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We’ve heard about what the Democrats want in terms of new gun control laws ad nauseum. And to be honest, I’m not that impressed. In fact the proposals – whether in Congress or individual states –  show a fundamental lack of understanding of these things called “facts” and “studies” and that old document knows as the Constitution. But for those who understand and support the Second Amendment, what, if anything, is on their wish list of gun control legislation? Well, here’s my list of changes that can work and might have a snowball’s chance in hell of passing . . .

1. Legalize Marijuana

I worked for a while as a contractor for DHS doing risk analysis for terrorism and transnational crime which includes drug importation. And based on my experience, I can’t see a single damned reason why marijuana needs to be criminalized. In fact, based on my experience the legalization of marijuana would reduce crime and drug-related violence. After all, a large majority of “gun violence” is drug-related and going after the underlying cause of that makes more sense than going after the implements used to facilitate those crimes. And, if legalized, the Linux techs at my day job would be able to light up without fear of prosecution.

2. Improved Background Checks

Didn’t expect that one, did you?

I’ve always said that my personal belief is that fundamental rights are fundamental and not to be infringed . . . right up until you’ve proven that you can’t be trusted with those rights. And part of that belief is that background checks should be an effective means to filter out violent felons and others who have proven that they can’t be trusted with firearms.

By “improved” I mean increased funding for the NICS system to allow it to process more applications more quickly. And making sure the current information requested by the FBI from the states is actually being included in the database.

Part of that improvement is also removing some of the more laughable restrictions. Like habitual illegal drug use, since just because you use illegal drugs doesn’t automatically make you a violent criminal. In fact I’m pretty sure most people on drugs are incapable of maintaining a patent airway much less stabbing me, a concept I base on my years as an EMT.

Another part of improving the NICS system is giving people a clear and simple mechanism for the complete restoration of their firearms rights and getting off the list permanently. If an impartial judge or panel of some sort says you’re not a threat, you should have all rights and privileges immediately restored. Even domestic violence charges or restraining orders should be able to be expunged as far as NICS is concerned — I know way too many people that have had some terrible divorces who now can’t own guns because of trumped up charges that their ex-wives made up to get their money. In short, no matter what its been said you have done, it shouldn’t be permanent.

While improved background checks are something I would support, mandatory background checks for face to face sales are NOT. The commerce clause of the constitution doesn’t extend that far, so I object on a Constitutional basis. But even further than that, I have serious issues with how such a thing would be implemented.

Would you require going through an FFL, which would be a backdoor registry? What about a phone system – how do you keep anyone and everyone from abusing it and running a NCIS check on your mailman? Right now, it just seems wide open for abuse and not possible to implement in a way that wouldn’t stretch the constitution to the breaking point.

3. Tighter Penalties for Straw Purchasers

Hand in hand with background checks is making it a more serious offense to buy a gun for someone you know is a criminal and unable to purchase a gun on their own. According to a recent DOJ memo, something like 45%+ of guns used in crime are straw purchases, so cutting off that flow with higher (and federal) penalties is something I can get behind.

If you knowingly provide a gun to a criminal, you should not only be charged as an accomplice but also charged with every crime they commit — in the same way that any death as a result of the commission of a felony is considered murder (even if it’s your partner who was shot by a homeowner), the people that supply the guns should be held accountable.

4. Enforce of Existing Laws

It’s hard to support any new gun control laws when existing laws aren’t even being enforced. Straw purchasing doesn’t carry as terrible a punishment as it should. And while drug possession is treated as if you just stabbed the president’s dog, illegal gun possession by a prohibited person doesn’t seem to warrant the same response.

The criminal code of the United States is already confusing enough. It doesn’t make sense to add still more confusing laws that only impact law abiding citizens before enforcing those we already have.

5. Silencers should only require a NICS check, not NFA registration

Silencers are virtually never used in the commission of a crime, legal silencers even more rarely. Suppressors are safety devices that should be available in every gun store and offered as an accessory to every firearm. This is one of the things that England actually managed to get right, and I’m surprised that the same people that idolize their firearms policies over here don’t latch onto this one as well.

I’m actually of the opinion that the entire National Firearms Act needs to be scaled back, but one thing at a time. I like being able to play the violin. I like my perfect pitch just the way it is. And gun ranges aren’t helping any right now.

6. NFA Branch at ATF should keep all its revenue . . . and hire more people

Right now, that $200 you send along with the ATF NFA paperwork doesn’t go to the ATF — it goes to the general fund pool. And then the ATF has to beg Congress for funding. At this point the 6 – 9 month wait for NFA items is a bigger roadblock for people than the $200 sin tax on the items themselves, which makes no sense. If you send in money that’s ostensibly to fund the system, it should actually go to fund the system.

Then again, the NFA is most definitely unconstitutional and should be abolished, but thanks to a crappy case before the Supreme Court it has passed scrutiny. So it’s a terrible fact of life right now.

7. The ATF should be rolled into the FBI

There’s an awful lot of redundancy in the U.S. government. It can do with a bit of streamlining and the ATF is one of those areas. Since the FBI is the federal organization in charge of fighting crime in the United States, it makes sense to concentrate those efforts into a single entity that can do that as efficiently and cheaply as possible. Aren’t we looking for ways to save money these days?

8. National Concealed Carry

I’m not opposed to concealed carry permits. Tyler keeps trying to get me on the side of constitutional carry, and while I understand the argument, I disagree. If the right to “keep” arms can be subject to background checks then the right to “bear” them can be subject to no more or less scrutiny.

When you’re on your own property I don’t care if you have a permit or not, but when you venture out into public, I believe that the need for public safety is high enough to warrant some verification. Verification, not hoop jumping. What I’m opposed to are onerous requirements and “may issue” states.

A simple background check is all that should be required to get a permit anywhere in the nation that’s good for use everywhere in the nation, like how Pennsylvania does it right now. It should be the same standard across the nation, with full reciprocity and national preemption. My right to bear arms shouldn’t depend on how nice the local attorney general is feeling.

These are some concrete, er, common sense proposals that would keep more guns out of the hands of criminals as well as reducing violent crime while not infringing on the civil rights of citizens. In the opinion of this Democrat, at least.

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  1. “NCIS system”
    It’s NICS.

    “Like habitual illegal drug use, since just because you use illegal drugs doesn’t automatically make you a violent criminal.”
    The thinking is that an addict is likely to do crazy shit for money, including using their firearm to rob from others.

    “Enforce of Existing Laws”
    Typo, bro.

      • “The Science of Marijuana (2008)” by Leslie L. Iverson (probably the most unbiased book ever written on the subject) shows that around 10% of marijuana users will develop a habit bad enough to effect their work and relationships. Also many more people will become dependent on it for social or relaxations reasons( I attribute these as a habit more than an addiction). These numbers are clearly lower than any other major drug but the fact remains, pot is addictive.

        • A habit is not physical addiction. According to your rationale, we should criminalize everything that can become a bad habit – fast food/junk food, the Internet, video games, reading, sex. Almost anything can be “abused” or over used to such an extent as to clearly be the result of bad choices and inevitable consequences.

          You’re talking about life. For every opportunity in life there is risk. Making those life choices and dealing with the consequences, both good and bad, is what it means to be free.

        • Is that “habit” actual physical dependancy/addiction, or simple psychological addiction? Yes, they’re very different things.

          Gripping hand, we only need to look at the debacle of alcohol prohibition to see oth pre- and post-ban results.

        • I never heard of anyone who commits crimes to get money to buy weed. Either you believe in individual liberty or you don’t.

        • Phydeaux,

          I made a bad choice of words for the first part which according to the book is an addiction. The second part would be more of the habit. Now I am no scientist and I know most of the “common knowledge” regarding negative effects of it are greatly exaggerated, but this book did a good job about weeding out some of the misinformation. For the majority of people, an addiction will never develop(less than 10 percent) But for the majority of smokers(32 percent) herion users(23) and alcohol(15) users will never become addicted either and al these are considered highly addictive drugs. Just because the number that will become addicted is small doesn’t make the drug not addictive. By the way, I fully support the legalization of marijuana for recreational use. Though i do not (and will not if it become legal) use myself, I see no reason to actually make it illegal. I just think it does everyone an injustice when misinformation is constantly quoted.

        • The article tackled marijuana and other illegal drugs separately, so the posters point about illegal drug use relates to more than just marijuana. Things such as heroin, krack, meth, etc.. That is a more challenging issue than marijuana, but since they will only deny on those grounds if you say yes it’s not like there is much point. Unless they do find out other ways, such as medical records where drug dependency was put down as a diagnoses.

  2. Grabbers love to tout gun control as public safety measures, but making suppressors accessible would do more to make guns safer than any of the unconstitutional laws they support.
    But of course these assholes have no experience with firearms and get most of their gun “knowledge” from movies and a biased news media.

    • Maybe a law to require where the movie or TV program were made to abide by the guns laws of that area. It seems to me I see many of these laws have exemptions to allow these weapons to be used for filming much like the exemptions for LEOs. Or better yet a disclaimer that runs at the bottom stating that laws were being broken. Much like a car commercial when driving reckless says “Closed course. Stunt driver. Do not attempt.” Sheeple would get the idea how many gun laws are really out there.

      Maybe we can get Hollywood to bocott filming in New York, Chicago, California, Etc. and move their production to Texas, Utah, Arizona, Etc. [sarcasm]

      Actully on a serious note it has been hard for me to watch action movies lately. I have this thought in the back of my mind that “this movie is just feeding the anti-gun people with unrealistic idea of how guns work” The movies are just not as enjoyable now. Or maybe its just me………

      • Actually, in NY they use mostly hand-crafted copies that fire a miniature blank round. The it’s too legally difficult to get real guns and then install a permanent BFA. had an article on it a while back.

    • I completely DISagree with any gun control “reform”. I am 100% on board with following the rule of law, embracing the Bill Of Rights, and completely scrapping every-single-bit of gun control, for the rubbish it is. “…the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”. If you look very, very carefully, there are NO footnotes. There are NO exceptions. There are NO limitations. “…the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” PERIOD I don’t need a backgrouond check, for freedom of speech. Hell, we don’t even ID people for the right to vote. So, DO NOT propose to me, the idea of background checks being neccesary, for me exercising my right to keep and carry a weapon of my choosing. If you don’t like the idea of violent felons having firearms, then do two things… 1)arm yourself 2)make sure the violent felon stays in jail until he is no longer violent. If you’re not going to enforce the existing laws, you have no business creating new ones. Prohibition has never worked, just as socialism has never worked (despite the fact that the mentally deficient will insist we keep on trying). Scrap the ATF, don’t roll them into the FBI. Yes, we have redundancy, so let’s not lend it a helping hand. In fact, let’s disband DHS & DEA, along with about two dozen other federal agencies (to start with). We have U.S Marshals, and the FBI. Customs, Border Patrol, and INS/ICE all have to deal with stuff coming over our borders (or should have come through regulated checkpoints, anyway), so they could be bundled. Get rid of all the others. NFA ’34 was/is unconstitutional. Not just some parts of it… ALL OF IT. GCA ’68, same thing. FOPA ’86, same thing. AWB ’93, same thing. Anyone arrested/jailed for any of these should be released this afternoon, and given an deep apology. Anyone who voted for, or signed those laws, should be taking their places. Anyone writing/signing NEW “law” regarding gun control, should be deported… into space. You have the right to want gun control. You have the right to bitch about it. You DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO IMPLEMENT IT, or even try to. You DO have the right to move to a country that does, and therefore be comfortable in your own little utopias (good luck & good riddance). If YOU are uncomfortable with MY FREEDOM, then by all means… please stay away from me. However, if you attempt to rob me of my freedom, you do not represent me, and are now my enemy (by YOUR choice, not mine, since I did not ASK for shackles). Especially, if you propose a law that will be imposed upon me, but not you (or any other person, no matter the excuse). I am tired of reading the comments after articles, and scanning through the “puffy-chested” blathering. I’ve been to protests/rallys, and read forums, where countless contributors go on-and-on about how they will fight if their rights are infringed. I have a tiny little secret for you… They have been. Where was your lip service in 1993? 1986? These douchetards wearing the brand of Democrat and Republican, have nothing to do with my interests/freedoms. VOTE THEM ALL OUT, and start over. Clean house, people. Do not vote for ANY incumbant, because they didn’t fix it the first time.

      -soapbox dismounted

  3. I don’t object to legalizing certain drugs, however the addicts I know have money issues not supply issues. Maybe in larger Urban areas (Chicago) and where the cartels are big, it might help. Although I thought they prefer stronger stuff than marijuana.

    • There’s a huge difference between addicts and habitual users. People may become habituated to using marijuana, but actual addiction? Not so much.

    • You’re thinking about the background check as a pre-emptive measure. Addicts have rights too. Its only when they prove that they will use guns to rob people that the background check should stop them.

      Innocent until proven guilty, man.

      • But, you are advocating a STRONGER background check system. Even after we caved, compromised and gave into the anti freedom crowd’s background check in the first place. Now these people, and you evidently, are saying it needs to be yet more stringent. Enough will NEVER be enough for the collectivists.

    • most recovering addicts would say that their drug of choice is “MORE”.

      saying marijuana is not addictive is completely untrue. shopping, sex, video games, work, etc. If it’s making your life completely unmanageable, you are probably an addict. Whatever the substance.

    • The problem is that the bulk of people that want these drugs legalized desire it because they want the government to allow them to get high, not because they find it preposterous for government to be prohibiting inanimate objects.

      It has nothing to do with freedom and everything to do with soma. They want us all to be high as a kite so we never bother to question how much government is overstepping its bounds.

  4. Works for me.

    It is absolutely possible to design a private-transfer system for NICS which maintains privacy and protects against abuses, but that’s a subject for a longer write up than is appropriate for the comments.

  5. here is what is on my wish list: more funding to improve schools in inner cities and reduce crime. Crime causes violence – either with a gun, knife, club, or fists. There is a direct and obvious correlation between youth unemployment and crime (and therefore homicide).

    A lot of these so-called studies come from the Violence Policy Center whose goal is to ban guns and fund studies that purportedly show that crime does not cause homicides. Really? then why is the statewide correlation of homicide with robbery, burglary, and other crime statistics, so high? duh.

    • There’s nothing resembling a magic wand for improving schools, inner city or the rest of them, I’m afraid. It’s a nice sentiment, but a sentiment only.
      How can we even HOPE for any improvement when teachers are dumbed down and taught the crap they’re taught? They’re just passing it along.

      That said, I do believe folks are responsible for their own education. If you’re being taught junk, you’ve got a lot of work outside of school to get up to speed.

      For everything I learned in school, I learned dozens of things in other ways, doing my research, finding good sources. It can be done, and it’s done all the time. Just not often enough.

      • I think that if you want to improve schools the way to start is to get rid of the Federal Department of Education and return control of the schools to the local communities. This would be a step in the right direction.

      • Abolish the ATF, not expand it. Prove the instant check system records are being destroyed. Eliminate the public school system and the heinous property taxes. which would allow people to keep more of their money and select a private school of their choice. I agree with the silencers, they should be perfectly legal. We could easily have Constitutional carry IF gun classes were taught in high school like they used to be. Repeal some, or most, of the 20,000 gun laws on the books and enforce the ones that will make a difference.
        It would seem you are still thinking like a statist, Nick.

    • The schools in the suburbs are typically good (my daughter goes to one and i think shes getting a better education than i did, and i had 12 years of private school). For a city resident who can afford it, the choice is move to the burbs or private school. Frankly, around here i think its the local school boards that are precisely the problem – too much bureaucracy, overly generous pensions that sucks student money, politics, and no accountability. It’s not the teachers. some principals and senior teachers in the burbs make 100k+, you don’t get that in the city (moreover, its dangerous). Money is always an issue since its funded with property taxes (which duh are low in the poor counties). I also think youth intervention programs like what they did in Minneapolis help. anything to keep them off the street.

      • They get their marching orders from the Dept. of Ed. I don’t have any school age children, but of my friend’s that do, every single one of them tells me their children are being programmed to accept the state as God. This is in the suburbs of Chicago.

        • I do have school age children who were in FL, GA and now OK and can assure you they are not being programmed to “accept the State as God”. Things must be a very different in Chicago. The only thing any of those school districts cared about in regards to the state is how much of their very limited funds would be cut yet again No 100K teachers either that I’ve seen. dwb is right, 10 cents on the educational dollar comes from the Federal Gov, the rest is funded from local and state. Tax base is the money trail.

          When we moved, we choose to buy in lower crime suburban/rural fringe areas with the best school districts since private school is not an option. Since we’re not rich and need public schools, it’s the best choice toward our kids’ education, general family safety and resale. Some cities just can’t compete with that.

  6. It would be nice to see the legal age to buy a handgun from an FFL lowered to 18 as well as the right to apply for a carry permit.

  7. In fact I’m pretty sure most people on drugs are incapable of maintaining a patent airway much less stabbing me, a concept I base on my years as an EMT

    If the above were true, they would cease to be anyones’ problem after 6 minutes.

    But usually that crowd is more interested in converting our guns into their drugs.
    So I would enhance the penalty for theft of a firearm to the point they would take my TV and leave my guns, tho the paranoids would still want the guns

  8. “In fact I’m pretty sure most people on drugs are incapable of maintaining a patent airway much less stabbing me, a concept I base on my years as an EMT.”

    No offense but please lose that mentality. I dont mean to insult you and I know you did say “most” but people in our proffesion can not afford to think like that, ever. Be safe brother.

    • Thankfully the vast and overwhelming OD calls we get are parents freaking out because their kids are stoned off their ass on pot. The actual OD calls are usually some kind of opiate (yay depressed CNS!) and its tons of fun to watch the narcan hit them like a ton of bricks. I have yet to have one of them try to stab me, but that’s why we roll with a PD escort when we do OD calls.

      • Oh narcan is an incredible thing indeed. I’m hoping they add it to the EMT scope here in TN soon. By then Ill probably be a medic or RN though.

        In 11 years I have been kicked in the face but otherwise nothing more than wrestled with patients. We must always be vigilant though.

    • I have to agree with In Memphis – it kinda depends on ‘what’ drugs we are talking about.

      A duster, LSD tripper, or coke psychosis is a far different animal than a pothead, shroomer, xanax abuser, or even alcohol poisoning.

      Regardless, EMTs are like everybody else and have an addiction rate. There’s (numerically) lots of them in the field with enough oxy-whatever in their system to drop a horse, yet they perform their duties. Not sanctioning, just observing.

  9. I’m down. Throw in a free t-shirt with every NICS background check and I’ll run for Senate just to vote for the Foghorn plan.

  10. Stalin was reportedly the one who coined the phrase ‘political correctness’ saying that “we must be politically correct” based of course on his definition and power over the people. Obama, and his brood, seem to be increasingly using and taking ownership of the phase ‘common sense’. We’ve heard the gun grabbers claiming to own and define what is common sense gun control for months. Now, it is spreading to common sense pathway for immigrants to have citizenship. Immigrants in this context being illegal aliens. One reason Obama wants to make them citizens is because the illegals are generally a pro gun control culture. Once legal they can legally vote and they will vote in reps who push for entitlements, open borders, and yes new gun control laws.

    • From my observations you’re dead on except they’re hoping to change more than just the gun control vote. They’re hoping to do to the illegals what they’ve done with black Americans. Enslave them on welfare and have generations voting for them. Make them believe that they’re permanent victims of something and only the government can help them.

      • Agreed that they want to keep them tied to the Democrat Party on as much life support as possible. I don’t think the Democrats will be as successful, at least not in the same manner, as they have connected with blacks. One problem the Democrats have with the Hispanic culture is that the prevailing Democrat ideology is far more liberal in its social values.

  11. I have said this before.
    If they want some sort of national gun license, then we as law abiding gun owners would take a free or affordable class, get our license, like a FOID card, be able to carry concealed anywhere. Go into any gun shop in the nation and walk out with a gun. Period!
    Of course this destroys all of the commerce laws they have in place regulating our RIGHT to own certain types of firearms or accessories. It also kills all the local and state laws put in place to keep law abiding citizens from owning certain things. Personally I think it is a compromise I can live with.

  12. The Silencers should come with every firearm, like a muffler on every motor.
    You know however your common sence wont work on the antis.

  13. Eliminate the National Firearms Act of 1934 and the Gun Control Act of 1968. I also see no reason for background checks on suppressors. They’re useless without a firearm, and those are already covered. Otherwise, looks good to me.

  14. Pretty depressing coming from a gun rights guy. What you’ve described is a privilege to bear arms. Also, except for legalizing MJ, none of your proposals would do anything to reduce crime.

  15. Can you roll short barrel rifles and shotguns in with suppressors? Personally, I’ve wondered if we win a few more victories in the Supreme Court could be try and McDonald the NFA, at least for SBSs and SBRs. The logic over legal barrel length is as arbitrary as limited magazine capacity.

    • Theoretically, SBS’s/SBR’s were declared by McDonald (NFA) to be of no use to a militia because they were not in use by the military. I know that such a claim is patently false today (M26MASS, MK18, M4, MP5, SAW’s with 13″ bbl, etc.) so the restriction should be lifted. Also, a bit of a stretch, but the “common usage” in Heller could be combined with that to lift the restriction on FA.

      Just wishin’ and hopin’ over here. Carry on.

      • I don’t think you could completely overturn the NFA in a single case, nor would I want to. The political blowback of allowing civilains to buy full-auto would be huge. But SBSs are in common usage with civilian police depts across the country. But beyond that, the rate of NFA transfers of SBRs and SBSs has been going up in recent years. You can go to a lot of gunshows and see SBR/SBSs for sale from stores that will help you process the Form 4. They are, arguably becoming “common usage.”

        But the way I see it, bullpups have rendered the NFA obsolete. Why can I own an FS2000 thats 29″ long with a 17″ barrel but not an AR15 thats 29″ long with a 10.5″ barrel? A Benelli NOVA with a 14″ barrel is 9 inches longer than a Kel-Tec KSG, but the NOVA is NFA and the KSG is not. But ultimately, it comes down to: if I can buy a AR15 with an NICS check that has a 16″ barrel, why does taking 1.5″ off the end require me to get approval from the ATF? Either I can pass a background check for a semi auto center fire rifle, or I can’t. A few inches of steel tubing should not make a difference in legality.

        • I apologize if my post came across as contradictory. It wasn’t intended to be so. In fact, we agree that “a few inches of steel tubing should not make a difference in legality”.

          I’m unsure, however, of what political blowback there would be from unfettering access to fully automatic firearms. Unless you are referring to the negative blowback in the form of new goalposts that still require licensing and official approval of some form. As far as a SCOTUS case outlining that “arms” are weapons that are operated by one or two individuals (even crew-served MG’s are “arms” and can be easily operated by a single individual) and do not launch explosive projectiles and thus anything not excluded by that is legal for purchase…I don’t see that as a bad thing.

          Your mileage may vary and all that.

      • Theoretically, SBS’s/SBR’s were declared by McDonald (NFA) to be of no use to a militia because they were not in use by the military. I know that such a claim is patently false today (M26MASS, MK18, M4, MP5, SAW’s with 13″ bbl, etc.) so the restriction should be lifted.

        Are you thinking perhaps of Miller? Here’s the fun part (to me) about that case – it was never really finished.

        The Supremes held that the only reason Miller was in violation of the NFA was that the SBS he had was not a militia (military equivalent) weapon. They then sent the case back to the 9th circuit to be heard again. Which would have flipped that case right out the door – there was a WWI SBS trench clearer. Sadly, Miller himself was murdered before The Supremes even made their ruling, so the case was never heard again, and just got left dangling.

        By the standards of Miller many scholars will argue much of the NFA is irrelevant – if the military can have it, so can we.

        • Err…Miller would be the one. Got slightly muddled in my cases, thanks for the correction.

          On that note, I was unaware of those details regarding the case. I’ll take a look at it.

        • Badger 8-3,

          It’s easy to get them muddled. Especially for those of us who don’t get paid to argue them – myself included. There are tools to help…

          It’s a bit of reading, but it gives the actual ruling (IN ALL CAPS) and you can cruise back to the site for analysis. You don’t need to know it all, you just need to be aware that it happened and where to find it.

  16. Not sure about the marijuana suggestion, since I haven’t put much thought into it, so I defer on that item.

    Otherwise, I agree with all of your suggestions plus a necessary amendment to your national concealed carry suggestion would be uniform firearm laws for all 50 states. Without uniform firearm laws someone going through NY, CA MA etc. with a full double stack magazine, an “evil black rifle”, etcetera could get into big trouble.

  17. This is probably the first time I have heard someone say all the things I agree with. I would stand behind this 100%. FOGHORN FOR PRESIDENT!

  18. This article seems less libertarian than some of those from the past. 🙁

    While I agree with many ideas presented here, background checks don’t keep bad guys from getting weapons. Instead of tweaking a bad idea, why not get rid of it altogether?

  19. Very good points and some very reasonable ideas.

    I’d go further with drug legalization. Ending the war on drugs and focusing on the harmful effects would be ideal. Use the billions saved on the war on drugs and generated from taxation to fund increased DWI enforcement, police presence, etc. Increase punishments for people who actually do harm to others rather than filling our prisons with drug offenders. That possession with intent to distribute comes with longer jail sentences in many states than assault with a deadly weapon is absurd.

    One way to streamline a background check system is to offer a permit to purchase. Of course, these should be free, and involve a quick background check and fast turn around time, but such a system offers a middle ground between requiring background checks for private sales and having no requirements whatsoever. Of course, many states do the permit to purchase wrong, so these would have to be structured correctly to avoid infringing on rights. In essence though, they could simply function as a proof of passing a background check, reducing the need to run one every time.

  20. Although nitpicking is a TTAG specialty :-), I’m not going to nitpick this proposal. It actually all makes sense. The one point I would add is this: while I agree that NICS checks for casual sales should not be required, they should nevertheless be permitted. In other words, open up the NICS system to private sellers.

    I’ve never sold a gun to a stranger, and I won’t. Close friends and family, sure, but not strangers. The ethical and legal issues are too troublesome. However, I would sell to a stranger if I had personal access to the NICS system.

    IIRC, individual (non-FFL) access was actually proposed prior to the Brady bill’s enactment, but didn’t make it into the final law.

  21. I’ve always said that my personal belief is that fundamental rights are fundamental and not to be infringed . . . right up until you’ve proven that you can’t be trusted with those rights. And part of that belief is that background checks should be an effective means to filter out violent felons and others who have proven that they can’t be trusted with firearms.

    OK, so they’ve proven they are a danger to society – WHY THE HELL ARE YOU PUTTING THEM ON THE STREETS?! If someone is too dangerous to be trusted with a gun, then they are too dangerous to be around other people without extreme supervision. Keep proven to be dangerous people off the street (you already know who they are because as you said, they’ve already proven themselves to be dangerous and been arrested and convicted) and there is no need for background checks.

    • If we stop making every last thing a crime, this is actually somewhat feasible, too. How many things are illegal that really shouldn’t be? Let’s look hard at that and start thinking about how many of our laws are in there because of the “there oughta be a law” reflex.

  22. I’m not going to agree with your efforts of gun control. My idea of new legislation is to repeal the national firearms act and the gun control act. And every other law regarding weapons.

  23. I am never going to be on-board with background checks. No one should ever be permanently banned from owning a firearm. Committing a felony or misdemeanor domestic violence, is not even close to proof that you are a danger to society. The fact is, we have all committed felonies and everyone has most certainly committed misdemeanor domestic violence. And anyone who thinks they haven’t is simply ignorant, naive, or is just lying to themselves.

    • Yea, that’s just nonsense about domestic violence/felonies. Just looking at the legal definition shows that.

      Also background checks do not necessitate a lifetime ban, or which crimes ban one from owning a firearm. Note that these are two separate issues.

  24. Where was the violent gang crime before Prohibition? What gives the govt. the ability to say what you can or cannot ingest? My proposal is to eliminate all Federal gun laws except the 2nd Amendment. Restore freedom in this country by removing the govt. from everything they have no business being involved in. Eliminate the military except in times of actual war declared by the Congress. Which means the govt. wouldn’t be able to stick their noses in other countries business creating hard feelings. Eliminate all police or at the very least, remove all firearms from them. Let people take responsibility for themselves and their communities. It seemed to work before the Civil War when the govt. decided that might makes right. Frankly, if you eliminate all firearms laws the good will be responsible and the bad will be put on notice and my other proposals would eventually happen anyway.

  25. You forgot limiting the police to the same restrictions as private citizens. Also, I think the verification part should require a little more than a simple background check. A short safety demonstration and range qualification should be required. All carry permit applicants should be required to load, unload, holster, draw and shoot to a national minimal standard, and reholster without committing safety violations. Classes covering carry laws, armed defense laws, and the legal liabilities involved in defensive shootings are a great thing and should be discussed as a possible requirement.

    • A short safety demonstration and range qualification should be required. All carry permit applicants should be required to load, unload, holster, draw and shoot to a national minimal standard, and reholster without committing safety violations. Classes covering carry laws, armed defense laws, and the legal liabilities involved in defensive shootings are a great thing and should be discussed as a possible requirement.

      So you’re really not on board with the whole “shall not be infringed” thing. Got it. I guess then you’d also be in favor of taking a test to demonstrate knowledge of the Constitution, how our government functions, and US history in order to get a permit to vote. I’m sure you’d also be 100% on board with the idea of a very strict background check and home inspection to ensure there is no illegal activity before you get a permit to not have your person / vehicle / home searched without a warrant. Don’t forget mandatory parenting classes (including tests and psychological evaluations) every year in order to obtain / keep your permit to breed.

  26. What about a phone system – how do you keep anyone and everyone from abusing it and running a NCIS check on your mailman?

    Clearly the person on whom the background check is to be run would have to log on to the system first, and authenticate their identity. They could then receive some sort of authentication code, valid for one query within a limited timeframe. The person running the background check would use this code together with the subject’s name to retrieve the results of the background check, preferably a simple “yea” or “nay” for privacy reasons.

    I think if they set up a system like this, accessible for free, perhaps through a smartphone app, a lot of people would use it even on a voluntary basis. However, I doubt any effort is going to be made towards a system like this, because it would actually be about background checks and not about placing obstacles in the path of legitimate gun buyers.

    • because it would actually be about background checks and not about placing obstacles in the path of legitimate gun buyers.

      Uh, what about the fact that it would require any potential gun owner to register like a sex offender to just be able to purchase a gun (if they pass)?

  27. WA state and CO have already done #1. The sky hasn’t fallen yet.

    Hopefully more states follow suit, because it’s pretty much common knowledge that marijuana is the mostly widely used illegal drug and its sale is quite profitable. Tax and regulate the green.

    • During a debate on a pro-gun bill in the Ohio Senate in December, a Republican Senator pointed out that Ohio should revise it’s list of things that prevent you from getting a CCW permit since a simple misdemeanor marijuana possession conviction will stop you from getting a permit now that multiple states have marijuana either fully legalized or legalized for medical purposes.

  28. Nick, I’m feeling bad already, but I gotta cut ya down a few notches.

    Legalization of marijuana is a great idea. However we are fooling ourselves to think its going to end the cycle of gun violence in inner cities over drugs. The problem of gang bangers shooting each other has its roots in the failed liberal philosophy of the fatherless household. The drugs are simply the modern commodity of choice. Take away the illegal weed, and the bangers will shoot each other for cloned cell phones or some other illegal good.

    Expanding the background check system is a fools errand. Military and govt personnel with a Top Secret security clearance ensure the BG check to end all BG checks, full stop. We’re talking ten year address and job history, references, interviews with relatives and ex girlfriends, credit checks, criminal records search including sealed and expunged entries,and personal interviews. Guess what , all this gets repeated every FIVE years.
    Yet, Uncle Sam still has to arrest the occasional employee selling secrets to some foreign nation. If a BG check that detailed wont stop a scumbag from betraying the country, no Brady law is going to halt someone intent on a bigger crime of murder or assault.

    The point about the NFA I completely disagree with. The entire law needs to be repealed. Most people couldn’t afford to shoot a full auto gun, and history proves a trained shooter with a single shot is much deadlier then a panicky fool going cyclic. Bad guys wanting a full auto gun will illegally mod a semi auto, and I doubt the local Crips chapter has ATF stamps for their Uzis .

    Nationwide concealed carry ain’t gonna happen. I hate that fact too, but there’s too much of a cultural divergence in America today for that to work. Lets assume HR822 was signed into law. Bam, nationwide CCW. So now we can carry at the Sears Tower right?

    Not so fast. The antis are not going to just sulk as people carry pistols concealed all around them. Utopia demands all citizens be disarmed , and disarmed they will mandate. If nationwide CCW ever becomes law, states like CA and NJ will resort to insanity like banning holsters and mandating everyone file an itenerary with the cops before visiting- an itenerary which will take 6 months to approve of course.

    My take : we need to crawl before we can run. We need to ensure the gunny in New Jersey has the same rights as his brother citizen in Wyoming before we can even think about touching the above topics. As things are now, in ten years half of American states will have mutual CCW reciprocity and the other half will ban civil gun ownership totally.

  29. When drug rights activists stand up and say that banning an inanimate object, and legislating what substances people can put in their own body is lunacy, and actually mean it, then I’ll care.

    But as of now, they’re only giving lip service to liberty, and the same states that are legalizing marijuana are trying to ban guns. They don’t care about liberty. They want us all high on the Soma of the day so we don’t notice how much the government is overstepping it’s bounds.

  30. Considering 99 percent of “existing laws” regarding guns are unconstitutional infringements on the 2A, I don’t see how you can support enforcing them.

  31. eh…..

    not a whole lot on this list to disagree with, but I think when you start talking about legislating your way out of a problem (and this list could come off that way), you’re speaking the same language as the antis, just disagreeing on particulars.

    Repealing needs to be the focus, and the word “repeal” used frequently because it identifies the problem as too much legislation and not a lack of it or the need to tweak and fiddle with it till its just right.

  32. When I took my real estate test, had FBI background check and finger printed. then license was issued. One time, never had to have background check at every home sale or purchase. Don’t have to renew driver license every time I buy a new car. More people killed in car wrecks than killed by guns. So why is it I have to have background check every frigging time I purchase a gun?

    • This. I’m glad to go through a background check, but once I’ve passed, why do I need to do it again? If I haven’t had my license revoked, I should still be good to go. All it does is bog down the system more than it has to. If they checked out somebody once for a license the NICS system would be much faster, that immediately eliminates the possibility of registration as well.

  33. It’s distressing to see a dedicated pro-gun guy running an excellent web site get a bit wobbly and resort to some collectivist concepts in a hopeless attempt to be “reasonable”. Some of your ideas have merit though – let’s review….
    1/ Legalize Pot – I don’t know about this, the only effects of this stuff I’ve ever observed are talking dopey, eating lots of cookies and voting Democrat.
    2/ Improve Background Checks – Yes, of coarse, but do not make the mistake of supporting this as a proper function of the Federal Govt. This can only be authorized as a “police power” of the states. It can be run by the Feds but only on a voluntary basis with either states or individuals making what use they want of it. Don’t get me wrong I think it may well help and be approved by the Supremes but justifying this overreach of Federal power is unseemly for a gun-guy.
    3/ Straw Purchasers – This is a very good point but we must be careful not to cheer on what is often used as sleazy device to entrap the unwary and innocent.
    4/ Enforcing the Billions of Existing Gun Laws – Yes and No. Many of these are stupid, unfair and unconstitutional. Passing any more is, of coarse, uncalled for but – since many will be overturned by the Supremes anyway – calling for more enforcment is “iffy”.
    5/ Silencers and Such – Totally right, add a lot of other items also. The “bad stuff” on the NFA list was drawn at the time of Bonnie & Clyde robbing banks and sneaky assassins from God knows where threatening the American way of life. It’s largely out of date but, to give the ATF it’s due, many of these items are on the Curios and Relics list already and should be freed.
    6 & 7 – The trouble with these is that all income from all sources must go to the Treasury and be paid out from the same – it’s in the Constitution.As far as the ATF going to the FBI, who would control the Alcohol and Tobacco? The real deal with the NFA stuff is to drop all the nonsence about a “tax”, and reorganize the entire system to a simple registry of exceptionally dangerous items that may really need registration, relegate the Curios and Relics to a lessor standard and leave it at that.
    8/ National CCW – The Big One. Tempting as it is to have such a thing we must remember that at this time, with this political set-up it’s impossible in any case and will have a result in free states that you will not like. In any event I believe that in the upcoming Supreme Court cases Justice Scalia has signaled approval of “place limits” and this would be found a violation of state powers and unconstitutional.

    Forgive me if I have been critical, I see your heart is in the right place so please don’t be offended and please keep up the fine work and site you are maintaining. All the best.

  34. I totally disagree with Mr. Leghorn regarding background checks. If someone is walking the streets, there are three possibilities:
    (1) They are NOT criminals and have no criminal record.
    (2) They are criminals and have no criminal record.
    Background checks will do nothing because these people have no criminal record.
    – or –
    (3) They are released from prison for a previous conviction.
    If we do not trust these people to possess firearms, why are they walking out on the streets? They can harm good people just as easily with a match and a container of gasoline, a pipe, a knife, a car, etc. etc. etc. Of course a felon who wants to acquire a firearm can easily purchase one illegally or even make one with $20 in parts available at local hardware stores.

    Why apply resources on a system that will not stop anyone from acquiring firearms and/or harming others? Let’s use those resources to actually accomplish something.

    I also disagree about suppressors. Why do I need a government permission slip to purchase anything?

    And I disagree with concealed carry licenses for the exact same reasons as background checks. The only people that would not qualify for a concealed carry license are felons. And the same question applies, why are they walking the streets freely if we as a society do not trust them?

    Rather than all of this government oversight, licensing, and permission slips, simply prosecute people for harming others. For example, make it a felony if someone carries a firearm — concealed or openly — in the commission of a crime. Everything else is a waste of time, income, tax revenue, and man-hours and accomplishes nothing.

  35. I don’t get why you are against straw purchases if you’re not for background checks for face to face transfers. Couldn’t the straw purchase participants just have the “seller” take out an ad in backpage or guntrader and then do the deal and maintain plausible deniability. a mandatory background check is pretty much the only thing that makes straw purchases impossible to do legally.

  36. I disagree with Nick on almost all counts. There is only one legitimate law regarding firearms, and that is the 2nd amendment.

    If a violent felon is a danger to himself or others.. leave him in prison. Otherwise, once he enters society as a free man again, he has as much right as anybody else to the means of self defense.

    I do 100% agree on #1 though. Legalize marijuana. The drug war is responsible for 70% of the violent crimes in this nation. Simply legalize marijuana, and our crime rates will go down drastically almost overnight. There is zero reason, ZERO, to persist this needless stupidity over a plant.

  37. Legalize all drugs or it won’t matter – the violence and traffic shit towards what ever is in demand on the black market, hence you have to get rid of the black market, and that means broad legalization of all narcotics.

    • Broad legalization of all narcotics works for me. Many of those are addictive, dangerous drugs, but the government has absolutely no business “protecting us from ourselves.”

      The drug war, as an effort of preventing drug use, does far more harm than good. That goes for all drugs, not just marijuana.

  38. Although I tend to lean towards the “what part of ‘shall not be infringed’ don’t you understand?” side of things, you have given some food for thought. Permit me to suggest a modification to your #2. As an FFL, I’ve conducted numerous NICS checks, all by phone. Despite the recent increases in sales, all but twice the phone was answered on the first ring or two. One time I was placed in the queue for about two minutes; another time for 20. Bottom line: that part of the system seems to be working reasonably well.
    There are some changes that you might consider recommending. The first concerns record retention. The FFL selling or transferring a firearm must retain records for at least twenty years. If one goes out of business or changes licenses, then the records get sent to the ATF for custody. So, while the FBI NICS center must destroy their record of the background check within 24 hours, the reality is that the record must be retained pretty much indefinitely. Suggestion for minor modification: require the FFL to retain the record (“4473”) for a moderate amount of time (say five years) and then requiring that the records be destroyed prior to the sixth year. [Same restrictions of records held by the ATF.]
    Second, eliminate the “multiple sales” reports, requiring all prior reports to be destroyed. These are a de facto registration requirement.
    Thank you again for keeping the discussion going.

  39. Suppressors should not be allowed anywhere in the US. People can’t even lock their guns up properly, you think they will be any different?

  40. I apologize if some or all of this has been discussed already, but I don’t have time to read a few dozen pages of comments.

    1: I agree that there is no Constitutional basis for the federal laws outlawing intoxicating substances. Overturning these statutes will have both positive and negative effects, but on the whole, I believe that the negative aspects can be minimized by proper policies.

    That said, this is a matter of choosing our battles; Until we can convince the average U.S. citizen of the evils that drug prohibition has created, I think we’re better off sticking to guns.

    2: I agree that our current system of background checks needs improvement. The fact that I had to wait over an hour for a background check Friday night is proof. Most of that time was spent repeatedly dialing the number for the “instant” check system, and having the system constantly drop the calls due to high overall call volume. This is entirely unacceptable.

    There is no earthly reason why this should ever happen; A right delayed is a right denied.

    Personally, I agree with David Codrea: Anyone who cannot be trusted with a firearm cannot be trusted without a custodian. In short, if someone can’t be trusted with a gun, society should keep them sequestered (prison, asylum, etc.) from society as a whole.

    That said, if absolutely *must* have some sort of background check system, I believe it ought to be integrated into the driver’s license system as much as possible. Thus, whenever you go to the DMV to get or renew your DL/state ID, they run a background check. This will result in a standardized set of go/no-go icons being placed on drivers licenses (probably with some kind of opt-out).

    Thus, when you go go buy a gun, the seller (dealer or private individual) checks your Driver’s License, and can then proceed with the sale once he confirms the presence of the “go” icon. Some form of call-in system would probably also have to be maintained, mostly for those who opt-out, but having your check status on the card would greatly speed the process. If some form of additional verification is desired (therefore this step would not be required, but optional), the states could create databases that are publicly accessible from the internet: Enter the targeted DL number, some piece(s) of identifying info (name/issue date/expiration date/etc.), and see the current go/no-go status.

    3: I agree that purchasing a gun for someone you KNOW is a prohibited person (assuming we maintain the notion of “prohibited persons”) should have a strict penalties, we need to be very careful that the legislation in this area *only* targets such purchases.

    As the law is currently written, I can go into my local gun store and, using my own money, purchase a firearm for my father as a gift. I can then transport it to his location, and give it to him. This is entirely legal.

    However, the way the law is currently written, were my father to give me money and ask me to purchase a firearm for him, I would commit a felony if I actually did it.

    There are a multitude of legitimate reasons why one might want to enlist a third party to enable/expedite the purchase of a firearm, and the law needs to be carefully written so as to NOT prohibit such activity.

    4: Enforcement of current laws is absolutely abysmal; Laws should either be enforced or eliminated. Any middle ground is destructive to the rule of law, and by extension, society as a whole.

    5: Gun mufflers shouldn’t even require a background check; They’re just tubes with baffles. Laws restricting access to gun mufflers while mandating the use of vehicle engine mufflers illustrate the absolute bipolar stupidity of government regulation. Both are applications of a single patent, yet you risk being fined/jailed if you fail to use one, while you risk being fined/jailed if you use the other without special permission.

    Beyond that, the entire NFA procedure is antiquated; It dates to a time where background checks were time consuming, and your local constabulary knew you. Neither is generally the case anymore, and therefore the entire NFA system should be scrapped.

    6: There shouldn’t *be* any “NFA revenue” — It’s a tax to exercise a right. Much like poll taxes, the NFA tax is unconstitutional, and ought to be either repealed or overturned by the judiciary.

    7: The entire agency should be scrapped, and all employees immediately terminated. There is too much institutional corruption, and there ALWAYS has been. Current duties of the BATFE(ARBF) should be distributed to other federal, state, and local agencies, as appropriate.

    8: I agree that we ought to move to a national system of mandated carry reciprocity. There’s no reason why such a system couldn’t be based off the same DL go/no-go system as background checks.

  41. “A simple background check is all that should be required to get a permit anywhere in the nation that’s good for use everywhere in the nation, like how Pennsylvania does it right now.”

    I am going to disagree with that one point. I think you you should have to at least take some sort of test or training to make sure you know how to safely handle a firearm if you are going to carry in public. I have seen too many gun owners handle firearms in an unsafe manner and wouldn’t want them carrying without having that behavior corrected.


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