KTTH OPINION

Rantz: Oops. Anti-gun lawmaker accidentally argued against her own bill

Feb 1, 2024, 5:55 PM | Updated: Feb 2, 2024, 8:14 am

anti-gun lawmaker...

State Senator Patty Kuderer, D-Bellevue, at a Senate Law and Justice Committee meeting. (Photo obtained by The Jason Rantz Show)

(Photo obtained by The Jason Rantz Show)

State Senator Patty Kuderer, D-Bellevue, introduced legislation to compel gun owners to purchase liability insurance. But as she defended the bill, she accidentally argued why it’s clearly unconstitutional.

Senate Bill 5963 is meant to protect against accidental gun violence by incentivizing the proper storage of firearms. But under the Bruen decision by the Supreme Court in 2022, which establishes the framework of judging the constitutionality of gun restrictions, Kuderer’s bill wouldn’t survive judicial scrutiny. Watching “My Cousin Vinny” would arm one with the necessary knowledge to apply the majority decision to the law to know it’s unconstitutional. But the state senator, who is an attorney, cited Bruen and the Second Amendment to argue in favor of the bill.

As you can imagine, Kuderer’s arguments weren’t very compelling. She repeatedly made claims about Bruen that reflect the exact opposite of the majority decision.

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Patty Kuderer doesn’t understand what she’s saying

Kuderer’s opening remarks during a Jan. 29 committee hearing argued two main points: Why the bill is necessary and why it’s constitutional. It’s hard to imagine someone less informed about the legal arguments they’re making.

“By setting this requirement Washington intends to reduce the risk and subsequent cost of hardships of gun accidents,” Kuderer said. “This bill achieves these goals and reallocates costs without compromising any Second Amendment rights. This is true because this requirement does not regulate, limit or control the manner or method in which people may keep or bear arms. Instead, it simply says you must have liability insurance.”

This is astonishing. The bill literally regulates and controls both the manner and method in which we may keep and bear arms.

If you do not get the insurance, and keep a written copy of proof, you would be violating the law. And how is paying a monthly fee, in the form of insurance, to enjoy a constitutionally protected right not considered “compromising” our Second Amendment rights? The Court explicitly concluded that the Second Amendment “presumptively guarantees … a right to ‘bear’ arms in public for self-defense.” That is, we have a natural right to self-defense with a firearm.

Did Kuderer even read Bruen?

The Supreme Court’s 6-3 landmark ruling in New York State Rifle & Pistol Assn., INC. v. Bruen set the standard for understanding if a regulation on the Second Amendment can survive judicial scrutiny. It offers a new legal framework to apply to those regulations, but it all comes down to a simple question: Is the regulation rooted in the history of the Second Amendment when it was ratified?

Knowing Bruen would come up, Kuderer claimed the legal framework “complements” her legislation.

“The Bruen decision emphasizes the importance of considering public safety concerns in regulating firearms,” Kuderer claimed. “Gun owner liability insurance aligns with increasing public safety by requiring those choosing to own a firearm to insure against the potential risks associated with gun ownership. Gun liability insurance strikes a good balance between allowing individuals to exercise their Second Amendment rights and imposing a reasonable regulation that serves the broader public interest.”

Not only does Bruen do no such thing, it does the opposite of what Kuderer claims. It completely rejects any framework, as she suggests, that “combines history with means-end scrutiny.” It specifically rejects any kind of balancing test weighing public safety concerns against Second Amendment rights.

The Bruen decision cites Heller, a separate and important decision that helped to further codify our Second Amendment rights. The Court noted that “the standard for applying the Second Amendment is rooted solely in text and history.”

Is Kuderer’s bill ‘rooted in history’?

To be rooted in text and history, per Bruen, means the regulation is constitutional only if it is consistent with the “historical tradition of firearm regulation.” The reasoning comes from the Court’s holding in Heller.

“Under Heller, when the Second Amendment’s plain text covers an individual’s conduct, the Constitution presumptively protects that conduct, and to justify a firearm regulation the government must demonstrate that the regulation is consistent with the Nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation,” Justice Thomas wrote in Bruen.

In the majority opinion, the court expressly says case law “does not support a second step that applies means-end scrutiny in the Second Amendment context.”

It’s obvious that there’s no historical context in which a government-mandated monthly fee, whether from insurance or not, came into play. The idea of paying a fee in order to enjoy a constitutionally protected right was so odious that it was abolished in 1964 when the 24th Amendment was ratified to prevent a poll tax. The “right to vote” isn’t even an explicit constitutional right like the “right of the people to keep and bear arms.”

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What is Kuderer’s strategy here?

With no sound legal argument, Kuderer continued to simply deem the bill constitutional, as if deeming something constitutional is how any of this works.

Kuderer relied on either a complete misunderstanding of Bruen, or a strategy to simply lie. Both possibilities should be considered. Her office would not explain what she based her understanding of Bruen on when asked by The Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. Her arguments read like she didn’t do more than skim the majority opinion and, instead, relied on the dissent.

The truth is, however, her shoddy arguments do not matter.

Democrats are hellbent on taking away gun rights and they’re relying on uncurious or like-minded media to help shape the issue favorable to their position. Democrats routinely pass legislation they know is unconstitutional, but they don’t care. They keep hoping they’ll get lucky with an especially partisan judge, which is more likely than not in Washington state. It allows them to continue to fearmonger around guns, blame MAGA extremism for when they’re overturned by the highest court, and continue to earn points from far-left voters who don’t mind losing a constitutional amendment they don’t support or understand.

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show on weekday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here. Follow Jason on X, formerly known as TwitterInstagram and Facebook.

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Rantz: Oops. Anti-gun lawmaker accidentally argued against her own bill