A Deafening Silence: Cordray Refuses to Sign Second Amendment Letter

By Dave Yost

Twenty-three attorneys general went on record last week, asking the federal government in a letter to not re-impose the so-called assault weapons ban. Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray was not among them.

The measure, formally known as the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, was passed in desperation at the height of the crack-fueled drive-by killings of the 1990s. It was famously ineffective, and expired in 2004. (It turns out the best way to get murderers off the street is to convict them of murder and lock them up.)

The issue was pretty much off the table, with the exception of a few people on the far left who simply don't think anybody should have any firearms at all. Then U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder created a furor when he said the Administration would like to renew the expired ban.

The bipartisan group of states attorneys general sent a letter to Mr. Holder on June 11. Although it included predictable states from the West and the South, it also included attorneys general from places like Michigan, Wisconsin, Florida and New Hampshire.

But it did not include Ohio's attorney general, Richard Cordray. And no one in the news media has asked him why he did not sign the letter. An excerpt:

"As you know, the 1994 ban on so-called 'assault weapons' did not apply to machine guns or other fully automatic firearms. Machine gun ownership was first regulated when the National Firearms Act was passed in 1934," the attorneys general wrote. " * * * Because fully automatic machine guns have already been banned, we do not believe that further restricting law-abiding Americans' access to certain semiautomatic firearms serves any real law enforcement purpose."

Some of my well-intentioned friends ask why anyone would need to have an assault weapon. Leave aside the implicit redundancy in the phrase - what weapon, including a wooden club, cannot be used in an assault? The question ignores the Constitution.

We might as well ask, why do you need free exercise of religion? Karl Marx thought its influence corrosive. Or why do you need trials by jury? As O.J. Simpson can testify, they sometimes lose their way. (And most times they do not, as Mr. Simpson can also testify.)

Or, why do you have a right to a lawyer?

Because it's protected by the Constitution. The Second Amendment is part of the Constitution, and may not be read out of existence because one group of people deems its protections unsavory.

Nearly half of our states' attorneys general have gone on record saying so. Ohio should have an attorney general who is willing to join them.

Dave Yost is the Delaware Co., OH prosecuting attorney, and a candidate for Ohio Attorney General. Find out more at DaveYost.com.

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