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“The unfortunate fact is that political rhetoric on gun control is likely increasing firearm purchases by those legally prohibited from owning firearms, too. The only difference is that with the private-sale loophole, these sales go entirely undetected.” – VCU Professor Thomas Baker, Current background checks stop very few firearm purchases [at]

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  1. In the 1770’s the criminals armed themselves against the king without background checks. Just saying!

    • Common sense musket control laws could have prevented tragedies like the battles of Lexington and Concord…


      • Given that it’s a mystery as to who fired the first shot, I’d also suggest some trigger discipline….

        • It was probably less about trigger discipline and more about someone being ready to throw down…

        • Also, add some Limey, Piers Morgan type, Redcoat telling you throw down your arms…

          I would’ve probably had an itchy trigger finger, had I been there and been buzzing.

      • However, if I’m not mistaken, it was the attempt to enforce “common sense gun control” that resulted in Lexington and Concord.

  2. “The unfortunate fact…The only difference is that with the private-sale loophole, these sales go entirely undetected.”

    If these are going entirely undetected then on what grounds do you anchor the statement to? Is the point of the statement is to make everybody who does this seem criminal?

    • The dude is just tryingto be a Great Thinker ™ and justify a position as educator at an educational institution. This is just grandstanding to try to get a couple of seconds of fame.

      • Let me suggest “we” don’t shoot defectors from the other side – to have an academic state something that runs counter to the MAIG party line is rare & should be welcomed. It would be nice to have academics espousing a stance borne out by facts for a change.

      • It all counts in his uphill battle to go from Associate Professor (probably untenured and vulnerable to layoff) to Professor (tenured and bulletproof for life).

    • Exactly! Attempting to make his point on pure fantasy and speculation. He would flunk his students for the same error, assuming they were not talking about guns.

  3. Gun control kills the very people the grabbers try to protect. If tm didn’t feel he was special he wouldn’t be dead. Around here everyone knows that if you break into a house that chances are you will be shot, hence, criminals don’t do this & are safe, the children are safe. Fixed it for you, Tom.

        • An argument could be made that knowingly violating the United States Constitution is a crime. Even that doesn’t apply to ALL, but it most certainly applies to those that swore to uphold and defend.

        • @Hannibal – laws are made based on supposed honorable men getting together and arguing their opinions on the rightness and wrongness of things. Our argument is that The Constitution of the United States of America IS the law of the land and supersedes all the anti-Second Amendment laws that are on the books. Their argument is that “…shall not be infringed.” doesn’t actually mean exactly what it says.

          piersonb simply stated that an argument could be made. I concur.

    • Or if a fat cop-wannabe (who was told by the cops not to get out of his truck) didn’t follow him and spark a confrontation, he wouldn’t be dead. FTFY, racist.

      • I thought TTAG had a no flaming policy? Calling someone you disagree with a “racist” for expressing a rational opinion you don’t like is definitely juvenile, pathetic and I would think, a violation of that policy.

        By the way “Arnie”, Zimmerman was never told by the police dispatcher not to get out of his truck, he was advised that they didn’t need him to follow Martin. The dispatcher had no legal authority to tell him to stay in his truck. And blaming Zimmerman for “sparking a confrontation” that led to Martins death is right out of the completely lame, left wing lunatic, MSNBC playbook. A jury of his peers found him innocent so why don’t you just get over it?

        • Not to mention all the evidence that has come to light that Zimmerman was definitely NOT a racist and that whether or not he “profiled” Martin before following him the shooting was entirely self-defense and had nothing to do with the color of the (poor, little, innocent, teenage) man beating his head into the sidewalk.

          Some people just cannot get past the “I am a victim because everyone else is a racist” meme.

  4. Is anyone else weary of the hackneyed overuse of the term “loophole” to mean any law (or lack of legal provision in the law) that one is against? Yes, I know that “hackneyed” and “overuse” are grammatically redundant…for effect, of course.

    • It’s a media marketing buzzword. (i.e. ghost gun, assault weapon, high capacity magazine) nobody can really give a decent definition of the word or phrase but it stirs up some sort of feeling about the implications.

      I’m weary of it whenever it happens but it’s so often a news outlet overuses a word or phrase. The sad thing is they know what they’re doing…

    • The reason there are “loopholes” is that the term implies that someone was not intelligent enough or insightful enough to draft a law whose intent could not legally be circumvented. If the antis would just stop parading their ignorance of the facts through ineffective, poorly structured, unconstitutional laws, there would be no “loopholes” to deal with. There, fixed that one…

      • Antis need to educate themselves about the “private sale loophole”. It wasn’t a “loophole” accidentally left open. Private sales were discussed and left out of the law intentionally.
        Then again, to the antis, the whole second amendment is a giant “loophole”.

    • I was thinking about this just the other day: a ‘loophole’ is nothing more than something that you don’t approve of and that might have gone against the intent of the drafter of the law. You are judged by your intent (1st, 2nd and 3rd degree murder) but the law is read as written, not by it’s writers intent. My actions are not pseudo-legal or quasi-illegal so please stop acting like they are.

  5. Some people are truly convinced that if we just had universal background checks, then criminals would have nowhere to buy their guns. Their concern is born out of a sense of powerelesness. I will usually counter that there are three categories of private transfer; friends/family/coworkers with no criminal history-background checks are unnecessary, transactions to or between criminals (the target group) who do not follow the rules anyway, and transactions between strangers of unknown history (the dreaded gun show/internet sale loophole).

    I suggest that we make nics a 1-800 buy guns number accessible to the public that returns a simple go/nogo (and keeps no record, with no record keeping requirements for those who use it). This voluntary system allows regular folks to make sure they dont sell a gun to a criminal, does not inconvenence friends and family sales, and the criminals are gonna be criminals. Just make sure that there is a robust appeals system if you get denied on a nics check.

    The right thing to do is ditch nics altogether as it is a collosal waste of money and resorces, but that is a non starter when talking to non gun rights folks. When talking to casually pro gun control folks, I notice that when they call for compromise what they want is for us to take their concerns seriously instead of put up an instant brick wall. Answering the universal background check question with a suggestion as above goes a long way towards making peace between the sides without giving up ground.

    • If I am not mistaken, during the Manchin-Toomey debacle, Sen. Coburn made a proposal similar to this where a purchaser could log into NICS and get a unique code that was valid for a month. A seller could then call in the code to make sure it was valid. The idea didn’t seem to gain much traction with either side.

    • Bad guys are going to get guns the same way junkies get heroin. However, like all deterrents the background checks make it harder for them to do it and that is a good thing. Coburn’s idea should be applied not just to individuals but to FFL sales as well. You don’t need to record information about the seller or the firearm itself to do a background check.

      • “Bad guys will get guns the way junkies get heroin”.
        Right there, tdiivna, explains why all preventative laws always lead to more, and more and more laws. When a criminal ignores the universal first law which is don’t commit violent acts against your own societal group; What does society do? they are already ignoring the first law; so laws are passed to restrict the tool used by the criminal; so the criminal commits another act with a different tool or buys a tool on the black market; so society passes another law, another violation, another law ,another violation’. another law.
        So now we have 20,000 gun laws and we have Chicago, the perfect example of the war on inanimate objects that only stop law abiding citizens from defending themselves and the criminals have free reign with all the illegal guns they can carry.

        Stop the madness, the gun-grabbers have shown us the end result of pre-crime laws; empowered criminals, tyrannical government, and the people helpless, powerless and defenseless before the predations of both.

        • Two things.

          Background checks do put a burden on criminals. They have to go through a bunch of hoops to find a seller and there is always the chance that they can caught in a sting. I think we can agree that it is a good idea to keep them from waltzing into a gun store and buying weapons. It would give them a shot a more and better firearms. Well maybe Robert disagrees because he thinks convicted felons should be able own firearms. A background check that only gives a thumbs up or thumbs down without recording information is not burdensome.

          Personally, I don’t sell any of my handguns to people I don’t know because I can’t check their criminal backgrounds. I have no problem selling long guns since they aren’t used in crimes very often and nobody planning a spree shooting is going want one of my bolt guns.

    • “the dreaded gun show/internet sale loophole”
      There is NO internet sale loophole, I have purchased most of my guns over the internet, actually very few from sticks & brick gun stores or sporting goods stores. Have brought two from indivdual sellers via AND all went though FFLs, with background check on the receicveing end. Most recent purchase was a 9mm 5 round revolver from a gun store in California who had taken the gun on consignment, shipped it a small gun store here locally and had to go though background check before walking out the door. So tired of misinformation being spread on this issue!.

  6. “The unfortunate fact…is likely increasing…” Kinda sounds that if it is only likely, it can’t possibly be a fact. But I’m sure since the good Dr. Professor, PhD. manufactured the thought, it must be a fact. I’m so not worthy to read such enlightened cerebral actions written into words.

    • “Kinda sounds that if it is only likely, it can’t possibly be a fact.”
      Hope the prof reads this. Your statement is a better example of an unfortunate fact than his.

    • Don’t forget about the Mexican boarder loophole…

      That’s one of my arguments for “the just look at Japan, England, and Australia on gun control” folks.

      Thousands of miles of open boarder that people can simply walk illegal items across makes gun control in America a pipe dream, at best.

      • Given the level of sophistication of the criminal enterprises that sprung up around prohibition of alcohol and the current ones created by the prohibition of drugs the only logical conclusion of a prohibition on firearms is that large and well organized criminal enterprises would arise to facilitate clandestine manufacture of firearms within the country and/or surreptitious importation of firearms manufactured elsewhere.

        While I’m not sure how arms and ammunition would fit in the space occupied by just the 1.6 million pounds of marijuana seized by the DEA in 2010 (remember that’s what was interdicted and represents only a small percentage of the tonnage that made it across the border), but I suspect it’s enough to arm a significant percentage of the US criminal element.

        These ‘pipe dreams’ demonstrate a basic failure to understand market forces among those who advocate for prohibition of anything for which there is significant demand. Central economic planning has proved disastrous in all places where it has been attempted and this is just one of the reasons why: When the people want something, someone will get it for them, for a profit. If it were this and only this the concept of prohibited goods would be an utter failure but this is only the surface reason that such concepts are undesirable at best. The deeper reason is that those who trade in prohibited goods are by definition criminals engaging in a criminal enterprise without recourse to the courts or other legitimate avenues of dispute resolution or the benefits of police protection. Thus these enterprises are necessarily violent, contributing to the over all crime problem that the prohibition was intended to address. That is, prohibition of highly desirable goods not only functions to increase overall criminality and disregard for the law, but also always fosters increased violence as a basic factor of prohibition. Put differently, for prohibition to be desirable one would have to accept as a basic premise that the prohibition will create more crime and more violence and in no way reduce either of the same. One would then have to reconcile the utility of the prohibition against the encroachment on individual liberty (and/or infringement of natural and constitutional rights) and the increased rate of crime and violence and determine that prohibiting the item is still worthwhile.

        Consider this:
        Prohibiting private possession of nuclear weapons has a very high utility while there is little demand. Thus there is a low incidence of criminality resulting from the prohibition and the prohibition is largely successful.

        Prohibiting coffee has a very low utility while the demand is very high. This prohibition would likely lead to widespread smuggling and the violence associated with it and with black market distribution channels and their accompanying territorial and contractual disputes. It would also likely have the effect of reducing overall respect for the law and the prohibition is unlikely to be highly successful.

        While we slowly come to the realization that prohibition of marijuana has a low utility in the face of very high demand and little success in enforcement of the prohibition we begin to move away from it’s prohibition.

        Considering this model, prohibition of guns, for which there is very high demand would require enormous social utility to over come the ‘costs’ associated with the predictable increase in criminality and violence associated with the prohibition and the likely poor success rate of the prohibition.

        Given that by definition those who smuggle weapons and those who unlawfully purchase them would be armed, the level of violence could be unprecedented. Factor in the unique components of a firearms prohibition in light of the 2a, it’s level of support and the historical resistance of Americans to tyranny and the violence may move well beyond the scope of criminality and into that of armed insurrection.

        Also given that firearms are durable items and hundreds of millions are already present it’s doubtful that any prohibition could succeed at all as confiscation would have to immediately follow prohibition in order for any utility of the prohibition to be realized and this action would undoubtedly result in widespread violence and lawlessness.

        In conclusion, and leaving all arguments about rights and liberties aside, it’s difficult to imagine that prohibition of firearms in the US would result in any utility at all even before factoring the ‘costs’ in terms of criminality and violence. In fact, given the current set of facts regarding sentiment and presence of arms, a widespread prohibition is likely to be a destabilizing force both of society and government. Given this, advocacy for prohibition of firearms can only be seen as either ill informed (unaware of the consequences) or malicious (aware of the probable failure of the prohibition and the increased criminality and violence and potential to destabilize society and government and possibly to result in violent revolution).

        Let’s hope that most of those who do so advocate are merely mis-informed, as they can be disabused of their illusions or even lacking that can be marginalized as simply ignorant. Those who advocate for arms prohibition with the full knowledge of the consequences cannot be understood to be anything but enemies of the people, the state and liberty itself and as such cannot be converted or marginalized but instead must be ostracized or destroyed.

        • You have just deconstructed the rationale for all prohibition type laws; (especially the second amendment) and shown them to be based on nothing but delusion, or treason.

          Very well done.

        • This is the comment that never ends, it’s just keeps going and going…

          Just Kidding, very well written, agree with you, and I tip my hat to you.

        • When one realizes the ability of amateur gunsmiths in Afghanistan to manufacture all kinds of guns with nothing but hand tools and a charcoal hearth, then considers the number of trained professional and hobby machinists in this country, the effectiveness of a gun ban would appear as laughable as that of Prohibition, with similar economic benefit to a criminal element, as you have pointed out.
          The continuing development of 3D printing of firearms can only add to the essential stupidity of such a social policy.

        • International law prohibits nations from obtaining, owning or building nuclear weapons. How’s that working out?

  7. private sale loophole, see how they did that? A lot of drugs get sold through that private sale loophole too- and I hear that heroin overdose deaths are in the rise. I have been told addicts with clean records trade illegal drugs for guns. There oughta be a law. Or even a check box on a form for those straw purchasers.

  8. He is correct. The more laws you jam down the throats of the citizens the more laws citizens ignore. And the facts are clear, CRIMINALS ignore ALL laws. Hence, the designator “criminal”.

  9. Criminals.

    Go ahead and ban them , if you like. The bad guys will simply buy them from the cops instead.

    NICS, for it’s part, is comedy. For it to stop a bad guy from buying a gun, the computer must first know a bad guy is bad. Warrants and restraining orders don’t magically appear into the system.

    Even if the court clerks are on the ball, the bad guy simply calls up a girlfriend or two and has her run the paperwork.A straw purchase looks the same as a legit one to the NICS computer.

    Those of you advocating for private access to the system are missing the point. The government doesn’t CARE if Mr Tom Felon can get a gun. For Mr. Felon , you see, is in the same line of work as government is- exploitation of the common folk for their own good. The bad guys break the law to rob and pillage, and the government uses the law to do the same thing.

    So , once things progress far enough the bad guys and the government will join forces for mutual benefit. With the average man disarmed, Mr Felon can rob him in the day and Mr Government can rob him at night with impunity.

    You see this dynamic in Mexico, and to a smaller extent in Chicago .Gangs and thugs cut deals with government , and both help each other shaft the common man.

    A NICS system expanded to private sale gives the government keys to a vehicle it should never drive. All they need do to stop every legal gun sale in America is shut down the system.

  10. If we followed the shall not be infringed portion no loop holes would exist since there wouldn’t be any gun laws expect for the second amendment

  11. Assuming all private sales are sans a background check is an underhanded assumption…

    I’ve sold and bought weapon via private transfer, and all parties had their CHL.

    Meaning all parties involved had to go through finger printing, background checks, and a state mandated class to obtain those licenses, which is more than the NICS requires…

    So, in reality, those private transfers were more secure than an FFL transfer, however the Fed G didn’t know about it, which is the REAL problem for these people…

    They want big G’s hand in everything.

  12. “those legally prohibited from owning firearms” will have access to firearms regardless of what laws are in place…the only people affected by gun control are law abiding citizens…

  13. The statement by the professor and others like it demonstrate either a basic disconnect from how the criminal underworld actually operates, or reflect an agenda that the speaker is unwilling to openly discuss: Either that they wish for complete civilian disarmament, or that they believe restricting lawful access to firearms will have a ‘trickle-down’ effect on criminal access to firearms.

    Taking the statement at face value: Criminals by and large do not use firearms. There are more serious penalties involved for committing most crimes using a gun than without, and moreover, most criminals are largely non-violent. In the subset of criminals who are routinely violent or at least have a very high propensity for violence there are virtually always underlying mental health and addiction issues as well as a general disregard for the law excepting where there is too little chance of evading arrest for committing the crime in question. It’s important to point out these distinctions because attempting to approach the problem of violent criminals without understanding that their thinking is radically different in many ways from both non-criminals and non-violent criminals dooms the approach to failure from inception. Without delving too deeply into criminology, the tiny minority subtype of criminals who are willing to commit violent crimes like armed robbery is still different (with some overlap) from those who commit murder and rape. While the former type may murder, the latter types are typically pathological personalities who are essentially human predators and completely disenfranchised from anything we recognize as morality.
    Both of these minority subsets of criminals have as defining characteristics severe impulse control problems and a flagrant disregard for others and the law.

    There disregard for humanity, morality and the law extends to murder for their own purposes or for profit, violent assault for the same reasons and to rape either as an uncontrollable impulse or simply from a sense of entitlement to satisfaction coupled to an intense disregard for the rights and well being of others.

    These types of people are not generally truly in control of their criminality and typically do not perform risk assessment prior to committing a crime but rather act on impulse or opportunity. To think that these individuals will respond to a malum prohibitum restriction on the possession of firearms in the course of their violation of the most sacred Malum in se laws of which we can conceive is both naïve to the point of being laughable and obviously, completely absurd.

    In the short form regarding background checks and prohibition of private sales: These types of criminals typically acquire firearms either from criminal associates who are likewise disinterested in obedience to the law, or by stealing them from lawful owners . . .

    It’s this latter that addresses one of the subtexts of the professor’s statement: That by restricting lawful ownership one may restrict criminal possession. There is factual merit to this approach in so much as it has potential to eventually work to some degree. However it’s utility is mitigated by the fact that long before criminal access to firearms is restricted to any significant degree there must be enormous restriction of lawful possession. This is because criminals will target whoever still has lawful possession for theft or robbery in order to gain access to firearms. It is also why such an approach can only logically end in a complete prohibition on lawful ownership of firearms and in wide spread confiscation.
    Given that ample evidence suggests that prohibition of firearms has little effect on violent crime rates (other than some evidence that it leads to an actual increase) there is little to no social utility or legitimate public/governmental interest in pursuing civilian disarmament for the purpose of crime reduction. This is of course secondary to the fact that the abridgement of natural rights is never an acceptable method of curbing crime and further that all evidence suggests violence is more common in totalitarian societies than in free ones.

    The final subtext to the Professors statement is the theme of civilian disarmament for purposes other than reduction of crime. I can think of no legitimate social utility or governmental interest in civilian disarmament, but a multitude of illegitimate and even nefarious reasons why it may be desirable.
    Given that it’s well known that gun-control does not equal crime-control, and that guns are used defensively at a rate several orders of magnitude more often than they are used for criminal activity, the only conceivable reasons for desiring civilian disarmament are to leave the populace defenseless in the face of criminal violence (which doesn’t seem a very altruistic goal), to leave the populace defenseless from governmental tyranny (also not a very lofty goal), or to satisfy some emotional need of the person(s) who advocate for civilian disarmament (certainly not a valid reason to usurp the liberties and rights of the people and to leave them defenseless against criminal violence and government tyranny).
    This leads me to conclude that the appropriate course when encountering someone who endorses infringement of the right to keep and bear arms is to determine by interlocution what it is that they actually wish to accomplish, why they find it desirable, and test their understanding of the consequences, then shine a spotlight on these and inquire as to whether they still endorse such infringement.

  14. There are plenty of illegal drugs that are easily available and can kill, the laws against buying, selling, possessing and even using them don’t work. Alcohol was made illegal for a few years in the US yet it was still easy to get. All it did was suddenly make some innocent people into criminals and also jump-started the growth of the entire organized crime network in this country. Yet these people still think draconian control laws will work, especially against something that was outlined at the very birth of our country as a right for every citizen??

  15. Yes, this guy has his head up his butt, but the first half of his statement is probably true. With so much attention on how everybody is tooling up, criminals who wouldn’t do so otherwise are probably thinking about uping their tactics too. i.e. gun>knife>nothing.

  16. 30k a year in gun deaths in USA on average-.
    16k suicides(a right to die)
    8k gang related(over 90% of firearms taken from gang members are stolen)
    1.5k police and justified
    1k accidents(all preventable by common sense)
    That leaves about 3.5k a year on average murdered by regular folks who snapped, and this includes the rare mass shooting. Out of 330+ million people and 400+ million firearms floating around, how in the hell are these numbers bad? What’s shocking but sensible is the fact that over half of these 3.5k murders are committed by family members or friends against family members or friends(domestic) and a unknown number are committed in “no gun” zones but obviously most of the mass shootings are.

    Now my point.

    Of all these shootings, murders and suicides. Only a very few have ever been linked to a person who purchased a firearm from a private sale who was not “qualified” to own a firearm.

    I love private sales because I get to meet and network with some good gun people, many of my current friends I’ve made in the last 5 years, and that’s no easy task at 40, have come from armslist or mnguntalk, a local MN gun forum. The majority of the people who sell and buy privately do so because they enjoy it, they meet other gun folks, they can get good deals and rare finds and some, I don’t have a number, enjoy the fact that they can own a firearm that is not registered in their name ie-possible future gun confiscation.
    The reason for the fight against private sales isn’t because of gun crimes because they are basically non-existent in this circle, it’s because the gov and anti-gun groups want to know where every single firearm in the nation is and who it belongs to. And for what reason? That’s obvious and already stated, confiscation. It’s not a conspiracy, it’s an actual force that’s alive and well within our political system.
    So when someone claims private sales are a danger to America and it’s citizens I say no, it’s just the opposite, private sales protects America and it’s citizens.

    Preaching to the choir I know.

  17. If these folks knew the true meaning of Loop hole and Point-blank range.
    Instead the bastardization of the words.
    a small opening through which small arms may be fired .

    Incorrect use in law: a small mistake or omission in a rule or law that allows it to be circumvented

    Point blank range
    Point-blank range is the distance between a firearm and a target of a given size such that the bullet in flight is expected to strike the target without adjusting the elevation of the firearm. The point-blank range will vary with the firearm and its particular ballistic characteristics, as well as the target chosen. A firearm with a flatter trajectory will permit a farther maximum point-blank range for a given target size, while a larger target will allow for a longer point-blank range for a given firearm

    Incorrect use
    extremely close range (i.e., target within about a meter (3 ft) of the muzzle at moment of discharge but not close enough to be an actual contact shot).

  18. “The only difference is that with the private-sale loophole, these sales go entirely undetected.”

    As they should continue to do so. When the .gov knows where all the guns are they start taking them away from the people. Just like CA.

    Oops our records are wrong, sorry we sent a SWAT team and shot your dog.

  19. Every back-alley gun buy should be subject to a background check. Maybe the ATF could expedite the process by putting an app on every stolen smart phone, or a two-for-one coupon in every glassine envelope of smack.

  20. “I have it on very good authority that people that are not eligible to purchase firearms are ONLY buying ‘ghost guns’ from unicorns at gun shows held in Neverland.”

    The above statement has exactly the same basis in realty and facts as this ‘quote of the day”

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