Donald Trump Just Restricted The Second Amendment More Than Barack Obama

Although he is still endorsed by the NRA, President Trump just presided over the biggest federal restriction on the Second Amendment since President Clinton signed the assault weapons ban in 1994. On Tuesday, the Trump Administration officially banned bump stocks in a regulatory move that bypassed Congress.

In a scenario reminiscent of the worst fears of gun owners, the new federal regulation makes it illegal to possess a bump stock. Any person who possesses one of the rapid-fire devices must either surrender it to authorities or destroy it when the new regulation takes effect. Per the Associated Press, the deadline to comply will be 90 days after the regulation is published in the Federal Register. That is expected to happen Friday, meaning that bump stock owners will have until late March to decide how to dispose of their property.

The regulation was signed into law by President Trump’s newly appointed Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker. The president had directed then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to “propose regulations that ban all devices that turn legal weapons into machine guns” last February. CNN reported in November after the election that the regulation had been finalized and would be issued soon.

The bump stock ban seems to be a solution in search of a problem. The devices, which use the recoil of the gun to help the shooter pull the trigger rapidly, are not typically used in crimes. The exception was the October 2017 Las Vegas massacre in which the murderer used a rifle with a bump stock to kill 59 people. Bump stocks make it difficult to aim and shoot accurately, but concert-goers in Las Vegas were packed into such a tight area that aiming was hardly necessary.

Ironically, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms under Barack Obama determined that a regulatory bump stock ban was not legal under current law. In 2013, the assistant director of the ATF wrote to a member of Congress that bump stocks “are not subject to the provisions of federal firearms statutes” and were therefore legal. The letter stated that the devices did “not provide an automatic action — requiring instead continuous multiple inputs (trigger pulls) by the user for each successive shot” and were therefore not subject to the Federal Firearms Act. In the expert opinion of the ATF, a bump stock ban would require Congress to pass new legislation.

Now, five years later, the Trump Administration is arguing that the Obama-era ATF was wrong and that bump stocks are in violation of the Federal Firearms Act. The laws of physics have not changed over the past five years. Guns with bump stocks still require separate trigger pulls to fire multiple times. Neither has the Federal Firearms Act changed. The only thing that has changed is the Trump Administration’s interpretation of the law.

Jennifer Baker, a spokeswoman for the National Rifle Association, told the AP that the organization was “disappointed” by the ban. Baker said that the regulation “fails to address the thousands of law-abiding Americans” who bought the devices before the Trump Administration deemed them to be illegal and argued that current owners should be grandfathered in with an amnesty.

The Trump bump stock ban contains many of the worst aspects of liberal gun control plans and sets a dangerous precedent. First, the ban is arbitrary and will have little, if any, effect on public safety. The rationale for the ban, that no one really needs a bump stock, is the same rationale that many liberals use to advocate banning AR-15s and guns in general. Proponents say that bump stocks are a gun accessory and not protected by the Second Amendment, but the same argument could be made for many other items including scopes, reloading equipment, magazines, and ammunition.

More disturbing is that the Trump Administration is bypassing Congress to invoke the ban in violation of the Federal Firearms Act. Current law defines a “machine gun” as “any weapon which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger.” However, as the ATF pointed out in 2013, that does not describe a bump stock’s operation. Reading the law to mean something that it does not say is usually strongly criticized by conservatives.

The new regulation goes further in restricting the Second Amendment than anything successfully enacted by Barack Obama, who was notoriously anti-gun. The Republican Congress killed Obama’s proposed gun restrictions limiting the former president to issuing a series of Executive Orders that fell short of banning any weapon or accessory.

President Trump’s bump stock ban is a blueprint that future anti-gun Democrat presidents can use to bypass Congress and further restrict the Second Amendment. In addition to being an anti-gun measure, the move is a flagrant abuse of executive authority.

There is no word on whether the NRA will endorse President Trump for reelection.

If The Bible Is A Myth, Why Is It Considered So Dangerous?

In America, and the West in general, we’re so blasé about religion and set in our ways about secular thought that we frequently miss the power of the Gospel. We get caught up in pointless arguments with nonbelievers, where politics, law, and culture grow like thorns and mask the Christian’s best answer.

The teachings, morals, lessons, parables, and laws of the Judeo-Christian Bible (Old and New Testaments) hinge on one fact that prove their exclusive claim to truth. If Jesus did not die and rise from the grave, then nothing we preach is more than personal opinion.

Nonbelievers offer the same argument the Apostle Paul addressed in 1 Corinthians: “we do not believe in the resurrection of the dead.” From a purely naturalist viewpoint, it’s impossible. Dead things do not reanimate. Life does not proceed from death, at least in that living human beings do not return from the dead. Once the brain is dead, there’s no thought, no electrical activity, no consciousness, no spirit, nothing.

Paul was writing to Christians who expressed faith in Christ but not in a resurrection of the dead.

Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up—if in fact the dead do not rise. For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.

1 Corinthians 15:12-19

Truly, if this event did not occur, there’s little difference in Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, animism, ancestor worship, and countless other religions from Christianity, in that exclusive but false claims all belong to the category of “false claims.” The power of Zeus and Apollo to save would be no better than Jesus Christ were it not for the resurrection. The Bible would be nothing more than myth, which is exactly what many humanist/secular/atheist nonbelievers believe it to be.

But Paul also gave an answer to them (before he addressed resurrection in general).

For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.

1 Corinthians 15:3-8

Christ has appeared in dreams to multiplied thousands of people, most of whom are changed by the encounter. Large numbers of Jews and Muslims have become (and continue to this day) believers in Christ following these dreams, some after reading the New Testament confirming their own witness. Some never read the Bible before this, because the book is banned in a not-insignificant number of countries.

If the Bible is a myth, why is it considered so dangerous in so many places that it’s banned? Why is proselytizing banned in most Muslim-dominated countries, and in Israel? Why, despite the bans, are thousands of Jews, Muslims, and those living in officially atheist countries such as China coming to Christ?

According to Voice of the Martyrs, a Christian organization dedicated to sharing the Gospel in places where it’s difficult, dangerous, and illegal, 47 countries ban or restrict Bible distribution. Many allow Bibles but not translations into local languages.

In places like North Korea, and many Muslim-majority nations, the Bible is completely banned. Iran, Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, UAE, Yemen, Maldives, North Korea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan are on the list of “covert operations only” for VOM.

The Guardian published a list of the “worst place to be a Christian,” that largely backs up VOM’s data. The Bible is banned in more countries than any other single book–even Mein Kampf. In contrast, the Koran is only banned (uncensored) in Russia. That was in 2014…since then Vladimir Putin has cracked down on Christians harder than practically any other religious group.

Why does this happen? If the Bible is so easily disproved and cast aside as myth, why is reading that particular book considered to be so dangerous to Islam, dictatorships and communists who believe it to be false? Why if Muslims believe the Bible to be corrupted, and Jesus’ death to be falsely reported, do they bother banning the book?

Why can’t atheist scholars attack Isaiah’s description of the “suffering servant” and the 353 specific prophecies from the Old Testament fulfilled by Jesus Christ? Why do secular nonbelievers discount Biblical scholars from cultural and moral discussions as “biased” then dismiss their credentials as Biblical scholars (who read the original Greek and Hebrew) when discussing the Bible?

If the Bible is a myth, and the resurrection of Christ never happened, why is it the most prolifically reported and carefully curated event in the ancient world? There are more texts of the New Testament Gospel accounts (some written within a few decades of the event) than of Josephus and Plutarch, two of the most studied historians and biographers of the time.

Were the five hundred witnesses Paul (and the witnesses named by the Gospel writers) referred to made up? Were they victims of mass hypnosis? Were they willingly slaughtered for a known lie? People will die for a lie–but a lie they believe. Nobody sane will die for a lie they know to be false, like a messiah who did not rise from the dead.

It really takes more faith to believe, without serious research, that Jesus Christ never existed, or never rose from the dead than it does to follow the facts where they lead. Skeptics normally consider themselves too sophisticated to actually learn Greek and Hebrew (both languages are actively spoken today) and study the source documents. They normally proceed from an “it’s impossible” world view and therefore dismiss any reports to the contrary.

But that’s not how real scientists should act. Something either happened or it didn’t. There exists evidence demanding examination.

Proponents of other worldviews and religions don’t need rigorous scholarly examination to know that the Bible represents a danger to their beliefs. That danger is not primarily in the words of the books, but in the confirmation of what people know in their hearts, what they experience in dreams, visions, and personal encounters, in books written thousands of years ago.

The Bible can’t be, at the same time, both a myth and the most enduring human truth in the world. Skeptics would be well served not to pretend that it’s two mutually exclusive things. Go where the evidence leads. The Bible and its author do not fear rigorous examination.

And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

John 8:32.

Including Iraq In Immigration Ban Is Slap In The Face

When it comes to the seven countries on President Trump’s list for a temporary immigration ban, one of these things is not like the others. Visitors from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Somalia are prohibited from coming to the United States for at least 90 days. For Syrians, the ban is indefinite. While it is understandable why the president might feel it necessary to closely screen immigrants from the Middle East, Iraq doesn’t necessarily fit in with the other countries on the list.

As a country that is openly hostile to the United States, people coming from Iran should obviously bear close scrutiny. Iran has already been accused of cheating on the nuclear deal negotiated by the Obama Administration. It has a long history of supporting terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah and since 1984 has been named by the State Department as a state sponsor of terror.

The two other countries currently designated as state sponsors of terror are also on Trump’s list. Syria received the designation in 1979 and Sudan in 1993. Sudan was once home to Osama bin Laden. Both countries have been torn by civil wars in recent years. The war in Sudan began in 2003 and was known for atrocities in the Darfur region. The Syrian civil war began in 2011 and has stoked a refugee crisis that led to terrorist attacks in Europe.

Yemen, like Syria and Sudan, is in the throes of a civil war. Iran-backed Houthi tribesmen are fighting both al-Qaeda and government forces supported by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states. Drone strikes against al-Qaeda in Yemen are frequent. It was in Yemen that President Trump launched the first drone attacks of his administration.

Somalia is probably best remembered by most Americans as the scene of the 1993 Battle of Mogadishu depicted in “Black Hawk Down.” Somalia is also home to pirates who terrorized Indian Ocean shipping in the early days of the Obama Administration. There are reportedly links between the pirates and al-Qaeda.

The sixth country, Libya, has also been a hotbed of terrorism since the fall of Muammar Gadhafi. Libya was the scene of the 2012 terrorist attack on the US consulate that resulted in the deaths of four Americans.

Of the seven nations singled out by President Trump, one could be considered hostile to the United States and three are known sponsors of terrorism. Five could be considered failed states without strong central governments that could reliably help to vet refugees and other immigrants.

Iraq is different from the rest.

Admittedly, Iraq is in the midst of a war, but the nation does have a functioning democratic government. The country is friendly to the US and many Iraqis have fought and died alongside American soldiers as they battled al-Qaeda and Iranian-backed extremists. Since 2014, the Iraqi army has been waging a campaign against ISIS, again with US help.

Iraq is an American ally and to include it on a list of enemies and failed states is a slap in the face by the Trump Administration.

One of the Iraqi immigrants detained at John F. Kennedy airport in New York as the ban was implemented was Hameed Khalid Darweesh. Darweesh served as an interpreter with the US Army during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. He later worked with American soldiers as a contract engineer in Iraq. Granted permission to resettle in the United States, Darweesh was just coming into the country when President Trump implemented his new policy.

It should be pointed out that there have not been any terrorist attacks -fatal or otherwise – in the United States or Europe by Iraqi. In fact, according to Politifact, there have been no fatal terror attacks in the US by anyone from the countries that make up Trump’s list. There has been one terror attack by Iranian-born US citizen and one attack by a Somali refugee. An additional attack was attempted by a man of Somali heritage who was born in Kenya. None of these attacks resulted in the deaths of victims.

There have been many terror attacks by immigrants from other Middle Eastern countries. The September 11 hijackers were predominantly from Saudi Arabia. So was Osama bin Laden. The Boston Marathon bombers were from Chechnya. The Times Square car bomber was from Pakistan. The terrorists who carried out the Orlando nightclub shooting and the San Bernardino shootings were born in the United States to parents from Afghanistan and Pakistan respectively. None of these nations are part of the immigration ban.

President Trump’s immigration ban seems poorly thought out and poorly executed. Keeping terrorists out the country is a worthy goal and a legitimate function of the federal government, but Trump’s approach seems amateurish and may cause more problems than it solves. Aside from the public relations nightmare, the policy’s worst problem is that it lumps an ally in with an enemy and a series of failed states while ignoring the source of most domestic terror attacks.

“This spits in the face of almost 16 years of cooperation with Muslim allies across the world,” Kyle Dykstra, a veteran of the 82nd Airborne Division who served in Afghanistan told the Chicago Tribune. “They can die for our security, but we can’t extend that same security to them now.”

Immigration Ban Could Be Expanded, Even As Resistance Grows

Reince Priebus suggested on Sunday that President Trump could expand his immigration ban to other countries, even as resistance to the initial order grew. The White House Chief of Staff said on NBC’s “Meet The Press” that the president could issue new Executive Orders that might include restrictions on such countries as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Egypt.

The ban on the initial seven countries has caused as uproar as visitors to the US with valid visas were detained at ports of entry. A federal judge issued a ruling temporarily preventing the Trump Administration from deporting these detainees

The Wall Street Journal reported that the ban was enacted suddenly and secretly to prevent terrorists from circumventing the new security measures. Many immigration officials did not see the Order until after it was signed.

There were reports that several of the countries in the initial travel ban were considering retaliatory measures. CNN reported that Iran intended to take “reciprocal measures” to protest the Trump policy. An Iraqi investment magazine, the Baghdad Investor, reported that Iraq had implemented a policy similar to Mr. Trump’s on US citizens entering Iraq.

In many cities around the country, protesters took the streets to protest the policy. The Wall Street Journal reports that the State Department is taking the unusual step of drafting a cable to be signed by dissenting officials. The cable has not yet been released but reportedly has been signed by more than 100 mid-to-high level officials both in Washington and posted abroad.

Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) issued a joint statement criticizing Trump’s ban. “It is clear from the confusion at our airports across the nation that President Trump’s executive order was not properly vetted. We are particularly concerned by reports that this order went into effect with little to no consultation with the Departments of State, Defense, Justice, and Homeland Security.”

The senators note that the ban also applies to Iraqis who fought alongside American soldiers against ISIS and al-Qaeda and that the policy may backfire. “This executive order sends a signal, intended or not, that America does not want Muslims coming into our country,” they write. “That is why we fear this executive order may do more to help terrorist recruitment than improve our security.”

Fortune lists a growing number of Republicans who have gone on record as opposing Trump’s ban. Currently the list includes 18 Republican senators and congressmen from across the country.

Polling on the immigration ban has not yet been released, but Gallup’s daily approval rating showed a sharp uptick in disapproval of President Trump since the announcement of the ban last week. Disapproval of Trump now stands at a majority, 51 percent, while 42 percent approve.