The Totalitarians Among Us

Herschel Smith · 03 Mar 2014 · 15 Comments

Victor Davis Hanson observes: In short, Obama will always poll around 45 percent. That core support is his lasting legacy. In a mere five years, by the vast expansion of federal spending, by the demonizing rhetoric of his partisan bully pulpit, and by executive orders and bizarre appointments, Obama has so divided the nation that he has created a permanent constituency that will never care as much about what he does as it cares about what he says and represents. For elite rich liberals…… [read more]

The Stark Divide Over Gun Laws

BY Herschel Smith
5 months, 3 weeks ago

As readers know I’m usually bored with polls.  But The Washington Post had an interesting piece entitled The Start Divide Over Gun Laws – In Two Charts.

The best way to describe Americans’ overall attitude to current gun laws? One word — split.

A new Gallup poll shows that nearly half of adults say laws concerning guns sales should be tightened, while 50 percent say they should be unaltered or loosened.

Wait.  You mean all that stuff about 90%+ of all people wanting universal background checks was all just horse shit?  You mean they were just making that up because they know the GOP just sticks its fingers into the air to see which way the wind is blowing rather than make laws based on principle?  You mean the collectivists can’t be trusted?

Gosh.  It seems that someone should have said something about that before now.

Is The NRA Really Alone In Their Opposition To Universal Background Checks?

BY Herschel Smith
6 months, 2 weeks ago

The issue of universal background checks never goes away, and the collectivists never give up.

AS I WRITE this, there hasn’t been a mass shooting in weeks.

I’ll use the lull to shoot off my mouth about guns, divorced from the debate that usually follows a massacre in which both sides dance on victims’ graves for PR gain.

When President Obama tried early this year to get gun restrictions passed – including background checks identical to Pennsylvania’s current system – the vast majority of Americans wanted what he wanted. His most important goal was broadened criminal-background checks at the point of sale for guns. Despite overwhelming public approval, Congress chickened out, mainly because of opposition from the National Rifle Association that purports to represent gun owners (like me), gun sellers and gun manufacturers.

I am not a member – the NRA doesn’t represent me or most of my pistol-packing pals. Some of my NRA friends say it doesn’t represent them, either, on background checks.

A poll by Frank Luntz, who usually works for Republicans, reported that a majority of current and former NRA members favor background checks. “Majority” understates the case – it was 74 percent.

That’s an amazing statistic, but I have one (allow me to invent a word) that’s amazinger.

The Violence Prevention Research Program at the University of California, Davis, polled licensed dealers who sell more than 50 guns annually. It reported that 55.4 percent of the surveyed gun dealers support background checks.

I never believed those polls that say Americans want to go down to their local FFL and have to go through a background check to gift a 10/22 to their grandson under the Christmas tree.  And I don’t believe them now.  And of course FFLs favor more control – it increases their revenue by another transfer fee every time somebody comes in to transfer a weapon.  What’s hard to understand about that?

Let me turn my attention to the issue of debates and disagreements over the interwebz among gun bloggers that occur from time to time.  I don’t do that scene.  To me it comes off like church members who agree that they must all agree on paragraph 5.3.6(c), subpart 3.1.6.9 of Section 86 of the book of church order blah blah blah, or else they must separate and cause schism.  Again, I don’t do that scene.  I don’t have to agree with everyone all of the time.

But on this issue I’ve made up my mind.  Universal background checks would do nothing for crime fighting, but everything for the totalitarians.  Universal background checks aren’t about crime.  They’re about state control, and the state does indeed want to control you – every aspect of your life.

So let’s put this in context.  Let’s say that gun rights writer, advocate and reliable journalist and friend David Codrea wrote me and said, “I’ve decided that I am going to support universal background checks, and I think I can talk everyone else of our ilk into the same idea.”

Well, David would still be my buddy, but I would speed up my loosely planned meetup at his place for liquor and cigars over a fire pit, where I would get him loosened up and then say, “So brother David, what gives, and can I persuade you to see it otherwise?  Let’s talk.”

My belief system is what the philosophers call “incorrigible.”  I cannot be changed.  That means that I won’t ever change my mind.  And that, dear reader, means that the NRA will never, never be alone in advocating for freedom and against tyranny, even if I’m the last one on earth who opposes universal background checks.

The commentator is wrong, and one of their favorite tactics is to make you think that, “Hey, everyone else thinks I’m an unsophisticated redneck, so maybe I am.  Maybe I should reevaluate my positions.”  They think that will suffice to persuade you to change your mind.  Everyone else is doing it, so it must be okay.

I repeat.  If I am the last person on earth to oppose universal background checks, I will never, ever, ever change my mind.  To my liberty loving readers: you are not alone.

UPDATE: It looks like Kurt and I were thinking along the same lines last night (Although sometimes I have to wonder about Kurt and if he’s just doing all of this for the largesse - David has written before about the huge money and free beer that Kurt gets for writing for Examiner.  Must have been a note, since I cannot find it in David’s posts).

Is Universal Background Check Really Dead?

BY Herschel Smith
10 months, 3 weeks ago

NYT:

A strange thing happened after 45 senators killed a bill to expand background checks for gun buyers five weeks ago: many of those same senators suddenly discovered a profound affection for background checks. They had been for them all along, it turns out, and wanted nothing more than to keep guns out of the hands of felons.

“Knowing your interest in gun control, I wanted to give you an update on legislation I have co-sponsored and supported recently,” Senator Dean Heller, Republican of Nevada, wrote to his constituents earlier this month. “I have been adamant from the beginning of the gun control debate that our current background check system needs strengthening and improving.”

[ ... ]

This kind of dissembling by gun control opponents has been rampant for years, but rarely have the National Rifle Association’s most captive lawmakers been so nakedly deceptive as in the weeks since public rage grew over the gun vote. Senator Kelly Ayotte, Republican of New Hampshire, also voted against the Manchin-Toomey measure, and she immediately suffered the backlash of angry voters in her state. So she issued a statement saying “I support effective background checks” and reminding voters that she had backed the misleadingly named Protecting Communities and Preserving the Second Amendment Act — a measure that does nothing to close the loopholes for Internet or gun-show sales and that was, in fact, supported by the N.R.A. because it actually makes it easier to transport guns across state lines.

But triangulating and equivocating is what politicians do these days.  It doesn’t mean that the universal background check will end up law.  However, let’s suppose that the NYT editorial board is right (later on in the editorial), and this issue isn’t going away.

Very well.  Bring it.  We defeated you once, and we’ll do it again.  Word to everyone who has been entrusted with a stewardship of a vote in the House or Senate.  This won’t make it past the Senate, but even if it does, it will go down in remarkable and inglorious flames in the House.

When it does, support for this bastard proposal will haunt you for the rest of your lives.  Gun owners never forgive, and never forget.  Don’t believe the hype about public support for universal background checks.  It’s all a lie.

Tread carefully.

The Slippery Slope Argument On Guns

BY Herschel Smith
11 months, 2 weeks ago

There is an increasing number of charges that the recent gun control legislation was rejected because of slippery slope arguments.  One such charge was leveled by the loser himself, Joe Manchin.

Think gun control failed in the Senate because of gun-clutching extremists? Or because of fanatical radicals who want to abolish the Second Amendment? Senator Joe Manchin, who’s been at the heart of the effort, says it’s nothing of the sort. In fact, the central problem really has nothing to do with firearms at all — it’s about trust.

When he speaks to gun owners, “they’re scared this is the first step” in a massive government overreach, said Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat. He made the remarks during an interview with Margaret Carlson at the New York Ideas Festival, a daylong conference sponsored by The Atlantic and the Aspen Institute.

“When you say universal background check, the first thing that comes in the mind of a gun owner is that means registration, and registration means confiscation. ‘I haven’t broken the laws, why do you want to know everything?’” he said. According to Manchin, even in gun-loving West Virginia, constituents he spoke with repeatedly told him that if the bill did only what it said it does, they would wholeheartedly support it. (“There’s a lot the NRA likes in this bill,” he added.) The problem is, they’re skeptical that the bill will in fact go farther than it claims. That means the effort to pass it on a second try will require emphasizing, for example, the harsh penalties associated with keeping records past a certain period.

He portrays gun owners as pitiful sheep, “scared” of anything and everything.  The reality is much different.  But then there is Cass Sunstein, who thinks he is much smarter than we are.  You can read his entire piece, but this is the money quote.

Illuminating though it is, Hirschman’s account misses an especially pernicious example of the rhetoric of reaction: the slippery-slope argument. According to that argument, we should reject Reform A, which is admittedly not so terrible, because it would inevitably put us on a slippery slope to Reform B, which is really bad.

But the problem is that this criticism neglects to consider – or maybe intentionally ignores – the real presence of intentionality.  I have never made the case that the proposed gun control law should have been rejected because it is a slippery slope and could lead to more pernicious or onerous things.  I don’t know another gun rights blogger who has made that case.

The case that I have made, and repeatedly so, is that a system of universal background checks is a precursor and necessary prerequisite to a national gun registry.  I have never charged that it would be some accidental feature of overbearing governance.  I have charged that it would be intentional, and that universal background checks would have no effect on gun crime.

Furthermore, I have pointed to progressive arguments for that very system, showing that this is the real goal of every progressive.

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.

In the end, Manchin’s proposals were rejected because the people didn’t like his ideas, and Cass Sunstein isn’t as smart as he thinks he is.  Gun control laws such as universal background checks may in fact end up a slippery slope because the federal government is a micromanager and even if there is opposition to a national gun registry one may develop anyway.  But the reason to oppose them has more to do with intentionality, not accident.

Finally, there is another reason to have opposed Manchin’s proposals.  We simply didn’t like what he proposed.  Or in other words, we like the idea that we can buy and sell guns to each other without having to go through a federal firearms license and pay a transfer fee, and we like the idea of gifting guns to each other without telling the federal government about it.

The Coming Federal Gun Registry

BY Herschel Smith
1 year ago

The Toomey (R) – Manchin (D) deal is said to involve gives and takeaways to gun owner rights.  But David Addington at Heritage has written a smart analysis of at least one peril that America faces with the plan.

The STM bill fuzzes up the law prohibiting a federal gun registry. First, the legislation says that nothing in the legislation shall be construed to allow establishment of a federal firearms registry. In addition, it says that the Attorney General may not consolidate or centralize records of firearms acquisition and disposition maintained by licensed importers, manufacturers, and dealers, and by buyers and sellers at gun shows (and makes it a crime for him to do so).

But then, the STM bill takes those protections away by using the all-powerful word “notwithstanding”—”notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, the Attorney General may implement this subsection with regulations.” The courts may construe the “notwithstanding” to allow Attorney General Eric Holder to issue regulations that could begin to create a federal registry of firearms, because the law says he can implement the subsection without regard to the protections against a registry elsewhere in the legislation.

The courts view the word “notwithstanding” as very powerful. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit said in 1989 in Crowley Caribbean Transport v. U.S. in reference to the phrase “notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter” that “a clearer statement of intent is difficult to imagine” to push aside other laws. The same court indicated in 1991 in Liberty Maritime Corporation v. U.S. that a grant of authority to a department head to be exercised “notwithstanding” any other law generally grants the broadest possible discretion to the department head. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in 1992 in Conoco, Inc. v. Skinner took a somewhat different approach, in which the judges themselves divine the congressional intent whether to let the word “notwithstanding” in a law override other conflicting provisions of the same law.

It has been postulated that the Republicans have outsmarted the Democrats by forcing a vote on any number of measures that actually make things better for our rights, while giving them only a little of their own demands – or – by forcing the Democrats to vote on an outrageous bill that will force them out of office in the next election.  I don’t subscribe to either view, for a number of reasons.

First, this is more than likely to be yet another “you have to pass the bill in order to see what’s in it” example of ruling by ignorance.  Second, the GOP is full of cave-ins and sell-outs, and has been for a very long time.  Third, the GOP just isn’t that smart.  They’re basically a very stolid, slow, confused bunch, many of whom act without any real principles.  Leave it to the GOP leadership to miscount their own votes, thinking that they can stop the legislation at the end, only to see defections and thus new gun control laws.  When this is over I expect to see GOP leadership looking stunned and shell shocked at what happened to them, just like with Obamacare.

Furthermore, I have warned against laws that can be broadly interpreted within some regulatory framework crafted by armies of lawyers sitting inside the beltway.  Nothing good will come of it, and we all know that nothing they have done really addresses the real problem of ending phony gun free zones.  And finally, we have discussed why universal background checks (and their corollary, a federal gun registry) are a bad thing, the quintessential element of any gun control program, and the goal of every progressive.

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.

Gun control is evil, at the same time both a function and a sign of wicked rulers.

The Bible does contain a few direct references to weapons control. There were many times throughout Israel’s history that it rebelled against God (in fact, it happened all the time). To mock His people back into submission to His Law, the Lord would often use wicked neighbors to punish Israel’s rebellion. Most notable were the Philistines and the Babylonians. 1 Samuel 13:19-22 relates the story: “Not a blacksmith could be found in the whole land of Israel, because the Philistines had said, “Otherwise the Hebrews will make swords or spears!” So all Israel went down to the Philistines to have their plowshares, mattocks, axes, and sickles sharpened…So on the day of battle not a soldier with Saul and Jonathan had a sword or spear in this hand; only Saul and his son Jonathan had them.” Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon also removed all of the craftsmen from Israel during the Babylonian captivity (2 Kings 24:14). Both of these administrations were considered exceedingly wicked including their acts of weapons control.

We are not willing to give a little here as long as we can take a little there.  The message has been clear from the beginning – and won’t change now.  No new laws.  Not a single one.  If we have good and laudable goals (such as the repeal of the Hughes amendment), it’s our task to work to make that happen, rather than acquiescing to the very touchstone of gun control – universal background checks.

If we cannot pull this off, then America is truly lost, and the next steps are obvious.

Prior: Toomey And Manchin Sign Suicide Pact On Guns

UPDATE: Thanks to WRSA for the attention.

UPDATE #2: Thanks to Sipsey Street Irregulars for the attention.

UPDATE #3: Thanks to War On Guns for the attention.

Senator Reid Wants To Tax Our Guns

BY Herschel Smith
1 year ago

In the spirit of my previous observations, where I commented “there are only two reasons for a national gun registry: taxation and confiscation,” Senator Reid has rammed through proposed legislation to do just that.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) wants to tax your gun rights. His new legislation charges you a fee that is in essence a federal tax on selling or giving away your firearm, and he lets Attorney General Eric Holder decide how big that tax will be.

Senate Democrats Charles Schumer of New York, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, and Barbara Boxer of California have introduced a raft of gun control legislation (S. 374, S. 54, and S. 146, respectively). Senator Leahy, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, rammed the legislation through committee in record time—not even bothering to issue the customary committee reports to explain the bills—and Reid combined the bills into a single gun control bill (S. 649). Firearms owners across the country and others who care about their right to keep and bear arms should keep a close eye on the Reid legislation. Your rights are under attack.

[ ... ]

Title I of the Reid gun control bill purports to “fix gun checks.” The proposed “fix” in section 122 of S. 649 is to take away an individual’s right to sell or give away a firearm to another individual unless, in most cases, the individual (1) uses a licensed importer, dealer, or manufacturer to make the transfer of the firearm and (2) pays a fee to that importer, dealer, or manufacturer to make the transfer. The individual transferring the firearm is not actually receiving a service; the federal government is receiving the service. The service the government gets is a background check on the intended recipient of the firearm, because the law requires the importer, dealer, or manufacturer to run the recipient through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

Forcing the individual to pay for the government-mandated service, which is in fact a service to the government, is in essence a federal tax on the individual. And the amount the individual pays as a fee is not limited by the legislation; section 122(a)(4) of the Reid bill enacts a new section 922(t)(4)(B)(i) of title 18 of the U.S. Code to grant to Attorney General Eric Holder the power to set the maximum fee by regulation.

Thus he gets it all – a national gun registry, almost omniscient state knowledge of the whereabouts of firearms for legal owners, and taxation of our property.  And on top of that, Eric Holder gets to set the fee schedule.  Again as I have observed, so-called assault weapons are irrelevant to the progressive.  A national gun registry is the touchstone of success.

What could possibly go wrong?  Their only mistake is in assuming that gun owners will willingly acquiesce to this tyranny.  On that account, this might not turn out like Reid had hoped.

Rand Paul’s Important Concession On Guns

BY Herschel Smith
1 year 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.

Most Of The Senate Will Support Universal Background Checks

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 1 month ago

Soon to the report – but first a little story.

Once upon a time some teenagers were racing hot rods down Ocean Drive in Myrtle Beach, S.C.  Tourists were hit by one of these kids, and so the townsfolk came together and decided that something must be done to make things safer.  The decided on a plan, and even had a real time, in-situ display of their new ideas for the voters before the town voted on it.

They all got together that day and after speeches about “caring for the children,” and waded into the ocean, each participant having another participant (they called him their swimming buddy) within 20 feet of him, both to the right and left.  No one, according to the new ordinance, would be allowed to swim in the ocean, night or day, without buddies within 20 feet.  It would all be monitored by cameras and enforced by newly hired police officers.

Some of the townsfolk objected that no one could ever swim again because the line of buddies would never end since a person would have to be flanked on both sides, and thus the stipulations could not be logically met, but the participants told the objectors to “shut up, just because.”  Others objected that this all had nothing whatsoever to do with High School kids racing hot rods on Ocean Drive, but the partipants and local politicians all told them to “shut up, just because.”  And besides, ”think about the children.”  And then, “shut up.”

I hope that this little parable has been a useful introduction to what seems to be coming down the road.

No surprise but newsworthy insofar as I think this is the first time a Republican as prominent as McCain has talked openly about some new form of gun control passing Congress. If you’re not sure what he means when he refers to the plan Coburn and Schumer are working on, read this. They’re going to close the “gun-show loophole” but carve out exceptions for family transfers and maybe for people who’ve already been vetted for concealed carry. How many votes will there be for that? Well, they’ll start at 58: Coburn and Mark Kirk are part of the group that’s working on a compromise bill and McCain’s already hinting that he’s a yes, so add those three to the Democrats’ 55 (no Dem would dare oppose a measure that might complicate Obama’s “Republican obstructionism” message on gun control). Collins and Murkowski are always gimmes on big bipartisan initiatives too, so there you go — 60 votes for cloture, although there’s bound to be many, many more than that. Follow the last link for your reminder that expanded background checks is the one gun-control measure that polls fantastically well across party lines. Even Lindsey Graham, who needs to protect his right flank in case of a primary challenge in South Carolina next year, is open to some form of new background checks albeit not the Democratic plan. You might see a majority of House Republicans vote no, partly as a symbolic rejection of further gun-control regulations and partly to distinguish themselves from the squishy RINOs in the Senate for the benefit of red-district voters, but it’s going to pass that chamber too with bipartisan support. When push comes to shove, I think Boehner would rather violate the “Hastert Rule” and push this thing through with mostly Democratic votes than risk handing Obama a potential weapon for 2014 by rejecting something that even many Senate Republicans support.

Regular readers know my view.  Universal background checks are a pretext for and necessary prerequisite to a national gun registry, and a national gun registry is a precondition for gun confiscations.  Furthermore, none of this has anything to do with the shootings that have been in the news lately.  And finally, we’ll see how that exception goes where they want to carve out provisions for transfer of firearms to children.  Give it some time – it will turn totalitarian because that’s the way totalitarian systems work.

But remember this fact about the entire conversation.  None of this is related to the antecedent events.  The only clear-cut and logical legislative action I support is abolishing gun-free zones.  Everything else is just a smoke screen.

Universal Background Checks: Don’t Trust The Leviathan

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 2 months ago

In response to Wayne Lapierre And The Apocalypse, Dave Hardy writes as follows:

Here are my own thoughts. A ban on private sales will be unenforceable in the near future, since guns being found will have been initially sold before its effective date, and thus a lawful private transfer before the ban went into effect cannot be ruled out.

But even after, say, ten years pass, the ban will still be unenforceable in practice unless Congress also either:

1) Enacts national firearm registration, requiting FFLs to report all sales so they can be placed in a national database, and requires such reporting backdated to the effective date of the private sales ban, or

2) Makes firearm possession illegal, period, providing for a defense if the gun owner can prove they bought the gun before before the effective date of the ban, or bought it from an FFL after the ban.

Visit Dave’s site for the rest.  He is making a legal and technical point, one that I have seen before.  Perhaps he’s right, but be warned.  First of all, I am concerned about prosecutorial overreach and discretion.  But second, holes in any universal background check law can be plugged in the future once the basic framework is constructed.

Finally, here is the most serious warning.  I work with the federal government on at least a semi-regular basis, and when not, I am doing things that follow federal regulation, even though highly technical (the specific nature of what I do is not the subject and won’t be discussed).

For most people who never work with federal agencies and departments, ignorance is bliss.  But for those who do, they know that the nasty little secret about the federal government has to do with lawmaking by regulation.

Laws are passed by the Senate and Congress.  But after laws pass, thousands of lawyers inside the beltway go to work writing regulations based on those laws, or not, using the law as a pretext for further regulation that Congress didn’t specifically intend.  At times, Congress has even had to pass laws undoing regulations because the regulations don’t meet the intent of the law, and yet the executive branch won’t stop enforcing that regulation (or class of regulations).

Regulation is passed merely by entering them into the federal register, allowing a waiting time for public comments (which are nothing but a chance afforded to the authors of the regulations to ignore them or write sarcastic rebuttals), and then after the waiting period, it takes on the force of law including prosecution, fines and imprisonment for failure to follow them.

This happens every day, all over the nation, and in the DOT, NRC, EPA, DOJ, ATF, DHS, and other departments and agencies that the reader cannot even name and didn’t know existed.  Any law giving the executive branch the authority to further regulate firearms will be an opportunity for abuse, overreach and exploitation.

Take it from someone who has seen it.  Don’t trust the Leviathan.  It is a monster and it has monstrous intentions.

Joe Manchin On Assault Weapons And Background Checks

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 2 months ago

Via Instapundit, Joe Manchin in his words:

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said Monday that he opposes an assault weapons ban.

Speaking on MSNBC, Manchin, who has an “A” rating from the National Rifle Association and in December called for federal action to reduce gun violence, said he thinks there’s a better way to reduce mass shootings without introducing new restrictions for gun owners.

“I do not support an assault weapon ban because the definition of assault weapon is still hard to come by,” Manchin said. “So I am not going to comment on people’s legislation. I do not support that approach right now.”

Manchin is part of a quartet of legislators working to tighten background checks required to purchase a gun. The other members of the group are Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.).

Of course, the fact that the definition of assault weapon is itself defined in the legislation (an example of circular reasoning) is a ridiculous reason for not supporting it.  But of course, Joe is lying.  The real reason that he isn’t supporting a new AWB is because it cannot pass.  The real reason he should oppose it is because it is unconstitutional and immoral, though Joe isn’t too worried about trivialities like that.

What Joe is doing is working with totalitarians to enact universal background checks, thus setting up a national gun registry.  I expect this out of Joe.  I am saddened to see it out of Eric and Paul.


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