Words Mean Things

Quote of the Day

There is something reckless in a Supreme Court that can annihilate gun laws by pulling at words, toying with phrases. There are many reasons to think about reforming the higher court. Decisions like this ought to be high among them.

Dominic Erdozain
June 15, 2024
Opinion: Supreme Court’s bump stock decision is a huge step backward (msn.com)

Reading the opinion piece you realize it is Erdozain who “pulls at words and toys with phrases”. Either that, and/or he is ignorant of the topic he writes about. As usual, these people project what they do onto their political enemies.

It is the ATF that thinks it can “annihilate gun laws.” They tried that by saying the law includes a bump stock when the law actually says a machine gun is a gun that fires more than one bullet with a single function of the trigger. The ATF “annihilated” the law and replaced it with their own “law”, which is unconstitutional. Only congress can create or change law. And last Friday, SCOTUS reminded the ATF and the rest of the country of that.

Words mean things. And the ATF must abide by the words of the law. If the law needs to be changed, then persuade congress to do that.  Apparently Erdozain doesn’t understand that is how things are supposed to work. He wants the president to be able to give an order and change the law at will. His desired political system is more like a monarchy or dictatorship. Lots of people agree with him.

Prepare appropriately.


16 thoughts on “Words Mean Things

  1. “‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

    ‘The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so
    many different things.’

    ‘The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s
    — Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass

    These are the same people who like the notion of a “Living Constitution” — which is a Humpty Dumpty constitution, one whose meaning changes anytime a left wing politician wants to pull something new on us.

  2. The SCOTUS decision said, in essence, “you can’t torture the statute to make it say whatever you want, you have to live by what it says.”

    The dissent basically said “It doesn’t exactly match the statutory language, but we think that it’s functionally close enough to what is banned, that banning it is consistent with the intent of the legislature.”

    None of this is annihilating any gun law. The law itself was never even challenged.

    It would be entirely consistent with both the ruling and the dissent, for Congress to pass a law that banned bump stocks. I’m not saying that they should, just that it would be consistent with (most of) the umpires’ rulings on the field up to this point if they did.

    I don’t foresee such a law in the near to medium future, because it would be too unpopular.

    • All correct. This will be useful in challenging the regulation where all semiautomatic RIFLE sales of five or more to the same individual must be reported to the ATF. The law says five pistol sales must be reported.

      There are others of a similar nature that are now vulnerable.

      • Joe, it’s two (2) or more within a five (5) business day period.

        And yes, the rifle requirement is very vulnerable.

      • It is also interesting because technically there is no single part of an AR-15 that has all of the statutorily required features to make it a firearm.

        Assembled, it is a firearm; disassembled, it is not. Technically. It is only really by convention that the lower receiver is serialized and subject to a background check.

  3. I’m sure one of our biggest problems is our lack of emotion. Everything these people talk about has an good/bad emotion tied tightly around it.
    While were reading law.
    All they hear is attached to the guns/bad emotion. After that response is triggered. Use all the logic you want. Or just babble incoherently, or outright lie through one’s teeth. The logic will be accepted/rejected based solely on that emotion.
    It’s why their logic can be the total reverse of truth. And yours can be nothing but truth. No matter. Emotion rules. Yuri tried to tell us.
    It’s why the communist is so binary and indifferent to true human suffering.
    The emotion needed for empathy is already burned up.
    Our problem is we believe in peaceful logic. As peace is the desired outcome.
    Communists believe in none of that. Only their pre-programed emotional response. And their happiest feeling is you no longer existing.
    How they get there does not matter.
    Plan accordingly, indeed.
    And, may all your enemies use bump-stocks!

  4. Congress passes laws.
    The ATF creates regulations that should be compliant with the law.

    Like their comrades at the EPA, ATF has been slapped for exceeding and or misinterpreting what Congress has passed by the final arbitrators on the Supreme Court

    Should happen more often IMHO.

    • Yes. Hence “Chevron deference must DIE”.

      In fact, the rule should be that regulations may implement only the plain meaning of laws. Whenever a law is ambiguous or doesn’t have a plain meaning, the proper Constitutional conclusion is that it hasn’t granted any regulatory authority to do anything. Chevron says “if the law is ambiguous the regulators can make s**t up”, which is nuts and a perversion of the Constitution. Then again, perverting the Constitution is the most common thing judges and justices do; cases like this one are unfortunately far too rare.

      • Chevron deference must die, but not for that reason.

        Traditionally, pre-Chevron, if a law was poorly written or ambiguous, and a defendant is caught between two competing interpretations of the law/rule that are both valid/consistent with the text, the benefit of the doubt goes to the defendant. Post-Chevron, a tie goes to the regulatory agency because they are presumed to be the experts in what they and Congress are trying to accomplish.

        Basically Chevron turned centuries of common law completely upside-down, and gave the agencies a lot of freedom to run amok.

        Notably absent from the whole discussion is the concept of “unconstitutionally vague.”

        • Ya, And somewhere they conveniently forgot about that pesky “Shall not be infringed”, prohibitive law thingy.
          The first time I heard an ATF clown say; Well, we interpret it this way, now.
          All I could think was. Wow, they really do want “Showtime”, don’t they.

          • We all crave a little bit of applause now and then, there’s no shame in that.

        • Publius, isn’t that what I said? “Whenever a law is ambiguous or doesn’t have a plain meaning, the proper Constitutional conclusion is that it hasn’t granted any regulatory authority to do anything.” — that’s the same thing as “we find for the defendant because it’s unconstitutionally vague”.

          • “Defendant’s interpretation can be considered valid under the law. Not guilty/conviction vacated.” is nowhere near the same thing as “Statute is unconstitutionally vague. Statute is hereby overturned on those grounds. Not guilty/conviction vacated.”

            Functionally, for the defendant, the result is the same. But the logical implications for future case law are very very different.

          • Agreed, what you described is more broadly powerful, and helps others similarly situated more quickly.

  5. Erdozain probably not only worships, but actually understands a leader who can easily explain almost any challenging topic with the words, “You know,.. the thing.”

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