Monday, December 01, 2008

Storm Clouds Gathering For Gun Owners

Although Obama campaigned in rural states as being supportive of the right to keep and bear arms, there are more and more signs that America's gun owners may be headed for trouble with the Obama administration.

Obama's website explains his future agenda. In the "Urban Policy" Section is the heading "Address Gun Violence in Cities." Here are Obama's ideas in that section and my responses to them.

"Obama and Biden would repeal the Tiahrt Amendment, which restricts the ability of local law enforcement to access important gun trace information, and give police officers across the nation the tools they need to solve gun crimes and fight the illegal arms trade."

The Tiahrt Amendment prohibits the BATFE from releasing information from its firearms trace database to anyone other than a law enforcement agency or prosecutor in connection with a criminal investigation. In other words, local law enforcement already have access to this "important gun trace information." Anti-gun fanatics like NYC Mayor Bloomberg want this information released to them so that it can be used in predatory lawsuits against legal gun dealers, as well as to anti-gun sociologists to use in academic studies to impune civilian gun ownership. Not all guns in the data are crime guns. Both the BATFE and the Fraternal Order of Police oppose releasing this information, as it jeopardises ongoing investigations.

"Obama and Biden also favor commonsense measures that respect the Second Amendment rights of gun owners, while keeping guns away from children and from criminals."

If the Second Amendment didn't exist at all, the federal government would still have no authority over any of this. "Keeping guns away from children" could mean mandatory safe-storage laws, perhaps even away-from-home storage. How do you verify that? Random home searches? And there are already scads of laws on the books to keep guns away from criminals. What hasn't been tried, other than nation-wide licensing and registration or outright bans?

"They support closing the gun show loophole and making guns in this country childproof."

Ugh! First, there is NO gun show loophole. All federal, state, and local laws are in full force at a gun show. All gun dealers have to do background checks on buyers at gun shows just as they do back at their stores. Private gun sales (like you selling me your old shotgun) do not require background checks whether they occur at a gun show or down at the shooting range. Why? Because you don't have the knowledge or ability to conduct a background check on someone when you sell them a gun. Even with this "gaping loophole," only about 2% of all crime guns come from gun shows. Big deal!

And making guns "childproof!" What the hell? I've heard a few proposals on how to do this. One is to make guns that "recognise" their owners (by fingerprint or some other biometric identifier) and will only fire for them. Unfortunately this is untested, unreliable technology. That is why the proposed legislation for this have always exempted cops from this requirement. They don't want to risk law enforcement lives on shit technology, just yours.

Another brilliant proposal is to make trigger pulls so stiff that children can't pull the trigger. I'm no Carlos Hathcock, but I do know that trigger control is important to actually hitting anything. If pulling the trigger is harder than setting a bear trap, you won't hit what you're shooting at. That also makes armed self-defense harder for women or old folks with weak hands.

"They also support making the expired federal Assault Weapons Ban permanent."

This could be a whole post in and of itself. For starters, so-called "assault weapons" are not fully automatic machine-guns as the are often portrayed in the popular media. Those have been illegal since the 1930's. What is an "assault weapon" then? Whatever Carolyn McCarthy, Dianne Feinstein, Nancy Pelosi, and Chuck Schumer say it is. They can be rifles, shotguns or pistols. They can fire big bullets or little bullets. They can be old guns or new ones. That's what makes this ban so dangerous: If you give these jokers the ability to ban ANY weapons based on completely subjective and arbitrary criteria, you've essentially allowed them to ban ALL weapons.

Proposed legislation not only reenacts the expired 1994 ban, but widens it to include all sorts of guns that weren't affected by the original ban, such as the Ruger Mini-14 and the M1 Carbine and God knows what else.

The ban was pointless to begin with. In 1993 the Bureau of Justice Statistics reported violent criminals only carry or use a "military-type gun" (if that's how you want to define "assault weapon") in about 1% of the crimes nationwide. Cops were statistically three times as likely to be killed by their own gun than an "assault weapon." After the ban expired in 2004, crime rates continued to drop as the formerly banned weapons suddenly flooded the streets.

Besides Obama's stated agenda on his website, another troubling sign is Obama's choice of Eric Holder as his Attorney General. Holder worked under Janet "Torch" Reno in the Clinton administration and has an anti-Second Amendment track record a mile long.

All signs point toward a bumpy few years ahead for America's gun owners. Keep your powder dry boys and girls.


Bawb said...

Apparently, the new assault weapons ban is all written up and just waiting for the signatures. Another sneaky little idea, already proposed in the People's Republik of California (aka North Mexico) is a tax as high as 500% on ammunition. They won't take your guns, but you wouldn't be able to afford to shoot them.

I recently read a hit-piece on gun shows by some left-wing loony journalist whose knowledge of firearms was significantly less than my knowledge of faster-than-light space travel. According to this wacko, there were Uzis, AK-47s, and Colt .44 Magnums on sale for "as little as $100". Man, I want to go to that gunshow!

Look for the media to really crank up the rhetoric on gun issues real soon and perhaps manufacture a "crisis" or two.

We really need one of those "barfing" icons around here.

Unknown said...

Ok Ben, I will nitpick. The gun control act of 1938 established a tax of $200 on fully automatic weapons (among other things). They are still legal, and you can own them. Now if your state has seen fit to ban them from possession, that is a different matter. Here where we are they are alive and well... :)

Nice writeup. Thanks

Ben said...

You're right Mark. Maybe "illegal for the average person" would have been a better way of putting it. (And here in occupied Iowa, illegal to everyone.) But either way, those nasty "assault weapons" aren't even automatic. You and I know that, but John Q. Public might not. Gun banners love to capitalize on that. Thanks.