“Would you sell a car to someone you don’t know?”

At this weekend’s Gun Rights Policy Conference, Alan Gottlieb asked a scary question. It’s a question loaded with false premises, freighted with unintended consequences. And it’s terrifying when you consider where it might lead us as a society. The question was: Would you sell a gun to someone you do not know? . . .

The premise that underlies the question is that selling a gun to someone you don’t know is irresponsible, that it should be regulated by the government. Alan followed that with another terrifying premise: If you sell your gun to someone who later uses it in a crime, you could be held liable for the criminal’s actions. He asked us whether a jury would hold a person liable if they sold a gun to someone they did not know, who committed a crime with it later. Gottlieb conducted this exercise to illustrate what could happen if Initiative 594, the billionaire-backed universal background checks ballot measure, passes in Washington state.

This premise of seller liability has already been knocked down by at least one court, because it takes us down a very dark rabbit hole. No one should be held responsible for the actions of others who commit crimes with property that was legally sold. If you can be held liable for this, then selling a car, or a computer, or a telephone, or a knife, or a chainsaw to someone who later uses it criminally would similarly make the seller liable. It undercuts the very foundation of a free society.

Gottlieb is a very smart guy. I respect Alan. I like Alan. But the premise of his question is horrifying that follows a simple train of thought.

1. Selling to someone you don’t know is irresponsible.

2. To prevent this irresponsible action, the government must monitor who things are sold to, so that bad people can’t buy things that can be used in crimes.

3.  If the government must monitor transactions so that bad people may not buy things that the government thinks they should not have, then the government may prevent those transactions.

4.  This will not stop at guns. Knives can be used in crime, as can cars, and computers, and hammers.

5.  If the government can stop those transactions, they can stop any transactions because virtually everything can be used for criminal purposes. Governments have historically used this power to disenfranchise and destroy those with whom they disagree politically.

The freedom to buy and sell to people anonymously is a fundamental property right. If the government can say that you may not sell your property, it has effectively taken that property from you.

If we believe that some individuals are so dangerous that they shouldn’t have access to certain objects such as guns or knives or computers, then those people need to be in prison or closely monitored so that they don’t have access to those things.

Setting up a system so that everyone in society is monitored to prevent the actions of a few evil or irresponsible people is an excuse to control everyone. It’s what has brought us to the NSA recording all telephone conversations. A free society is put in grave peril when such systems are put in place. Those in power are always tempted to use such systems to help keep them in power. Could the IRS ever be used for political purposes? President Nixon was hounded out of office for merely considering it. It appears that elements of the current administration have done it.

©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Gun Watch


  1. avatar ADC USN/Ret says:

    Impeach Obama and all his cronies in Congress!

    1. avatar Matt Richardson says:

      But the Raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only
      That one word, as if his soul in that one word did he outpour…

      1. avatar Nick D says:

        I’m not quite sure how Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven” is relevant to a discussion on impeaching corrupt politicians. Maybe I just don’t remember enough about it to apply it, I dunno.

        1. avatar Amok! says:

          Ask your rhetorical question Nevermore.

        2. avatar former water walker says:

          Pretty sure the keyword is NEVERMORE Nick. Apt:-)

        3. avatar Another Robert says:

          I’m going to go out on limb and guess that Mr. Richardson might be wondering how impeaching Obama is relevant to a Washington State ballot initiative. I am, at any rate.

      2. avatar Barstow Cowboy says:

        All of his cronies? Even Boehner?

    2. avatar ken says:

      And then say hello to President “Crazy Joe” Biden! Yippee!
      I’m sure things will improve overnight…

  2. avatar Jim Jones says:

    What the hell is it with Gottlieb and his universal background checks obsession. I have always bought firearms from people I don’t know. Whether it was the guy at the counter at my LGS, or someone I met in a parking lot, I never knew them prior to engaging in the transaction. It’s a complete red herring.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      Buying a gun from a stranger shouldn’t expose you to liability even if the gun was previously stolen (although you risk having the gun taken away). Selling a gun to a stranger opens up possible — I say possible, not likely — avenues of liability against you.

      1. avatar Barstow Cowboy says:

        I have relatives who are VERY sketchy about private sales, despite their being about as anti-statist as most people are these days. They are certain that they will be prosecuted for any misdeeds involving their firearms after they sell them to individuals, even if it’s years down the line and even if the guns change hands several more times after they sell them. As an attorney, can you (or anyone else) name a single example of a seller being held criminally or civilly liable for selling a weapon or a car or a swingset or anything else when they had no idea that the purchaser had criminal intent?

        1. avatar ken says:


          Please to note that the gun purchaser committed NO CRIME with it at all, and that the seller was a former LEO. And it was STILL a felony! The “straw man” argument is so broad, it is possible to tar anyone with it.

        2. avatar Stinkeye says:

          Ken, I don’t think the Abramski case has much relevance here. Abramski was busted for lying on his Form 4473.

          What our Cowboy friend above is asking is, are there any cases where someone sold a gun to a stranger, and was then held liable when said stranger used the gun to commit a crime? That’s totally different than a straw purchase scenario.

          And if there is such a case (I haven’t ever heard of one), then why wouldn’t a gun store also be held liable for selling a gun to someone who later commits a crime with it? Or Home Depot for selling an axe to an axe-murderer. Or Wal-Mart for selling rat poison used to kill a person, etc, etc… It’s a very dangerous precedent to set, and I don’t think it’s ever been established in a court of law yet.

          I sold a shovel in a garage sale once. If the guy who bought it uses it to bury evidence of a crime, am I an accomplice?

        3. avatar Barstow Cowboy says:

          Stinkeye, according to Gottleib (and legions of guys who print out little forms and make you sign them when you buy a gun from them) you are DEFINITELY responsible for whatever that guy does with that shovel…UNLESS you have the shovel buyer write his name on a piece of paper, in which case you have a complete and perfect defense.

    2. avatar Cuteandfuzzybunnies says:

      Yes I would. I am much less likely to buy a firearm from somebody I don’t know. Esp if they are the manufacturer of said firearm. I would however buy more guns from people I did not know IF I could check the seriel number to make sure it was not stolen. Perhaps I should make an app that let’s you list serial numbers for stolen guns and check a gun against that list.

    3. avatar MothaLova says:

      Seriously. I don’t understand why he won’t let it go.

    4. avatar Rambeast says:

      It’s a repeat of the NRAs blunder in the lobbying of the Brady bill. They gave a little to avoid a harder push later, but in doing so, let the camel’s nose into the tent. It is a means of “compromise” that is anything but. He is either attempting to give some ground to quell the harpies of gun control, but has forgotten what happens when you give even an inch to these people, or he has aspirations for office (power). When you give, you appear weak on your principles, then they leech on and slowly drain you.

      There has to be a point when you stand your ground and declare “No More!”. That should have been in the beginning, but now the slope is getting steeper and more slippery each and every day. Our gains of the past few years can be wiped out in one single bill if we give any more to the antis.

  3. avatar Curtis in IL says:

    I don’t get the point. Either I’m being dense, or important details are missing from this post.

    FFLs sell guns to people they don’t know, every day. Yeah, there’s a background check involved. So, if I run a background check on a prospective buyer before selling him a gun, does that somehow change the potential to be held liable if he shoots someone?

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      Yes, it probably does. If — IF — due diligence is required to sell a gun, and you performed your due diligence, you should be safe.

  4. avatar Ralph says:

    Yes, I would sell a car to someone I don’t know. That’s what cash is for. Yes, I would sell a gun in MA to someone I don’t know. I can check them out online and confirm their license. I can also get a written certificate from the MA Firearms Bureau certifying that the license is valid.

    We live in a litigious society and our courts don’t have a “loser pays” system, thanks to corrupt politicians and the lobbying power of the ABA. So any time somebody sells anything to anybody, the seller might be sued if the buyer does something wrong. This possibility is amplified if the subject of the sale is a gun, and further amplified by the scumbags who want to crush gun owners by any means possible, including lawsuits that cannot succeed but might drive the seller into bankruptcy.

    1. avatar Pascal says:

      @Ralf, would you know which court decision he is talking about in the post

      “This premise of seller liability has already been knocked down by at least one court, because it takes us down a very dark rabbit hole”

      1. avatar Matt Richardson says:

        My guess is the Brady Campaign’s suit against Gunbroker

        1. avatar MothaLova says:

          And surely a thousand other cases involving sellers of any possibly dangerous item (alcohol, construction equipment, etc.).

    2. avatar Barstow Cowboy says:

      In case you didn’t see my question about this, can someone cite the case where a seller has been held liable? I’m not arguing that it’s not possible, I’m genuinely curious.

  5. avatar PeterC says:

    I’d rather sell a (paper-free) gun to someone I didn’t know than buy a gun from someone I didn’t know.

  6. avatar tdiinva says:

    I would not sell a handgun to someone I could not vet. I would be more willing to sell a hunting rifle to an unknown party since statistically they are seldom used for criminal activity. There is a enough info available on the internet for me to vet someone without government assistance.

    1. avatar Cuteandfuzzybunnies says:

      What type of handgun? I mean if it’s a 3000.00 1911 custom or some other expensive gun I prolly would not worry any more than a rifle, maybe less than a cheap rifle or shotgun. If it was a pocket pistol sure.

      1. avatar tdiinva says:

        I don’t have a $3000 Wilson Combat. I have your run of the mill pistols that would serve a criminal well. And note I said that I wouldn’t sell them if couldn’t vet them. I was not making a flat own won’t sell statement.

  7. avatar styrgwillidar says:

    Well, doesn’t really apply to me, as I lost them all in a tragic boating accident. (except for the RG .45 that was so poorly made gunsmiths wouldn’t touch it and it was inherently unsafe- that I did turn into the police, couldn’t have sold it with a clear conscience). Assuming I ever get anymore, I won’t sell any of them. The next owner will be my kids after I die.

    1. avatar tdiinva says:

      It would be smarter only to lose some of you guns to a tragic boating accident so you would have a few to turn in when the come for your guns. Telling them all were lost would raise some eyebrows.

      1. avatar Ralph says:

        Well, maybe he had a really, really big boat.

  8. avatar cmeat says:

    after a purchaser has cleared a background check the seller still does not know them.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      Yes, that’s true, but in such a case all the due diligence required by law has been performed.

      1. avatar Gunr says:

        I have sold several firearms to strangers, however I have them fill out a simple form that I make up.
        The form asks if the person is a felon or a fugitive from justice. Also, and I feel most important, is the question: Is there any reason the state would have to keep you from buying this gun? Yes or no.

        1. avatar Barstow Cowboy says:

          Hey look, now you can download it and play FFL, The Home Version!


  9. avatar Bunny says:

    I wouldn’t be opposed to requiring a NICS check for private party sales under the conditions of A- national reciprocity B- protection of “assault” weapons and “high” capacity magazines C- SBRs and SBS are taken off the NFA D- the Hughes amendment is repealed.

    Gun control activists are constantly demanding more control without any concern for facts we present. There is no give and take. They want more and are willing to “give up” nothing. That’s not the way negotiations work. Their true colors come out and we see they just want firearms banned. They could care less about facts and actually doing things to reduce crime by loostening gun restrictions. At this moment, I refuse to give an inch. We have been handing over rights since the 30s NFA. Enough is enough.

    1. avatar Curtis in IL says:

      Just so you know, negotiation and compromise is pretty much how legislative bodies operate (at least the ones that aren’t completely dysfunctional). The restrictions on gun rights we have today are the result of negotiation and compromise.

      1. avatar Pascal says:

        In states where anti-gun majority rules, there is/was no compromise — it is/was forced acceptance.

        In the case where there was a requirement to compromise, we had idiots at the table. You can have compromise without selling out your values which is what some did for political gain (if any)

        Compromise is normal and beneficial for things to work in many cases like business. The problem is making sure you do not have an idiot doing the negotiation for you.

        Today, on the right and the left we have a “win at all costs” attitude which means nothing of value ever gets done.

        1. avatar MarkPA says:

          “negotiation and compromise is pretty much how legislative bodies operate”. I’ve gradually moved, philosophically, from negotiation toward “just say no”. That said, we still have to recognize who we are dealing with. The anti-gunners will never stop their quest. Statists have to state; gun-controllers have to control. If we don’t come to the legislative table at all then our opponents will use our refusal against us. What we need to do is be engaged and then bargain in our own long-run interest.
          To illustrate, suppose we are facing a UBC bill. We could take the position that we could go along with that provided that: 1) there is an exemption for holders of a CWP; and, 2) there is a provision to fund and mandate militia training in public high schools.
          If the bill passes then just about everyone would be trained-to-arms; that would be devastating to the anti’s. We would duck the UBC with a scheme of a less-onerous gun-user registration; which is not what the anti’s want. They want the guns, not the owners.
          The probable outcome would be that the antis REFUSE to take the bait; they would recognize that they loose far more than they could gain from UBC. Such an outcome is fine. We take the position that the legislation is about public safety. We make a perfectly common sense proposal for gun training and user certification; the anti’s rejected it. We assert that they really aren’t interested in public safety; rather, they are really only interested in confiscation.
          We explain that 3D printers make controlling the guns useless. (It became useless as soon as CNC machine tools appeared on the 2’nd hand market). Moreover, gun-control countries can’t show that gun registration has ever helped solve a gun crime. So, we the PotG are those who have common-sense about gun-control. Useful proposals are coming from our side of the table; i.e., the side where all the knowledge and insight resides.
          Critics will counter that a CWP exemption from the UBC is a concession we ought not make. On principle, I acknowledge the point. Even so, let’s look at the record on CWP legislation. How many States went Constitutional-Carry since Vermont’s legislature – through benign neglect – blazed that path? How many States went Constitutional-Carry AFTER first adopting a CWP regime?
          The slippery-slope – ironically – tips both ways! Once the voters in a State got used to the idea of CWPs it was but another incremental step to drop the the card-requirement.
          Similarly, it would be feasible to get Congress to restore funding to the DoJ’s program to investigate applications to rehabilitate those whose 2A rights have been lost. It would be virtually impossible to get Congress to summarily repeal the felon-in-posession laws. Which objective would better serve to advance the 2A cause?

    2. avatar M J J says:

      I prefer National Constitutional Carry rather than reciprocity.

      1. avatar MothaLova says:

        Especially since that is probably required by the 14th Amendment. Reciprocity still denies millions of citizens their rights.

    3. avatar TheBear says:

      The problem is that every step taken to actually enforce this would be awful.

      Plus, gifting would not be exempt so suddenly every .22 someone inherits from Grandpa would need to go through NCIS.

      A lot of family members in non gun nut families would simply not know they were supposed to go through NCIS, thereby making them accidental criminals.

      And all this is just the tip of the iceberg.

      I am not even taking into account the registry that would be demanded once it came to light how many people were simply ignoring the NCIS check between private party laws that would be in place…

      It would be a fluster cluck.

    4. avatar Ralph says:

      I have no opposition to NICS checks for private sales as long as the private seller can perform the check. I do not want FFLs involved in private sales, period, point, full stop.

      Why are private sellers locked out of NICS? Form 4473. That’s the government’s prize. The G can twist the arms of the FFLs to make them retain the 4473s, but they can’t enforce any such requirement against private citizens.

      1. avatar publius2 says:

        Same here. I have bought many cars from people I didn’t know, and I could care less about about – only what the website for comparable value of same cars, Carmax for titles, and the mechanic for condition had to say.
        As I recall they didnt want to know much about me, other than, “do you have the cash”. It was up to me to register the car later with DMV and pay the sales tax and tags fee.

        On guns, if the government wants to track serial numbers, fine, but if what Gottleib is suggesting (and here I am only going by Dean’s reporting, without the original text of the presentation made at the confernce) is that we should somehow be responsible for “knowing” someone- just exactly how would we do that?

        How about we just stick to what we have, the NICS and if that says the person is prohibited, it should be easy to see. Its already illegal to make a straw man purchase. Just give us access to the data and the deal is done.

        I dont need to “know” any more about the person than that. Heck, it could and should be a mobile phone app to answer the question, yes or no, prohibited or not.

    5. avatar Mad Max says:

      For private sales (or all sales), the firesrm info should not be required for the 4473. The Post Office should be able to do the NICS check on the buyer and provide copies to buyer & seller.

      The buyer & seller should prepare their own bill of sale.

      This way, the seller can prove that he did not transfer the firearm to a prohibited person and the buyer can prove that he obtained the firearm legally.

      All without the government having any record of the firearm itself.

      1. avatar Rambeast says:

        “The Post Office should be able to do the NICS check on the buyer and provide copies to buyer & seller.”

        I’ll have some of what you’re smoking. The ATF can’t process forms fast enough. The other alphabet soup agencies are slower than Christmas. The USPS?! No. They can’t do anything in a timely manner, and they will keep records. Also, you have to get around the ban of arms on federal property, and bringing in the firearm is necessary to verify the serial, make, etc.

        1. avatar Mad Max says:

          My idea was the following as a proposal to end the Universal Background Check debate and possibly obtain national reciprocity.

          It is the person that might be “prohibited”, not the firearm, therefore; the background check would be on the person (the buyer), not the firearm. The firearm information would only be known to the buyer & seller and would be recorded on a standardized bill of sale for the buyer & seller to retain. It would be unlawful for the government to keep a record of the firearm itself.

          Using the buyer’s driver’s license (or other form of government-issued ID that is currently acceptable for firearms purchases), the local postmaster would call the same number that the FFLs call to do the check. The confirmation number would be recorder on the 4473 (or some similar new form without the firearm info) just like the FFL does now. The firearm would not be taken into the Post Office nor would it be necessary to be on-hand for the background check.

          The buyer & seller would record the confirmation number on the bill of sale and attach a copy of the 4473. This way, the seller of any firearms that are already registered (within the current system to the seller) can prove that he/she was duly-diligent when selling the firearm if the firearm is used to commit a crime at a later date.

          There would be no change to the current FFL system except that (maybe) the government would need a warrant (substantiated by the specific firearm being used to commit a crime) to obtain the original sale 4473 from an FFL.

        2. avatar Stinkeye says:

          I understand why you’ve chosen the post office for your scheme; their ubiquity makes them the handiest choice. But those dolts can barely sell you postage without screwing it up, and the wait times in every post office I’ve ever been to are ridiculous. Having them involved would be a recipe for frustrations and hassle.

    6. avatar Geoff PR says:

      “Gun control activists are constantly demanding more control without any concern for facts we present. There is no give and take. They want more and are willing to “give up” nothing.”

      A typical tactic by the grabbers is to propose truly outrageous legislation and then agree to a slightly less onerous law and then crow loudly how “reasonable” their still onerous law is and point to that as proof of how that was a compromise.

      Remember that recent law where the legislator commented as to “bad that law really would have been”?

  10. avatar former water walker says:

    A bit ironic this occurred in Illinois. Where you can’t do a private sale without a background check. I don’t get why Gottlieb is all hepped up about this either. It doesn’t make me want to join SAF. I’ll stick with the NRA for now. And join the Illinois pro-gun folks if I ever get any $…

  11. avatar M J J says:

    I’m sorry. Nixon was hounded out of office because of Watergate, not because of his thoughts on the IRS. Otherwise, I agree with the writer’s premise.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      Abuse of the IRS was in Article 2 of the Articles of Impeachment against Nixon.


  12. avatar Noishkel says:

    “Would you sell a car to someone you don’t know?”

    Uhh, yeah. I totally would. I have in fact. I’ve hopped on Craig’s List and sold my car. Guy showed up with cash in hand and I signed it over right then and there. I’m not going to sit there and worry about the car I sold to the guy. Now if the guy had would have went on about how he was going to run over someone with it… well that might be a bit different. But I’m certainly not going to worry about it enough to demand a law that I have to take that car to a dealership that runs a background check on the new owner.

  13. avatar Desert Ranger says:

    So the Weber grill I sold to the guy who was a cannibal means…

    A. I am liable in the eyes of a tyrannical nanny state run by ambulance chasing attorneys
    B. Innocent
    C. Guilty of forgetting to include the barbeque sauce

  14. avatar Dirk Diggler says:

    I bought a gun in a Chuck E Cheese parking lot a few months ago. . . . didn’t know the seller. As a courtesy, I showed him my CCW permit. Not required, but hey. . . .

    this gets to the problem of the National Background Check push . . . if they really cared, they would open the system up to everyone and we wouldn’t have to pay dealers or FFL’s to do our work for us, and the record keeping requirements would be minimal. Moreover, criminals would not be allowed to plead away a gun possession charge and it would be mandatory fed time. But that will work about as well as the war on drugs.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      I agree point by point by point. If the background check was the goal, private sellers could run them by calling the same number as the FFLs. But then again, how would the G make sure that we kept the 4473? That’s the prize, because that the registry document.

      1. avatar Pascal says:

        They would do it like CT for private sales.

        “A DPS-67-C and a DPS-3-C (4 copies) must be completed. The seller of the handgun must contact the Special Licensing and Firearms Unit at (860) 685-8400, or 1-(888) 335-8438 and obtain an authorization number for that sale. This number is to be added to both forms. The DPS-67-C is to be retained by the seller for 20 years. The seller should retain the original copy of the DPS-3 for their records, give one copy to the purchaser as a receipt, submit one copy to the local police authority where the purchaser resides and submit a final copy to the Commissioner of Public Safety.”


        As far as I believe, since the state has given you the authorization # and you sent out the copies as required, if the other person does anything with that gun, it is not your fault.

        In the meantime, in Hartford, Waterbury, Stamford, Bridgeport, New Haven and New London gang-bangers or other crooks do the same deal by just exchanging brown paper bags, one with cash the other with the gun.

      2. avatar Ed says:

        If a background check was truly the goal, then a list of those who are prohibited and why they are prohibited would be freely and easily available to all without charge. There would be a well-documented process for removing your name from that list if you believed your name was there in error. This list would also correspond to a list of those who are ineligible to vote or serve on a jury.

        This would analogous to the concept of the principle of innocence unless proven guilty. If the government, for whatever reason, cannot place your name on that list, then you should be able to assert your Constitutional right to keep and bear arms with no licensing or permitting required among all states, territories and possessions of the United States including the District of Columbia. This scheme should be able to be maintained at a much lower cost than our current system of licensing or permitting and be much more transparent and uniform.

        Any resemblance of the list to a list of former Governors of the state of Illinois is purely coincidental.

  15. Gentleman: I know this is off-topic but we have a chance of electing a pro-gun, Marine Corps veteran to the position of Attorney General in the State of Connecticut. Kie Wesby won the Republican primary and has been endorced by CCDL and the Coalition of Connecticut Sportsman. He’s got three days to raise the small amount of funds remaining to qualify for state campaign financing. Kie is committed to repealing SB1160 (Governor Malloy’s assult rifle / standard capacity magazine ban).

    Here’s your chance to make a difference out there by supporting him. Campaign contributions are limited to $100.00. Please visit http://www.kieforag.com

    1. avatar Pascal says:

      Donation sent, hope he gets the necessary funds

  16. avatar Joe R. says:

    The question is:

    Q: Would you buy a gun from someone you didn’t know?

    If not, you will likely achieve a state where you do not own guns.

  17. avatar Chris says:

    I’ve sold many personal firearms in private sales, some to people I know, some to family, and some to complete strangers. The firearms sold to complete strangers were through a FFL, it’s the only way I will sell to someone I don’t know. I don’t agree with mandatory background checks for all though.

  18. avatar Henry Bowman says:

    “The freedom to buy and sell to people anonymously is a fundamental property right.”

    Anonymously or not is irrelevant. The fundamental property right observes no restrictions whatsoever on what, when, where, why, how or to/from whom property is transferred, as long as all parties voluntarily agree.

    This, of course, includes all those evil plants and evil guns that “conservatives” and “liberals” respectively love to hate.

  19. avatar Matt in FL says:

    I take the precautions that make me feel comfortable with the transaction, such as a bill of sale, or requiring a valid carry permit. If the potential buyer is uncomfortable with my precautions, so be it. He is free to buy from someone else. However, I have no desire to see my voluntary precautions become required by law.

  20. avatar Skyler says:

    I am SO regretting joining the SAF. Gottlieb is stepping in it all the time because he inherently opposes gun rights.

    1. avatar Erik says:

      You are absolutely dense, no man has done more for gun rights then Gottlieb. Manchin Toomey would’ve given us so much more then we lost, and yet the NRA chose to oppose it, now in Washington we’re facing I594 which is written only by anti-gun folk. UBCs will happen eventually, whether we wrote it or they is the question

      1. avatar Chip Bennett says:

        So, unconstitutional laws are acceptable, so long as we write them instead of the gun control advocates? Infringement of our rights is inevitable, so we should just accept our fate?

        1. avatar Rambeast says:

          That’s what I’m hearing in this thread. The amount of comments supporting ANY kind of background checks is sickening. Has everyone been conditioned to accept any violation of their sovereignty just so they can “feel” like they are doing the right thing?

          To those suggesting more regulation, grow a spine, and a pair while you’re at it. If you are so terrified of being sued, go to a FFL dealer and pay for your check. Leave my personal property out of your capitulation.

        2. avatar John in Ohio says:

          @Rambeast: Spot on! I read some of these comments and think, WTF.

      2. avatar MothaLova says:

        At this point, we shouldn’t be giving up any ground at all. We’ve already lost far too much since 1968 (and before). It’s the other side that needs to give up ground now.

        1. avatar Skyler says:

          Yes, we need to begin the conversation about repealing the NFA and the GCA. It would take a long time, but if you don’t start the conversation, you never get there.

      3. avatar publius2 says:

        I have read same, that Gottlieb has done a great deal, and has been far ahead of the curve. The problem is not the NRA vs SAF, but the fact that Gottlieb has done the deals *apparently* in the back room with politicians, without carefully sharing with SAF donors or the larger gun rights community.

        Now that could be my own ignorance- but I see that there is *always* varying levels of understanding, and if you intend to speak for a group, then you have to wait for them to catch up to you. Otherwise, you are just going to be misunderstood, in spite of your best intentions and being ahead of the curve.

        Personally, it seems NRA, as imperfect as some here find them and as nitpicky as POTG are, no one is going to be happy all the time- they seem to be more successful than not working the legislative angles, and have the troops on the ground, and the longgggg history of doing so…

        And SAF’s success has been in funding smart lawyering, and bringing people together to educate them, like at this conference. If Mr Gottlieb and his Board could stick to what they do best, there wouldnt be so much angst…

  21. avatar Chip Bennett says:

    1) Owning a firearm is lawful.
    2) Transfer of something I own to someone else, in exchange for money, is lawful.


    I am not responsible for the legal status of the person to whom I am selling my lawfully possessed thing. I am not responsible for what the purchaser does with my lawfully possessed, lawfully transferred thing.

    The only remedy to Gottleib’s conundrum is more government power and control over the lawful actions of law-abiding citizens.

  22. avatar Scrubula says:

    Yeah, I would sell a car to someone I didn’t know. Like any other responsible person I would get to know them a little bit, but you don’t need to be related or friends with someone to provide them with an inexpensive form of transportation.

  23. avatar RT says:

    I doubt most of us on here have anything crappy enough in our safes to worry about selling to someone shady. And until someone invents a time machine, anonymous private sales are always going to be a crap shoot.

  24. avatar MichaelB says:

    I think the point of the question is:

    Would you sell a car to someone you don’t know? Why can’t we do that for guns?

    Meaning all laws and prohibitions on gun sales should be repealed so selling a gun isn’t any different that selling a car. Sign over the ownership, get the cash, done and done.

    There’s no legal requirement (that I know of) when you sell a car to someone they have to have a driver’s license.

  25. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

    Gottlieb is a huge asset when he’s litigating against anti-RKBA governments and sovereigns.

    When he starts to think out loud about forming policy, he gets into the weeds very quickly.

    1. avatar MothaLova says:

      Yes, that summarizes Gottlieb well. I give to SAF because of its unique accomplishments against municipal and state governments. But it’s certainly a love-hate affair at this point.

    2. avatar Rambeast says:

      This is why lawyers make horrible legislators. They can pick apart any case with ease, but asking them to put together thoughtful, simple legislation seems to activate a self destruct mechanism in them.

  26. avatar Publius says:

    Once again, Alan Gottlieb continues his war against the Second Amendment. Does anyone have a way to check and see if someone (Bloomberg, ATF, FBI, etc) is blackmailing him? Unless he suddenly came down with a brain tumor, it makes no sense for a man who spent so much time fighting for the Second Amendment to suddenly switch sides and campaign against it.

    1. avatar Dave357 says:

      They are blackmailing his State – he can’t be happy at the prospect of I-594 passing in WA. And he said back in the early 2013 that without defusing the background check issue at the federal level, we will see a lot of state referenda that there will not be enough pro-gun money to fight and that will be likely to pass.

      I am still on the fence whether he was right on that, but that part of his views is not illogical.

      1. avatar Dan says:

        are you still on the fence? NV will likely have an even more draconian initiative on the ballot next year.

  27. avatar BDub says:

    We have precedent for what happens. Its called the Commerce Clause.

  28. avatar Peter says:

    People sell their guns?

    1. avatar CM says:

      @ Peter – I know right? I’m trying to grok that concept myself.

      1. avatar Rambeast says:

        “Grok” resurrected this little gem from long past memory. Gottlieb could learn from it.

        “A desire not to butt into other people’s business is at least eighty
        percent of all human wisdom… and the other twenty percent isn’t
        very important.”
        “You butt into other people’s business. All the time.”
        “Who said I was wise? I’m a professional bad example. You can learn
        a lot by watching me.”

  29. avatar Soccerchainsaw says:

    Would you rent a room to someone you didn’t know? I wonder if John Wilkes Booth’s landlady would rethink that decision?

  30. avatar noman says:

    Alan Gottlieb needs to go away. The man who tried desperately to give us universal gun registration via Manchin-Toomey[-Schumer] seems determined to keep trying to convince the gun owning proles that yes, we really do need more gun control. For the children. Or something.

    Seriously, Alan Gottlieb, go away. You’ve switched sides and we don’t want you “helping” us anymore.

    Go away, Alan. Seriously.

    1. avatar Skyler says:

      Agreed. The NRA doesn’t have power. The SAF doesn’t have power. It is the people who have power. The people value guns and gun ownership and bearing arms.

      The NRA exists to lobby legislators. The SAF increasingly exists to broker deals with gun grabbers. Both do so to give the impression of having power. Gottlieb with the SAF wants to undercut the NRA to show that they are the better lobbyists.

      But the power is with the people, and pro-gun sentiment is at an all time high. The SAF and the NRA are riding our coattails. We are driving the agenda, not them.

      I still hold out hope for the GOA.

  31. avatar Paul G. says:

    Wow. The paranoia seems deep here. Would you sell a number 2 pencil to a stranger?

  32. avatar publius2 says:

    I’d be happy to trade background checks for all, prohibited yes or no, that simple, for no more gun registry.

    What personal property I own is no one’s business.

    And that would mean the end of the ATF, which is long over due.

    1. avatar Paul G. says:

      Thanks but no, I prefer my rights unadulterated.

    2. avatar frudr says:

      I’d be happy to trade background checks for all, prohibited yes or no, that simple, for no more gun registry.

      Silly man. First of all there is no “universal background check” without a universal gun registry. That’s the only way to verify that Joe Schmoe went through a background check for the gun he was found to have. To have a verifiable way to link THAT gun to THAT gun owner. The word for that is “registry”. You and Alan Gottlieb seem to miss that.

      Second, if you offer to trade your rights away in exchange for the promise (but not guarantee) of fewer future restrictions, then don’t be surprised if people want to take you up on that. Maybe this will offer some perspective.. You wrote:

      I’d be happy to trade background checks for all, prohibited yes or no, that simple, for no more gun registry.

      Let’s change that to:

      I’d be happy to trade over the shirt government fondling of our daughters and wives, for no under the shirt government fondling of our daughters and wives.

      So in order to have them not do one thing they have no right doing, you’re happy to let them do another thing they have no right doing. You, Alan Gottlieb, and Michael Bloomberg should all have lunch sometime and talk about how much you have in common with each other. Bloomie’s men will disarm you obviously, but don’t worry – they’ll be armed to the teeth.

  33. avatar dcert says:

    Good God people (not all), traitors in our midst comes to mind when i see some of your posts! Let us not stray from the ideals of our founders who built this great nation. I want to write more but I cant think of any polite way too get my point across… NOT 1 INCH!!! Ill leave you with a quote “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety”

  34. avatar Jeremy B. says:

    But Alan is against I-594 and wants to debate Bill Gates against it.

    So the real story here is missing. Is he missusing what he thinks is a valid argument against I-594? Or is the author of the article trying to muddy the waters? Something isn’t right here.

    1. avatar Dave357 says:

      I-594 is a bad bill even if someone believes in background checks, because it is very draconian as to what constitutes “transfer”, among other things.

      However, Alan was for federal background checks back in 2013 because he felt that this issue just won’t go away and fighting it tooth and nail will only make things worse.

      It is possible that he is a “true believer” in that opposing background checks is morally indefensible, but it could also be that this is more of his argument for why this issue is unwinnable with the public.

      1. avatar Dan says:

        So do you disagree with alan? Do you think background checks is winnable, especially against bloomberg’s infinitely deep pockets?

  35. avatar John in Ohio says:

    If there is no indication that the transaction is prohibited by law, I don’t sweat it. Vehicles, firearms, whatever. What a ridiculous place the United States has become today.

  36. avatar MarkPA says:

    “First of all there is no “universal background check” without a universal gun registry.” Frudr, please explain why this is necessarily so? Is it because you can’t conceive of any U-BC law that YOU would write that didn’t include a universal gun registry? Does that make it so?
    I imagine that a U-BC bill would have to be judged on an analysis of its text and what can be reasonably analyzed as an implication of the text. Do you have a text you could share with us?
    A registration scheme threatens the 2A; yet, it depends on the details of the scheme. E.g., I have a gun I registered decades ago when I resided in Chicago. Since I didn’t have to un-register the gun when I moved out of Chicago that municipality has no idea what I’ve done with the gun for 30 years. Their registration scheme didn’t threaten the 2A. I’m not advocating registration here; rather, I’m merely pointing out that such conclusions as yours are pure conjecture absent the text of a bill.
    A U-BC scheme is a total waste of money; except, possibly, that it might serve to close down an avenue of attack among uncommitted voters. If U-BC’s represent a realistic threat, who would you prefer to draft the bill?
    I see BCs and registration/paperwork as independent issues. In fact, under present Federal law, an FFL does NOT have to run a NICS check on a customer if the customer shows his CWP/FOID (under particular circumstances, in particular, that governing State law does not impose a superseding BC requirement). Do we hold that the FFL NICS check is a registry in those cases where the FFL merely inspects the customer’s CWP/FOID?
    It seems to me that a perfectly reasonable approach to a “U-BC” requirement might include a provision that a seller inspect a buyer’s CWP/FOID to satisfy the BC prerequisite. Would the Anti’s be satisfied? Probably not. Would the uncommitted voter be satisfied? Perhaps so. What are we PotG interested in? The good-will of the: Anti’s?; or, that of the uncommitted voter?
    When a driver rents a car he simply shows his driver’s license to demonstrate that he is a qualified driver. When a customer buys alcohol or tobacco he simply shows an ID (usually a DL) to evidence that he is of-age according to State law. There is no analogue to a 4473 form in respect of a car rental, alcohol or tobacco transaction. Why would the uncommitted voter presuppose that there would necessarily be a paperwork requirement in the case of a private sale of a gun?
    The uncommitted voter should understand that FFLs and private parties are two distinct cases; one is a licensed dealer, the other a non-professional. We can expect FFLs to know the record-keeping laws pertinent to their businesses; we can’t expect non-professionals to adhere to the same laws as professionals. Mr. Abramski and his FFL were rudely surprised to hear from SCOTUS that they didn’t understand the paperwork requirements of the 4473 form. (Never mind that Congress never understood how SCOTUS would read their minds. Nor did the ATF always hold the view read into the form by SCOTUS.)
    The case for a registry or record-keeping in conjunction with private-party transfers is easy to articulate. It should suffice to recite the recent experience of Canada. Let’s prepare to make the case against registries/record-keeping to the uncommitted voter. And, while we are at it, make a case against the onerous (dangerous) 20 year FFL retention requirement for 4473 forms.
    Now, what’s left of U-BCs?
    First, address temporary transfers. I loan my son/wife/buddy a gun for an afternoon of plinking. I loan my neighbor a gun because she is being stalked by her ex-. Doing a U-BC for loans isn’t going to make sense to uncommitted voters. If a legal gun-owner loans a gun to a criminal then she certainly ought to remember whom she loaned the gun to. Now, she’s in the chair under the hot lights. She’s got to maintain plausible deniability about the borrower’s antecedent felonies; that’s hard to do.
    Second, address permanent transfers – the preverbal “gun-show loophole”. It wouldn’t be hard to give gun-show promoters NICS access. They could print BC certificates good-for-the-show for very little – if any – additional expense. (They already have people manning a booth for guests to get questions answered.) Most attendees buying guns from private parties in most States would have a CWP/FOID minimizing the number of BCs the show sponsors would need to conduct.
    Third, address permanent transfers outside a “gun-show” venue. Just how much expense and inconvenience does the uncommitted voter want to impose on law-abiding citizens exercising a Constitutional right? Is the purpose to raise a barrier as high as possible before exercising that right? Or, is the purpose to make it easy for sellers to exercise due-dilligence?
    If we have a “conversation” with the uncommitted voters about U-BCs we have a forum to discuss the success – or lack thereof – of law enforcement in prosecuting FFL customers who turn out to be felons. We can also have a discussion about how the ATF seems to keep itself busy persecuting gun users with no prior criminal record. Is it not common-sense to examine related feel-good laws – that are demonstrable failures – before spending the taxpayer’s money on new failures?
    Some of us believe that U-BCs could never make it through Congress. Others of us fear they might; after all, some States impose U-BCs. How can the former convince the latter that U-BCs are a political impossibility?

    1. avatar Paul G. says:

      Did you first get a u-bc before utilizing your right to say that? Just say no to giving away your rights.

    2. avatar Chip Bennett says:

      “First of all there is no “universal background check” without a universal gun registry.” Frudr, please explain why this is necessarily so? Is it because you can’t conceive of any U-BC law that YOU would write that didn’t include a universal gun registry? Does that make it so?

      There’s a fundamental rule where the government is concerned: If it isn’t documented, it didn’t happen.

      The background check must be documented. That documentation becomes a record that must be maintained. The collection of maintained records becomes the registry.

      And that’s just from the seller’s side. The background check is a transaction between seller and government. The government can – and most certainly, will – keep a record of such transactions. Voila: registry.

  37. avatar BHirsh says:

    Re: Title

    As long as his check cleared, I could care less. And the law doesn’t require due diligence to discover if he has a valid driver license.

  38. avatar BHirsh says:

    “Setting up a system so that everyone in society is monitored to prevent the actions of a few evil or irresponsible people is an excuse to control everyone.”

    It’s also Prior Restraint, which is unconstitutional pursuant to 5th and 14th Amendment due process protections.

  39. avatar D.G. Cornelius says:

    Long story, short: At their core, since day one of this specie, all economic/exchange activities are based on trust. If trust is removed, economy has no basis. Even more, if trust is replaced by induced, mandatory paranoia, then it’s even worse.
    And that goes for anything that has to do with economics, at any level, regardless.

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