nine4t4 wrote:You don't need to prohibit, just say yes to a few checks and balances.
I think I get what you're saying, and in principle
I agree with you. Just not in a practical
As you say, "a few checks and balances" or to use the current gun-grabber buzz words that have become popular in the news lately: "common sense" or "sensible" gun laws, sounds very reasonable on the surface. Those terms have recently gained immense traction in social media. But what does it really mean? The very fact that they chose to call the next round of anti-gun legislation "sensible gun laws" implies that anyone who objects to it is crazy or an extremist; after all, who would object to anything "sensible." What they choose to label legislation often has little to no bearing on what it actually contains. I think that term was specifically chosen to give them ammunition. Ammunition to call anyone who tries to defend the right to gun ownership, and self defense, a nutcase.
I believe that the majority of people who are calling for "sensible" gun laws (and other synonyms to sensible), are well intentioned, every-day citizens who are shocked by the tragedies they see on the news and quite understandably want something done to prevent it. Many clamor, not realizing how much has already been done. Popular media makes it sound like any fruitcake can walk into a gun shop and walk out with a machine gun five minutes later. It's just not the case. There are immense restrictions already in place in regards to legal gun purchase and ownership.
Lets take the Brady Bill as an example of a gun law that sounds good on the surface, but doesn't actually accomplish what it claims. This law has been hailed as a major triumph by gun control advocates while failing to acknowledge that the only useful part of the law, the part of the law that was a compromise which allowed it to pass both the House and Senate, was actually written by the NRA.
In it's simplest description, the Brady Bill called for a two week waiting period before the sale of a handgun. It was described as a "cooling off" period, to prevent "crimes of passion." This, despite the fact, that waiting periods haven't ever been shown to prevent a single crime, yet they have been proven to have kept people in dire need of self defense, the ability to legally buy a firearm. One example, the Rodney King LA riots back in the 90s, where a significant number of homeowners and business owners were unable to buy firearms for self defense. Well, they were able to BUY them, but weren't legally allowed to take them home from the gun shop for two weeks. Which was well after the riots were over.
Contrary to popular belief, the Brady Bill didn't contain ANY provision to do any kind of background check to verify that the answers given on 4473 (the federal form you have to fill out to buy a gun) were true and that you don't have a criminal history which would prevent you from legally owning a firearm. The NRA wrote another bill as an alternative to the Brady Bill. It made provisions for a national instant background check that could be performed at the time of a firearm sale to make sure that the person buying the firearm wasn't legally barred from doing so, for example, because of indictment or felony criminal conviction. It showed that the costs would be low, funded by the people having checks performed, and there were no technical hurdles preventing the background check system.
The NRA version of the bill was initially rejected, but when it looked like the Brady Bill wasn't going to pass, the Brady sponsors finally relented and amended it to include portions of the NRA bill. Surprisingly, they were so married to the unproven concept of a waiting period, they actually watered down
the NRA bill, making it LESS effective at stopping prohibited persons from buying guns. The end result was that no national instant background check system was implemented. The Brady Bill passed, including a two week waiting period. However, as per the NRA amendment, gun sales within any STATE that had an instant background system in place were exempted from the waiting period. A substantial number of states immediately set up instant background check systems which were in place when the Brady Bill took effect. Going a step beyond what was required by the Brady Bill, to my knowledge most (if not all) states that implemented the instant background check system did so for ALL firearm sales, not just handguns.
Now, as for the "watering down" of the NRA bill? For states that chose NOT to implement an instant check system, gun buyers in those states had to wait two weeks after purchasing a gun before they could take possession of it, but they could still buy it with NO background check. That means any felon (or other prohibited person) who wanted to buy a gun from a gun shop, only had to go and lie on the 4473 form, wait two weeks, and get a gun. It wasn't until new legislation years later that the instant check system became mandated federally, finally replacing a useless two week waiting period implemented by the Brady Bill. Despite the uselessness of the waiting period, even with background ckecks some states still have a waiting imposed by state law.
From a practical perspective, gun laws in the US are already WAY too complex. I used to be in charge of compliance (with local, state and federal gun laws) at a very large gun shop and police supply store in the US. There are literally tens of thousands of gun laws in the US, each of which restricts the sale and ownership of firearms and ammunition in some way. It's complicated enough that the agents at the primary agency in charge of enforcing those laws (BATFE) don't even know the laws. I've received so much bad information from BATF agents and examiners, often times telling me it's OK to do something that I KNOW is blatantly illegal, that I had to get copies of the federal gun statutes to keep on a big shelf above my desk and learn them out of self defense.
The problem I see is that most gun control
groups are in fact outright anti
gun groups, with the end goal of banning all firearm ownership.
Before the Brady Bill passed, the NRA publicly stated that it was just "the nose of the camel in the tent," if you're familiar with the adage, and that if passed as proposed it would just be the opening gambit to an eventual ban on handguns. I remember watching a press conference where Sarah Brady obscenely trotted out her husband, previously disabled by a gunshot during the attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan, and left him sitting there drooling behind her to gain sympathy while she proclaimed the NRA to be paranoid and that we only needed to pass some kind of reasonable law to keep guns out of criminal's hands. She proclaimed that there was no sinister plans to disarm America. Did she really think we're that stupid? Did she not realize it's public record that before they changed the name to The Brady Coalition, their group was called The Coalition to Ban Handguns?
Around this time a staffer at the Brady group publicly leaked a lengthy internal confidential memo outlining the Brady plan, over the course of about 20 years or so as I recall, of incremental laws they hoped to pass. The memo stated that not only did they want to ban ownership of every type of firearm and ammunition, they even wanted to ban any edged implement aside from gardening tools and cutlery. Well, after the release of that document and it's wildfire spreading via fax (internet was brand new) Sarah Brady cried foul, claiming the document was a forgery made by the NRA, insisting she had no such goals.
Well, after the law passed she got over confident and she showed her true colors. The night the Brady Bill passed, the ink wasn't even dry on the signatures when the called another press conference. After originally calling the NRA paranoid for making their "camel's nose in the tent" comment, she said something to the effect that this was just the first step, and "if you think that's just the camel's nose, here's the rest of the camel" (I'm going off memory for this quote but I think I got it right) and laid out the next bill they were proposing along with the subsequent steps they wanted to take after that. It basically confirmed the legitimacy of the contents of the internal memo that they had originally denied. A progression of laws leading to a ban.
I say she got over confident because the next Brady bill fell flat, although the "Crime Bill" passed, but only narrowly and with the addition of a 10-year sunset on the law when it would expire. The following election saw one of the biggest landslide turnovers of control of the House and Senate from the Democrats to the Republicans that the country has seen in... well, in ages.
There are a lot of gun laws on the books. If we want stronger laws, I think that what we really need is to revamp them entirely. Simplify the system, pass one new and simplified law that preempts every previous federal gun law on the books. Let's make the instant background system stronger. It's the best tool in our arsenal at preventing them from being sold to the wrong people. Let's help agencies improve record keeping so things don't fall through the cracks which should
have put someone on the prohibited list. Let's unban ridiculous things that have never been shown to be used in crimes. Lets simplify the immense paperwork burden that's placed on legal gun stores. Let's remove the BATF's ability to simply create new gun laws administratively, on a whim and with the stroke of a pen. Making new federal laws is a job for CONGRESS. Allow the purchase of a safe to be a tax deduction to help encourage people to store guns as securely as possible.
Unfortunately, none of that is going to happen.