Welcome to Common Gunsense

I hope this blog will provoke some thoughtful reflection about the issue of guns and gun violence. I am passionate about the issue and would love to change some misperceptions and the culture of gun violence in America by sharing with readers words, photos, videos and clips from articles to promote common sense about gun issues. Many of you will agree with me- some will not. I am only one person but one among many who think it's time to do something about this national problem. The views expressed by me in this blog do not represent any group with which I am associated but are rather my own personal opinions and thoughts.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Guns don't kill people, Part III

On my blog, one person wrote, in all sincerity on my post, A Spy Story, : "Better yet, if their intent is sincere, they should work together (as corny as it sounds): come to a workable compromise and get this thing over with!! I've been reading and hearing about the gun debate for decades  and nothing is moving one way or the other. We must all have better things to do!" And he went further to say: " If the level of gun violence is appreciably reduced, guns will never be banned in the USA. The American people see the role of the armed citizen in our heritage, history and lore. They respect, even honor it as they should. But they are also troubled about all the gun violence and don't see the pro-gun side doing much of anything positive to solve it. (Gun safety training and "getting tough on criminals", both initiatives by the gun lobby, are good measures but only go so far.) If things don't change, they could some day decide to put public safety ahead of heritage and enact a gun ban." 

Now this is a person who hunts, owns guns and is a gun collector and gun maker. He is reasonable and happens to agree with a lot of what I believe. He lets it be known if he doesn't agree but he is willing to engage in conversation and compromise with people on both sides. Isn't that what leads to better ideas and a better country? I am probably naive but I am sincere and hopeful. I thought that engaging with folks on the other side of the gun issue and having some back and forth exchanges through my blog could actually lead to some compromise and some common sense solutions that would help reduce and prevent gun injuries and deaths.

But I would be wrong. There are some who are not willing to compromise one iota. Their position is that they are right and I, and the many others who support my positions, are wrong and there is no in between. This has become the way of doing business in our country. It shouldn't be and it's leading to a country where nothing is accomplished to benefit the greater good. What a travesty, really. It feels to me that there is no compromise in trying to stop the senseless shootings. In response to the person who commented, above, here is one uncompromising gun rights guy: "There's no compromise to be had. No free citizen should be prevented from buying and carrying any arm (firearm or otherwise) he likes. No government agent should be notified when a citizen buys or carrys a firearm/knife/whatever. Background checks are ineffective, and a precurser to registration, and should be abolished. Since I won't quit until citizens are free, where do you pretend you will find compromise?"

Well, where does this leave us? I think this guy represents a good number of citizens who feel that compromise would lead to gun confiscation and some erosion of their rights. They are wrong. The Supreme Court decisions in the Heller and McDonald cases took that idea off the table.  In addition, Justice Scalia in Heller stated: "..the longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms, are presumptively lawful." That sounds like the laws I am supporting are perfectly legal and not considered to be unconstitutional even by Justice Antonin Scalia. It does not sound like an uncompromising position. 

I need to know why compromise is off the table for some. I need to know why that works. I need to know how that will lead to better public safety and preventing people from being senselessly shot to death.  So let's look at "compromise" from Webster:

1. a settlement of differences by arbitration or by consent reached by mutual concessions
2. something intermediate between or blending qualities of two different things
3. a concession to something derogatory or prejudicial ( a compromise of principles)

It may be that number 3 is what this is all about. Neither side wants to compromise their principles for the greater good. But from my vantage point, it feels as if those who oppose my positions don't want to compromise anything. They feel as if they already compromised when the Brady Bill passed. Now that the Brady Law is in effect, we have a system that prohibits certain people from purchasing guns- like felons, dangerously mentally ill people, domestic abusers and terrorists for some. That does not feel like a compromise to me. That just feels like common sense. When a law is passed that stops people who shouldn't have guns from having them without affecting the rights of ordinary law abiding citizens, that is good for public safety. And whether or not it is the gun or the person with the gun who shoots somebody, too many people are being shot to death. There's no getting around the fact that guns are causing a lot of carnage in America. There is no compromising about lives lost to gun injuries. How we get to reduction and/or preventing the shootings is where the compromising begins and ends.

For many years now, the side of "gun control" has proposed several things. The one that gets the most attention is a national law requiring background checks on all gun sales at gun shows. There are many reasons to do this which I have written about ad nauseum. And yet, it is met with much resistance. It is a reasonable way to make sure that, at least at gun shows, everyone must go through a background check. It will stop some, but not all, felons, domestic abusers, dangerously mentally ill people and even terrorists from purchasing at a gun show. So we would then have consistency for all gun sales from Federally Licensed Firearms Dealers (FFLs) and private sellers alike, at least at gun shows. 

It has been suggested here (not by me) that we should propose universal background checks on all private sales but only if the private sellers could also access NICS to do their own background checks. The gun rights folks don't seem to like the idea of having FFLs do the background checks for the private sellers. The first I have heard of this is on my blog in recent weeks.  I have no idea whether that is even feasible. It seems like it could lead to some problems regarding making sure the private seller him/herself checks out and is not a criminal searching the data base for someone. I also wonder about the fact that the gun guys hate their privacy to be invaded in any way. This has a potential for problems along that line. Also, how would the ATF deal with this increase in numbers of people using the data base and would they be able to inspect and monitor all of these new "dealers"? So, as I see it, there are many road blocks to this one.

Something else we have proposed is making sure the names of those on the no-fly terror watch list are sent to the data base(NICS) of prohibited purchasers for gun purchases through FFLs.  We know that terrorists are purchasing guns but we can't stop them at the point of the purchase. There are problems with this, of course, with the number of people whose names are mistakenly put on this list. This would have to be worked out and could be. There is a current bill for this in Congress. When push comes to shove, however, I sure don't want terrorists buying guns legally in our country and I doubt that many others do either.

What about mandatory reporting of lost and stolen guns? That meets with resistance as well. I will provide some more information about why this is a good idea in another post.

And what about a renewal of the Assault Weapons Ban? Uff da ( to quote my dear recently departed Mother). Don't even bring that one up. It is very unpopular with the gun crowd who love all of those AK47s and AR15s, etc. for whatever it is they must do with them. I know I can't get along without mine! Anyway, that one gets "shot out of the water"- sorry for the pun- before it even gets an airing.

Of course, there is the non-proposal to confiscate all of the guns in the country and dispose of them somehow. That is what the gun guys think I and my "fellow travelers" really want to do. They know that we have an agenda and it is to precipitously or gradually take away their second amendment rights and their guns. Never mind that the 2 recent Supreme Court rulings have taken that off the table. But we've gone over that one before. No need to belabor that point. 

But I did find some comments made recently by Justice Breyer about what the Founding Fathers would think about restrictions on guns and gun rights. Eek! How dare he. I'm just positive that these comments were not met with cheers among the gun rights crowd. But Breyer brings up something pretty apropos to what is going on in politics today. President Obama just made some concessions on long held beliefs about granting tax breaks to the richest among us. He didn't want to but he also wanted some other things for the poorest among us and the shrinking middle class. How did he get an agreement? He gave up something and the Republicans gave up something. And now perhaps we can get some other business done while this gets sorted out. This is what Madison did regarding the Second Amendment if we are to believe Justice Breyer, who is a whole lot more knowledgeable than the average person about the Constitution. Madison wanted the Constitution ratified badly. To get that, he gave in to the states concerns about militias and the federal government forming a national militia to fight against the states. Voila- we have the Second Amendment as it was written back then.

I say that Justice Breyer is a wise man. In his words: " He suggested that those values and intentions mean that the Second Amendment allows for restrictions on the individual, including an all-out ban on handguns in the nation's capital. "We're acting as judges. If we're going to decide everything on the basis of history -- by the way, what is the scope of the right to keep and bear arms? Machine guns? Torpedoes? Handguns?" he asked. "Are you a sportsman? Do you like to shoot pistols at targets? Well, get on the subway and go to Maryland. There is no problem, I don't think, for anyone who really wants to have a gun."

Whoa- he must be delusional- or not. It is something to consider. What makes his views any less valued than other members of the Supreme Court? He just didn't happen to win his points in the last two rulings. One different Justice on the Supreme Court and things could have been decided differently.Anyway, on to compromise. I am not offering individual points on which to compromise. I am not in a position to do so. I am one person who is associated with several groups working on how we can best reduce and prevent gun injuries and deaths and work towards non violent solutions in our every day lives. This only makes common sense.


  1. Get on the subway? Go to Maryland? So, I'm not allowed to have it in my own home?

    I thought Supreme Court justices were above politics -- sadly mistaken. Too bad the others don't agree with his need to hold press conferences - then we could see how wrong he is.

    The "pro-gun" violence lovers out here have compromised for the last 80 years on firearms legislation - and each time seen an erosion of what we're allowed to do or buy. I don't think anyone is asking for torpedos (no submarine) or major league explosives (too expensive)...but we will object to any further "compromise" without a "concession" from the legislation back our way:

    1) Repeal the National Firearms Act of 1986
    2) Legalize and standardize licensed carry nationwide.
    3) Drastically increase minimum sentencing for firearms related crime.

  2. " It seems like it could lead to some problems regarding making sure the private seller him/herself checks out and is not a criminal searching the data base for someone."

    japete, private sellers won't have access to any database. We are talking about access to a phone number we can call so the FBI can search the database.

  3. Japete -

    I think you're very sincere but misinformed. Do you have any idea how rare it is for an AR15 to be used in violent crime in the US?

    The reason you're getting such a strong negative reaction to your posts is that you're trying to mess with a hobby that millions of Americans enjoy.

    If you really want to save lives, can't you just try to ban swimming pools or motorcycles, and leave us alone?

  4. No, I won't be doing that but thanks, anyway.

  5. "If the level of gun violence is appreciably reduced, guns will never be banned in the USA."

    That's like saying if give a bully all of my lunch money, he'll never bully me again. The poster who made that comment must not know that some people (Josh Sugarmann, Rebecca Peters, etc) live just to ban guns.

    "I need to know why compromise is off the table for some."

    Because the gun controller's idea of compromise means gun owners always give up something and never gain anything for the courtesy. If anything, gun owners have been far too giving to the gun controllers. Gun owners (at least the majority) agreed to the NFA, the GCA, the Hughes Amendment, the Brady Bill, and even the "assault weapon" ban. And when the gun controllers started pushing for an even stricter "assault weapons" ban and the utterly ridiculous "Brady Bill II", many gun owners woke up and realized you can't trust any of the gun control people. They're just going to take, take, and take.

    "Also, how would the ATF deal with this increase in numbers of people using the data base and would they be able to inspect and monitor all of these new "dealers"?"

    The increase wouldn't be any greater than if FFLs were doing all the checks instead. Banning privates sales is going to increase the numbers of NICS checks period.

    "Something else we have proposed is making sure the names of those on the no-fly terror watch list are sent to the data base(NICS) of prohibited purchasers for gun purchases through FFLs."

    Sorry, but you're not going to get me to agree with any legislation that essentially says a person is guilty until proven innocent all because some bureaucrat decided to put their name on a secret list.

    "What about mandatory reporting of lost and stolen guns? That meets with resistance as well. I will provide some more information about why this is a good idea in another post."

    No one has yet to give me a good reason why. If any of my guns were lost or stolen, i'm going to report it because I like my guns and would want them back. If anything, mandatory reporting just opens up a door of opportunity for gun traffickers to buy guns and get away scott-free when they are "stolen" by the guys they originally bought them for.

    As for Breyer's words, I wonder what he would have told black people in the south during Reconstruction. Would he have said, "Are you black? Do you want to live in peace without fearing the KKK? Well get on a steamboat and go north."

    Would Breyer have said to the Jews living in Nazi Germany, " Are you a Jew? Don't like getting shoved into cattle cars and gas chambers? Then you should have got on a boat and left."

    Breyer's comments are an anathema to the past 100+ years of American history. American's have fought and died all over the world for people's rights and freedom. Apparently, Breyer would have chosen the cowards way out and ran away from every fight.

  6. We have considerably different definitions of compromise. To me, compromise is a give and take. To you and the Brady Campaign, it seems to mean 'give us part of what we want with nothing in return, instead of all of what we want'. When I and others have asked what gun control laws you and yours would be willing to give up, you have either evaded, or indicated that you aren't willing to give up any current law--while chiding us for being uncompromising.

    Part of the purpose of the second amendment (enacted by literal revolutionaries, remember) is to protect the means of revolt as a last resort protection against a corrupt government. Registration undermines that protection. So far all the background check proposals, as well as 'lost and stolen' laws are defacto registration, either partial or complete.

    The no fly list should be scrapped rather than expanded. People who are known to be innocent can't get off the list, there's no accountability. Imagine a rabid, unethical NRA supporter with access to the list--what prevents him from putting your name, or Paul Helmke's on the list? Proven terrorists shouldn't be able to buy guns, or remain free, for that matter--but mere accusations shouldn't be enough.

    Once again, a question that never seems to get answered--Why are bayonets and adjustable stocks a problem? How are any of the restricted features used to facilitate crime? I see no evidence (other than a brusque 'nonsense' or similar non-answer) that you won't ban any gun you can find a scary name for, and you won't say what guns you would leave alone.

    ...and your final words say it all--A Brady Board member isn't in a position to work on individual points of compromise--but ordinary gun owners should.

  7. japete, the resistance you run into on eny and every suggestion is indicative of the non-negotiable attitude of many gun-rights activists. You described it perfectly.

    My hope is that they represent a rather small minority. Most gun owners are apathetic, just like most people in general. Therefore, eventually the country will wake up and come to its senses.

    I can't believe the MAgunowner said you should try banning swimming pools. Is there a more ridiculous and overused comparison out there? Oh, yeah there is, the car comparison.

  8. By the comments here, I can see that my point was missed by many of you. Too bad.

  9. I need to know why compromise is off the table for some.

    For me it stems from the history of your organization. You've shown that you're already willing to go beyond any 'compromise'. The AWB of 1994 is a perfect example of good intentions going a step too far. Combine that with other gun ban organizations such as the VPC willingly deceiving the public in order to further your goals, and you can see why there is a lack of trust on our part.

  10. Here's what's not subject to compromise.

    1. Any proposal that would result in the government knowing who owned what guns. Registration does not necessarily lead to confiscation, but it is necessary to confiscation. This is a mistake a free people only get to make once.

    2. Any proposal that would make it too expensive or too burdensome for a poor, single woman, living in the inner city, to obtain and to carry a handgun, everywhere, for self defense. We must protect the weakest among us.

    3. Any proposal that attempt to pick out specific models of firearm for extra scrutiny. Just as the dog-lovers oppose breed-specific legislation, gun owners will oppose model-specific legislation. It's not a legitimate attempt to reduce crime - more homicides are committed with .22LR than any other cartridge - it's an attempt to slice the gun-owning community into small pieces, that can be attacked individually.

    4. Any proposal that imposes significant criminal penalties on those without criminal intent. Mens rea is an essential part of any crime. There are people in jail right now for innocent paperwork errors.

    5. Any proposal that allows government the "discretion" to decide who will or will not be allowed to buy, own, or carry a firearm. The law must be clear and objective. To allow the government discretion as to who the law will be applied to is a violation of due process.

    6. Any proposal that imposes federal law on purely intra-state actions. A ban on private sales, for example, is beyond the scope of federal authority.

  11. No it wasn't.

    "Something else we have proposed is making sure the names of those on the no-fly terror watch list are sent to the data base(NICS) of prohibited purchasers for gun purchases through FFLs."

    It's called Due Process.

  12. And of course, your side deserves our devoted trust.

  13. So which one of the three does your response fall under?

    1. a settlement of differences by arbitration or by consent reached by mutual concessions
    2. something intermediate between or blending qualities of two different things
    3. a concession to something derogatory or prejudicial ( a compromise of principles)

    Where is the due process for being put on the list? What are the requirements?

  14. Joan,

    What are you willing to compromise on?

    It really is a simple question that you haven't addressed.

    Willing to let people Openly Carry without a license?

    Concealed Carry without a license?

    Fully automatic weapons, new or used, without a background check?

    Nationwide Concealed Carry Reciprocity?

    What are you willing to advocate for the pro-gun side?

  15. What are you willing to compromise?

  16. A great concept of a "compromise," as suggested by your contributor, is when intelligent people sit down, determine middle ground with both swallowing a bitter pill or two, then walk away and the matter is completely dropped for the foreseeable future.

    But this is not how our political system works. For better or worse American political compromise is considered what happens when two sides scream and shout from extreme positions, fighting not to give any ground, and what ends up being law we call a "compromise." And then the screaming and shouting begins again for a new "compromise," inching the debate in one direction or the other. When there are impassioned people the cycle repeats every congress.

    But ... the current situation is that we on the pro-gun side feel as though we need to roll gun laws back, just as you feel a need to make them more restrictive. And at the moment we're winning in most states and at the Federal level, with more state wins likely after the last election. So it's actually the anti-gunners who need to compromise with us, not us who need to compromise with the anti-gunners. i.e. the bills you want are non-starters in this political environment, whereas we will be pushing bills and changes and the most you can do is slow us down or "compromise" with us.

    The problem is that the anti-gunners lose credibility because they feel a need to fight against everything a pro-gunner wants. i.e. here in Colorado we do have a "gun show" law, though it's restricted to a defined "gun show" and doesn't cover all sales, but it adds a considerable cost to most guns AND during the early Obama period, when the instacheck system was backed up, you often couldn't get a same day approval. Which is difficult to deal with in a two day show.

    So we pushed for what we thought was common sense change, which is using a valid concealed carry license in lieu of a background check. But of course the anti-gun groups fought this, because they fight absolutely anything proposed by pro-gun groups, whether it's based around general self-defense or whatever. Even though a CCW license involves a considerably more thorough background check than the instacheck.

    I actually think the anti-gun groups could get more traction with the moderate pro-gun people if they showed real common sense, and didn't fight against everything remotely pro-gun. i.e. most mainstream anti groups claim they're not for bans, but then they fight hard to protect bans. And seeing the anti-gun groups fight tooth and nail against recognizing the 2nd amendment as an individual right, in D.C. and then Chicago, lost you a lot of credibility with the American people. Who mostly all considered it an individual right. Seeing anti-gun groups defending the 8 year sentence given a man in NJ for simple possession of a legally purchased and unloaded gun, especially when the law that imprisoned the man was one they fought for, also takes away credibility.

    So anyway ... you say you want to just close the gunshow loophole, but everything I see from the BC is "no background check, no gun, no excuses" which is not the same thing at all. So once you get a law like Colorado's that only affects gun shows, won't you immediately work for a law that requires background checks on all guns? If so ... we have to fight you at every turn, because by not giving in on a "gun show" only law we're keeping you one more step removed from fighting for laws that we even more vehemently oppose.

    BTW -- doing a criminal background check on someone doesn't violate any privacy. Criminal records are public records. In fact, I can go down to CBI and get a background check on almost anyone with the payment of a fee. I'd be all for being able to do a NICs check on someone as a private seller, I just don't want every gun sale recorded (because that means 100% gun registration)

  17. And we won't get too far if you all consistently insist on calling us "anti gunners" because, of course, that implies that we want to take all your guns. You can't stop doing it though so it sets up a road block from the get go. BTW- it is folks on this blog on your side who have suggested the universal check on all private sales- but with the provider that private sellers be allowed to do the checks rather than the ffls. I have stated what I think are the problems with that. If you all can figure out how to get around those problems, would you still be in favor? Since it is your suggestion, why not go for it and ask someone to sponsor a bill with those provisions? See where the chips fall.

  18. japete said...

    What are you willing to compromise?

    Joan - that is STILL a non-answer. You write and write and write. Much of what you say is thoughtful and insightful. I BELIEVE that you BELIEVE what you are doing and saying right and true. A true advocate for your cause. Then you ruin it with non-answers.

    If you had the ability to offer one item for compromise - what would it be?

  19. Compromise #1:

    1) On ALL gun sales/transfers. The Seller must perform a criminal background check on a buyer who doesn't possess one of the following:

    - a valid permit to purchase handgun/"assault" weapon with matching government ID (passport, DL, State ID Card)

    - a valid permit to carry a handgun with matching government ID

    - a valid curio & relic federal firearm license with matching government ID (for C&R transactions only)

    The criminal background check must be setup to be run via a secure Internet site, utilizing a persons name, address and SS#. It must give back a "Pass" or "Fail" within a "reasonable" period of time. It must be free to use.

    IN exchange for this further restriction of our rights - we ask that there be recognized nationwide reciprocity of Concealed Handgun Permits/Licenses free from individual state interpretation. This would require a standardized curriculum with training, and all fees would be "cost only".

    How's that for compromise?

  20. I am not going to negotiate gun laws on this blog. I don't know enough to do so. I am only one person. I do not speak for the Boards and organizations on whose Boards I serve. I am one person suggesting compromise when it comes to passing bills. I can not say what those specifics are. My purpose is to talk generally about the culture of guns, gun rights, gun safety, and gun violence. You may have missed that I am not here to please the gun guys. My audience is pretty broad. I am here to point out the problems and point out the incidents so that others will join me when we advocate for sensible gun laws. Sensible to me, since I know you will insist that I define it, is a law that won't affect law abiding citizens, their guns or their rights. Sensible means we are doing something together to stop senseless shootings. If we don't try, we won't know how that will work. If you want to keep a conversation going to see if we agree on something that 's fine. If you want to pin me down so you can write about it on your own blogs and pillary me with your ridicule and hateful comments, then don't bother. If I have a proposal supported by the groups to which I belong that is in black and white when we are seeking advocacy, I will write about it. Until then, please stop asking my views on something I cannot answer. I know what yours are because you all are absolutely set on what you want and what you have with no compromise in sight. You use the second amendment to hide behind all reasonable restrictions. That is not the way this is going to shake out. You are winning some things but you are also risking losing some things with all of the hateful and uncompomising rhetoric and with over reaching. I will be writing more about what the media is saying about gun rights and absolutism about guns. I suggest that you guys open your minds more. I find the most people on my blog just can't wait to jump on anything reasonable I propose. It is tiresome.

  21. Nice try, above. I can't negotiate your compromise on my blog. But I will say that personally, and with the support of my organizations, we are opposed to nationalizing CCW laws. That does not mean there isn't a compromise in there somewhere. I do, by the way, talk about some of what you guys are saying with others who support my issue. But as long as you guys continue to push for carrying guns by just about everyone in all public places you will not have our support. I have been publishing plenty of people with permits commiting shootings and other crimes in public places. That doesn't bode well for your case. Now we could tighten up the requirements to get a permit to carry and make sure all states do the same thing. I doubt you guys would go for that, though.

  22. Hey! YOU asked for compromise on your so-called "gun show loophole" -- I'm proposing a more sweeping compromise.

    The majority of what the BC proposes as a "compromise" seems awfully one-sided. MINE goes both ways.

  23. "why not go for it and ask someone to sponsor a bill with those provisions?"

    For the simple reason that we on the pro-2A side don't really want to see any new gun laws, including background checks on private intra-state sales, and will work to block your attempts to pass such legislation. Since this is your issue, and you want to see it passed, it behooves you to work out the kinks in a system that would allow private sellers to call NICS before making a sale; that would make an actual COMPROMISE that would possibly garner some support for your efforts amongst the gunnies. As long as you just push for the same old laws without offering us anything in return, we'll just keep pushing right back. In which case, it's unfortunate for your side that we have all the support, votes (as in actual people, not just your idea of the "evil gun lobby") and money, which is what is necessary to advance an agenda in a democracy.

    Also, I'd drop your dreams of a future reinstatement of the AWB by the way. There are now millions of Americans that think its just plain neat-o to own the AR-15s and AKs that they see in all their favorite movies, TV shows and games, so why wouldn't they? As you've said before to "follow the money," there's now way too many Americans with significant chunks of money wrapped in their so-called "assault weapons" (AR-15s generally start at $1000 and go as high as $3000 or so) to even consider passing the AWB again.

  24. I said a "standardized curriculum" in regards to training, not an "easier" one. I personally don't agree with giving out concealed handgun permits to every Joe Shmoe that wants one -- but I see no reason to restrict persons who have taken the time to understand the legal and ethical implications of their actions.

    Besides Nationwide Reciprocity -- did you see anything interesting in my proposal going your way?

  25. Hey- somehow things are getting out of hand here. I am talking about compromise among the larger groups that decide on these things. The NRA is usually the one who determines all things having to do with gun rights. They get their members to e-mail in favor of or against propositions and we do the same. I am not planning on having each of you offer a compromise and have me respond to each one. I am interested in your ideas, however and you asked for what I thought. I told you. You guys are more than happy to tell me what you think about every single word I write. That's O.K. I'm out there blogging publicly. Often people who blog or write articles don't respond at all or allow comments. I am allowing the conversation to happen. Whether or not it results in a broader change is up to many more people than just us. But we can still have the conversation. I am getting to know your positions just as you are getting to know mine. There could be some nuances in both that lead to something upon we can agree. Time will tell.

  26. Pat- the answer is yes- interesting but needs a lot more discussion. Some of the ideas proposed here are new ideas. Lots of people need to take a look at them to see how or if they would be workable while still making sure that protect lives as well as what you all maintain are your rights. If we get into the unfettered rights thing, then we are done.

  27. As we talked about ... "anti-gunner" and "pro-gunner" are in the eyes of the beholder. Some think that I'm not pro-gun enough. In any case, from my POV you are an anti-gun person. Sorry if that offends you, and I do know you're not trying to take all right and guns away from me, but you would block many of the laws I support and roll back some that I defend. And take away some specific kinds of guns I enjoy owning and shooting. So we must be at odds.

    But attaching a label to those you oppose is a normal part of debate. i.e. in your case, any politician who doesn't agree with you is "bought and paid for by the NRA." This is ridiculous, as while no doubt some politicians do vote pro gun for political cover rather than personal ideology (just as some politicians attend a church though they aren't Christ followers in their heart) many are like me: just pro-gun, plain and simple. And always have been.

    But again ... there's no point in asking us to compromise until we have to, just as you will only compromise with us when you have to. Would you ban all guns if you could? I don't know, but I know if we allowed the partial bans in place you support there are at last some on your side who would want to keep the momentum going.

  28. Japete, you've also never rejected a gun ban outright, whether on handguns or so-called "assault weapons." You usually just say something like "nonsense," and if pressed on the issue, the most you'll concede is that the recent SCOTUS decisions have taken gun bans off the table. That's certainly not the same as disavowing the possibility of proposing a future gun ban. In fact, given your organization's previous stance on gun bans, statements you've made about "not seeing the need" for AR or AK style rifles (pro-AWB) or inexpensive/polymer/powerful pistols (pro-handgun ban) and your continued tap dancing around the subject every time it comes up, it seems suspiciously like you have realized that there's no popular or political support for those topics right now, so you'll just lie low for the present and happily reintroduce them in the future. Say for instance if BHO happened to win reelection, make another progressive SCOTUS appointment, and overturn our slim 5-4 margin of victory in those important cases.

  29. japete --

    I think that compromise is likely to prove impossible, because our respective camps have wildly different definitions of the word "reasonable" when it comes to firearms regulation.

    I have a theory about why this is so, but it's really neither here nor there. The point is that as long as each side regards the other as a bunch of ignorant whackos, there's never going to be any common ground.

  30. I think the issue here, Joan, is that you misunderstand how compromise works. Even if we could come to an agreement on a regulatory regime that addresses some of our respective concerns, you know as well as I do that when that is put to the political process, what comes out the other side is going to look nothing like what we originally agreed to.

    Your side will work with their allies in Congress to add restrictions you want, remove provisions that we want, and we will likewise do the same. What comes out of Congress will be a compromise, but not one I think either of us really wanted. Just look at the health care monstrosity to see what the sausage grinder of the political process turns out. The left didn't get single payer, and the right didn't get more market driven reforms, so we get the worst of both worlds.

    Compromise does exist, but it's a sausage grinder. I'm not subjecting my rights to the sausage grinder if I don't have to. That's why neither side budges from its positions.

  31. No, I have not misunderstood it Sebastian. I don't know why you think I have misunderstood it when I am pretty sure that you are the ones who have misunderstood it.

  32. As I said in my censored comment, I'm disappointed. I thought that by compromise, you meant one of the former definitions you posted (i.e., we both get something that we value).

    I'll only address one of your proposals because it is the one that personally brought me into the pro-rights side of this equation: the "terror gap."

    As I've mentioned before, I'm a false positive with someone on the no-fly list. Every time I fly I get hassled trying to sort it out. It is really a pain. Applying to the DHS for relief got me a Traveler Redress Number but that doesn't always work. The system clearly lacks any sort of due process; you can't even get DHS to confirm that you're on the list, much less try to get yourself off it. We know that many public figures have been erroneously placed on the list.

    I think there are huge due process issues with denying someone a Constitutionally protected right with zero due process under the cloak of secrecy, myself. Would you support revoking voting rights for people on the terror watch lists? What about letting them write incendiary literature? What about letting them preach and incite hate and more terror?

    You allude to this problem:
    There are problems with this, of course, with the number of people whose names are mistakenly put on this list. This would have to be worked out and could be.

    There is a solution. It is called, "conspiracy." If you have evidence that someone is a terrorist but hasn't yet committed a crime, then they can be tried for conspiracy. This is a defined legal charge with due process protections. Once they're convicted of this charge then they're felons and are prohibited persons.

    For non-US persons it is even easier. Non-US persons can't buy guns anyways.

    An immigrant with a green card can buy firearms. However, it is generally much easier to revoke a green card. If the person lied on their green card application (for example, didn't mention that little trip to Yemen or that intent to overthrow the US government) then the card can be revoked and the person deported relatively easily.

    This is a stupid issue, in my opinion, especially right now. People are TICKED at the TSA's latest shenanigans and many are questioning a bunch of the security things we've implemented. Why would you want one of your flagship issues to be linked at the hip with ever-so-popular airport security procedures? Plus, I find the idea of denying people fundamental rights without due process something which is contrary to the ideals of our Republic, and extremely dangerous. Do you not see any way in which this precedent or power, if it were to be put into place, could be abused?

    Chris from AK

  33. Japete, from reading this thread it appears there are a lot more people from the gun-rights side that have ideas on compromise that you initially thought. I also detect reluctance from you to state your own ideas of compromise or what you find acceptable, possibly because you don’t want to misrepresent the Brady Campaign. That is understandable. It is not that any of us have the power to make this stuff happen (you probably have access to the right ears to affect a change in strategy the most), but what you can gain from this is to refocus in ways that will meet less resistance from the gun-crowd/NRA. For that reason, I will also offer my opinions on compromise:

    Gun Show Loophole: If you remember, I was one of the ones asking for the open NICS as a way of keeping the ability to sell your private property. Please don’t take offense, but it is a bit of a cop-out to say “there are many roadblocks” or “you ask someone to sponsor the bill” while continuing to say the pro-gun side is stubborn. Privacy issues should not be anymore of a concern than they currently are. The FFLs don’t have admin rights to the FBI server- they just get a yes or no answer. Also, the process should be initiated by the buyer to prevent people from checking other people at random. There are many reasons why this is a much better proposal than what the Brady Campaign is currently seeking (apart from the fact that it is much more likely to pass). Not only does it cover all sales (not just at gunshows), but it will have a much higher compliance rate than background checks that are forced to use an FFL. When sales are forced through an FFL, the dealer will naturally charge for their time, as well as the responsibility for keeping records for ATF audits. Every transaction they do adds liability for fines or losing their license, so they want compensation. Essentially the gun owner sells to the FFL, who in turn sells it to the buyer. That means that every gun you own has only wholesale value, and not retail value. That is a lot of money for some people. Now let’s talk about a common situation where two friends (maybe even from a gun club) want to make a transaction. If the law requires that they meet at an FFL, pay $100, wait 10 days, go back to the FFL to pick up the gun- they may decide to just break the law and do it under the table- particularly given the fact that the seller already knows that the buyer owns guns- so what’s the big deal? What he may not know is that “Jim” recently had his guns confiscated because of domestic violence. If the system is a fast, cheap, easy phone call, the buyer would say “whoa Jim, the system said NO. I don’t know why, but you better get this cleared up first.” If it is cheap and easy, it will be used more often. Lastly on this issue, I would even accept that sellers be required to keep transaction information for possible ATF tracing just as the FFLs are. This is not a central registry, but would have full traceability for non-black market guns. That should make you happy.

    Terrorist Watch Lists: Here is my compromise- you can have your list, but each individual case has to go through due process by presenting evidence to a judge who would sign off for NICS denial. This is what law enforcement has to do to get a wire tap on a suspected terrorist, so they can just go ahead and bug the phone line while they are at it. It is not unprecedented to violate privacy rights because of suspicious activity, so I am OK with denying second amendment rights under that same guise. The important distinction is due process. A judge needs to look at each case. This makes total sense, not? Again, that should make you happy.

  34. Lost and stolen reporting: I am sure you’ve heard all the complaints about punishing the victims of crimes. I don’t think there is much of a compromise here because honest people are going to report it anyway- because they want their stuff back. I shutter to think of how this works with Justice Breyer’s suggestion that DC residents can keep their guns in Maryland and still exercise their rights. Are they required to check up on them every three days to make sure no one stole them? Are straw purchasers really getting away with it by claiming they were stolen? Can’t the police just investigate, and when their stories turn out to be lies tact on obstruction charges? If they are truly stolen, there will be evidence of a break-in.

    Assault Weapons Ban: I won’t compromise here. Sorry. What I will offer is my respect if gun control people stop the ruse and drop the rhetoric. The Brady Campaign should either stick to “we’re not a gun ban organization”, and drop all talk of AWBs, or propose bans that are truly based on function. I will accept that semi-automatics can be shot faster than manual loaders. I will accept that detachable magazines make it easier to reload. I will accept that center-fired guns are more powerful than rim-fired (like .22LR). That’s it. If you propose banning all semi-automatic, center-fired guns that accept a detachable magazine- I would respect that. I would still fight it because those functions are also valuable for self-defense. I, of course, would be joined by a legion of gun owners also in opposition as we are talking about major classes of guns that law enforcement wears on their hip, as well as CCW use.

    Registration: You didn’t bring this up, but I’ll offer my compromise anyway. I would be willing to accept registration if ALL gun bans were truly off the table EVERYWHERE. The Brady Campaign would have to mean it when they say “we are not a gun ban organization”. If they did, this would be a no-brainer win for your guys. Based on the previous paragraph, this does not seem to be the case. My compromise would be to draw the line at post-NFA (though I think some NFA weapons should be legal- it’s a compromise), and no state or locale anywhere is allowed to ban them from lawful citizens- ever. It would need to be stated even clearer than the second amendment. I don’t think this would have a lot of support from gun owners in that most states already allow all post-NFA weapons, and they see it as a snowball’s chance in hell that it would ever change. Plus the government having a database of everyone’s guns is a line in the sand for some people. I for one trust my government enough that they wouldn’t come confiscating property particularly if it were expressly forbidden by law.

    CCW Reciprocity: This doesn’t have to mean lax-permitting everywhere. There is defiantly a compromise here in that a national permitting standard could be developed that is in line with the more diligent shall-issue states bringing looser states tighter. Shall issue is the key, though. People can’t be arbitrarily denied.

    That was a lot, but I think you can better understand where I am coming from. I am not exactly trying to advance gun control, but my principles are to be open, honest, and confident in my position. I’ll answer any question put forth.

  35. If I were in charge, I'd offer the same comprimise that Michael Corleone offered Senator Geary.

    But, consider this. If gun rights folks would stop being so incredibly self-serving and really open their minds to the bigger picture they'd have the pleasure of knowing they'd done the right thing and contributed towards saving lives.

  36. Thanks for your thoughtful responses, TS. There's a lot to digest here but I will be thinking about what you wrote. Who knows? Maybe something can come of this discussion in the end. That does not mean I endorse your ideas. But they are, at least, ideas that are well thought out and not just a visceral reaction to say no to anything proposed by my side.

  37. I don't get it. Your whole post is about the importance of compromise, yet when your commenters ask what you would be willing to give up, you offer evasive non-answers. Don't you see how that could be off-putting? How are we supposed to compromise with someone who doesn't seem willing to give an inch or even reveal what she might bend on?

    Without both sides being willing to give up something, compromise is impossible. We've already described things we'd be willing to give up (universal background checks, for example). That would be the concession we'd be bring to the table in your hypothetical compromise. What's yours?

  38. Are you all speaking for the leadership of the NRA? Would they agree to what you are offering here? How do I know that anything you say will ever go anywhere? I have answered this question, Nate, several times. We just can't negotiate the compromise here on my blog but I have mentioned in this post what "my side" wants.

  39. The NRA has actually compromised to the wishes of the gun controllers many times before. In 1934 it compromised to the NFA. In 1968 it compromised to the GCA. In 1987 it compromised to the Hughes amendment. In 1994 it compromised to the Brady law and the assault weapons ban. In 2007 it compromised to a strengthening of the background check system in the wake of the Virginia Tech shooting.

    I already know what your side wants. I want to know what your side would be willing to give up to get some of what it wants. That's what a compromise is, when both sides give things up. It's not a compromise if one of us gets things we want but the other side gets nothing.

  40. At this point, I don't know if I can answer that until there is something before us. Then we can talk. Read my comment above.

  41. I'm pretty sure you're not going to get an NRA rep to comment here so you're stuck with us. I know we're not legislators or lobbyists, but I feel that a simple discussion about compromise can take place in the absence of specific proposed legislation. That's certainly the impression I got when I read your post. You didn't say, "We all need to compromise more, but only in the context of specific introduced legislation". It seemed to me to be a general plea for more compromise. If I'm wrong, I'd like to know.

    If you're not interested in discussing possible points of compromise like we are, I'll admit that I'm disappointed.

  42. Well, Nate. I 'm sorry you are disappointed. If you all thought I was going to negotiate gun laws specifically on the blog, that is something I can't do. You will have to take my word that I take some of your comments very seriously and I am learning a lot from some of you. But I do have my reasons, as I have stated. More later.

  43. Color me disappointed and confused then. You said this:

    I thought that engaging with folks on the other side of the gun issue and having some back and forth exchanges through my blog could actually lead to some compromise and some common sense solutions that would help reduce and prevent gun injuries and deaths.

    How can we have a back-and-forth exchange on your blog when you won't bring up anything unless there's a law being debated?

  44. I think I have said all I can say, Nate. I just can't compromise on something that is coming from you all as individual suggestions. As I said, I am keeping them all and passing some along so others can see them. As a group of folks, we can consider what you are saying. Forgive me for being skeptical about the sincerity of suggestions on this blog when so many do nothing but attack and are not into any compromising and don't even want to consider anything I say. So I remain cautious.

  45. It very much boils down to whether or not I have the right to self protection by carrying a gun in public. You may believe I don't, therefore you "win". I believe I do, therefore I "win". It is not an issue of "compromise". There isn't the space for one, either I do or I don't express the right.
    More laws, more rules, more restrictions are really not a solution. Take any public shooting and just list the laws broken before and up to the shooting. More rules would be pointless. A safe and peaceful society is the responsibility of you and I. I am the peacekeeper, not police or government. I am NOT going to rob that convenience store today. You are NOT going to shoot up the freeway.
    A person intent on disruption or violence is going to choose to do so, regardless of rules. That is the nature of it. The police only show up later and ask "So, what happened?" and try to catch the bad guy. They don't protect me, just try to protect the NEXT victim.
    So that leaves me standing there on my own, as is everyone. Alone, choosing my actions. Choosing whether to violate other's rights, or respect them....and my own. I will keep mine, not trample on other's, and have no opinion on your's.