but when it’s all about making a brave new world, then, what do people from even yesterday or all you flyover types know compared to we anointed, enlightened ones.
    He should check, if not his privilege, then his arrogance.

  5. Hm. Maybe I should petition the BATFE to bring my short-barreled Saiga-12 out to Boomershoot next year… I wonder how solid slugs out of an 8″ barrel would work for cleanup purposes.

    • We tried a few different magnum loads from a longer 12 ga. barrel several years ago on boomers, and they didn’t do well. The general idea behind the tests was aerial boomers, but at that time we determined that custom loads, having heavy charges of fast burning powder with lighter payloads, would probably be necessary. Then again we were using the heavy plastic end caps on the boomer targets, which Joe later determined resulted in rather surprising velocity reduction, IIRC. We entertained the idea of aerial rifle, and did some preliminary tests of a launching system, but never pursued it further. Clay targets are nice in that they fly well, but adding the loose boomerite makes them heavier and at the same time inhibits the friction-initiated spin in a conventional launcher. I thought of a spherical boomer launched with an air cannon, punkin-chunkin style, but the parabolic flight isn’t as desirable as the more Frizbee-like flight of a standard clay. Ultimately though it comes down to having a place to do aerial rifle safely and Boomershoot is not it.

      I can bring my 12″ Stryker if you remind me, and you won’t have to ask F-Troop ’cause I’ve kept it in Idaho the whole time. It’s chambered for 2.5″ shells only, and so I bet it wouldn’t be any fun at all for cleanup unless you could find some strangely high velocity, standard pressure loads for it.

      Have we deviated enough yet, from the OP?

  6. “It should remain the law, because it’s the law.” That’s a concept deeply embedded in the minds of many regulators.

    Our company recently took part in discussions with a Washington regulator agency that was exploring options for changing some of their regs to reflect new developments in technology. Every time a suggestion was made to permit the use of a new material or method, the old fart who was formerly head of the division (just retiring – handing off to his successor) would dig into his fat book of regulations – “No, can’t do that. It’s prohibited right here in the WAC or RCWs.”

    The notion was foreign to him that the whole meeting was based on the precept that we were discussing updates and changes to those regulations…..

Comments are closed.