Well that’s part of the problem, Mike…the definitions you are using. I often say that the devil is in the details and those particular details can get very devilish. When you couple the vague mental competence standard with the fact that (based on the number of amicus briefs in support of the petitioner in Heller v. DC) a large part of the anti community feels that a complete ban on handguns and a ban on any operable long guns is “reasonable,” you get guys like me concerned that, since I’ve taken anti-depressants, with a swipe of a pen I’ll have my rights removed . . .
“We should all want to disarm the less-than-law-abiding and the mental cases, but you guys object to that.”
A couple of reasons, one being the slippery slope I alluded to above. I freely admit that I am “less than law-abiding”. I’ve got a serious lead foot and given my druthers I’d cruise the freeways at 90 – 100. Since troopers get really cranky when you blow past them at those speeds I usually keep it to 80 – 85.
I know you’re going to say “They’d never take your guns for speeding” but the Chief of Police in Philly uses unpaid parking tickets as a “reason to believe that the character and reputation of the individual are such that they would be likely to act in a manner dangerous to public safety.”
My second reason can be summed up quite neatly by a phrase National Gun Rights Examiner David Codrea coined: If a person can’t be trusted with a firearm then they can’t be trusted without a custodian. If someone is a danger to themselves or others, why aren’t they locked up? It used to be that laws punished malum in se behaviour, acts which caused damage to others like rape, murder, robbery etc..
Now, however, we have all these mala prohibita laws which are (supposedly) designed to prevent crime. To wit: a felon with a firearm is not actually harming anyone, there is no malum in se act, but it was made illegal to try and prevent felons from committing crimes with guns.
This is what irritates me about the anti’s reply when people bring up the fact that these gun laws don’t work. The typical response is “Well should we legalize murder because those laws don’t stop all murders.” But laws against murder aren’t supposed to be primarily preventative (I said primarily I am well aware of the fact that some people are only alive because it’s illegal to kill them) whereas laws like the AWB, or ammunition bans, or felon bans are supposed to be primarily preventative. They were passed in order to prevent mala in se crimes, not punish them.
“Can you really be that self-centered?”
Absolutely I am that self-centered! I support liberty in all its aspects so that my liberties remain untouched. Thomas Paine was right on the money when he said “He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.”
“Are you that paranoid?”
Not paranoid at all. On a personal level I am well aware that the vast majority of people I’ll ever meet are good, decent individuals, but the flip side of that is that there is a very small minority who are not good and decent individuals. It is to protect myself and those I love from those people that I carry. In addition, as people living in New Orleans during and after Hurricane Katrina learned, in a disaster all bets are off.
On a broader level read my piece Just Because You’re Paranoid About Gun Control Doesn’t Mean They Aren’t Really Out to Grab ‘Em to see why many of us believe that it is simple prudence and not paranoia to be concerned about legal attacks on our civil rights.
“Is it immaturity in refusing to be told what to do?”
Okay now you’ve just confused me: what does maturity or lack thereof have to do with being a staunch believer in civil rights for all?
“Honest to god, I don’t understand you guys. You should be the loudest supporters of better gun laws like no private sales without a background check and such.”
Interesting; most people capitalize the deity’s name but I suppose that really isn’t relevant here. What is relevant is that “us guys” pay attention and are aware of the continued pressure for incremental increases in anti-gun laws: Look at New York State and the gun show sting they just ran. New York has already closed the “gun show loophole”, every sale at a show is required to go through NICS, but the AG is trying to use the fact that some private sellers broke this law to tighten it.
As for the national “close the loophole law” you should read it sometime (it’s available here), paying special attention to the definitions. The way the law is written, gun show operators have to get a permit from the U.S. Attorney General for which they must pay “a fee for the registration, in an amount determined by the Attorney General“. Yeah, I’m sure that Eric “Gunwalker” Holder would set a nice low fee. /sarcasm
Once you’ve got your permit, you have to “not later than 30 days before the commencement of the gun show, notifies the Attorney General, in writing, of the date, time, duration, and location of the gun show, and the identity of each person who will be a gun show vendor at the gun show.”
Well that sounds pretty innocuous, right? You’ve got the list of people who’re getting tables, just send the AG the list, right? Except that in the definitions a “gun show vendor” is explicitly not limited to people with tables. A vendor is anyone, ANYONE “who exhibits, sells, offers for sale, transfers, or exchanges a firearm at a gun show.”
So I go to a show, get my (visible) carry gun peace-bonded and start wandering around. Joe Schmuckatelli comes up to me and says “Cool gun! What is it? Can I see it?” I’m a friendly guy, I like talking guns with folks, so I pull my weapon from its holster to show it to him. The moment he takes it I am gang tackled by 5 cops who inform me that I have just “transferred possession of” a firearm without the required background check. I am now subject to 2 years in prison and a fine (not limited by the statute). -poof- there go my civil rights.
Oh, yeah, and because of my actions, the gun show operator is now subject to the same penalties: two years in prison and a fine. Naturally s/he will be barred from ever operating a gun show again.
So yeah, not a real big fan of these “close the loophole” laws.