One writer at Toledo Blade weighs in with a plea:
I’m still picking buckshot out of my hide from gun-rights advocates — I didn’t say “gun nuts” — who hated my March 31 column about how easy it is to buy an assault-style rifle with 30-round magazines.
Many readers even accused me, and The Blade, of breaking federal law by making a straw purchase of the AR-15 assault-style rifle I bought at a gun show last month. They also asked what the hell I planned to do with it.
To clear the air, it was my gun — not The Blade’s — though the company reimbursed the $1,200 I paid for it. Last week, I donated the weapon to the Toledo Police Department, handing it off to Sgt. Tom Kosmyna and Officer Roger White at the police range in the Scott Park District station.
It sounds to me like he is confessing to a straw purchase, but we’ll leave that issue behind for a moment. He ends his rambling rant with the the following demand.
… we have to agree to do something. Maybe if we stop screaming at each other, we can find some common ground on guns.
You’re right. I am crazy.
He says that he wants many more gun laws, and so do some Senators. They have a plan to persuade the others to go along with them.
One of the senators behind the compromise proposal to expand background checks on gun purchases will mount a Senate floor sales pitch Monday, part of a lobbying effort to ensure passage for the key piece of a larger guns bill when it comes to a vote this week.
When the Senate convenes Monday afternoon, Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W. Va.) plans to take to the floor to go through his proposal piece-by-piece to dispel what he considers misrepresentations from critics of tighter gun laws. He’ll then challenge colleagues who have any questions to come to join him in the chamber for an open debate, and stay there for as long as it takes to satisfy concerns.
Manchin’s move to mount a kind of reverse filibuster in favor of his proposal aims to get ahead of critics as the Senate opens what could be a weeks-long process of considering alternative proposals that would either strengthen or weaken the legislation.
Manchin’s plan is essentially the same as the aforementioned writer. Talk enough and everyone will eventually agree to agree, or agree to disagree but go along, or something like that. And despite the fact that I have pointed out the inherent weakness in the language of the bill (see “notwithstanding”), Alan Gottlieb, Chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms and Founder of the Second Amendment Foundation staked an authorship claim to the bill.
Cover, as they see it. Toomey needs it, and thinks it will be enough, and I sense a problem with Manchin. This has turned into his centerpiece legislation, and he knows that he either needs to convince gun owners that it’s okay, or succeed for Mr. Obama so that he has a place in the administration if he becomes so toxic in West Virginia that he can no longer function or live there.
But the reason our writer at Toledo Blade received such criticism is that the polls are wrong, and there is no cover. Senator Chris Murphy puts the order like this: “The N.R.A., doing the bidding of the industry, ratchets up paranoia about government so that those people will go out and buy more guns.”
Murphy has it all wrong. The NRA is hearing from its constituency (that would be us), and the firearms manufacturers do our bidding. We’re the boss. A firearm hasn’t been fully vetted until it hits the American civilian market (the military forces its folks to use the bidder of choice), and the manufacturers respond to us. They make what we want. They earn our money, and if you think that we sit back and wait for the manufacturers to tell us what to think, just ask Smith and Wesson what happened as a result of their agreement with the Clinton administration.
Having Alan Gottlieb on their side won’t work. There is no cover large enough to protect them. More talk won’t convince us to take part in their intentions, or to approve those who do. As long as common ground or compromise means more gun laws (as opposed to repeal of some of the ones we already have), there is no common ground, and there is no compromise.
No new gun laws. Period. No compromise, no vacillation. It’s more than the proposed bill being a “slippery slope.” It is that, but it’s more. The law itself does nothing for crime, and universal background checks (and the corollary national gun registry) empower the government rather than the people. As one writer put it:
This entire gun-control farce is a rigged, premeditated sham, and the outcome was determined before a single page of this legislative abortion hit the senate floor. The bill itself is a convoluted mess, with ambiguous terms, poorly worded and broad declarations, and is nothing less than an article of outright tyranny that no civil and liberty loving patriot should be able to peacefully tolerate. This is by deliberate design. Easy to follow, clear, and reasonable laws are not a tool tyrants can easily exploit or profit from.
Because this law would empower the federal government and interfere with our rights, it would be what we call an intolerable act. You cannot talk us into agreeing with an intolerable act regardless of how emotionally you present your case or how long you persevere, and you’re warned to tread carefully.
These are very dangerous times we’re approaching.
Prior: The Coming Federal Gun Registry
UPDATE: David Kopel writing at The Volokh Conspiracy.
The Toomey-Manchin Amendment which may be offered as soon as Tuesday to Senator Reid’s gun control bill are billed as a “compromise” which contain a variety of provisions for gun control, and other provisions to enhance gun rights. Some of the latter, however, are not what they seem. They are badly miswritten, and are in fact major advancements for gun control. In particular:
1. The provision which claims to outlaw national gun registration in fact authorizes a national gun registry.
2. The provision which is supposed to strengthen existing federal law protecting the interstate transportation of personal firearms in fact cripples that protection.
Let’s start with registration. Here’s the Machin-Toomey text.
(c) Prohibition of National Gun Registry.-Section 923 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:
“(m) The Attorney General may not consolidate or centralize the records of the
“(1) acquisition or disposition of firearms, or any portion thereof, maintained by
“(A) a person with a valid, current license under this chapter;
“(B) an unlicensed transferor under section 922(t); or
“(2) possession or ownership of a firearm, maintained by any medical or health insurance entity.”.
The limit on creating a registry applies only to the Attorney General (and thus to entities under his direct control, such as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives). By a straightforward application of inclusio unius exclusio alterius it is permissible for entities other than the Attorney General to create gun registries, using whatever information they can acquire from their own operations. For example, the Secretary of HHS may consolidate and centralize whatever firearms records are maintained by any medical or health insurance entity. The Secretary of the Army may consolidate and centralize records about personal guns owned by military personnel and their families.
The Attorney General may not create a registry from the records of “a person with a valid, current license under this chapter.” In other words, the AG may not harvest the records of persons who currently hold a Federal Firearms License (FFL). Thus, pursuant to inclusio unius, the AG may centralize and consolidate the records of FFLs who have retired from their business.
Under current law, retired FFLs must send their sales records to BATFE. 18 USC 923(g)(4); 27 CFR 478.127. During the Clinton administration, a program was begun to put these records into a consolidated gun registry. The program was controversial and (as far as we know) was eventually stopped. Manchin-Toomey provides it with legal legitimacy.
Which of course is what I’ve been saying, although not in as much detail. Read it all. On and on it goes. The bill is more than just a sellout. It’s Fascism, plain and simple.