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By Nathanael

Dear Gun control advocates, politicians, and “I support the 2nd amendment, but” types, let’s talk about common-sense gun control and coming together for sensible reforms we can all support. Or, since our disparate ideas of what constitutes sensible reform make that impossible, let’s make a deal. We get something we want, you get something you want. Of course, there are a few things to clear up first. Some gun owners won’t compromise, and as a matter of principle will refuse to trade one infringement for another. And even among those, such as myself, who will consider it, there are two primary reasons for holding back . . .

The first is simple: we’re winning. Not everywhere, not on everything, but the broad trends favor us. While a few states have been adopting ever-stricter gun control laws, most have been loosening restrictions. Meanwhile, the federal courts have begun to recognize that the 2nd Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms, and that this right is incorporated by the 14th Amendment. Furthermore, the nationwide increase in so-called assault rifles and concealed carry permits has taken place without the blood-in-the-streets crime wave your side always predicts will follow. In fact, crime keeps dropping as responsible citizens keep tooling up.

Aside from the fact that gun-rights advocates have the upper hand (and thus less incentive to compromise) there’s another reason we’re reluctant to negotiate: We don’t trust you. This is, in part, because gun-control advocates in the US and elsewhere have a history of using incremental tactics to slowly destroy gun rights.

For a recent example, consider New Jersey’s progressive attempts to limit magazine capacity. After each law is passed, it always turns out that there’s more for you, dear gun control advocates, to demand. Another reason we don’t trust you is the palpable disdain many gun control advocates display for gun owners. I don’t mean simply the “gun nuts compensating for tiny penises” meme or similar insults, but also the assumption, prevalent in nearly all debates over concealed carry, that gun owners are always just a tiny provocation away from snapping and going on a rampage.

Finally, we don’t trust you because many (perhaps most) of you don’t know what you’re talking about and appear absurdly ignorant of the objects they’re so keen to regulate. It can provide laughs for our side, but it doesn’t engender trust when you don’t know the difference between automatics and semi-automatics, or create propaganda that shows complete cartridges being fired from a gun barrel. Do some research, preferably hands on research. Take a gun safety course. Get a gun-owning friend (if you have any) to take you to the range, or just go to one by yourself, get some quick instruction and rent some guns.

If you address these points, showing honesty about your goals, respect for those who own guns and support gun rights, and knowledge of firearms, you’ll be in a position to discuss a deal. As a starting point for your side, let’s take universal background checks, or closing the “gun-show loophole.” Something like the Toomey-Manchin proposal: mandatory background checks for all private sales and transfers except between friends and family.

First of all, that “friends and family” exception is important. I recently gave an old gun to a friend who is a single woman living in a rough part of town. My wife and I took her to the range, gave her some instruction, ammo and practice, and handed it over. It’s not an ideal home defense gun, but it beats a tennis racket if she needs to defend herself, and she is planning to get something better in the future. A background check would have been unnecessary, intrusive, wasteful and annoying.

Still, I understand why gun control advocates are troubled by background check-free private sales between strangers, whether at guns shows or facilitated by classified ads (mostly online these days). Background checks don’t prevent criminals from acquiring firearms, but they limit their access to the legitimate market, forcing them to rely on whatever they can find on the black market. Unrestricted private sales seem to provide criminals a way back into the legitimate market. Whether closing that access by requiring background checks for such private sales would make it much harder for criminals to acquire firearms (especially quality firearms) I don’t know, but I understand the reasoning of gun control advocates on this point.

Of course, I also understand the concerns of gun rights proponents, including the many responsible, law-abiding gun owners who engage in private sales and trades at gun shows or through classified ads. Requiring background checks for them would impose burdens upon their time and wallets, and it also sparks fear of a de facto national firearms registry. Accepting this would be a real concession by gun rights proponents.

So, if you want to have any hope of such a proposal becoming law, what are you willing to give us? If you can’t think of anything, don’t worry, we’ve got a list (while I only speak for myself on a willingness to entertain the possibility of a deal, I’m confident that this list would be widely approved by gun-rights supporters).

1. National concealed carry. There are a variety of ways to achieve this, and while there are federalism concerns attached to some of them, it is something I, at least, would be willing to bargain for. States that support gun rights have already put together an impressive network of concealed carry reciprocity, without the attendant bloodshed gun control advocates always predict. Make it national.

2. Reduce the number of gun-free zones, such as post offices. It’s ridiculous that if I go to the post office after a day of carrying concealed while running errands, I have to either disarm (locking in the car the gun I carried safely all day) or break the law (albeit in a way such that I will almost certainly not be caught). Such laws don’t make people any safer, they merely harass law-abiding gun owners while doing nothing to prevent criminals from toting their weapons wherever they want. Additionally, there should be a crackdown on states and localities that harass and try to trap citizens travelling peaceably with their firearms. States like New York and New Jersey are being given a free pass to violate the rights of travelers, despite federal law explicitly protecting those rights.

3. Remove the extra regulations on suppressors and short-barreled rifles and shotguns. Since the National Firearms Act of 1934, these items have been subject to special federal restrictions. Despite the extra cost and trouble, they are increasingly popular, even in the face of a 9-month wait time on processing the paperwork. The restrictions don’t make much sense. Real-world suppressors, unlike those in Hollywood, don’t make guns into whisper-quiet assassination machines, but they do reduce the sound of a gun enough to help preserve hearing and cut noise pollution. I believe that many shooters in Europe consider it poor form not to use a suppressor. As for short-barreled rifles, the restrictions are even more nonsensical. I could, if I wished, legally buy an AK pistol with a 10-inch barrel, put an arm brace on it, and then use the arm brace as a poor man’s rifle stock. That would be fine with ATF, the gun would legally be a pistol, despite my misuse of the arm brace to mimic a stock. But if I put a proper rifle stock on without the ATF paperwork, I’d be a felon. Indeed, even having the parts to do so without the proper paperwork could get me into trouble. Criminals, of course, won’t worry about that—someone planning to stick up a bank isn’t going to fuss about the law before taking a hacksaw to his shotgun barrel or screwing a rifle-stock to a pistol.

4. Open the machine-gun registry. Automatic weapons were also included under the NFA, and since the 1980s they’ve been even more heavily restricted, with no new automatic weapons available, except for those with a Class III federal firearms license. The limited supply has driven prices up, making automatic weapons nothing but toys for the rich. I recognize that the thought of new automatic weapons being available to law-abiding civilians scares gun-control advocates, so let’s compromise: keep them subject to the regulations of the NFA, but open the registry to new ones. That was the situation for about 50 years (before that, automatic weapons were subject to no federal regulation) and they weren’t commonly used in crimes during that period.

5. Improve the restoration of 2nd amendment rights. This issue could be a political land mine, and I understand why electoral candidates aren’t likely to take it up. However, it is the right thing to do. After prison, parole, and probation, there should be a way for former criminals (emphasis on the former) to have their rights restored, from voting rights to gun rights. The process will require prudence, as I believe there needs to be a transition between locking someone up in a cage and fully restoring their rights. However, it’s just silly that someone who served six months for a non-violent crime decades ago, and has behaved him or herself since, can’t own a gun.

I’ll leave it there for now, though I’m sure there are plenty of other suggestions that could be made. The basic point, my dear gun-control advocates, is that in order to get something at the national level you’re going to have to give. I speak only for myself as far contemplating such a deal—I know that some gun owners will never approve of any compromise, and some who might don’t trust you enough to cut any deal—but I’d be willing to accept a deal that gave gun owners some of the points above in exchange for expanding background checks to cover more private sales, provided I felt I could trust you.

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  1. You see, the problem there is that you are being reasonable…

    One thing I would add to items 3 & 4 is to add federal preemption of state statutes on weapon classification.

    • I disagree. YMMV but to me there isn’t a single reasonable firearms regulation currently on the books.

      And to all of those non-absolutists out there, yes that means felons too. If you can’t be trusted with a gun, you can’t be trusted to be free. Solder the lock shut and throw away the key.

      • I don’t much like the idea either, but the above would be a great first step back towards normalization of firearms ownership.

        • There is merit to re-habilitating some felons. Yet, remember, this is a political battle first and foremost. Do you want to fight for some relatively minor point first and as a consequence, lose the war?
          My favorite minor point is the disabling of American citizens who have renounced their citizenship. Say, for example, someone who has returned to his ancestral country (e.g., Israel) and renounced his citizenship in order to become eligible for government service. (E.g., to accept an appointment as an ambassador to a foreign country; e.g., the US!). the ’68 law dis-ables such a former citizen. Why? Did he do anything while living in the US to make him dangerous? Is he any more dangerous today than he was then? No! Federal law dis-ables him because it CAN do so under the 2A; natural rights be damned!
          Problem with my favorite minor issue is that no one will support re-enabling former citizens. Why waste powder and ball on so trivial an issue which merely distracts any support for the major issues?
          Do we really want to say anything at all about rehabilitating felons? What does that buy us? For every voter that we attract to our cause, how many do we scare away? Is it our objective to make the 90% of low-information-voters our enemies?
          Can we attract more positive interest in our cause by talking about Vets whose 2A rights have been summarily stripped from them simply because a VA doctor diagnosed them with PTSD? Shouldn’t we be advocating for the re-funding of the general program for the DoJ to re-habilitate dis-abled persons such as these noble Vets?
          Know your target and your backstop. Is that hard for us 2A-rights advocates to understand?

      • Yes because we’re doing so well with incarcerating everyone. How’s that national debt going?

        • Although American prisons are alarmingly high due to drug use violations, I dare say the National Debt is mostly due to unfunded liabilities and entitlement spending, not prison per say.

  2. Amen. I am willing to compromise, especially if we win something. UBC’s do not bother me as I have always used an FFL for transfers. I just feel better, but I can understand why others would not.

    • “I am willing to compromise”

      Then you’ve already lost.

      “, especially if we win something.”

      And you’re even willing to loose without ‘winning’ something.

      • … if your only acceptable goal is complete victory, you’re hopeless. If you have a goal short of complete victory, you need a means of getting there. Compromise is one… if you do it right. But it had to be real compromise.

  3. I have strong doubts that anyone who favors gun control will directly respond to any points made here in an honest and earnest fashion.

    • Actually, I support some gun control actions and I believe firmly in the 2nd Amendment. I would be more than willing to have an ‘honest and earnest’ dialogue about this issue, assuming everyone would make their arguments in a respectful fashion, without demonizing their opponents.

      • So in other words,

        “I believe in the Second Amendment, But…”

        That’s really all there is to it. What more laws could you want on firearms that are going to help anything? really? There no logical steps to take in punishing us for the crimes of others. Gun control does nothing but harm the innocent.

        • I believe the role of gun legislation should be to:
          1. Make it harder for criminals to obtain guns (UBC Manchin-Toomey style)
          2. Protect the rights of law abiding citizens (AWB is a load of steaming bullsh*t, as it is ineffective in decreasing crime, targets a type of weapon rarely used in crime, and is a blatant infringement upon 2A rights)
          3. Limit actions taken by the government to restrict such rights (Preemption, Shall-issue states).

          I agree 100% with the NFA modifications suggested by the author, as there is no functional difference between an AR with a 16″ barrel and a 10″ one, save for ballistics, and the original NFA (for ‘machine guns’) worked fine until the idiots closed the registry.

        • @David,

          “1. Make it harder for criminals to obtain guns…”

          Firearm legislation doesn’t do this.

          “2. Protect the rights of law abiding citizens…”

          Firearm legislation very rarely does this.

          “3. Limit actions taken by the government to restrict such rights…”

          As the 2nd ammendment forbids firearm restrictions from the Federal level on down, Firearm legislation to do this is redundant.

          • To actually make it harder for felons to obtain guns is – probably – a fool’s errand. At most, we can hope to raise the street-price of the tools-of-the-trade by 10% – 30%. By then, the South-ward flow of guns to Mexico will reverse; guns will flow North from Mexico.
            Do laws baring the sale of tobacco or alcohol to minors do much to impede their access? What would be the political response to a proposal to abandon the laws baring sale of tobacco or alcohol to minors? Our objective should be to draw a sharp line between lawful commerce in guns vs. law-less commerce in guns.
            Who would we like to draw this sharp line? If WE refuse to step-up to the plate Michael Bloomberg will be only too happy to do so.

            Firearm legislation rarely protects our rights; but, it DOES do so occasionally. E.g., 40 States are Shall-issue or Constitutional-Carry. Among these – so far as I’m aware – only VT contributes to liberty through benign neglect. The good citizens of VT elect 2 Brady A-rated Senators. Than’s a lot. Look at all the Brady A-rated legislators elected from those 40 States.

            I do NOT expect any panacea from Federal legislation; nor from SCOTUS; nor from the occupant in the oval office. If there is any panacea at all it is in a gradual awakening of the voters in the contemporary importance of self-defense. Suppose 50% of the population who do not bear-arms realize that 25% of the population bearing-arms protect them from 2% of the crazies and criminals. At that point, the 25% of committed Progressives will have lost the 2A war.

            Just as soon as 75% of the voters, 9 Justices of SCOTUS, 2/3’s of the Senate and 1/2 the House of Representatives are convinced that “the 2nd amendment forbids firearm restrictions” then we will finally be safe. Before that epiphany w/r/t the 2A occurs, we have to work with the morass we have.

        • Firearm legislation absolutely makes it “harder” for criminals to buy guns. A black market is harder to operate than a white market. It doesn’t make it impossible by any means, but it’s a tired trope that there’s a GTA style guy waiting on every corner to sell guns to anyone illegally.

        • @ Hannibal. Gun control laws may make it “less convenient” but not necessarily “harder”. Instead of going to an established dealer to buy a firearm and deal with taxes, fees, background check and the like, the Criminal can go to an unlicensed dealer/seller without the background check or additional scrutiny. Again, not harder, but less convenient maybe since I doubt that unscrupulous seller is taking credit cards for payment or have a nice store to showcase his wares. Don’t make the added mistake of confusing the two.

        • I don’t believe that any law has ever actually made it more difficult for criminals to get guns.

      • since UBC’s cost $$$, make them TAX CREDITS. Right to the bottom line. . . . if I buy 6 guns separately, and have to spend $50/pop, I should get a $300 tax credit. Now, maybe I won’t mind as much about this UBC then. of course, then we have to discuss the fact that the politicians lie often too. So, for every restriction the politicians want, it has to by law hit them first (and their bodyguards, secret service, state police, etc.). They need an incentive to not screw with us.

        more to follow

        • As I am not a politician, I can only offer you the solace that there are many good civilians out there who would agree/listen to your argument, I cannot say the same for politicians on the extremes of either side. However, with regards to your suggestion regarding police, I must respectfully disagree, as police deliberately place themselves in high risk situations in order to protect civilians, and therefore sometimes need ‘military-grade weaponry’ to combat the worst scum of our society. Of course, the police cannot always be there, and that’s where CCP holders come in… god bless them. I do agree, however, that we need to address the hypocrisy of politicians who insist that guns create dangerous environments and yet are surrounded by such weapons for protection.

        • We need to avoid – at all cost – the idea of taxing us or charging a fee for a background check. You seem to concede that we should have to pay $50 to have our background cleared. That $50 will soon turn to $500 and then to $5000.

  4. Really, the fact that they are willfully ignorant and take great pains to stay that way is enough that I will never trust them.

    If guns are so proliferate and easy to obtain, it seems like it would be easy enough to educate themselves on firearms.

    Even if they fix their other failings and quit outright lying to our faces, as long as they remain willfully ignorant on guns I will remain skeptical on any proposal they have.

  5. And I want unicorns dancing on my lawn . The bad guys never give us s##t. No quid pro quo fella. Perchance to dream.


    • If you’re going to have poor punctuation and run-on sentences, it’s definitely a good idea to use all caps to draw people’s attention away from the other errors.

  7. Sorry, your second point eliminates any hope for a deal. I don’t trust them. As soon as they can, they renege. They’ll give you something today then take it back tomorrow, plus more.

    Remember, the ban an new manufacture machine gun was part of a deal which the anti-gunners reneged on as soon as they got the chance.

    • Dead on. They are lawless. Just like in several states. First one must pass a pre-emption law so that cities and towns cannot make their own firearm laws. Next, one must pass another law that will provide actual penalties to force the Democrats to obey the law.

      • The second part should be included in the first part. A strong preemption law (no exceptions) with severe penalties for cities and city officials who violate the law.

  8. “Shall not be infringed”

    What is there to add to that by compromising? It seems we’ve already allowed that to be compromised away already!

  9. My concern is that is we make a deal those who believe in the 2nd Amendment will take it in good faith and believe that is the end of that. Not so for the antis. As we’ve seen from the gun control side time and time again any restriction just leads to another, that a “common sense” restriction needs another, and another, and another.

  10. I would replace number 1 with National Constitutional Carry. Period.

    I would also add the ability to buy handguns in all states and territories. No permits required to buy them. No waiting periods. No magazine restrictions of any kind. No gun bans of any kind. Definitely no background checks required between family and close friends. However, the seller reserves the right to insist on a background check for the potential buyer.


    • Just like the antis, you don’t really know what the word ‘compromise’ means. You’re thinking of “victory”. Which is fine, if you can do it. But looking around, I don’t see it.

    • 1. National Constitutional Carry – Can you get it? If you can get it one-State-at-a-time, God bless you. Now, then, look at the Senators and Congressmen from CC States. How many have A ratings from Brady? Both VT Senators are Brady A-rated. Congratulations!
      2. Buy handguns in all States – OK, so, how many of us will this help; and, how much? How does this help to promote our system of State sovereignty and Federalism? Can you get this? Alternatively, how about a FFL analogous to the C&R FFL? For a very small fee and very little paperwork a collector or trader could get a FFL allowing him to buy and sell inter-state. That would be achievable.
      3. No permits – This one has a lot of appeal to most of us. Problems are, however, that it’s mostly counter-productive. The low-information-voter isn’t much interested in our objections to permits. They are pretty comfortable with the idea of a driver’s license and any other kind-of-license. What are our issues? A) – no concession whatsoever that government “permits” or “licenses” us to exercise our 2A rights; B) – those who are DIS-abled or UN-abled – however few or many they might be – do not enjoy unfettered access to lawful markets (FFLs and private sales); C) frustrate any potential for any effective registry; D) resist disablement by any hint of mental-illnes (e.g., being a registered Republican).
      4. Waiting periods – This is an issue we ought to be able to work-around. There are probably 3 groups: 1’st-time buyers; occasional buyers; and, frequent buyers. The frequent buyers are easy to deal with. Nobody is going to think that it makes sense to make a guy wait 5 days to buy his 101’st gun. Likely, we are going to wind-up with some sort of CCP/FO-ID system. Exempt these guys from the waiting period and we have solved 99% of the nuisance problem. Occasional buyers – I’ll presume – don’t have a CCP/FO-ID. These guys are not inconvenience a lot. Nor are the 1’st-time buyers in MOST cases. The important exception is the guy whose wife has found out about his mistress (or whatever). So long as there is an “escape-valve” for these cases, the whole waiting-period thing gets diluted to the point where it is not much of an issue.
      5. Magazine restrictions – Here, I agree whole-heartsdly. We have logical arguments to insist on a no-compromise position.
      6. No gun bans of any kind – This is a touchy issue; we have to think carefully about how to handle it. We would LIKE to say (in principle) that we have a natural right to nuclear weapons and tanks. (Funny thing is that – in NJ of all places – a guy living at the intersection of I-287 and I-80 has a Sherman parked in his front yard.) But what does arguing this position get us vs. how many votes do we lose? Fact is that this is a PRACTICALLY stupid place to begin our argument. Instead, we ought to say that the assault-weapons ban is an exercise in legislating cosmetology. It’s foolish; Yankee ingenuity will always stay ahead of the cosmetologists. Do you want to spend tax dollars debating the color of guns? Once we have made THIS case, it’s fairly easy to explain that EVERY gun has enough potential to do damage to life, limb and property to be a matter of concern; and, this is exactly the same thing as EVERY motor vehicle has enough such potential to be a matter of concern. It’s not the make/model of the gun, it’s the nut behind the hammer that we need to focus on. Make THIS case successfully and the “gun ban” issue dribbles off into areas that matter in-principle only but not as a matter of practice (e.g., machine gun registry is closed, NFA tax and delay on SBRs, SBSs, AOWs and DDs).
      7. No BCs between family and close friends – This is a trap. We want to stay out of this area. It’s irrational to attempt to draw a bright line that is sensible based on family and friendship. As soon as we try to draw that line we have conceded that it is a serious violation to do a transfer to someone outside that boundary. And, the boundary is moveable by new legislation. Moreover, it doesn’t put the barrier where we agree it belongs. “So, young lady; you say you bought a dozen Glocks last month as birthday gives for a dozen of your most intimate friends? Yes, Mr. DA; I’ve slept with each and every one of them. Very well, you are in full compliance with the transfer-without-BC-law; you are free to go.” The threshold to creating a crime ought to be that the transferee IS ACTUALLY DIS-abled. If you transfer to a transferee who is actually DIS-abled then that is the fact that constitutes a problem. Some of those 12 intimate friends-with-benefits almost certainly is DIS-abled. On this basis, it’s legitimate to penalize her. How can she avoid being made vulnerable to such a penalty? She can either: A) abandon her practice of giving/trading guns; or, B) take an affirmative action to assure herself that the transferee is NOT DIS-abled. Do they have CCP/FO-IDs to show her? Do they have a user-generated NICS-check certificate to show her? To the extent that they do, we don’t care if she married these guys or just sleeps with them.

  11. Hey, gungrabbing scum. Oops, excuse me. Make that “hey, gun control advocates.” If you want so-called universal background checks, open the system to private sellers.

    What’s that? There won’t be a permanent record of the sale? That’s what I thought.

    • +1000. Far as I’m concerned unless they’re willing to open up NICS for private buyers AT THE VERY LEAST, the gun grabbing crowd isn’t worth breaking bread with. One does not negotiate with people who won’t do so in good faith.

      • Are you another on the ones who doesn’t understand what “shall not be infringed” means?

        Shall Not be infringed means shall not be infringed.

        No means No.

        There has been FAR FAR too much “compromise,” in the name of too many excuses. ANY “compromise” is an infringement, and is EXPRESSLY FORBIDDEN by the Constitution!

        We need to work toward repeal of ALL infringing laws, no matter what it takes!

        • Don’t put words in my mouth. I suspect it’ll be a cold day in Hell before the antis will even agree to that and we have nothing to gain from negotiation.

        • The Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Second Amendment is that “shall not be infringed” does not mean what you think it means, not even Scalia in the majority opinion on DC vs Heller. You may not agree with the Supreme Court, and the anti-gun crowd definitely doesn’t agree with the Heller decision, but they are the ones with the constitutional authority to interpret the Constitution. Plenty of people disagree with those interpretations, but that doesn’t change the constitutional and legal weight of those interpretations.

        • Where’s your battalion marching? Or by ‘fight’ do you mean… something else?

        • Well, actually, it is the individual States that are the final authority in Constitutional matters – at least at the federal level. It is the States – through the Senate – that hold power to approve the appointment of Supreme Court judges. It is the States – again through the Senate – that hold power to remove a Supreme Court judge. Yes, it is the House that accuses, but it is the Senate (i.e. the States) that passes judgment. It is the State that holds the power to amend the Constitution, whether through Amendment or and Article V constitutional convention.

          Outside of the House’s power to accuse (i.e. impeach), We the People exercise authority in constitutional matters through our control of our respective States. This design served – amongst others – two purposes relevant to this discussion. 1. It respected the sovereignty of the State as well as the Individual. 2. (and more important to me) It protected the Individual from the mob.

          There is a reason that 100 years ago Progressives worked so hard to get the 17th Amendment.

          • Raul Ybarra has it precisely. The States are in control and the voters in each State control the Senators that represent those States in ratifying SCOTUS nominees. We are winning in our State legislatures. We aren’t winning everything. We aren’t winning rapidly. Yet, we ARE winning. We have Shall-Issue in about 40 States! This would have been hard to imagine in 1980.
            Now, then, are our problems solved? By no means. Look at all the Shall-Issue States’ Senators’ Brady ratings. Start with the “Constitutional-Carry” States. Based on Ybarra’s precisely-correct analysis we should expect to see Brady-F ratings from the Constitutional-Carry States and Brady-D ratings from the Shall-Issue States with the most lenient terms (fees, training hours, no interview). Is that what we see? Not really. There are plenty of Brady-A ratings for Senators from our best gun-friendly States!
            Clearly there is something wrong – or at least incongruent – here. Why are we getting our message across to our State legislators while – at the same time – returning our enemies back to Washington?
            Dare I say that we – the 2A advocates – don’t understand the political game well enough? We don’t understand it as well as the Anti’s understand politics? Perhaps we should recognize that we are not at the top of our game in Washington politics. The place to start is with our Senators.

        • It is the States – through the Senate – that hold power to approve the appointment of Supreme Court judges. It is the States – again through the Senate – that hold power to remove a Supreme Court judge. Yes, it is the House that accuses, but it is the Senate (i.e. the States)

          It used to be (and was supposed to be) the States. Then along came the 17th Amendment.

          Now, the Senate is just a slightly distilled version of the House.

  12. Universal background checks are an absolutely horrible idea.
    For them to be enforceable, there has to be some record of the check. If there isn’t then what’s stopping people from just ignoring the law as they currently do the law against transferring firearms to prohibited people?
    Background checks are a registration scheme, plain and simple. Anti-gunners would love to trade all those other things away for the background checks, because eventually they’d have a list of every legal gun’s owner. Then somebody would use a legally transferred firearm in a high profile massacre, and it would be time to ban them…only this time they’d know exactly where to look.

    • I’m willing to believe that there are a minuscule few antis who have thought it out that far. However the majority certainly haven’t. They want background checks because they think it stops criminals from getting guns. It doesn’t matter if it does or not, it’s just that in their world anything that restricts access to guns or which makes it more expensive or less convenient is a good thing.

      • Probably more than a few Anti’s see the connection between UBC and record-keeping. And, what they want is a national registry; or, at least, a State registry. What we need to stop is any wide-spread registry that would tend to support – eventually – a confiscation list. Stopping the registry is important; BC is NOT comparatively important.
        It’s doubtful that additional BC would prevent many criminals from getting guns. BCs are primarily a public-perception issue, not an efficacy issue. We – the 2A community – should WANT to separate ourselves from criminal acquisition of guns. If BCs play a role in doing so then we should approach this vehicle cautiously but with an open mind.
        You hit it with “. . . anything that restricts . . . or makes it more extensive or less convenient . . . ” So, who do you want to design the next evolution in BCs? Bloomberg? He will – guaranteed – make it expensive, inconvenient and restrictive. Suppose we seise the initiative. Suppose we – in the spirit of self-regulation – stake out the means and methods on terms that are: free/cheap; convenient; open. We should WANT to separate the goats from the sheep. Then, BCs will be shown to be relatively effective in separating UN-lawful trafficking from lawful commerce.
        Put enough straw-buyer traffickers in jail and that channel will be choked-off. To be sure, it will be replaced by some combination of: burglary; smuggling; cottage-industry. The problem of lawless guns won’t go away.
        Most of us will have to do a better job of locking-up our inventories of guns not-in-actual-use. Better gun-safes; better-hidden stores; alarms. We should be doing more voluntarily; it’s in our own interest. And, so, we will do better. And, we will use burglary as an argument to reduce gun-free zones. (Why disarm when we go into a Post Office; school; mall? So as to improve the supply of guns to criminals?)
        Do a good enough job of protecting our inventories and we will have smuggling. Feds; did you ever consider protecting our boarder? Oh, you don’t want to talk about the guns coming north over the Rio Grande; well OK, I guess that’s not an issue then.
        If gun-making as a cottage industry is recognized as a problem we will get to the point of understanding that felon-in-posession is where we should have been concentrating our efforts in the first place.

    • Well, guns are serialized items. Laws already requires seller to keep records of their sales. If a gun used in a crime is recovered it is possible to trace it through the paperwork. It already requires the appropriate subpoena or warrant to get to that paperwork.

      There’s no reason for records of the checks. If a check wasn’t done for someone who is a criminal and commits a crime, it will come clear in the investigation. This would work for the onesy-twosey scale involved in a crime investigation without needing a national registry.

      The key issues is – as Daniel notes – do you trust the government to *not* keep a record that the check was made. I don’t.

      • I think an issue that gets overlooked a lot is “If a gun used in a crime is recovered.” How many (live) perps leave their gun behind?

      • Correct. I don’t trust the US-DoJ to not keep a record of BCs. Even if Eric Holder is not doing so today there is no guarantee that some successor in 4 or 40 or 400 years won’t do so. This problem can be fixed – fairly easily. The US-DoJ outsources the service that fields the BC inquiries from FFLs to a private contractor. Could the DoJ corrupt the contractor the DoJ appoints? How could we rule-out this possibility? Now, suppose the DoJ were required by law (i.e., by Congress) to outsource to any/all qualified contractors appointed/nominated by industry user-groups. E.g.: NRA; NSSF; State/regional FFL dealer associations. Any such appointed/nominated contractor (at least 1, preferably a few) gets the confidential data compiled by DoJ. Each such contractor fields BC inquires from its subscribing FFLs, State CCP bureaus, end-users. Under such a scenario, we don’t trust the DoJ; instead, we trust the NRA/NSSF/State-dealer association to control its appointed/nominated contractor. (Google the “BIDS” system which described a form of such a system. They contemplated down-loading the DoJ database in encrypted form to each FFL; many thousands of copies of the base data. I argue that this BIDS was the right idea carried to an unnecessary extreme.)
        NO – I do NOT trust the government. Not the US-DoJ; not my own State’s “Point-of-Contact” database. So, let’s fix this lack of trust by disbursing access to the flow of inquiries.

        Still don’t trust the government? OK, we can fix that too. Somebody – or somebodies – must have access to the flow of inquires. Let’s assume the NSA is tapping the inquiries (purely for illustration, of course). Fine; let them. All we have to do is pollute the data stream with redundant or phony BC inquiries. Suppose any user (FFL, State CCP bureau, end-user) can submit as many inquiries as they please. If my FFL submits my name 250 times a year I don’t care! So long as the number of redundant inquiries is random, there is no way for the government to know whether I bought 1 gun in 10 years or 2,500 guns in 10 years.

  13. I’d go so far to say the antis owe at LEAST that much on good faith. None of their ideas have worked, and when we have won victories, their dire predictions have NEVER materialized. Crime is down for the last decade, even as gun ownership has risen, and STILL the want more? No, we have lost so much in the name of “compromise” already, I’d be too weary to give then another inch in the name of “compromise”

  14. Well, considering making a deal with the Antis is like making a deal with Lucifer, sure, head down that road. I refuse to trust them. Makes about as much sense as when Stalin believed Hitler would never invade Russia.

    • Stalin knew Hitler would, he just thought he could stall it for longer, maybe until he was ready to invade Germany. He was wrong, that’s all. And anybody who thinks he’s making a deal with the antis is just going to get a stall in return.

  15. We are already in a severely compromised position. To be fair, to have any chance of meeting at the middle, both sides need to start in their own corners, each at their own end of the spectrum.

    Otherwise, first you meet in the middle at 50%, then the next time they come to the table you meet in the middle at 75%, and so on until the meeting point is indistinguishable from 100% infringement.

    The level-ground starting point would be 1933.

    • Ah, yes, meeting in the middle. Which reminds me of a story that lawyers tell.

      Plaintiff’s lawyer: “We think our case is worth one million dollars.”

      Defense lawyer: “Really? A million bucks? You don’t have the law on your side. You don’t have the facts on your side. And your client is a convicted perjurer. Frankly, I think your case is a pile of crap and is worth absolutely nothing.”

      Plaintiff’s lawyer: “Well, then, why don’t don’t we meet in the middle!”

  16. The Antis want UBC; or, so they claim. Are they willing to negotiate? If we offer our list of requirements and they refuse to come to the table they show themselves to be unwilling to compromise. That – and the status quo – is a victory.
    Some form of BC for private transfers is acceptable IF it does not create a registry (i.e., make the secondary market transparent) and if it does not expose the benign transferor to a felony or serious misdemeanor.
    When you leave your ton-and-a-half missile with the mechanic or valet do you run a DMV on him? Maybe you should! But, if not, maybe if he has a driver’s license then you have a no-harm/no-foul situation.
    When I sell/loan a gun to my friend and he actually has a clean record then why should I become a felon? If you want me to inspect his CCP or Background-Check ID I’ll do that. I’ll even dial an 800 number and punch his ID # to see if he is still clean. If I neglect to do so and he turns-out to be dis-abled, then I’ll pay a fine on a misdemeanor. Such an environment would be a business-as-usual for nearly all “transfers” except those involving transfers to ineligible persons. “Girlfriend” straw-buyers would have trouble paying their fines; and, failing to pay their fines would land them in jail.
    If WE – the 2A community – bring legislative proposals to the table and THEY – the Anti’s reject them – then WE WIN the political argument. The Anti’s didn’t want Background-Checks as much as they claimed they wanted them. The Anti’s were the ones who rejected a well-thought-out program designed by WE the user community.
    We are either in the driver’s seat or we are whining from the back-seat. Where do we want to be? Who do we want drafting the legislation?
    So long as there is no LONG-term mandatory record-keeping then there is no reason to be concerned with registration. What we OUGHT to be worried about is the 20-year retention period for FFL 4473 forms. (I find it bizarre that no one complains about this 20-year retention!) One of the concessions we need to fight for is a reduction of the 4473 retention period to about 5 years.
    We should also seek a concession that the NICS contractor (that sees the requests for background checks) be appointed by (i.e., controlled by) the industry: NRA; NSSF; state FFL-dealers’ associations; etc. If the Feds can’t control the NICS contractor then they can’t secretly build a database of frequent-buyers.
    Self-regulation works very well. We, the user-community, ought to push for vigorous self-regulation of guns on terms WE design; if we don’t take the initiative then the Anti’s will design the regulations they want to shove down our throats.
    The States’ legislatures would be a better forum in which to advance a self-regulatory agenda. We already have some States that insist on being “Point-of-Contacts” on NICS checks creating State registries. We would be better off converting these States to a self-regulatory model with the NICS checks fielded by a State-dealer-FFL organization; for which we agree to a background-check requirement on private transfers. States should decide the 4473 retention period subject to a minimum of (say) 3 years .
    Most of the inter-state problems (collectors visiting gun-shows in neighboring States) could be alleviated by extending the C&R FFL; i.e., a kind of FFL-Lite for collectors and traders.

  17. There exists a scale. On one end is the 2nd Amendment, as it reads. On the other end is no civilian ownership of weapons. Where we are on this scale is uncertain, and debatable.

    But of two things we CAN be certain!

    1) to the anti-gun, compromise lies somewhere between here and no civilian weapons.
    2) to the pro-gun compromise lies somewhere between here and a faithful interpretation of the 2nd.

    In other words, when either camp talks about compromise they/we are referring to TWO COMPLETELY DIFFERENT CONCEPTS! And this is why the only real, meaningful, debate to be had, is who’s definition of compromise are we talking about.

    As, I said before, THIS IS the “compromise”.

  18. Sooo………your grand bargain includes giving short barrel shotguns, silencer-equipped rifles and machine guns to ex-cons, while letting them legally roam sea to bloody sea with their new deadly goodies concealed? Oh that’s rich!

    Not only will you never get anywhere with anti-gunners with those oh so modest proposals, you’ll lose most of the gunners, too. (Now, TTAG’ers, that’s a subculture unto itself. You may get elected editor-in-chief here.) This article demonstrates no serious thinking on the topic. It’s unsalvageable even as a rough draft. Fail.

    It’s sole redeeming feature allowing it to limp across the line into publication is that it provides an edifyingly bad example; but that’s a silver lining you have to really want to see, to see.

    • “your grand bargain includes giving short barrel shotguns, silencer-equipped rifles and machine guns to ex-cons, while letting them legally roam sea to bloody sea with their new deadly goodies concealed?”

      For one thing, I don’t know who’s advocating “giving” anyone anything, other than the socialists.

      But to answer your question, “shall not be infringed” means that every human being has the unalienable right to keep and bear arms, yea, even “short barrel shotguns, silencer-equipped rifles and machine guns” or whatever kind of arms they can get their grubby little paws on.

      And here’s the rub. Here’s the one distinguishing factor that NOBODY seems to even notice:

      Anyone who would misuse their arms should be dealt with on the spot by whatever armed citizen happens to be in a position to do so, preferably the intended victim.

      As long as I am armed, I don’t really care who else is armed or a nut case or whatever. If someone threatens me with a gun, I will take whatever action is necessary to neutralize that threat.

      The way to stop bad guys with guns isn’t to punish everyone by infringing the Constitution, the way to stop bad guys using guns is to shoot them.

  19. “Great danger lies in the notion that we can reason with evil.” – Doug Patton

    They aren’t going to negotiate with us. Negotiate, and all it’s other various word-forms, is simply not in their vocabulary. They think it is, but it doesn’t mean what they think it means: incremental capitulation. They won’t “compromise”, which also doesn’t mean what they think it means: which still, to them, actually means incremental capitulation. They won’t give up anything in exchange. They never gave anything in exchange from the out-set. They won’t ever give up anything in exchange because, once and again, they don’t feel they have to and that is because their “definition” of “compromise” is not what “compromise” actually means.

    That’s as far as this conversation needs to go, quite frankly.

    • To refer to anti-gun advocates; at least those who are honestly trying to prevent crime, albeit through the wrong means, as evil, is frankly quite counterproductive and reflects poorly upon you. Evil belies a specific intent to cause harm or damage, or an indescribable malice (ie. Hitler, the KKK, Al Qaeda). Anti-gunners, at least those I frequently meet (not the likes of Bloomberg or MDA), are reasonable people who are very considerate when listening to what I have to say, and often concede some points after hearing my argument.

      • You make a good point. In my view there are a couple percent of the voters who are strident Anti’s and a couple percent who are non-compromise 2A supporters. These two don’t much count because they offset one another. The remaining 90-some percent are divided between those who: don’t much care; are sympathetic to the Anti’s; and, are sympathetic to the 2A supporters. Our audience is this 90-some percent.
        Our goal is to seise the high-ground and control the agenda. To do so, we have to take reasonable affirmative positions. This includes affirmative in protecting the RtKBA and affirmative in raising barriers to the “dis-abled” (i.e., those who have lost their 2A rights) from the legitimate gun market. It is in OUR interest to raise barriers to the dis-abled – according to OUR prescription for defining those barriers.
        We are clever people. We ought to be able to figure out the details of a system that will make it difficult for straw-buyers while at the same time preserving privacy in the secondary market. IMO, the NO-compromise issue is to prevent any record-keeping that would support a national (or even a State) registry. Once we have drawn that line-in-the-sand we need to go for a “background-check” law that doesn’t make felons of us when we lend a gun to a friend. The 90% will “get” that.

        • Agreed. IMO the ‘Line in the sand’ issue is weapon bans (in addition to any sort of registry). As a resident of Maryland, this strikes close to home. I despise the way politicians push legislation which has little effect outside of restricting citizen’s rights. With any luck, the 90-some percent-ers will realize the folly of the hardline anti’s and freedom will once again be restored.

        • No. No compromise. If it is not safe to turn a particular person loose, armed, and trust him to not kill anyone, then he should still be behind bars.

  20. People who refuse to ever compromise are insane, in my opinion. But more insane is compromising without an eye to your goal.

    The way I look at it, there are three possible scenarios where compromise is justified

    1. Where you simply get more than you give up in return. In this case you are merely tolerating the bad parts for the sake of the better parts which outweigh the bad. Before they actually made it law, I said here in California that I would approve the “handgun safety certificate” being extend to all firearm purchases, if we got a clear cut shall issue CCW in return. A relatively minor inconvenience (which is all it is currently) can be tolerated for a much greater step toward 2nd amendment rights. For that matter, maybe you support constitutional carry, but would you oppose a bill that changed your state from may issue to shall issue without adding any restrictions?

    Of course a caveat even there: one must consider long term strategy not just the immediate rewards. the HSC in CA may not be onerous (it is nothing like NY, or CT or even North Carolina), but it can become so. After all it went from being a one time good for life deal for just handguns, to needing to be renewed every 5 years to applying to longguns. Maybe the next step is to make us, like in North Carolina, go to the sheriff or PD. Then maybe like CT add required training, etc. So letting them take a baby step in that direction can be dangerous in terms of long term strategy. So that must be weighed too.

    2. When a bill will be passed, opposition be damned, but you can curtail the evil of it. By sitting down, you might lessen the bad. This isn’t a victory, it is just damage control and fits in with ng term strategy, slow them down at least until you have opportunity to push back. Again, sometimes you might be better off letting a more onerous bill pass that will fail in court. Wright (Democrat State Sen. in CA) who, against his party, opposed the AWB proposed last year in California, said something very well, that he almost wanted the bill to pass because it would almost certainly be struck down, and having replaced the current AWB would mean the end of an AWB in CA.

    3. Let your own goals be blunted to gain support. Say you have a narrow chance of passing unadulterated Constitutional carry, and face a veto, would you not, perhaps, concede stuff to the governor, to some assmblymen, to get the better bill passed, rather than having the perfect bill lose?

    In each of these cases whether to compromise isn’t clear cut, precisely because of ours and their long term goals. It is the long term strategy that should dictate.

    • You shouldn’t ever “have to” compromise. If the deal before you isn’t a good deal, i.e., mutually profitable/enjoyable, then don’t do the deal. If that hurts somebody’s feelings, well poor baby.

  21. Number 3. Yes, yes, yes, the whole way.

    I finally took the big step of taking my S/O to the range the other day. I gave her a quick lesson in how to safely handle a pistol (my 9mm Beretta Px4 subcompact) and let her fire a magazine. She’s hooked.

    On the way out, she commented that, even with ear protection, it was loud. The range I go to sells suppressors, and conveniently enough, we were walking by the case. I’ve told her about suppressors in the past, and how they don’t reduce the shot noise to “thut thut” like in the movies, but they do knock it down to a more manageable level. She asked me, “Why don’t you buy one for your rifle, that’s really loud!”

    I explained to her about the NFA and the $200 tax and the 9 month waiting period…

    “That’s f–king stupid, it’s like buying a car and then having to get a special permit for a muffler…”

    Someone who only touched her first real firearm ten minutes prior, immediately realizes the folly of the NFA. Go figure.

    Same for SBRs and SBSs.

    As for machine guns? I would love to obviously see them off the NFA. I’m not going to pay $9000 or more for a 30-year old $300 piece of Russian junk just because it shoots full auto. Nor can I fathom paying $10000 or more for a $20 little piece of steel to modify my already military-spec rifle to shoot full-auto. Some suggest an incremental approach to MGs, i.e. the NFA window slides forward every year. 86, 87, 88, etc…loosening the supply a bit and driving prices down.

  22. I think background checks (not the “universal” ones) are needed when you sell a firearm to someone you don’t know personally. The background check should be performed on the buyer without any reference to, or record of, the firearm itself (it isn’t needed, it is the person being checked, not the gun(s)). These “background checks” should be available for a nominal fee at the local post office.

    Of course, this would make too much sense and defeat the gun grabbers alterior motive of creating a gun registry.

    • I think this is a great idea, and would love to implement this strategy… If only…..

    • A bill of sale should cover you if the guy abuses the gun, and they find it. Most perps don’t leave the gun behind, and the guns don’t record their ID on the bullets, so even keeping track of guns can’t possibly accomplish anything but prep for full confiscation.

    • One thing we do NOT want to concede is the right to “tax” us or “fee” us for a Background-Check. 99% of the cost of the NICS system is probably in the compilation of the data. It probably costs only 1% or so to field the inquiry to check the background of a particular individual. This minuscule cost should be socialized just as we pay for the cost of servicing voters on election day as a part of our system of ordered liberty. (A poll tax is now unconstitutional; and so, we should insist that a background-check should also be deserving of a socialized funding.)

      • A relative of mine who worked with Biden on gun control (and pleaded with him not to propose an AWB or similar ineffective legislation which merely rouses extreme opposition against any reasonable legislation) made a large push during Manchin-Toomey to establish a free system. Unfortunately, when it came to politicians, she was met either with 2A Absolutists who turned a deaf ear to her compromises, or by Ultra-Anti’s (‘Buy a shotgun’) who were inconsolable after the failure of their AWB and were similarly unhelpful.

        • I hear you. We 2A’ers have to get our act together; but we don’t. What we need is a mechanism for free access to a background-check. It could be as simple as dialing an 800 number and typing in a NICS ID #. You get an OK/NO-go. Or, if you enter your name, birth-place+date you get a printed certificate. Either such response (“OK” or a certificate) gives a seller a safe-harbor. There should be no objection to making such a facility available to the public. Even if it were only voluntary it would show we are serious about the “gun-show” issue. If the Anti’s won’t permit us to make a free mechanism available then THEY will look bad.
          I think I’d rather go to State legislatures and ask them to change State laws. E.g., in PA a BC is required for private transfers of handguns; let’s ask PA to recognize this end-user BC system. State-by-State we could move from more-onerous to less-onerous transfer laws.

          • “We 2A’ers have to get our act together; but we don’t. What we need is a mechanism for free access to a background-check.”

            Appeasement is unacceptable. Background checks are an infringement. THAT is what we 2A’ers need to get together on. STOP GIVING OUR RIGHTS AWAY!

            • How is a background check an infringement? I agree that it COULD be an infringement depending upon how it operates; but it is not NECESSARILY an infringement in principle. My name is absolutely unique; so I clear my BC instantly. Somebody named Joe Smith is delayed; and, that IS a problem. I would agree with you that doing a BC to lend a gun to a friend WOULD be a problem. The infringement – if any – is in the details. Are we clever enough to de-fuse this BC issue with minimal/trivial threat to the RtKBA? Or, are we all too eager to light this fuse?
              Under existing Federal law the FFL transaction-specifc BC may be skipped in ~21 States where the buyer has a CCP/FOID. This is a model we could extend. I.e., showing – or even having – a valid CCP/FOID could satisfy a BC requirement. You may argue – with some justification – that a CCP/FOID is a registry of gun-owners; and, an infringement of sorts. I’d like to see an alternative to the CCP/FOID showing; e.g., a means by which a buyer could print his own BC-certificate by typing his name, birth-date+place, etc into a web-site and getting a printable certificate.
              Suppose, for example, that we advocate a “Civil Rights ID Card”. If you want to vote or buy a gun you have to have a CR ID Card which each State must provide its citizens free-of-charge. To charge for such a government service would be akin to a poll tax (which is explicitly un-Constitutional). Having a 2’nd pretext (voting) dilutes the gun-owner registry issue.
              I make no claim to having the right idea(s) for how to structure a system to defuse the “gun-show-loophole” argument without a material infringement. I nevertheless hold that if we put our minds – collectively – to the problem that we will come up with a better (less infringing) approach than Bloomberg will. We do WE insist on letting Bloomberg design the means to close the “gun-show-loophole”?
              I’m much more concerned with winning the political war than I am with relatively minor inconveniences. I’m much more concerned with creating a nation of felons when we lend a gun without jumping through hoops than I am with relatively minor inconveniences.
              The Anti’s are good political players; we 2A people are not so clever. We need to play the political game well enough to win the war. Neither the 2% of Anti’s nor the 2% of staunch 2A defenders will succeed at the ballot box. It is the 90% of low-information-voters who will prevail at the ballot box. We are gradually winning the argument with these 90%. We are vulnerable to losing the argument if we drive-away 2 votes from our cause for every vote we attract. We have the power to shoot ourselves in the foot; remember, muzzle discipline and trigger-finger discipline are the first 2 rules.

              • “How is a background check an infringement?”

                Is this a serious question?

                How is it not an infringement? Are you sure you know what “infringement” means?

                I should be able to walk into the gun store, buy a gun, and go home, no questions asked, no strings attached, just as easily as I could buy a piece of candy or a quart of fresh milk – oh, wait…..

                Alcohol, tobacco, firearms, and explosives should be lanes at the local general store, not a God-damned Federal bureaucracy!

              • Yes, it’s a serious question. The Anti’s understand that this is a political war. Many gun owners understand this is a political war. Altogether too many 2A advocates do not fully appreciate the political aspect of the war. We are winning the war in the States with ~40 States that are Shall-Issue or Constitutional-Carry. Do you think we got from where we were (pre 1980s) to where we are on principle alone? I’m inclined to believe that enough voters in each of these States began to think about the practical issues of self-defense and told their legislators what they expected from them. That is politics, not someone’s interpretation of Constitutional principles.
                We will win or lose this battle in the hearts and minds of voters. If you think you can win this war by scaring the boxers off the voters who are neutral/sympathetic-to-the-Antis then we disagree.

              • No, I’m saying that nothing has ever been won by appeasement. We need to put all our resources into fighting to get our rights restored, not pandering to the grabbers with little feel-good sops that chip away at them.

              • We seem to be coming closer to understanding our differences clearly. I agree that we won’t accomplish anything by appeasement. What we are debating is probably about 90% perception and a few percent substantive. We can lose the perception war. This point is important to understand. If the low-information voters perceive gun-owners to be recalcitrant in the struggle to choke-off the supply of guns to criminals and crazies then we lose the perception war. Let’s assume – for the sake of this discussion – that criminals and crazies will be fully supplied by burglaries, smuggling or cottage industry; in other words, there is absolutely nothing lawful gun-owners and FFLs could possibly do to successfully reduce the supply of guns to criminals and crazies. (This statement might be pretty close to the truth.) Given this assumption, then let’s suppose that lawful gun-owners and FFLs took the public position that we might as well just sell the criminals and crazies and profit from their patronage. What would the public reaction be? Would we lose credibility? Would the low-information-voters consider us to be part-of-the-problem rather than a willing partner in the solution? Even though we may be more-or-less convinced that all existing gun-control and all possible future gun-controls are perfectly futile, we must – nevertheless – strive to maintain our (well-deserved) image of being responsible users, traders and users of guns. We are gradually winning this debate; we must not shoot ourselves in the foot.
                There is a plausible argument that straw-buyers exist. They may patronize FFLs who are dealing in the best of faith. Nevertheless, we should assume that there is at least 1 FFL who is turning a blind eye. They may patronize private traders. We should assume that there is at least 1 trader who is less than diligent in assessing the character and intentions of his trading partners. Maybe some such sales occur at gun-shows. Let’s suppose that there is 1 such FFL and 1 such trader. Do we tolerate these 2 guys trading with the rest of us? Or, will we make a good faith effort to exclude these 2 guys from the legitimate market?
                I think that we can DEMAND that Congress give us an end-user portal to NICS so that we can – at a minimum – resort to such a portal to voluntarily BC buyers we don’t know. Then we should show that we are making use of such a portal where appropriate (where the seller doesn’t feel he knows his buyer well).
                Once we get such an end-user portal we should press that use of this portal gives a seller a “safe-harbor” that he can’t be indicted for knowing/should-have-known that his buyer was dis-abled. We should press our State legislatures (where private transfers are required to clear through an FFL) to allow sellers to use the end-user portal instead. Likewise, we should press our State legislators to allow State CCP/FO-IDs to serve in lieu of a BC. (Federal law already permits an FFL to skip the NICS check in States that do not insist on their FFLs/SFLs to do a BC on every sale.)
                We should press our State legislators to – at least – allow a gun owner to lend/leave-in-posession of any fellow gun-owner who holds a CCP/FO-ID thereby creating a safe-harbor for – at least – temporary “transfers”.
                There is a lot to be gained in lifting State gun-control provisions that could turn on a somewhat more effective BC portal accessible to end-users.
                Why would gun owners want to INSIST on Congress denying us direct access to NICS? Will the strident defenders of the 2A living in States requiring transfers to be completed through FFLs/SFLs send letters to their legislators demanding to maintain this cost and inconvenience? I don’t see how this does us any good. I see such resistance to any re-design of the existing regulatory scheme to be played as recalcitrance by the Anti’s.
                Either the laws will: remain exactly as they are; get worse; or get better. The least probable scenario is that they forever remain exactly as they are. If the laws change, who do we want to draft the changes? How about Bloomberg? Do we want to stand back and let him be the first to present HIS proposal to our legislators?
                How do we want to play this? Do we want to be seen as kicking and screaming while Bloomberg pushes HIS regulatory scheme? Or, do we want to take the initiative? What will serve our political interests?

              • “the struggle to choke-off the supply of guns to criminals and crazies”

                How many times do you people need to be shown that TSTCOTSOGTCAC is doomed before it starts?

                The proper place to control the criminal use of a gun by a bad guy is at the spot where it happens. By negotiation, brandishing, shooting, or whatever it takes to neutralize the instant threat.

                Anything else is doomed to failure. This has been shown to be true since the beginning of recorded history. Oh, and there’s that tyranny thing, too.

              • Sorry, but I don’t recognize “TSTCOTSOGTCAC” and nothing comes up on Google.
                “The proper place . . . is at the spot where it happens.” Yes, ultimately, that’s where the rubber meets the road. Some measures to reduce the probability of “where it happens” may help a little; yet, we can’t hold out much hope for such measures. Suppose whatever it is that we might do reduced the problem 10 – 30%; that would still leave 90 – 70% of the problem unsolved.
                “Anything else is doomed to failure. This has been shown to be true since the beginning of recorded history..Oh, and there’s that tyranny thing, too.” I take it you have read some of RJ Rummel’s work; or, maybe the Cliff Notes version of WW-II sufficed to give you the big picture. Observe how oblivious the Progressives are to the lessons of history. The low-information voters are equally oblivious. Progressives are – for the most part – hopeless. Low-information voters MIGHT not be hopeless.
                While remaining ever vigilant for “that tyranny” thing, we need to work with the low-information voters. Personal security might be an effective entry topic. When seconds count your government will be there any minute now. Such a sound-bite just might bite the low-information voter’s interest. We need to invite them to peek into our world-view; not scare the boxers off them, sending them running into the tender arms of Bloomberg.
                A thought process I use is this: I ask myself: “How could I really screw this up?” I let my imagination run to all the ways to push for a bad outcome. Then, whatever comes up for me, I back that off a bit and compare it to the array of candidate possibilities I’m entertaining. To the extent that one of my candidates bears a similarity to any of my screw-up possibilities, I take notice. Back-off that one.
                Look at the open-carry controversy, for example. How could we really scare the boxers off of low-information Latte sippers? Charge the coffee-shop with a gang of scruffy young men in dressed in cammo? Maybe not an altogether positive idea. Now, look at the “empty holsters” demonstration of the Campus Carry crowd. It gets the message across without being the least bit threatening.
                Or, how about talking about rehabilitating felons after they are released from prison? Let’s give them $20, a bus ticket and a six-shooter after they complete their sentences. Maybe not. Maybe talk about the mother with two toddlers in-tow. She is accosted in the parking lot of her grocery store. Let’s talk about her options in the 40 Shall-Issue States vs. her options in the 10 Won’t-Issue States. Which message is more likely to open the minds of a low-information voter?
                Many of us are capable only of thinking about legislation in terms of the worst possible outcome. That is PART of a cautious approach to approaching our legislators. It’s not the whole approach. We ought to be thinking about legislative possibilities that would improve the public-perception of our view-point while doing the LEAST possible damage to our rights. We could design least-possible-damage. Bloomberg will strive to design most-possible-damage. Who do we want at the drafting meetings? If we are no-shows in the drafting process who do you think will do the drafting? Who will fill the vacuum?

              • The Struggle To Choke-Off The Supply Of Guns To Criminals And Crazies”

                I thought I’d be clever and acronymize it, but I guess that backfired.

                Anyway, my point was, infringing on people’s Right to Keep and Bear Arms by some kind of department of pre-crime, is not only doomed to failure, but one of the steps down the slippery slope to confiscation, notwithstanding a violation of several other amendments..

              • “. . . some kind of department of pre-crime, is . . . doomed to failure . . . ” You are probably right. Even if we are optimistic and assume that it would help somewhat; how much? 1% – 10% – 20%? Doesn’t put a big enough nick in the the total problem to justify the effort. As a practical matter, I agree; you are right. Now, then, does that end the discussion?

                With equal justification we can same the same thing about laws that attempt to control alcohol, tobacco and drugs. Let’s imagine a campaign to repeal the laws regulating the sale of alcohol and tobacco (e.g., to minors). Or the present debate on pot. The pot debate is very slow going; and, at best, it’s incremental. First medical pot. Then in WA and CO tentative steps toward recreational pot. It’s practically inconceivable to imagine a campaign to de-regulate the sale of alcohol or tobacco. We are dealing with a public PERCEPTION problem. We need to look for ways to distinguish the legitimate market (FFLs and private sales) from the black-market in guns. That such an effort succeeds in the public’s perception is what is important to us. That it actually reduces felons’ and crazies’ access to guns is secondary; no, I’d say that it is not really important at all. If it helps a little, well, that’s fine. We should want to be seen as honestly struggling to do what we can to excommunicate felons and crazies from the legitimate market for guns. We do NOT want to be seen as actively admitting felons and crazies to the legitimate market.

                “. . . but one of the steps down the slippery slope to confiscation . . .” Is this necessarily so? Can we conclude that every step – no matter what direction – no matter how implemented – any step whatsoever from where we are right now is necessarily a step down the slippery slope? If this is true then you are doing me a great favor by saving me from wasting my time thinking about possibilities to improve the status quo. Conversely, if you might be mistaken, then you would seem to be suppressing discussion of possible alternatives. Is that your objective? Are you saying: “Any discussion of any alternation of the gun-control laws is a taboo!”?
                We can be certain that Bloomberg will be pushing his proposals in Washington and the States. He may establish a perpetual trust to continue his campaign from beyond the grave. We can’t prevent his proposals from being debated in legislatures. In fact, we can be pretty sure that his proposals are not merely a slippery-slope; they are controlled-flight-into-terrain. Do we want ONLY Bloomberg’s “steps” to be considered by legislators? Do we want to be seen as merely the chorus singing “NO – NO – NO”? Doesn’t strike me as the best strategy. We, the supporters of the 2A have nothing constructive to offer; our only response is “Just say NO”.
                I’d rather be in the position of saying: “Look, fellow Americans, we are just as concerned as you are about criminals and crazies. Most gun-control proposals offered by Bloomberg are ineffective and counter-productive. We are the subject-matter experts here. We have some constructive ideas to offer. Armed responsible citizens will help. Enforcing the felon-in-posession laws will help. Flipping straw-buyers to finger their felon-customers will help. And, we have some ideas on BCs that will help finger straw-buyers so the LEOs can flip them. And, our ideas – unlike Bloomberg’s – minimize the impact on law-abiding citizens.”
                We must also remember that the politicians can’t give us the legislation we want (mainly roll-backs) unless we give them something they can sell to their voters. They can’t very well go to their voters and explain: “The NRA said NO – NO – NO”. They CAN say: “Law-abiding sportsmen from my State explained to me how their suggestions would be more effective than what we have and what Bloomberg is proposing. These gun-owners’ explanations made sense to me.” Let’s be clear. Legislators don’t REALLY care about gun-control. It’s a thorn-in-their sides for the most part. (The solid gun-controllers will vote for every onerous bill. The solid gun-rights guys will vote against any onerous bill. It’s the legislators in the “purple” districts that need to be given legislation they could sponsor without a net-loss of votes in their districts.)
                What’s our position? “The NRA said NO – NO – NO”? “Here is a package of reforms that makes a lot of sense”?

              • I’m not sure why you think that there could even be 1% effectiveness. From looking at the history of gun control in various countries I haven’t seen that any of them can be shown to have reduce any overall rate of relevant crime.

              • Again, you are absolutely correct. Let’s reflect upon the process that takes place in every government. What is each government’s objective? What is it’s expertise? What are it’s tools? What is the likelihood that any government would design/stumble-upon any measure that could possible work? No wonder they all fail.
                Should we reason that because every government has substantially failed that no government could ever succeed (to some small degree) with a well-designed plan? E.g., because everyone who had tried to fly had failed, should we concluded that the Wright brothers were undertaking a fool’s errand?
                Would you agree that an arrest+conviction+incarceration of a felon-in-posession would have a positive impact on his violence for a few years? Assuming you agree, than any measure that aids in getting a warrant to search a felon’s home for a gun is potentially helpful. If our regulatory scheme – whatever it might be – facilitates making a case against an actual straw-buyer then we have a mechanism to flip that straw-buyer into a State’s witness to get a warrant on a felon-in-posession.
                Our mutual goal here is NOT to erect barriers to making a case against a straw-buyer. We are not trying to protect straw-buyers. Instead, our mutual goal here is to protect lawful gun users from being prosecuted for benign behavior. Our legislators don’t much care whether the laws they pass injure straw-buyers or law-abiding gun-users. I’ll go out on a limb here as assert that the Anti’s would rather target law-abiding gun-users in the hopes that they can dry-up the inventory of legal arms ownership.
                I’ll assert that putting felons-in-posession in jail repeatedly and consistently will reduce gun-crime by 1%. It’s only a guess; and, your guess is as good as mine. If you think it is 0.000000000001% then I will respect your estimate as being equally as informed as mine.
                I believe we agree that it matters not whether the benefit of some scheme is infinitesimal, small or modest, that scheme is not free. It might be cheap or costly, but not free. Let’s suppose it’s cheap, NOT-cost-effective; yet, it’s good politics. Moreover, whatever we might design is apt to be cheaper and less intrusive than Bloomberg’s proposal. What shall we do?
                Let’s give Bloomberg’s proposal the inside track in legislatures! Let’s see if we can just stop his proposal and continue to live with the status quo. Let’s imagine that the low-information voters will listen patiently to our rational arguments and eventually send Libertarian Party candidates to our legislatures. I’d love to believe in this strategy; but, I don’t.
                As long as we are focused on how all practical-outcomes are futile we are ignoring the political possibilities for improving our situation. Look at any State with an onerous Shall-Issue law. Would the situation in that State be any better if gun-owners demanded Constitutional-Carry or nothing (Won’t-Issue-status-quo)? An onerous Shall-Issue law is better than Won’t-Issue. An relaxed-though-still-onerous law (better than the status quo) allows a subsequent round of “reforms” followed by another and another. The public in that State gets used to the idea that they have been living with a few concealed-carriers among them for several years and are willing to allow their legislators to another round of relaxations. Lower the fee. Lower the training requirement. Reduce the restricted zones. In the States, we are mostly succeeding in incremental improvements. Likely, most of the negotiations involved some trade-offs. As I recall, the Georgia package of reforms conceded to church opt-in vs. opt-out in order to get the other relaxations through. What if the pro-gun legislators stood firm and insisted on opt-out for churches? Perhaps the other relaxations would have been delayed for several years.
                We lost our rights in a Progressive-chip-chip-chip political process. If we hope to restore our rights it will be a chip-chip-chip process where the bargains we strike are likely to be less than ideologically-pure.

              • Yes, I would argue that because no one has successfully outlawed human nature that we shouldn’t expect any future governments to do so. Comparing flight, which only implicates the laws of aerodynamics and physics with the ability to reduce crime through laws that restrict access to tools is an apples to oranges comparison.

                Keeping dangerous felons in prison, which is a good idea, isn’t gun control, it’s crime control. Gun control is not, contrary to what even you seem to believe, crime control.

                > “any measure that aids in getting a warrant to search a felon’s home for a gun is potentially helpful”

                Repealing the sixth Amendment would be such a measure. Not something that I can endorse. I am also of the view that if someone can’t be trusted in society that person shouldn’t be in society.

                You’re not going to ‘regain’ rights that were chipped away by giving away other rights, like the right to be protected from unreasonable search and seizure.

              • Ok, so I take it that you will settle for nothing short of law-changes that exclusively roll-back existing infringements. Until you get that, you prefer to maintain the status quo. You are prepared to take the risk that Bloomberg could fill the void and take the initiative. I wish I believed that that would work. I don’t. Good luck. It has been an interesting – and I think polite – discussion. Thank you.

              • “With equal justification we can same the same thing about laws that attempt to control alcohol, tobacco and drugs.”

                They’re equally unconstitutional, simply because regulating them isn’t one of the 18 Enumerated Powers.

                I’m sorry, but I’m a Constitutional Absolutist. Some call that radical. I believe that calling a Constitutionalist a radical is symptomatic of statist tendencies at best. At worst, it’s collusion with the regime.

        • I take strong exception to the use of “2A Absolutists” as some kind of epithet or swear word or something.

          The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

          Not. As in Zero. Absolute Zero. Not.

          If you’re NOT a 2A Absolutist, then you’re less than an American!

        • MarkPA, that’s the exact system Coburn proposed, but the antis flipped out because no gun sale records were retained.

          UBCs are about making a de facto registry, and not anything else.

        • R.G. if you had any bite to your bark you’d already be dead or in jail. Instead you sit here and tell other people who are not fanatics that they are un-American.

  23. So what are WE giving up? Your suggestions about what we want are okay but why would they want to do this?

    • You would have to ‘suffer the horrible toll’ of Manchin-Toomey style background checks.

  24. No deals. No compromise. For two simple reasons.

    1. It’s a natural right. That should be simple and adequate enough.
    2. It’s not about guns. I don’t mistrust gun grabbers because they’re after my guns. I mistrust them because their loathing of the 2A is a symptom of deeper contempt for freedom and need for control, one that will never be satiated. They are never, ever to be trusted in any regard.

    • Well, as a Radical Libertarian Loon, I say that children should be under their parents’ control until the parents throw them out, at which time they’re just like everybody else. Assigning an arbitrary number of years is anathema to Liberty and even Family Values! Hey, how about that! A Radical Libertarian Loon who actually believes in a Family Value! That value being, of course, that the responsible adult(s) should determine when the offspring is ready to fly the coop.

      • Do you mean the parents can make the child stay at home until the age of 40? 50? Forget the liberty part, that’s lunacy.

    • I think we have to pick our wish-list strategically. As long as parents can “transfer” a gun to a daughter/son this is a small issue. A somewhat larger issue is being able to get a CCP in a NON-Constitutional-Carry State. If I had a daughter between 18 and 21 I’d want her to have a CCP.
      To illustrate strategic thinking, consider the “Hughes Amendment” that closed the machine-gun registry. I consider this an unconscionable affront to the 2A; but, as a practical matter, it doesn’t matter. “Bump-fire” stocks and advanced trigger-groups do pretty much the same thing. On the day we really need a machine gun the least of our problems will be the fact that the registry is closed.
      The May-Issue States/counties are probably the most important issue. Infringement on a mental-illness pretext without due-process of an adjudication is probably our most important vulnerability. Finding a mechanism to achieve a “background check” without an audit-trail that could be made into a registry is our most immediate political problem.
      We need to build a wish-list and then prioritize it strategically. Our battle is a political one. Our President won’t save us. Our Supremes won’t save us. Our Congress won’t save us. Yet, the Anti’s can’t doom us as long as we are gaining ground with the voters. Our challenge is to win-over a few voters every day while driving no voters into the arms of the Anti’s.

  25. I’ve posted this before but it sums up my feelings on compromising the second amendment. It started out as a conversation with my wife. She was quite upset about a particular mass murder and asked me if I could agree to some gun control compromise that would prevent the killing of innocent children. I started to write down these thoughts and I was surprised at the outcome.

    I believe there should be no constraints on the second amendment. I believe we should be able to buy a gun, unburdened, from any one or any business. I believe we should be able to purchase fully automatic guns. I believe convicted felons should be able to purchase, own and carry a gun upon release from prison. I also believe there are people who will purchase a gun and will use it to commit murder for the reason of personal gain, anger, revenge, passion, entertainment or in the case at hand a train of thought that probably no one on Earth can understand. I weigh the risk that these people pose against the known risk, recognized by the authors of the Bill of Rights, of the evolution of many governments where an elite group took the rights of the masses and made life and death decisions for the masses. I’ll accept the risk of my equal being a deadly threat. I will not accept the risk of the government deciding how much protection they will give or how much liberty they will take.

    I’m still married to the same woman.

  26. I’m surprised no one mentioned Dick Metcalf. Mr. “let’s talk limits”.

  27. Holy crap, that’s not a fair trade whats-so-ever. I support gun rights (I actually believe in most of the things you said should happen, national conceal carry, machine guns, suppressors, etc) but that is very unreasonable. Your asking for basically everything you want for a concession that doesn’t do anything. The “Friends” part renders that law useless, because you can say anyone is your friend. If you actually want anything to ever happen, you need to realize what a REAL political trade is.

    • So far everything the other side has proposed has been just like that- more restrictions, more regulations, costs, and checks. They kept talking about how “universal background checks” were a “reasonable compromise” without including anything gun folks want. Well, why shouldn’t we have a similar plan? We can use it to actually come to a compromise- unlikely, I’ll admit- or a least as a rhetorical device to shut up the whole “compromise” angle they try and use. After all, we made a proposal!

  28. Trading universal background checks for a way for felons to have their rights restored would be like paying a bill with Monopoly money. I’ll take that trade. I just don’t think that gun-grabbers will buy it.

  29. As much as I’d like to abolish the NFA and get new production auto’s back into the civilian market (im drooling over this one), the problem with UBC is that it won’t work (properly) without a national registry. How is anyone to know if you’ve sold privately if there is no ability to track the firearms? The “friends and family” clause bascially gut this “trade” so they would never go for it. Although it would be nice!

    • Are we NOT clever enough to figure out a way to make BCs work without a registry? I don’t think I – personally – am so lacking in imagination; but maybe I flatter myself. I certainly don’t think that the 2A community can’t figure it out.
      Remember, we aren’t striving to achieve an iron-clad solution; just something that would raise the barriers to straw-buying. Will BCs alone significantly impede straw-buying? I doubt it. I doubt that anything will really do more than reduce access to guns by more than 10% or so. The battle here is to separate lawful-commerce in guns from lawless commerce. The latter taints the former and that’s bad for us politically.
      Now, it is unlawful (Federally) to transfer a gun to someone you know or have reason to believe is dis-abled. Some sort of BC would raise that barrier to “. . . don’t have reason to believe is 2A-able”. When do we – lawful gun users – transfer to someone we don’t have reason to believe is 2A-able? Do you sell/lend guns to people you don’t trust?
      Your example of pre-emption laws and then penalties for violation is wonderful! First, our State legislators established the principle that State-wide uniformity is appropriate for the protection of law-abiding citizens who cross municipal boundaries innocently. There is a “reasonable” expectation that municipalities will respect State law. When the municipalities PROVE that they are unworthy of that presumption then adding the penalty is a small incremental step.
      Throughout the early decades of the 20’th century we lost our liberties increment by increment. Did we learn nothing? We will get those liberties back increment by increment. We got Shall-Issue State-by-State to the point where we have about 80% of the States covered.
      It is futile to believe that a President; or a chamber of Congress; or SCOTUS alone will once-and-for-all secure our 2A liberties. Our struggle is with our neighbors. One voter at a time realizing that they are better off with 2 – 4 – 6 – 8 – 16 – 24% of their neighbors bearing arms for defense of the community.

      • “Are we NOT clever enough to figure out a way to make BCs work without a registry?”

        I don’t know which “we” you speak of, but I know there enough pro-2A people who are clever enough to know that an infringement is an infringement.

        You apologists for the antigun nuts really sicken me at times. I understand, once the 2A has been breached, as it has, we really need to put our efforts into sealing that breach, in addition to repairing the damage that has already been done.

        People like you are the ones who keep chipping away until there will be no rights left at all.

  30. HeyJason M if you don’t want you to read it don’t.We don’t need GRAMMER INSTRUCTORS THANK YOU.I CAN spell and punctate just fine! When I want to, some times I’m in a hurry on a Iphone keypad.So criticize the antis and keep the snide remarks to yourself.Thank you teacher.P/S…I LIKE CAPS!

  31. Punctate…did you catch that, wanted to see if could correct me on that.Go ahead I’m waiting.I’m sure you’ve got a zinger.

    • It’s no zinger but you just look like an uneducated fool when you write like that. Most people care; maybe you don’t mind.

  32. Something like the Toomey-Manchin proposal: mandatory background checks for all private sales and transfers except between friends and family.

    The Manchin-Toomey amendment would only have affected private-party transfers that occur “(A) at a gun show or event, on the curtilage thereof; or (B) pursuant to an advertisement, posting, display or other listing on the Internet or in a publication by the transferor of his intent to transfer, or the transferee of his intent to acquire, the firearm.” It included an exception for certain intra-familial transfers, but not for transfers between “friends”.

    Even if it had passed, it would still be legal under federal law to post a sign next to the state highway near my house advertising “guns for sale”, then set up a table in my driveway, selling to all comers with no background checks. Or to strike up a conversation with a stranger at a bar, start talking about guns, then sell him one on the spot without a background check.

    M-T was nowhere near a “universal background check” requirement.

    • Leave it up to the individual states to decide those types of laws. We don’t need a top down national “compromise” fits all law to do that.

      Oh and “striking up a conversation with a stranger and than selling them a firearm at the bar”? You better not have that said firearm on you while drinking alcohol in a public setting. Most states that I been through consider that illegal.

      • You better not have that said firearm on you while drinking alcohol in a public setting. Most states that I been through consider that illegal.

        Not mine (Colorado).

      • I agree that we are better-off pushing for the States to specify the rules for when a BC is required. The needs of Alaska are very different from the needs of NYC. (Moreover, we want to defend the 2A State-by-State.)
        I would rather have a “bright simple line” than a vague notion based on some judge/jury’s interpretation of “curtilage” or an “advertisement”. Generally, the simpler the better and the more clear-cut the better. To illustrate, it’s relatively clear whether one is selling a gun or loaning-it/leaving-it. Therefore it seems reasonable to require a BC for a sale but no BC for loaning a gun to a friend (or leaving a gun in a friend’s custody). I don’t like the idea of a distinction for spouses, children, grandchildren. This is a distinction that is apt to trip-up step-children or cases where the transferor gives a gun to a relative who doesn’t fit the definition but – nevertheless – has an equivalent relationship.
        What we need – IMO – from the Feds is an end-user accessible NICS-check vehicle. I should be able to run a NICS check on myself and give my seller a certificate that is verifiable. (e.g., type in a number into a computer/phone and get an acknowledgment that the number is a valid number implying that the certificate in genuine.) I’d prefer a simple showing of a State CCP/FO-ID as constituting a satisfactory check. Or, type the CCP/FO-ID number into a computer/phone and get an acknowledgement that the card number is still valid.
        We should be looking for ways to make it impractical for any individual to pursue a career as a straw-buyer without laying trip-wires for benign behavior by lawful gun-owners turning them into felons. Under present circumstances we have the worst of both worlds. Non FFL sellers can’t easily and cheaply do a background check on either buyers or acquaintances. Little to nothing stands in the way of a straw-buyer going on a shopping spree and then promptly selling the dozen guns to people she knows – or ought to presume – are dis-abled.

  33. NO DEALS,
    As a former firearms dealer in AZ I remember buying several AK-47 rifles from dealers in CA at blowout prices because they had become illegal there. Let’s see I believe the sales pitch then was we need to remove these firearms because they serve zero use and once we have completed our task then all will be well and we don’t want to take your guns. First nick, now as years have past more and more restrictions and laws are on the books as they nibble away at your rights. In a nutshell fair and reasonable means you will get your screwing later. Divide and conquer is an old rule of the land and that is what has been done. Those whose firearms were not affected ignored the issue “not my problem” well it’s too late and now it is your problem

    • When they came for the AK-47s, I didn’t speak out, because I didn’t have an AK-47…
      When they came for the assault rifles, I didn’t speak out, because I didn’t have an assault rifle.
      When they came for …
      When they came for me, there was no one left to speak out.

  34. @MarkPA

    I don’t know why you’d take it that way, since I didn’t say anything about that. In fact I wasn’t addressing current laws at all. Standing up straw men to knock them down isn’t a really effective means of discussion.

    I was however, taking issue with what appeared to be your belief that some gun control law somewhere would be effective crime control.

    I can’t think of a single new infringement, that would be ineffective at reducing crime — therefore allowing the antis to go for more later — that I’d trade for any current infringement. Trading one infringement for another isn’t a way to advance…given the antis behavior so far, it’s a way to lose in detail.

    Bloomberg is already taking the initiative. Not at all interested in giving him anything that he wants.

    You see, once you agree to trade, you’ve admitted, in the antis’ view, that gun control is effective crime control, else why would you agree? That will leave you with nothing to say when the new gun control that you’ve accepted is shown not to have reduced crime, as none have ever done. And the antis will come back to the well once again.

    You’ve spoken of some utopian idea that maybe, perhaps, there is some philosopher king (or philosopher Congress) that would do what no law making body has ever done and enact some gun control policy that would reduce crime. Utopias are like unicorns, I’ll believe in the one, when I see the other.

    As it is, we are slowly winning, both in the courts and in state legislatures, with a few notable exceptions, my home state of CA being one. It’s one of the reason that the antis are getting so desperate. But as more and more people own guns, and more and more people legally carry guns, it gets harder and harder for the antis to claim that guns are the problem, rather than the problem being criminally inclined individuals.

    • Scott, I agree that we are slowly winning. And, therefore, we bargain from a position of strength.
      – – – In contemplating approaching the bargaining table we must consider two positions: A) we must take something – a particular thing, or any small morsel – from the bargain; or, B) we are free to walk away with no bargain whatsoever. If we adopt position A) we will lose. We aren’t good enough bargainers and Pandora’s box never closes. Conversely, if we adopt position B) we can walk away with heads held high and a moral victory. ‘You Anti’s said you wanted X; well, we offered you X but you turned-it-down. We accuse you of bargaining in bad faith.’ This is a moral victory that (eventually) will soak in. I’d prefer to walk away with a good bargain; but I’m (personally) content with no bargain whatsoever and a moral victory.
      – – I do NOT believe in any Utopia; neither my own nor anyone else’s. Background checks as a barrier to criminals or crazies is mostly a fool’s errand. They are mostly analogous to State laws against sale of alcohol or tobacco to minors. Do they succeed? At best, to a very minor degree. If a determined teenager can buy alcohol or tobacco a determined criminal or crazy will get a gun. Maybe a few less ambitious criminals or crazies will use a knife or blunt object.
      – – The only thing BCs do is PR: We PotG are good-guys. We ware white hats and have clean backgrounds. Those criminals and crazies are adjudicated bad-guys. They ware black hats and can’t pass BCs. We PotG don’t knowingly do business with Those guys. We avoid doing business with Those guys by voluntarily using prudence. We MIGHT be willing to consider a revised BC that conveniently allowed us to verify that a buyer (but not a borrower) is BC’ed. We have NO EXPECTATION that our efforts will have a detectable effect; if it does have a small positive effect that’s great. Our objective is to do what we can to separate the lawful market in guns from the black market.
      – – It will remain the burden of LEOs to investigate and prosecute felons-in-posession and traffickers, beginning with the ATF.
      – – That said, are we PotG saying that NO – ZERO – gun-control measure can have a positive effect? Suppose, for the sake of discussion, this were really true. Would it be in our political-best-interest to try to persuade the disinterested voter that this is the basis of our belief? Would they regard such a position as plausible? Or, would it be more politically-expediant to concede that – theoretically – there might exist one or two laws that could be construed as “gun-control” that might have some slight positive effect? Felon-in-posession allows us to lock-up a freed felon for mere possession. If he hasn’t had his rights restored, it seems to me that felon-in-posession is a “gun control” law that plausibly has a beneficial effect.
      – – You presume that our ascent to any law constitutes an admission in principle that such a law will do some good. We ascent to lots of laws – and obey many more – that are of dubious efficacy. If your high standard were applied generally very few laws would ever pass muster (not such a bad idea after all.) Law-making is apt to bear a remarkable similarity with sausage making for a very long time until our idea of Utopia arrives. My stance would be that whatever laws we might consider ascending to will probably not help much; and, probably not be cost-effective. Nevertheless, if the law does not have a manifest tendency to infringe on “the People’s” right, we will consider it. A law baring a convicted felon might be questionable on Constitutional grounds; we might mention that point. A law baring my transfer of a gun to a convicted felon doesn’t seem to infringe on MY right to keep and bear MY arms. We are willing to discuss a law that might regulate in this area; and, we urge that the regulatory regime consider the cost to society relative to the little good that might be achieved. We will, on no account, ascent to any regulation that turns sincere innocent behavior into a legal trap for law-abiding gun owners.
      – – I would like to respond to your first point: “I don’t know why you’d take it that way, since I didn’t say anything about that. In fact I wasn’t addressing current laws at all. Standing up straw men to knock them down isn’t a really effective means of discussion.” Unfortunately, I’m not sufficiently confident that I can correctly identify the “that” to which you refer. Theoretically, there are 3 possibilities here: 1) refuse to come to the bargaining table; 2) come to the bargaining table prepared to walk-away with no agreement whatsoever; 3) come to the bargaining table conceding that any bargain is better than no bargain at all. Under no circumstances would I advocate #3; I’d rather hold-out under #1 (as much as I don’t think #1 is the most prudent position). You might characterize #1 and #3 as “straw-men”; and that’s fair. Nevertheless, it’s worth-while defining the poles of our alternatives; and, these are the poles (so far as I can see them). Like it or not, the Anti’s will continue to petition legislators for their ideas of legislation. We either respond, or hold position #1. How shall we respond? Our opinions will differ. Some will bargain for the repeal of the Hughes Amendment; I don’t think it’s useful and I think it’s counter-productive politically. Yet, I hold profound respect for advocates on grounds of principle. What I think would be useful in forums such as this is an attempt to draft a BC regime that we think we could live with that would seem to address the concerns-of-principle for defining the legitimate market separate from the black-market. In such an endeavor we might fail; i.e., we might conclude that collectively we can’t imagine any tolerable scheme that marks such a boundary. That would be an accomplishment! We would know what arguments we want to articulate to gun-rights legislators. We would have actively thought about the problem and found a legitimate objection for any scheme the Anti’s might propose. I hold cautious optimism that we PotG have sufficient collective imagination to conceive of some regime that would be relatively tolerable (not too hard to comply with; while not creating a de-facto registry) and which would appear to advance the definition of a useful boundary between the white-/black-markets.
      – – It’s all very well to enumerate a wish-list of bargaining ships (e.g., national reciprocity); however, I don’t think it is particularly productive. I’d rather see a robust critique (pro and con) about a BC system for the private market. E.g.: covering sales-/gifts-onlyn (no loans, leaving-with “transfers”), satisfied by a CCW/FO-ID showing or a user-accessable computer printed BC certificate. Either no record-keeping or a short record-keeping requirement; and, in the latter case, a roll-back of the 20 year 4473 form retention by FFLs. Misdemeanor (not a felony) for transferring to a dis-abled person.

      • @MarkPA

        Coming back to an oldie, eh?

        One way to determine what I’m referring to when I say “I don’t know why you’d take it that way” is to go back and see where, in response to a comment of mine, you said, “Ok, so I take it that you will settle for nothing short of law-changes that exclusively roll-back existing infringements.” Just suggesting….

        Your comment is rather long, I probably won’t respond to each point, so I’ll quote you, within <<>>, and respond to the points I quote. If you think by snipping some of your words I’ve misrepresented your meaning, I’m sure you’ll correct me.


        That’s an interesting way to look at bargaining. In your method B) we’re only ‘bargaining’ about whether and when the other side gets their way. Sort of like going to a market where it is customary to haggle, and just agreeing to take the first price asked. In that case I wouldn’t be surprised if the other party, realizing that he had a fish on the line, wouldn’t suddenly discover a reason why his original asking price was too low. Conversely, if the other side decides to accept our foolish acceptance of his initial price, we’ve paid too much. That seems to me to be a lose-lose situation for us, and a win-win for the other side.

        In bargaining, as I’m familiar with it, each side has a starting position that they don’t expect the other side to match, and over the course of negotiations, both sides give up something in exchange for gaining something. The pro-gun control people don’t appear to be willing to give anything.

        You rightly note that those that support gun rights do not have honest bargaining opponents; the other side has no intention at all of acting in good faith. In which case, since their ‘bargaining’ is only a sham, for us to join them in that fantasy grants them more credibility than they deserve.

        Plus, as long as we can show that the other side is totally unwilling to give anything in exchange for one of their goals, we still gain your ‘moral’ victory. Although ‘moral’ victories can’t be spent, nor do courts use them as president.


        Mostly? There are ways to analyze causation from a statistical perspective. Basically you examine the variable[s] you wish to change (here access to guns by criminals or crazies — overall crime rate or armed crime rate are reasonable proxies, although because the idea is supposedly to improve overall public safety, and not just shift crime from one tool to another I tend to be partial to using overall crime rates for relevant crimes) before you implement the law you believe will be beneficial. Then you implement the law, and subsequently examine the target variable again to see if it changed (since there are lots of possible things that could impact criminal access to guns other than background checks it is necessary to, as you can, hold the other inputs constant).

        If the restriction, background checks here, really is a direct cause of reduction in crime rates, you’ll either see a lowering in the rate of increase, a switch from increasing rates to decreasing rates, or a increase in the rate of decrease (depending on what the rates were doing independently of the change in the law).

        I have yet to see a rigorous study that shows that universal background checks in the states that have them have resulted in reductions of the overall rates of relevant crimes.

        That being the case, I, for one, am not willing to offer something to the other side that they just might accept, when 1) it can’t be shown to be effective, and 2) because of #1 the other side will just say afterwards that it wasn’t enough, and more restrictions are necessary.

        Since it doesn’t appear to be possible to show that any restriction regime, up to and including complete legal bans on citizen possession of firearms actually reduces the overall rates of relevant crimes, your suggestion that we offer them something, which they might well accept, in exchange for nothing at all, doesn’t appear to be a winning strategy.

        Another thing that background checks do, particularly if they must go through a centralized government system, is potentially create a registration list. If not of firearms, at least of possible firearms owners, after all, if individuals can access the system to ensure that the individual they are selling to is not a prohibited individual, it’s reasonable to presume that both parties are possibly gun owners.


        I haven’t ever seen one that passes the causation test over time (static analysis when your variables can change with time is meaningless).

        I think that it is always a good idea to persuade people of the truth, and never a good idea to be complicit with a lie, whether the lie is politically expedient or not.

        Your idea that we give the other side what they want, and expect them to reject our offer of capitulation is interesting. It’s not a negotiation technique that I’ve ever heard of. What do you do if they accept your offer to give them what they want, and then they say, “Thanks, now, in addition we want ….”?

        Given the lack of good faith on the part of those who wish to force restrictive gun laws on the US, there are absolutely no possible systems of background checks that I could get behind. I speak only for myself, but since there doesn’t appear to be a real socially useful purpose behind background checks, if we were to accept them it would be a matter of “We know what you are, now we’re just negotiating price.”

        • I think I have left you with an inaccurate impression of what I mean by “A) vs. B)” strategies. My fault. By A) I mean a quid pro quo where we give up a quid in order to get a quo; and, we feel we MUST get the quo so we are willing to give-up a pretty big quid. Rather like going to a car dealer and revealing that we just have to leave with a car no matter what price we have to pay. If we have some quo in mind that we are unwilling to give up then we cede the outcome to give-up the quid. Not a good idea. We can’t be so committed to getting our quo that we will give up any quid the Anti’s demand. By B) I mean that EITHER a free quid or a quid-pro-quo on a take-it-or-leave-it basis. And, we are prepared to leave the bargaining table with no deal at all. If the Anti’s want a quid of any sort it’s our quid or no quid.
          – – – Under what circumstances MIGHT it make sense to offer a quid with no pro-quo? I can think of two. First, suppose we want to make it clear that we have a plan for BCs and our plan is the only one we are willing to consider. Having asked for no pro-quo, the Anti’s are in a tough position. If they don’t take our offered quid on our terms we will accuse them of being insincere. ‘You wanted BCs; we offered you BCs on terms the uncommitted regard as pretty good; you turned down our offer. Now, go pound salt; you are wasting everyone’s time.’ Second, can we assume that the Anti’s have a plan for a quid of their own? Some plan far more objectionable than the one we would prefer to live with? I think it’s a better strategy to offer our plan and say we are willing to live with this. Then, we argue that the Antis’ plan is unacceptable. If our plan is the one we think we can live with then getting our plan adopted tends to foreclose their plan. I’ll grant that the Anti’s will come back for more gun-control. However, I think they will be forced to come back with some different gun-control other than BCs provided our BC plan pretty well covers the topic of BCs. (Observe that the $200 and $5 tax rates on NFA items have remained fixed at the 1934 levels they were originally set at. If there were an iron-law of creeping encroachment these rates would have been increased several times. This did NOT happen; the gun-controllers went for controls in different areas).
          – – – The problem with the BC scheme we have now is that it covers (reasonably well) FFL sales but doesn’t cover private transfers. The latter is – arguably – a loophole or a flaw. If our plan were to leave open a comparable “loophole” we should expect the Anti’s to come back to close that loophole in the same – BC – subject area. E.g., suppose we agreed to BCs on private transfers on odd-numbered days; the Anti’s would come back for even-numbered days. If we agreed to Manchin-Toomey’s gun-show and advertised sales then the Anti’s would come back for private sales outside of those 2 regulated categories. I’m inclined to a bill that would make it a misdemeanor to sell/give a gun to a prohibited person where; if the transferee shows a CCW/FO-ID or a user-printed BC certificate then the transferor has a free-harbor to make the transfer. If I transfer to a friend or relative who – unbeknown to me – is a prohibited person and I failed to ask for a card or certificate then I pay the misdemeanor penalty. I think such a provision would be – arguably – comprehensive. Any additional requirement (we would argue) would be unduly burdensome. If we offered such a bill I think it would be harder for the Anti’s to come back and demand that private transfers be mediated by an FFL. Not impossible; but, legislators could defend their opposition for more BC legislation by saying that the (proposed) regime is reasonably comprehensive. There remains no loophole or weakness worth trying to fill. All we NEED to achieve is to leave our legislators in a good position when they have to explain to their constituents why they voted agains further legislation. Our BC regime only needs to be “water-tight” it doesn’t need to be “air-tight”. If 10-20% want an air-tight regime while 40-60% are satisfied with “water-tight” the Anti’s can’t get any traction.
          – – – If we demure from offering a proposal of our own then we have to be prepared to argue down a proposal drafted by the Anti’s. The Anti’s proposal will appear-to-be reasonable to most uncommitted voters. We would be placing a bet that we have enough legislators to defeat the Anti’s proposal. We probably do today; and, next year. Will we always have enough legislators? The no-compromise advocates on our side are (probably) of the opinion that we will ALWAYS have enough legislators to stop a BC bill drafted by the Anti’s. I will concede that they are probably right; but, only just barely. Do we want to bet that they are correct? Or, would we be better off seeking ground that we might better be able to defend?
          – – – If we give any quid at all I think we would PREFER to do so if we demanded – in exchange – some pro-quo; better still, a long list of valuable quo’s. Bargaining for quo(s) isn’t free. The first problem is that if we want to retain the freedom to walk-away from the bargaining table we leave behind some of our moral victory. We would like to say: “We offered you Anti’s a perfectly reasonable quid; and, all we asked in return was a few eminently reasonable pro quo’s. You turned our generous offer down, so now go pound salt.” The Anti’s will complain that our quid wasn’t nearly enough and our list of quo’s were all UN-reasonable. The disinterested voter wouldn’t award a moral victory.
          – – – Now, suppose we were to conclude that the Anti’s can’t be bargained with. We will never get any pro quo’s; and, they will never settle for any quid in BCs nor in any other topic (AWB, magazines, etc.) Were that our conclusion then I’d pursue a strategy of offering one-at-a-time one free quid on each topic with the expectation of walking away from the bargaining table. We would keep the legislature (Congress) tied up considering and ultimately rejecting our proposals rather than considering – and possibly passing – the Anti’s proposals.
          – – – Conversely, if we thought that we could net some wins in the legislative process then I would advocate a series – one-at-a-time – of attractive quid-pro-quo deals. E.g., BCs in exchange for national reciprocity. I’m supposing that this pair is likely to be perceived as reasonable by the uninterested voter. I anticipate voters reasoning: ‘BCs seem like a good idea and the PotG seem to have a reasonable proposal; national reciprocity seems like drivers’ licenses. Why not?’ Next, some other pair of quid-pro-quo bills.
          – – – What is a “moral victory” worth? I agree with you; it’s not worth much. Nevertheless, it would put us in the driver’s seat for the national discussion. Congress (State legislatures) could debate our proposal. We could debate the merits of our proposal vs. our objections to the Anti’s bill. So long as we seem to be reasonable we will get the public tired of listening to the Anti’s alternatives. That’s a better public position to be in vs. “Just say NO” to the Anti’s proposal.
          – – – “. . . if they must go through a centralized government system, is potentially create a registration list. If not of firearms, at least of possible firearms owners . . . ” Here, we are on adjacent pages. I whole-heartedly agree that we must never concede to anything that might come close to a national list of guns; and, unfortunately, we are now much too close for comfort with the 20 year retention of 4473 forms. Google the “BIDS” system which was proposed around the year 2000. The authors had an interesting idea that would completely eliminate the risk of “a centralized government system”. I think they went much farther than would be sufficient to mitigate the risk. The NICS inquiry system fields inquiries from FFLs by a private contractor appointed by the DoJ. Our risk is that the DoJ might corrupt the contractor it appoints to give a copy of the daily list of inquiries to the DoJ. Has that happened? Is it happening? Will it happen in the future? Any ‘Yes’ answer to these questions is intolerable. We should insist that the DoJ sub-contract to – e.g., the NRA or NSSF, etc. – to appoint a contractor to field the inquiries. Better still, the DoJ should contract to 12 – 50 operators. One or two such contractors might be compromised; but, unless a great majority were compromised, the incomplete data would be insufficient to support a confiscation.
          – – – If only a few percent of Americans were gun-owners then I would agree that a complete list of gun-owners would be compromising. The figure is probably closer to 33% and maybe 45% counting spouses and children. Under such circumstances, a complete list of gun-owners isn’t of much use.
          – – – I’d advocate a BC system that recognized a CCW/FO-ID card. If we get that (which is already allowed by Federal law) then there is no NICS check on each transfer. I’d also advocate that a gun shopper be able to print a BC certificate good for 90 days or so. He can print as many copies as he likes and buy as many guns showing his certificate as are asked of him. These measures would render useless any data of the number of BCs inquired for by a given name/birth-date/etc.
          – – – Finally, I’d advocate NOT that you MUST do a BC; only that IF you are prudent and do the BC then the you have a free-harbor. If you dispense with a BC when you sell a gun to a good friend then you take your chances that he has become a dis-abled person. If you are a good judge of character and you feel you know your friend pretty well, then go ahead and do the transfer with no BC.
          – – – I think that the risks of either a comprehensive registry of guns or gun-owners can be successfully mitigated by the provisions I’ve described.
          – – – I agree with you that BCs by FFLs and by private sellers are NOT cost-effective. Even if they had a small positive return on cost, it wouldn’t be a large-enough positive value to justify the regime. Therefore, I don’t propose to contend your objection that any BC system would be ineffective. That said, the discussion doesn’t end here.
          – – – There are really two costs: 1) the cost of building and maintaining the list of prohibited persons; and, 2) the cost of fielding inquiries from FFLs and private parties. Cost #1 is substantial – no doubt about that. Yet, I think this is substantially a cost our Federal government will endure merely to support LE functions. We PotG can’t propose to eliminate Cost #1 because we think BCs for gun transfers are ineffective. Cost #2 is probably fairly small. It could be eliminated if we could convince the public that FFLs shouldn’t need to do BCs. That is an unlikely proposition. Cost #2 could be increased slightly if private parties could have access to the NICS database. I don’t mind this slight increase.
          – – – My position is: ‘Voters, BCs for gun transfers are a waste of time. But, if you want them, then we are willing to cooperate. We want to put as much distance between lawful commerce in guns vs. the black-market in guns. This trivial cost for #2 is for the public safety – or so you believe. Then, it should be paid from the public treasury. Don’t charge gun-users a 2A tax. And, don’t expect any reduction in crime because criminals and crazies will always get their guns. If you don’t see any results; well, don’t complain that we neglected to tell you so.’ Here, you and I agree. We don’t want to deal in lies; that’s the preferred coin of the Anti’s. We must be candid with the voters; brutally so if necessary. We can’t control intoxicating substances; why delude ourselves in imagining that we can control cottage gun-smiths or gun-smugglers? Repealing the 2A is not political reality. Whittling-away 2A rights through legislation or court rulings is a path to civil-disobediance at best, civil-war at worst. Finally, when seconds count, the police are only minutes away. The Anti’s don’t tell you these brutal facts; but we will because we are being honest with the public.
          – – – I think of BCs as roughly as ineffective as State drivers’ tests. My father had an incredibly safe driving record of 80 years. His driver’s “test” consisted of merely answering the question: “Do you know how to drive?” My children were no safer driving the day after they passed their tests then they were the day before; and didn’t get much better for years. Still, the public has some expectation for order in the regime for licensing drivers; and, I think, they have some expectation for order in keeping guns away from those who “shouldn’t” have them (whatever that might mean to anyone.) We are dealing with a PR issue; and, we want the outcome of this PR issue to reflect favorably on OUR side.
          – – – We PotG have a legislative agenda of our own; e.g., national reciprocity, armed school personnel, etc. We need to promote our agenda as our public-safety plan. To do so we have to make sure that our public behavior and policy positions appear to be responsible. Fine-tuning of the open-carry campaign was a part of this PR campaign. BCs are a similar issue. Educating the public that black rifles are no more dangerous than brown rifles is yet another.

          • @MarkPA

            Once again a very long comment, that appears basically to boil down to gun rights activists giving the anti-rights activists a background check system for nothing in return. Effectively you want us to design our own downfall.

            Once again I’m snipping for brevity, and not succeeding very well.

            Again, there is nothing that I would trade a background check for. Once we ‘agree’ that some type of restrictions on gun rights, a background check on private party sales for example, is useful for something, that it can provide some sort of societal benefit (why else propose it?), when that benefit doesn’t appear, as it necessarily will not, we leave ourselves open to accepting some other restriction on gun rights for some other ephemeral societal benefit.

            You’re playing the anti-gun rights game. It’s a rigged game, and you can’t win.

            +++By A) I mean a quid pro quo where we give up a quid in order to get a quo; and, we feel we MUST get the quo so we are willing to give-up a pretty big quid. Rather like going to a car dealer and revealing that we just have to leave with a car no matter what price we have to pay

            No, it’s like going to a car dealer and telling him we’ll leave with a car if he has the right deal. Of course, in this case the ‘dealer’ is the sleaziest used car salesman ever, and no matter what his ‘deal’ is, it won’t be what he claims it to be.

            You’re presenting a false choice. Your A) and B) choices don’t really describe the conditions on the ground. A) is actually a situation where we don’t have to get anything, and can walk away with no deal, but would be willing to make a deal if a good one were offered and we believed the other party to be negotiating in good faith. We don’t have to make a deal, so we don’t have to give away the store. I’m not sure why you think that we’re desperate to make a deal. As I noted before, and as you appeared to agree, we’re on the winning side, we don’t have to make deals with the antis.

            Your B) scenario is still a situation where we give them something, and get nothing in return. Designing our own chains doesn’t make the chains any more palatable.

            +++ Under what circumstances MIGHT it make sense to offer a quid with no pro-quo? I can think of two. First, suppose we want to make it clear that we have a plan for BCs and our plan is the only one we are willing to consider.

            There is no background check ‘plan’ that would benefit us. So there is no reason for us to design the means of our own capitulation. (BTW, if we were to design a background check plan that differed significantly from the anti’s universal background check plan, that in itself would be a quid or a quo, whichever. Anything other than just accepting whatever they put forward is a counteroffer on our part.)

            +++I think it’s a better strategy to offer our plan and say we are willing to live with this.

            I think it’s a better strategy to tell them ‘No how, no way. Go pound sand!’ in the first place. Again we have no reason to give them anything.

            I haven’t seen a plan that I could live with, nor have I seen a plan that a significant number of pro-gun activists could live with. You keep speaking of a ‘plan’ yet all I’ve seen is accepting the antis idea with a few carve outs. A few carve outs do not turn a bad plan into a good plan.

            +++I think they will be forced to come back with some different gun-control other than BCs

            Well, d’uh! They have a whole playbook. We give them background checks, which benefit no one, and once it’s clear that they benefit no one, they’ll come back with repeal of concealed carry, may issue on concealed carry, limits on the number of guns one can own, requirement for home inspections to ensure safe storage, bans on certain types of guns, bans on detachable magazines (maybe even total bans on self-loaders), and eventually bans on guns.

            After all, if the background checks don’t work, they’ll say, in order to protect society we need ever stronger restrictions on gun ownership. And once we’ve admitted that some ineffective tool could possibly work, we’ve opened ourselves up to more restrictions. Again, it’s a “We know what you are, we’re just negotiating price” situation.

            +++(Observe that the $200 and $5 tax rates on NFA items have remained fixed at the 1934 levels they were originally set at. If there were an iron-law of creeping encroachment these rates would have been increased several times.

            Not necessary once the ’86 ban on new full auto guns went into effect. Prices have gone up on the limited supply. Suppressors and short long guns aren’t really a big deal, yet, for the antis, it’s the machine guns they care about.

            +++ The problem with the BC scheme we have now is that it covers (reasonably well) FFL sales but doesn’t cover private transfers. The latter is – arguably – a loophole or a flaw.

            It’s neither. There is no rational reason for the government to get involved in private transactions between private citizens. Arguably, the restrictions that were put in place in the GCA ’68 should be repealed, not added to.

            +++I’m inclined to a bill that would make it a misdemeanor to sell/give a gun to a prohibited person

            Isn’t it already a crime to transfer a firearm to a prohibited person? The BATFE thinks it is. 18 U.S.C 922 (b) (2). The transferor needs to ‘know or suspect’ that the transferee is prohibited, but it is illegal. That would also make it a federal crime to engage in **any** private party transaction in CA and any other state that requires all such transactions to go through an FFL and be subject to the background check/waiting period.

            Once more, this law in CA hasn’t been shown to have reduced the overall rate of relevant crimes (or to have increased the rate of decrease in the overall rate of relevant crimes).

            Given the ease with which fake IDs can be obtained, any prohibited person would be able to acquire any necessary ID with no difficulty (another reason why the antis would be coming back to ‘tighten up’ the restriction).

            +++ If we offered such a bill I think it would be harder for the Anti’s to come back and demand that private transfers be mediated by an FFL.

            Not really, see above. And we still get no benefit from this law.

            Legislators can defend their opposition to background checks now by pointing out that their constituents regularly and in large numbers contact them opposing such checks. They don’t need any more cover.

            +++Will we always have enough legislators?

            As long as we have enough committed voters, yes. See the Colorado recall elections. If we lose the committed voters it won’t matter what non-compromise ‘compromise’ plan you come up with.

            There is no such thing as a ‘moral victory’ in politics. You either win, or you lose, if you lose, claiming a ‘moral victory’ is meaningless.

            +++ Now, suppose we were to conclude that the Anti’s can’t be bargained with.

            Are you actually attempting to argue that they can be bargained with? Really? What objective evidence do you have of that?

            Please answer that question in the very first paragraph of your next comment. Having discussed/debated gun control with pro-gun control people for over two decades, it’s my opinion that the overwhelming majority of the ‘activists’ particularly those who are in leadership positions in various gun control organizations aren’t interested in honest debate. Most of the rank and file gun control supporters appear to be driven more by emotions (guns are icky, and stuff) than reason.

            +++I’d pursue a strategy of offering one-at-a-time one free quid on each topic with the expectation of walking away from the bargaining table.

            Either you think that gun control advocates are stupid, and wouldn’t learn what you’re doing and start accepting everything you want to give them for free, or you think that we’re stupid and would be willing to give things away for free.

            +++ If only a few percent of Americans were gun-owners then I would agree that a complete list of gun-owners would be compromising. The figure is probably closer to 33% and maybe 45%

            Probably more like 60% or 75% with family members. And given the data mining capability of the NSA they probably have a pretty good idea who they all are. But I am not willing to make it any easier for them.

            +++ My position is: ‘Voters, BCs for gun transfers are a waste of time.

            Overall your position appears to be that of gun control advocates. You appear to believe that there is a ground swell of support for background checks. Polls are interesting, but letters to legislators and other contacts between constituents and legislators are much more impressive.

            +++ We are dealing with a PR issue;>

            It’s not good ‘PR’ to start out by admitting a falsehood that is central to your opponent’s argument.

            I have no problem promoting universal firearms safety classes in schools, but which might actually have some impact on the very tiny number of firearms accidents that occur, but I am adamantly opposed to accepting background checks, especially on the false premise that such checks will improve public safety.

  35. BS, I have the US Constitution on my side, go fvck youself, no deals, commies need to worry, nothing more today!

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