Gun Banning Group Proposes Gov’t Use its Gun Buying ‘Power’ To End Run the Constitution

-By Warner Todd Huston

On Friday a group of left-wing “ministers” in some little-known “social justice” organization was given the platform of The New York Times to flog their ideas on how to ban guns. Their idea was to use the “buying power” the US government ostensibly has to force gun manufacturers to toe the gun banning line or face a reduction in federal guns and ammo purchases. Essentially, these purported ministers want to use the federal government’s buying status as a way to make an end run around the courts and the Constitution.

For the Metro Industrial Areas Foundation–a group that claims its goal is to “build power for social change”–authors the Rev. David K. Brawley, the Rev. Otis Moss III, the Rev. David Benke and Rabbi Joel Mosbacher had a novel if insidious idea on how to beat the courts, the Constitution, and force their ideas about guns on the country in a totally unaccountable manner.

They want their activist ideas implemented through the back door by having the US government force changes in the gun industry using its billions per year in guns and ammo purchases as a big stick to beat the industry into submission.

This would be no less than the federal government interfering in commerce on a massive scale.

Here is the group’s premise for forcing its will on the industry through the back door:

For more than a year, we and fellow religious leaders across the nation have worked to persuade President Obama to use what we believe is the most powerful tool government has in this area: its purchasing power. The federal government is the nation’s top gun buyer. It purchases more than a quarter of the guns and ammunition sold legally in the United States. State and local law enforcement agencies also purchase a large share. Major gun manufacturers depend on these taxpayer-funded purchases. For the government to keep buying guns from these companies–purchases meant to ensure public safety–without making demands for change is to squander its leverage.

Some may say, “well, isn’t that capitalism? Making an industry respond to its customers?” In truth, no, this idea isn’t “capitalism.” In fact, if the US government tried to implement these gun banners’ ideas in the way suggested it would be crony capitalism as the government would be setting itself up to say who becomes rich and who will go bankrupt.

But, that aside, it still isn’t capitalism because government spending is not capitalism. It is government policy. It is redistribution of tax dollars, not a capitalist endeavor.

On top of that, this move is essentially a way to amend the Constitution un-democratically via backdoor regulations. This whole idea is un-American, un-democratic, and completely against the American character.

The group has a full agenda of ideas on how government can go around the Constitution and the courts to force the firearm industry under its heel, too.

For instance, this group wants to force the gun industry to re-start research into the failed “smart gun” technology that has already proven unworkable. The group feels that the federal government should cut off purchases to any gun manufacturer that refuses to start manufacturing so-called “smart guns.”

Another area this group is pushing is the creation of some exclusive distribution and retailing system, one that would eliminate any one who wants to sell guns and/or ammunition unless they are approved to do so by government above and beyond the requirements already put in place.

The goal here is to put the thumb of government even tighter on the retail industry and further curtail our Second Amendment rights.

Then there is another pointless exercise in oppressive regulations that would only add to the costs of firearms and firearms manufacturing but would do little else of any import.

“[The Pentagon] should require all bidders to provide detailed information about their gun safety technologies and distribution practices in the civilian market.”

This is meaningless gobbledygook. What the heck would a gun buyer care about Colt’s, Ruger’s, Glock’s or any other gun maker’s “distribution practices”? It would just be another set of requirements for a gun maker to print up all this pointless stuff to include in packaging that a gun buyer would ignore.

But the group saved its most unconstitutional proposal for last.

Fourth, develop a set of metrics for measuring manufacturers’ performance. We might measure, for instance, the number of a manufacturer’s guns found at crime scenes, as a percentage of their overall sales.

So, because of what people do with a gun, that would be enough for the government to take some sort of (undefined) action to sanction the company?

How many Fords are used as getaway cars for bank robberies? Should we sanction Ford? How many Schwinn bikes are used unsafely by kids who get hurt each year? Should we sanction Schwinn? How many people get ill each year by unsafely combining alcohol with energy drinks? Do we sanction Red Bull for what its customers do? How many…. well, we could go on forever with the idiotic “metrics” of blaming a manufacturer for what its customers do. And we’ve already had court case after court case maintaining that manufacturers aren’t responsible for what customers do with their products.

Regardless, this whole campaign is gun banning by proxy. It is a stealth way to force the firearm industry to bend over for the gun banners’ ideas quite against good capitalist practices and any observance of our Second Amendment rights.

Further, using government as a sledgehammer to force the “social change” ideas of a minority is also not the way America works.

But in the end, I do agree that government should stop buying so many guns and so much ammo. Outside of the military, the federal government does not need all this firepower.

Lastly, let’s turn the tables on these buttinski “ministers.” They make a living off the First Amendment, right? Let’s say that government should force the media to say what it wants the media to say because the government buys a lot of newspapers, or subscribes to a lot of cable TV, or because the government has some level of control over the Internet. Would these ministers think it is a great idea for the media to be fully controlled by the federal government just because they buy a lot of media products?

My guess would be no. They likely feel that the government should be hands off our freedom of speech. But note that while they want their favorite part of the Constitution to be sacrosanct, of the part they don’t like they have no problem oppressing.

Funny how that works with liberals.
“The only end of writing is to enable the reader better to enjoy life, or better to endure it.”
–Samuel Johnson

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Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer. He has been writing news, opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and before that wrote articles on U.S. history for several American history magazines. Huston is a featured writer for Andrew Breitbart’s Breitbart News, and he appears on such sites as,,, and many, many others. Huston has also appeared on Fox News, Fox Business Network, CNN, and many local TV shows as well as numerous talk radio shows throughout the country.

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