Monday, December 14, 2009

Why is that Reasonable

I'm sure other people have better reasons than I do about these.

The professional hoplophobes have been losing the debate for a while. They can't pass the sweeping gun control they'd like. Well they never really could get exactly what they'd like. They had to settle for a watered down 'assault weapon ban' 20 years ago, when they wanted total band of every firearm. They've always relied on incrementalism to achieve their goals. To get a ban by nibbling away

They are still nibbling, but they have to take even smaller bites these days. The new tactic is to try to get these incremental steps to a gun ban is to insist that all they desire is a few small reasonable gun laws. Motivations toward an eventual ban aside, let's go over how these requests are really unreasonable, contrary to what someone that isn't a partisan of either camp might think.

[All this discussion would be more effective, I think, if I or someone could distill the points down to a short, catchy slogan.]

Lost or Stolen Laws.
Sounds reasonable, right? A requirement to make legal gun owners report when one of their guns is stolen in a certain short amount of time. Failure to do so results in criminal penalties to the person that kept mum.

What's the purpose of this type of law? A straw purchaser that has a clean record legally purchases a weapon (legal except for the criminal intent that follows) and then turns around and commits a crime with that firearm by selling it to a prohibited person. When the prohibited (worse criminal than a straw purchaser) person commits a crime with that gun the police will use the serial number to track it back to straw purchaser (which the cops can freely do thanks to the Tiahart Amendment). To stay out of trouble, that purchaser will claim the gun was stolen (or lost) from him months ago, and they just hadn't reported the crime way back then. If this law is passed, then the cops have something they can pin on the straw purchaser and get him in trouble.

Ok, it still sound reasonable.

Only, what if one of your guns or one of your relatives guns was lost of stolen, and you or they had no idea it was missing? Or you were on vacation for 2 weeks when your house was burglarized so you failed to report a stolen gun for 13 days after it was missing, but the law says you have to report in 7 days or less? An otherwise innocent and law abiding person is now guilty of a serious crime.

It seems passing this law would be a greater burden on the law abiding and criminals would ignore it for the most part and not be hampered by it. So only regular, innocent, folks would be in trouble with this law's passage. To escape jeapardy a gun owner might just get rid of his guns in order ensure compliance. One less legitimate gun owner, which is fine for the anti-gun advocates. Are their targets legitimate gun owners? They SAY they are against illegitimate firearm use and possession, but they sure to catch a wide, arbitrary, and capricious net. And that is unreasonable. And arbitrary may be unconstitutional since Heller....

Repeal the Tiahrt Amendment
Sounds reasonable, right? Allow the local police to trace crime guns like the FBI or ATF can. Repeal would also allow lawyers to go on investigative expeditions to try to link firearm manufacturers to activity that exposes them to civil suit on the grounds their products did undue harm in some areas.

No. It's not reasonable because it is not true. Police can trace any gun they pick up. Repealing the Tiahrt Amendment simply allows anti gun groups to ALSO run traces on any guns they want to. The Tiahrt Amendment prohibits the Feds from releasing information from its firearms trace database to anyone other than a law enforcement agency or prosecutor in connection with a criminal investigation. Heck, the anti-gun might be able, after passing, to just do a random trace on all recent transfers and list who bought what gun, when and where you live, in some newspaper. Might as well ring the dinner bell for burglars Sounds like a farfetched invasion of privacy and subsequent dire scenario? Don't be so sure. Anti-gun folks in Virginia, Tennessee, and Indiana have publish Conceal Carry Licensees in the paper. In doing so they have often revealed where a battered spouse was now residing, where a prison guard lives, as well as police and judges home addresses. And if there is a rash of gun burglaries after, that's ok by the anti-gun folks. Fear of more criminals possessing guns will give them more 'ammo' to pass more restrictive laws. And if the hoplophobes didn't publish gun owners identification, suing the gun makers in civil court because their gun caused injury? That's the point of firearms. You don't sue auto manufacturers for making a product that moves people around, or knife and scalpel manufacturers for making items that cut skin, do you?

Repealing the Tiahrt Amendment doesn't sound reasonable to me.

Gunshow Loophole Closure
Sounds reasonable, right? A loophole is bad by definition, right? You don't even have to think about it. (I think that us part of their point, to convince us it is bad give it a bad sounding definition. It'd be like one side of the abortion debate in this country getting to make the labels for each side and have it stick and going with Pro-Life and Pro-Baby-Slaughter, or conversely, Pro-Choice and Pro-Enslavement-of-Women's-Bodies.)

Anyway. What is the beef with the Gun Show loophole? All gun dealer have to be federally licensed. A gun dealer has to run a background check on you, among other things, before selling you a gun to determine if you are in a database as a prohibited person. But you only have to be a licensed dealer if that is your livelihood. If you are just some shmoe, like me, and you want to sell one of your 3 guns because you feel like getting something new, or you just need the money, you can. You or I can't knowingly sell it to prohibited persons, but there is no need for us to have the federal database checked. If I want to sell, or give AWAY, grandpa's rifle to my nephew I just can go and do that. No big deal. But closing the gunshow loophole would put an end to that. At gunshows, yes, because a lot of private sales are made at gunshows, but also in your living room as you pass on an heirloom to the next generation

Ok, it still sounds sorta reasonable.

No wait. It doesn't. Why is it any of the government's business what I do with that rifle as long as my nephew isn't prohibited from owning it?

What other burden does it place on me if it passes? Well a background check isn't free. I would have to drag the nephew down to a gunstore or a police station and pay them to run his name through the database. That's more than $50 locally. PER GUN.

A side effect of this sort of legislation is the cooling effect it would have on the gun culture, which would be good for gun banners, as a suppressed culture will lead to fewer gun owners which will lead to a waning of political power. Fewer reasons to go to a gun show, fewer desires to bother to jump through hoops to set up the transfer to a nephew.

The thing is, if folks at gunshows are selling guns with nefarious intent to circumvent the background check, they are already breaking the law. At least one of the 2 parties is. Passing the gunshow loophole closure legislation simply makes something already illegal... illegaller? That's not reasonable.

Making people on the Terrorist Watchlist prohibited people.
Sounds reasonable, right? Who wants a dang terrorist to be able to buy a gun? If you can't trust the guy to fly on an airplane how can you trust them to be allowed to buy a firearm? Sure, a bunch of people on the Watchlist are already criminals and can't purchase a gun now, but there are plenty that are squeaky clean and just haven't been CAUGHT doing anything evil yet that would make them prohibited

Ok, it still sound reasonable.

What is unreasonable is that we are a nation of laws and can't withold a person's rights without due process. All the other prohibited persons are there after meeting a set of criteria, usually involving a judge, in the light of day. The Terrorist Watchlist is made up of people selected by faceless bureacrats, and the list itself is secret. Someone reading this is on that list and has no idea and has done nothing to deserve to be on that list. Bureaucrats make mistakes and put the wrong people on there. There is no harm to them if they put a name on there, but it they fail to put a dangerous name on there and that person does some terrist act, that bureaucrat gets into hot water, so their is that incentive to bloat the list. And there is no remedy or process to get your name OFF that list if you are mistakenly put on it. If someone is wrongfully convicted of a felony, get's the ruling overturned and declared innocent, that innocent person has a legal means to get his record expunged and his 2nd Amendment and voting rights restored wholly. Not so for the watchlist.

Surrendering a right, forever, to an anonymous, unelected, arbitrary authority is not reasonable.

So, they argue for reasonable gun laws, and the pro-gun side is not against reasonable gun laws, certainly. Pro-gun folks certainly see the banning of ownership of guns by known violent felons released from prison after their sentence is over as reasonable. The thing is, the examples of the anti-gun folks of reasonable gun laws AREN'T reasonable after more that a cursory glance at their detail.

You know what else? All the new "reasonable" gun laws the anti-gunnies propose are just laws that make something already illegal, illegaller. And we are back to the trope of, "if you enforced the laws we aleady have on the books, you'd have less gun crime." It's becoming cliched, but it's true. It's sorta unreasonable to propose any new gun laws. It's wasted legislative effort. Mere symbolism when the electorate deserves some substance.


JB Miller said...

Yeah, what he said!

Old NFO said...

Reasonable and rational are NOT in their vocabulary... sigh...

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

sadly, rational has nothing to do with politics

Anonymous said...

We can never give an inch. Not one inch. This is a fight to the death, if need be. Many of you will surrender your weapons if laws are passed requiring it. But...many of us will not. Molon Labe. Lose your weapons, you lose your freedoms. The Constitution dies a hard death at that point. It's gone. We're gone. Molon Labe. Come and take them.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

You weren't paying attention, Anon. An anti-gunner policy make comes around these days and says, "I have no gun control ideas any more. Just some perfectly reasonable restrictions, X, Y, and Z"

My response was, "those ARE indeed restritictions on our rights, and are NOT reasonable."

Tam said...

"We can never give an inch. Not one inch. This is a fight to the death, if need be."

How come the people who talk this smack on the intertubes aren't making machine guns and suppressors w/o tax stamps and clogging the court system with their bodies?

They expect me to believe that they'll stand in the door come trigger-pulling time, but they're a-skeered of being arrested? They're not afraid to die, but they're terrified of courtrooms? Come again?

BobG said...

Any time I hear the words "reasonable" or "common sense" used when talking about firearm laws, my bullshit meter goes off.

Jay G said...


Maybe they're smart enough not to post about illegal activities on Al Gore's intarwebz?

Tam said...


No, I was being serious.

Where were these people when AWB '94 got passed?

If we can't show at least the will of Ghandi's followers, '60s civil rights protesters, PETA activists, or the Stonewall rioters, why should the other side take our chest-thumping seriously?

They cross our lines every day, and all our side does is back up, draw a new line, and say "Oh, yeah? Well, if you cross this one, you'll really be sorry!"

Mikael said...

Common sense and reasonable would perhaps be to pass a two-part test. One part in writing, one in practice. Preferably with a mandate of a small maximum fee for this test, and no minimum(gun clubs might want to offer it for free). It would licence you for gun ownership for the rest of your life, or until you lose it for some other reason(like commiting a felony).

That way we can at least make sure new shooters know the four rules and don't load their cartridges into their magazines in alternating directions to fit one more in there(a bootcamp story I read), or other such nonsense.

Drang said...

Common Sense would recognize that, if a "test" or "fee" for the right to vote is unacceptable, then a test or fee for the privilege exercising a right guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States is as well.

Ride Fast said...

Lost or Stolen Laws

I'd love to watch the shitstorm of outrage if they passed a law like that for not reporting a rape, or domestic violence, or a possible injury accident.

But that is how we lose our freedom and rights, a nibble at time, because the law doesn't seem to directly affect anyone but those awful NRA guys.

Windy Wilson said...

Ride Fast, that's a good point. Maybe (God forbid, actually) we'll get a chance if the stone-age medical care bill passes and they really do need to make good on their promise to find 4 billion dollars of waste, fraud and abuse in Medicare. I mean, if there is nothing to hide, you can report an injury right away, rather than waiting, which is patently a move to gain time to get one's fraudulent story together before going to the crooked doctor.

Rick R. said...

I have a few reasonable gun control laws.

A registered militia member shall register his militarily appropriate militia rifle, web gear, and a basic load of ammo (all obtained at cost from the government) to establish that they do, in fact, meet the requirements for being able to muster at need. Such registered militia members may be required to produce their registered militia arms for inspection once annually to confirm readiness.

Explosive ordnance sufficiently powerful (either becuase of quality or quantity) to endanger the neighbors in their house if an accidental detonation occurs must be kept in a magazine sufficeint to focus the blast away from innocent people. Such magazines may be required to be registered and annually inspected at no cost.

Carrying a gun outside one's property shall be subject to the same laws on intoxication and/or drinking as operating a motor vehicle on public streets. An affirmative defense of "necessity" must be included in the law.

All government officals (including police, judges, state's attorneys, etc.) are subject to the same gun laws as other law-abiding private residents when they are off duty, with the exception that official identifican may substitute for any no-fee "shall issue" concealed carry permit normally required of private residents.

Small arms ammunition and accessories permitted to government officals in the course of their duties shall not be denied to law abiding residents.

Persons convicted of violent felonies may, while under sentance (including parole or probation), be deprived of their civil right to keep and bear, unless they can successfully petition the court to allow such possession. Persons under arrest and in custody may be deprived of arms as well.

Private possession of guns or ammunition may be prohibted in secure facilities. Such facilities as qualify shall be ONLY those where the government has the authority to confine a citizen nonconsenually. Such facilities shall provide individually lockable containers for such guns, as well as a safe are to unload and reload these arms as needed.

State-issued concealed carry permits shall be recognized in all states, territories, or possessions of the United States. The laws concerning permitted concealed carry for licensed individuals or public officals of the state in which carry occurs sahll control, not necessarily the laws of the issuing state.

Clint said...

The dead have no worries. The dead are heroes. The convicted become Bubba' plaything.

I found it strange back when Heller was up before SCOTUS when people started talking about “one more infringement and it's WAR!!!”

Hey buddy, were you payin' attention oh, some 10 YEARS AGO, back when the guns were banned, CCW was staled, the gun makers were being sued out of business, etc,... Hell, if Bush lost, none of us would be here.

Then we have the few, the happy few. The ones who talk SO much smack that if there is a “round-'em -up” the bombastic will go straight to jail. And they are so PROUD of the fact they are acting on our behalf as bellwethers “for the cause.”

And they get to go to the big time comfy Federal Prison (better treatment than the state pen).

And miss all the fighting...

And after we “win” they are released and and say "HEY, I WAS RIGHT!”

The world is full of wannabe Nelson Mandela's not just in the gun community.


Clint said...

And for my next rant, I'll go into how us gunnies need to stop bashing each other all to hell and realize we are all on the same side.

Or something like that...

Cemetery's Gun Blob said...

Don't forget, the Tiahrt Amendment didn't stop Duh Maher from tracing that MAC 10 that was used in the Times Square shooting.