By Larry Keane, National Shooting Sports Foundation
Here we go again.
You would think that even disgraced former New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer would have learned that illegal “Restraint of Trade” does not play well when challenged, something about antitrust laws and the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. Apparently, he has not grasped that lesson and has brought back a bad idea he first talked about in the year 2000.
Writing on Slate.com last week, Spitzer again suggested that government entities, this time the federal government, the city of New York and the Bloomberg-funded Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG) get together and use their market purchasing power to boycott firearms manufacturers unless the manufacturers agree to stop selling to the public both ammunition magazines “with more than 10 bullets” and, even more unbelievably “semi-automatic” firearms, of any kind – the very issue in the Heller and McDonald cases decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Twelve years ago Spitzer, then the NY Attorney General, and then HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo, led an almost identical effort to have antigun public officials agree to refuse to buy firearms for their law enforcement agencies unless manufacturers agreed to abide by a so-called “code of conduct” that contained their gun control “wish list” they couldn’t convince Congress and the American public to support.
NSSF and a number of firearms manufacturers took swift legal action to put a stop to this unlawful antitrust conspiracy by suing Spitzer, Cuomo and other politicians who agreed to illegally boycott manufacturers. Once sued Spitzer and his cohorts abandoned their scheme. Our lawsuit quickly achieved its objective of stopping the illegal boycott dead in its tracks. In fact, lawyers for the officials disavowed the boycott saying, “…no code has been approved, much less applied to the purchase of firearms.” They further claimed that government officials have “…only made vows, pledges or other statements of support for purchasing preferences that are based on proposed criteria.”
As was the case then, NSSF stands ready to take immediate legal action against any attempt by antigun politicians to implement an illegal boycott.
No doubt such an attempt to manipulate the free market will be frowned upon by law enforcement officials when they learn that the decision as to which firearm they can purchase is being made for political reasons rather than being based on which firearm they believe is the most reliable and has the features they desire to protect themselves and our communities.
With apologies to “The Who:” Meet the new idea, same as the old idea.