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Just when you thought it was safe to open your inbox, along comes another missive from the National Association for Gun Rights. Today’s edition covers an ad paid for by Bloomberg’s “Mayors Against Illegal Guns Action Fund” or “MAIGAF” (my gaffe?). The ad tries to forge a connection between the so-called “gun show loophole” and the Columbine High School massacre. For added emphasis, it cites both then-Presidential candidates Senators McCain and Obama, who supported “closing the gun show loophole.” The National Association for Gun Rights or NAGRs—pronounced “NAG-GERS” just to be sure we’re clear that we’re not racists nor gun nuts) are busy banging the gong, warning that Congress wants to take away your right to buy a gun at a gun show without a background check.

First of all, allow me to note that frothing at the mouth – on either side of this debate – is not helping ANYone. Next, let’s see if we can shine the light of reason and logic on this whole “gun show loophole” thing.

Now you might already know this, but if you go in to a gun store/sporting goods store/Walmart/et all to buy a firearm, the stores MUST have you fill out a form and do what’s called an “instant background check.” This typically takes only a few minutes, and allows the guvmint to check and make sure you’re not, say, a homicidal escapee from a Federal prison bent on revenge. Or something.

Nobody really makes known any stats on how many ineligible receivers of firearms are stopped at the line of scrimmage, as it were. It’s one of those stats that they keep a State Secret, for fear of allowing the bad guys to figure out what databases are checked, to prevent the baddies from gaming the system.

Of course, given the ruthless efficiency of the Feds, we all know that these background checks are 100% reliable. Not. But they are better than nothing, I suppose. The disturbing part of the checks is that the data can (and probably is) used to create that much-feared Boogieman of the RIght – the National Gun Registry.

Never mind that the data is supposedly NOT kept in a central database, and that the BATFE, FBI, and other acronymically-challenged agencies must go to the individual gun stores to get the records, should some gun show up in the commission of a crime. The simple fact of the matter is that privacy is largely a myth, and background checks are fairly innocuous – at least for now.

So what’s the problem with background checks at gun shows? The gun-control folks insist on calling this a “loophole” and want it abolished. Now! Those on the other side of the debate look at this as the last frontier to avoid the long reach of Big Brother’s arm. But wherein lies the truth?

Okay. Seriously, people. If you’re gonna own a gun and get serious about self-defense, you’re gonna apply for a conceal carry permit, right? The reason they take so bloody long to issue them, is they do a REAL background check on you for this permit. I mean, a staff of forensic proctologists go over each and every application, checking your court records, restraining orders, mental health incarcerations, prison time, that sort of thing. From what I hear, only getting clearance for National Security ops is a harder thing to pass.

So if Uncle Sam already has your name, rank and serial number on the CCW permit action, what’s the problem with a background check at a gun show?

Frankly, I’d like to see them abolish ALL background checks for gun purchases. Not just because I think they abridge our rights. But because they don’t really do much. But I’d like to see the laws replaced with a carry permit process akin to what you go through for a driver’s license.

You can’t drive a car without a license, right? I doubt you can buy one, either. How many times do you get asked for your DL as a form of ID, hmmmm? And no matter what state you’re from, at some point in your life, you had to take a written test along with an actual, behind-the-wheel driving test, right? Then, aside from taxes, Uncle Sam cares not what kinda whip you be drivin.’ As long as he can extract his pound o’ flesh every year, he’s down with you driving the wheels of your choice, and as many of them as you can afford.

What about if you need to buy a gun right away, for personal protection? You’d leave the firearms equivalent of the DMV with a temporary permit, good until your real license comes in, or 90 days, which ever is shorter, should you pass your tests and no red flags are thrown in the initial background check. If you don’t pass the in-depth check, your temporary permit would be pulled and you’d never get your permanent card. And if you bought a gun, you’d have to get rid of it – or sell it to someone in your household that has a valid permit.

I propose the same thing for guns. Establish a national program for  minimum standards on the gun test, then let each state set their own, “enhanced” standards, and allow them to administer the tests as they like. You’d have to pass a gun knowledge test and a practical shooting test. Your license could have restrictions on it, just like a driver’s license (must wear glasses to see well enough to shoot, a .50 cal Ma Duce endorsement – that sort of thing).

Without the license – no gun purchase. With it – buy what you like – we’ll make more!

As long as your license is valid and up-to-date, you get a gun. And just like if you commit a crime with your car, you can get your gun license pulled and revoked. (Although I’d skip the Breathalyzer interlock thing for guns. And I’m sure if this system were implemented, that’s exactly the kind of thing Bloomberg or Brady would want added to every gun: blow into this tube before you can pull the trigger.)

Getting back to our pals at NAGR, I’m wondering why they are furious over the “gun show loophole” thing but we’ve heard nary a peep from them over the Feds move towards making all “gun transfers” subject to FFL requirements. Now THAT’S something to get on your soapbox about. The gun show loophole thing? Not nearly as big a deal.

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  1. First of all, allow me to note that frothing at the mouth – on either side of this debate – is not helping ANYone. Next, let’s see if we can shine the light of reason and logic on this whole “gun show loophole” thing.

    Brad, without addressing the substance of your argument, I think you may be making a couple of assumptions here that aren't neccessarily true, the first being that "that shining the light of reason and logic" is the goal of either group. and the second is that "frothing at the mouth" isn't "helping" anyone.

    At the risk of sounding Clinton-esque, that depends on what the definition of "help" is. In the context of any political group, a campaign full of half truths, unsubstantiated allegations and emotion-laden pathos "helps" if it gets people to fill the coffers of whatever group is propagandizing at the moment.

    So whether you're a child-hating gun nut who opposes "reasonable" laws or a jackbooted government thug who wants to kick in the doors of lawful gun owners, the propaganda "helps" because it fulfills the mission of the propagandists: Which is to stir up the faithful and get them to write checks.

    • Martin – you're right…as far as the frothing at the mouth thing helps each camp raise money and keep the faithful in a perpetual state of fear. I define "help" in the classical sense – solving the problem.

      I'm well aware that neither group REALLY wants a substantial change in the status quo, simply because if the issue is ever settled, there will be no need for them.


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