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A Little Short on Specifics, No?

The New York Times editorializes in favor of "sound gun-control laws." Which ones? "Reasonable gun-control laws," which can now be enacted following the "gun lobby"'s defeat in November. (No word on the success of the "gay lobby," "abortion lobby," "women's lobby," and so on.)

I'm all for sound and reasonable gun-control laws. Who wouldn't be? By definition, they are sound and reasonable, not the unsound and unreasonable kind that I oppose. (I should note that nearly everyone supports some gun control laws that they see as sound and reasonable, if only, say, bans on violent felons' possessing guns, or if you really insist on minimalism, bans on violent felons' possessing guns in prison.) Now if only the Times tells us exactly what those laws are -- all I see in the editorial is a quote from President-Elect Obama about "keeping AK-47s out of the hands of criminals," and nothing beyond that -- then we might have a conversation. I'd prefer a conversation on the substance, but even a conversation on the political question on which the Times is focusing would require some specifics. It's hard to gauge voters' likely reactions to proposals that aren't identified.

Oh, and here's the closing paragraph:

We hope the trend [of the NRA's supposed political failures] continues. To fight crime and keep Americans safe, this country needs sound gun-control laws. To pass those laws as president, Mr. Obama will need strong Congressional support.

Thanks very much for the enlightening observations!

Cornellian (mail):
It does make one wonder what Congress might be inclined to do if a Mumbai type incident were to occur here.
12.3.2008 2:13am
Vermando (mail) (www):
Lovely callout. Thank you.
12.3.2008 3:31am
LM (mail):

I should note that nearly everyone supports some gun control laws that they see as sound and reasonable, if only, say, bans on violent felons' possessing guns, or if you really insist on minimalism, bans on violent felons' possessing guns in prison.

I don't know. If you have to give them guns somewhere....
12.3.2008 4:08am
Oren:
Editorials are meant to be read by people that already agree with your tenets. Calling out this one for a lack of analysis seems unfair somehow -- they're all devoid of any meaningful analysis. You can find similar editorials in many other papers around the country from all political stripes.

For instance, Dems should criticize Obama when he does something wrong.
12.3.2008 4:13am
NicholasV (mail):
I don't see why an AK-47 in the hands of a violent criminal is any worse than a revolver or automatic pistol. Yeah, it can penetrate body armour and obstacles better but it's difficult to conceal so they're unlikely to carry it around and whip it out casually. I don't really want to be shot by either but I don't see how "reasonable gun control laws" are going to prevent or mitigate either possibility.
12.3.2008 5:46am
A. Zarkov (mail):
Oren:

"Calling out this one for a lack of analysis seems unfair somehow ..."

It isn't so much a lack of analysis (why gun control would be a good idea), as lack of clarity. Just what are they in favor of? Merely saying "sound" amounts to little more than a expressing a platitude. This editorial communicates nothing-- even to people who already agree with their tenets.

It seems to me that you're bending over backwards to support the NYT. Let's face it, they get an "F" for this editorial.
12.3.2008 5:51am
A. Zarkov (mail):
How is a semi-autoloading AK-47 any more dangerous than a semi-autoloading hunting rifle like the Ruger Mini-30? They both use the same cartridge (7.62 x 39 mm). The muzzle velocity of the Mini 30 even exceeds that of the AK-47, 945 versus 715 M/s. They both feature gas-operated rotating bolt action. They both use a 30 round detachable box magazine. The AK-47 has a slightly shorter barrel length (415 versus 470 mm). While the AK-47 does have a folding stock, it's hardly concealable at 645 mm (versus 846 mm for the Mini 30).

If anything the Mini 30 is more lethal than the AK-47, so what's the big deal? The fully automatic AK-47 is of course already illegal. The anti-gun crowd seems somehow obsessed with the AK-47. I suppose it's just another example of the shallow uninformed thinking displayed by many liberal publications.
12.3.2008 6:19am
Vermando (mail) (www):
Did anybody else know Zarkov was so knowledgeable about these things? I sure would've been nicer to him before had I been aware...


My hand bling full of platinum the shine is chrome
He even got closet space inside of my home
He ain't never been broke he glitchless
So reliable I bought him a rubber coat for Christmas
Infared beam in the scope for distance
The best company wouldn't proach in business
He who ride with me to the end
We all gotta friend
And mine is a G-U-N.


holla
12.3.2008 6:52am
PersonFromPorlock:
Here's my standard 'letter to the Editor':

To the Editor:

A practical, commonsense way of reducing gun violence -- especially against schoolchildren -- would be a federal law prohibiting, or at least seriously limiting, the interstate reporting of sensational gun crimes like Columbine, Virginia Tech and now Westroads Mall for seven days.

Such a law would not affect local coverage, where there is a need for the immediate dissemination of information, but would make the event 'old news' when it was finally reported nationally and therefore unlikely to get the massive publicity that invites further, copycat violence. Even a small reduction in today's intense coverage of such events might, by not stimulating some potential gunman to action, save lives. Surely the responsible media would be willing to wait a week to save a life.

Experience has shown that 'gun' laws are hard to pass, and harder to enforce because of the easy transportation and concealment of firearms. Given the concern of the national media with gun violence and the public nature of 'news', passage and enforcement of this law should be virtually automatic.

Because the proposed publication delay would be short and serve a compelling government interest, it will pass Constitutional muster; the Brady law serves admirably as a precedent here. While the pornographers of violence and their cynical corporate sponsors will raise a smokescreen of First Amendment 'concerns' to protect their profits, the simple fact is that it is as wrong – and as wrongful -- to hold that the Press Clause protects a media 'right' to lethally endanger the public as it would be to hold that the Religion Clause protects human sacrifice.

I solicit your endorsement of this proposal.
Sincerely, etc.





Oddly enough, it hasn't made it past an editor yet.
12.3.2008 7:02am
mike123 (mail):
The NRA seems to have some juice left. Saxby Chambliss won in GA with 57% of the vote. The NRA made a huge push/investment in Saxby's campaign. I got at least 3 postcards and 20 calls in the month leading up to the election from the NRA.

Gun Control is an election loser so go ahead Dems, try it. Ignore what happened as a result of the Assualt Weapons Ban (hint - you lost congress big time). The Republicans could use your help as they are pathetic big government Bush-ites
12.3.2008 7:13am
pmorem (mail):
but... but...

I'm not completely convinced that "shall own" laws are reasonable.
12.3.2008 7:24am
Arkady:
Perhaps they could solicit input from nationally-known firearms expert Plaxico Burress. Something along the lines of a regulation to prevent the terminally stupid from blowing their genitals off when carrying a concealed weapon.
12.3.2008 7:28am
JB:
There are two insurmountable obstacles to sound gun control laws: the gun lobby, which opposes all gun control laws, and the anti-gun lobby, which, given free rein, would drag any gun control measure into unsound extremeness. Which one is in power would determine which way the laws broke down.
12.3.2008 7:34am
Brian Mac:

Did anybody else know Zarkov was so knowledgeable about these things?

He does seem a rite clever folk. Must've done had one of them education thangs.
12.3.2008 7:46am
Brett Bellmore:
I think you're missing the point: The NYT, (And Obama...) view ALL gun control laws as 'reasonable', since nobody should be allowed to own a gun anyway. So there's no point in being specific.
12.3.2008 7:47am
Joel Rosenberg (mail) (www):
When intelligent people get vague, I reach for my suspicion.
12.3.2008 7:53am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Joel. If we presume the NYT is intelligent, then you have your suspicions, huh? Don't think it was inadvertent, I bet.
Yeah. All very vague until the law is passed and you read the details. Been done before.
12.3.2008 8:13am
JonC:
As an NRA member, I of course don't want to see more unnecessary gun control. Then again, as a Republican, I almost kind of hope that Congress believes the NYT's spin, accepts the most recent election as some kind of anti-gun mandate, and really does try to impose new gun regulations. After all, that worked out so well for the Democrats in 1994 when they sailed to re-election after passing the Brady Bill and the "assault weapons" ban.
12.3.2008 8:32am
Erick R (mail):
What a minute. Obama supports gun control? And here I thought from the campaign that he was practically a lifetime NRA member from the campaign rhetoric.

Please tell me the NYT wasn't waiting until after the election to get around to letting people know an Obama win is a big win for gun control.
12.3.2008 8:40am
mike123 (mail):
I hope people don't forget that George W Bush was NO friend to gun owners. He may have been much worse for us than Clinton. The 3 big stabs in the back were:

1) W's willingness to sign renewal of the Assualt Weapons Ban

2) ATF Director Michael Sullivan and the implementation of an agressive strategy to shut down firearms dealers, large and small.

3) Solictor General Opinion that said "shall not be infringed" means the government can regulate and even ban firearms.

John McCain was equally as bad. His "closing gun show loophole" position is meant to ban ALL private sales of firearms. This is a goal of the Brady Campaign.

I'm hopeful with an Obama presidency that gun rights will expand, rather than contract under Republicans.

The best part of the Obama presidency is that I'll be pleasantly surprised when Obama changes position versus disapppointed at Republicans to become liberals once in the beltway.

HOPE and CHANGE
12.3.2008 8:46am
Yankev (mail):
Mike 123, thanks for the amusing parody.
12.3.2008 9:08am
Melancton Smith:
The real evil here is this and other media outlets trumpeting the end of days of the NRA's influence in an attempt to make it so. If they can convince the public at large then it will become true.

In fact, gun advocates won. Obama was so afraid of the gun voters that he bent over backwards to obfuscate his record.

The fact that the gun topic was completely ignored this election cycle is evidence of the gun voter power. Big loss for gun control advocates in my opinion.
12.3.2008 9:08am
Bpbatista (mail):
The fastest way for the Dems to lose their majority in Congress would be to enact -- or try to enact -- more federal gun control laws.
12.3.2008 9:21am
cboldt (mail):
The city of Washington DC is planning to implement some new gun control laws, including an AWB.
12.3.2008 9:22am
Brian S:

I should note that nearly everyone supports some gun control laws that they see as sound and reasonable, if only, say, bans on violent felons' possessing guns, or if you really insist on minimalism, bans on violent felons' possessing guns in prison.


I don't know if I agree with your characterization here. The conditions to which one is subjected when sent to prison aren't "restrictions on gun rights" per se as they are a general change in one's overall civil rights as a result of one's conviction. Saying that agreeing that we should disarm the people we send to prison means that we're advocating "gun control" is like saying that sending people to prison means we're advocating a de minimis version of internal passports or restrictions on the right to travel interstate.
12.3.2008 9:24am
DiverDan (mail):

Perhaps they could solicit input from nationally-known firearms expert Plaxico Burress. Something along the lines of a regulation to prevent the terminally stupid from blowing their genitals off when carrying a concealed weapon.


As a strict Darwinian, I am completely in favor of the terminally stupid blowing their own genitals off -- it improves the gene pool. How about a gun law which only allows the terminally stupid to own guns if those guns are stored in their sweat pants while fully loaded with the safety off?
12.3.2008 9:36am
WHOI Jacket:
There was a reason for that big spike in purchases after Election Day.
12.3.2008 9:53am
Matt_T:
To fight crime and keep Americans safe, this country needs ... gun-control laws.

Actually, DC's experience over the past 30 years suggest the converse is true.
12.3.2008 9:54am
today's guest:
If I may co-opt some bumber-sticker logic from my friends on the left:

Guns are like abortions: if you don't like them, don't get one.
12.3.2008 9:57am
today's guest:
bumper
12.3.2008 9:58am
pintler:

There are two insurmountable obstacles to sound gun control laws: the gun lobby, which opposes all gun control laws, and the anti-gun lobby, which, given free rein, would drag any gun control measure into unsound extremeness.


I am curious - could you offer a specific sound gun control law that, say, the NRA opposes?
12.3.2008 10:02am
Patrick216:
Query:

Why do Democrats hate guns so much? Hasn't the empirical evidence at least proven that right-to-carry and conceal-carry laws do not cause an increase in gun violence and accidental shootings? And certainly, there is at least some statistical evidence to suggest that those laws reduce crime.

Is the Democrats' opposition based on statist concerns (we want the government to have a monopoly on the right to use legal force, as a means to cause submission amongst the people) or is it simply cultural (gun owners are crazy hicks and we don't like crazy hicks)?
12.3.2008 10:04am
wfjag:

To fight crime and keep Americans safe, this country needs sound gun-control laws.

The NYT again demonstrates its abject lack of knowledge of the news. One of the significant factors in Mumbai that allowed 20 armed men to terrorize a city of 17 Million for 60 hours -- including attacks early in the event on the main police station, hospitals, the main train station and restaurants -- is that there is nothing comparable to the 2d Amendment in India. So, the terrorists could concentrate on killing the only armed force available -- the woefully underarmed and trained local police -- and not worry about some pesky "private citizen" with a concealed weapon shooting them in the back of their heads.
12.3.2008 10:06am
Oren:


It seems to me that you're bending over backwards to support the NYT. Let's face it, they get an "F" for this editorial.

That depends. If we are grading on a curve, every editorial is just about equally insipid and they all get a C (or a B if this is an Ivy).

Otherwise, yes, I emphatically agree. This editorial (and almost all others) get an F.
12.3.2008 10:10am
mike123 (mail):
Yankev ... I was being serious. Seriously.
12.3.2008 10:12am
Oren:

I am curious - could you offer a specific sound gun control law that, say, the NRA opposes?

Background checks for private sales ("gun show loophole").

People excluded from firearms possession (read: violent felons, IMO) should not be allowed to trivially evade the purchasing requirement.
12.3.2008 10:18am
Oren:

Why do Democrats hate guns so much?

Same reason you beat your wife (disclaimer: I'm a Dem gun owner).


Hasn't the empirical evidence at least proven that right-to-carry and conceal-carry laws do not cause an increase in gun violence and accidental shootings?

They have also shown that shall-issue does not cause the vaunted decrease in crime that gun advocates insist will happen when a significant fraction of the populace is armed.

Since crime didn't change, I think it's fair to call that one a draw.
12.3.2008 10:22am
Oren:

John McCain was equally as bad. His "closing gun show loophole" position is meant to ban ALL private sales of firearms. This is a goal of the Brady Campaign.

I was unaware of that position.

To be clear on nomenclature, what I meant by "closing the gun show loophole" was that gun show purchases be subject to the same background check as dealer purchases.

Let's face it, gun shows are awesome.
12.3.2008 10:23am
cboldt (mail):
-- People excluded from firearms possession (read: violent felons, IMO) should not be allowed to trivially evade the purchasing requirement. --
.
I believe it is a felony for a "private seller" to transfer possession (loan or sell) to a felon. Felons on both ends of these transactions already trivially evade detection via the black market.
12.3.2008 10:25am
cboldt (mail):
"Banning private sales" is shorthand for imposing a requirement to have the transfer of ownership supervised by a dealer (for a fee) and recorded (perhaps reported to the government as well, but if not, recorded and available for government use will do).
.
Similar could be done for cars, to insure that no polluters or otherwise unsafe vehicles (e.g, those with rigid steering columns, single master brake cylinders, absent air bags and/or seat belts), change hands.
12.3.2008 10:31am
Ben P:

So, the terrorists could concentrate on killing the only armed force available -- the woefully underarmed and trained local police -- and not worry about some pesky "private citizen" with a concealed weapon shooting them in the back of their heads.


Please,

I know bravado is in style in the gun threads, but insisting that a small percentage of local citizens armed with concealed handguns would deter or have a serious chance of stopping terrorists whose primary objectives are killing citizens and dying in the process is somewhat laughable.
12.3.2008 10:41am
Patrick216:
Oren:

They have also shown that shall-issue does not cause the vaunted decrease in crime that gun advocates insist will happen when a significant fraction of the populace is armed. *** Since crime didn't change, I think it's fair to call that one a draw.


The question, it seems to me, is how large the fraction of the populace actually is armed in a "shall-issue" scenario. There are a lot of very reasonable people who have an irrational fear of firearms and who will not own a gun even if given the right to. It takes time to get over that.

Further, the gun laws even in a lot of shall-issue states are still confusing. In my state (Ohio), for example, the conceal carry rules for vehicles were very complicated and impractical and chilled a lot of conceal carry activity. (Violations of the rules in the vehicle context frequently were prosecuted as felonies, with the prosecutors refusing to agree to pleas down to misdemeanors). That has only recently been corrected.
12.3.2008 10:42am
Oren:

"Banning private sales" is shorthand for imposing a requirement to have the transfer of ownership supervised by a dealer (for a fee) and recorded (perhaps reported to the government as well, but if not, recorded and available for government use will do).

That's not what I meant by the term anyway. All I meant is that all private sales should be accompanied by the same background check that accompanies FFL purchases. I imagine a single booth at the gunshow where buyers can be screened in a standardized way. Gun shows are awesome and I really don't think imposing a background check would kill them (certainly that is not my intent!)

Also, as far as I'm concerned, you can delete the information once it's verified that the buyer is legit.


Similar could be done for cars, to insure that no polluters or otherwise unsafe vehicles (e.g, those with rigid steering columns, single master brake cylinders, absent air bags and/or seat belts), change hands.

Already is in NY and MA. Upon transfer, each car much get a safety inspection along with an emissions test (and biennially thereafter). I don't know of any empirical data on the results.


I believe it is a felony for a "private seller" to transfer possession (loan or sell) to a felon.

Knowingly.
12.3.2008 10:44am
Unix-Jedi (mail) (www):
what I meant by "closing the gun show loophole" was that gun show purchases be subject to the same background check as dealer purchases.

They are. There is no "loophole".

This is trivially easy to see through the attempted obfuscation.
The purported loophole is 2 individuals transacting. To "close the loophole" requires outlawing individual sales.
Additionally, in many states, individuals cannot call the background check line.

This is an attempt (in the best case) to force every gun transaction to have paperwork. For some strange reason, I rather suspect the motivation of those who want to have every gun transaction recorded. It might be their past history of refusing - in violation of the laws - to delete the records they collect.
In the worst case, it's to make it impossible for people to buy guns, as 01 FFLs are steadily decreasing.

There is no "loophole", Oren, and "closing it" isn't "common sense". It's just more gun control, but without the honest description. I wonder why the gun control and gun banners aren't being honest anymore?
12.3.2008 10:45am
Ben P:

"Banning private sales" is shorthand for imposing a requirement to have the transfer of ownership supervised by a dealer (for a fee) and recorded (perhaps reported to the government as well, but if not, recorded and available for government use will do).
.
Similar could be done for cars, to insure that no polluters or otherwise unsafe vehicles (e.g, those with rigid steering columns, single master brake cylinders, absent air bags and/or seat belts), change hands.



ummm, a similar practice is largely done with cars, except on the buyers end instead of the dealers end.

That is, if you want that car to be legal to drive on a public road, you need to fill out the title transfer paperwork, register it in your name, and in most areas pay the sales tax.

Some places impose mandatory registration, and I don't generally support it, but if someone tried to impose the same type of registration requirements we have on cars as on guns, the NRA would raise hell.
12.3.2008 10:45am
glangston (mail):
I'm sure the evidence of lost jobs and falling ad revenues are meaningful facts that bear on a newspaper's declining influence. Not so sure that an Obama election is a mandate for more gun control. Nice to see however that they're willing to go down swinging at the NRA, who may have lost an election but haven't lost any members.
12.3.2008 10:46am
Oren:
Patrick, FWIW, I support shall-issue CCW with clear (and I would say strict, but that's a matter for the legislature to decide) standards for issuance that confers a virtually unlimited right to carry. Playing games with automobiles/"gun free zones" and whatnot is absurd. Clarity is paramount.

My point about the empirical data was that gun owners insisted that shall-issue absolutely would decrease crime and gun controllers insisted that shall-issue would absolutely increase crime and, IMO, they all look like fools. If that failure to decrease is because people do not want guns under the conditions that the legislature offers (consistent with the 2A, whenever we find out exactly what that means) then that's their choice.
12.3.2008 10:48am
bearing (mail) (www):
Maybe next week they will editorialize in favor of "sound and reasonable" restrictions on abortion.
12.3.2008 10:50am
Oren:

Maybe next week they will editorialize in favor of "sound and reasonable" restrictions on abortion.

As I recall, they did just that a few months ago talking about the "new consensus" and abortion-reduction -- part of which was the acceptance of S&R restrictions. I'll try to dig it up.
12.3.2008 10:57am
Unix-Jedi (mail) (www):
All I meant is that all private sales should be accompanied by the same background check that accompanies FFL purchases. I imagine a single booth at the gunshow where buyers can be screened in a standardized way.

What of transactions in the parking lot? (The "*NEW* Gun show Loophole!") What of transactions the day after the show by people who met at the show?

How far away from the gun show is far enough not to be creating a new "loophole"? How will you enforce it? Undercover cops offering great deals for cash? Stakeouts? Or more likely, required registration of every gun entering and leaving?

Gun shows are awesome and I really don't think imposing a background check would kill them (certainly that is not my intent!)

Your intent is irrelevant. It's the intent of the rest of the people pushing it, who created the term "gun show loophole" and obfuscate the issue furiously, who have a proven track record of, among other things to ban weapons and illegitimize self-defense, shutting down gun shows.

Also, as far as I'm concerned, you can delete the information once it's verified that the buyer is legit.

As far as your concerned? Well, that's good.

You might want to make sure the Government has your concerns at heart.
Lawson said Nefosky told him he searched seven years of firearms transaction records to see if Vansickle had ever bought a gun before.
And they had a legal requirement to delete them after 60 days.
12.3.2008 10:57am
JB:
Pintler:

There are two insurmountable obstacles to sound gun control laws: the gun lobby, which opposes all gun control laws, and the anti-gun lobby, which, given free rein, would drag any gun control measure into unsound extremeness.



I am curious - could you offer a specific sound gun control law that, say, the NRA opposes?


Can you name a specific sound gun control law that has been seriously introduced?
12.3.2008 10:59am
Oren:
"all private sales" means "all private sales". Proximity to a gun show is irrelevant. We can discuss exemptions if you like (immediate family, estate-transfer, whatnot).


a proven track record of, among other things to ban weapons and illegitimize self-defense, shutting down gun shows.

They can put forth whatever political agenda they want. It's probably within the power of the state legislatures to ban gun shows entirely (we'll see when Kennedy tells us exactly what the 2A means wrt to the states). That makes it a political question IMO.


And they had a legal requirement to delete them after 60 days.

Then the officials that supervised this illegal activity should absolutely be held to account.
12.3.2008 11:05am
Elliot123 (mail):
"We hope the trend [of the NRA's supposed political failures] continues."

Over the past twelve yars the NRA has succeeded in getting concealed carry laws passed in about forty states. I hope I can get a similar string of failures in my business.

"Why do Democrats hate guns so much?"

Blacks and Mexicans shoot each other at a much higher rate than other US populations. Urban shootings are at a much higher rate than rural or small towns. Blacks, Mexicans, and urban are the core of the democrat strength. They don't want to single out these populations as problems, so they pretend everyone is a problem.
12.3.2008 11:07am
Oren:

Can you name a specific sound gun control law that has been seriously introduced?

Bans on possession by former felons (although, IMO, the felony should require an element of violence, coercion or conspiracy).
12.3.2008 11:07am
Sebastian (mail) (www):
Any dealer sale, whether at a gun show or at the dealer's premises are subject to the same federal regulations, which include an instant background check. But it's legal for a private citizen who is not "in the business of dealing in firearms" to make a reasonable number of sales of his private collection to other individuals without having to comply with any federal regulations regulating the sale (other than you may not sell or transfer a firearm to an individual you know, or should have reasonably known, is a person prohibited under law from owning a firearm). State mileage on private transfers may vary.

What "closing the gun show loophole" proposes to do is make any private transfer of a firearm a crime, requiring two people who want to transfer a gun from one to the other to go to a federally licensed dealer, who will execute the transfer which will include all the federal and state forms and background check. Typically, dealers will charge 20 or 30 dollars for each transfer, since you're taking up their time. The reason we oppose this is because of the added cost. I've done a few private transfers of long guns, but among friends and family who I know to be responsible. No responsible gun owner wants to sell a gun to a felon, and the irresponsible ones are just going to ignore whatever law you pass.
12.3.2008 11:09am
Oren:
Also, bans on high-cap (15 round) magazines seem fairly sound to me. I might vote against them depending on the details, but they aren't in the "defacto unreasonable" category as blanket handgun bans or requiring disassembly (e.g. the DC laws).
12.3.2008 11:09am
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
In fact, gun advocates won. Obama was so afraid of the gun voters that he bent over backwards to obfuscate his record.


Perhaps, but I think a pretty good case can be made that there was a lot of obfuscating when it came to Obama's record on a number of other issues as well so I’m not sure that gun voters should feel particularly emboldened.
12.3.2008 11:16am
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
I am curious - could you offer a specific sound gun control law that, say, the NRA opposes?


Maybe it’s time to put the shoe on the other foot and ask gun control advocates who say they merely support “reasonable gun control measures” which of the laws that are in place today they would support repealing.
12.3.2008 11:18am
pintler:

I am curious - could you offer a specific sound gun control law that, say, the NRA opposes?


Background checks for private sales ("gun show loophole").

People excluded from firearms possession (read: violent felons, IMO) should not be allowed to trivially evade the purchasing requirement.


In the interest of specificity, IIUC, you are restricting this to transfers at gun shows, right? Grandpa/Grandkid don't become felons when Grandpa says 'I'm getting too old to hunt, why don't you take my deer rifle' to his (in state) grandkid?

OK, let's talk about that, in a reasonable way - let's look at the costs and benefits. First, will how much will it reduce availability of guns to crooks? The upper limit would be if it were 100% effective. Data is available on that - during the Clinton administration the DOJ studied where crooks got their guns:

# a flea market or gun show for fewer than 2%
# a retail store or pawnshop for about 12%
# family, friends, a street buy, or an illegal source for 80%

Remember, that 2% an upper limit - some of those crooks will just get the gun elsewhere, like 'a street buy' or have a girlfriend do a straw purchase at the gun show.

So, overall, closing the 'gun show loophole' will have a pretty small effect.

What are the costs? One small, but obvious one is the cost of the check - if you're buying a $100 surplus turkish mauser, it's a 25% tax. I note that this objection could be minimized by agreeing that society - perhaps the State Police - would provide the checks for free. I wonder why advocates who believe there are great social benefits of these checks don't advocate for that?

Another cost has to do with how a gun show is defined. Most of us think of a big event - lots of tables, booths, hundreds of people. The actual proposed legislation that I have seen, however, defines a 'gun show' as 'three or more people at an event focused on shooting sports' or something like that. I run matches at a local range. The range is a pretty law abiding place - it is run by the local police department. But if two competitors at one of those matches, both, perhaps, police officers, get to talking at a match and one says 'sure, I'll sell you my $2000 Hammerli target pistol' and consummate the sale later at the station house, I am now guilty of 'organizing a gun show' where guns were sold w/o a background check - a felony.

And the problem is, if the 'loophole' law is less strict, then it won't be illegal when, at a real gun show, a crook says 'hey, I wanna buy your gun, but, wink, wink, I left my wallet in the car - how about you meet me later and I'll give you an extra hundred for your trouble'.

The objective of laws should be to interfere as much as possible with crooks, and as little as possible with the law abiding. Do you think the loophole laws will meet that test?
12.3.2008 11:19am
Melancton Smith:

Hasn't the empirical evidence at least proven that right-to-carry and conceal-carry laws do not cause an increase in gun violence and accidental shootings?


They have also shown that shall-issue does not cause the vaunted decrease in crime that gun advocates insist will happen when a significant fraction of the populace is armed.

Since crime didn't change, I think it's fair to call that one a draw.


Sure crime rates might not have dropped, but how many people have found themselves in a better position to defend their lives as a result of shall-issue?

FBI stats show that using a gun to defend yourself versus other weapons or surrender is the best way to extricate yourself from a crime without injury.

To me, it is not so much reducing crime rates as it is reducing the chances of loss of life when one is in a criminal encounter.
12.3.2008 11:21am
Patrick216:
The requirement that a federally licensed gun dealer assist in the transfer of all guns is just a scheme to enrich gun dealers. It's protectionist malarky.

Guns are already tightly regulated. In my state, for me to legally own a handgun, I have to get an annual registration from my municipality (on a shall-issue basis with a $3 fee, finger print and photograph requirement), have to register the weapon with the state, and (of course) have to register the weapon with the feds as everyone does. Then, if I want to do conceal carry, I have to get a different permit with a 12 hour training requirement, and that permit renews every four years. All of this requires trips to the police department or the sheriff's department (by appointment only, and usually at the buttcrack of dawn or over lunch), lots of scowls, and foot-dragging. It's crazy.
12.3.2008 11:24am
Melancton Smith:
Ben P wrote:

Please,

I know bravado is in style in the gun threads, but insisting that a small percentage of local citizens armed with concealed handguns would deter or have a serious chance of stopping terrorists whose primary objectives are killing citizens and dying in the process is somewhat laughable.


Tell that to Jeanne Assam.
12.3.2008 11:26am
pintler:

Also, bans on high-cap (15 round) magazines seem fairly sound to me. I might vote against them depending on the details, but they aren't in the "defacto unreasonable" category as blanket handgun bans or requiring disassembly (e.g. the DC laws).


They are among the most sound, perhaps, but I have to ask: how many crimes involve more than 15 rounds being fired? That gives you an upper bound on the benefit of a ban. In practice,
of course, some crooks would reload.

If the upper bound on the number of lives saved is less than, say, the number of football deaths, or drownings in backyard swimming pools, would you still support a ban?
12.3.2008 11:28am
ForWhatItsWorth:
Oren: "...Also, bans on high-cap (15 round) magazines seem fairly sound to me. I might vote against them depending on the details, but they aren't in the "defacto unreasonable" category as blanket handgun bans or requiring disassembly (e.g. the DC laws)....."

Why do high capacity magazine bans seem reasonable? One of the uses for those magazines, as well as "military style" weapons is in shooting competitions. Don't minimize the popularity of these events, either. Go out to Quantico when they are running a competition and you will see what I mean. Same with many good shooting ranges.

The rapid fire stages (sitting 200 yds and prone 300 yds), while not based upon 15 rounds (they are usually 10) would still be considered "high capacity" by some. Most states have a limitation on the number of rounds that can be loaded in a rifle/shotgun when hunting, so smaller magazines are appropriate there. But to "ban" them takes out the activity of quite a large number of competitive shooters.

To what end? It is like the "mean looking firearm" ban that Clinton put in place. Well, if you want to participate in what are referred to as "leg matches," run and sponsored by the US Military (civilians are bigtime participants, too) MUST use a "mean looking firearm" ..... it's in the rules. It HAS to have been or currently a firearm issued by the US Military (cartridges have a similar limitation). There are many valid reasons for owning a "mean looking firearm" and many valid reasons for owning large capacity magazines.
12.3.2008 11:43am
ForWhatItsWorth:
To ALL:

Some have asked what "reasonable" gun laws the NRA would support. I can tell you this with some authority. They will actively support any law that punishes the criminal, but not the law abiding citizen.

How to do this? Folks, it is easy and the NRA has actively pushed for these laws for years. MANDATORY minimum sentences for the use of a firearm in the commission of a felony (particularly those crimes considered violent).

Some states have those in place. I don't think they are often used, though. Personally, and I know this will irk some of the posters here, I think the minimum sentence should be 20 years served consecutively with any other sentence (NOT concurrently). You would find, by the way, the NRA supporting this type of legislation.
12.3.2008 11:53am
Electricfunk:

Also, bans on high-cap (15 round) magazines seem fairly sound to me. I might vote against them depending on the details, but they aren't in the "defacto unreasonable" category as blanket handgun bans or requiring disassembly (e.g. the DC laws).


What does this accomplish? It only takes seconds to reload a magazine. It's just another imposition by government that seems like it does something but doesn't, more feel good legislation.


I know bravado is in style in the gun threads, but insisting that a small percentage of local citizens armed with concealed handguns would deter or have a serious chance of stopping terrorists whose primary objectives are killing citizens and dying in the process is somewhat laughable.


I'd rather have a small chance than no chance, how about you?
12.3.2008 11:59am
A. Zarkov (mail):
Oren:

"Also, bans on high-cap (15 round) magazines seem fairly sound to me."

Those bans are potentially ineffective-- at least for handguns. With a little practice, one can change pistol magazines in less than a second. You push the eject button with one hand as the other brings up a new magazine. With a speed loader, even a revolver can be reloaded-- super fast. A recent History Channel program featured someone who could reload his revolver so fast it was barely visible.
12.3.2008 12:00pm
1Ler:
Cornellian, I think you're on to something. The Mumbai incident has made me seriously consider obtaining a concealed weapons permit for the first time in my life. I'm not foolish enough to believe that I (or any one person) could stop a terrorist attack, but I still think that I would much rather be armed if such a situation were to happen stateside.
12.3.2008 12:01pm
Unix-Jedi (mail) (www):
Oren:
Either you're incredibly naive, or far less intelligent than I have been giving you credit for.

You're advancing the entire gun-banner playbook. You say that the intent doesn't matter to you, which is just incredibly ignorant. It damn well should matter. So you'll help feed some of the people to the crocodiles, but you'll stop before you get fed.

Don't work that way, if you really are a gun owner. The people who invented those euphemisms did so to strip you of your guns and your right to self defense and self-determination. They're not going to stop, no matter when you decide to jump off the bandwagon.

"all private sales" means "all private sales". Proximity to a gun show is irrelevant.

Without the gun show there's no way to access the NICS background check. At a gun show it would be potentially viable to set up a booth with a LEO or someone to do the check. (I'll presume, potentially with disappointment, that you can see the privacy problems with anyone able to check anyone else's background at will.)

So you've now turned your "gun show loophole" into not being about a gun show at all, but requiring all transactions to be logged, recorded, and as the case above, illegally denied without recourse.

So you're being disingenuous and dishonest when you called it a "gun show loophole".

We can discuss exemptions if you like (immediate family, estate-transfer, whatnot).

Doesn't matter. Any exemptions we make will be removed later. Nothing short of repealing wholesale gun control measures has ever been made less restrictive. Denying people the ability

They can put forth whatever political agenda they want.

I suppose you'd also join with the KKK when they're cleaning up the road, right? After all, their political agenda's not important as long as they're being civically minded. Right? Cleaning the roads is important, right? Your support there is irrelevant to anything else they'd do?

Of course their political agenda matters. It matters because they're (and you're) not being honest now. When they (and you) say "common sense", it means "what we can get for now, and we'll be back later for more".

Then the officials that supervised this illegal activity should absolutely be held to account.

They weren't. Nor was the FBI when they were doing the same thing. You can talk about should's, and might's, but if you ignore the reality of the situation, you've got no call to be talking to us about "common sense". You don't want LE keeping the records on the sly? The only common sense way is to not give them the records in the first place.

Also, bans on high-cap (15 round) magazines seem fairly sound to me.

Those are "standard capacity" in most cases. "High-capacity" is another one of those made up terms. With most magazine-fed firearms, there's no way to mandate capacity, other than arbitrarily. (If you really think it matters; don't except the LEO's. If it matters, then they should be just as "common sensed" as the rest of us.)

The 94 Bill led to super-small pistols (if you can only legally sell them with 10 rounds, make it as small as you can fit 10 rounds into), and those led to more calls for restriction. (Too easily concealed.)

they aren't in the "defacto unreasonable" category as blanket handgun bans or requiring disassembly (e.g. the DC laws).

They're just useless for any "common sense" reason. They're unreasonable, because there is no reason - other than restriction for the sake of restriction - that they make sense.
12.3.2008 12:07pm
Oren:

Maybe it’s time to put the shoe on the other foot and ask gun control advocates who say they merely support “reasonable gun control measures” which of the laws that are in place today they would support repealing.

At the Federal level, the only thing that comes to mind is the ban on possession that accompanies non-violent felonies.
12.3.2008 12:09pm
James Gibson (mail):
Eugene, the gun control lobby and the NYT have to say what they did. They are still trying to show why they continue to exist since Heller. They have to say they can and will have new gun control laws, or even bans, to legitimise their continued existence.

This will become apparent when you debate Blek on Friday, which I wish I could attend. He should be quite full of himself on the new dawn in gun control with the election of Obama. Thus, it won't be just a new assault weapon law, but a roll-back of Heller, handgun prohibitions, the removal of the shield baring lawsuits against gun makers, etc. You should even find him fully supporting Holder on the grounds Holder will revoke everyone's FFLs as he and Reno nearly did in the first term of Clinton.

The problem is this isn't the political landscape of the early 90s, or even the year 2000. Police unions are demanding guarantees in law that they will have access to certain kinds of arms (Assault weapons, 50 cals, etc). The gun controlists have however been clamping down on carry permits for retired cops and even tried to have them all disarmed (San Francisco, Chicago). The friendly relationship these groups had in the 90s died in 2005 when Brady began lobbying Police chiefs to support a national ban on retired and off duty officers carrying guns.

Other issues: violence in Mexico, shortages of ammunition due to the shutting down of ammunition makers in the 90s (the FFL issue), Gun controlists shutting down ranges that Police and military personnel used, direct attacks on the CMP program, attacks on JROTC and ROTC firearm training, etc. They can say they have turned back the clock, but the reality is they have lost more friends in the last eight years then they have gained (if they have gained any at all).

Again, it would be interesting to see how full of himself Mr. Blek will be on friday. Mr. Volokh should tape the debate for the site.
12.3.2008 12:11pm
Yankev (mail):

Is the Democrats' opposition based on statist concerns (we want the government to have a monopoly on the right to use legal force, as a means to cause submission amongst the people) or is it simply cultural (gun owners are crazy hicks and we don't like crazy hicks)?

Based on my discussions with anti-gun friends, family and colleagues, it is the latter, but they don't think of it as cultural, don't use words like "crazy hicks", and don't so much dislike crazy hicks as they do fear and mistrust any civilian -- rural or urban --- who would even think of owning a gun.
12.3.2008 12:15pm
second history:
What we should be working toward are liberalizing concealed carry laws (allow anyone to carry a concealed weapon anywhere), work toward must-carry laws, removing bans on possession of firearms in certain places (hospitals, aircraft, schools) and liberalizing the types of weapons that an individual can possess. Basically the public should have access to any handheld weapon that the government has (to even the playing field). I also object to the bans on possession of body armor and other personal protective devices. Such bans leave us at the mercy of criminals and rogue federal agents.
12.3.2008 12:21pm
glangston (mail):
The so-called Gun Show Loophole is more properly the Private Sale Loophole. As mentioned, an individual selling a firearm has no access to NICS. Rather than ban private sales, why not allow NICS access? Then, at least, a private seller has a chance to do the right thing and with some factual basis. This Brady Law is almost never prosecuted. If a "reasonable" law is never prosecuted you have to wonder just what the intent of reasonable laws are.

Vermont, Utah and Texas, for example made do with a page or two of firearm laws, . Some like CA have 45 pages of them, along with another 20 pages of municipal laws. This makes it fairly easy to see that "reasonable" gun laws have no bearing on the real issues of firearms and crime. Reasonable has just been the excuse that leads to a future of banning weapons. You can look to Britain to see how far this mindset can take us.
12.3.2008 12:25pm
ForWhatItsWorth:
James Gibson: "....Police unions are demanding guarantees in law that they will have access to certain kinds of arms (Assault weapons, 50 cals, etc)...."

Funny you should mention this. Are you aware of the self-imposed ban by Barrett on the sales of their 50 cal weapons to any government agency in California? They will not sell to any agency in California nor will they supply repair parts for or repair any that they currently possess.

This is in direct response to the denial, by California, of banning private ownership by law abiding citizens there. They have stated that this will apply to any state that puts those restrictions in place.

As an aside, I wish every single firearms (and ammunition) manufacturer would do the same. I think stupid gun control laws, like handgun bans, would disappear faster than anyone could possibly imagine.
12.3.2008 12:26pm
kshankar:
" Is the Democrats' opposition based on statist concerns (we want the government to have a monopoly on the right to use legal force, as a means to cause submission amongst the people) or is it simply cultural (gun owners are crazy hicks and we don't like crazy hicks)?


Based on my discussions with anti-gun friends, family and colleagues, it is the latter, but they don't think of it as cultural, don't use words like "crazy hicks", and don't so much dislike crazy hicks as they do fear and mistrust any civilian -- rural or urban --- who would even think of owning a gun."

One of my anti-gun friends (Democrat) isn't necessarily "pro-control", rather, she is simply scared of guns. She tends to use the "Oh my gosh what if it goes off in my pocket?!?" type of opposition.

Another friend (Democrat) of mine isn't "anti-gun" entirely, but claims he supports "reasonable" restrictions. For instance, he believes that civilians should only be able to own weapons that are NOT semi-automatic/automatic, claiming that these aforementioned types only have use in "crimes and drive-by shootings". Therefore, only manually reloading guns/weaponry. However, when pressed on the issue of gun purchasing arising from illegal sources (as pintler showed, thanks for the stats), all he does is shrug and say "well, we should try it". Then changes the subject

Seems like some are entirely way too deep into the intent (which isn't necessarily bad)...but how far do you really want to go when it comes to deontology? (or consequentalism, utilitarianism, etc)
12.3.2008 12:28pm
ForWhatItsWorth:
Sorry, "This is in direct response to the denial, by California, of banning private ownership" should have been "This is in direct response to California banning private ownership"
12.3.2008 12:29pm
Oren:

In the interest of specificity, IIUC, you are restricting this to transfers at gun shows, right? Grandpa/Grandkid don't become felons when Grandpa says 'I'm getting too old to hunt, why don't you take my deer rifle' to his (in state) grandkid?

You understand incorrectly. The grandpa/grandkid transfer would need to be checked -- if the grandkid is a felon, he shouldn't get a gun, even from his own family.


I note that this objection could be minimized by agreeing that society - perhaps the State Police - would provide the checks for free. I wonder why advocates who believe there are great social benefits of these checks don't advocate for that?

$20 is not an unreasonable burden on the RKBA.


If the upper bound on the number of lives saved is less than, say, the number of football deaths, or drownings in backyard swimming pools, would you still support a ban [on high-cap mags]?

My point about high-cap mag bans is not that I support them (I don't know where I stand) but that they are an example of a reasonably debatable restriction that is not defacto unreasonable like the DC law.


[High mag bans are] just useless for any "common sense" reason. They're unreasonable, because there is no reason - other than restriction for the sake of restriction - that they make sense.

The empirical question does not effect the reasonableness question IMO. That is to say, a regulation that is completely ineffective can be quite reasonable while one that is very effective can be unreasonable.

By way of legal analogy, my analysis is not strict scrutiny where it must be established that the regulation in question is an effective means of advancing a compelling government interest.


One of the uses for those magazines, as well as "military style" weapons is in shooting competitions.

You can always exempt sanctioned competitions if you like. At the gun club near me, you can shoot a fully automatic .50 cal that you would never be able to own yourself (even the most diehard NRA-types know it's political suicide to advance civilian ownership of .50cal machine guns although I don't know how y'all feel about them privately).


Oren:
Either you're incredibly naive, or far less intelligent than I have been giving you credit for.

You can't possibly conceive of a third option?


You're advancing the entire gun-banner playbook.

Aside from the fact that I support:
(1) An individual RKBA in the home that is basically unlimited (explosive, machine guns, >.50cal, SAMs, RPGs excluded).
(1b) An individual right to use deadly self-defense in cases where there is a reasonable subjective fear for life or limb. That is to say, to defeat a self-defense claim, the prosecution must prove the fairly difficult assertion that no reasonable person in the defendant's position could possibly fear for his life or limb.
(2) Objective statewide shall-issue standards for CCW that are impartially administered (the NYC CCW status is a sick joke).
(2b) Reasonable deference to the various states about how strict they want the CCW standard to be, so long as it is administered impartially. In other words, the states have a lot of latitude in choosing the standard but very little in applying it.
(2c) Consistent and clear state laws that allow people to know exactly what conduct is allowed and prohibited. Good education for LEOs to prevent misunderstandings/disparate interpretations by locality.
(3) An end to silly classifications of guns based on cosmetic properties (who cares about a bayonet lug anymore, seriously?).


Without the gun show there's no way to access the NICS background check. At a gun show it would be potentially viable to set up a booth with a LEO or someone to do the check. (I'll presume, potentially with disappointment, that you can see the privacy problems with anyone able to check anyone else's background at will.)

It can work like a private background check. It is illegal to look up another person's background without written consent (e.g. when applying for a lease on apartment, they tend to check credit/criminal). I can propose a pretty easy technical solution requiring proven technology that can be delivered over the internet for less than $20 per check and provide instant results (honestly, if the banks can do it, the gov't can).


They weren't. Nor was the FBI when they were doing the same thing. You can talk about should's, and might's, but if you ignore the reality of the situation, you've got no call to be talking to us about "common sense". You don't want LE keeping the records on the sly? The only common sense way is to not give them the records in the first place.

That's asinine on so many levels. If you start with the presumption that LEAs cannot be held accountable by due process of law then there is no reason to have this discussion in the first place.
12.3.2008 12:29pm
Yankev (mail):

I know bravado is in style in the gun threads, but insisting that a small percentage of local citizens armed with concealed handguns would deter or have a serious chance of stopping terrorists whose primary objectives are killing citizens and dying in the process is somewhat laughable.
as 1Ler pointed out, a small chance is better than no chance. More than one terrorist has been stopped by an Israeli civilian carrying a concealed pistol -- including in at least one incident, a housewife at a supermarket.

Mumbai was as bloody as it was because India lacked a coordinated professional police response. Even those few police officers who were armed ran away when the shooting started at the train depot, instead of shooting back.

Granted, an armed civilian could not have stopped a coordinated Mumbai-style attack. Still, if the civilian can kill even one attacker before being killed by the others, the terrorists have fewer numbers and become easier for the police (or other civilians) to stop. Multiply that by a dozen or two dozen civilians. (Disclosure: my response, even if armed, would probably be to either panic or freeze. Then again, I don't oppose surgery just because I can't use a scalpel.)

Would this end terroris? Of course not. If they knew there was a high likliehood of an armed civilian response, the terrorists would simply change tactics and plan attacks using explosives, gas, or other means that would be immune to an armed response.
12.3.2008 12:29pm
Oren:

A private seller has a chance to do the right thing and with some factual basis.

In keeping with a presumption of good faith, I believe most sellers really don't want to sell to felons/other restricted people but do not have the resources to do a thorough check. It can and should be made as easy as doing a credit/criminal check for a prospective tenant.

Second History, those are almost all exclusively state law concerns and we ought to allow a fair amount of leeway to the states (consistent, as I said, with however Kennedy decides the 2A constrains the states). Possession in schools and hospitals, OTOH, ought to be at the discretion of the 'management'. I wouldn't support any law the requires schools and hospitals to allow armed visitors against their will.
12.3.2008 12:36pm
ForWhatItsWorth:
Oren: "...who cares about a bayonet lug anymore, seriously?..."

Had to say, that gave me a serious belly laugh. You are so right! I think it is hilarious how people react to the SKS and AK-47 style rifles. Silly in the extreme, no doubt.
12.3.2008 12:40pm
kshankar:
"Would this end terroris? Of course not. If they knew there was a high likliehood of an armed civilian response, the terrorists would simply change tactics and plan attacks using explosives, gas, or other means that would be immune to an armed response."

Interesting...even though I agree with you on principle on this issue, I only have one question to ask based on that. What if the "other means" (powerful explosives, lets say) were used instead and they blew up the Taj hotel instead of just opening fire and using hand grenades. Sounds more devastating, doesn't it? What do you think?
12.3.2008 12:40pm
guy in the veal calf office (mail) (www):
DiverDan:

Glocks don't have safeties. Once you pop the magazine and release the slide, your glock is locked and loaded...and ready to drop in your pocket for easy genital removal when reaching for a wad of $1 bills to make it rain.

Respectfully,
The guy who always leaves his locked and loaded Glock lying on the platform at LAX Firing Range when having a conversation.
12.3.2008 12:40pm
FWB (mail):
Are not "laws" and "criminals" opposing? So IF we have these truly "commonsense, reasonable" "laws", will criminals by their very nature obey these "laws"?

I assume that law-abiding persons are not a problem in the first place since by definition these persons obey laws so no "commonsense, reasonable" laws are necessary for law-abiding persons.

So how does one justify "commonsense, reasonable" laws when the parties to whom the law would logically apply have shown contempt for and a failure to abide by THE law in the first place? Will these persons magically become law abiding?

Is it not sufficient to say that if one uses a firearm to commit say murder or robbery that one shall be punished? Does the fact that punishment is "increased" for being, say a violent felon, have a meaningful effect on the thought process of the criminal?

How far does one go to define "violent felon"? Where does one draw the line? Federal laws on DV have proven that the "long arm of the law" will get everyone because there is no hypocrisy in the US.

Should the law against violent felons only apply in the case where a violent felon uses a weapon against a law-abiding person and not against another violent felon?

Since the general population that the violent felon has associated with in the past is violent, is not the violent felon more likely to need to resort to a weapon of some sort for protection? Do violent felons forego their right to self-preservation?

Lastly, WHO decides what is "commonsense/reasonable" regulation? You, me, a violent felon, Joe Public?

Dominus providebit!
12.3.2008 12:40pm
Yankev (mail):

Sounds more devastating, doesn't it? What do you think?
That's ocured to me a well. Aren't those means already available to them, though? Oklahoma City, WTC bombing, 9/11, Japanese subway, London subway, etc.
12.3.2008 12:52pm
pintler:
Oren, if you want to prevent legal private transfers without a background check (preventing illegal transfers is harder!), would you be OK with changing the law so:

-to be legal, any private parties effecting a transfer would be required to call something like a NICS hotline, or visit a web site, at the time of sale and verify that the buyer is not a prohibited person. That check, like a current NICS call, would be free (it doesn't cost $20 to process a web inquiry). Alternatively, the buyer could just show a current police or military ID or CCW as evidence of good character.

-as long as this was done, it would be legal to transfer across state lines

I think you might find much less opposition from gun owners to that plan - Grandpa doesn't have to drive to the store and pay $20, and now can legally give it to his out of state grandkid w/o paying fees on both ends, and ship it at normal postal rates.

I still don't think it will help a lot - people who don't mind arming crooks will 'lose' the gun or allow it to be 'stolen'. It will stop transfers where law abiding Grandpa didn't realize junior was a felon. I just don't think those happen very often. The law abiding, today, don't give guns to crooks.


p.s. You may encounter opposition from people fearing that e.g. landlords or employers would use the web site for general background checks. I'm OK with that - I think a criminal history should be public knowledge - but there are people opposed.
12.3.2008 12:53pm
ForWhatItsWorth:
guy in the veal calf office,

You have got to be kidding. Burress actually had a glock and caused an "accidental" discharge? Uh, I think you and I know full well what he had to do to succeed in that endeavor.

A full-blown double-action-style trigger pull is nothing to sneeze at and is, as you know, quite significant in a glock.

"ok, to pull the weapon out of my pocket/holster/waistband, I must do it 'trigger first'..... gotcha! Thanks for the tip Burress!" :) :)
12.3.2008 12:54pm
kshankar:
"That's ocured to me a well. Aren't those means already available to them, though? Oklahoma City, WTC bombing, 9/11, Japanese subway, London subway, etc."

Generally is, it seems. I'm just wondering to what extent armed citizens can actually do when it comes to attacks such as these (usually "surprise" attacks, etc). But in the end, I'd probably be better off with a weapon on me in some of the situations anyways.
12.3.2008 1:00pm
pintler:

I wouldn't support any law the requires schools and hospitals to allow armed visitors against their will.


One of the sad things about firearms policy in this country is that we mostly adopt binary policies - anyone can, or no one can. If 'may issue' sheriffs approved most people, but occasionally denied someone with a string of misdemeanor 'anger management' convictions, we'd be better off. But when given the power, most sheriffs seem to deny almost all permits, and so we vote in shall issue laws.

In the context of employers, the rub is they don't just say no to someone who seems iffy - they prohibit everyone. If the average employer would say 'OK' to an employee who had good cause - stalking victim, witness against gang member, etc - and an impeccable record, fine - but they don't.

My wife's school had a police officer assigned for several years. He retired, and was then hired as a 'resource officer' - unarmed, of course (and no new police officer assigned - budget cuts). Kind of a bummer if there is a columbine there...
12.3.2008 1:08pm
Armed Canadian (www):
Oren:


You understand incorrectly. The grandpa/grandkid transfer would need to be checked — if the grandkid is a felon, he shouldn't get a gun, even from his own family.



Don't you think the family would already know that if that were the case? If so, it is a violation to knowingly transfer (or even let handle) a firearm to a known felony. Existing law covers this scenario already.


$20 is not an unreasonable burden on the RKBA.


Great to hear that for an enumerated Constitutional right as upheld by the Supreme Court. I expect you will be in full support of a similar fee for the right to vote then.


You can always exempt sanctioned competitions if you like. At the gun club near me, you can shoot a fully automatic .50 cal that you would never be able to own yourself (even the most diehard NRA-types know it's political suicide to advance civilian ownership of .50cal machine guns although I don't know how y'all feel about them privately).


If you ban possession of the necessary equipment to compete (military style rifles, standard cap mags) what's the point of the exemption then?

By the way. all of the things you list as wanting to restrict with the exception of .50 caliber firearms are already legal to own by civilians provided you do the proper paperwork, pass the extensive background check and pay the tax. Been that way since 1934. Yes, you can own explosives, rocket launchers, howitzers, tanks, etc.

As to the .50 cal, why this restriction? You've been suckered into the gun banner language again demonizing this particular round. The 1934 National Firearms Act draws the line between civilian legal round and "destructive device" (with a few exceptions) at .50 inches. So why do you want to lower the bar yet again? Where does it stop? In places like California where they did lower the bar, the gun makers simply came out with .499 caliber and less rounds that are just as effective. The .416 Barrett is ballistically superior and more accurate than the .50BMG with only slightly less energy.

In agreement with your listed items of support otherwise.


It can work like a private background check. It is illegal to look up another person's background without written consent (e.g. when applying for a lease on apartment, they tend to check credit/criminal). I can propose a pretty easy technical solution requiring proven technology that can be delivered over the internet for less than $20 per check and provide instant results (honestly, if the banks can do it, the gov't can).


The technology exists. The problem is one of trust. The backlash on the media term "gun show loophole" is two-fold. One, it is yet another restriction on individual freedom and a property rights issue. Two, it is interference in a clear intrastate issue. It only applies within the borders of a state. It is up to the individual states to decide how they want to manage commerce between private citizens in how they wish to dispose of their property. Why on Earth should the Federal government be involved in this?

Simply, many of us do not trust the government to keep their word. It never stops. They never roll back measures shown to be ineffective and there is no rational justification for imposing them in the first place. Private sales act as a useful defense of liberty since as long as there are firearms a government agency can't positively locate, there will always be a point of pause or contention for them to enact further restrictions.

You may disagree but I think it is useful.


That's asinine on so many levels. If you start with the presumption that LEAs cannot be held accountable by due process of law then there is no reason to have this discussion in the first place.


Not asinine, true. The Delaware incident was brushed aside and they said the records were deleted. I don't believe them. A copy will survive somewhere and once the heat is off, they'll dust it off and continue to use albeit in a more circumspect way. The FBI has been caught holding NICS records for months on end when they were required to be destroyed within 24 hours. They found hard to not delete them under the guise of performing NICS audits. In the end, they were forced to but they made clear their preferences in violating the law. No repercussions.

18 USC 926(a) specifically prohibits any government or political agency anywhere from establishing a system of registry for firearms and/or firearms owners. And yet, numerous agencies and states do exactly that. Why have not one of them been charged under this law?

Records NEVER die. EVER. Empirical evidence indicates that agencies do, in fact, abuse their authority even when explicitly forbidden to do so by statute. So why should we give them more information? It is clear they cannot be trusted with it so the only sure solution to prevent further unpunished abuses is to deny it outright.
12.3.2008 1:09pm
FWB (mail):
Do the feds license computer dealers, car dealers, kitchen knife dealers, tupperware dealers (definitely IC) etc? Then where does the authority for the Fed come from that is used to license gun dealers?

Don't spurt out "commerce clause" because that is bogus, another lie from the servants.


As to armed citizenry dealing with terrorists: Maybe if our great federal and state legislatures took their duties seriously the Militia, which is EVERYONE capable of keeping and bearing Arms, would be properly trained and armed and organized. But since the governments AND the people have failed to do their duty, we are in sad shape. When was the last time YOU went out and "worked" with YOUR Arms? Are you doing your duty as a member of the Militia?

TIOCFAIDH ÁR LÁ!
12.3.2008 1:12pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
It's funny to see this long comments thread, because Professor Volokh's point seems to me to be both noncontroversial and unarguable. The New York Times should spell out what gun control programs it favors, and then readers can determine whether they find them sound or reasonable or not. Saying "sound and reasonable gun controls" (or "common sense gun controls") is a talking point, not an argument.

So why the big redundant food fight about gun rights?
12.3.2008 1:25pm
Joel Rosenberg (mail) (www):
I think it's utterly possible -- not likely, but possible -- that the Obama administration will leave the guns alone, and almost likely that it will for the first two years.

The kickoff for the 2010 Congressional campaign already happened, after all, and there is some institutional memory among the Democrats as to how bad it is when enraged gun owners go armed (with anger and information, natch) into their voting booths.

That said, I think we can expect a trial balloon to go up, probably either the "gun show loophole" (as pointed out, it's really the private sale "loophole") and the assault rifles/EBRs, etc. As endpoints, those are the ones that most folks either do or should care least about, but I do seem to remember somebody or other writing a paper on the whole Slippery Slope thing; those won't be the endpoints, even temporarily . . .

. . . unless, of course, there's a battle royale over them.
12.3.2008 1:33pm
second history:
Possession in schools and hospitals, OTOH, ought to be at the discretion of the 'management'. I wouldn't support any law the requires schools and hospitals to allow armed visitors against their will.

Government should enforce rights, and not allow the denial of rights. Since gun possession is a constitutional right, private organizations should not be able to deny that right. A heavily armed citizenery is a free citizenery.
12.3.2008 1:34pm
Armed Canadian (www):
Dilan,

Because the NYT is using the gun banners own words. They are the ones that throw out "common sense" and "reasonable" and never define them. They are trying to co-opt the mindshare of the average, ignorant populace so they'll support gun control laws without really knowing that they do as long as it is prefaced by either or both of those terms.

The NYT has a long history of using such language in support of such laws that are anything but "common sense" or "reasonable".

The argument is to get people to think about what is meant the next time the NYT spouts Brady talking points and says "gun ban X is a reasonable restriction" when it is nothing of the sort. Have you ever noticed that each demand for a new gun control law that disproportionately affects the law-abiding and does nothing to dissuade criminal conduct is touted as "reasonable"?

Why is that?
12.3.2008 1:35pm
Virginian:

What we should be working toward are liberalizing concealed carry laws (allow anyone to carry a concealed weapon anywhere), work toward must-carry laws, removing bans on possession of firearms in certain places (hospitals, aircraft, schools) and liberalizing the types of weapons that an individual can possess. Basically the public should have access to any handheld weapon that the government has (to even the playing field).


Those are some common sense gun laws that I can get behind!
12.3.2008 1:40pm
Oren:

You may encounter opposition from people fearing that e.g. landlords or employers would use the web site for general background checks. I'm OK with that - I think a criminal history should be public knowledge - but there are people opposed.

It is trivial to set up a system in which the target of the check must consent. For instance:

(1) Party A wants to buy a gun from Party B.
(2) Party B creates a ticket on the webpage, gives party A a unique token.
(3) Party A goes to the webpage, establishes his identity, sees the report and gets to decide whether party B should see it.
(4) If Yes, then party B goes back to the page with his token plus a password and sees the result.
12.3.2008 1:42pm
Oren:

Have you ever noticed that each demand for a new gun control law that disproportionately affects the law-abiding and does nothing to dissuade criminal conduct is touted as "reasonable"?

I haven't notice any change in control laws for like, 10 years, actually.
12.3.2008 1:43pm
Oren:


Great to hear that for an enumerated Constitutional right as upheld by the Supreme Court. I expect you will be in full support of a similar fee for the right to vote then.

My state ID costs $30 in fees + $50 incidentals (travel to RMV, time wasted). If we had photo-id laws (which are constitutional), then voting would cost 4x gun ownership.
12.3.2008 1:45pm
Patrick22 (mail):
The NRA is losing elections because they are in a coalition with the Religious Right. In those areas where the NYT is widely read, this will lead to losses.

Gun control is so far off the radar of the Left. It is something urban Congressman or Assemblymen might talk about, but no national politicians will. The Democrats lose many more votes over guns than they gain. If they were smart (and they don't take to success well), they would continue to ignore gun control and continue to make gains in the Mountains and SW.
12.3.2008 1:46pm
Oren:

In agreement with your listed items of support otherwise.

Just so I don't waste time, do you really want to hash out the details?


Simply, many of us do not trust the government to keep their word. It never stops. They never roll back measures shown to be ineffective and there is no rational justification for imposing them in the first place. Private sales act as a useful defense of liberty since as long as there are firearms a government agency can't positively locate, there will always be a point of pause or contention for them to enact further restrictions.

You may disagree but I think it is useful.

Sure, but I think the appropriate way to express that skepticism is by strong, searching judicial review with sharp teeth combined with accountability. Too often on this site, we see a denigration of the bench as a tool to combat the excesses of the executive (some have gone so far as to say the DOJ is not required to effect binding orders from Art III courts if they don't like it).

In other words, I see no reason why this power is unable to be properly supervised any more than the various other police powers of the state.


18 USC 926(a) specifically prohibits any government or political agency anywhere from establishing a system of registry for firearms and/or firearms owners. And yet, numerous agencies and states do exactly that. Why have not one of them been charged under this law?

Records NEVER die. EVER. Empirical evidence indicates that agencies do, in fact, abuse their authority even when explicitly forbidden to do so by statute. So why should we give them more information? It is clear they cannot be trusted with it so the only sure solution to prevent further unpunished abuses is to deny it outright.

It might be the "only sure solution" but it's not the only solution that can possibly work. For instance:

(1) We give police officers the power to arrest citizens.
(2) Police officers may not arrest citizens without probable cause or warrant.
(3) Police officers do, in fact, abuse their authority and arrest citizens without cause constantly.
-----------------------------------------------
Conclusion: police officers cannot be trusted with powers of arrest.
12.3.2008 1:54pm
pintler:

I haven't notice any change in control laws for like, 10 years, actually.


I'm north of 50 years old, and there are a number of perfectly innocuous things I did as a kid that are felonies now. I'm not sure things are better now.

As one example - when I was maybe 14, I got a 22 rifle for xmas. The next day, a the father of a friend across town was going to take us to the Rod-n-Gun club to sight it in. I put a box of shells in my pocket, the uncased rifled under my arm (didn't have a case), and started the couple of mile walk to his house - through town. On the way, I came to one of the 20 acre or so school yards. As I started to cut across the schoolyard, I crossed in front of a police car. I waved, he smiled, it was a regular Norman Rockwell moment - kid gets first rifle. No one thought twice about a kid walking through town with a rifle.

Are we better off that that would be a felony today?
12.3.2008 1:57pm
Armed Canadian (www):
Oren,


It might be the "only sure solution" but it's not the only solution that can possibly work. For instance:

(1) We give police officers the power to arrest citizens.
(2) Police officers may not arrest citizens without probable cause or warrant.
(3) Police officers do, in fact, abuse their authority and arrest citizens without cause constantly.
-----------------------------------------------
Conclusion: police officers cannot be trusted with powers of arrest.


If the officers in question do this as a pattern of behavior with no meaningful consequences to their actions, then yes, they should NOT be trusted with powers of arrest. Or police powers in general.

That is a whole separate conversation with the militarization of the police and their creation of a "thin blue line" police vs. civilian mentality.

If the law is not applied to those we trust to uphold it, how can we rely on the courts to correct such abuses? Especially when the courts deny the average citizen standing to challenge those abuses under whatever technicality or guise they can come up with?

You might be being sarcastic with your statements but I, in fact, agree with them. Police should not be granted special dispensation to abuse the law and should be held to a higher standard because of the enormous powers we entrust to them.
12.3.2008 2:01pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"Great to hear that for an enumerated Constitutional right as upheld by the Supreme Court. I expect you will be in full support of a similar fee for the right to vote then."

Good point. Both elections and background checks have costs. The users of both should bear that cost. Bring back the poll tax with the gun transfer tax.
12.3.2008 2:03pm
Unix-Jedi (mail) (www):
You can't possibly conceive of a third option?

Not in polite company.

You're advancing the entire gun-banner playbook.
Aside from the fact that I support:

When you're supporting restricting gun ownership, gun transfers, playing along with the obvious slippery slope that there is very little attempt to disguise, what you enumerate you support is worthless.

If a rifle is "too accurate" then it's a "sniper rifle" according to your buddies with their "common sense approach" and not suitable for individuals to own.
If it's "too inaccurate" then it's an "assault weapon" according to your buddies with their "common sense approach" and not suitable for individuals to own.
The acceptable level of accuracy is never actually defined.

And once you set 10 as a "reasonable" number of rounds in a magazine, what's to stop that from changing in the future? (And why are LEO's exempted?)

You are the one who advanced the "gun show loophole" while knowing that it had nothing to do with gun shows, and was wholly about gun registration wholesale.

Your enumerated attempts don't cover for that glaringly dishonest concept - you knew that gun shows weren't the target, private transfers were - and you were just fine with using the euphemism to outlaw private transfers.

That's asinine on so many levels. If you start with the presumption that LEAs cannot be held accountable by due process of law then there is no reason to have this discussion in the first place.

Presumption? Please show me where LEA's have been held accountable by the due process of law for these transgressions. It's not totally impossible, but it's so unlikely as to be nonsensical. Remember who was using "common sense" as a catchphrase?

I gave you an example. Please demonstrate how my presumption (where the police collected years of gun sale data for easy searching) fails to be the correct one. There's also the NY and Chicago and DC examples where registration just for the sake of registration mutated and suddenly was a list for confiscation. Presumption? I think not. I don't think I'm the one being asinine here.

$20 is not an unreasonable burden on the RKBA.

Funny thing, $200 was thought to be in '34, and that's held up so far.

So is $50? $100? At what point does it become unreasonable, and why should we not take that level onto the expression of free speech, or voting, or.....
12.3.2008 2:03pm
mobo (mail):
Nobody mentioned the most disturbing aspect of a new federal requiement to conduct background checks on all firearms transfers:

Where does the federal government get the power to regulate a purely intrastate transaction between two individuals? The GCA doesn't go that far because it would be outside the bounds of regulating interstate commerce.

State governments already have that power. Leave it at that.
12.3.2008 2:03pm
Oren:

If the officers in question do this as a pattern of behavior with no meaningful consequences to their actions, then yes, they should NOT be trusted with powers of arrest. Or police powers in general.

Try Somalia, I hear it's lovely this time of year.
12.3.2008 2:08pm
luagha:

The goal of the Mumbai terrorists was actually (after killing some Jews) to collapse the Taj Mahal hotel and kill everyone inside. They did in fact bring high explosives with which to do the task.

Fortunately for us, the foundations of the hotel were too strong and they held. Resulting in communication back to base (which has been captured) and then the firearms assault which followed.
12.3.2008 2:09pm
cboldt (mail):
-- Where does the federal government get the power to regulate a purely intrastate transaction between two individuals? --
.
The same place they got it for the NFA. The only hold-back to applying similar regulations to more common longarms and sidearms is fear of political backlash. Give it time, the risk of political backlash will subside, and there will be a federal tax on transfer of weapons other than those currently enumerated in the NFA.
12.3.2008 2:10pm
Oren:


You are the one who advanced the "gun show loophole" while knowing that it had nothing to do with gun shows, and was wholly about gun registration wholesale.
...
Your enumerated attempts don't cover for that glaringly dishonest concept - you knew that gun shows weren't the target, private transfers were - and you were just fine with using the euphemism to outlaw private transfers.


I put it in scare quotes because it's really about private sellers. That's just what it's called so I used the popular nomenclature. I feel like I was emphatically clear on that point (look back to my 10AM post).

I don't care about registration, I would just prefer that the qualifications of gun buyers be checked at the instant they acquire a gun.



So is $50? $100? At what point does it become unreasonable, and why should we not take that level onto the expression of free speech, or voting, or.....

So you are against voter ID laws?


Please show me where LEA's have been held accountable by the due process of law for these transgressions. It's not totally impossible, but it's so unlikely as to be nonsensical. Remember who was using "common sense" as a catchphrase?

The failure of accountability in this instance (assuming for the sake of argument, I don't know the facts here) does not mean that all possible schemes of accountability are ineffective. You have not proven that there is no possible way to have effective oversight. As it happens, I think one could design such a system, if the political will were there.
12.3.2008 2:23pm
Oren:
Please don't let this be another rehash of Wickard v. Filburn.
12.3.2008 2:24pm
Yankev (mail):

A full-blown double-action-style trigger pull is nothing to sneeze at and is, as you know, quite significant in a glock.
Not to mention the Glock "safe trigger" that must be pressed in order to release the trigger itself. Pressing an edge or end of the trigger will not discharge the Glock unless the tab in the center of the trigger is also pressed.
12.3.2008 2:25pm
Oren:


Not to mention the Glock "safe trigger" that must be pressed in order to release the trigger itself. Pressing an edge or end of the trigger will not discharge the Glock unless the tab in the center of the trigger is also pressed.

Maybe the NFL should teach trigger discipline.
12.3.2008 2:28pm
ginsocal (mail):
Regarding the original point of the post, the NYT was just playing their traditional role of sock-puppet for the gun control fanatics.

I believe that there is no such thing as a reasonable gun-control law. Laws, in reality, are only applicable to law-abiding people. Those who obtain a gun for nefarious purposes are not going to obey any laws, so there really is no point in having them. Vermont seems to do just fine without them, and I think we should "just try it" for the rest of the country. I'm willing to bet dollars to doughnuts that "Felon in posession of a firearm" is among the first charges to be dropped in plea bargains.
12.3.2008 2:54pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
To me, it is not so much reducing crime rates as it is reducing the chances of loss of life when one is in a criminal encounter.

So what you are saying is that concealed carry laws haven't led to a detectable reduction in the crime rate (i.e., the number or types of crime per population) but it has reduced the likelyhood of being a chance of loss of life, even though there has not been a drop in the murder rate after the implementation of such laws.


Riight!
12.3.2008 3:16pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
I believe that there is no such thing as a reasonable gun-control law.

So you think that Professor Volokh's example (no guns in prison) is an unreasonable gun control law that will be inevitably circumvented?
12.3.2008 3:17pm
NickM (mail) (www):
The next time you're in San Antonio, go to the Alamo. While you're there, walk through their exhibits. You'll find some of the weapons used by the defenders - long guns that were >50 cal.

Nick
12.3.2008 3:26pm
Piano_JAM (mail):
As I started to cut across the schoolyard, I crossed in front of a police car. I waved, he smiled, it was a regular Norman Rockwell moment - kid gets first rifle. No one thought twice about a kid walking through town with a rifle.

My late step father gave me his double barrel shotgun he had from when he was a kid in Indiana. He told me he and his brother would hunt in the morning and then go to school, store the shotguns in their lockers. Things have sure changed.

Also, gun shows are great! Purchase by first Glock 22-C a week ago at the big gun show. Can't wait to fire it this Saturday!
12.3.2008 3:28pm
LM (mail):
With the election behind us, it's good to see gun threads resuming their proper place as the wing-nuttiest on the site.

(Another armed liberal Democrat.)
12.3.2008 3:40pm
Sebastian (mail) (www):
cboldt:

Most of the federal gun regulations regarding possession (by felons, mostly) use the herpes theory of the commerce clause. Because it once moved in interstate commerce, the feds can forever regulate any use of the product.

But gun show loophole will most likely be done using the argument that it's part of a national regulation of the market in firearms, that allowing private transfers would undermine. And that will be perfectly constitutional, a la the Raich decision.
12.3.2008 3:42pm
ForWhatItsWorth:
Piano_Jam

That story reminded me of my young years growing up in AZ. When hunting season rolled around in those days, it was almost like a school holiday, except those of us who weren't going that year were in school..... with about a third to half of the seats empty.

At that time, hunter ed wasn't mandatory so the NRA basically ran the show on those programs (once they become mandatory in a state, the NRA lets the state do the training and they provide materials). Again, every year you would see kids and their parents together in the school cafeteria taking the class.

Wow, that was a long time ago...... before guns and their owners were stigmatized as something akin to Satan incarnate.
12.3.2008 3:44pm
ginsocal (mail):
Dilan, was that meant to be a serious response? I believe that there are no laws prohibiting prisoners from having firearms (though I'm open to correction), though there are no doubt prison regulations to that effect. In any case, the reply is non-sensical. Try again.
12.3.2008 4:29pm
guy in the veal calf office (mail) (www):
ForWhatItsWorth

Yes I was kidding about how it went off. The facts seem to be: "Burress’ trouble began at about 1:50 a.m. Saturday morning at a New York nightclub when the star receiver attempted to balance a drink in his left hand while catching his [.40] Glock with his right before the gun slipped from the waistband of his trousers."


For the love of a holster! He, and his 2 teamates, had a game the next day.
12.3.2008 4:42pm
ForWhatItsWorth:
guy in the veal calf office,

OMG! That is HILARIOUS! Sorry, guys, I know that shooting oneself isn't supposed to be funny, but you have to admit...... BWAH HA HA HA HA HA HA........

I'll bet "Uncle Mike's" has already got an order, whaddaya think?
12.3.2008 5:03pm
wfjag:

"Burress’ trouble began at about 1:50 a.m. Saturday morning at a New York nightclub when the star receiver attempted to balance a drink in his left hand while catching his [.40] Glock with his right before the gun slipped from the waistband of his trousers."

guy in the veal calf office: For reasons you gave above (improving the gene pool), I think the court should give Burress the option of (1) 3 years in Attica penitentiary or (2) a second chance with one .40 cal. round to see if he'd hit the target that would improve the gene pool. And, while I'm opposed to the type of laws the NYC has re: firearms, I think there should be "criminal stupidity" laws covering people like Burress. Going drinking while carrying a loaded firearm is a prima facie case.
12.3.2008 5:17pm
Melancton Smith:
J F Thomas wrote:

To me, it is not so much reducing crime rates as it is reducing the chances of loss of life when one is in a criminal encounter.

So what you are saying is that concealed carry laws haven't led to a detectable reduction in the crime rate (i.e., the number or types of crime per population) but it has reduced the likelyhood of being a chance of loss of life, even though there has not been a drop in the murder rate after the implementation of such laws.


Riight!


Again with rates. I will spell it out more plainly. When in a violent encounter having a handgun to defend yourself is proven by FBI statistics to be more effective than any other tactic, including giving them what they want.

It is a simple force equation.
12.3.2008 5:21pm
Pat C (mail):
I'm going to go beyond the New York Times. I say this country needs sound laws, period, and of course to pass those laws as president, Mr. Obama will need strong Congressional support.

Just don't ask me for any specifics.
12.3.2008 5:27pm
Kirk:
Oren,
Bans on possession by former felons
... AND, the NRA is very supportive of this.

And good grief--bans on normal-capacity magazines? What's reasonable about that?

Finally, re:
Please don't let this be another rehash of Wickard v. Filburn.
Why not? It's right up there among the worst things the Supreme Court has ever done.

Patrick216: no, you don't have to "register your weapon with the feds". You only need to pass the federal instant background check to purchase it in the first place. Your state may impose additional restrictions, but I can assure you that you could move to Washington State tomorrow, bringing your handgun with you, and as a legitimate resident sell it to me the next day--and neither of us would have to tell anybody about the change in ownership.

FWIW, thanks for bringing up Barrett, and let me add my applause to yours.
12.3.2008 5:43pm
Oren:

I'm willing to bet dollars to doughnuts that "Felon in posession of a firearm" is among the first charges to be dropped in plea bargains.

Then you have no idea what you are talking about. Felon in possession is trivial to prove and carries a strict minimum. Usually it's that charge that really sticks.
12.3.2008 5:49pm
Oren:

(Another armed liberal Democrat.)

Thank god. I thought I was alone against the hordes.


Why not? [Wickard]'s right up there among the worst things the Supreme Court has ever done.

Because it's just about all we can do to have a reasonable-ish discussion on one topic at a time.
12.3.2008 5:52pm
Yankev (mail):

Maybe the NFL should teach trigger discipline.

Or maybe he should take one of the many fine courses the NRA teaches. As I recall, NYC went ballistic a few years ago when the NRA planned to open a facility on Times Square. The mayor (I forget whether it was Giulianni or Bloomberg at the time) got very blustery about how the NRA's presence would ruin the neighborhood.
12.3.2008 6:04pm
mobo:
Quote Sebastian:

"Most of the federal gun regulations regarding possession (by felons, mostly) use the herpes theory of the commerce clause. Because it once moved in interstate commerce, the feds can forever regulate any use of the product."

And it goes to show you just how much things have changed since 1968. The GCA didn't regulate intrastate transactions because it was understood at that time that it would be a massive stretch of Congress's (is that proper use of an apostrophe?) Commerce clause power.


"But gun show loophole will most likely be done using the argument that it's part of a national regulation of the market in firearms, that allowing private transfers would undermine. And that will be perfectly constitutional, a la the Raich decision."

Bush was so obsessed with clobbering pot heads in CA that he forgot he was supposed to be a "conservative". We'll pay for this in the long run. Imagine where the Raich decision will lead now that the Obamunists have this horrifying precedent at their disposal.
12.3.2008 6:14pm
Oren:
mobo, Bush had nothing to do with Raich. His DOJ was required to defend the laws that Congress passed, including their assertion that regulation of intrastate medipot was integral to the functioning system of national regulation that Congress clearly meant to pass by the CSA.

Reno would have done the same thing (and Messe and ....)
12.3.2008 6:23pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"The goal of the Mumbai terrorists was actually (after killing some Jews) to collapse the Taj Mahal hotel and kill everyone inside. They did in fact bring high explosives with which to do the task."

I'd think they would find many more Jews in Israel than Mumbai. I wonder why they chose to attack Jews in Mumbai rather than Tel Aviv? Could it be... Jews with guns?
12.3.2008 6:49pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Personally, I want to see a few very specific gun control laws enacted (mostly at the state level):

1) I would like to see gun-owners license with a similar requirement of knowledge of safety and the law that we require for driving a car (think written-test only). I also think we need to teach gun safety classes in public school, so that just about anyone can walk in and get a license.

2) We need a law which makes the gun owner criminally accountable for unlawful access to his/her firearm. I don't think we need legislated specific controls, but if a child can pick up the gun, does so, and accidently kills someone, the owner should be criminally responsible to a reasonable degree. SUch would not apply naturally to the capacity to bludgeon someone with a muzzle-loader.....

However, beyond that, I would also like to see felony restrictions minimized to apply only to people engaged in violent crimes.
12.3.2008 6:59pm
juris imprudent (mail):
Oren, you end up talking about Wickard (or Raich) because those are the hinges upon which your proposed private sale regulation hang. If you don't think there are (or should be) limits to Federal [police] power - you got no problem, but I sure do. It is an unambiguous absence in the Constitution, and the furtherance of police power exercise under color of other legitimate federal authority is one of the worst ways by which to undermine the Constitution.

The '68 GCA (and it's successor provisions) are based on regulating the business of selling guns. It's a fine point, but it is a still a distinction. Someone who is not a gun dealer, even if selling a gun or two, can't be subjected to the same regulations (unless you REALLLLLY love Wickard and think Congress' power was always meant to be unlimited).

And seriously, why is magazine capacity a reasonable thing to consider? You apparently don't buy that the cosmetic features of "assault weapons" are reasonable.
12.3.2008 7:01pm
seadrive:

Sound Gun Control


1) Law enforcement has always been more concerned with concealed weapons than powerful weapons. Bank robbers don't use AK-47s because an automatic pistol is a better weapon for the job; it leaves a hand free to carry away the loot. The problem from a control point of view is that the horse has left the barn.

2) I'm sure a majority of Americans think think there should be a line above which weapons are too big and too dangerous for individual owners. IMHO, it's reasonable for the gov't to keep track of .50 cal machine guns. Others may have a different threshold. I think a reasonable line, in military terms, is between individual weapons and crew-served weapons.

3) Almost everyone who commits a crime involving a gun as committed a gun crime as well as the underlying crime (e.g robbery, assault). I'm not a big fan of trying to make something "illegaler". The logic doesn't work for me.

4) I think the fans of concealed carry have to speak to the Plexico Burress problem. The fewer restrictions on an activity, the more people do it wrong. Alcoholism went up after repeal.
12.3.2008 7:08pm
juris_imprudent (mail):
4) I think the fans of concealed carry have to speak to the Plexico Burress problem.

You mean he had a carry permit in NYC? Are you talking about another of those "illegaler" situations? Or are you suggesting we should be concerned about making guns more idiot-proof?
12.3.2008 7:14pm
ginsocal (mail):
Sorry, Oren, I was, indeed, guessing. It just seems that you never hear about that particular charge in cases where there are numerous others involved. In a case like Burress, it's the only one (yes, I know he's not a felon).
12.3.2008 7:28pm
mobo:
Quote:

"mobo, Bush had nothing to do with Raich. His DOJ was required to defend the laws that Congress passed, including their assertion that regulation of intrastate medipot was integral to the functioning system of national regulation that Congress clearly meant to pass by the CSA.

Reno would have done the same thing (and Messe and ....)"

I was under the impression that while the Executive is required to faithfully execute laws, they also have some discretion with regard to how much priority to assign to enforcement of the laws and the amount of resources dedicated to enforcement.

Could Bush have put enforcement of marijuana laws on the back burner, perhaps? Was it really necessary to raid medical pot co-ops in CA at a time when those agents could have been put to better use in counterterrorism efforts?

Forgive me if I sound uninformed, but I'm just an electrician at an oil refinery, not a constitutional law expert. That's why I'm here... to learn a thing or two.
12.3.2008 7:41pm
Oren:

If you don't think there are (or should be) limits to Federal [police] power - you got no problem, but I sure do.

I think there should be but a discussion like that has no place in this thread. I am taking as a starting point the constitutional doctrine as it exists, not as I wish it to exist.


based on regulating the business of selling guns

The distinction between the "business" of selling a gun and private sellers is not germane here. Federal law places burdens on private sellers transferring automobiles (odometer fraud and the like) because they are engaged in a business transaction.


And seriously, why is magazine capacity a reasonable thing to consider? You apparently don't buy that the cosmetic features of "assault weapons" are reasonable.

The capacity of the magazine is not cosmetic, it directly impact the functioning of the gun (in the way that a bayonet lug does not).

Mobo: Yes, he could move resources around and let the medi-pot dispensaries slide. As it happens though, every AG is pretty gung-ho about getting hippies growing grass. Holder is no exception there.

The tension between "faithfully execute ..." and micromanagement by Congress is one that I'm very uncomfortable with.
12.3.2008 7:59pm
Harvey Mosley (mail):

but if someone tried to impose the same type of registration requirements we have on cars as on guns, the NRA would raise hell.



I am more than willing to regulate guns like cars. Are you?

Once I have a driver's license, I can take my car almost anywhere.

I only have to register my car if I want to take it off my property. There is no registration requirement to use it on private property.

I can buy a car as often as I like. I'm not limited to one a month.

I can buy a car that is an automatic.

Once I have my driver's license I can drive any car on public property as long as the car is registered. I don't need a separate license for each car.

I can buy a car that will exceed the speed limit by 300%.

I can by a compact, an suv or anything in between.

I can buy a car that has as big a gas tank as I want.

I can buy military vehicles.

There is no waiting period for a car.

All in all, I think I'd like having my guns treated like cars.
12.3.2008 8:15pm
juris_imprudent (mail):
The capacity of the magazine is not cosmetic, it directly impact the functioning of the gun (in the way that a bayonet lug does not).

I think you have it backwards in that particular case. The volume of the magazine has absolutely no impact on the function of the firearm, whereas a bayonet lug is a functional feature. Maybe not an important function, but it is a functional difference (since you can't attach a bayonet without the lug). But regardless of capacity, the gun functions the same. It is just a matter of swapping magazines more frequently.

I think for you to fully justify the private gun seller bit you have to rely not on Wickard, but on Raich. And do you really think it reasonable, rational and appropriate that a person could be subject to federal charges for spinning their odometer back? Contrary to the dissent in Griswold, a stupid law is not automatically constitutional just because Congress passes it - it has to be relevant to a federal power (whereas many stupid state laws are valid under the state's police power). Of course, I've been bitterly disappointed in the post-Lopez retreat on federalism.
12.3.2008 8:25pm
LM (mail):

"Burress’ trouble began at about 1:50 a.m. Saturday morning at a New York nightclub when the star receiver attempted to balance a drink in his left hand while catching his [.40] Glock with his right before the gun slipped from the waistband of his trousers." (my bold)

!!!

He shot himself with a Glock? How the hell do you accidentally shoot a gun with a trigger safety? Did he actually try to grab the slipping gun by the trigger? When I heard he shot himself, I figured it had to be an SAO he was carrying cocked and locked, which without a holster is stupid enough. But this sounds like Darwin Awards material.
12.3.2008 9:24pm
Oren:

I am more than willing to regulate guns like cars. Are you?

Yup.


Once I have a driver's license, I can take my car almost anywhere.

You can because the various states signed a compact to that effect (much as some states have signed CCW reciprocity). AFAIK, the states are free to abandon the compact and place requirements on all drivers in their territory, so long as those requirements are not discriminator between res/nonres. I might be wrong.

IOW, that's a matter of voluntary agreement between the Various States.


I only have to register my car if I want to take it off my property. There is no registration requirement to use it on private property.

Agreed.


I can buy a car as often as I like. I'm not limited to one a month.

Cars are not empirically subject to diversion and straw-man sales. There is, IMO, a compelling reason to limit gun purchases to 3 a month.


I can buy a car that is an automatic.

You cannot buy one that does not meet NHTSA or CAFE standards, which are the most comparable. Many high performance sports cars are banned for not meeting crash/fuel ratings and must get special "low volume" exemptions, much like the NRA machine gun exemptions.


Once I have my driver's license I can drive any car on public property as long as the car is registered. I don't need a separate license for each car.

Agreed. Proviso, there are different types of licenses based on bona-fide differences in cars, motorcycles and large trucks (CDL).


I can buy a car that will exceed the speed limit by 300%.

Agreed. As of now you can buy a gun that will exceed the murder limit by infinity percent.


I can by a compact, an suv or anything in between.

See the CDL comment.


I can buy a car that has as big a gas tank as I want.

See the NHTSA comment.


I can buy military vehicles.

Sweet, can you buy me a Bradley (sans the weaponry) please next time you are at the dealer.


There is no waiting period for a car.

Cars aren't used in anger. Compelling reason for waiting periods.


All in all, I think I'd like having my guns treated like cars.

Me too. Let's go over some of the less desirable attributes you'd inherit from autos:

(1) Mandatory state-approved training on basic safety.

(2) The State can suspend your license to drive for myriad non-driver related issues (in my state: failure to pay alimony/child support, conviction of a drug offense, outstanding taxes off the top of my head).

(3) Drivers are forced to carry mandatory insurance for liability in case of accident (good idea for CCW, to be honest).

(4) Elderly drivers must periodically re-qualify for their licensing. Every 5 years after 65 here.

(5) I must bring my automobiles to a state-approved facility every two years for safety and emissions inspection. If my equipment is not up to state standards, my license to operate it is revoked.

(6) I can have my license to drive revoked merely for asserting my 4A right not to take a breathalyzer test.
12.3.2008 9:26pm
Oren:
LM, trigger discipline!
12.3.2008 9:26pm
Oren:

I think you have it backwards in that particular case. The volume of the magazine has absolutely no impact on the function of the firearm, whereas a bayonet lug is a functional feature. Maybe not an important function, but it is a functional difference (since you can't attach a bayonet without the lug). But regardless of capacity, the gun functions the same. It is just a matter of swapping magazines more frequently.

The interval between reload is more pertinent to the firing of a modern weapon than a melee attack. If I was in a combat situation and had to chose one upgrade or the other, it would easily be the mag.


I think for you to fully justify the private gun seller bit you have to rely not on Wickard, but on Raich. And do you really think it reasonable, rational and appropriate that a person could be subject to federal charges for spinning their odometer back?

Yes. (can't resist plugging United States v. Shmuck here, for the awesome name).


Contrary to the dissent in Griswold, a stupid law is not automatically constitutional just because Congress passes it - it has to be relevant to a federal power (whereas many stupid state laws are valid under the state's police power). Of course, I've been bitterly disappointed in the post-Lopez retreat on federalism.

Stupid state laws that impinge on liberty must still be rationally related to a legitimate state interest.

Stupid Federal laws must be targeted at interstate commerce, the instrumentalities of same or activities that substantially effect interstate commerce in a way that would undermine the power of Congress in the first two prongs.

That's just my opinion of where we can find a happy medium.
12.3.2008 9:54pm
GaryC (mail):
Oren:

My state ID costs $30 in fees + $50 incidentals (travel to RMV, time wasted). If we had photo-id laws (which are constitutional), then voting would cost 4x gun ownership.

But a driver's license is valid for several years (5 in the case of California), so the cost is amortized over all elections during that period. An average of 2 elections per year seems conservative, so a total of 10 over the valid period.

In addition, any other transaction that requires photo ID should be assessed a portion of the cost. If you include driving, that would be several thousand separate occassions when the license is required.

The $20 dollar fee for NICS check would be required every time you want to purchase a gun. And you couldn't even buy more than one at a time in a state with a "One-gun-a-month" law.
12.3.2008 10:49pm
David Muellenhoff (mail):
Oren:

That's asinine on so many levels. If you start with the presumption that LEAs cannot be held accountable by due process of law then there is no reason to have this discussion in the first place.


I think the presumption is more broadly held than you perceive. Even here in the lefty San Francisco Bay Area, much of the population tolerates/turns a blind eye to routine violation of suspects' rights by police as a necessary component of their jobs. If you don't think measures ranging from constant racial profiling to "aggressive interrogation" are in widespread use among urban cops in high-crime cities like Oakland, Richmond, or East Palo Alto, then you aren't talking to enough cops. Yes, "rogue cops" are caught and examples made, but from my conversations with officer friends, those examples are like the individual speeders pulled over next to the thousands of their fellow California drivers who blithely continue going 80mph -- they're generally ignored. As long as the "standard police procedures" are confined to gangbangers/druggies/inner-city "youth," etc., and not publicly acknowledged, most of us seem to say no problem.

So I believe the presumption is already a given in many parts of this country. It's just that we expect it not to affect the rights of we law-abiding citizens who live beyond those high-crime areas. The Delaware case discussed above, and others, are alarming precisely because the rights infringed are those of all gun owners in the database, not just the "bad guys."

Note: I'm not saying I approve, just that I find it amusing whenever someone expresses the naive belief that transgressions by authority are subject to any meaningful check in our current legal system.
12.4.2008 12:46am
Oren:
Gary, many Americans do not drive or enter into buildings with asinine photo-id checks. Even more Americans don't vote in primaries or even mid-terms.

David, I'm well aware. Part of this is the fault of the judicial system in creating protections that are at once too broad to allow effective policing and insufficient to really protect defendants.

Moreover, S1983 lawsuits in the 9CA are fairly successful, so much so that the populace "accepts" aggressive policing of gangbangers by accepting the cost of routine $250,000 settlements as part of the police budget. Taxes in, taxes out.
12.4.2008 8:26am
Mark in Texas (mail):
Whenever I hear the phrase "common sense gun laws" I am reminded of that line in the movie, "It's Pat"

"I like movies, but only good movies, not bad, boring movies"
12.4.2008 8:43am
ruralcounsel (mail):
"the gun lobby, which opposes all gun control laws"

Incorrect. The NRA supports laws that punish criminals that use firearms. What they oppose are laws that make citizens with firearms treated/punished like criminals.

"...but if someone tried to impose the same type of registration requirements we have on cars as on guns, the NRA would raise hell."

As well they should. I have yet to read anything in the Bill of Rights that places limits on the government's ability to restrict individual's rights to automobiles. Trying to draw analogies between firearms and automobiles is generally a useless exercise, unless you want a predetermined outcome in favor of more government control.

States get involved with motor vehicles primarliy for raising revenues (with a slight nod to public safety) and generally encourage car ownership, or at least are not hostile to it.

States get involved with firearms ownership primarily as a means to disarm the public and discourage firearm ownership.

Perhaps the analogy should be seen as a reason to reduce government involvement in automobiles, not increase it with firearms?

While it is often pointed out that armed civilians would not stand any reasonable chance in winning a "hot" revolt with our own government and military, I think that misses the point. That so many citizens are armed is of great consternation to our politicians and bureaucrats, who feel it their calling to exert command and control over a docile and compliant populace. But they also understand that that kind of massive confrontation is a loss for them, even if they win, because it would strip them of the veneer of legitimacy they think they must have. No democratically elected political party would survive a widespread armed revolt ... at least until they are prepared to abandon the democratic elections.

And armed citizens are not typically docile and compliant ... their retention of arms in the face of obvious government hostility makes that clear enough. The State would so much rather disarm the population slowly, incrementally, and peacefully, and by what in essence is a massive PR campaign by the MSM and toady special interest groups.

"Cars aren't used in anger. Compelling reason for waiting periods."

Um, I'd say that cars are used in anger far more frequently than firearms. "Road rage", anyone? And it's far easier to cover up a road rage fatality as an "accident" than it is a shooting fatality, because there are so many more traffic accidents than there are firearms accidents.

Waiting periods are probably more dangerous to vicitms of domestic violence, than lack of them is to anyone else. Given the prevalence of domestic assault and the unplanned nature of domestic disputes, having to wait to get a firearm has probably caused the death of an awful lot of battered wives who were denied the tools to protect themselves.
12.4.2008 10:22am
Armed Canadian (www):
einhverfr

1) I would like to see gun-owners license with a similar requirement of knowledge of safety and the law that we require for driving a car (think written-test only).

You do not license rights. It is also technically illegal under existing Federal law which prohibits the licensing or registration of gun owners but States do it anyway.

If you want a license for gun ownership, I want licensing for media broadcasting to ensure they are, in fact, being accurate in their reporting. Do that and a lot of the lies told in the media about guns would disappear.

I also think we need to teach gun safety classes in public school, so that just about anyone can walk in and get a license.

On this I agree with you. You ever notice that anti-gun groups who claim their desire for "common sense" laws in the interest of public safety always oppose such measures when they are proposed? Hmmm, perhaps it isn't about safety after all?

Disagree on the license part. See above.

2) We need a law which makes the gun owner criminally accountable for unlawful access to his/her firearm. I don't think we need legislated specific controls, but if a child can pick up the gun, does so, and accidently kills someone, the owner should be criminally responsible to a reasonable degree. SUch would not apply naturally to the capacity to bludgeon someone with a muzzle-loader.....

Why should I be held criminally liable for a third party action? If someone breaks into my house, pries open my cabinet, cuts the cable lock off my gun and sells it on the street later, I should be charged?

That's unlawful access. Just not by me. And even if the firearm isn't secured, why should I be held liable for the loss of my own property due to the criminal actions of another? My home has already been violated. Isn't that enough?

As to the child access, already covered. Most states have laws that criminalize knowingly leaving a firearm where an unsupervised minor can gain access to it. I don't think that should be a legislative issue but it is.

Owners of guns involved kids who get shot with them by another child's hands can already be held criminally liable for that action.

So you're covered on that score.

However, beyond that, I would also like to see felony restrictions minimized to apply only to people engaged in violent crimes.

Agreed.
12.4.2008 10:26am
ruralcounsel (mail):

2) We need a law which makes the gun owner criminally accountable for unlawful access to his/her firearm. I don't think we need legislated specific controls, but if a child can pick up the gun, does so, and accidently kills someone, the owner should be criminally responsible to a reasonable degree. SUch would not apply naturally to the capacity to bludgeon someone with a muzzle-loader.....


Absolutely not. Unless we apply that to everything else equally ... cars, motorcycles, baseball bats, kitchen knives, prescription medicine, scissors, hockey sticks, etc. Why the special rationale for bludgeoning with a muzzleloader? How about not buckling a child into a car seat or seat belt? Sit in a seat with an air bag? Do anything with a higher risk of injury than might exist if they just sat around the house and watched TV ... like go swimming, play sports, ride a bike, ride an ATV? Do we hold owners of backyard swimming pools criminally liable for accidents?

Do you ever let your child ride in another adult's vehicle? If they have an accident, and your child is hurt or killed, should that adult be criminally liable? Do you ever allow someone else's child ride in your vehicle? Should you be criminally liable for what happens if there is an accident?

This is just a backdoor way to make firearm ownership so legally risky that many folks won't want to bother. More of that slow, incremental disarmament. Negligent behavior is already subject to tort law. Why try to drag criminal liability into it this way? If the access was so egregious, seems it might fall under child endangerment statutes already. This is just an attempt to criminalize what at the heart is just a tragic accident.

I'm sure someone can dream up an awful enough scenario that it would feel like criminal prosecution is warranted, but IMO the vast majority of these accidents are fluke tragedies. Prosecuting a bereaved parent is a piss poor solution. Anyone want to bet that the people most likely to be impacted by this are police officers who inadvertantly fail to secure their service weapon when they get home?

So I think "criminally responsible to a reasonable degree" under the general scenario computes to NOT criminally responsible. Society needs to quit trying to make life zero-risk, and absolutely quit trying to mandate for individuals what are "acceptable" risks.
12.4.2008 11:17am
wfjag:

I'd think they would find many more Jews in Israel than Mumbai. I wonder why they chose to attack Jews in Mumbai rather than Tel Aviv?

Interesting point, Elliot, that I've seen raised on blogs, but notably overlooked by the US "news media."

The terrorists sought out the only rabbi in Mumbai, took him and his wife hostage, tortured them and then executed them -- there are indications that this occurred on the 1st day. So, it looks like doing this was an operational goal. Meanwhile, there are some 700,000 Christians in Mumbai who have hundreds of churches, and of course, millions of Hindi and thousands of temples. However, there was no effort to single out other religious groups for attack. There were efforts to single out American and British citizens (related to the US and UK's support of Pakistan and India).

Whatever the sources of the India-Pakistan border disputes (the division of Kashmir being only one of them), one nation that has had little to nothing to do with the disputes is Israel, and the one major ethnic group that has had little to nothing to do with the disputes are Jews. And, whatever the sources of religious tensions between Hindi and Muslims in the Subcontinent, Jews have had little to nothing to do with that. So, why send 10% of your attack force to find, torture and kill the only rabbi in a huge city and his wife?

You are right, of course, attempting to attack people in Israel means facing armed, trained people.
12.4.2008 11:26am
Oren:
Come on Harvey, don't you want to have to bring your gun into the state-approved inspection station every two years?!
12.4.2008 12:07pm
ForWhatItsWorth:
Oren: "...Cars aren't used in anger. Compelling reason for waiting periods....."

Say what? Cars are most definitely used in anger, and probably more often than firearms. Aggressive driving laws seem to bear this out, not to mention the occasional ramming of groups standing next to bus stops.

If we add drunk driving to the list, then it goes through the stratosphere. Personally, I would love to see drunk drivers, on the first conviction, never be able to own another motor vehicle. Driving is a privilege, firearms ownership is a right.

Both are used and abused, but let's look at some reality. If we compare "abuse" stats, I believe we will see cars far outstrip firearms. I don't for a second believe that the average driver obeys speed limit laws. Not even close..... that is a moving violation and, thus, de facto abuse of the motor vehicle.

The average firearms owner, on the other hand, obeys all applicable firearms laws. If they didn't, they would make the nightly news. Abuses rarely occur, especially when you factor in the number of firearms there are and the number of people who possess same.

So-called gun control laws are a solution searching for a problem. They, legislators, really should be this diligent when dealing with the average vehicular scoff-law. Moreover, this should be particularly true of laws that deal with people who INTENTIONALLY drink, then INTENTIONALLY get behind the wheel of a 6000 lbs bludgeon and kill or injure someone.

Waiting periods are in place in some locales and there is no evidence that it has reduced any form of crime. So, again, a solution looking for a problem.
12.4.2008 12:48pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
First the goal of licensing....

My proposed goal is safety awareness, so that people can be held to a higher standard of responsible behavior. If people don't like a verification of knowledge in order to own a gun, why not make verification of such knowledge a requirement for graduating from high school? I.e. you MUST take and pass a firearms safety class in order to graduate? Would this be more acceptable?

It seems that safety awareness requirements would not run amok with any reasonable reading of 2A.

As for criminal liability, I would draw the line as criminal libability for accidents (perhaps a felony at least in the case of repeat convictions). If I have a swimming pool and it is unfenced, and a kid falls in and drowns, maybe criminal sanctions may be OK. But I don't think I should be liable under any circumstances just because a third party drowned (murdered) someone else in my pool without my knowledge or assistance.
12.4.2008 1:38pm
ForWhatItsWorth:
einhverfr: ".....why not make verification of such knowledge a requirement for graduating from high school?..."

I would love that! The irrational fear (not healthy knowledge-based respect, but fear) of firearms is almost to the level of a group mania. It amazes me how much abject fear is involved, yet those same people will get behind the wheel of a car at 10pm and drive down the street completely oblivious to the fact that every 4th or 5th car coming in their direction has an inebriated/incapacitated driver in it.

Firearms are a tool and should be treated that way and thought of that way. Teaching our kids the proper handling of firearms and the "safing" of same is a great idea. Given that we have tried the "security by obscurity" method (trying to keep children completely ignorant of proper firearms handling procedures) and found it wanting, I think we should try that.

BTW, the last time I looked, the NRA wasn't even opposed to this idea, even if it was mandatory, as long as it was required once..... and only once. Of course, the more hogwash laws that are added (and never removed) to the existing load of claptrap, the less likely anyone is to having another added, even if it is a good idea......
12.4.2008 2:29pm
Armed Canadian (www):
einhvefr:

If they actually provided mandatory firearms handling and safety training in high school, I would be thrilled. In the 1950s, there used to be high school rifle teams and students used to carry their rifles to and from school daily and no one batted an eyelid.

Number of school shootings: zero.

Returning to that mentality as a citizenry would be a welcome change in civics education in this country because it would provide positive education in the duties and responsibility of productive citizenship.

But I draw the line at licensing. Education and licensing are not on the same path. But in the absence of mandatory education, the onus for proper and safe use always falls to the owner and a license should not be a pre-requisite to that. I will always err on the side of individual liberty first. I do not want to see "against the law to be a jackass" made into law with regard to firearms. All of the unsafe behaviors that can result in criminal prosecution for any reason, which technically all fall under "unsafe use", are already covered under existing law.

I prefer the system we have. Responsible gun owners promote safe handling through the teaching of the "Four Rules" and passing that knowledge along. It is a cultural construct within the community passed along in an oral/written tradition. Not every thing needs a law and I get tired of the solution for every rare, bad event with a firearm that happens is the immediate proposal for another law.
12.4.2008 2:32pm
Elliot123 (mail):
Why do we need government involvement in transferring ownership of a car? Why is government involved in the transfer of a $1,000 car and not a $1,000 bicycle?

We have millions of pieces of heavy farm and construction equipment, most more valuable than cars, yet government is not involved in ownership transfer.
12.4.2008 5:21pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Forwhatitsworth:

I would love that! The irrational fear (not healthy knowledge-based respect, but fear) of firearms is almost to the level of a group mania. It amazes me how much abject fear is involved, yet those same people will get behind the wheel of a car at 10pm and drive down the street completely oblivious to the fact that every 4th or 5th car coming in their direction has an inebriated/incapacitated driver in it.


The fundamental problem is that people have a disproportionate sense of risk where violence is concerned. To your driving scenario, I would add that more people in this country were killed in car accidents (by approx 20%) in September 2001 than in the terrorist attacks of 9/11. And the number of auto deaths is such that I have estimated that for terrorism to pose the same individual threat to life, we would have to see at least one nuclear terrorist attack per 13 years or so, assuming half a million killed in such an attack vs 40k per year killed in auto accients (something that would just be unthinkable to most people). Yet that is how dangerous driving is (this is no hyperbole-- just straight arithmetic).

The thing is, fearing the unlikely while not respecting more clear and present dangers is no way to make our society safer. We need to be looking at the issues of motor vehicle safety too and looking for better solutions to the ones we have (I favor licensing people under the age of 21 for alcohol purchases if they want to purchase alcohol).

However back to the gun thing. The problem is that rather than taking a careful and rational approach to danger, people ignore common dangers while thinking that dangers that apply to crime, violence, or just stuff that other people do are fundamentally more harmful when in fact this is bogus.

Teaching gun safety would be a good step forward. But besides the way it might cut down on accidents, there is nothing that cuts down on violence in my experience (as a martial artist) as a sense of what you can do to someone else if enraged. The vast majority of people are well intentioned and not psychopaths.

BTW, I think that every kid should study some form of unarmed combat too for this reason.
12.4.2008 8:17pm
juris_imprudent (mail):
Oren

If I was in a combat situation and had to chose one upgrade or the other, it would easily be the mag.

Yet actual military weapons have the bayonet lug. Again, mag capacity is NOT a functional difference. A Glock 19 in California with a 10-round mag functions EXACTLY the same as a Glock 19 in Arizona with a 15-round mag. Absolutely no functional difference - it's the same damn gun.

As to the Schmuck case (and yes, that's an irresistible reference) the defendant was a DEALER, not an individual. By golly that does have SOME relationship to commerce (particularly interstate as the cars in question were moved over state lines). Now, suppose that rather then a person who's business is selling cars, you apply that law to someone selling what was their personal vehicle. Does is still make the same sense to you?
12.5.2008 1:46am
Oren:

Yet actual military weapons have the bayonet lug.

In addition, not exclusion, to their high capacity magazines.

The act of selling a car is commercial in nature -- I would expect that alone merits some restriction.
12.5.2008 6:37pm