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Admiral Ackbar (courtesy

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.

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  1. I’m much more concerned about what might come down the drainpipe via regulatory and administrative actions. For example, BATFE is supposedly going to issue the final rules under proposal 41 (CLEO signoffs, etc. required for NFA trust transactions) in January. While it won’t affect as many folks as, say, the failed M855 “green tip” ammo ban, it’s potentially one of a thousand infringements coming our way.

  2. I agree that this is the way Obama will go, the only question being the number that will define who “is in the business.” I suspect it will be around 10, possibly as low as five. This will make no difference in all of the states that all ready require background checks for all sales and some or all transfers not constituting sales. These include California (all sales, all interstate transactions including long guns that require registration), Oregon, Washington (currently all exchanges, including loans), NY, NJ, Md., D.C., Illinois, and probably Massachusetts and Connecticut. There are a few others I am sure.

    The only thing that Obama can do to close the “terror gap” is not to ban those on the Watch list from purchasing–that would require federal legislation that will not pass–but instead will order his executive agencies to share “the” list (or rather certain lists but not all of them) with the states that request them, such as NY and Connecticut, which are in the process of enacting laws to ban purchase/possession of firearms to those on the list. Other Democrat governors will probably try to do the same, and some may be successful. This will not constitute a civil rights violation by the federal government, but likely will in any state that is stupid enough to pass such a clear violation of the Constitution.

    • I think any such order should be put on hold for a few years while we contemplate the legality of such an order, and if someone cancels all this moron’s orders in the meantime, oh, well… OTOH, if we can’t go that way, I will ignore any such order. If I am on a jury to determine someone’s guilt of violating such an order, that person will not be found guilty. If I am asked to provide evidence against such person, my memory will fail. There are things we can do and not do. But we must be ready.

    • I frequently traveled with a guy that had his name on the list. He wasn’t The Guy but on every departure and every return of every flight he got to sit in the corner for about an hour while it was cleared up. I believe he eventually got it cleared up and he told me he was no longer on the list. I kept my thoughts to myself. Make a list of names and EVERYONE with that name is tracked. Doesn’t seem like it would be legal.

        • Right, yeah, I wasn’t sure if it was just handguns or not. Should have checked before I posted.

          Still an awesome gun state, especially compared to my native People’s Republic of New York. Never going back.

      • Aside from that (and it’s only for handguns) PA is pretty pro-2A. We don’t let Philly and Pittsburgh push us around. (Fortunately we have the votes to put them in their place.)

  3. Yeah and I’m guessing(one hopes) that Bury Soetoro is smart enough to know he can’t destroy the hildebeast/slick willy campaign-or not. Or maybe Bury is cementing his “legacy” as the worst ever president…either way millions more are becoming gun folks.

  4. I’m EIGHTY PERCENT sure that he’s going to direct the atf to reclassify non-firearms as firearms.

    (see what I did there?)


    Or at least TAX THE FING CRAP OUT OF IT!!!

    Close the Bloomberg Loophole. It doesn’t matter how much $ you have, you are never > 1 citizen.

    • Oh, bullshit, let’s go along with them for once, give it a chance. Redistribute his wealth. All of it. Every penny. Isn’t that what he advocates? Then we’ll see how important people find his stupid pronouncements.

  6. The only President to ban guns via illegal EO was George Bush I, with his import ban of 1990, which somehow unconstitutionally stands today. People of the gun ignore it, presumably because a Republican did it? I’m not sure. So, I’m surprised Obungo hasn’t done anything to match that yet.

    • “People of the gun ignore it, presumably because a Republican did it? I’m not sure.”

      No, not because a Republican did it.

      More likely, people ignore it because it was over 20 years ago and…it’s “normal” now.

      Fact of the matter is that a LOT of POTG today were not POTG 25 years ago. So, when they became POTG, this infringement was already in place and thus, “normal.”

      That’s my guess.

    • I’m in no hurry to buy Chinese rifles and further support a regime that puts so little value on the lives of their own subjects, but I see no reason for there to be an executive order banning their import when we literally buy nearly everything else from them, (including chicken which I just can’t understand when we have perfectly fine chicken here)

  7. Well, will those soon to be re-classified as “in the business” be able to get FFL’s? If not they’d be setting up a clear challenge by saying someone is “in the business” (and therefore eligible for an FFL) but denying said license for not really being in the business.

    Bright side, maybe more of us can have kitchen table FFL’s to further our collections.

    • But for Aereo’s you’re a cable company except when we don’t want you to be debacle with the Supreme Court, the potential for increased FFL eligibility does seem to be a potential side benefit (if you support the idea of FFLs).

      On one hand, I’m like the idea of a bright line rule to say yes or no to a person as gun dealer. On the other, it has the potential to punish those who are clearing collections or otherwise incidentally fall under the regulation even though it is not a business. On that first hand, it also helps ensure that those who sell as business are held accountable for income and other taxes (see also, eBay sellers). On the other hand again, for many, even sales tax and similar taxes of general applicability are a bridge to far.

    • Boy, that used to be normal! Around ’82-’83, about half the people I worked with in SD held FFLs, engaged in a lot of trading amongst themselves, collecting, it was like a local hobby. Then someone, I guess in the ’86 changes under Reagan, changed the rules for FFLs to make it way too expensive, as I recall, but the US lost more than half of the FFLs due to the change. I am sure there are those on this site who were involved, and could explain more accurately.

  8. How the hell can be enforce this? If there is no registry, and thus they don’t really know what you have (NSA lists not withstanding), you’d have to be really stupid to be caught up in this. Which is to say I’m echoing the poster in saying this is feel-good bull that will do nothing.

  9. “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).”

    So why, after CO passed its “universal background check” law, are only 4% of all firearm transfer background checks in the state for private party transfers?

    Is the 40% number complete crap?

    Are people just ignoring the law?


      • In Colorado in 2014, 4.74% of background checks performed by the CBI (Colorado Bureau of Investigation) for firearm transfers were for private-party transfers. This is based on 2014 figures (the first full calendar year after CO’s “universal background check” law took effect).

        In 2014, there were a total of 314,976 checks performed. Of those, 14,932 were for private-party transfers that were not exempt from the check (e.g. certain intra-familial transfers).

        Of course, this is “number of transactions” and not “number of firearms transferred”.

    • The 40% myth was made up by looking at a telephone survey from around 93~94- before the Brady bill was signed- of 251 people that responded to the robodialed calls. I think the actual number was like 36% that didn’t buy from a dealer, then it goes even lower when you take out the number of transfers as gifts/prizes- something like 28% if my memory serves me. Colion Noir made a video of it awhile back.

  10. They will likely introduce H.R. 4269 as the we want to ban everything legislation to make whatever toxic sludge Obama is cooking look like a beautiful Christmas dinner. It’s the same political game over and over, propose and 20% tax and then “compromise” with a 5% tax.

    • That’s a great example of the Overton Window. Propose something so outrageous that the public as a whole rise up against it. After that, scale back the proposal and the public sees it as a relief that the outrageous is no longer being proposed. The window gets moved a little bit toward what was proposed without having the public froth at the mouth about the change. Incremental movement (much like the frog in the slowly heated pot of water vs the fast boil).

  11. Hold on a minute. I know that Federal Firearm Licensees are required to run a background check on customers who wish to purchase handguns. Are Federal Firearm Licensees also required to run a background check on customers who wish to purchase rifles and shotguns?

    I ask because Mr. Barrett’s commentary suggests that background checks will be required on rifle and shotgun purchases as well as handguns. If that is new, that would obviously be a significant change as well. If that is not new, never mind.

    • Not new. There is a reason that you have to fill out a form 4473 even when you buy rifles, shotguns, or even AR lower receivers. All firearms must accompany a background check, the difference is, you have to be 21 to purchase a handgun and you cannot purchase a handgun out of the state in which your permanent residency exists unless you get that firearm transferred to a FFL in the state in which your permanent residency exists.

  12. “Weak Obama Executive Order on Gun Control”

    No unconstitutional diktat should be considered “weak.” An affront to the Constitution, even one that might affect only a few people, is still an outrage.

  13. What am I missing….

    If you sell more than x number you have to do something different. But there isn’t any way to prove I have sold x number because there is no registration.

    Doesn’t the lack of a registration mean each sale is basically sale number one?

    • I;m sure it’ll be an amendment at a later date. To ensure they can make sure everyone is compliant with the law.

  14. Not being a math nazi, doesn’t .7% round to 1% not zero? Not that I feel that less than 1% is reason to do this or even 40%.

  15. So what is it.. .7%? (Sic)
    Or is it…0.7%?
    The standard practice of a zero preceding the decimal point, if called for, and especially after an ellipsis, would clarify this a bit.

    • OK, so we’re going to be math Nazis after all. He said “round DOWN to zero”. 0.7 rounds down to zero, 100.7 rounds down to 100. Easy, huh? 0.3 rounds up to 1.0.

  16. “the figure is . . . wait for it . . .7”

    That’s confusing. Is it 7%, or 0.7%? When you have a decimal number, can you put a zero in front of it, especially when it’s preceded by an ellipsis?

  17. Calling it. Obama’s EOs on gun control will be about as monumental as his last set of EOs on gun control. You know, those ones that were so utterly forgettable and of little consequence that you’re going to look up what the heck they were right now.

  18. So, would you say he’s Blomberg’s “house” gun guy?

    As opposed to the ones he has out in the “field”, protecting him?

  19. Being stuck with a permit system here in NJ, this would be a non-event. You pass a background check to get the permit and a copy is filed with the State Police by the seller at completion.

  20. To be a real stickler — 0.7% is “rounded UP” to 1%. That’s not what was said.

    “In other words, you can round it down to zero.”

    Rounded DOWN, 0.7% would be 0%.

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