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The National Rifle Association’s public and ongoing acceptance of The Brady Bill’s provisions – specifically the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) – runs completely counter to the Second Amendment. What part of “shall not be infringed” does the NRA not understand?

That said, the NRA lives in the real world. They’re trying to hold the line against expanded background checks, a movement that just gained purchase in Oregon. The chances of repealing Brady at the federal level are somewhere between slim and none and slim just left town.

The NRA’s mantra: don’t expand background checks. Fix the current system. That’s like an anti-war organization saying don’t send more troops into Iraq. Let the ones who are already there sort out the Iraqi Army.

In both cases, success is both unquantified and highly unlikely (to say the least). More to the point, the option of expanding participation after the “fix” is left on the table.

I’m not the only one who sees the NRA’s stance on Brady as “problematic”. Over at thenewamerican.com, writer Joe Wolverton II (above) highlights the hypocrisy.

The National Rifle Association-Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) reported on May 6 that the North Carolina Sheriff’s Association (NCSA) is trying to scuttle House Bill 562 because of a provision in the measure that would repeal “the requirement that law-abiding citizens must obtain permission from their local sheriff before acquiring a handgun.” . . .

In the story reporting on the NCSA’s opposition to HB 562, the NRA-ILA distinguishes the North Carolina process of approving gun purchase from the one preferred by the NRA:

This antiquated and inefficient system has been in place for nearly a century and was enacted long before the age of computers and computerized records. Unfortunately, the NCSA has determined it would like to continue to use discretion to deny permits to purchase handguns, rather than simply use the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) utilized by the majority of other states.

In other words, while the NRA criticizes the North Carolina Sheriff’s Association for blocking the state bill that would end their current gun purchase approval system, the group has no problem perpetuating the federally mandated system.

Again, realpolitik. Why not beat back gun control with gun control – or anything else the NRA can lay its hands on? Because cognitive dissonance is dissonance. It’s makes it difficult for people to understand the NRA’s “true” position on gun rights. That they are inviolable.

Would the NRA lose ground in the court of public opinion if it came out against ALL background checks? Yes it would. Big style. But taking the longer view, how can the NRA promote the “proper” interpretation of “shall not be infringed” when they accept infringement?

I say go for it. You?

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310 COMMENTS

  1. The NRA picks their battles – thats all. They have finite resources and some fires should be put out before others (including the small ones).

    • …. and I’m okay with a national organization focusing on federal legislation. Nothing prevents a state organization from being just as effective on state level legislation other than their (lack of actively participating) membership.

      The NRA can do, and regularly does, all sorts of matching grants for so many small clubs and organizations.

      NRA works everywhere they are wanted.

    • As Heller and McDonald have shown, NRA has a poor judgment when it comes to picking the right battles. Not only they were opposed to both cases (esp. Heller), but they have actively intervened to derail Gura’s work in Heller.

      • Heller and McDonald were real, tangible risks to take to SCOTUS.

        If Roberts had flipped like he did on ObamaCare our rights TKABA would have been effectively *gone*.

        • You can’t win a war by evading all the battles on account of the risk.

          And look, I’d get it if NRA had simply stood aside from the case. But they didn’t. They actively intervened, to the point of actually making Gura’s job harder.

      • …and this selling-out-our-rights behavior is why I’ve never joined, and never will.

        Sorry NRA. I believe in the 2nd.

    • States with constitutional carry all rely on NICS. The premise, for now, is that if you can pass NICS there’s no reason you can’t carry open or concealed. I’ve been dealing with the absolute purists on this for 20 years. We nearly lost the 2A very gradually. We are taking it back a LOT faster now than we lost it but the political reality is that even our friends wet themselves at the thought of a roasting by the lib media. They are reluctant to loosen any laws lest they be called “tools of the gun lobby”.

      • Only 20 years? If we “purists” walked away from this little war of attrition and appeasement, I guarantee you that rights would be obliterated in this generation. It’s the hardcore that keep the fire going. Those who strategically work the battles are necessary. The “purists” are necessary for drive and vision. However, if only the purists remained we would have been through a war and issues would’ve been decided by now; one way or the other. The “rationalists” (for lack of a better term) temper the “purists” and the “purists” keep driving the “rationalists” from accepting less as good enough.

        • John, I think you have articulated your case well here:

          “The “purists” are necessary for drive and vision. However, if only the purists remained we would have been through a war and issues would’ve been decided by now; one way or the other. The “rationalists” (for lack of a better term) temper the “purists” and the “purists” keep driving the “rationalists” from accepting less as good enough.”

          “If only the purists remained . . . the issues would’ve been decided by now; one way or the other.” And, probably against the 2A. If you look at the polls with history you will see that back in the 1950’s and 1960’s public opinion against guns was pretty overwhelming. Bear in mind that this was the era of the Civil Rights movement with the threat of outbreak of violence looming over the country. There was nothing comparable to NICS at that time. The only means of distinguishing between the “black sheep” vs. the “white sheep” at that time was skin color; but, race was rapidly loosing ground as a means of rationing civil rights. So, the only “solution” seemed to be to withdraw 2A rights in a color-blind manner.
          Ironically, NICS has gotten us beyond this race-based discrimination of prohibited-persons. Now, we can argue that 2A rights are available – or withdrawn – based on objective criteria established by law. The pressure is off to try to control gun violence by withdrawing 2A rights from everyone regardless of skin color.

          “”The “purists” are necessary for drive and vision.” I agree, the purity of vision is important to inspiration and enthusiasm. What I would argue is that we should concentrate on “shall not be infringed”. Now, then, what is the meaning of “infringe”? Are serial numbers an infringement? Is licensing dealers an infringement? Is baring felons an infringement?
          Whichever existing/potential law we debate has some impact on our audience. They are either persuaded by our arguments; or, they are turned-off. If they trivialize our argument they will get turned-off and dismiss us as unworthy (irrational) debtors.
          Have we a shortage of egregious infringements? If we had nothing serious to complain about then we would be forced to abandon the debate or argue about the remaining infringement so of small import. But, such is not the case. We still have 10 States that more-or-less deny the Right-to-Carry; among other egregious issues.

          Moreover, we ought to argue that government is on a relentless quest to find novel ways to infringe on RKBA. A given objective regulation at one time might have NOT been an infringement; but, at a different time could represent a real threat. To illustrate, let’s imagine a law in the 18th century requiring militiamen to register their required gun and accessories. (This is hypothetical in the absence of makers’ marks and serial numbers at that time). Such a law might have been utilized as a means of enforcing contemporary laws to ensure that militiamen fulfilled their duty to keep arms. Would that have been an “infringement” upon the RKBA? Arguably not; no more than the the actual laws that militiamen muster with their arms and accessories for physical inspection.
          Advance the clock 100 or 200 years and contemplate a registration law. There is no longer a mandate for every man of militia age to keep a gun. There is blatant hostility by government to civilian arms ownership. The 20th century law is not to register ONE gun; it is to register ALL guns! Would such a law constitute an infringement?

          Clearly the hypothetical 18’th century registration law would have constituted little – if any – “infringement” whereas the 20th century registration law would have threatened obliteration of the RKBA. We need to reserve the right to apply proposed laws to contemporary circumstances and argue why they threaten “infringement”; or, do not rise to this level.

      • “States with constitutional carry all rely on NICS. ” What do you mean by this statement?

        My guess is that if a cop encounters a citizen with a gun (e.g., at a shooting or at a blandishment incident) the cop can run a check on the citizen. That check relies on NICS – or a LE equivalent of NICS – that will identify any prohibited-person record on file.

        If so, that makes sense. And, if so, it closes the gap between Shall-Issue vs. Constitutional Carry. In which case, we ought to be advertising this aspect of Constitutional-Carry.

        Moreover, it substantially guts the cost-of-NICS argument. The database underlying NICS must still be maintained for prohibited-person checks as well as every other purpose (e.g., a check for wants & warrants; priors that might be applicable to the current arrest such as burglaries when the guy under arrest is carrying a crowbar and screwdriver, etc.)

        John Lott has pointed-out that the NICS database is defective in delaying the response by a few days in a few percent of cases as well as returning a false-positive response in some cases. A gun carrier relying on Constitutional Carry is betting that he won’t fall into either such category of delayed or false-positive cases. The gun carrier who voluntarily acquires a CWP from a Constitutional Carry State has considerable insurance that if a cop inquires after his prohibited-person status he won’t come-up with a delayed response or a false-positive response. Especially in a shooting incident, the ability to “instantly” show his CWP will establish that he is the “good-guy” in the incident and probably not the suspect.

        • “Moreover, it substantially guts the cost-of-NICS argument”

          I don’t think so. Of course the LE database has to be maintained, just as its equivalent did prior to NICS. But how much did it cost, and how much is it now costing to hook that up to a system accessible to thousands of requests simultaneously, 24/7, including the equipment required to be in hundreds of thousands of gun stores, which also has to be paid for. I’m guessing eliminating the requirement would save $billions and cost next to nothing. But I don’t know, I don’t even know where and how the costs are being hidden.

          • I don’t know what the costs are either; I’d like anybody to point me to any published figures.

            I work in the IT industry; particularly in data and in pretty large quantities of data.

            To populate a big complicated database (such as underlies NICS) is VERY expensive. No doubt about that. Yet, we seem to agree that building that database is deemed necessary to support other LE functions. What we are talking about is the marginal cost of fielding millions of inquiries from FFLs.

            The cost of making and accepting an inquiry, reading the database, and returning the result is pretty cheap. Recall the last time you called customer service from a mail-order company and asked a question about a prior purchase. You take for granted that the customer service rep can hit her database and get the result in a minute or less. If the private sector – merchants – can afford to make this technology available to their customer service reps it’s not unreasonable to suppose the Federal government could do it at just 3 times the price.

            I imagine that when I go to my neighborhood FFL that my query goes through untouched by human hands. My name is globally unique. My guess is that my NICS checks might cost the Feds $1. On the other hand, someone with a relatively common name must bring up several possible matches. A clerk must decide whether to clear or wait the clearance. Eventually, they have to decide whether to clear or stop or just time-out. These must be expensive because at least one and possibly several people have to look at the goodness-of-match and make a decision. What’s the weighted-average of the automated clearances and the manually reviewed inquiries? We just don’t know.

            Even so, whatever the cost, I really doubt that voters will care. The voters tolerate far more egregious government expenditures without a peep. No matter what facts we bring to the attention of the voters, the feel-good aspects of NICS checks will probably “really feel” like it’s worth-while.

      • “States with constitutional carry all rely on NICS. The premise, for now, is that if you can pass NICS there’s no reason you can’t carry open or concealed.”

        Umm, no. Not at all. There’s absolutely no way to tell whether any given person walking around with a holstered firearm could pass NICS without obtaining identifying information about that person and running a NICS check. Which isn’t done. There are, no doubt, people walking around with openly carried firearms in constitutional carry states who could not pass a NICS check, and they will never be discovered short of committing a crime or otherwise drawing the attention of the government. Which doesn’t mean constitutional carry is bad, I actually favor it. But it does mean that constitutional carry is essentially unrelated to NICS.

        NICS is about whether you may lawfully purchase a firearm from a dealer (and in some states whether you may lawfully purchase from a private party). Constitutionally carry is about whether you need a permission slip from the government to bear arms in public (however you may have obtained them, via NICS check or otherwise).

        • I share the interest in the quoted remark. What does it mean?

          It’s clearly the case that OCiers who are not detained/arrested are unlikely to be BC’ed by a NICS or NICS-like check. One plausible exception to that assumption would be an OCier who is “known to the police”. Perhaps the guy has been stopped for speeding several times; or, arrested for bar-fighting. Clearly, nothing would stop a curious cop from calling his dispatcher and ask him to run a BC on “Joe Schmoe” whose identifying details should be on-file in the local police archives.

          Apart from that exception, an OCier would not be BC’ed unless-and-until he is detained or arrested; hopefully on a bona fide pretext.

          So, for example, suppose an OCier is stopped on a routine traffic stop. His OC’ed gun is apt to be noticed by the cop peering into the car. (In a State where a carrier is obliged to disclose he is carrying when detained by the police, he would be legally-bound to disclose that he is carrying if the OCied gun has not been noticed by the cop.) Thereupon, the cop could very well run a BC on the carrier while running a check on the motorist’s traffic record.

          When Walking-while-OCing, a cop could detain an OCier and open a conversation about guns or any other topic of interest. In the course of that conversation he might ask the OCier to show his ID. In some States, the pedestrian may be obliged to produce ID or declare his name, birth date, and residence. In other States, he may have no obligation to do so but might volunteer his identification. The cop needn’t carry on the detention beyond discovering the OCier’s identity. Thereafter, he might run a BC while observing the OCier’s direction of travel.

          All in all, it would seem to be imprudent for a prohibited-person to practice OCing in a Constitutional-Carry State. It would be far more prudent for a prohibited-person to CC.

          I imagine that LEOs don’t use NICS – per se – to BC their “customers”. NICS returns some results that are not relevant to normal police work (e.g., that a person has renounced his US citizenship) and does NOT return results that LEOs need in detail; e.g., wants & warrants; misdemeanors; arrests where charges were not pursued. Whether the channel of inquiry is Brady-Bill’s NICS or a different channel, both rely on substantially the same underlying databases.

  2. I say that recent history has been a repetitive pattern of the right trying not to lose too badly, and the left winning a little here and a little more there. Someone said that there is no victory in defense, and they were right. We aren’t winning, we’re just losing more slowly. In accepting licensed concealed carry, we did what we always do, compromise principle (NOT be infringed) in favor of infringed a little less, and by so doing, we ratified the notion that infringement is fine as long as it isn’t too much. Won a little, lost a lot.

    Political pragmatists insist that we have to take what we can get. Is there a time to take what is ours? George Washington didn’t freeze his ass off at Valley Forge for this. We will find out soon enough who is willing to risk a little something. We got this country by way of real men putting their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor on the line. Wonder who will do that now?

    • “Political pragmatists insist that we have to take what we can get.”

      The problem there is that we aren’t “taking what we can get”, THEY are – WE are simply keeping what’s left.

    • We have too many people being happy to drink the government kool-aid and swim in the warm brown 22 goo coming out of the government uranus. More people have to realize that state, federal, local, it is all government and it all sucks.

        • Correct. But I was trying to combine Brown 25 with Catch 22, so I invented Brown 22 from the Government agency Uranus. When you don’t know where you are, look up Uranus.

      • Well, you could always move to someplace that has effectively no government. Waziristan or Somalia, for example.

        I feel a little out of touch with this latest wave of ignorant blind hatred towards government, any government.

        Life with NO government is nasty, brutish, and short.

        I would much prefer for people to use their brains and come up with specific policy proposals to curtail government over-reach – such as “no charges, no asset forfeiture” and “get a warrant before wiretapping” – than childish nonsense about “goo” coming from anuses.

        it makes you look stupid and irresponsible.

        • Well, you could always move to someplace that has effectively no government. Waziristan or Somalia, for example.

          You could always move to North Korea. They seem to already have the government you want.

          I feel a little out of touch with this latest wave of ignorant blind hatred towards government, any government.

          Then you are completely out of touch with the founders of this nation and the notions upon which they founded it. They loathed government, any government, and intended to establish the very least amount of it possible. They also recognized the right of people to abolish their current form of government in favor of whatever form they desired or no government at all.

          Life with NO government is nasty, brutish, and short.

          Life with the wrong sort of government is nastier, more brutish, and one would wish it be shorter. There are enough statist dystopias in existence already. Why don’t you pay one a visit?

          I would much prefer for people to use their brains and come up with specific policy proposals to curtail government over-reach – such as “no charges, no asset forfeiture” and “get a warrant before wiretapping” – than childish nonsense about “goo” coming from anuses.

          It’s already been made the supreme law of the land; the Constitution of the United States of America. Relevant to the scope of this article, the 2A clearly states shall not be infringed. If our government won’t abide by that simple rule then it won’t abide by any other law when push comes to shove.

          • You broad statement that the founding fathers loathed government, any government is nonsense. You would have to be a complete simpleton to believe that all the people who would voluntarily travel long distances to participate and form something that they “loathed”.

            The founders were skeptical of government, but they didn’t hate it.

            I agree that government should be limited. But there is a whole lot of real estate between “everything the government does is either evil or incompetent” and supporting a totalitarian state.

            And that word you keep using – infringed -doesn’t mean what you think it does.

            • As to the meaning of infringed, yes it does mean what he thinks it does. Centuries of trying to redefine the term just haven’t worked.

              • the original meaning of infringe was to crush, defeat, break

                gun bans logically infringe because they defeat the RKBA.

                restrictive CCW permitting regimes logically infringe because they defeat the B in RKBA.

                waiting 15 minutes for a NICS doesn’t break, defeat or crush the RKBA.

              • I spoke the truth. Infringed, from a root meaning into fragments, does not mean broken the way you claim. It means it in the sense that not even a fragment shall be broken off.
                Pretty simple.

              • Latin definition for:
                infringo, infringere, infregi, infractus

                verb
                conjugation: 3rd conjugation
                Definitions:

                break, break off
                lessen, weaken, diminish, dishearten
                overcome, crush
                Age: In use throughout the ages/unknown

                a 15 minute NICS does NONE of these

              • Certainly it does. 15 minutes for some, days for others, false denials on some as well. All because of presumed guilt prior to exercising a right? Where is that justified in our laws?
                A right turned into privilege is no right at all. It has been said a right delayed is a right deprived.
                That would mean diminished at least, in reality more like destroyed.
                Even using your definition, it fits.

              • “where is that justified in our laws”? so, uh, WHAT!? whether you agree or not that the law is good, surely you already know the answer.

                And as for what constitutes an infringement, I didn’t see the words “anything that PaulG decides he doesn’t like” in the definitions of infringe.

                Your are confusing your personal preferences with constitutionality.

                and your comment about background checks comprising a presumption of guilt is illogical – a presumption of guilt would be a denial with no background check at all, making you go to court to prove your innocence.

              • Actually I have fully supported my conclusion. So have you, supported my conclusion, that is. Your take seems to be that the degree of infringement doesn’t count as an infringement. The same tack the courts have taken. Its called hypocrisy. You wear it well.

              • “. . . a 15 minute NICS does NONE of these” I agree; when a prompt “Proceed” response is received.

                Clearly, when a NICS check returns a No-Go on a prohibited person then it is NOT the NICS check that is in question; rather, our focus ought to be on the statute that makes the buyer a prohibited person. The applicable provision of the statute might be an “infringement” making that provision unconstitutional. But this does not implicate the NICS check system.

                When a NICS check returns a false-positive then that suggests a reasonable argument for an infringement. If false-positives had a material impact on the People’s access to the primary market in arms then that would be an infringement. Conversely, if rare, the argument would be diluted.

                With respect to those individuals given a false-positive response, it would be an infringement. So, let’s look at a single individual case. Might that individual be prevented from a hunting trip or a marksmanship competition? If so, would that be an infringement that rises to the level of a Constitutional violation of his rights? If it prevented him from mustering in the defense of a free state? Perhaps so; yet, if everyone else in his muster and other musters were unaffected, it’s hard to make a Constitutional case. Should it prevent her from defending herself in her home or on the streets; well, then, that would be worthy of a Constitutional debate. In the absence of some provision for immediate relief, I’d say we have a good argument. If the local constabulary or a judge could wave the positive NICS response, the problem would be substantially cured.

                Delayed responses are more troublesome. If the sale can’t proceed for 3 days then the NICS check could arguably be characterized as an unreasonable infringement. If the rate of such delayed responses is minuscule, then the infringement is minuscule. Conversely, if the rate were large then the infringement would be proportionately larger. E.g., suppose in the wake of the Ferguson riots NICS delayed ALL responses from Missouri; that would constitute infringement. We should be on-guard for any such possibility. We should seek a change in the law that would prohibit any such arbitrary No-Go responses

                We can raise legitimate objections to the way the NICS system operates; and we should certainly do so in the expectation that Congress SHOULD mitigate the adverse impact. We must be rational here. To the extent that NICS infringes, our objections are likely mostly curable via Congressional or DoJ changes. Once these are disposed of, we have to ask ourselves:
                – do there remain sufficient infringements worthy of complaint by us, the PotG?
                – would the uninterested voters agree that our remaining infringements do violence to the Constitution?
                We haven’t done the homework required to reach affirmative answers to both of these questions.

              • I agree with your post almost entirely, Mark.

                False positives should be a very rare event, and they should have ramifications for the agency that caused it. The prohibited persons laws should be based on very strict scrutiny.

        • @Aaron: Frankly, I stopped reading your last comment where you flew into gratuitous insults. There’s no need for it and no reason for me to read more. Knock yourself out writing more. Perhaps someone else will read it but I certainly won’t. 😉

    • Exactly. This is why I don’t support the NRA. Their focus should be on repealing the NFA and the GCA, starting with the restrictions on silencers.

      A Marksman was asked how he could hit small targets. He replied that the center a dime was the same size as the center of a wagon wheel. NRA needs to aim on the center of gun control’s basis.

  3. AARP – sliding communist
    Now the NRA sliding liberal

    bounce to GOA or let’s throw in the towel and do the whole Armageddon thing, if you think you’re ready.

    • Other than taking your money and filling your in box with spam, what has GOA done for you lately?

    • Bloomer has never heard of the GOA. I never see them doing much in Tallahassee when the legislature is in session. The Shall Issue movement caught traction following Florida in 1987, and the Castle Doctrines did as well following 2005. Those got a big push in Florida by the NRA and Unified Sportsman of Florida. I would prefer constitutional carry, but the 1987 changes along with FL 776.013 was quantum leaps ahead of 1986.

    • The GOA is nothing but the Pratt family employment agency. They have ZERO political clout and are willing to sing a tough guy no compromise song as long as they get some anti-NRA checks to cash while knowing that no one is listening to them or afraid of them.

  4. I’m a member of the NRA and Gun Owners of America, as well as a Front Line Defender member of the National Association of Gun Rights. We need them all.

    The NRA has the massive membership and political clout to fight gun control, and to a large degree they do. When they screw up by caving in to political deal brokering, organizations like the NAGR and GOA step in to keep them honest.

    Face it, we need to be united in our fight against fascism and the Liberal demagogues who use emotions and lies to sway the uninformed to further their own agendas. Is the NRA perfect? No. But it has power in Congress, and through it, we have power. Infighting among gun owners will only serve the interest of those who would be our masters in everything from gun control to sugared soft drinks..

    • I agree! There is nothing wrong with being in multiple organizations. I think everyone should be in at least 2 national and 1 or 2 regional/state level organization.

      • True, BlueBronco. I’m also a member of our state organization. We should always act locally whenever we can.

  5. Yes. I think that the NRA should arm all five million of its members, storm Washington, D.C., take over the US gummint by force and hoist the Gadsden flag over the Capitol.

    Which makes just as much sense as taking on the Brady Law now.

    • Yes. I think that the NRA should arm all five million of its members, storm Washington, D.C., take over the US gummint by force and hoist the Gadsden flag over the Capitol.
      I have a dream……

      • Maybe GOA could charge in first with its 350,000 members and soften up the defenses.

  6. Robert,

    You must be a millennial that wasn’t around when FOPA went down, Herbert Walker’s crap, Clinton Ban, Brady Bill etc. The NICS systems’ short coming is the fact that guys like Loughner wasn’t in it. The current problem that you totally left out of the story is that Universal Checks is about private transfers and transfers among friends and family. Furthermore, most states don’t have a registration of firearms. The only southern state that does is N.C. for some weird reason. Nor do most states require a permission to purchase a gun. The movement the past few years by Bloomer et al. has been about closing up all those loopholes.

    Had the NRA not been doing battle, the Clinton Ban wouldn’t have had a sunset. Brady didn’t want an instant system, they wanted a long waiting period instead. Gun control was in place in many places when the NRA-ILA was formed in 1975 including your Texas.

    • Agreed. The NRA has done more for gun rights in the past 30 years than any other organization. Without them, we would have been sunk by now.

      • Are you sure? It was SAF that won Heller and McDonald, which is arguably worth more than everything else done wrt gun rights for the past 30 years combined.

        • Sorry, but Heller was a Cato Institute case started by Robert A. Levy. The SAF did a great job of jumping on board later and stealing the credit.

          • They started it, yes, but it was Gura who argued and won it before SCOTUS. And SAF, not NRA, took notice and hired him immediately after, and sponsored the second strike in McDonald. Seeing how Gura is still with SAF, I think it’s not unreasonable to count his personal victories in that way.

        • Heller effected D.C. and Illinois. It didn’t not cause a single change in the southern United States regarding gun ownership, ccw licenses etc.

          • Heller firmly and unambiguously, established, for the first time in judicial history, that 2A is an individual right. Without Heller there would be no McDonald. And even without McDonald, Heller put significant constraints on what can be done on federal level throughout the Union, regardless of state laws.

            • I didn’t dispute that. However, it didn’t effect the change in the south like you think. For example, shall issue in Florida 1987 had a bigger impact in The South than Heller has. The Castle Doctrine was pretty big in 2005 as well. Don’t forget the SCOTUS rulings against the Brady Bunch in the late 1990s either. Heller is big, but it is only a partial victory. Heller stopped way the hell short is why it didn’t impact The South.

      • According to _the NRA_, the NRA has done more for gun rights in the last 30 years than any other organization.

        • We join some groups to go to court. We join some groups to lobby. It is called division of labor. It is a very modern capitalist concept.Only about 300 years old.

    • +2. Thank you. One thing I notice about internet forums is there is a lot of opinion asserted as fact, without linkage, which would make it so much easier to tell if the fact is true or not.

      I’m a noob to the in’s and out’s of gun law, so I really appreciate it when someone can summarize history with relevant references. In case anyone is interested, there is a scholarly review of the CCW movements history of successes, written by a Professor Patrick, now out in kindle format at Amazon, that also contains a history of the NRA.
      http://www.amazon.com/Rise-Anti-Media-In-Forming-Americas-Concealed-ebook/dp/B00FX758S4

      What the NRA is really, really good at is lobbying, for individual gun owners, with dedicated staff in everyone of the 50 states, talking to state and federal legislators. If you know anything about politics, you know its local, its about alliances, bargaining, and compromises (ABC’s) and you don’t win them all.

      I am grateful for RF bringing up UBC, for the more I read, the more I realize its like a 3D chess game, as to fighting for our rights. You may not agree with every decision the NRA makes, but you can’t argue with its influence. I’m reminded of the signature line of Gene Hoffma, one of CGFs founders, who doesn’t always agree with NRA, and is partnered with SAF usually, on litigation, which is SAFs strong suit: Never, ever NOT contribute to the NRA.

      http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gene_Hoffman

      Point being, we 2A folk need to use ALL the tools in the toolbox.

  7. Yes they are, and have been on the side of every MAJOR anti gun bill to come down the pike. 1963 in the 20’s and so forth. Yes I am a life member of the NRA, so I do have the right to both mention it and complain about it. Not that non members do not have the right, they sure do.

    • Life member# 5062385, and I think you’re a “moby”

      As an actually voting member, you can influence where the organization goes. What I’ve seen is miles beyond where we were when I joined in the late 80’s.

      Where you might see what you’d consider to be an unseemly compromise, I see that as the NRA understanding “the art of the possible” and focusing on what they can actually get done, versus pie in the sky projects.

  8. Personally, I am torn about UBC. I can understand the argument that it leads to registration (which I already know, living in California), and it is true that it doesn’t keep the bad guys from obtaining firearms, but at the same time I am not overly fond of the idea of a convicted felon out on parole being able to waltz into a gun store and buy any gun off the shelf.

    In any event, the issue is not going to be resolved by any pending case, and to be fought, has to be fought a the federal level, probably through legislation and not litigation. the courts are likely look at it as a permissible, even if imperfect way of enforcing the federal laws prohibiting certain persons from possessing firearms, and that this will pass strict scrutiny. I think it is highly unlikely that the courts will find the possession limitations as violating the Second Amendment; to do so would have to affirm that felons and homicidal psychopaths have an inalenable right to keep and bear arms, and that is just not going to happen.

    • I agree with your strategic assessment. SCOTUS can only fix what has been brought before them, and in the current environment of lower courts filled with Clinton, and now Obama appointees, counting on an originalst vs judicial activist battle of ideas is a crap shoot at best.

      Now is the time to elect a 2A friedly POTUS, and hold the majorities we elected to Congress to their promises. That is pretty simple, but requires walking the walk. Ourselves to the polls, helping get out the vote by others who agree, knocking on neighbors doors, talking on phone, writing on social media, etc.

      And contributing to organizations that leverage our donations.

      If there is any doubt in your minf that the left-progresive wing of the Democrats are not “doubling down, to push tbrough the resistance” (Alinsky) and are doing the exact same, and more, abusing Executive Authority, teamed with cynical propagandists at the Reliable Party Organs, with the same “ends justify the means” (V.I. Lenin) morality that informs those Elites,

      Well, then you haven’t been paying attention.
      So, the bottomline here is talk is cheap, especially on anonymous forums.

      • I’m waiting for a presidential candidate to promise to repeal each and every executive order by issued by B.O. during the first 15 minutes he/she is president, then being open to reconsidering them one at a time in case some portion is useful.

    • UBC accomplishes nothing. Instead, how about preventing those convicted felons from waltzing into a gun store and buying anything on the shelves by making it ILLEGAL!? Not for the gun store, but for the FELON! Right now, the gun store could be forced out of business, perhaps personnel being judged felons, going to jail, etc, we all pay added costs and complexity, and nothing whatever happens to a felon attempting to buy a gun. Does no one see that is backwards? The laws should inconvenience the criminal and leave the rest of us alone, not the other way around. After one attempt, a prohibited person should be prevented from walking into a gun store for a decade, by the steel bars which keep him inside the concrete building, with all the personal protection a force of armed men can provide.

  9. Yes, let’s all turn on eachother. That’s one sure fire way to beat the antis. No, the NRA isn’t perfect, but they win, and because of them we’ve been winning more than losing lately, for the first time ever. Without the NRA none of us would be gun owners right now, and the second amendment would’ve been full on repealed already. Yes, we need to play offense, but that doesn’t mean charging across 500 meters of open field while the Army of the Potomac has the high ground and more canister shot than the Army of Northern Virginia would ever see.

  10. I tend to think you are more likely to get to “shal not be infringed” from “Infringed all the time by everybody” by starting with a shift towards “shal not be seriously infringed” , then “shal not be majorly inconvenienced” and so on… then people see that the sky doesn’t fall and there isn’t blood running in the streets (see gradual expansion of CWP in states both licensed and unlicensed for a decent result of the to that strategy).

    Personally I would rather see a gradual and slow expansion with lower risk of major setbacks than push too far too hard, with higher risk of major setbacks/major expenditure of effort and wealth for no results. Money and time is finite for all of us and from an emotional standpoint it is easier to stay excited when you have a series of small win/loss with a net trend towards win than it is after a major defeat.

    the terribly difficult part is knowing before the end of the day where the spots in the risk – reward curve end up resulting in ling term defeat rather than victory… I fear that UBC’s may be one of those regions where we would be better off attacking other sides of gun control to avoid/reverse some of the culture destruction in many of the worse off states (well and mitigating the worst impact of them in the border states) rather than attacking them directly….

  11. The NRA’s mantra… don’t tell me, let me guess…

    Is it “Hold the line where the last Progressive Statist drew it”, or is it
    “Strictly enforce existing infringements” ?

  12. If the NRA were saying something like: “They wanted to do X, Y, and Z, and we got them to only do Z and even there we made Z less obnoxious than it would have been, we ended up with Z-prime which sucks less than Z would have,” I’d be fine with that.

    (And yea verily, instacheck, even when backlogged, beats hell out of gratuitous two week waiting periods.)

    Many people who have commented so far seem to think that’s what the NRA is doing.

    What I’ve seen from them, instead, is proud support for Z as if it were their idea, and an insistence that it needs to be followed faithfully before considering any more gun laws. I agree that we shouldn’t consider any more gun laws; I disagree MIGHTILY with NRA’s caveat to that statement. We shouldn’t consider more gun laws; we shouldn’t consider more gun laws even if instacheck is followed rigorously and bad guys still continue to evade it.

    Further evidence of this mentality: NRA has adopted as a talking point “we don’t need more gun laws, we need to enforce the ones we already have.” The ones we already have are *wrong* and besides, they could use that same statement after the next slew of restrictions passes. It’s a “principled” stand of leave things exactly as they are because they are they way they are, and that stand will be problematic when things start to get worse again.

    In other words the NRA isn’t for repealing any of the shit we’ve already got. And once something new passes, the NRA seems to just shrug and say, “well, that’s what we’ve got now.” That’s not a principled organization, that’s part and parcel of the ratchet effect we’ve been dealing with.

  13. The arm-chair philosophers among us are not explaining how we could roll-back the FFL BC.

    We have a law defining classes of individuals who are prohibited persons. Some of us object – in principle – to prohibiting anyone from exercising 2A rights. Others of us – in principle – accept that some people can be prohibited, but would like to make some changes to the criteria. With respect to the objectors, here is the problem with NICS. The objectors wouldn’t have a problem with NICS if only the prohibited-persons law were repealed. Then NICS would be moot. So, objectors, tell us the political path to repealing the prohibited-persons law entirely.

    Assuming the objectors can’t tell us how to repeal the prohibited-persons law, we are living under that law. Probably, it is a law that most uninterested voters support. So, where we are is that we want to repeal the FFL NICS check.

    So, anti-NICS people, explain to us the political path to repealing the FFL NICS check. How do we package the argument – for uninterested voters – that we want criminals, crazies, etc. to be able to waltz into a friendly neighborhood FFL and waltz back out with a gun. How do we make uninterested voters really comfortable with this idea?

    Do you guys see that this is a pretty tough sell? Let’s grant that the FFL NICS check doesn’t accomplish anything. Let’s suppose that it really is an unconstitutional “infringement”. Still, we have to get a majority of voters uninterested in guns to get riled-up about our conclusions and write their Congress-critters asking them to repeal the FFL NICS check. How much of our political clout (which is pretty limited) do we want to spend pursuing this goal? Is this really the best use of our time and treasure?

    Some folks in our PotG community argue that the uninterested voter finds UBC to be a really appealing idea. We know better. We have to choose between two related battles:
    – how to eliminate FFL NICS checks; vs.
    – how to stop Bloomberg from writing a UBC bill that Congress might pass.
    While some of us are working on eliminating FFL NICS check these efforts aren’t being applied to stop UBC.

    So, what do we do? Assume that both UBC and FFL NICS checks are – philosophically – objectionable. We have a political problem. Shall we set ourselves up to losing on UBC in order to stand-our-ground on philosophical purity?

    • Very well said. I would add that even among the POTG the terminology can be confusing.
      When I read “universal background check” I interpret that as the FFL NICS, and the requirement to transfer all guns by way of FFL, as it is in CA, in order to be sure the buyer is not on the Federal NICS database, as a felon, crazy person, or DV. From what I’ve been told by those with experience in other states its pretty simple, and you cab get an answer in 15 minutes.

      The problem with assuming thats UBC is its not that simple. The State of CA has its own definition, and checking all those databases takes a lot longer (note, this is CA DOJs tech failure, and I am not defending it).

      And the States problem is like the Feds: GIGO. 40% of Californias prohibited persons list is just wrong, and despite spending $28 million robbed from DROS funds, to hire 48 new leos (26 of which changed to other jobs once they got hired), the State of CA is not close to fixing it, and is asking for more money.

      So, the first job is to define what background checks means, and whats needed to make what we have work, before piling on new laws.

      And that includes making the supposedlh private bound books of FFL records on guns bought and sold safe from government conversion to a national registry. That is the bogeyman at the end of the information collection process that gun rights people fear, for historical reasons, and rightfully so.

      And before we pretend non POTG are gonna understand all this, we POTG need to have a clear statement of what is what. I dont see that even at TTAG, under Facts About Guns, except for some of Bruce Kraffts stuff, but even that is too complicated for the average layperson…

      • “So, anti-NICS people, explain to us the political path to repealing the FFL NICS check”

        Demonstrate that it costs a fortune and accomplishes nothing. We are bombarded repeatedly with the wonderful benefits of denying 140 million firearm purchases each week, or whatever, and we all know those numbers are bogus, but no one explains to the casual observer WHY they are bogus. The denied/prohibited simply go buy a stolen gun on the street, causing the owner to have to buy another, insofar as preventing a criminal from obtaining a gun we have accomplished nothing. But how much did it COST to accomplish nothing? Give us charts of crime rates over 50 or 100 years, annotated with the points of NFA, GCA, GOPA, etc, showing the lack of any real effect of any of those laws, also showing points where each state passed “shall issue” (which costs little to nothing) so that relationship is visible. More charts of increasing size of armed government, and how that has affected crime rates, and how much it costs each of us.

        The answer to your question is extensive cost/benefit analysis, which will convince somebody, either them or us. Currently I believe all past expenditures have been wasted, and all future expenditures should be halted. If an honest cost/benefit analysis proves me wrong, that is acceptable. If it turns out as I expect, it will outrage enough of the population to allow a constitutional amendment to be passed if that is what it’s going to take.

        • You will never win a political fights with raw facts and data, no matter how convincing they are – the other side can always muddy the water by producing counter-studies of their own, no matter how shoddy (it’s not like laymen can understand the difference or spot bad statistics easily… and if they do, you just make another “study”!), or simply by appealing to emotion. The AGW “skepticism” is a good example of that.

          Politics is 90% emotions, 10% facts. Consequently, in order to win, you need propaganda in roughly the same proportion. And furthermore, that 90% emotional component needs to have a broad appeal – it’s easy to preach to the choir, but what’s really needed is some emotional hook that will resonate with broad swaths of the populace, not just die-hard conservatives. So the moment you start talking about “shall not be infringed”, or how guns are needed to resist tyranny, or, God forbid, about how Obama is a Muslim socialist who wants to take your guns – you have lost that broad appeal.

          I don’t know what a really good pitch would be; that’s something that requires professional public opinion studies and careful construction. As a guess, centering the discussion on self-defense is likely a must, and the left-wing crowd specifically can be courted by focused messaging on women and minorities. E.g. hijack the entire college rape train, and pitch armed self defense as a cost-effective solution.

          • Agreed.
            Another line of reasoning would be the threat from jihadi terrorists like the Beslan attack on a Russian school or the Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi.
            Still another would be the possible spread of Mexican drug, kidnapping, extortion cartels to the US.
            Still another would be racial violence as in Baltimore or Ferguson.

        • “Demonstrate that it costs a fortune . . . ” OK, so what are these costs? In particular, I want to know the marginal costs of fielding NICS checks based on the assumption that the costs of maintaining the underlying databases would be incurred for law-enforcement purposes other than FFL and CWP BC checks.

          I imagine that the cost of running a NICS check that raises no red flags is negligible; less than $1. If some red-flag is raised such as a similarity in name between the subject and someone with a criminal record – I imagine it’s a lot more – I’ll guess $25. We really ought to know what these costs are and tell the tax payers are paying for the NICS system.

          Our problem is that voters will probably be happy to pay this price. It probably doesn’t amount to more than once cent per taxpayer per year.

          “. . . and accomplishes nothing.” Objectively, you are probably correct; or, so close to correct that it hardly matters to quibble about a few legitimate rejections or those that don’t occur because criminals don’t buy a gun because it’s too hard to find a straw-buyer or black-market gun. Let’s make this point to the public. Our problem is, unfortunately, that the voters will probably prefer to have BCs even if they were pretty well convinced that they don’t accomplish anything.

          “We are bombarded repeatedly with the wonderful benefits of denying 140 million firearm purchases each week, or whatever, and we all know those numbers are bogus, but no one explains to the casual observer WHY they are bogus.” It’s up to us to explain that 99% or so of the rejections are false-positives. The voters don’t care. Admittedly, these false-positive individuals have to go through some effort to clear their names. We should argue for facilitating this process. It’s my understanding that the Feds will issue a person an ID number after they clear his identity which he can use to disambiguate his identity the next time he makes a purchase.

          Let’s assume there were no NICS system for FFLs. The problem of false-positives wouldn’t go away. A small number of such individuals would encounter the same problem when they encounter the police in a gun/non-gun incident where the police run a BC on the suspect. If I were involved in a DGU I would sure as hell want to establish myself as the “good guy” as soon as possible. If the cops and the DA got a false-positive during the investigation they would start down the path of considering prosecuting me. They might not stop – after a few weeks – when the BC was cleared as a false-positive.

          “The denied/prohibited simply go buy a stolen gun on the street, causing the owner to have to buy another, . . . ” Generally, I agree with your point. Prohibited-persons will buy guns that are either: smuggled from overseas; stolen; manufactured in clandestine factories; or, straw-bought in FFLs. Unless and until we plug the last of these holes in the sieve, prohibited persons will get their guns with/without BCs.

          So, let’s hire Gallop to do a national poll. Do the voters want to repeal the BC on dealer sales of guns? While we are at it, let’s ask whether the voters want to repeal the ID check on dealer of alcohol or tobacco? They are somewhat comparable in that we know that youthful drinkers and smokers will get their alcohol or tobacco from of-age friends or unlicensed dealers. NICS checks and ID checks for alcohol/tobacco are a complete waste because they will not stop anyone with the slightest initiative from buying what he wants.

          My expectation is that such a poll would resoundingly endorse NICS and ID checks while – at the same time – acknowledging that they have little-to-no prophylactic effect. At least we would know whether we have to convert 90% or 80% or 70% of the voters to see things “our way”.

          “. . . insofar as preventing a criminal from obtaining a gun we have accomplished nothing. But how much did it COST to accomplish nothing? Give us charts of crime rates over 50 or 100 years, annotated with the points of NFA, GCA, GOPA, etc, showing the lack of any real effect of any of those laws, also showing points where each state passed “shall issue” (which costs little to nothing) so that relationship is visible. More charts of increasing size of armed government, and how that has affected crime rates, and how much it costs each of us.”

          I’m game; I’ve studied econometrics at the graduate school level. I’d be interested in seeing the results of such studies. There are a couple of difficulties. One is that all the Antis would – in harmony – sing that these studies are flawed. They have done so with John Lott’s work as well as with every other serious researcher. Unfortunately, very few voters would recognize the terms “multiple regression”, “degrees of freedom”, “T-statistic value” or 95% confidence level. So, how would they be assured that the results of all these very interesting studies were convincing in the face of the Anti’s with their PhDs and MDs disparaging such studies?

          “The answer to your question is extensive cost/benefit analysis, which will convince somebody, either them or us. Currently I believe all past expenditures have been wasted, and all future expenditures should be halted. If an honest cost/benefit analysis proves me wrong, that is acceptable. If it turns out as I expect, it will outrage enough of the population to allow a constitutional amendment to be passed if that is what it’s going to take.”

          The population isn’t outraged by our $17 trillion national debt, nor the fact that Social Security, MediCare and MediCade are all insolvent.

          I’m strongly in favor of amending the Constitution to correct the faults our politicians have created in manipulating our governmental institutions. To get an Amendment requires 38 States. On some issues, I think that’s feasible. For example. I think that with 40 Right-to-Carry States we could push through an amendment that the Right of the People shall not be denied for want of a demonstration of need other than a desire for self-defense. Such an amendment would compel the last 10 States to adopt Shall-Issue.

          In fact, if the States started submitting petitions to Congress to call for a convention of the States I think that would stampede Congress into pre-empting a convention of the States with a Congressionally-proposed amendment.

          A Constitutional amendment is feasible at the point where sentiment in the States is approaching a consensus on an issue. I doubt that we are any where near a consensus on background-checks on gun purchases or carry.

    • The arm-chair philosophers among us are not explaining how we could roll-back the FFL BC.

      I don’t know how to roll it back. Admitted.

      But one thing I am sure of; having the NRA sing hosannas over it isn’t helping. When the Big Bad Gun Nut Organization (as the antis like to think of it) says such wonderful things about it, it reduces the likelihood of it ever being repealed to zero, because NO ONE with any voice in DC is pushing to do so, and everyone is pushing to keep it.

      • “I don’t know how to roll it back. Admitted. But one thing I am sure of; having the NRA sing hosannas over it isn’t helping.”

        Thank you for acknowledging the difficulty of rolling back the FFL NICS check. That’s a first step.

        I agree with you that we shouldn’t be singing “hosannas” over the FFL NICS check. Instead, I think we ought to be quite frank about the limitations of the FFL NICS check. The best we can say about it is that it is a means for society to express its objection to allowing prohibited persons to access the lawful primary market in arms. In this respect, it’s rather like the State laws prohibiting underage persons from buying alcohol or tobacco from retail dealers.

        Society has no illusion that underage persons are acquiring alcohol or tobacco in the secondary market. Harbor no illusions about guns. Criminals and crazies will get guns by other means as well.

        Disabusing uninterested voters in their unfounded confidence in FFL NICS checks is a worth-while activity. It helps our argument that UBC will be no panacea.

        • NICS repeal is made MORE difficult by the actions of the NRA. That’s what I’m trying to get across. They are NOT helping here. It’s not just that they’ve chosen their battles (which I could understand–leave it alone for now, attack it later), they’ve continued to lend NICS rhetorical support.

          • Maybe because NRA thinks NICS does RKBA more good than harm. I think that’s true – politically. NICS doesn’t have to save one life or keep one gun out of the hands of a criminal or crazy. If NICS makes the uninterested voter somewhat more comfortable with RKBA then that helps move the cause along.

  14. This just in: Governor of Oregon signs law making it a felony to spend time with friends

    Still not sure why we didn’t get to vote on that. Not that it would have turned out any differently.

  15. Brady doesn’t need to be repealed, as you stated, it is contrary to the 2A, thus null and void.
    As we have seen, potus instructs the gov to ignore legitimate laws he disagrees with…we the people can legitimately ignore illegal laws.

    • The Supreme Court will never repeal Brady. The next President will probably be a Democrat who will probably appoint more liberal Supreme Court judges that will probably nullify the Second Ammemdment.
      The NRA understands the political winds. Repeatedly taking cases to court will one day result in complete loss of the Constitutional RKBA.
      That is why they focus on lobbying and making gun-owners look more responsible. It really is a perception war between people who label guns as ‘evil’ and people who own then as ‘irresponsible’ and responsible gun-owners. Unless the NRA can show gun-owners as responsible, they cannot continue to exist. That is why they stay away from Constitutional issues and focus on lobbying

      • Scotus does not have the task of determining constitutionality. It gets away with doing that via public acceptance of them stealing that task from us. The same way illegal laws stand because the people accept them as valid, even disagreeing with them.
        As long as people remain ignorant of the allocation of powers in our Constitution, the document is nothing but window dressing. Our schools help ensure that remains the fact of life in America.

        • SCOTUS has had the power to determine Constitutionality for over 200 years. It gave that power to itself. And in 200 years, there hasn’t been a better idea on who should make such a determination.