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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.

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  1. Excellent article, thanks. I will use some of the points you brought out in my conversations with….. nevermind, I don’t have conversations with liberals, I’ve chased them all away.

  2. The anti-depressants comment is a great example. My psychiatrist and I have tried many different drugs before we found one that worked, specifically to find the lowest dose with the least side effects. Add to that a history of migraine treatment, some of which includes medications which are also used to treat other disorders (e.g., anti-seizure) and it would be pretty easy to make a case that I was prone to uncontrollable episodes or nuts, for lack of a better term. Slippery slope indeed.

    • I take an anti-depressant for treatment of an auto-immune condition. After testing, it was discovered that SSRIs acted like pain relievers for people with chronic pain with this disease.

      My wife takes one for a mild depression that started as post-partum and continued long past and through several children.

      Using mikey’s emotionalism disguised as logic could leave us without defense in a place with no police presence at all. So we don’t even have the illusion of police protection.

  3. Great article as always, thanks Bruce.

    Another thorny issue with trying to tie ownership to medications – What happens when someone goes on anti-depressants, off them, changes dosage, or changes anti-depressants? Do “they” take one’s guns away and hold them so they can give them back later?

  4. Honestly, Mikey’s comments sound more like a reason for why he should be barred from voting due to mental incompetence than as to why people shouldn’t be allowed to defend themselves.

  5. Personally, I think any regulating of rights protected by the 2A should also apply to rights protected under the 1A.

  6. Another great article from Bruce, with th following caveat: the vast majority of people I’ll ever meet are good, decent individuals.

    Hoooo, dog. I gotta disagree. The vast majority of people I’ve met are only as good as they have to be, as decent as they have to be and as honest as they have to be. But so what? That doesn’t make them dangerous to themselves or to others. The people I’m more concerned with are those who can’t or won’t be good, decent or honest even when they have to be.

    • Exactly. I definitely don’t think that most people are good (if they were, we’d never have had enough support for any unconstitutional laws to have passed). However, most people aren’t murderers, and that’s the only thing that’s really important when it comes to weapons.

  7. Good piece. Rhetorical question; if a person cannot be permitted or entrusted to own a gun should they be allowed to have and raise children, or drive a vehicle?

    If it was not for the politician’s lack of integrity and concern for the average citizen, the politico-elites ignorance of fact-based knowledge about guns’ role in citizen safety, and the ulterior motivates of many gun control nazis naively pushing for a police-nanny state I might be fine with stricter gun controls and regulation based on the number of thugs with terrible ethics in our country. BTW, I’m including federal storm troopers in the thug category along with neo-nazis, meth-heads, thieves, and other such low life IQ/EQ losers.

  8. I don’t know that the ad hominem’s actually help, guys. I for one am appreciative that mikeb posts here, even if he is wrong. He’s at least generally polite and non-trollish. Hopefully it sparks a better dialog of just why some of the gun control ideas are bad.

    Take the “gunshow loophole” for example. Not the idiotic legislation that’s just trying to be a backdoor to shut down gun shows, but a real honest attempt to ban private sales at gun shows without an NCIS check. I don’t think that specifically infringed on anyone’s rights more than requiring vendors to do a check.

    The thing is, it doesn’t do much of anything. Private sales are still legal outside of gun shows. It inconveniences a lot of people who like to shop at gun shows, but it does very little if nothing to keep guns out of the hands of criminals (not that they were getting that many guns at gun shows to begin with).

    So you’ll ban those, you say… but how will you enforce it? Essentially, the only way to enforce a private sale ban in *general* is to have wholesale registration. And that *does* have significant problems when it comes to my right to own guns.

    So, in the end, it is legislation that is annoying but non-threatening to most gun owners, that accomplishes nearly nothing in terms of preventing crime, and is often used just as a trojan horse (such as in this proposed federal law) to make gun shows in *general* much harder to run. I don’t see the point of supporting this law. It’s not a gun show loophole – it’s a private sales in general loophole. And any attempt at banning private sales is either going to be an annoying and impossible to enforce or incredibly draconian. It’s not even like FFL transfers, where it mostly restricts where you can mail guns – most private transfers in state are face to face.

    Does that make more sense, mikeb?

    • “I don’t think that specifically infringed on anyone’s rights more than requiring vendors to do a check.”

      Except for the fact that you have to find someone willing to do said check and pay them whatever fee they demand to perform the check. Do you have to pay for someone else to officiate you selling your car, home, stereo, books, tv, etc to another private individual? No. Guns should be no different.

      • I’m not saying it good. I do agree it infringes, and we shouldn’t have them. You have to go through bunch of hoops that I don’t think you should have to go through to be an FFL, too, and you shouldn’t have to go through. But the end result is still in general that people who want to go into the firearms business can go into the firearms business, it’s just more of a pain in the ass than it should be.

        If you have to do a check to sell guns at a gun show, it means that anyone running a gun show is going to have a standard booth setup and add some fees to your attendance. Which sucks, but for most people it isn’t the difference between being able to sell it and not being able to sell.

        • in general that people who want to go into the firearms business can go into the firearms business, it’s just more of a pain in the ass than it should be.

          No, Mike, it’s a lot worse than merely inconvenient. For most people, obtaining an FFL is impossible. The number of FFLs has declined dramatically because of the impossible hurdles place in front of those who want to deal in guns legally. That’s the whole point of the laws — to discourage, dissuade, prohibit and create entry barriers that are exceedingly difficult to overcome.

          Guess what? It’s working.

  9. Cars kill many more people a year than firearms do. I propose that we should immediately conduct background checks on all private transfers of vehicles so everyone can be safe and we can make sure that no one dangerous possesses a car.

    And its not childish to resist authority and to dislike being told what to do. Its American.

  10. A lawless government leads to a lawless society. Buy a gun, fill out the paper, get the background check, just don’t tell everybody you got a gun. The “government”, all the way from local to the Federales, make laws, then make laws against the laws they made the first time. It is ok to be “illegal”, just not criminal. Those that make the rules, can take whatever they want, in theory, Constitution be damned. As citizens of a Free Country,( so far), we have the responsibility to make damn sure theory does not become fact. However, given our current political situation, and the choice of future “leaders”, I do not hold out much hope for this Country, or our “rights” to anything. It is never the weapon, it is the one wielding it, be it knife, sword, baseball bat, or, firearm. Firearms are easy to come by, ask anybody that uses them with criminal intent. Firearm control advocates seem to be to be trying to stack the deck in favor of those that would like to make a living with firearms, at the rest of the population’s expense,( or, perhaps they have been victims, and want the rest of us to be victims as well). It just is not fair that some poor misunderstood youth(s), or adult(s), should risk his/her life stealing, raping, killing, or perhaps just shooting people for sport. I have been on a few meds too, but never in my life have I ever thought it would be a good idea to go out and just shoot somebody. People, it ain’t society’s fault, it ain’t your fault, it is the individual that uses a weapon for criminal intent that is at fault. And, I for one, could care less about his/her “underprivileged” life, or, their history of having hang nails.

  11. Bruce, Your quoting of Codrea is a mistake.

    “If a person can’t be trusted with a firearm then they can’t be trusted without a custodian.”

    That’s the most simplistic and silly observation around, and because guys like him, and you now, keep saying it it gets some play and repetition.

    In our country with the prison population what it is the answer cannot possible be to lock up everyone who is unqualified to own a gun. Nor can the answer be to allow all those not locked up to have guns. I’m not sure what he means by “custodian” is not “prison guard/” Surely he’s not suggesting some kind of Big-Brother probation officer system, which would be even more unworkable.

    No, what we need is what I’ve been saying all along. We need stricter screening and training requirements for gun ownership.

    • And how much does that extra training cost and who’s paying for it? Be very specific, please, on both counts. If you’re saying the gun owner should bear the costs, then I have to ask why you want to restrict the self-defense rights of poor people. If you say the government, then I have to ask where the money’s coming from.

      By the way, don’t bother with the “guns cost money, so gun owners can afford training” response. A Hi-Point in .40 S&W, while being butt-ugly, will throw lead when you pull the trigger and can be had for $140 new. Throw in a box of ammo and a simple safe and you’ve got the basics for home defense for about $200 plus tax. When I’ve pinned down people before on the “training requirements”, I’ve found often they’re asking for hundreds if not thousands of dollars additional expense on top of just the cost of the pistol and ammo. Which basically boils down to not wanting “those people” to have guns.

    • Stricter screening? Like do TWO background checks?

      I have to agree with the training, though. Firearms safety should be taught in schools, starting in elementary school and continuing into high school.

      • Actually, our area has a Hunter Safety course for the kids that I thought was beneficial. Some kids get training from parents and relatives, and some kids do not.

    • “In our country with the prison population what it is the answer cannot possible be to lock up everyone who is unqualified to own a gun. ”

      And you missed the point completely. The point was that gun grabbers like you want to claim that everyone who’s not in the government is too incompetent to own a gun – he was saying that if that’s the case, then they’re too incompetent to be allowed to do anything without supervision (just like how small children always have supervision). His point was how absurd your “argument” is.

      “We need stricter screening and training requirements for gun ownership.”

      You mean stricter screening beyond determining if someone has already committed a crime? What would you propose? Making guesses as to whether or not they MIGHT consider possibly committing a crime at some point? As for training, what does that have to do with people using guns during murders / robberies? Do you simply want better trained criminals so that there is less collateral damage? Except that criminals don’t buy guns from registered gun shops like the rest of us – they buy them from a smuggler in an alley, so the background check and other bogus legal requirements won’t do jack to stop them.

      As usual Mikey, your argument is purely about disarming law abiding citizens and having no effect on criminals.

      • No, it’s not “purely about disarming law abiding citizens and having no effect on criminals.”

        By stricter background checks I mean enhancing the NICS system to have more comprehensive reporting standards and perhaps pick up some of the real lunatics like Loughner. I would make all domestic violence a disqualifier. Now it’s a half-assed deal which changes from state to state. People who have negligent discharges should have to convince a judge they’re not a continued risk.

        In the end, if I had my way, most of you guys would still have your precious guns. But many unfit people would not.

        • If Loughner had a mental problem (which he definitely shows signs of) why wasn’t it reported to NICS? You see, it’s not the NICS that needs to be enhanced, it’s agencies that are supposed to be participating in the system are failing to do so.

          Now, mikeb302000, if you’re a humanitarian and wanting to save lives, why not advocate more restrictions on automobiles? Driving is already a regulated activity, yet automobiles contribute more to the death rate than firearms. There should be a NICS for driving. If you’ve ever been arrested for drugs/alcohol, no driver’s license and barred from owning an automobile. Traffic accidents are the leading cause of death for the younger generation, so no driver’s license until a person is 18 (but only for small vehicles and no highway use until the person reaches the age of 21) Domestic abuse? no driver’s license, you just might use an automobile to transport your wife’s lifeless body. I could go on, but I digress.

          Now let’s assume, mikeb302000, that you’re not a humanitarian, you just want to reduce crime, which is still an honorable thing. How about we give people the tools to protect themselves. When a home invader enters the home of an 80 year old lady, and she is armed and shoots said home invader, he won’t invade another home. Problem solved. Let’s look at the bank robber who walks into a bank, pops off a few rounds and declares “this is a robbery”. If everyone in that bank has had mandatory firearms training since the time they were in school, and everyone is not only allowed to carry a firearm, but is required to do so, how many hostages do you think that bank robber is going to take. does he risk his life to get away with a few thousand dollars? No, I don’t think so.

          Ask yourself these questions: Why aren’t police evidence rooms robbed? and Why are there no mass shootings at gun shows?

          • “why not advocate more restrictions on automobiles? “

            I’m glad you asked that tricky and misleading question.

            You see, we already do have lots of restrictions on cars and driving them, the very kinds of restrictions you resist when it comes to guns. That means instead of 40,000 car deaths a year we’d have 100,000 if not for the rules that infringe on our freedom to do whatever the hell we want behind the wheel.

            By the very same token, if gun ownership and use had the same kinds of restrictions we have on cars, instead of 30,000 deaths a year we’d have 5,000.

            So if we made it a fair playing field in the game of comparing cars to guns it would look something like this:

            cars 100,000 guns 30,000
            cars 40,000 guns 5,000

            See why car comparisons don’t work?

            • To operate a motor vehicle, you take a test ONCE. If you get a DUI, you can still drive again. Not so with a firearm, you have to wait 5 years.
              Same with a Narcotics conviction, you can still purchase and operate a motor vehicle. Not so with a firearm.
              Kids as young as 16 can operate a motor vehicle by themselves, no so with a firearm.
              There are no background checks to even purchase a vehicle like there are with firearms.
              Furthermore, operating a motor vehicle is not a Constitutionally protected right. mikeb302000, I’m sure you’d be up in arms if the same restrictions were placed on your Constitutionally protected right to free speech. How about anyone with a Narcotics conviction not be allowed to speak in public. Or anyone with a restraining order against him because he called is girlfriend a fat, lazy, Wh*** would no longer be allowed to work in his line of work as a newspaper reporter. Try this one on just for giggles, anyone convicted of a DUI in the last 5 years is no longer allowed to peacefully assemble. How about this, if you legally smoke pot in your state of residence, you are no longer allowed to communicate to your government representative.
              So, why is it ok to infringe on one right and not the other?

  12. There is a certain ‘Catch-22’ quality to having a mentally competentcy requirement for gun ownership. For example: You want a gun… You must be crazy!!! Therefore, you can’t have a gun. Instant ban. And the gun-banners keep saying it’s not an infringment.

    Was this thought out before-hand or just one of those ‘Unintended Concequences’?

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