This is TTAG’s weekly roundup of legal and legislative news affecting guns, the gun business and gun owners’ rights.
Trump’s Surprise Gun Legislation and Background Check Apps
I’ve always been a big fan of surprises. As a kid I’d cover my ears whenever my mom tried to give me “hints” as to Christmas presents. That’s why I’m super excited for the gun control package President Trump is “expected” to announce in the coming week. It’s gonna be a big surprise!
Kidding aside, the administration has given us little reason for optimism. It seems the majority of the buzz that’s emanated from the White House over the previous weeks has centered around domestic surveillance in one form or another. From his fascination with home assistants, to recent rumblings around a mobile background check app, the only tendency we can observe right now is towards moving government even closer to your life.
Another fascinating thing here is the fact that the legislature is, by all accounts, waiting for the president to hand down a lawmaking proposal. I’m not sure if you attended seventh grade civics, but that’s not how this is supposed to go.
The phone app is a fascinating suggestion. There have been discussions about using blockchain technology to implement such a thing. This could be interesting, but it raises an issue: this appears to be about private transactions, which right now can only occur intrastate. This isn’t because of a gift from the federal government, but rather by constitutional design.
To grossly oversimplify a very live and perpetually litigated issue, the federal government lacks the power to touch purely intrastate transactions. So, at least according to my reading of the law, there is no present, constitutional way for a federal law to require the use of a background check app just for intrastate private sales.
If you’re smelling what I’m stepping in, you know where I’m going with this. There’s a flip side.
If the feds do implement this background check app system as a substitute for transfers via an FFL, it could open the door to interstate private transactions. That would be pretty neat, if you ask me. That said, I’m not sure carrying around a federally-created app on my phone is something I’d be willing to do to get that.
Gun Control is Popular, It’s in the Polls!
A host of polls have come out in the last week suggesting that the majority of Americans want “some form” of stricter gun control. That said, let’s not forget that polls are hot garbage laden with selection bias. FPC discussed the phenomenon where polls indicate a support for gun control, and then elections turn out the opposite way in a recent white paper on background check legislation.
Luckily, anti-gun fetishism wasn’t the only thing circulating in the press. As the call for stricter gun laws devolves into an omnipresent drone, it appears more are speaking out about the fundamentally stunted logic at the base of these calls. Will this show up in the polls? Who knows. Depends who paid the pollster.
A Bunch of Rich, Predominantly White A**holes Publish Convenient List of Companies to Boycott
A total of 145 CEOs have issued a letter to the Senate voicing their opinion on gun control, because nepotism apparently manufactures experts in public policy.
Acting in their capacity as a paternalistic check on US politics, the CEOs chide the Senate’s refusal to restrict the rights of all Americans in response to the demands of a handful of terrorists as “unacceptable.” The CEOs, who definitely have experience with the realities of life for the majority of the country — especially those of modest means — cannot grasp why some people would disagree with them.
They demand universal background checks and red flag laws, certainly because the CEOs have principled reasons to support such and not because those are the two proposals they heard about most recently on MSNBC.
Daring to speak out of turn, Senator Ted Cruz posited that “This is about social signaling at the country club…I promise you the people signing this letter don’t know any of the details of background checks or red flags either.”
Cruz also pointed out interesting concerns about the whole reason CEOs exist…to serve the interest of their shareholders. “I don’t think it’s a positive thing to see big corporations shifting their focus from their customers and actually doing what they were created to do into trying to become political players on divisive social issues,” Cruz said.
Amazing. To suggest that these people actually do their job and not needlessly embroil their companies in divisive political issues.
Naturally the CEOs are beyond reproach, as clearly alienating more than half the country is a great way to protect the bottom line for your shareholders. You know. The literal one and only thing you’re supposed to do.
San Diego Doesn’t Quite Understand What Guns are For
San Diego’s “safe storage” law just went into effect. Unlike most of these provisions, though, it covers absolutely everyone. Any gun that is “not in use” must be locked away. Which, if you think of a gun as a defensive tool (you know, the thing that it actually is), doesn’t make much sense.
A gun is useful the moment it becomes needed. Not the moment you’ve assembled it from three safety deposit boxes.
The San Diego law now puts itself squarely in contention with the Court’s core holding in Heller. Here’s hoping this dumb law gets struck down before it destroys too many lives. A concern that can’t be understated, given the fact that the City Attorney who proposed the law envisions it being enforced “by finding improperly stored guns in a home during a visit for another reason such as a domestic disturbance.” Because actually caring for the safety of those who call them clearly needed to be shifted down the priority list for investigating officers.