Armand Derfner (above) has an article in South Carolina’s Post and Courier called Pay the price for the common-sense gun laws we need. Derfner calls for civil war, although he probably doesn’t even realize it. But before dealing with the blood-stained wretch aspect of his piece, let us look at all of his conventional errors . . .
Everyone knows the elements of a basic, common-sense gun law:
Of course we all know basic, common-sense gun law. Always treat your weapon as loaded, keep your weapon pointed in a safe direction, keep your booger hook off the bang-switch until you are ready to fire and be certain of your target and what is behind it! What could be simpler? Except maybe Armand and his ilk have a different idea?
First, a complete ban on possession of all high-volume guns and magazines . . .
Hmm, so it is common-sense to repeal the silencer portion of the NFA so everyone can own them, thus reducing the volume of their guns? Somehow I don’t think this is what Aahi have in mind.
Levity aside, though, whatinthehell is a “high-volume” gun? I can only assume that he means so-called assault weapons; probably semi-autos that can accept a detachable magazine. But then we run into the problem of defining what a fixed vs. detachable magazine is, and what other cosmetic features are especially scary looking dangerous and turn a mild-mannered semi-auto rifle into a ravening snarling murderous beast of an assault rifle which must be banned.
The other problem is, once they thrash all that out and get a law passed with its list of cosmetic no-nos, manufacturers will start complying with the law in order to keep selling their guns. Most people would consider this a good thing; a law passed and people are complying with it.
Based on past history, however, we know that manufacturers complying with the law will lead to Aahi screaming that manufacturers are exploiting “loopholes” in the law which must be closed, so they make up another list of no-nos, manufacturers make changes to comply, etc. ad nauseum.
But … I think I have figured out what Aahi actually consider to be an assault weapon. It was California’s brouhaha about bullet buttons that gave me the final clue. Whatever the antis may claim to the contrary, as far as they are concerned any weapon which can be reloaded in less than a geologic age is an “assault weapon”.
All the talk about barrel shrouds and bayonet lugs is just a diversion; the real problem is that these guns can be fired and reloaded relatively quickly.
Okay, now that we have thrashed out what our boy is talking about we need to look at what he wants to do about it:
. . . a complete ban on possession of all high-volume guns and magazines, with a reasonable buyback period for existing weapons after which they would be contraband and mere possession would be a crime.
The problem is that Armand and people like him have no principles and really can’t wrap their brains around the concept that some people do. I have spoken with Armand’s spiritual brethren about possession bans and I have tried, hoo-boy have I tried, to get them to explain how they are going to enforce this ban/buyback. Here’s an example of a typical exchange:
Me: So how are you going to collect the evil things?
Anti: Well we’ll set up convenient collection points so you can just go someplace and drop them off.
Me: But what if I don’t want to turn them in?
Anti: Well . . . you have to; it will be the law.
Me: Suppose I decide I’m not going to turn them in.
Anti: But it’s the law, you have to obey the law.
Me: Nope. Now what?
Anti: But that means you’ll be breaking the law.
Me: Yup, I’m going to disobey the law, we’ve got that. So, back to my original question, how are you going to collect them?
Anti: Well I guess the police will have to look at the registration lists and go door to door.
Me: No such thing as gun registration in most of the country. So, back to my original question, how are you going to collect them?
Anti: Well, police will have to go house to house looking for them and we can set up hotlines for people to call in when their neighbors have guns that they haven’t turned in.
This is the point where I bring up the other parts of the Constitution, like the 4th amendment (warrantless searches) and the 5th Amendment (self-incrimination) and then mention KGB and Stasi-style Snitch states, causing most antis to stomp off claiming that I don’t fight fair.
Then, of course you have . . .
Second, universal registration and background checks with no exceptions.
Okay, assuming that you can do the registration thing, what good does it do?!? I have seen claims that:
- Registration would make the legal owner of a gun responsible for its safe use and transfer to another owner, dramatically reducing the flow of guns from the legal to criminal market.
- Registration would also help police track weapons that are passed on to another person in a criminal or negligent way, including “straw” purchases where a legal buyer purchases guns on behalf of someone prohibited from owning them.
How could registration possibly make a legal owner “responsible for its safe use and transfer”? Lawful gun-owners, being the law-abiding citizens that they are, already exercise care in the use and transfer of their weapons.
On the other hand, illegal gun owners aren’t required to register their guns. Back in 1968 the Supreme Court ruled that requiring criminals to register their guns was a violation of the Fifth Amendment protection from self-incrimination.
Second the antis keep saying that law-abiding gun owners won’t be affected by their laws, so you can’t tax legal sales so who’s going to pay for it? According to the U.S. census, 15.8% of households move annually and there are 114,235,996 households in the U.S. That means about 18 million moves each year.
Let’s assume that gun ownership and purchasing is distributed the same across the movers as across the population as a whole. According to JustFacts.com, as of 2010 between 40% and 45% of households owned guns. A Gallup poll from 2005 puts that number at 42%, so let’s go with 42.5%.
JustFacts also states that as of 2010 there were 300 million privately owned firearms in the U.S.
That’s consistent with the 270 million guns in 2007 cited by GunPolicy.org given sales of 8-9 million guns per year from 2007 – 2010. According to numbers from the NSSF, gun sales topped 10.7 million in 2011 and 13.7 million in 2012.
So 324.4 million firearms in 114 million households is 2.85 guns per household (or GPH). This means that initially we will have to register 324.4 million firearms, and then perform 13.7 million new registrations annually. Add in registration updates on another 18 million households that move times 2.85 GPH = 51.3 million more registrations.
If we figure that each registration takes six person-minutes of labor (receive the postcard in the mailroom, distribute to data entry and actually entering the data), and the average data entry clerk works uninterrupted for six hours per day (lunch, bathroom breaks, coffee breaks, pop runs, etc.) that is 60 entries per day or 15,000 per year (250 work days). So just for initial data entry you’ll need 6,490,000 person days which is 25,960 employees for one year.
Add 15% for supervision and 15% for support (H.R., I.T., payroll, etc.) and that brings us to 33,748 new federal employees. For one year. According to FactCheck.org, the average taxpayer cost (salary and benefits) of a federal worker is $131,720 so for the first year, just to enter the data (we haven’t even begun to include infrastructure or any of that) and we are looking at a cost of $4.44 billion.
And then if sales stay flat at 13.7 million annually, the ongoing costs of registration will be $742,022,666 the first year and increase about $24.7 million per year (13.7 more guns each year, 15.8% of them moving and a 30% slop factor for supes and IT, etc.).
Of course that’s just commercial sales to private parties. According to the Legal Community Against Violence:
An estimated 40% of the guns acquired in the U.S. annually come from unlicensed sellers who are not required by federal law to conduct background checks on gun purchasers.
So registering those 5.5 million or so sales would add another $62.8 million or so for a total of $804.8 million dollars a year. Chump change, I’m sure.
As for “background checks with no exceptions” this is another one this supposedly won’t affect the law-abiding, but here’s a clue for Aahi; according to this Clinton-era DoJ report, less than 2% of criminals get their guns from flea markets or gun shows and about 80% get them from family, friends or a “street” source.
So, assuming that every single one of those flea market/gun show sales was not from a FFL, insisting on background checks for all sales will affect 1.7% of criminal sales and 100% of the law-abiding.
Furthermore since the Fix Gun Checks Act of 2011 (the latest version I could find) specifies “transfer” not sale, if someone comes up to me at a gun show and says “Cool rifle, can I take a look” the moment I hand it to him I have committed a felony.
Although not addressed in this bill other versions of “fixing the loophole” laws involve prison time for the operator of a gun show is a single transfer takes place at the show without going through NICS. See above about “cool rifle etc.”
Okay, that’s 1,600 words on Armand’s first few sentences, what does he have to say next?
So why can’t we do it?
Here are some of the things called obstacles that aren’t.
The Second Amendment? Every serious person knows the right to keep and bear arms has limits, just as First Amendment free speech has limits like laws against libel, pornography and false advertising.
Niiiice, gun ownership = porno. And BTW Armand, I don’t know if you’ve surfed the ‘net lately but there’s more than a little porn available out there.
As for libel and false advertising, these are actions which cause harm to other people; please explain to me the harm in my ownership of a Beta mag or two? Heck I’ve heard it argued that lives were saved by the Aurora shooters use of a Beta mag because it unbalance the rifle and the POS bound up on him, requiring him to change mags. And isn’t that what you and your ilk want Armand, for us to change mags more often?
If lawmakers think the Second Amendment is unlimited, why don’t they take metal detectors out of the Capitol building and let all tourists pack heat in the visitors’ balconies?
That’s a damned good idea Armand; in fact the MN Legislature has allowed us permit-holders to carry there for, oh, I dunno, decades maybe? Effectiveness?
Some people claim the 1994 temporary ban on assault weapons didn’t work, but if that’s true it’s because the ban was so leaky, applying only to future sales but not existing weapons, and exempting many weapons that should have been covered.
No, it “didn’t work” because according to the FBI’s UCR of 1995, table 2-10, between 1991 and 1995 of the 21,939.8 annual average of murders an average of 713.8 were committed with rifles.
Even if every single one was an “assault weapon” that still means that only 3.25% of murders were committed with rifles. By comparison, over the same period the annual average of murders committed with hands, fists or feet was 1166.2 or 5.31%.
As for “exempting many weapons that should have been covered,” I have said it before and I will no doubt say it again: You people wrote the damned law!
You included the evil shoulder thing that goes up, the horrific bayonet lug (to say nothing of the frumious flash hider) and all the other evil cosmetic characteristics that made those weapons so scary looking dangerous!
So you don’t get to say that it didn’t cover the dangerous guns that it needed to, unless what you and your ilk really meant was “a rifle that can be reloaded in less than a geologic age”.
So what spurious nonsense does Armand bring up next?
I have just returned from a family wedding attended mostly by hunters and gun owners. They have no interest in assault-type weapons, and no problem with background checks and registering all guns the way we register all automobiles.
Look Armand, putting aside the fact that the freedom to own and carry the weapon of your choice is a natural, fundamental, and inalienable human, individual, civil and Constitutional right — subject neither to the democratic process nor to arguments grounded in social utility; the fact that you and your inbreds in-laws are as ignorant as Jim Zumbo was does not constitute justification for infringing my rights.
Second while your (presumably reasonably affluent) “hunter and gun-owner” family may well choose not to own them, a semi-auto with 30+ round mags comes in mighty handy to defend your store in Koreatown after the cops pull out. Or defend your home in New Orleans after Katrina. Or defend your children anywhere that more than 3 or 4 goblins might appear.
Most important, they know lawmakers understand the difference between shotguns and assault weapons, and they’re not afraid that an assault weapon ban would be a “slippery slope” leading to curbs on hunting guns.
Yeah, that’s what the Fudds in the UK thought too. But they are correct, politicians would never ban their hunting rifles; they’ll reclassify it as a “sniper rifle” first. Furthermore the Second Amendment has nothing to do with hunting deer and everything to do with stopping thugs who are hunting you and your family.
Armand then segues into an analysis of how and why politicians are afraid of the NRA (which you might be interested to know has been ‘hijacked’ by extremists leaving the membership apparently unable to A) vote with their feet and leave the organization (which has experienced an upsurge (100,000+) of new members in the last 18 days) or 2) vote the ‘extremists’ out) and then completes the thought he laid out in his first sentence:
There’s a one-word key to getting a sensible gun law — money. …
Money is what we need now.
The basic bill outlined above is a litmus test. For those officials and candidates who won’t support it, start running hard-hitting radio and TV commercials and Internet posts targeting them by name again and again, making them very personally and very publicly accountable for their action or inaction.
It is obvious that, despite his position as a Trustee with Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law he has no idea just what kind of trouble he is borrowing here. He has put up and knocked down a bunch of straw-men, but one argument against confiscatory guns laws he fails to address is not their price, it is their cost. His belief that money is the sole obstacle to implementing his plan illustrates his abysmal ignorance on the topic.
This may seem like a digression, but it is not, trust me; the problem with people today is that so many of them have no real principles, and from what Armand says here I have to assume he is one of these people.
Don’t get me wrong, most of the time this is fine; as an insane libertarian I am a big fan of “live and let live”. The problem arises when people with no principles project their lack onto others who do not share that failing. People like Armand believe that we
are as spineless and unprincipled as he and his friends. Aahi have no tenets for which they would be willing to fight and die; conversely they have none for which they will kill.
Read Armand’s first sentence again and think about it for a moment; to Aahi a matter which we believe touches on our natural, fundamental, and inalienable human, individual, civil and Constitutional rights boils down to a question of mere money and political expediency.
This could get interesting, because unfortunately for Aahi, many gun nuts are extremely principled. Aahi should remember that back in 1999 Bill Clinton, frustrated with the way things were going in Serbia, decided to change the Rules of Engagement. According to Wikipedia:
Rules of Engagement are rules or directives to military forces (including individuals) that define the circumstances, conditions, degree, and manner in which force … may be applied.
And Bill determined that the political leaders, bureaucracy, intellectual supporters and (pay attention here Armand) media infrastructure which supported the enemy were legitimate targets.
Armand believes we’ll sell our civil rights for money. We believe we will buy them with blood.