Archive for the 'Universal Background Check' Category

Properly Defending Liberty Comes Down To One Thing: World View

BY Herschel Smith
8 months, 1 week ago

There is a stir among gun rights advocates – or at least, presumed gun rights advocates.  On the one hand, there are the open carriers and opponents of I-594 and their advocates in the state of Washington (and other places like Texas and New York where even Sheriffs are recommending that your thrown your SAFE act pistol permit recertification invitation in the garbage), and on the other hand are Alan Gottlieb, Dave Workman, Bob Owens (who seems like a late comer to the pragmatic approach), and many of their readers.  See for instance this article at Zelman Partisans, this one by Bob Owens, and this article, this article, this article, and this article from Mike Vanderboegh.

As you might be able to guess from my history, I am not an advocate of pragmatism.  I have been a vocal and uncompromising opponent of universal background checks (and anything that enables such statism) from the beginning.  But before we rehearse and and expound on the reasons for my opposition, first let’s survey the pragmatists.  Bob Owens’ prose is stunning.

A small group of long gun open carriers lacking the discernment, basic common sense, and the political savvy of your average garden snail made complete fools out of themselves as they dangerously brandished firearms in the Washington House gallery last week during I-594 protests …

… knuckle-draggers like those pictured above don’t understand the long-game, and can’t grasp that the average citizen thinks that a person carrying a long gun to a protest of any sort is most likely unhinged.

We need to do a better job of patrolling our own, folks, because if we don’t find a way to control these cretins, the forces of gun control will be certain to exploit them for every bit of political capital that they can.

“Garden snail” … “knuckle-draggers” … “fools” … “cretins.”  These are words for open carriers normally reserved for web sites like Mother Jones, Balloon Juice, or perhaps Salon.  I am an open carrier (at certain times), and while this example is atypical of open carriers, it’s important to remember that even if it is perceived to be theatrical, it has context and it was provoked.

Earlier this summer, Rep. Jim Moeller took to Facebook and issued what some gun-rights advocates perceived as a challenge.

“I will refuse to conduct the business of the state as long as any ‘open carry’ nuts (are) in the gallery,” Moeller, D-Vancouver, wrote on his Elect Jim Moeller Facebook page.

Open carriers have experience with open carry of weapons being legal but also being bullied about their choices, or even worse, put in an unsafe position because of their legal choices.  It’s also important to remember that while open carry may not appear to be the norm today, it wasn’t always this way in America.

In the colonies, availability of hunting and need for defense led to armament statues comparable to those of the early Saxon times. In 1623, Virginia forbade its colonists to travel unless they were “well armed”; in 1631 it required colonists to engage in target practice on Sunday and to “bring their peeces to church.” In 1658 it required every householder to have a functioning firearm within his house and in 1673 its laws provided that a citizen who claimed he was too poor to purchase a firearm would have one purchased for him by the government, which would then require him to pay a reasonable price when able to do so. In Massachusetts, the first session of the legislature ordered that not only freemen, but also indentured servants own firearms and in 1644 it imposed a stern 6 shilling fine upon any citizen who was not armed.

When the British government began to increase its military presence in the colonies in the mid-eighteenth century, Massachusetts responded by calling upon its citizens to arm themselves in defense.

Weapons were used for hunting, self defense, and yes, amelioration of tyranny.  It wasn’t too many days ago that we rehearsed the jihadist attack on Charlie Hebdo and the goofy “reenactment” that the boys from TTAG did.  And goofy it was, but I did have the good sense to observe that “when defending against attackers with foreknowledge and rifles, you would rather have foreknowledge and rifles yourself.”

Islamists are being given sanctuary in the U.S., and Islamic calls to prayer are heard over loud speakers in Detroit, Michigan (and have been for about a decade now).  Beyond that, tens of millions of Hispanics and Latinos have flooded across the border, some of whom included very violent gang members who have been so bathed in violence and death that they are said to perpetrate it not only for the sake of crime, but for the sake of the violence itself.  Some strategists see the capability to conduct criminal operations and perpetrate violence to be far greater among the cartels than any Middle Eastern or Asian Islamic group.

As if the potential need for self defense isn’t enough, America now has two hundred trillion dollars of unfunded liability, now has full orbed socialized medicine, and has aborted more babies than Hitler killed Jews.  The time would have come and already left that the founders of this great nation would have put their foot down and drawn a line in the sand.

But as a community we still seem to be asleep, or at least comfortably deluded.  The most instructive and educational of all of the links I have provided above comes not from the authors, although some are very good, but from the comments.  Consider this one.

As an advocate of freedom, I’m dismayed at the flawed thinking of so many not so responsible gun owners disregarding the efforts of so many responsible citizens that are trying to preserve and restore our 2nd Amendment rights. Many gun rights advocates are working hard to encourage responsible and knowledgeable leadership out of our legislature. The few that want to use a firearm as a tool of intimidation or civil disobedience will make it even more challenging for the rest of us to convince our representatives that an armed society is indeed a polite society.

Next, consider this.

While open carry may not be ‘illegal’ in a particular case, doing so is not often the right thing to do.  There was a time that, even here in California, we could sling a rifle across our shoulders and ride a motorcycle out to the range and no one freaked out. Then, we had the ‘open carry’ crowd start trying to attract attention, gathering in large groups and parading around, getting loud and vocal and,in general, acting like prissy little drama queens. As expected, people reacted.

The first commenter also slammed the open carriers for horrible muzzle control.  I am not defending poor muzzle control, and if they were brandishing or threatening in any way, they need to learn the rules of gun safety and mature a bit before doing this again.  That is both illegal and unsafe.  But that’s a side show compared to the real issue.  To the first commenter convincing his representative is what it’s all about, even though that hasn’t worked to stop socialized medicine, abortion and oppressive taxation.  From the land of make believe we come to the second commenter, for whom the problem started not with collectivists pressing down with statist gun control laws and regulations, but with open carriers who exercised their rights to carry (and what would have been the catalyst for just such a “display” as suggested, he doesn’t say – it just started happening one day I suppose).  Then there is the hand-wringer, what I consider to be the capstone of the anti-open carry argument.

While I support the concept of unfettered right to bear arms, the reality in most of these “United States” is that one’s appearance on the street with a handgun openly strapped to one’s belt is unsettling to the hordes of liberals out there, and their reaction is definitely averse to our rights, and a threat that they perceive, to them.

Whenever CCW is an available alternative, we should prefer it, and avoid any display of firearms to those idiots who oppose our rights. The objective is not to prove some point, it is to be safer and to be better able to defend ourselves and our families, and CCW serves both objectives well.

Someday perhaps, most Americans will recognize that carrying a gun is not a bizarre fetish, but is a commitment that Americans make, in order to be free, and to incidentally guarantee the freedom of those who do not understand. That day has not yet come, and will come more quickly if we avoid unnecessary confrontation.

I yearn for the day when every housewife can choose to openly strap on a handgun when she goes grocery shopping, or to the mall. Until then, CCW is a better pathway to our freedom.

That day will “come more quickly if we avoid unnecessary confrontation.”  Finally, from the delusional to the defeatist.  Consider Sebastian.

I have no problem with the “I Will Not Comply Crowd.” I live in a state with a similar regime to Washington for handguns, and it’s probably one of the most ignored laws in the commonwealth. I have no problem with civil disobedience.  I don’t disapprove of what the sticks have been doing in Connecticut, because I don’t think there’s anything we carrots can do to help the Nutmeg State, for the time being. We’re challenging the law in federal court, and maybe, maybe down the road we could federally preempt it using Section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment. That’s thin gruel, and I recognize that. But we are trying, and I think over the long run we have a good chance of being successful.

The big strategic question of gun rights in the last two years of the Obama Administration is how we defang Bloomberg, because he, without a doubt, is the single biggest threat our gun rights have faced since the 1990s. He’s not going to be intimidated by sticks; he has enough money to hire his own private army to protect him if he wishes. He’s not going to be concerned with carrots either, because most of us aren’t billionaires, and don’t have the money to throw around the political process that he does. So what do we do?

And this brings me to my main points.  Background checks are not a problem because they currently constitute a national gun registry.  If you recall my previous discussion on the subject, I played “devil’s advocate” to see just how close the ATF could come to such a monster.  I am still skeptical that the schema is in place (or could be put in place without a lot of additional pain and work).  But the danger in universal background checks is twofold.  First, it would indeed put the procedures and protocol in place for a national gun registry.  Second, it makes the government the ultimate arbiter of God-given rights.

There is an intensely moral element to control of this sort.  Gun control is evil, a sign and symptom of wicked rulersSebastian doesn’t think so.

I really don’t like it when churches insert themselves into political matters under the guise that these are really spiritual matters. Murder, rage, and vengeance — these are all matters of the spirit. Gun control is a matter of politics.

But to the educated man or woman, politics is ethics, which is a category of philosophy, or a description of a comprehensive world view, including metaphysics and epistemology.  It’s all related, and has to do with how you know what you know, how you assign truth value, and what lies beyond the physical.  That which is so intensely moral is not ripe terrain for compromise.  And a proper anthropology – a right view of mankind – knows that “the heart [of man] is deceitful above all things, and is desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9).  Only God understands it, and all attempts by men to divine the intentions and correct the maladies of the heart end in despair and failure.

Lastly, there is an element of eschatology in these demurrals from the pragmatists.  They see failure where many see potential success.  But fear not, God has always had His remnant, and He will not allow liberty to perish from the earth.  The chains always fall off, sometimes by His mighty hand, other times by using us as secondary causes and only by the utmost of peril to our lives, health and wealth – but always by His kind providence.

As much as I detest the propensity to compromise, especially out of fear of defeat, and as much as I loath Gates, Bloomberg and their minions, I don’t think what they do is all that significant.  Nor do I think that Gottlieb is all that significant.  He will be irrelevant in future circles of lovers of liberty, and I don’t think he will sway many minds.  Rather, with one commenter to this piece by Clair Wolfe I think that “the seed of the larger problem lies in the troubling correlation between politically and socially conservative people and their acquiescence to, even active subservience to, authority” (see here also my Foundation of Liberty).

And as much as I am accused at times of “preaching to the choir,” I think that the choir is a rather small ensemble of singers.  The problem is one of heart, or moral fiber, and of faith.  The collectivists turn to the state as their god, and the rulers mutually enjoin the people into the herds who need the state to determine the difference between right and wrong for the great unwashed masses.

Thus, most people would have no basis on which to demur if the state decided to kill every third man named Jerry before NFL games as a sacrifice to the football gods.  Utilitarianism has a very dark side.  For those who would oppose it with force but with no foundation, they are no different than Machiavelli.  The salient and important question is whether the people will wake from their slumber in enough time to prevent the degree of pain that can come from this conflict.  There is a massive cultural and religious war going on in America, and gun control is one front in that war.  People will gird their loins and engage now, or suffer the consequences later.

Rand Paul’s Important Concession On Guns

BY Herschel Smith
2 years, 6 months ago

I wouldn’t otherwise link claptrap like this, but since it’s with the Washington Post it gets a nontrivial amount of traffic.  It’s important to deal with it.

Senators Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and Mike Lee all appear set to mount a filibuster to prevent any Obama gun control proposal of any kind from being debated on the Senate floor — on Second Amendment grounds. Senator Paul went on Fox News last night to explain his thinking.

In the process, however, Paul inadvertently made an important concession. Here’s what he said:

“I haven’t heard one proposal from him or Harry Reid that would have saved one life. And I’m all for saving lives….We plan on making them have at least 60 votes to pass any legislation that may abridge the Second Amendment. So we will fight tooth and nail, and use every parliamentary procedure to stop that from happening. We have a lot of things on the books that the president says he wants to enhance, many of these could be enhanced without any legislation. Background checks already do work. We already have rules that say mental health statistics need to come from the states to the data bank.”

I’d advise Senator Paul against claiming improving background checks would not save lives or prevent mass shootings. A better background check system very well may have prevented the Virginia Tech massacre. Data collected by the pro-gun-control Mayors Against Illegal Guns suggests that states with better background check laws show a lower murder rate of women, fewer suicides, and less gun trafficking. Now, maybe you don’t trust MAIG’s data. Shouldn’t the possibility that expanding gun background checks could save lives — which Paul himself says he wants — be enough for him to actually give the idea serious thought?

It’s also important that Paul claimed that current background checks “already do work.” Here’s why: He’s effectively allowing that the current background check law is not a threat to people’s Second Amendment rights. The current compromise on expanded background checks being negotiated would simply expand the current system to cover most private sales. It would maintain the prohibition against any national gun registry. It would maintain the current system of record keeping — in which dealers keep records of sales, and the feds destroy any record of a valid gun transfer within 24 hours. By Paul’s own lights those things, in the context of the current law, are not a threat to Americans’ constitutional rights. There is no logical way, then, that the new proposal threatens them, either. This is an important concession.

Keep that in mind as you read Senator Lee’s deeply strange and hallucinatory argument against the proposal. Lee claims it would require a national registry to work (it wouldn’t) …

Let’s deal with this is four categories.  First, Senator Lee’s argument is only deeply strange to the author because he hasn’t taken the time to study people who are smarter than he is if he lives a thousand lifetimes.  Dave Hardy has an article Mr. Sargent needs to read.

Second, Mr. Sargent does in fact point to a larger problem with the opposition that Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Mike Lee are mounting to gun legislation.  It troubles me that they are discussing “improved” background checks as a cure for anything, much less crime.  We have made it clear from the outset.  No new gun laws.  Not a single one, and it’s high time for the Senators to hear the message.

Third, I agree with Mr. Sargent in his demurral over “improved background checks.”  He doesn’t believe it will save lives or prevent shootings for the same reason that I don’t believe it.  It won’t, and the mental health professionals have told us so in the clearest possible terms.

But fourth and most important, while planning his logical coup against Rand Paul, Mr. Sargent has opened a logical hole in his own arguments and divulged the secrets of the gun control lobby.

While pointing out that “improved background checks” won’t have the desired effect on crime, he has informed you of his presuppositions.  Criminals don’t uniquely and solely suffer from mental health problems.

Crime is a moral choice, and there is no justified reason to claim that while “improved background checks” won’t help the situation, universal background checks will.  To assert that would require Sargent to believe the following: (a) no crimes are committed by people who suffer from mental maladies (since mental health checks won’t accomplish their desired end), or otherwise (a1) those who suffer from mental maladies obtained their firearms illegally, and (b) all criminals obtain their firearms legally.

Proposition (a) is demonstrably false, and acquiescing to (a1) would undermine his acceptance of proposition (b).  Proposition (b) also entails the acceptance of the notion that only previously convicted felons will commit felonies in the future, also a demonstrably false proposition.

Mr. Sargent has a world of logical problems, but it’s because he knows that this isn’t about crime.  Other statists have told us what a national gun registry is all about and how important it is for their world view.

The only way we can truly be safe and prevent further gun violence is to ban civilian ownership of all guns. That means everything. No pistols, no revolvers, no semiautomatic or automatic rifles. No bolt action. No breaking actions or falling blocks. Nothing. This is the only thing that we can possibly do to keep our children safe from both mass murder and common street violence.

Unfortunately, right now we can’t. The political will is there, but the institutions are not. Honestly, this is a good thing. If we passed a law tomorrow banning all firearms, we would have massive noncompliance. What we need to do is establish the regulatory and informational institutions first. This is how we do it.  The very first thing we need is national registry. We need to know where the guns are, and who has them.

I have told you not to trust the Leviathan, and I have explained why.  Fortunately, while Mr. Sargent finds the weakness in Rand Paul’s argument, he divulges the secret weaknesses of his own.  Again, this isn’t about crime – it’s about a national gun registry.  There are only two reasons for a national gun registry: taxation and confiscation.  Both would be unconstitutional and immoral.

Against Universal Background Checks

BY Herschel Smith
2 years, 8 months ago

It might have been part of his overall plan.  Mr. Obama has succeeded in spinning things up to the point that if he trots out anything less that full blown gun confiscation, people will say, “Oh thank God.  We can live with what he’s proposing.”

But be careful what you wish for.  The proposal that stands the best chance of passing happens to be the most insidious.

Hours before President Barack Obama’s official swearing-in to a second term, top Democrats predicted a victory for the broadest component of the White House’s push to change the nation’s gun laws.

During an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Sen. Chuck Schumer, N.Y., called legislation to institute universal background checks for gun buyers “the sweet spot.”

“In terms of actually making us safer and having a good chance of passing, this is it,” Schumer said on Sunday.

“I think you’re going to see [the very likelihood] in the next week or two a proposal that has broad support for universal background checks,” he added.

We’ve dealt with this issue before, how the phrase “gun show loophole” is a disingenuous invention of the gun control lobby, and how it would turn grandpa into a felon if he gifts his grandson with a .22 rifle under the Christmas tree.

Take careful note that there will be no more sales of firearms between hunting buddies, and no more exchange of guns between friends in church or at work, without paying a transfer fee to a federal firearms license.

It has been observed that a universal background check may be unenforceable.

There are 300 million guns currently in circulation and the federal government doesn’t have any data on who owns what. There’s no national registry for guns. All the federal trace data shows is who originally bought the gun from a licensed dealer.

“So let’s say a universal background check law passes and a gun I bought back in 2008 shows up on a Chicago crime scene a month from now,” says Ludwig. “The police show up at my door and ask who I sold it to. I say I sold it before the [universal background check] passed and at that time I wasn’t required to ask any questions.” There would be no way for police to know if he had complied with the law or not.

Relying on the notion that the federal government cannot ascertain whether you’re a felon because they lack the data is a horrible way to proceed.  Besides, as gun serial numbers are tracked by manufacturers, time goes by, and guns gradually go out of circulation, all it takes is a few executive orders to nationalize an electronic database of information from form 4473’s, and presto, there you have a national gun registry.

I firmly and unapologetically believe that all federal laws and regulations concerning firearms are unconstitutional.  But even if you don’t, and if you don’t fight the universal background check, remember the times.

Mr. Obama may very well get his desire for anti-gun legacy, and it may come as a Trojan horse, promising safety and security, but bringing onerous federal control that affects generations to come.

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