The Perfect Rifle

Herschel Smith · 06 Nov 2014 · 8 Comments

Rifles and their advocates are in the news and blogs these days.  It doesn't take a handgun to perform home defense.  A man using a rifle recently detained three burglars until police arrived.  It could have been any type of rifle. Rifle Shooter Magazine recently did a piece on the best bolt action rifles of all time.  Brad Fitzpatrick covers a number of the ones you would expect to see, including the Remington 700, Winchester model 70, Weatherby and so on.  But he includes one…… [read more]

Support For Gun Control Drops

BY Herschel Smith
3 weeks, 5 days ago

As I’ve discussed before, I have never believed in holding rights hostage to favorable statistics outcomes.  See also Kurt Hofmann on this issue.  However, for the weaker among us who don’t believe in much (i.e., politicians), and for those who reflexively stick their finger in the wind to see which way it’s blowing, public opinion seems to matter.  And thus there is utility in information like this.

Less than half of Americans, 47%, say they favor stricter laws covering the sale of firearms, similar to views found last year. But this percentage is significantly below the 58% recorded in 2012 after the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, spurred a nationwide debate about the possibility of more stringent gun control laws. Thirty-eight percent of Americans say these laws should be kept as they are now, and 14% say they should be made less strict.

The percentage favoring stricter gun sale laws in the two years since Newtown occurred has declined despite steady and tragic high-profile shootings in the U.S at schools, malls and businesses. This past week, shootings occurred at a Seattle-area school and of police officers in Sacramento and Placer County, California. Amidst events like these in 2014, and the resulting calls for stricter gun sale laws, the 47% who favor stricter laws is just above the historical low of 43% measured in 2011.

Ten years ago, three in five Americans (60%) said they favored stricter laws regulating the sale of firearms, but support fell to 44% in 2009 and remained at that level in polls conducted in the next two years. Days after the Newtown shooting, support for stricter gun sale laws swelled. Since 2012, however, Americans have retreated from those stronger attitudes about the need for more gun control, and the percentage of Americans who say the laws should be less strict — although still low — has edged up.

These findings come from a new Gallup Poll Social Series survey, conducted Oct. 12-15.

Universal background checks and waiting periods have never been associated with “reductions in homicide rates or overall suicide rates,” and readers know that I’ve never bought the idea that 90+ percent of the American public wants universal background checks.  It’s was a myth before and it’s a myth now.

So I don’t want to hear another damn word about how 90% of the public wants increased gun control at the point of sale, or trying to plug the mythical “gun show loophole” or “internet loophole” which are fabricated phrases for person-to-person sales.  Not another … damn … word.

Collectivist Inadvertently Admits No Trust In Background Checks

BY Herschel Smith
1 month, 1 week ago

Salon:

It’s one thing to accept and understand that plenty of reasonable and responsible people own guns and that is their constitutional right. It is another to be so outrageously afraid of legitimate and sane restrictions that you have a situation in which it is entirely permissible to carry a loaded weapon into an event that carries a threat that the people attending it will “die screaming.”

It is terrifying enough to face a barrage of harassment and threats and continue to work and speak out. It’s harder when what ought to be fairly straightforward safety precautions cannot be taken because of permissive gun laws. This isn’t what freedom looks like. This is what the Second Amendment trouncing the First does. And as Sarkeesian explains it, “To be clear: I didn’t cancel my USU talk because of terrorist threats, I canceled because I didn’t feel the security measures were adequate.” 

The writer is of course talking about the cancellation of the feminist speech at the Utah State University due to a threat, or for reasons as explained above (in protest of “permissive gun laws”).  Ignoring the fact that the two paragraphs cited directly contradict each other and offer differing accounts of the concern, occasionally collectivists open up their true thinking to the world.  We all know what they really believe, but it’s nice to be able to point it out to those who don’t follow these issues.

On the one hand, collectivists like this want universal background checks and talk about things like “plenty of reasonable and responsible people own guns and that is their constitutional right.”  But she didn’t request or advocate that only those who had been issued concealed handgun permits be allowed to carry (trusting in not only the background check, but approval by their CLEO).  She wants no guns at all to be allowed, meaning that she doesn’t really trust approval granted through the background checks or concealed handgun permit.

Collectivists can’t have it both ways.  Either the background check is trustworthy or all guns are a menace, meaning that not even LEOs should be carrying.  On the other hand, perhaps she has inadvertently admitted what we all know.  She doesn’t really care about universal background checks.  That is only a vehicle to a national registry, the next step forward to national control.

Background Check First Step To Registration And Confiscation

BY Herschel Smith
1 month, 2 weeks ago

David Codrea:

Understanding that much of the electorate reacts based on impressions gleaned from the media, a detailed fisking of the dry proposal seems unlikely to change many minds. That said, there are some “bullet points” that have the benefit of being true which could be persuasive, providing gun owners take it on themselves to be force multipliers and do what they can to pass them along to everyone within their spheres of influence.

The first point is, a background check bill is impossible without creating registration data. That was admitted by no less an authority than Greg Ridgeway, Deputy Director of the National Institute of Justice, who wrote a summary report on gun violence prevention strategies in which he concluded “Effectiveness depends on the ability to reduce straw purchasing, requiring gun registration…”

[ ... ]

You can further move open-minded people with another documented reality: Gun registration only applies to the law-abiding. Many people don’t realize that criminals don’t have to register their guns …

You can also tell them a way exists to ensure prohibited persons are excluded from lawful gun sales, and no information identifying either gun buyers or what they purchased needs be collected.

This is perhaps the most important piece David has ever penned.  His insight into the issue is outstanding, and his logical connections from one point to the next impeccable.  If you have ever involved yourself in political action, do it now.  This is the first step in a multi-state strategy with lots of dollars behind it.

We may not vote ourselves out of the problems that we face, as the saying goes, but it is a moral imperative that we do everything we can to avoid the violence and turmoil to surely follow if universal background checks leads to a national gun registry, like I think it will, and a national gun registry leads to confiscations, like I think it will.

Universal Background Checks: The Monster That Just Won’t Die

BY Herschel Smith
1 month, 3 weeks ago

Someone named Carla Axtman is celebrating (perhaps prematurely) the potential passage of I-594 in the state of Washington.  With the gun control money pouring into the fight, this piece of legislation poses a real danger.

And the commentaries by the leftists are virtually breathless.  Consider what Alexander Zaitchik says at Salon.

Gottlieb’s controversial bill is a direct response to another initiative on the ballot, 594, which expands background checks to include sales at gun shows and over the Internet. It is polling high and expected to pass. If Washington votes “yes,” it will join the growing list of states that have taken gun policy into their own hands in the wake of Newtown. Both the NRA and Gottlieb’s organization oppose 594. But Gottlieb has done more than just denounce it. He has raised more than a million dollars to promote an alternative bill, 591, which would prohibit the state from ever ”requir[ing] background checks on the receipt of a firearm unless a uniform national standard is required.”

Can you spot the offending language? It’s this: “unless a uniform national standard is required.”

For Jeff Knox and much of the gun-rights movement, to even accept the future possibility of federal background check legislation constitutes apostasy. Some of the groups represented at the GRPC are the ones that, along with stalwarts like the NRA and Larry Pratt’s Gun Owners of America, mobilized in April 2013 to torpedo the Manchin-Toomey Senate bill, which would have closed background check loopholes across the country. After looking at the polling data, Gottlieb initially supported Manchin-Toomey as a way for the movement to get some “goodies” (such as relaxing laws on interstate gun sales) while supporting something that he thought was going to pass anyway. (Gottlieb later dropped his support when Chuck Schumer stripped the bill of Gottlieb’s prized “goodie.”)

Gottlieb’s early support for the Senate bill earned him names like “sellout” and “traitor.” But it’s now looking like he understood something his critics did not. Steadfast opposition to a federal background-check bill would give rise to a growing and well-funded movement for background-check referenda in the states. In Washington, the coalition behind 594 is supported by a group of wealthy donors, including Bill Gates and Michael Bloomberg, the head of the gun violence prevention group Everytown for Gun Safety. In his newsletter, Gottlieb describes their efforts as the “Billionaire’s Club war against freedom.”

So when Knox asked Gottlieb to defend the language of 591 at this year’s GRPC, attendees sat up in their seats. After a weekend filled with enough policy weeds to replant the Everglades, the confrontation amounted to high drama.

With his comb-over, pencil mustache, and brightly colored bowties, Alan Gottlieb has the presence of a harried, slightly eccentric accountant. But the Queens native is no dutiful CPA; he’s a convicted tax felon who does not flinch easily on questions of strategy, let alone challenges to his commitment to the Second Amendment. In the 1970s, while still in his twenties, Gottlieb began organizing the legal workshops that grew into the brain trust that won the landmark Supreme Court rulings of Heller and McDonald, which enshrined gun ownership in the home as an individual right guaranteed by the Second Amendment. At the podium in Chicago, Gottlieb welcomed the chance to deliver a blunt message to the background-check dead-enders who had been calling him a traitor since Manchin-Toomey.

“The bottom line is that” the background check issue “is different” from other gun gun policy debates, Gottlieb explained, pointing to public opinion. “What issues do you find that get 70 to 90 percent of the people to agree on anything?”

After Knox asserted that he doesn’t believe polls showing support for background checks, Gottlieb responded, “You may not believe the number, but I’ve seen well over 500 polls all across the country over the last six years on background checks. They all say the same damn thing. They’re not wrong, believe me.”

Knox countered with another reality: Many gun groups, especially those in the referendum states of the Southwest, are never going to sign off on background checks, ever, at any level. In Arizona, “I wouldn’t be able to get our members to proactively concede anything,” said Knox. His hardline solution is to “let them go ahead and deal with the consequences.”

By “them,” Knox means the feds. In the purist view, the best way to deal with any gun law is to dig in, take the hits, and ignore the law, forcing the government to “deal with the consequences.” Knox said he wished the NRA had taken that approach with the 1934 National Firearms Act, which regulated machine guns and banned short-barrel rifles.

To Gottlieb, that’s a doomed strategy. In any case, he stressed, “the Bloomberg people” know gun groups will never support background-check legislation, so they can “knock our teeth out and there’s nothing we can do about it.” He later added, “They’ve got us hogtied because they know we’re not going to change. I’m being honest with you. I’m not expecting you to change, but that’s why we’re going to lose.”

I’ve quoted extensively from the article (normally bad form, but it’s Salon so I don’t really care), so let’s deal with a few facts now.  First of all, good pollsters could get the vast majority of the American public to agree with the assertion that the man in the moon stayed alive by eating the green cheese the moon is made from.  Please stop citing polls to me.  Just stop.  Second, when posed this way, what percentage of the public would be in favor: “Would you favor background checks for all gun sales even if it involved bloodshed and possible civil war when warrants were served on otherwise peaceable Americans for selling guns person-to-person?”

As for Gottlieb, I always knew that the “stupid” act he played after support of Manchin-Toomey was a ruse.  He has a deep character flaw that enables him to support totalitarian measures.  We all have our flaws, but this one runs deep and dangerous.  In fact, read again his excuse for supporting universal background checks.  Basically it boils down to this: if you don’t voluntarily agree to it, they will do it anyway.  Or by way of analogy, if you don’t give a pick pocket you money, he’s just going to take it anyway.

Someone please try to convince me that isn’t what he is saying, because it looks to me like it is.  And that’s puerile and childish reasoning, and in this case I think he advances it not because he really believes that it is logically compelling, but because he is frightened, or a publicity hound, or something dark.  As I said, I don’t know exactly what, but the character flaw runs deep in Alan.

Queue it up, all of the polls, and money, and voters, and whatever else you want.  I will not submit to universal background checks and/or its corollary evil cousin a national gun registry.  We know why they want it.

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.

The writer at Salon has it all wrong, and Alan has it equally wrong.  Passing a bill is the easy part, and it isn’t the first in a string of compromises.  It will be the last straw.

The Worst Gun Bill Ever

BY Herschel Smith
2 months, 2 weeks ago

Herald Tribune:

You’re at the range.

A longtime friend comes over and asks if he could try your handgun, as he’s contemplating buying one.

Of course you agree. That’s what gun owners do.

If this scenario occurs in Washington State after the passage of Initiative 594, both of you have broken the law.

Initiative 594 would classify this as a transfer — something that would require paperwork, fees, a waiting period and if it involves a handgun, government registration.

The proposed legislation doesn’t even recognize a loan among family members.

A dad couldn’t loan a shotgun to his son on opening day without the proper paperwork.

I am not kidding.

It’s a registration scheme disguised as  “Universal background check” legislation.

I-594 is perhaps the most ill-conceived ballot initiative I’ve ever seen. Sure, there are gun laws that have been more harmful, such as those with “ban” in the title. Few, however, are so poorly thought out.

As you can imagine, there is a lot of money rolling in to support the ballot initiative. Michael Bloomberg and Bill Gates have donated millions.

NRA and other gun groups are getting involved.

Washington gun owners are pushing back hard.  They have created a must-read website, and are getting the word out via social media.

Their handy “pocket guide” explains the bill very clearly.

Well, there are many bad gun laws, and it’s hard to pick out the worst one.  But it’s seems true that the recent surrender on the assault weapons ban by the anti-gunners is a misdirect.  It isn’t what they’re really interested in.  This is what they really want.

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.

All gun control is wicked, but perhaps the most wicked is the government desire to catalog all gun owners and their weapons.  Fight it, never surrender.  Never give one inch.  Never compromise.  Never.  Don’t even consider it.  Ever.

Are Gun Background Check Claims True?

BY Herschel Smith
2 months, 2 weeks ago

Reno Gazette-Journal:

Background checks for all handgun sales make women and police safer: The group cites a different report by Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

In this one, the group uses FBI data to come up with its own conclusions. It does this by compiling data from states with mandatory handgun background checks and those without to arrive at the claim that women and police are about 40 percent less likely to be killed with a handgun in states with mandatory checks.

Fact Checker started re-creating the finding about women but soon stopped after the first four states examined. New Hampshire and Vermont, which have no background check at shows, had much lower rates of women being killed by men than New York and New Jersey, which do require background checks on handguns at gun shows.

But that wasn’t the reason Fact Checker stopped this line of inquiry. The homicide statistics come from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports — and the FBI cautions against people comparing places based on the statistics because not all law enforcement agencies submit their data and there are other factors that can also comparisons, such as more densely populated areas vs. more rural places.

Further, the Mayors Against Illegal Guns report was not peer reviewed, it doesn’t share the numbers used to reach its conclusions, and it treats correlation as causation, strongly implying that lower rates of violence against women and police was caused by handgun background checks without even attempting to deal with all of the factors that would make the statistics less valid. One could just as easily come to the opposite conclusion by pointing to the surge in gun sales with a corresponding drop in murders of women over the past 20 years nationwide.

There has been a peer-reviewed study on this topic worth noting. A 2000 study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association examined data to see if the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act made a difference. The law was implemented in 1994 and instituted background checks and waiting periods for handgun sales. The study concluded that it was not associated with “reductions in homicide rates or overall suicide rates.”

Mark Robison does a very good job with his analysis.  He begins by addressing the charge that 40% of the firearms sold in the U.S. are sold without a background check, finding it false.  Frankly, I couldn’t care less if it was 100%, since I believe that the federal laws and regulations concerning such sales are an infringement of the Second Amendment.

However, it’s good to see honesty in the media, with the result that the claims of the anti-gunners are proven to be without merit.  Furthermore, the whole issue of peer review is important to me for reasons that I have pointed out before.

Note to the collectivists.  If you want your “studies” to hold any merit at all, analyze it, get a report written and a professional engineer’s seal on it, send it to me and let me analyze it, and then we’ll talk.  Until then, you’re just a nagging old woman making stuff up.

The Stark Divide Over Gun Laws

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 1 month 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
1 year, 1 month 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
1 year, 6 months 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
1 year, 6 months 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.


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