It looks like we are not going to be able to stop any new gun laws from being passed. IMHO, we need to get smart and see what we can stop and what we can get in return. It will be a smart move for one gun rights group to be working to minimize the damage and even to see what we can get, while the others oppose passage of the bills.
1) Expanded Background Checks
Of course, we know that this is nearly useless, but it appears that some expansion is going to pass. Here's how we can both minimize the damage and get some things we want:
a) We need to make sure that this is a simple expansion of NICS checks to private sales - not a Bloomberg version.
b) Since we are going to have a federal background check law - we should push to have this law preempt all state and local background check laws - again, this would be a huge blow to Bloomberg. Our argument is simple and easy to understand: One check is enough. If we get this amendment in the bill, our opponents might even chose to kill the whole bill. Either way, we win.
c) Since we are going to have a national law, people now should be able to purchase guns in any state. The law requiring state approval for purchases in another state should be repealed. After all, we are going to have the same check everywhere.
d) We should push for as many common sense exemptions as possible. At a minimum transfers between family members should be exempt, along with transfers to persons holding a CCW license or any form of FFL.
e) We need to prevent the so called Charleston loophole from being "fixed". This would allow the feds to shutdown all gun sales simply by refusing to approve or disapprove them.
f) We need to make sure that the NICS system is not turned into a registration system. To accomplish this, we need to make violation of the current ban a felony with severe mandatory prison time. Furthermore, any state AG must be authorized to prosecute violations. This would prevent an anti-gun rights administration from looking the other way.
To accomplish the above, while still attempting to stop anything from passing, we should have one gun rights group pushing these amendments (say SAF/CCRKBA) while other groups (say NRA and GOA) oppose any bill.
2) Red Flag Laws
REMEMBER, EVERY STATE IN THE UNION ALREADY EFFECTIVELY HAS SUCH LAWS
They are called restraining orders and they turn the subject of such orders into a prohibited person. After you are served with such an order, cops can, and often do, show up to seize your firearms.
I am opposed to red flag laws, both because I believe there are better solutions, and because I see a great deal of potential for abuse. Mental health commitments and restraining orders are better solutions. Nevertheless, it appears that the feds are likely to pass a bill that "encourages" states to pass these laws. There are many things we can do to minimize the damage and even to roll back bad red flag laws in the states that have already passed the most agreges versions of them.
a) All state red flag laws should have to conform to federal guidelines. Failure to abide by such guidelines should result in the loss of federal law enforcement grants.
b) The model red flag law should narrowly define who can apply for an order. It should be limited to law enforcement and close family. This would do away with state laws that allow basically anyone to apply for an order, greatly increasing the potential for abuse.
c) Due process must be protected. A hearing should be scheduled within 14 days of the order being issued.
d) There must be significant penalties for abuse. At the 2nd hearing, the judge must determine if abuse has occurred. In cases where this has happened, the judge shall impose a civil fine AND refer the party who lied to the local authorities for criminal prosecution. Additionally, the party responsible for the abuse must pay all of the subjects legal fees.
e) Local authorities shall be responsible for the safety and care of any and all firearms in their custody. In the case of damage, loss, theft, or any other form of loss or damage, the agency who cared for the firearms shall repair, restore, or replace the firearm. If this is not possible, they shall compensate the owner for the full retail value.
Again, as with background checks, it would be wise to have one gun rights organization "on the inside" working to get the above included in the bill, while other work to defeat it.
3) Assault Weapons Ban
Here is where we should, IMHO not give an inch. If the left passes such a law, it will be a disaster for this country. It could even spark a civil war.
a) We should oppose such a law in congress, online and in every other way possible.
b) We must oppose this law in the courts. While background check expansion and red flag laws are probably, in the opinion of the current SCOTUS Justices, constitutional - banning the most popular firearms in the US is likely not. It clearly fails the common use test established in Heller.
Our opponents are hoping that we do not have anyone representing us when these bills are drafted and as they make their way through Congress. They want us to just say no to all of them - because then it will be their version of these bills that pass. We need to be smarter than that. We need to both oppose these bills and work to make them into our versions. These versions can be both more palatable and even advance our own agenda.