Holy moly am I sick and tired of all this talk of “the gun lobby” (a.k.a., the NRA). Start with this: it’s a gun rights lobby. Sure, the National Rifle Association is closerthanthis to gun manufacturers. But the NRA gets its strength and the lion’s share of its operating budget from its members. Who give the NRA money because the NRA defends their gun rights . . .
Even if we cede the antis their firmly-held belief that the “gun lobby” is trying to get more people to buy guns, or more gun owners to buy more guns, what the hell’s wrong with that? OMG. What would the country be like if “the gun lobby” convinced every law-abiding American to exercise their constitutional right to keep and bear arms? Unthinkable!
Oh wait. Here’s the real problem: the NRA is subverting “common sense” (i.e. knee jerk) gun control. To wit, this from philly.com . . .
It seems there is no limit to the depths to which some Pennsylvania lawmakers will slither to appease their campaign-cash-distributing masters in the gun lobby.
Because the National Rifle Association has its minions in the legislature on speed dial, it is able to quickly direct them to act whenever there is even a hint of any change in current gun laws.
Such is the case now, with state lawmakers poised to pass a bill that would circumvent the efforts of 30 cities — including Philadelphia, York, Lancaster, Chester, Conshohocken, and Pittsburgh — that have passed ordinances requiring gun owners to notify authorities when a weapon is lost or stolen.
I’m not Bruce Krafft. I can’t marshal a phalanx of facts to disprove the assertion that a mandatory missing gun reporting law decreases the chances of a police investigation hitting a proverbial brick wall. But I can try.
Let’s focus on the sole stat offered by the Inquirer’s unsigned editorial (a journalistic tradition that irks me no end) in support of their “keep the stolen gun registry” position.
Most homicides in Philadelphia are committed with guns, many of which were purchased illegally. The city has had a lost-or-stolen gun ordinance for four years, and so far, owners have reported 350 guns missing. None of that, though, matters to legislators intent on ensuring the gun lobby can bully towns trying to better protect their citizens.
So, 350 law-abiding gun owners living in the City of Brotherly Love told the po-po their firearm went walkies. Wait. The paper said 350 guns, not gun owners. For the sake of argument, let’s assume it was 350 owners. Anyway, according to the Philadelphia police’s crime stats, there were 1,330 homicides from 2007 to 2011 (inclusive).
Are we to believe that 350 of those cases were solved thanks to the stolen gun registry? If they were, if any of them were, what’s the bet that philly.com’s editorialist would have mentioned it? What’s the bet that none of these homicides were solved by the registry?
I know: if ONE case is cleared-up it was worth it. Never mind the expense involved or the time consumed. Only that’s not true. Because the chance of breaking a case isn’t worth the potential dangers posed by the law itself. And what, pray tell, does the Inquirer say about the argument against the stolen gun registry?
The gun lobby’s lackeys say the ordinances infringe on lawful gun owners’ rights, which is untrue. The ordinances don’t restrict anyone’s ability to purchase or own a gun. But they do attempt what Harrisburg won’t — to reduce the number of stolen or lost guns used in crimes, and perhaps cut into the lucrative business of “straw” buyers selling or renting guns to criminals.
Attempt? Perhaps? Renting guns to criminals? Are you shitting me? Is that the basis for sound public policy on any issue?
And yes, the stolen gun registry does infringe on lawful gun owners’ rights. According to The Firearm Owners’ Protection Act (FOPA) of 1986 (Federal Law 18 U.S.C. 926 (2) (a))):
No such rule or regulation prescribed after the date of the enactment of the Firearms Owners Protection Act may require that records required to be maintained under this chapter or any portion of the contents of such records, be recorded at or transferred to a facility owned, managed, or controlled by the United States or any State or any political subdivision thereof, nor that any system of registration of firearms, firearms owners, or firearms transactions or disposition be established.
I realize that the ATF has pissed all over FOPA. But that doesn’t change the fact that PA’s stolen gun registry contravenes federal law. A law specifically designed to prevent gun confiscation (a la post-Katrina new Orleans) and keep local, state and federal governments OUT of gun owner’s houses (i.e. checking to see if any guns have been lost, stolen or sold).
Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi (R., Delaware), who represents the violence-torn city of Chester, can stop this sham. And he should, unless he wants to be remembered as the chump who let the NRA pull a fast one that left Chester and other Pennsylvania towns less able to protect citizens from gun violence.
How can a rational human being get such an important matter—a matter of life and death—exactly backwards? And even if they are that stupid and ignorant, perhaps [sic] willfully so, how can any self-respecting editorialist fail to include a fair depiction of the counterargument to their polemic?
The fight for gun rights is a never-ending battle. As much as I distrust and deride the NRA, they are fighting for our gun rights against those who would see them sacrificed on the altar of “father knows best” fascism. Gun lobby? Include me in.