The Daily Caller‘s Mike Piccione reports: California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein is circulating a letter on Capitol Hill calling once again for a ban on semi-automatic rifles and asking for President Barack Obama to keep his State of the Union promise to make 2014 a “year of action.”
Citing the Gun Control Act of 1968, Feinstein states, “In recent years… importers of firearms have taken advantage of ATF’s interpretation of the ‘sporting purposes’ test to evade the import ban.”
The phrase contained in The Gun Control Act of 1968 Feinstein is referencing prohibits the importation of firearms that are not “generally recognized as particularly suitable for or readily adaptable to sporting purposes.” She claims that in recent years firearms importers have taken advantage of ATF’s interpretation of “sporting purposes” to circumvent the ban.
Although Feinstein recognizes that the firearms are designed for civilian use and never manufactured or used by any standing army, she maintained that “many semiautomatic firearms on the market today do not have a military origin but are modeled closely after military firearms.”
The assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert F. Kennedy led directly to the passage of a historic law, the Gun Control Act of 1968. Does that change your view of the assassinations? Should we be grateful for the deaths of these two men?
Of course not. That’s lunatic logic. But the same reasoning is now being applied to the actions of Edward Snowden. Yes, the thinking goes, Snowden may have violated the law, but the outcome has been so worthwhile. According to Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who was one of the primary vehicles for Snowden’s disclosures, Snowden “is very pleased with the debate that is arising in many countries around the world on Internet privacy and U.S. spying. It is exactly the debate he wanted to inform.”
In this debate, Snowden himself says, those who followed the law were nothing better than Nazis: “I believe in the principle declared at Nuremberg, in 1945: ‘Individuals have international duties which transcend the national obligations of obedience. Therefore individual citizens have the duty to violate domestic laws to prevent crimes against peace and humanity from occurring.’ ”
To be sure, Snowden has prompted an international discussion about surveillance, but it’s worthwhile to note that this debate is no academic exercise. It has real costs. Consider just a few.
What if Snowden’s wrong? What if there is no pervasive illegality in the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs?