We’ve been hearing about Hillary Clinton’s proposals for new laws in the wake of the school shooting in Oregon, but once again it looks like the mad rush to “do something” about guns has generated the same old proposals that we keep hearing time and again. The common refrain from gun control activists: “why do you keep fighting these common sense proposals?” There’s a damn good reason, namely that the new laws would do exactly nothing to stop the “gun violence epidemic” that the Democrats are using as cover for their proposals. Here’s why.
The following comes from the Huffington Post’s coverage of Hillary’s proposals.
At the top of the list is a pledge to take administrative action if Congress fails to tighten the so-called gun show and Internet sales loopholes. Under current law, licensed dealers are required to conduct background checks and certify that potential buyers are not prohibited from owning guns. But unlicensed vendors, including some individual sellers at gun shows, don’t have to go through these steps.
Clinton plans to call for lawmakers to address the issue. But if they don’t, she will require that anyone “attempting to sell a significant number of guns be deemed ‘in the business of selling firearms,’” which would “ensure that high-volume gun sellers are covered by the same common sense rules that apply to gun stores — including requiring background checks on gun sales.” Asked what would constitute “a significant number of guns,” a Clinton aide responded, “There are a number of studies being conducted currently regarding illegal gun sales that could inform an eventual rule making.” . . .
First things first, this is already illegal.
The law as it currently stands prohibits anyone from being “in the business” of selling firearms without a license from the ATF. Individuals are permitted to sell off their collection in “private party” transactions, but if someone were truly engaged in buying and selling mass quantities of guns as Hillary is suggesting that would be a blatant violation of existing law. If she’s truly concerned about that scenario she can simply direct the ATF to investigate and arrest these individuals under the existing law, there’s no need to make it more difficult for my friend to sell me his old hunting rifle.
There’s another problem as well. The Federal government can only prohibit sales of items that cross state lines. The sale of firearms within a single state is under the purview of the individual states themselves. That’s the reason why states like Oregon and Colorado can prohibit private sales altogether while others like Texas can allow the practice. A better use of her time might be convincing the residents of those states to enact similar laws instead of trying to force New York style gun control down the throats of Americans who don’t want it.
Let’s assume for a second that Hillary didn’t just want to target “high-volume” sales and actually went for the brass ring — universal background checks, registration, the whole lot. The problem is that we’ve already got policies like that in place in Chicago, and criminals are having no issues whatsoever getting their hands on illegal guns. Purchasing guns with the intent to sell them is already a felony but Chicago criminals do it anyway and somehow are never prosecuted. Selling guns across state lines is a felony but again Chicago criminals don’t care. Buying a firearm without an Illinois FOID card is another huge honkin’ felony that criminals somehow don’t give a toss about. In fact a recent study showed that nearly half of all guns used in crimes in the city of Chicago were obtained from friends (and fellow gang members) or relatives, and only 9 firearms out of 135 investigated were purchased (either on the “black market” or from a gun store). All of those transactions would have required a background check under Illinois state law, but none of that happened.
Either way, the point still stands: this is yet another proposal that would duplicate existing law. Prohibiting “high-volume” private sales is already on the books, all that needs to be done to stop it from happening is to tell the ATF to get off their ass and investigate. Similarly the state and federal authorities already have the power and authority to stop the flow of guns into Chicago, but instead of actually doing some work and cracking down on illegal guns they prefer to blame other states for their own problems. Apparently both Hillary and her Chicago buddies believe that if we just pass a brand new law this already illegal practice would stop. Did I ever tell you the definition of insanity?
Pivoting off that first talking point (of the nonexistent and already illegal “high-volume” private sale individuals) she goes right into demanding that the “Charleston loophole” be closed.
Clinton’s second proposal would close a gap in the current background check process that “allows a gun sale to proceed without a completed background check if that check is not complete within three days.” The so-called “Charleston Loophole” has been pinpointed as a contributing factor in the mass shooting at the Emanuel AME Church in the South Carolina city in June, though some have also argued that the shooter would have been stopped from obtaining a gun had there simply been better communication between state and federal agencies . . .
The reason why that three day timeout was added was specifically to keep the United States government from enacting a de facto ban on firearms. If all of the hundreds of thousands of firearms purchases every month need a background check, then the government can very easily use the FBI NICS system to effectively turn off the tap. Reducing the staffing at the NICS call center and restricting the throughput of that organization could mean that a background check could go from taking only a few minutes to process to a year-long waiting period. We’ve seen the ATF’s NFA branch operating in exactly that mode over the last few years, with a severely understaffed office leading to a six month waiting period for a simple background check and registration.
The three day timeout wasn’t intended to permit criminals to get their hands on guns — it was intended to incentivize the government to actually do their job. If Hillary Clinton was actually interested in stopping criminals from getting their hands on firearms her response should have been to staff up the NICS office and give them the ability to process background checks faster so they could catch criminals in a timely manner, not to remove the only check on the laziness of the federal government that law abiding citizens have.
Next on the list is domestic abuse.
Clinton will also call for legislation that prohibits domestic abusers from buying and possessing firearms. Such a bill has already been introduced in the Senate, where it has had a hearing before the Judiciary Committee. Similar legislation has been pushed in state legislatures as well, where the National Rifle Association has notably backed down from the fight. According to a report from the Center for American Progress, nearly 12,000 convicted stalkers can legally purchase firearms in the U.S.
I’ve got a boss at my day job who was arrested for domestic abuse. It doesn’t matter that he was in a completely different state at the time, his wife’s divorce lawyer told her that she would get more money if she had him arrested and that’s what she did. There was no conviction (because the judge immediately threw the case out when he heard the facts) but he still has an arrest on his record. Under laws similar to the one Hillary Clinton is proposing, the mere fact that he was arrested would permanently bar him from possessing a firearm without any possible recourse to get that right restored.
Since the shooting in Oregon I’ve had more than a few conversations with people who just want to “do something” about the “gun violence issue” and things like this come up again and again. The constant argument is that “these laws weren’t passed because the evil NRA got in the way and blocked it so the gun lobby could continue making money,” but they never take more than a cursory glance through the legislation to see what’s actually inside. The reason that so many people oppose this legislation isn’t because they want to sell guns to domestic abusers but instead because the system makes it far too easy to be permanently stripped of your rights without any due process.
Moving beyond the terrible provisions in such legislation, the fact remains that in the vast and overwhelming majority of cases this legislation wouldn’t make a single lick of difference. 60% of “gun violence” deaths in the United States are suicides, and prohibiting those convicted of domestic violence from buying a firearm would have a negligible impact on that number. Of the remaining murders, roughly 80% are gang related [citation]. Gang violence is the root cause of the “gun violence” numbers in the United States, not domestic violence. Focusing on domestic violence is like putting a Band-Aid on someone whose had their legs chopped off. Sure it might help a little bit, but the good it does will be far outweighed by the gang violence problem that it completely ignores.
Hillary doesn’t care. She’d rather continue to watch Chicago burn than make even the faintest suggestion that the gang culture in her voting base is more responsible for the bloodshed in America than the NRA. With her final point she makes it very clear what her goal is.
Finally, Clinton will call for a repeal of the legal immunity that gun manufacturers and dealers currently enjoy under a 2005 law called the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. This could be the most politically provocative of the four proposals. Not only is the immunity a prized possession of the NRA, but it is something that Sanders voted for while a member of the House of Representatives. Clinton, who was a senator representing New York at the time, voted against it.
Car accidents are responsible for an order of magnitude more deaths every year than firearms. What Hillary Clinton is suggesting is no different from suing car companies for every single motor vehicle death in the United States regardless of the cause. Your friend fell asleep at the wheel and flipped his car? Sue GM! Your brother drove drunk and jumped his car off a bridge? Obviously that’s Ford’s fault! Someone decides to steer their car into a proverbial bus full of nuns and kills them all? Chevrolet is the real monster here, sue them!
Should we sue alcohol companies for every drunk driving death? Should we sue Con Edison for every electrocution? Should we sue the water company for every drowning death? We don’t do that, because as rational people we understand that inanimate objects are not responsible for the actions of their owners. Firearms are not talismans of evil that force their owners to commit murder, they’re tools just like anything else that require a human to function for good or evil.
There’s only one reason why Hillary Clinton would want firearms companies to be liable for every death in the United States, and that’s to force them to go out of business. There’s no doubt that any rational judge would throw out any such lawsuit that comes across their desk, but the legal fees involved in just that much interaction with the court would be enough to drive the gun companies out of the civilian market for good. This exact situation is the reason why the smaller airplane manufacturers went out of business and why airplanes are so expensive these days. It’s not that they are particularly expensive to produce, but the cost of defending the company against liability lawsuits from every idiot who crashes their plane is driving the cost out of the ability for the average American to afford. Hillary wants to do the same thing with firearms.
What’s most disturbing about these proposals is that they would have done absolutely nothing to stop the mass shootings that she uses to advance her agenda. Hillary parades around the parents of victims of the Sandy Hook shooting, but her proposal to target private sales of firearms would not have stopped the shooter — he stole the firearms from his mother. She uses the Oregon school shooting as the rationale for her domestic violence background check proposal, but that attacker had no criminal history whatsoever. The only thing that comes close is the “Charleston loophole” she wants to close — the 3 day timeout for gun sales — but rather than forcing the government to investigate people more efficiently her sole response is to allow the government to be as inefficient as it wants without any oversight and allow a backlog of gun sales to pile up. A right delayed is a right denied, but Hillary doesn’t seem to agree that anyone has a right to own a gun despite her determination to take an oath to preserve, uphold, and defend a document which clearly states that an individual right to own a firearm is indeed a fundamental right in the United States.
This is pretty much emblematic of Hillary Clinton’s response. Instead of focusing on ways to catch criminals and enforce laws, all her proposals do is make it more difficult for law abiding citizens to purchase and own guns. Hillary has already stated that she doesn’t respect the Supreme Court’s opinion on the second amendment — which is no different from Republican candidates getting angry at the court over gay marriage — so it makes sense that her solutions would focus on punishment of the American citizens for exercising their constitutionally protected rights instead of trying to stop the criminals. Guns are evil in her mind, and removing them from the country is her goal. She doesn’t care about specifically targeting criminals, she just wants guns off the street no matter if it’s a hardened murderer or an 11 year old defending their family against two home invaders. Or an elderly lady defending her life against repeated armed invaders. She doesn’t care about the more than 50,000 times per year where someone defends their life with a firearm.
Hillary Clinton doesn’t care about actually reducing crime or combating the “gun violence epidemic” she uses to advance her agenda. All she cares about is disarming as many Americans as possible, not protecting the lives of children. And that’s pretty despicable.