My campaign is committed to answering as many legitimate questionnaires as possible, publicly. This is the first of those.
A2Dems – Question 1: On June 28, 2008, the US Supreme Court ruled in District of Columbia v. Heller that the District’s near-total ban on handguns violated the Second Amendment, which “protects an individual right to possess a firearm” that is not dependent on militia service. Do you agree or disagree with the Supreme Court’s majority view on the Second Amendment as expressed in the Heller ruling?
Agree. District of Columbia v. Heller is the first Supreme Court case in United States history to directly address whether the right to keep and bear arms is a right of individuals or a collective right that applies only to state-regulated militias. I agree with the court’s view that the Second Amendment “protects an individual’s right to keep and bear arms,” saying that the right was “premised on the private use of arms for activities such as hunting and self-defense.” The court also noted, and I also agree or concur, that the right to bear arms helps preserve the citizen militia. The court determined that handguns were “Arms” and concluded that thus, the may not be banned based on the Second Amendment.
Question 2: Which, in your opinion, should assume the predominant role in enacting legislation governing the possession and use of firearms by law-abiding citizens?
A. Federal Government
Both. Federal government needs to be at the forefront on enacting and enforcing legislation governing possession and use of firearms by all citizens. States have responsibility to ensure these rights and related laws are maintained and enforced. States also have to contend with how these laws apply to their citizenry and take responsibility to adapt those laws in their respective states. A good example is firearms in the workplace that may be determined at a state, but not a national level. This is a sensitive issue that affects the possession and possible use of firearms by law-abiding citizens.
Question 3: Do you support Federal legislation that would restrict or even outlaw private ownership of semi-automatic firearms by law-abiding Americans?
Yes, for restrictions. No, to outlawing them. And this opinion is leveled at semi-automatic rifles, not semi-automatic handguns. I would like to see restrictions placed on the number of semi-automatic rifles or assault weapons owned by an individual to no more than two, whether they are registered or not. I believe that individual ownership of more than two of these type of weapons introduces a safety risk to the citizens of a community e.g., in the case of a break-in and theft. If the individual is not a collector or a merchant, I would question the desire of that individual to seek ownership of multiple semi-automatic weapons.
I would support stronger federal and state laws that address and penalize the unlawful use of these firearms. By stronger laws, I am referring to those that are enforced not only to punish offenders but possibly hold the manufacturer responsible if they can be shown to have negligence leading to violent acts with their weapons.
Question 4: Regarding the National Instant Background Check System (NICS), should all legal transfers of firearms at gun shows be subject to NICS review, including sales by private individuals and collectors?
No. Subjecting private individuals to abide by this checking system is not a reasonable request and I would question the ability to enforce it. Can citizens be assured it would not be enforced in an arbitrary and capricious manner? I think not.
I would support legislation that required a private individual who sells a firearm to another private individual to collect information about that person and maintain it – sort of like an auto title transfer – but not be required to report it to the government. If that firearm were ever used in a crime, such information may be helpful to solve it. Collector and gun show sales should be subject to NICS. I view this as a formal sale of firearms regardless of how “informal” the setting is in which the sale took place.
Question 5: Would you support Federal legislation that would establish a mandatory comprehensive firearms safety class for all prospective gun owners in the United States?
No. While I believe anyone who owns a firearm should undergo training in its proper use and safety, making it mandatory, again, would not be reasonable or enforceable. I would promote education and training, and perhaps find ways to reward those who participate in a program or class. But make it mandatory? No.
Question 6: Do you support Federal legislation that would restrict or even outlaw private ownership of .50-caliber rifles by law-abiding Americans?
Yes. This is more of an issue of what is a reasonable purpose for this weapon to be in the possession of a law-abiding citizen. While the court has ruled unconstitutional in the District of Columbia’s decision to ban handguns in the district, they did state that Second Amendment rights are subject to reasonable restrictions.
The question around the rifle caliber is an interesting one. You are basically asking at what caliber a rifle should be outlawed. Our Army’s military assault rifle is a .223 caliber and the AK-47 assault rifle is a .308. Both are deadly. The .50 caliber is a daunting weapon. What is its purpose? Militarily, it is used in machine guns atop tanks during a battle. It is used in high power sniper rifles. I cannot see a parallel need for that type of fire power in the hands of a law abiding citizen for personal protection. I think most reasonable people would agree. It is beyond reasonable that this would be a weapon for self-defense or for hunting. That constitutes a reasonable cause to outlaw its private ownership. While I recognize a .50 caliber rifle is officially classified as a “small arms weapon,” so, too, is a hand grenade.
Question 7: Do you support Federal regulations that allow law-abiding Americans to carry concealed handguns in national parks and wildlife refuges, provided that such individuals meet all applicable licensing requirements (if any) in the state where the national park or refuge is located?
Yes. For personal protection.
Question 8: Do you support legislation that would allow ownership and/or carrying of firearms by law-abiding students and/or faculty on college campuses?
No. I would equate a campus setting as contained setting similar to a workplace setting and do not support guns in the workplace.
Question 9: Do you support or favor “Castle Doctrine” laws, which preserve a law-abiding American’s ability to use deadly force to protect one’s family or self that are enacted on the state level?
Yes. As long as they are enacted on the state level.
Question 10: Do you support Federal legislation that would allow “Right-to-Carry” reciprocity, where a law-abiding American may carry a firearm for self-defense while traveling throughout the United States of America, provided that the individual in question is licensed to carry a firearm in any state?
No. I do not support federal legislation to that effect. Rather I believe it is up to individual states to legislate “right-to-carry” provisions for residents and for their visitors. We let them chose their speed limits, why not vest the power to rule on this important issue with the states as well?
Question 11: Would you support the repeal of Title 18 USC § 925(d)(3), which bans the importation of firearms that are not “readily adaptable to sporting purposes” and also bans importation of various replacement parts for such firearms?
No. While this section is open to interpretation, its basic premise is to reduce the firepower of some weapons, e.g., limit round capacity in auto handgun clips, and the ability to conceal other weapons, e.g., removing the butt of a rifle or shotgun and replacing with a pistol grip. For these key reasons, I believe it is not unreasonable.
Question 12: In 1993, a five-day waiting period was imposed on all handgun purchases, but the waiting period was abolished in 1998 when the National Instant Background Check System (NICS) was implemented under the supervision of the FBI. Would you support Federal legislation that would reinstate a mandatory waiting period for handgun purchases, even with the use of NICS?
No. As I mentioned above regarding background checks as unreasonable and difficult to enforce in a private owner sale, this too requires all sellers to abide by and conform to a waiting period. Unless the federal government opens its national checking/monitoring abilities to a seller in a private sale, just as provided to registered gun dealers, this is not a reasonable or enforceable piece of legislation.
Question 13: Would you support the repeal of the provision within the Firearms’ Owners Protection Act of 1986 that outlaws the manufacture of various restricted firearms for civilian ownership, provided that said civilian ownership is qualified under the National Firearms Act of 1934 as well as all relevant Federal and state requirements?
Yes. I would also consider opening this question for public dialog. My position would be to allow the restricted firearms to be sold to qualified citizens under the NFA of 1934. However, I would also require strict controls and restrictions be put in place that included the identification of these weapons and their owners. I would also support placing a very high, perhaps a cost-prohibited annual tax on owning these types of weapons. We have the right to bear arms, but some arms should be treated differently than others.
Question 14: Do you support Federal legislation that would establish a policy of “no net-loss” of public hunting opportunities on Federally-owned land, with a view towards adapting to urban growth and changing land management procedures while still preserving enough land for safe and responsible public hunting?
Yes. This is a reasonable and enforceable policy.
Question 15: Do you support Federal legislation that would empower the United States Attorney General to prevent a law-abiding American from obtaining a firearm if the Attorney General merely suspects that the individual in question is a terrorist?
No. Our nation already sets guidelines regarding gun ownership in other rules of laws including the Constitution. We have recently seen examples where innocent individuals have died in custody where they were suspected of being a terrorist only to find they were innocent workers, instead.
Question 16: Do you support Federal legislation imposing an arbitrary limit on the number of firearms that can legally be purchased by an American civilian within a given period of time?
Yes. It is reasonable policy to limit the number of firearms to be purchased by American civilians. It they want to elevate their status to dealer, or collector, we should agree upon definitions and note restrictions that apply to this status or category of gun owner. As for individuals, limitations on numbers of firearms are reasonable.
Question 17: In regards to firearms that use detachable ammunition magazines, should there be a limit on the ammunition capacity of detachable magazines available to law-abiding American civilians?
Yes. Currently, there are limits on the ammunition capacity of detachable magazines. I support these current limits.
Question 18: Do you support Federal legislation that would help keep firearms off the American market that are inherently dangerous due to design flaws, including many “junk” handguns?
Yes. I believe just like any standards we include to make products safe for the America public – whether they be safety or design requirement in our automobiles, to our food processing and packaging. There should be some agreed upon standards based on the input or feedback from the manufacturers in this industry.
Question 19: Do you affirm that the United States should support and enforce international agreements that contain measures that would infringe upon the Second Amendment rights of Americans?
No. Americans as private citizens should abide the laws governing firearms possession that apply to nation in which they find themselves.
Question 20: Do you affirm that states should regard personal information on concealed handgun license holders as public records, making such data available to the general public on request unless license holders specifically request that their records be kept confidential?
Yes. I am an open records supporter in general and in this instance.
Question 21: Do you affirm that residents of the District of Columbia should be subject only to Federal firearms legislation, or should the DC City Council be allowed to impose additional restrictions?
Allow additional City Council restrictions. The District is already subjected to taxation without representation. The mayor and council should have the ability to add a restriction if they, as the governing body, determine such action is required.
Question 22: Do you affirm that all states should adopt a nationwide protocol that would deny firearms ownership to Americans who have been dishonorably discharged from US military service?
Yes. This determination should be decided at the federal level as it the federal, or the military for which he or she provided their service. States should abide by this federal decision.
Question 23: Do you affirm that conviction of a felony in a foreign court of law should automatically bar an otherwise law-abiding American from possessing firearms?
No. I would support such a firearm ownership ban only if the crime(s) they were convicted of in the foreign court would provide for the same punishment in this country. I would support a requirement for a full legal review of that person’s case before such a ban, with due process and right of appeal.
Adriel Hampton is a journalist, Gov 2.0 and new media strategist, public servant, and licensed private investigator. He is running for U.S. Congress in the 2009 special election for California’s 10th District. He has pledged to vote against funding for expansion of the Iraq and Afghan wars.