Paul Barrett [not shown] is something of an anomaly. He’s the in-house gun writer for BloombergBusiness; the publication owned by America’s most powerful gun control advocate. That’s discounting the President of the United Sates, of course. The same Commander-in-Chief who let it be known that he will scratch his gun control itch by signing some new Executive Orders in mid-January. During SHOT Show, the firearms industry’s annual trade show? Probably. Here’s a sure thing: Bloomberg knows what Obama’s gonna do; the two men met at the White House earlier this month to discuss the President’s upcoming attack on Americans’ gun rights. Back to Barrett . . .
Barrett’s the author of the wonderfully salacious book GLOCK, The Rise of America’s Gun. As I stated in my review, Barrett uses his tome to “throw his weight behind passing laws to address boss Bloomberg’s pet peeve: ‘closing the gun show loophole’ (mandating FBI background checks for private sales).” In his day gig, Barrett tries to sound reasonable on gun rights, but fails. Not spectacularly, but regularly. You might say he’s Bloomberg’s bitch but I couldn’t possibly comment.
Anyway, Barrett’s got the inside line on his boss’ anti-gun agenda. So when Barrett previews the CIC’s upcoming Executive Order on guns, it pays to pay attention. In Barrett’s article What’s Next on Gun Control: Obama and the Loophole the subhead tells the tale: “The White House will likely go around Congress and require background checks for all ‘in the business’ of selling firearms.” Here’s the 411 on that idea:
The next shoe to drop on gun control may come by mid-January, when President Barack Obama is expected to issue an executive order requiring everyone “in the business” of selling firearms to perform background checks.
Wait a second, you might be saying. Doesn’t federal law already oblige gun retailers to do computerized criminal checks via the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s data base? Yes and no.
Yes, when it comes to federally licensed dealers. But no, when you’re talking about people who lack federal licenses and sell guns from their personal collections.
The problem is that an awful lot of firearms are sold in the latter fashion by individuals who aren’t technically gun retailers but who sell weapons at weekend gun shows or from their homes. Forthcoming research by the Harvard School of Public Health estimates that 40 percent of all gun transfers occur without background checks (that’s the so-called gun show loophole). Presumably the background-check gap permits some criminals and mentally disabled people to buy guns who otherwise might be stopped.
Notice something? Not just the word mealy-mouthed use of the word “presumably” to secretly signal the fact that Barrett ain’t picking up what his boss is putting down. See how Barrett conflates “gun transfers without background checks” with “the so-called gun show loophole”? Barrett knows full well that his boss and his boss’ anti-ballistic BFFs constantly assert that gun shows account for 40 percent of “crime guns.” They do not. According to the only study on the subject, the figure is . . . wait for it . . .7 percent. In other words, you can round it down to zero.
That said, a significant percentage of gun sales and transfers are done “off the books,” via private sales and gifts (usually intra-family transfers). We’re talking legal product legally sold or legally given to legal buyers/recipients. That’s critical. It is illegal to sell or transfer a gun to someone you know is a prohibited person. Yes, “even” without a federal background check. So what new law is needed here? None.
An executive order aimed at “closing the gun show loophole” is, in Admiral Akbar’s immortal words, “a trap.” Bloomberg, Barrett and Barack aren’t talking about gun shows, really. They want to interject the federal government into ALL gun sales and transfers – for the sake of
civilian disarmament the children! Here’s the rhetoric behind the ruse:
Following another a year of shooting massacres of Americans, Obama has let it be known from his holiday retreat in Hawaii, through unidentified advisers, that soon after New Years Day he plans to follow through on plans to expand the definition of who’s “in the business” of selling firearms—and who’s thus required to perform background checks. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, among others, has strongly backed this idea, and now Obama appears ready to make its implementation one of the first major acts of his final year in office.
In other words, if he goes down this road, Obama’s Executive Order will put a numerical limit on the number of guns an individual can sell or transfer before the individual is legally “in the business” of selling firearms and, thus, subject to ATF rules regarding FBI background checks for buyers. Not to mention TONS of paperwork. How many guns? Ten per year? Twenty? Who knows? No matter how many guns the EO specifies this is going to be an enormous PITA for a very small number of gun owners, ignored by a larger number, and not apply at all to the vast majority. “Major act” my toches.
Equally, an Executive Order along these lines will have no effect on “gun violence.” It would/will be yet another “we’re doing something” feel-good farce. Our man Leghorn agrees with Mr. Barrett: this is the way the President will go with his Executive Order on gun control. I think Mr. Obama will do something about the so-called “terror gap” as well; somehow finding the Constitutional authority to ban gun purchases for Americans on the fed’s super-secret Terrorist Watch List. If he does that, all hell will break loose. Watch this space. You too Paul.