Monday, February 22, 2010

Loophole Nonsense

by Ben Small

I am often entertained by the arguments of the gun-banners like the Brady Campaign who are arguing for closure of the so-called "Gun Show Loophole," primarily because there is no such thing. One is legally entitled to sell or give or trade any gun legally owned to another person not known to be a criminal (defined by law as one not entitled to own a firearm, someone who is insane, a drug addict, a convicted felon or someone convicted of a domestic abuse crime -- even a misdemeanor domestic abuse crime.) who is a resident of the same state.

There it is. If you meet that criteria, you can sell, give or trade your gun to your son or daughter, your next door neighbor, a friend, or someone at a gun show. Closing the so-called "loophole" would prohibit these transfers.

Under the law, any dealer in guns, meaning one who holds an FFL (Federal Firearms License) must do the required NICS background check before he sells a gun, whether at a gun show or otherwise. People who are not regular dealers, like you and me, can transfer a gun to anybody who meets the criteria mentioned above, whether it's at a gun show or not.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms  and Explosives (BATFE) is the federal agency charged with enforcing these laws, and you better believe these guys are out in force in plain clothes at every gun show. Ask someone how to refit an AK-47 to fire fully automatic, and you're likely to be prosecuted by the Feds. Walk out with an armful of rifles, and you're likely to be questioned by unfriendly Feds for quite some time.

That's what the BATFE does: Ensure the wrong people aren't selling and buying weapons.

I recently got into an argument with a college friend who happens to run the Brady Campaign. He was our student body president and I was a class officer. He argued how could I justify someone buying eight-five guns of the same model at a gun show, the person had to be supplying these weapons to criminals. Okay, I responded, we have laws to prosecute these people, confiscate their weapons and send them away for a long stretch. Where is the BATFE?

He also railed against a proposed Virginia law which would allow guns in bars. Arizona just passed similar legislation which went into effect this year. My friend asked how could I support drunks with guns. Well, the answer is simple: I don't. But here again, there are laws, felony laws, about drinking while carrying a gun. The law is if you're carrying in a bar, you cannot drink. It's that simple.

Just enforce the laws. I'm not in favor of drunks driving cars either, and we have laws against that, too. What's more dangerous? A drunk behind the wheel of a car, or a drunk carrying a pistol? I'll bet more people are killed each year by drunk drivers than by drunk shooters. But you can argue either way. The point is: We have laws against both. Enforce them.

As you know, guns sales have been going through the roof, primarily for two reasons: 1) fear guns will be banned, and 2) awareness that in most cases the police cannot protect you.. Meanwhile, the murder rate nationally is down ten percent. Coincidence? I doubt it. If someone thinks you may be armed, they are less likely to attack you. Criminals tend to attack those they think cannot protect themselves, which means they often attack women or the elderly or disabled. And guess what? These are the same people buying guns. Go into a gun store; you'll see a lot of blue hairs and women. When I took my Concealed Carry Class two years ago, most of our class were women and blue hairs. And I was one of them -- a blue hair for those of you wondering...

In short, there is no gun show loophole, just a lot of loopies who claim there's one. But then, a lot of people think the U.S. government staged 9/11 and that the Holocaust never happened,

Saying something, posting placards and having press conferences and media shows doesn't make something true or accurate. And the so-called Gun Show Loophole is just another example of a politically fed myth.

The Gun Show Loophole doesn't exist.


Jean Henry Mead said...

Good article, Ben. Although the murder rate is down, robberies and burglaries are up due to the economy and drug use. I agree those who don't have weapons at home to protect themselves, especially women, the handicapped and the elderly, are especially at risk. In my area, paranoia is rampant and gun store sales have been unbelievably high (including Walmart). Several months ago, shelves were empty and you couldn't even buy ammunition. At the same time, trust in law enforcement is at an all-time low.

Mark W. Danielson said...

Perhaps it was a premonition, but I had an odd dream last night where I was dressed in my Halloween pirate costume, complete with my Navy sword, when a guy with a knife threatened me. You don't attack a guy with a sword any more than you would a guy with a gun. So, how long will it be before swords will be banned? Instead, perhaps we should ban cigarettes, alcohol, and motor vehicles since they cause more deaths than anything. Even better, let's ban war.

Ben Small said...

Good idea, Mark! :<) But I'd just prefer gummint stay out of my life as much as possible.

Jean, the shelves are full again now. Seems the fever has died down, although Concealed Carry classes are still jam-packed, and more and more gun shops are offering them. And ammo hoarding seems to be trailing off a bit, although that's more a cyclical thing, as the ranges are packed and people are showing up at record rates to practice. At the ranges I frequent, it's gone from nobody there usually to waiting in line for a lane to open. And you're right, while murder rates are down, robberies and burglaries are up. So are home invasions.

It'll be interesting to see if Paul Helmke, the head of the Brady Campaign responds. My piece was posted oh Facebook and he's one of my Friends. Yes, I like the guy, even if I disagree with his stance on self-defense and guns. But Paul's in France right now visiting his daughter I believe, so I suspect he won't see my piece.