|We can have HR 8, or we can have|
a law that is more reasonable AND
contains many pro-gun provisions
1) We must take the background check issue off of the table – and the only way to do that is for us to our own expansion of background checks.
Why must we do this? The answer is simple: HR 8. Bloomberg and his allies will use this issue to push horrible laws that go way beyond background checks. This issue is the most popular gun control law with people who normally oppose new gun laws. Therefore, it is the choice vehicle to “piggy back” everything we hate.
It is critically important that we understand the level of support for background checks. No, I do not believe that they will do much good. However, this is completely irrelevant. The majority of Americans who support background checks do not support them because they think they will work – they support them ON PRINCIPLE. However, they primarily are concerned about stranger to stranger transactions – not transactions between relatives or others well known to each other.
The greatest danger we face is the passage of an HR 8 like bill – and if Dems ever get control of both houses and the presidency, such a bill will pass. That could happen as soon as 2020. However, getting an HR 8 bill passed would be almost impossible if they have to argue for it on it's merits. They would have to argue that they want to send people to prison for allowing someone to shoot their gun, or transferring a gun to someone they have known for decades. That is not a wining argument. There would be no arguing that they need to close the “gun show loophole”. Will they still try to pass such bills? Sure they will, but they will lose the support of House and Senate members in most swing districts, which will make passage impossible.
Arguing that we should be able to sell a gun to a stranger without a background check is a loser for us.
Arguing that it should be a crime for me to let you handle my gun or shoot it in the woods is a loser for them.
If you think we can win a battle over Bloomberg background checks by educating the public, I suggest you ask the gun owners in Colorado, Washington, Nevada and New Mexico how that plan worked out for them. Clue: It didn't.
Another argument against expanding background checks is that no enforcement would be possible without a gun registry. However, this is not the case. I have no doubt that such an argument would be made by the gun grabbers, but it is unlikely to work.
First of all, by definition, the purpose of expanding checks to private stranger to stranger transaction is to prevent honest people from selling firearms to prohibited persons. Therefore, it depends upon voluntary compliance. Given the fact the such sales are already a tiny source of criminals firearms, it is clear that most private parties are very careful about who the sell to. Compliance likely would be high.
Second, there are many laws that are equally hard to enforce. All drug laws concerning personal use fall into this category. These laws are enforced when the come to the attention of police in the course of their investigations. One way a violator could be caught: A criminal is caught with gun. The cops ask him where he got it. He says he bought it from Mr. Brown without a background check. Cops contact Mr. Brown and ask him if this is true. He says there was a check done at Joe's Gun Shop. From there the cops could refer the case to ATF who would check for a 4473 and bound book entry at Joe's Gun Shop. In short, it's not rocket science.
2) Just as Bloomberg has used background checks to advance his agenda, we can use the same issue to advance our agenda.
First, we should start with Manchin/Toomey. We should take a long look at that bill to make sure that it only covers stranger to stranger transactions. Currently, Manchin and Toomey have made it clear that this is the case. The requirement for a check is tripped if the firearm is sold at a gun show or advertized to strangers. Manchin has used the example of posting a card on your church bulletin board as a case where a check would not be required. This exemption is a must.
Second, we should demand that the final Manchin/Toomey bill of 2013 be the starting point. Why? Simple: There are a TON of pro-gun rights provisions in it. For one thing, it allowed purchases in ANY STATE. It also added necessary teeth to the innocent passage provisions of the 1986 Firearms Owners Protection Act – specifically damages if local authorities arrest you in violation of it. Additionally, it made the creation of a federal gun registry a felony that carries a 15 year sentence. This version should be the starting point.
Third, we need to push for more, such as:
Preemption of state background check laws. With this expansion of the federal program, there is no need for any state background check system. This entire area of law should be completely preempted by the federal government. Furthermore, additional checks serve no further purpose and therefore are clearly unconstitutional.
CCW license reciprocity. Any state license meeting minimum requirements would have to be honored in any state.
Gun free zone liability. Any location open to the public, including locations where people are admitted by membership with have to either allow some form of lawful carry or provide armed security AND screen those entering the location. If they elect to provide security, then they must also secure the perimeter. Failure to do one of the two options would result in their being fully liable for injuries and deaths resulting from a mass shooting.
If we could get all of the above, I personally would consider that to be a win.