Update: The Great Stupid Meets The Sandy Hook Ethics Train Wreck

This really is like one of the old horror movies, but scarier, and real. I have no idea what to do about it. The sudden and, though no one wants to admit it, coincidental wave of shooting episodes last month (and bleeding into this one, literally) might as well have been part of a conspiracy to freak-out the American public and  cowardly lawmakers into surrendering the Constitutional right to bear arms in self-defense.

As always, our democracy’s Achilles heel is public ignorance, and the anti-gun news media and the usual demagogues have done a bang-up job this time around of both exploiting the ignorance and adding to it. It is especially ironic that the same side of the ideological spectrum taking aim at the First Amendment with its cynical attacks on “disinformation,””misinformation” and “hate speech” are engaging in all three daily, indeed almost hourly, in order to finally crush the Second Amendment rights of law abiding and responsible citizens—so the people who pay no attention to laws anyway will somehow be dissuaded from gun violence.

Good plan!

The escalated assualt is simultaneously dumb, intellectually dishonest and unethical…but effective. And it is coming from all directions all at once, like the fast zombies in “World War Z,” as long as we’re using horror film analogies. In my annoyed and fevered state, I can’t even organize all of it coherently, so I’m going to resort to bullet points for now:

  • As I predicted when the Uvalde shooting first was reported, the Barn Door Fallacy is in full swing. The shooter was 18, so banning gun sales to anyone under 21 is one of the most popular “Do something!” measures, because the law will go back in time and stop Ramos from murdering all those kids. That’s because he bought his guns; never mind that Adam Lanza, the Sandy Hook shooter, was also under 21, and just took his mother’s guns to go on his rampage. Since the privileges and responsibilities of adulthood mostly attach when one turns 18, the sudden conclusion that 18-year-olds are dangerously irresponsible lacks integrity and consistency. Is there a line there, or not? Why there? Why are people allowed to vote for who makes laws when we think they can’t be trusted to obey them? What’s magic about 21? If two or three shooters are over 21 and under 25, will “Do something!” mean that the right to own a gun will be limited again?

The Stupid! It BURNSSSS!

  • The lies (disinformation/misinformation/lazy, careless or deliberate confusion of terms and deceit) make fair and informed debate impossible. Semi-automatic rifles are called automatic weapons, “AR-15-style” is used without clarification; “weapons of war” is scary and useful as a cognitive dissonance trigger but meaningless; “assault weapon” has no agreed-upon meaning, other than “bad.” Those who wield this fog of language literally don’t care about meanings and definitions…
  • …bringing us to “comprehensive background checks,” another “Do something” trope. What does “comprehensive” mean? Under U.S. law, federally licensed gun dealers, importers and manufacturers must run background checks for all sales to unlicensed buyers. The law bans firearm transfers to anyone convicted of a felony or committed to a mental institution. But a private seller without a federal license doesn’t need to meet the same requirement. “Comprehensive” apparently means making private sales involve background checks as well; it also could involve adding more—much more—details about a purchaser to “check.” Regarding the latter, you don’t have to be paranoid to wonder what those details could entail.
  • Regarding the former: how would (or could) a private gun transfer background check law be enforced? Such laws would place a serious burden on the seller. What if I had a cash emergency and wanted to sell my WWII German Luger to a collector friend who had always admired it? Getting the background check would take too much time for my urgent cash needs. I know and trust the collector. If he doesn’t pay, take my gun and shoot up a school, how would the government ever find out about the transaction? Unenforceable laws are deceptive, pretending to be something they are not—effective. That’s unethical.
  • In order to pursue the (batty) argument that its the guns and not the sociopathic, law-defying, violent and often crazy people who use them that are the problem, the anti-gun mob is denying that the mental health of shooters is a primary issue. (This goes along, strangely enough, with the “blood on their hands” attacks on Republicans, arguing that they have not supported significant spending on mental health treatment—which continues to be hit-and-miss no matter how much money we throw at it.) Here’s the LA Times:

Blaming mental illness for mass shootings inflicts a damaging stigma on the millions of people who suffer from clinical afflictions, the vast majority of whom are not violent. Extensive research shows the link between mental illness and violent behavior is small and not useful for predicting violent acts; people with diagnosable conditions such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder are in fact far more likely to be victims than perpetrators of violence.

This is Yoo’s Rationalization, “It isn’t what it is,” to the max. People who are not mentally ill do not shoot up schools. They do not go on shooting sprees that are certain to get them killed themselves. They do not shoot people “to get famous.” Mass shooters, like serial killers are, by definition, nuts. Laws are not likely to stop them.

  • And then we have “red flag” laws, which the public tends to like in polls because, as with so many of the “do something” measures, respondents have not thought about what they are or mean.  These are laws that the government could easily expand to remove rights from citizens who have done nothing illegal, or who have engaged in conduct in the past that has been dealt with and is over with. “Red flag laws” are pre-crime punishment, and should be ruled unconstitutional, though there is no guarantee they would be.
  • Polls that do nothing but sum up mass ignorance and manipulated uninformed opinion are being used as authorities. Mother Jones (I know, I know) got all excited about s new poll published by CBS News that “found” that “three quarters of Americans believe we can prevent mass shootings if we prioritize the goal of doing so.” In other words, “Do something!” How do we stop illegal gun violence? “Prioritize it!” Oh! More than climate change? “Well, maybe not more than climate change.” More than inflation? “Well, no, inflation is killing us.” More than fighting “systemic racism”? Oh, no, nothing’s more important than fighting that! More than abortion? “Are you kidding! That’s the most important of all!” So “doing something” about gun violence is, at best, fifth on our list of priorities, even from the perspective of the Left…which means it’s not going to be “prioritized.”
  • Meanwhile, the public is being fed lies by the President of the United States. “We should repeal the liability shield that often protects gun manufacturers from being sued for the death and destruction caused by their weapons,” Biden said in his hysterical “do something” speech last week. “They’re the only industry in this country that has that kind of immunity. Imagine. Imagine if the tobacco industry had been immune from being sued, where we’d be today. The gun industry’s special protections are outrageous. It must end.”

Ugh. Cigarettes are a consumer product that caused death and illness to uninformed users who had been deceived by manufacturers. If a driver uses a car to murder someone, can General Motors be sued? No. If someone beats in their wife’s brains with a baseball bat, can Hillerich and Bradsby be sued? No! Manufacturers are liable when their products are faulty and negligently produced. They are not liable, and should not be liable, when a purchaser uses the product illegally or negligently. All products have “that kind of immunity,” but when anti-gun zealots devised the idea of suing gun manufacturers anyway, a 2005 law called the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), which shields gun companies from lawsuits based on the unlawful acts people commit using their products.

At the risk of repeating myself, “Ugh.” The Great Stupid and the Sandy Hook Ethics Train Wreck alliance is going to be much harder to fight off than Frankenstein’s Monster and the Wolf Man.

46 thoughts on “Update: The Great Stupid Meets The Sandy Hook Ethics Train Wreck

  1. Since the privileges and responsibilities of adulthood mostly attach when one turns 18, the sudden conclusion that 18-year-olds are dangerously irresponsible lacks integrity and consistency. Is there a line there, or not? Why there? Why are people allowed to vote for who makes laws when we think they can’t be trusted to obey them? What’s magic about 21? If two or three shooters are over 21 and under 25, will “Do something!” mean that the right to own a gun will be limited again?

    The idea is that many gangbangers are under 21 years old, so making it illegal for people under 21 to buy guns makes it easier to go put away the gangbanger?

    But what makes us think that this law will only be enforced against the street thug and the gangbanger?

    What makes us think that this law will even be enforced against the street thug and the gangbanger?

    The lies (disinformation/misinformation/lazy, careless or deliberate confusion of terms and deceit) make fair and informed debate impossible. Semi-automatic rifles are called automatic weapons, “AR-15-style” is used without clarification; “weapons of war” is scary and useful as a cognitive dissonance trigger but meaningless; “assault weapon” has no agreed-upon meaning, other than “bad.” Those who wield this fog of language literally don’t care about meanings and definitions…

    As my longtime Usenet ally, Christopher Charles Morton, pointed out, the anti-gun cult rests upon a foundation of dishonesty, invincible ignorance, and sheer malice.

    Unenforceable laws are deceptive, pretending to be something they are not—effective. That’s unethical.

    The idea is that, if the state can not prove a street thug guilty of a robbery, or a gangbanger guilty of a drive-by shooting, they may be able to prove them guilty of obtaining a forearm without going through a background check.

    But that assumes the people who will enforce these laws actually want to go after the street thug and the gangbanger.

    People who are not mentally ill do not shoot up schools. They do not go on shooting sprees that are certain to get them killed themselves. They do not shoot people “to get famous.” Mass shooters, like serial killers are, by definition, nuts. Laws are not likely to stop them.

    Back in the 1990’s, poverty, broken homes, and systemic racism was blamed whenever someone killed someone else for wearing the wrong color clothes in the wrong ‘hood.

    When did we realize it was mental illness?

    They are not liable, and should not be liable, when a purchaser uses the product illegally or negligently. All products have “that kind of immunity,” but when anti-gun zealots devised the idea of suing gun manufacturers anyway, a 2005 law called the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), which shields gun companies from lawsuits based on the unlawful acts people commit using their products.

    The City of Cleveland, back in the 1990’s, actually sued Beretta for selling handguns to the public, claiming that they were unsafe, when it actually issued those exact model handguns to its policwe officers.

    These suits were clearly a joke and I realized it even back then.

    At the risk of repeating myself, “Ugh.” The Great Stupid and the Sandy Hook Ethics Train Wreck alliance is going to be much harder to fight off than Frankenstein’s Monster and the Wolf Man.

    Chris fought that for thirty years.

    Remember that the people pushing for gun control laws are the same people pushing for restorative justice.

    Now here is something that might merit its own blog post.

    https://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/nb/nicholas-fondacaro/2022/06/06/common-sense-cbs-urges-us-adopt-japans-occupation-era-gun

    On Monday’s CBS Mornings, the network continued their series globetrotting for gun control laws. This time they left Europe and jetted over to Japan where senior foreign correspondent (and friend to the Iranian regime) Elizabeth Palmer touted their oppressive system where a citizen could wait a year or longer to get a gun license as authorities prod their lives and a gun shop owners need to get permission to buy ammo. All imposed on them during the post-WWII occupation.

    So much for “common sense” gun laws.

    “As the U.S. gun-control debate intensifies, some Americans are looking overseas for ideas on how to prevent mass shootings. Japan has one of the lowest rates of gun violence in the world,” co-host Nate Burleson announced at the top of the segment. “Seems like it’s about time we adopt some of those laws,” he pushed at the end.

  2. A scare headline today on the FoxNews homepage reads:

    HEIGHTENED THREAT
    DHS warns of violent months ahead, monitoring risks of domestic terrorism and foreign adversaries

    Meanwhile anyone with rudimentary cognitive ability and bi-pedal locomotion can make their way into the USA via the southern imaginary border. This illegal immigration includes human/drug traffickers and of course an assortment of terrorists who will wait, plan, and strike, in such a way as to inflict maximum damage.

    Well jeepers; it is almost as if dementia jo and his puppeteers are purposefully leaving the southern border terribly under guarded while simultaneously belching “violent months ahead” so that people cannot say they were not forewarned when bloody violence escalates and the ignorant masses demand “something must be done” regardless of efficacy.

    • I think DHS is trying to scare SCOTUS into not overturning Roe v. Wade. “If you overturn Roe v. Wade, all hell’s going to break loose, Roberts” is what they’re saying.

  3. “three quarters of Americans believe we can prevent mass shootings if we prioritize the goal of doing so.”

    Forty percent of Americans believe in ghosts, and fifty percent think UFOs are alien spacecraft. Let’s not start making policy based on what people believe, especially the dim bulbs who answer phone surveys.

  4. “The law bans firearm transfers to anyone convicted of a felony or committed to a mental institution.” Wait! Are Democrats okay with convicted felons and the mentally ill being discriminated against? What’s up with that? Didn’t Terry McAuliffe get felons the right to vote in Virginia (because felons evidently always vote Democrat)? And the mentally ill are a protected group. They are allowed to live on the street and do whatever they want wherever they want to. Who’s really in favor of them not having the rights of all other people? Will the felon lobby and the mentally ill lobby stand for this?

    • I’m confused as to exactly what circumstances make violence by the mentally ill a “problem”. It seems to be legal for the mentally ill to stab or beat people to death in one on one situations on the street. That results in a stern warning not to do it again. It also seems to be legal for the mentally ill to break into homes and kill people, even via gun violence. It is only when the mentally ill break into schools and commit mass murder that anyone cares, and even then you aren’t allowed to point out that untreated mental illness was the root cause. You must blame the guns, as if the gun controlled the human rather than the human controlling the gun.

      • And then there are people who push people onto subway tracks. They’re members of another protected class: turnstile jumpers.

  5. Someone should simply offer up a bill to allow stop and frisk to rid the community of illegal guns. Watch how fast the cries of racism will emerge. If white supremacy is the number one threat to America and POC then why would stop and frisk be racist? Could it be they know the real answer?

    Why doesn’t someone ask the president if he favors stop and frisk as something that could be done to prevent shootings like that which occurred this past weekend in Philadelphia. Then watch him squirm.

  6. The best way to combat the stupid is to point out how baldface stupid it is… “Compromise on gun rights” is usually not a compromise at all, instead it’s usually of the form “You can keep all other semi-autos, we just want to ban the scary looking ones, and we’ll compromise by not including ‘shoulder things that go up’ THIS time.”

    True compromise would be fixing what is broken–OK, we can do ‘Universal background checks’ if you open up the system so everyone can access the data. State DMV’s can mark a pass/fail on driver’s license if they choose, sellers are granted immunity on any transfer if they can show evidence of a clean check. While we’re at it, since licensed dealers are no longer the only privileged group with this data, we can dump the whole licensing system altogether.

    People adjudicated as mental defective aren’t violent? Then we should further compromise by removing that population from the current list of people denied their right to bear arms. This is especially important since these populations are more likely to be victims of violent attack. Same goes for foreign nationals, other constitutional rights apply to them, they aren’t inclined to violence to any greater degree, but they make up the greatest population of “prohibited persons” denied their rights by the current background check system.

  7. Regarting “priorities”… there’s millions and millions of brains in this country. I’d be surprised if we can’t figure out five problems at once.

    For example, there are laws prohibiting certain people like felons from owning guns. That’s apparently fine. Federally licensed gun dealers are required to run background checks on people, which I assume increases the cost of the guns they sell. That’s apparently fine. In at least some places, gun owners are required to obtain permits to carry their weapons in public. That’s apparently fine. Per the Firearm Owners Protection Act (FOPA), the government is not allowed to create a national registry of firearm owners using firearm dealers’ records. I can see why people would be edgy about that: it would help a corrupt government to prioritize targets. Therefore, the government can’t simply issue people firearms licenses.

    If we’re looking to put all this together, why don’t we implement the following process? Private citizen A wants to buy a gun from private citizen B. Citizen A has to go to a licensed firearms dealer and have them run a background check. When it comes back clean, they get a little card saying that due diligence has indicated they are not prohibited from owning a gun. Citizen B is required to look at the card and check with the firearms dealer to confirm (to make sure Citizen A hadn’t committed any felonies after the card was issued). Citizen A would have to give the firearms dealer permission to divulge their eligibility record to Citizen B. It would be illegal for a private citizen to sell a gun without checking the buyer’s eligibility using this third-party method.

    There. That took less than one brain. Is there anything constitutionally, ethically, pragmatically, or strategically flawed with this policy idea?

    • That concept is a part of HR8 which passed in the House in March 2021 and is now at the Senate for consideration. Without getting too specific, it amends the current background check law by banning all transfers of firearms, except those among close family members, without first obtaining a background check from a licensed firearms dealer and completing the transfer through that dealer. There are a couple of issues that I see: transfer is not clearly defined; and there does not seem to be a provision for a situation where, a hunter enroute to a hunting trip for example, wants to check a rifle with an airline.
      Unlike many pieces of legislation, it is readable and brief: https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/8/text?format=txt

      • Thanks, it’s great to see people are thinking along these lines! At first glance this bill seems decently written, although it does indeed look like they left out the possibility of a transfer for shipment or transport, unless a weapon in a locked case counts differently. I haven’t yet considered all of the incentives that would change for all parties involved, so there may be practical issues. I wish I could count on the legislators to at least have some assistants look into those.

    • In Colorado, ours is a little problematic because there’s a cap on how much the FFL dealer can charge for background check at $12 or something and the time and effort and cost to participate in a transaction that you are otherwise not making a profit off of is much higher. The end result of a background check in the described scenario is to absolve the seller’s conscience and to cover their ass. “I did the check, no flags, so I sold it to him. I’m no longer liable.” Seems to me people would want to have a check like that done to protect themselves down the road. Of course, then victims when they realize they can’t sue because everyone did their due diligence and have a solid defense against negligence, they’ll get all pissed off again.

      Regarding the “transfer to close family members” as mentioned in the Colorado law and probably the current proposal, I wonder what the waiting period is for marriages is before you can transfer a firearm. Might be more simple to get married, transfer the firearm to the customer, and then get the marriage annulled in the span of 30 seconds.

      • Well, that would certainly bring new meaning to the phrase “shotgun wedding.”

        Thanks for that information! It sounds like the idea isn’t as simple as I had hoped. Maybe there’s another way to do it. I’m finishing up my own article on gun control, so if anyone reads it then it might help the conversation move forward.

    • Every “universal background check” proposal overlooks the salient detail that background checks don’t seem to do much to prevent people shooting other people. The majority of mass shooters since the advent of the NICS background check system have passed the check and bought their firearms legally. The rest use guns that are stolen from family members or otherwise obtained illegally. Expansion of the background check system to private sales will do almost nothing to lower the body count. It’s a “DO SOMETHING!” response that provides very little practical improvement in the situation. The ones who can’t pass the check will not hesitate to steal a gun or even kill someone to obtain a gun, since they are, after all, psychotic or sociopathic nutjobs. I doubt there are many cases of people who planned a mass shooting, got denied for buying a gun at a gun store, then gave up and went on to live a happy, productive, non-violent life.

      Your proposal would “work”, in the sense that it could enable private sellers to obtain access to the background check system, but wouldn’t do much, if at all, to reduce the number of bullets in bodies, because background checks don’t do much to stop nutcases or criminals from getting guns. It would be useful to provide at least some shield of liability for the person selling the gun, but that’s about the limit of its practical effects.

      • Aye, nutjobs are a separate issue in and of themselves, even beyond guns. Humans are clever; they can figure out ways to hurt each other without traditional weapons. I’m still covering violent maniacs in my article, though, because there are ways to address that issue without relying on firearm regulations.

  8. So, I saw someone make a very clever argument against gun control based on the racism hysteria going on. It uses the assumptions of the left against them to show they cannot consistently be in favor of mass gun control. It’s sort of along the lines of conservatives who argued that leftists were hypocritical for arguing for gun control while also calling Trump Hitler. Why would you give Hitler your guns?

    Here’s the argument against gun control because gun control would end up racist!

    More gun control means more police enforcement. More police enforcement means that minorities would be disproportionally targeted while white citizens would not be. Therefore, the only people who would really lose their guns would be minorities, not white people, but white people are the most dangerous, so gun control is pointless.

    Leftist logic is incoherent many times, but the argument that plays off of them to argue against gun control actually puts them in a bind because of how many of their own assumptions are turned against them.

  9. If you think about it for a few minutes, you realize that any “universal background check” law is impossible to enforce, or prosecute if violated, without a universal registry and tracking of all privately owned firearms. That, of course, is the threshold for confiscation.

          • …and therein lies the real problem with any discussion about “common-sense gun control”. The pro-gun-control side always…ALWAYS – I know superlative words are bad in discussions, but… – ALWAYS uses the phrase “common-sense”. They believe they can come up with laws and statutes regarding guns that everyone, including criminals, simply can’t wait to obey.

            Here is a common-sense law: don’t murder another person. That one is as “common-sense” as there is, yet thousands of criminals each year can’t seem to see their way clear to avoid it. Why in the world would they obey any other “common-sense” law, especially one involving guns that makes it harder to flout the “don’t kill” law?!?

            • If common sense could be legislated it would be everywhere and there would be no need for gun control.
              The problem: common sense is a hard to define and assault weapon.

      • I commented above on the idea, and I think that, if enacted, HR 8 would squelch a lot of private sales and transfers, especially those most visible such as at gun shows by private parties. Objections include the fact that this seems to be a stealth way of banning sales of some firearms to those under 21 (federal firearms licensees are banned from transferring handguns to those under 21), and that other legitimate transfers would be obstructed.

        • Huh. I didn’t realize that people under 21 could only own pre-owned guns. That seems… pointless.

          I don’t know enough about gun shows to know if it would be practical to have licensed firearm dealer representatives hang out and validate buyers who have already gone through the background checks. I’m pretty sure there’s some opportunity for creativity here, though.

          • I believe the restriction at the national level is on sales to under 21 by federally licensed firearms dealers. Private sales, purchases by parents, etc, would be different and vary from state to state.

              • That’s part of the moving goalpost fallacy.

                1) all guns are legal to buy by all people.
                2) all guns are legal to buy by all people over 18.
                3) all guns are legal to buy by good people over 18 at retail. (No effect on private transfers because you aren’t a regulated FFL Dealer.)
                4) 18 to buy a rifle and 21 to buy a handgun at retail. Good person rules still apply. Private transfers still unaffected. (This is what’s called the “gun show loophole”)

                Gun show loophole was originally that dealers would not have to screen buyers at a gun show because it wasn’t their primary retail location (or something like that.) now it doesn’t matter where you sell the gun as a dealer: all of your transfers require a background check. But that still doesn’t apply to private transfers. At a gun show, you can’t rightly do a private transfer while inside the location. But people have guns with flagged prices on their back and you just agree to meet outside for the transaction. If you have a firearm to sell, it’s the best place to find a buyer given there’s rules against offering firearms on most websites and newspapers are dead.

                • Just a bit of add’l info:
                  I believe there was an earlier regulation that licensed dealers couldn’t make a sale at a gun show. They could make a deal, but had to complete the actual sale/transfer at their business location, observing all applicable laws.
                  AFAIK, there is no federal prohibition on a private transfer inside a show, although there may be local regulations on that, or a rule against it by the show’s operator or the venue. As you say though, people can just meet outside.
                  People can be creative on Facebook, etc… Picture of a gun case “Can hold a Remington 742, contact for details.” Some states’ DNRs ( like Georgia’s) operate websites that allow individuals’ firearms ads, and there are sites like Gunbroker (though all transfer and shipping regulations must still be met, and there is a cost to the seller). I haven’t bought off Craig’s List for a while, but their ban on firearms listings used to be very often unenforced.

      • And, how would such a registry/background check have prevented Uvalde or Sandy Hook or this weekend’s body count in major cities across the US?

        Your proposals sound reasonable until the proverbial rubber hits the proverbial road. None of your proposals will stop a maniac from doing maniacal things. The only real way to prevent mass shootings is universal confiscation. Period. If no one has any firearms, no one can engage in mass shootings.

        jvb

        • The shootings by frustrated and disaffected youths with no recorded crimes are a cultural problem, and require a cultural solution. I didn’t mean to imply that a universal registry would solve those. I just latched onto Jack’s points about comprehensive background checks, including private gun sales, and all the priorities people are yelling about, and brainstormed something to address those.

          I don’t disagree with his points about mental illness or red-flag laws. Addressing the reasons why a person becomes a mass shooter in the first place is something that people seldom talk about, because it’s politically uncontroversial (and thus won’t win elections in the short term), empowering to the general public (and thus won’t win elections in the long term), and doesn’t imply a grand promise of safety like a law does. (Ironically, gun control legislation is like a silver bullet.)

          If nothing interferes, tomorrow I’ll be posting an article which should get people talking about constructive solutions.

        • Universal confiscation, just like deporting everyon who’s here illegally, is science fiction. There are too many weapons and too many dwellings to search them all and make sure you take every weapon, and nowhere near enough resources to do so in a timely fashion unless the government were to devote all law enforcement resources AND the entire military to the effort. Plus, can you really realistically see all of the United States submitting to having their homes ransacked and their land searched with metal detectors? That’s the behavior of a dictatorship, not a representative republic. It’s also an abdication of public authority over government authority, because when the government has a complete monopoly on the use of force, then the people are sovereign in name only. My thought is, if you admire the UK or Canadian or New Zealand approach so much, then feel free to go live there, just make sure you leave your US passport at the airport. Of course, bear in mind these places have much more restrictive immigration policies than here and might actually enforce them. You could also try for Ireland or Germany, where individual rights are much more constrained. However, don’t complain when the German police fine you on the spot for some infraction, or the Canadian government freezes your bank account or suspends your license or voids your insurance. Also don’t complain if you walk through a less than wonderful area of London and four or five punks beat the tobacco juice out of you and steal you blind. After all, do you think people are more likely to attack a solitary person who might be armed, or one who they know is not unarmed? ,

      • “If we’re looking to put all this together, why don’t we implement the following process? Private citizen A wants to buy a gun from private citizen B. Citizen A has to go to a licensed firearms dealer and have them run a background check. When it comes back clean, they get a little card saying that due diligence has indicated they are not prohibited from owning a gun. Citizen B is required to look at the card and check with the firearms dealer to confirm (to make sure Citizen A hadn’t committed any felonies after the card was issued). Citizen A would have to give the firearms dealer permission to divulge their eligibility record to Citizen B. It would be illegal for a private citizen to sell a gun without checking the buyer’s eligibility using this third-party method.”

        Yours is just one of several varied suggestions on how a private sale between individuals A and B might be accomplished with a background check…if both parties were agreeable to doing so. As I said, none of this would be enforceable or, if disregarded, provide evidence for prosecution for non-compliance, without the creation and constant updating of a registry of all firearms and their owners.

        The only thing the ATF currently has that even approaches such a registry is information from firearms manufacturers and importers on which firearms were delivered to which licensed dealers since the current background check law was instituted. The dealer (if still in business) has the actual end buyer record, in whatever form he has decided to keep them. A defunct dealer is supposed to turn over his records to the ATF, but they may be damaged or otherwise useless.
        The ATF also has no idea where/to whom any subsequent transfer of a particular firearm has occurred, or any sale or transfer at all, dealer or not, that occurred before the current background check law. There are maybe hundreds of millions of firearms, perhaps the bulk of all in private hands, whose current ownership cannot be reliably determined.

        Obviously, this new law couldn’t be enforced on the transfer of any firearm already privately owned prior to implementation (and, as always, criminals wouldn’t bother). Even the first non-dealer owner, if he could be tracked down and matched to a recovered crime firearm, could claim he transferred it before the law was in effect. The only likely counter to that might be the slim chance of contrary information from some sort of witness…word against word, not proof. Suppose seller B is the first owner of a dealer-sold firearm after the law is in effect, but doesn’t want to comply with the new card/dealer check system (which might take days or weeks to accomplish) to sell the gun to A. If no records are kept of the checks, and the parties and the firearms involved (a registry) what proof to the contrary would there be if seller B claimed he did do the check? If he knowingly sold to someone he knew wouldn’t pass a check (already an illegal act), he could claim he lost the gun in the woods, it was stolen from his car and he didn’t realize it until the police inquired, the buyer (whose name he doesn’t remember) must have shown him a stolen/fake card, etc., etc.

        In short, such a system might be useful to some honest private sellers (although most I know already ask for and copy an ID, if not a carry permit, and execute and keep a double bill of sale), it would be virtually useless without a complete national registry.

  10. I think we should have a thread dedicated to state constitutional rights to arms. Like, take Virginia’s Declaration of Rights of 1777 which was, in part, the basis of the US 2nd amendment:

    “That a well-regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defense of a free state; that standing armies, in time of peace, should be avoided as dangerous to liberty; and that in all cases the military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.”

    Who is the militia: Everyone
    How should they be: trained in arms
    Why: for the safe defense of the free state
    Safe from whom? Anyone who poses a threat but even a standing army which might be dangerous to liberty.

    When we talk about the 2nd Amendment, we kind of gloss over the role of the militia. The militia is everyone and they protect their communities when called upon. Thus, the only thing that stops a bad guy is a good guy. If you have good in your heart and you seek to protect others, you are the militia. If our society was working properly, the state would encourage citizens to take individual responsibility for the safety of their community in order to retain fewer police forces.

    So, tangent:

    The state would also want to encourage journalism to record the news of the day. But it seems we’ve shifted. Now we have police forces who record the news of the day under lock and key and require a FOIA request to tell you anything. They encrypt their radio traffic to prevent journalism and public knowledge of their activities. The police and incarceration state is the government’s standing army. Unfortunately, I don’t know how to organize such a system as we have now without making everything smaller like a separate county for every 10,000 people with it’s own sheriff and magistrate.

    Ugh. Forgive my ramblings. Maybe they spark someone else’s muse.

  11. Growing up our home had rifles and shotguns on a gun rack in the house. Not locked behind a cabinet but in the open. Some were loaded some not but the bullets were below the rack in a drawer. We as kids knew we never ever touched those guns unless a parent was their with us to go hunting or for target practice. We knew one never pointed a loaded or unloaded weapon at a person unless you planned on shooting them. When we reached a certain age going hunting or target practice was the norm. Those guns were there for protection as well. We knew if a hobo started causing problems the gun could be used as backup. We lived by a railroad track. The hobo network knew we would hand out food. So we would have visitors. Our doors were kept unlocked as well. We never had to get one of those guns down for protection. Yet they were there if needed. We knew how to shoot them. We knew the damage it did to a target or an animal. I have no idea how those guns were purchased I doubt that background checks were involved. Most kids who drove pickup trucks had gun racks with multiple guns and kept them loaded. Not one single kid who carried a gun would ever have thought of using that gun to harm a person unless it was self defense. Now fist fights they were common amongst all races and genders. The fights between girls would get pretty ugly. However never ever was a gun or for that manner or other weapon other than a fist or pulling hair was ever used. Weapons have not changed people have. The loss of respect and value of human life has diminished considerably. No gun laws will change the shootings that are occurring. It is a societal issue that we are unwilling to solve or even address. Simply my opinion but a downward spiral of our society started when moms went to work and daycares raised the kids. Divorce was made easier. This downward spiral continued when the ability to destroy a life through an abortion was approved. Life became devalued. I am a proponent of the 10 commandments. They are a logical common sense way to order one’s life. Sadly as our country moves away from at least 4-10 the collapse will continue. The just “do something” emotional drivel will never solve the problem. It may placate those who only emote in life but will not solve future shootings. Placing value on human life, strengthening the nuclear family and parents parenting with discipline might bring a course correction. One is either a sheep or a sheepdog. In truly simplistic terms evil is the current norm.

    • Thanks Tim and AgsMom. Great comments.

      This is one cliche that always bears repeating: an unfettered 2nd Amendment is what makes all the other good stuff possible and will therefore always be the target of evil slimy insidious lizard people hell bent on dominion over all things. Presently here in the USA, they just happen to be in the form of the neo-woke proglibocrat. They are literally poisonous to all that is holy and to all life forms.

    • Almost right. You’re either a sheep, a wolf, or a sheepdog. The sheep are weak-willed and just go with whatever they are told, the wolves prey on the sheep, and the sheepdogs fight off the wolves. If I had a kid I’d tell him (or her) “I didn’t raise you to be a sheep, and I will personally kick your ass if you become a wolf. So being a sheepdog is the only option.”

  12. The 2nd Amendment is the right that guarantees all other rights. Without an armed citizenry, we have privileges bestowed or denied by the government; there would be no unalienable rights.
    The idea of a private seller and buyer going through a background check is mandatory in California. The FFL (retailer) acts as a middle-man between buyer & seller, requiring the buyer to fill out an ATF background check form which the FFL will submit to ATF. Until the ATF clears the buyer, the seller retains possession of the firearm. The FFL is allowed (or required, can’t remember) to charge a fee for the background check.

  13. I want to leave this question here for any dedicated gun control advocate to answer:
    Imagine a world where we implemented every “gun safety” measure you could think of short of a door to door confiscation. Now imagine you are a teacher in a school and a gunman has just run into your classroom and barricaded himself in with you and your students. At this moment, how would you like to proceed?

  14. In years gone by, I was an avid gun collector. At one point I obtained a Federal Firearms License and opened a firearms business in 1977 which I ran for five years. My job responsibilities in law enforcement increased to the point that operating the business was impractical, so I closed it and sent all my FFL records to the ATF, as required by law. At that time, I owned over sixty rifles, most of them military surplus WWI and WWII weapons, registered to me personally. Over the ensuing years I pared down my collection considerably while occasionally buying and selling several firearms from and to private individuals, all of whom I knew personally and was sure they met all requirements for firearms ownership. About ten years ago I stopped selling firearms to anyone, although I have bought a few from time to time, both from FFL dealers and private individuals whom I know. (Friends who are FFL holders always verify for me that the guns are not stolen.) The fact is, there is no way for the government to know what I or others buy or sell in private transactions so long as the buyer and the seller are uninvolved in crime or some other disqualifying event. I have always paid cash and taken only cash in gun transactions. I have guns in my safe that I have no idea who the initial purchaser was, nor do I care. The government’s real interest in regulating these private sales has virtually nothing to do with crime prevention and everything to do with building a national gun registry so they can know who owned what guns when they decide to try disarming us.
    The anti-gunners always conveniently ignore the status of Constitutional rights as the highest laws of the land. They can’t understand the simple concept of “shall not be infringed.” The second Amendment should be regarded as being as sacred as the First Amendment. For the law-abiding, sane citizen, buying a gun should be no more regulated than buying a book. (I’m not sure the Left even supports that one anymore, but that’s a topic for another day.)

  15. Thank you to everyone who provided clarification on current firearms purchase policy! Also thank you to everyone who described what it’s like to live in a responsible gun-owning household!

    Hopefully this article modeling a constructive conversation about gun control will help more people engage on the topic. It starts with the people discussing the values in play and then exploring angles to address those values. Most people make the mistake of only considering solutions involving laws and regulations. I aim to show people there are more possibilities than what they have in mind.

    https://ginnungagapfoundation.wordpress.com/2022/06/08/midmorning-zone-negotiating-conversations-on-gun-control/

    What do you think?

  16. Clearly everyone is missing why we have mass shootings; it’s because there is no law saying that mass shootings are illegal, therefore, if we create a new law that specifically says that mass shootings are illegal that will completely solve the problem and we won’t have any more mass shootings.

    Yes, that makes about as much sense as saying that making a new law that law abiding citizens can’t have a semi-automatic AR15 is going to stop the criminally minded violent murderers from killing others in mass shootings with AR15’s.

    I’ve given up on using logic with the anti-gun activists, they are brainwashed like a freaking cult.

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