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President Trump Can Eliminate Gun Free Zones in the Army Corp of Engineers

Tuesday, November 15, 2016 17:33
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President Donald Trump has committed to eliminating Gun Free Zones.  He cannot eliminate the Gun Free School Zones Act by himself.  It will take Congressional or Court action.  He can eliminate Gun Free Zones on military bases and in recruitment offices.

He can eliminate Gun Free Zones on lands managed by the Army Corps of Engineers.  Donald Trump will be the Commander in Chief.  The Army Corps of Engineers is a federal agency in the Department of Defense.  It is commanded by a Lieutenant General (three star), Todd T. Semonite.   General Semonite is under the command of Donald Trump.

President Trump can order the Army Corps of Engineers to eliminate its regulatory ban on the exercise of the Second Amendment on the lands that it administers.  Regulations cannot be changed instantly.  There are procedures to be followed. President Trump can issue an executive order that the Corps of Engineers remove the ban on weapons on the land it administers, requiring the Corps to make the changes in accordance with existing law. A problem with this method is that a new administration could reverse the rule just as easily.

Another method available to President Trump is a negotiated Court settlement. The ban on possession of weapons on land administered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is being challenged in the Courts. Court cases in both the Ninth Circuit and in the Eleventh Circuit are active. A Trump administration could order the Corps of Engineers to negotiate a Court sanctioned settlement that would prohibit the Corps of Engineers from ever violating the Second Amendment again. Such Court sanctioned agreements have long been used by to create law without congressional approval, law that is impossible to remove by regulatory means.

Additionally, President Trump can support Legislative removal of the Corps’ authority to regulate in this area, as they did for National Parks lands. Idaho Senator Mike Crapo has introduced legislation(pdf) to remove federal infringements on Second Amendment rights from lands controlled by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps). From the press release:

The bill seeks to make firearm regulations consistent across federal lands by allowing law-abiding citizens to carry firearms on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) property. Under current law, a person may carry a concealed weapon in a National Park or Refuge as long as individuals comply with the firearm laws of the park’s home state. However, the same rights are not extended to Americans who hunt, camp or fish on land owned by the Corps, effectively denying them of their Second Amendment freedoms guaranteed under the Constitution when on Corps lands. 

This legislation has been introduced for the last three sessions of Congress but has been bottled up by Harry Reid in the Senate and the Obama administration. 
Congressional removal of the Army Corps of Engineers’ ban has significant support and could be enacted during a Trump administration.  A removal of similar bans on National Park lands was enacted during the Obama administration.  It has been an unqualified success.

Opportunities for Donald Trump to keep his promise to “get rid of gun free zones” are available and multiple.

©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.
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