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.
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Sunday, December 5, 2010

A spy story

This article came to my attention recently. Dow Chemical company used the services of one Mary Lou Sapone from 1998-2000 to spy on the Greenpeace organization, an environmental activist group known for it's unconventional methods. Greenpeace has made some chemical and other companies uncomfortable with their protests and tactics but they have also called attention to environmental problems caused by companies that were violating the law. Now Greenpeace is taking legal action against the spying operation that infiltrated their group. There have been movies, Erin Brokovich, for one, which are stories of people brave enough to challenge a corporation. But I digress. Back to Mary Lou Sapone.

You see, about 4 years ago, I went to Washington D.C. for a national meeting of the Million Mom March and ended up as the roommate of Mary McFate, aka Mary Lou Sapone. She was well known to many people in the group but I had not officially met her before that meeting. Her demeanor was quite professional and a little curt but friendly enough. She, of course, was quite interested in what I was doing back home in Minnesota and so I told her about some of our ideas and our campaign. She thought they were good ideas actually. She was also interested in my personal story which I now know was a totally insincere and cynical ploy on her part to prey on victims. And she told me a lot about her travels, most specifically her many cruises. This gave me the impression that she had quite a lot of money which is unusual for our group.

Mary had arrived in D.C. several days before me to "lobby"(her words) on behalf of the Brady Campaign and other gun violence prevention groups on "The Hill" which she said she did frequently. Now that we know she was a spy for the NRA, there's no telling what she was talking about with Representatives and Senators. It was revealed, not long after I had roomed with Mary McFate, that she had been in the employ of the NRA to spy on the Brady Campaign and it's chapters.

What makes an organization or corporation so paranoid and fearful that they hire spies to do their dirty work? Is winning at any cost so important that illegal activities are justified? I just can't imagine an organization with which I am involved doing anything so sinister. I don't know what Mary actually learned but she was in on some inside strategy and even budget decisions. She tried hard to get herself on to the Board of the Brady Campaign. Thankfully, she did not succeed.

Once we learned that Mary was an NRA mole, we all felt violated. In particular, I felt vulnerable. It's pretty creepy knowing that someone you trusted as a member of your organization was telling your opposition about you and what you are doing. And what other personal information did she give to the NRA? After all, I spent a few days in the same hotel room with this woman. And why did they need to know? Again, creepy. It's creepy enough for me to know that the gun guys out there are writing about me and trying to find out information about me. I am not, by the way, doing the same. I am not paranoid. But I do fear that some reading this blog do not have honorable or honest intentions. I can take a guess at which of my readers will do anything to discredit me, demean me, intimidate me and accuse me of all kinds of ulterior motives. Keep it up front and impersonal everyone. I hope there are not any clandestine activities going on but I wouldn't be surprised. Our cause is important to us and to pubic safety and we just don't need people with dishonorable intentions trying to derail us dishonestly. No one wants that. Common sense will prevail if we all respect each other and engage in polite and reasonable discourse and leave it at that.

67 comments:

  1. You are not going to like this much, but I am all in favor of the NRA engaging in corporate espionage against your group and other gun control groups. It helps them, and ultimately us the rest of us, counter your groups’ strategies. Advance notice of your latest campaigns allows us to have our arguments marshaled and our facts prepared to meet you. I am sorry you felt violated personally, but she was doing something I agree with.

    As for you personally, I would be interested to know some information about your (late) brother in law. I'd love to have a copy of his confidential police record to determine if he had any police contacts prior to the murders. Minnesota has a policy that they will release the records of convictions if you know the name and birth date or a person, but only the convictions. Arrests and charges dropped are confidential. You know that I am of the opinion that generally speaking, people don't start off by murdering people. It'd be nice to see for sure in his case. Pennsylvania makes everything public records. That’s why we know that everyone who has murdered a cop in PA for the last 20 years has been prohibited from owning firearms. I haven’t figured out what NC does yet.

    As for any personal information about you, I am not interested in violating your privacy finding out. I don't know any more about you than your name, the State you live in, and the fact that you are a Brady Board Member. You've been pretty up front about all that. (Your name was used as the author of your first few posts before you changed it to "japete.") I am entirely uninterested in your address, or any details about your life, because I'm not sure that it is relevant to me. Anything you want to share (stuff like your mom comes to mind) is your business. I won't attempt to do some sort of background check on you the same way I would be perfectly happy to do on some other anti-gun types. There are a few, who shall remain nameless, who delight in "outing" pseudonymous gun bloggers. I'm perfectly ok with retaliation against anti's who do that, but I don't see you engaging in that behavior, so there isn't any reason to do it to you.

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  2. Extremism in the pursuit of liberty is no vice, and moderation in the face of tyranny is no virtue.

    Joan, your organization would see America become another UK or South Africa, where the rich isolate themselves in gated communities and hire bodyguards. You don't believe that this will happen, because you are so blinded by your own utopian vision that reality has no place in your worldview.

    So yes, winning at any cost is worth it when it comes to preserving freedom. Our founding fathers pledged their lives, fortunes, and even their sacred honor for the idea of freedom.

    And only free people own guns. The peasants and serfs beg for the boon of their master, but a free man does not.

    Before you have said "nonsense" when we talk about freedom and the rights of citizens. It is nonsense to you because you value safety over freedom. And I tell you, that every nation that has taken the road that you want us to take has lost both freedom and safety.

    Gun crimes are up in the UK, even with every firearm restriction on the books. And the UK is a freaking island.

    Remember, those that trade liberty for security wind up with neither.

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  3. Really? This is O.K. with you? My side does not engage in this type of activity. Perhaps we should start. I believe we should "win our battles" fair and square based on the merits.But then, our sides have different puposes I guess. The guys with the guns want to make the rules according to Wayne LaPierre. And I will not talk any more about my brother-in-law except to assure you that he was not a criminal or had trouble with the police. He was a guy who was angry about a difficult divorce and having his own problems with depression. I would know, I think, about criminal activity. I spent time with him for over 20 years. He was also a little eccentric but then so are many- maybe even you? Why do you feel a need to know this? Are you assuming he was a low life?

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  4. "My side does not engage in this type of activity. Perhaps we should start."

    I think that you would be disappointed if you did. As a huge grass roots organization, we pretty much have all our debates openly, and fight amongst ourselves about stuff. You are probably getting a pretty good view of the basics of what we are after just by interacting with us. I think that it is pretty unlikely that your group isn't trying to infiltrate, unless your group already did once and found out that there wasn't a whole lot that of secret tactics. We are pretty "what you see is what you get" sort of people.

    "He was also a little eccentric but then so are many- maybe even you?"

    possibly a little. Not eccentric enough to commit murder, but certainly a bit out of the ordinary.

    "Why do you feel a need to know this? Are you assuming he was a low life?"

    He was a rich man, and from what I could tell, had been fairly well off for most of his life. It is not unusual for people with a bit of money and who have pillars of the community type parents to get away with things. Low life? Well, he did murder two people, and I will admit that this makes me think a lot less of him.

    My biggest concern is not that he was or was not a "low life," but whether or not the police had an opportunity to intervene before it escalated to the point of murder. Frequently you will find that people who have committed murder will have committed crimes serious enough to warrant being jailed. I feel that in cases like that, it is incumbent on us to prod our prosecutors and police to be a bit more strict in their application of the law. There has to be a balance, of course. We can't get stupid with this.

    I didn't want this to sidetrack what you were saying about spying. I was merely telling you what particular information I would feel comfortable finding out. Contrast the two types of info, the full police record of a known double murderer versus private information about you personally. I think that it would be reasonable to try to find out about him, but not reasonable to pry into your life. I disagree with you about a lot of things, but I don't think that warrants invasion of your privacy.

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  5. Politics are a dirty business. It isn't exactly like your side is entirely lily white. Ad hominem attacks against RKBA supporters, cozy relationships with the media, misusing and misstating facts (I'm not going to say "lying..." it is just partial truth...), and so on aren't exactly things to be proud of.

    I personally don't care much for people who don't honestly represent themselves, but one can't argue against the efficacy of such tactics.

    Why didn't your group pursue criminal fraud charges against Mary Lou Sapone/McFate? Federal prosecutors always love getting a conviction on the ever-malleable wire fraud statutes.

    Cheers,
    Chris from AK

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  6. Since you think you must know and that you do already know a lot, in your mind, about the case of my sister's murder, I will tell you right now that my brother-in-law was not jailed before he murdered my sister for any reason. He was in contempt of court for not cooperating in the divorce case and might very well have been had he not committed murder. It would have been for a much less serious crime, of course.

    And by the way, what you see is what you get with my organizations as well. We have no secrets and you guys seem to know what we are all about having researched us pretty well. The fact that the NRA had to spy to get information about us tells me that it is not up front and who they say they are. Does the NRA announce anywhere that they spy on gun violence prevention organizations to get information? No, I doubt it.

    " we pretty much have all our debates openly, and fight amongst ourselves about stuff. You are probably getting a pretty good view of the basics of what we are after just by interacting with us. I think that it is pretty unlikely that your group isn't trying to infiltrate, unless your group already did once and found out that there wasn't a whole lot that of secret tactics. We are pretty "what you see is what you get" sort of people." I can tell you for sure that we are NOT trying to infiltrate the NRA. That is just total nonsense.

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  7. I must wonder whether you all think that it would be different if this was happening against any conservative group by a "liberal" group. Take for example, the fuss about ACORN. It was pretty much brought down by a guy who was bent on destroying them by clandestine means. If people don't like an organization, does that mean they get to do anything to get rid of them or cause trouble? I am getting the feeling that some of you think yes. What if someone from ACORN: did the same to the NRA? You guys would be incensed. I think there's a double standard here. Watergate also comes to mind.

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  8. Poor Mary, she never did get what she wanted - to sit on the Board of Brady. No doubt it would have brought her even more money from the NRA. One wonders what Mary was really thinking as she listened to others talk about the loved ones they had lost to gun violence. Was she bored? Did she leave and mock the tears? She listened for years - and yet never turned her back on the money she was being paid. But later, all her friends in FL knew what she had done - knew the kind of person she is. Hopefully she had to hang her head as she changed her phone numbers and email addresses!

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  9. japete, I'm smiling at your courage. The responses to this post were exactly what you'd expect. Now I'm laughing thinking about Sean and AM.

    I'm impressed that you actually knew this woman. I read the story in Mother Jones a couple years ago and maybe even posted about it, I don't remember. It confirmed my increasingly low opinion of the NRA and gun rights supporters in general, an opinion which has continued to descend.

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  10. If this lady committed crimes she should be prosecuted and convicted. If what she did was legal then it is distasteful but I won't condemn her actions on that basis.

    I do think it is fair to feel differently about someone's actions depending on if they advance your cause or oppose it. But I don't think you will find much support in the gun rights camp for criminal behavior.

    I think it fair to employ all legal means to advance one's agenda but that criminal activity is unacceptable.

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  11. japete, I guess I'm confused (and admittedly probably ignorant of all of the facts,) but what illegal activity was taken? Corporate espionage is dirty and deceitful (and in Mary's case, probably profitable,) but it's legal. I'm sure there are situations that could make it illegal, such as board members using their post to help them commit securities fraud, but that's not the case here.

    In regards to your sister and brother-in-law, yes had he been restricted from owning guns, perhaps she may have not been murdered. I truly am sorry that it happened that way. Nobody should lose a sibling like that, or any family member for that matter. My issue with the stance that you advocate is that you'd rather have the rights of every person to own a handgun curtailed because of the actions of a single person. In the Marines, this worked because the goal was to keep everybody working as a team and it helped all of platoon members police the other ones. That being said, this is America where just because one person drives off after stealing gas, it doesn't mean that the authorities can lock down every gas station in the city to punish everybody.

    Those intent on committing murder will do so whether they're allowed to buy guns or not.

    As far as the spying goes, infiltrate the NRA all you want, but make sure you infiltrate the Second Amendment Foundation as well. You're focusing on the red herring. The Second Amendment Foundation is the group that got Heller and McDonald through SCOTUS, not the NRA. Ignore the elephant. Keep your eye on the mouse.

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  12. "..you'd rather have the rights of every person to own a handgun curtailed because of the actions of a single person." First of all, that is simply not true. Colin Goddard did not spy on an organization. He was at a public event where lots of people are gathered and reported on what was taking place. And he, and others who have used hidden camera for such a purpose have reported back publicly in reports, press releases, on national T.V., etc. That is not clandestine in my mind- different from a mole getting into the organizational structure of another organization or group to report back the information they gleaned to the corporation that has hired them to do so.

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  13. Say what? I was talking about the actions of a murderer. I could give a hoot about Colin. He's just a talking head, the same as the talking heads on our side, just with a different purpose.

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  14. What? You're the one who raised Colin's name here.

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  15. Sorry- it was anonymous. You guys leave so many comments, it's hard to keep up. I don't have time to answer all of them and pour over them. But it was not you who raised Colin's name.

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  16. What Mary did is no different than what Bloomberg and MAIG does. Bloomberg's agents go so far as to falsely identify themselves and disrupt legitimate criminal investigations.

    So it's not like gun control groups have never dishonestly portrayed themselves in furtherance of their agenda.

    Both sides spy. That's part of the business.

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  17. You may have a point but not sure they are the same.

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  18. Actually 'your side' does do similar activities.

    Take a look at the reports by Garen Wintemute who used undisclosed cameras to monitor alleged 'unlawful' activities at gun shows.

    Josh Sugarmann has an FFL to obtain access to Firearm Industry trade shows. Do you think he announces his bonafides while there?

    And the MAIG stings were deliberate attempts to entrap dealers into illegal activities. Why do you think there weren't any criminal prosecutions of ANY of these undercover 'stings'.

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  19. Maybe because they all uncover illegal activities and show why we need some laws to stop prohibited people from getting guns?

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  20. "Why do you think there weren't any criminal prosecutions of ANY of these undercover 'stings'."

    the correct answer is because the people who were undercover were entrapping their marks. The cases would not have stood up in court.

    That's ok though. I'm pretty sure that Mayor Bloomberg and Colin are not after court cases to prosecute. They are after "compelling" video in order to move public opinion. Good luck with that.

    http://tinyurl.com/342zmz8

    44% of voters said that they listen to the NRA all, most, or some of the time.

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  21. That, of course, is not 44% of ALL voters but of those polled by O'Leary. I am suspicious- "O'Leary's circle of Washington friends reads like a who's who of the GOP power brokers." " So I wonder who were the people who responded to this poll? As far as I could tell by the link you sent were 2 leading questions asked: " ov. 12-15 of 2,062 voters and has a margin-of-error of 2.2 percentage points." and " The poll asked, "For the following groups, please tell us if you listened to their messages before the election all of the time, most of the time, some of the time or never: Tea Party Organizations, The National Rifle Association."" I would not say this poll tells us much at all except that conservative voters listened to the Tea Party and the NRA- no surprise there.

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  22. japete, I agree that O'Leary may be biased (I don't personally know the name,) but there's hardly such a thing as non-biased. I do find it likely that it's at least close, though. There was a vote earlier this year in Iowa regarding concealed carry. They were pushing "No, you can't vote to drop your concealed carry permit altogether and just LET PEOPLE CARRY!" and they took it to vote anyhow. It lost by a single digit's worth of votes. It had never been voted for, it had hardly been introduced. Without any campaigning, it almost passed. Yes, it did fail because your side has done a good job at fear mongering. Let's not mince words. It's what your side does. Ours does fear mongering of a different sort. You're not really paranoid if you believe they're out to get your guns if they really are out to get them. However, my point is that without any effort, they almost passed 'Constitutional Carry.' It would have made your lot soil your britches. Now, what does that have to do with the poll regarding the 44%? That's a LOT of people that, if not actively considering the NRA's words, they're at least of a common mindset.

    Sure, it's Iowa. Not big ol' NYC where there are nothing but liberals, but it sure makes one think.

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  23. A lot of what you said in your comment is just simply not true. Of course it's not true that there are nothing but liberals in NYC nor is it true that there are nothing but conservatives in Iowa. We are a divided country and the gun issue is just one of many on which we are divided. My "side" is not out to get your guns no matter what you say. Saying it does not make it true. But you will not believe it so there we are- nowhere.

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  24. Both sides in the gun debate should allow "full disclosure" of their aims & activities. They should each invite reps from the other side to actively moniter them.

    Better yet, if their intent is sincere, they should work together (as corny as it sounds): come to a workable compromise & get this thing over with!! I've been reading & hearing about the gun debate for decades & nothing is moving one way or the other. We must all have better things to do!

    Regarding spying; it is unethical. And what Mary Lou Sapone did was also possibly illegal.

    What Colin Goddard did was film something that was out in the open. He was engaging in a mutually agreed a upon transaction; a purchase from a willing seller. So it was legal to film the way he did, though a bit sneaky.

    But he got the truth out about the loophole in the second-hand gun market that exists in most jurisdictions. It's a loophole that can be easily (and constitutionally) plugged. Actually, it's one of a few serious loopholes that need (constitutionally accpetable) plugging.

    Ever since our colonial period, armed citizens ("subjects" of course, not citizens back then) have been an integral part our heritage, culture and defense. Thanks largely to our English roots. It's been mainly to the good, I'd say.

    But like any heritage or system of defense, our's has drawbacks; i.e., the possibility that dangerous weapons will end up in the hands of dangerous people.

    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 & lore. They respect, even honor it as they should.

    But they are also troubled about all the gun violence & don't see the pro-gun side doing much of anything positive to solve it. (Gun safety training & "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.

    Brent G.

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  25. "come to a workable compromise & get this thing over with!!"

    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?

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  26. This broken record of no compromise is disengenous and counter productive to getting anything done in our country. It is not coming from our side. Digging in heels will result in going nowhere which is exactly what you guys want. It's shameful and harmful.

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  27. We want to go somewhere. We want to go back to where we rightfully owned the firearms that we wanted.

    You're right, there is no compromise.

    http://thelawdogfiles.blogspot.com/2010/09/ok-ill-play.html

    Quoted from Lawdog because I cannot put it more succinctly:
    I hear a lot about "compromise" from your camp ... except, it's not compromise.

    Let's say I have this cake. It is a very nice cake, with "GUN RIGHTS" written across the top in lovely floral icing. Along you come and say, "Give me that cake."

    I say, "No, it's my cake."

    You say, "Let's compromise. Give me half." I respond by asking what I get out of this compromise, and you reply that I get to keep half of my cake.

    Okay, we compromise. Let us call this compromise The National Firearms Act of 1934.

    There I am with my half of the cake, and you walk back up and say, "Give me that cake."

    I say, "No, it's my cake."

    You say, "Let's compromise." What do I get out of this compromise? Why, I get to keep half of what's left of the cake I already own.

    So, we have your compromise -- let us call this one the Gun Control Act of 1968 -- and I'm left holding what is now just a quarter of my cake.

    And I'm sitting in the corner with my quarter piece of cake, and here you come again. You want my cake. Again.

    This time you take several bites -- we'll call this compromise the Clinton Executive Orders -- and I'm left with about a tenth of what has always been MY DAMN CAKE and you've got nine-tenths of it.

    Then we compromised with the Lautenberg Act (nibble, nibble), the HUD/Smith and Wesson agreement (nibble, nibble), the Brady Law (NOM NOM NOM), the School Safety and Law Enforcement Improvement Act (sweet tap-dancing Freyja, my finger!)

    I'm left holding crumbs of what was once a large and satisfying cake, and you're standing there with most of MY CAKE, making anime eyes and whining about being "reasonable", and wondering "why we won't compromise".

    I'm done with being reasonable, and I'm done with compromise. Nothing about gun control in this country has ever been "reasonable" nor a genuine "compromise".

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  28. "Digging in heels will result in going nowhere"

    Tell your organization and its allies who have cheerfully told the Supreme Court that both the DC gun ban and the Chicago gun ban were perfectly Constitutional.

    Here's a plan. Why don't you guys compromise. Why don't you work to see criminals locked up and free citizens left alone.

    I personally think that you guys don't adopt that plan because you view all gun owners as potential criminals. You say yourself (in the face of much evidence to the contrary) that most murderers were perfectly law abiding citizens until they pull the trigger. Sounds to me like you can't trust anyone.

    You believe that there is a structural solution to the individual problem of criminal behavior. You think that by regulating me you can reduce crime. Since that is obviously nonsense, what advantage do I get by giving up more of my rights?

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  29. "This broken record of no compromise is disengenous and counter productive to getting anything done in our country. It is not coming from our side. Digging in heels will result in going nowhere which is exactly what you guys want. It's shameful and harmful."
    It's not shameful to stand ones ground. It's not harmful to our side. It's harmful to YOUR side and we're fine with that. Your lot is a home invader. You come into OUR home, you steal OUR rights, then you expect us to stand back and let it happen. There is nothing to 'get done' by us. We're content with exercising our rights. We don't want action (except a roll back so the second amendment is once again worth something). You want action. You want to push forwards into our territory and it's not going to happen. If we dig in our heals, we keep what we have. If you dig in your heels, then you don't get any more rights from us. You lose that fight, not us.

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  30. I'm not at all interested in taking away your rights. Further, I'm certain that you guys (Sean, Tango, etc) are law-abiding guys who can pass background checks while standing on your heads.

    Such checks are a minor annoyance. It takes more time to fill out the 4473 form, then have the seller review the form, than it does to run the check.

    The Federal Acts were not passed to stop the average citizen, who is essentailly law-abiding. It was the Capones, Oswalds and common criminals that had their access to firearms restricted by these laws (or at least would have had their access restricted if these laws were without loopholes and also not so easy to end-run).

    I admit some of the additions to the 1934 Act are over the top and actually counter-productive. I'm in favor of repealing them. BUT I STILL DON'T WANT A GANGSTER BUYING AN AUTOMATIC WEAPON!!! If any of you guys want one, (or two or three or ...) I have no problems with it. And, til now at least, neither does the American people.

    And it's the American people, essentially as a group, that will ultimately determine
    whether we gun owners will be allowed to keep what Thoreau refered to as "our darlings". (Funny guy, Thoreau.)

    Brady, VPC, FSA, Dianne Feinstein. Collectively they are something of a concern for gun rights, I admit. But the real tiger that we gun folks better not try to ride is the American people. Up to now, they have been very strongly in favor of privately owned firearms. But, at the same time, they want a number of what they see as sensible gun laws passed, funded & enforced, on a national level. And they see no ambiguity in supporting these two things & I don't either.

    We've got something like 20,000 gun laws across the nation, each one with jurisdictional limits that crooks can exploit. Many have loopholes inherent in them & others are not funded &/or enforced. We could have 20,000,000 such laws & criminals would still have easy access to guns.

    It's akin to having a fence with holes in it that also only goes around half the perimeter of a vegetable garden & then wondering why the rabbits are still getting the goodies. It doesn't mean that fences are ineffective. It just means the holes must be plugged & the fence must go completely around the perimeter.

    We should just dump most existing gun laws. What we really need is about a half-dozen National laws: background checks (w/ some exceptions between law-abiding family members), safe storage ("when gun owners are not home" kimda' thing) policies, lost & stolen gun reporting (which would put a squeeze on gun traffickers) and serious penalties for illicit gun use & gun trafficking.

    None of this would have the intent of disarming law-abiding citizens and it would all be constitutional. Remember that gun laws existed in colonial & early national period times; they're not new.

    If adequately funded & enforced, those national laws would reduce the guns in illicit hands & placate the public before increased urbanization, changing demographics & cultural shifts put the 2nd Amendment on the chopping block.

    Brent G.

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  31. Ditto, Brent. This is pretty much how I feel with a few exceptions. More later.

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  32. "It takes more time to fill out the 4473 form, then have the seller review the form, than it does to run the check."

    You must have mistaken what I said. Let me be plain. It's time to get rid of the 4473.

    “What we really need is about a half-dozen National laws:

    background checks”

    No. If you want to mark everyone’s driver’s license/ID card with a YES or NO for firearm sales and carry, sure. Since there is no evidence that the NICS check does anything but annoy people, it’s time for it to go.

    “safe storage ("when gun owners are not home" kimda' thing) policies,”

    No. My home is my lockbox. If someone has to break down the door to get to my gun, it’s secure. Stop trying to add costs to firearm ownership, and stop pretending that a gun requires more security than your car.

    “lost & stolen gun reporting (which would put a squeeze on gun traffickers)”

    No. You cannot make it a crime to be a victim of crime. Make the cops prove their case in firearms trafficking, just like every other crime.

    "serious penalties for illicit gun use & gun trafficking."

    How much more serious do you want the penalty to be? The penalties are already pretty stiff (5 years federal time) maybe you should focus on getting the prosecutors to actually prosecute these crimes. Since every single cop murdered in PA in the last 20 years was murdered by a prohibited person, maybe the problem is not the gun, it’s the person. These people should have been in jail for their long list of crimes, but they were not prosecuted effectively. That’s a political problem, not a lack of laws problem.

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  33. Sean,

    We can't adequately judge any background check system in this country, the current NICS included, because 1) it's too easy to end-run the thing and 2) the information on prohibited persons is often far from complete. But both of these shortcomings are fixable.

    For NICS, as example, states are not required to submit info on "prohibiteds". It's a voluntary system for the states. Now, if they don't send info to the FBI they can lose some federal funds, but still, many states choose to give little pertinent info. (I guess they don't need the funds or something. Minnesota was such a state until recently.)

    To be truthful, the gun problem in this country will not, in fact cannot, be solved strictly with "gun laws". Countries with high private gun ownership yet low gun crime/violence have a wholistic approach that includes locking up dangerous people & their enablers. And they have a different approach to poverty, education & even their relationship with materialism. But they also block prohibited persons right at the door of the gun store, gun show, etc, with background checks. And they demand that dangerous weapons are properly secured.

    Regarding the 4473: if it has any advantage at all, it may have something to do with the fact that a prohibited purchaser who lies on it has committed a perjury. (But then, if that's the case, when they're caught, are they actually prosecuted? Any bets?) Otherwise, the stupid thing should be done away with as you say. It's nothing more than an honor system for the dishonest. It's only effect is to hassle law-abiding gun owners.

    Regarding a background check law with a paper trail (AKA, defacto registration) or, alternatively, one that only requires a permit to acquire card: if folks are truly worried about potential gun confiscation down the road, then I'd opt for the latter. A permit to acquire justs "cards" potential gun buyers but doesn't leave a paper trail. That does, however, make it tough to go after the gun traffickers. Still, it keeps the "prohibiteds" from directly making purchases.


    Brent G.

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  34. Sean,

    On another topic that we've discussed: lost & stolen gun reporting has to do with the way the traffickers successfully cover their tracks. Most traffickers likely can pass background checks. But ultimately the guns they sell on the streets end up confiscated from crooks or show up at crime scenes. When those guns are traced back to the trafficker as the last recorded buyer, and the authorities question them about how that particular gun they bought wound up in the hands of a crook or at a crime scene, the trafficker usually says that the gun was lost or stolen. This occurs again & again.
    So the idea behind lost & stolen gun reporting is that it seriously crimps the traffickers ability to use this alabi.
    The one lost & stolen gun reporting law that I remember seeing was from Connecticut, I believe. It was very forgiving in the way it was written. First, the theft victim did not have to make a report for a period of several days after they "reasonably should have realised" that a gun was missing. Also, there were no penalties for the first few missing guns events - just warnings. That's because the law is intended to catch the chronic traffickers and not entrap honest citzens. I suppose, in a perfect world, it would be best to not burden/threaten honest folks who are nothing more than theft victims. But more than 500,000 guns are stolen in this country every year & a good many end up on the street. It's a serious public safety issue which requires an effective response, even one that's clearly not perfect in principle.
    We gun owners should always secure our firearms when they would be otherwise unattended. If, when we're home & wish to have a ready weapon, we have the constitutional right to do so. (Again, this right goes back to our English roots.) But with 500,000+ guns stolen per annum, somebody isn't getting the "securing" part down properly.
    Especially with handguns. They're fairly easy to sufficiently conceal such that the average hit & run home burgler will have a tough time finding them. (Sean, I take it that you have a .45 ACP Glock? I have a 96D Beretta that's an ex-police weapon. It's a boat anchor but a darned good shooter.)

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  35. And on another related topic; i.e., adequate & proper prosecution & incarceration of wrong doers. The NRA proposed a "get tough on crooks" initiative to various large cities. I think Philadelphia was among them. They typically had admirable success with it. And it didn't just curb gun crime; it curbed ALMOST ALL STREET CRIME, and indirectly domestic crime!!

    Brent G.

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  36. Since the cake analogy flopped... How about this.

    Let's say, for the sake of argument, that your side ultimately wants a total prohibition on firearms except for on-duty cops, the on-duty military, and maybe professional athletes and/or the very wealthy. It certainly feels like that is the goal sometimes. Let's assign this position a numerical value of "10."

    Our side could argue for mandatory firearms education in public schools (like Driver's Ed) covering not only safety but also marksmanship, mandatory firearms ownership in every home (like Kennesaw, Georgia), subsidies to the low-income to allow them to purchase firearms (limit it to "made in the USA" and its a jobs program too!), no restrictions on any man-portable discriminating weapons (full auto ok; bazookas probably not), and so on. Let's assign this a numerical position of "-10."

    The middle ground between those two positions would be 0: 10 + -10 / 2 = 0.

    And then you've got today's real-world status quo, which is probably somewhere around a "2" on my arbitrary numerical scale.

    The middle ground between the status quo and your position would be much different: 10 + 2 / 2 = 6.

    Don't focus on the exact numbers; they are arbitrary and for illumination of the principle of creeping incrementalism. The point is that every time you guys seem to get something you want, the goalposts move. "If we just pass one more law... If we just crack down on one more loophole..." When does our side get thrown a bone? Real compromise entails a win-win situation where both sides get something they want. It does not entail one side giving ground every time.

    It would be easier to compromise if we could agree on win-win goals that both sides think are valuable.

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  37. I'm too tired to think rationally about your comment, Chris. I will think more and hope to get back to you. There are so many comments with which to deal here, it's hard to keep up and still get anything else done. It's the holiday season- I have things to do.

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  38. japete, don't try to think rationally about Chris's comment. Your brain will melt.

    "Let's say, for the sake of argument, that your side ultimately wants a total prohibition on firearms except for on-duty cops, the on-duty military, and maybe professional athletes and/or the very wealthy."

    This exaggerated arrangement is what he places on one end of the spectrum. The other end, with which he wants to compromise is the Kennesaw deal, which actually exists.

    Please, my brain is melting.

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  39. Guys & Gals,

    I see where Chris is coming from with the "spectrum" view of the issue. I don't think he actually feels that either extreme end is workable or what anyone really wishes to actually have come about. He's intentionally defining the end points as beyond anything realistic because that's how this type of model is constructed. (This is done at times in mathematics & engineering. Been there, done that.)

    The current reality is that our country, respecting gun policy & gun rights, is somewhere in the middle of this spectrum.

    Here's my basic deal for gun owners, a group to which I belong:

    Let's pass some national laws that act, as much as possible, like a firewall preventing firearms from getting into prohibited hands. And let's have gun owners get behind this intiative. These laws can be totally constitutional and realtively hassle-free for gun sellers & buyers. True, they will require the expenditure of some time, effort & a little cash, but if they're well-written, funded & enforced, they will yield dividends in lives saved.

    That firewall would be near-universal background checks, safe storage requirements, lost/stolen gun reporting and serious penalties for chronic traffickers.

    One side-benefit of this approach is that it'll be clear to the American people that the gun owners of this country are doing all they can to reduce gun violence. And they're willing to jump threw a few hoops for the good of the public. (And understand, these hoops are mainly what they jump threw as things stand now, except as a national policy the laws would be far more effective.)

    Another side-benefit is that a national firewall type policy makes most local & state gun laws unnecessary. They can largely be scrapped. SO LESS GUN LAWS. Way less gun laws.

    Then there's the side-benefit of preventing a future revolt against gun rights in an ever more urban, ethnically diverse culture that gets its understanding of guns from "Grand Theft Auto".

    A further side-benefit is that a national firewall would probably negate any serious consideration of limiting cetain types of firearms from public posession; assualt-type weapons, etc. Some people may squawk for banning them. But if gun owners back national, effective gun laws, and do the requisite hoop jumping, it ain't happenin'.

    Most Americans, even those in the "gun law/control" groups, are not after any broad gun ban. MOST OF THEN AREN'T. These gun law groups have matured greatly in the last couple of decades, though they still are tone-deaf to their image & message. But broad gun bans aren't part of their platform. And, in any event, the American people just wouldn't stand for such an outrageous thing as a gun ban.

    The few extremists who are true gun banners have marginalised themselves. (PETA will pass a national law banning the consumption of meat products before those few gun banners ever shape national policy.)

    Brent G.

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  40. Any comments on Brent's ideas would be welcome. Be constructive and not just say there is no compromise. Brent is offering some great ideas here.

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  41. I would accept universal checks on firearms transfers if they came in the form of the previously mentioned "Is this person legally able to own/carry firearms: YES/NO" label on everyone's drivers license/state ID. The compromise here would be that there would be no more unknowing sales to prohibited individuals (what the Bradys want), and no more creating a partial, unofficial firearms registry by completing 4473s (what the pro-gun folks want). It would also create a near Constitutional-carry across the entire US (what the pro-gun folks want), while ensuring that the cops know who the "bad guys" with guns are (what the Bradys want). Furthermore, it would eliminate the time and expense of all the various permitting processes (both for purchasing, owning and carrying weapons), which would free up time for LE to focus on criminals (what we all want).

    I'm all for strict penalties on anyone who commits an actual crime with a gun. Rob someone? Five years in the slammer. Rob someone with a gun? 25 years behind bars with no chance for parole. Have an unloaded gun locked in your trunk (a la the Aitken case)? Who the heck cares? Along with that, I'm against lost and stolen ordinances as ineffective and unnecessary. Written strictly, they unfairly victimize someone who has already been the victim of a crime. Written "fairly" (as you mentioned, Brent), the burden would be on the police/DA to prove that you were in fact a straw purchaser, which is exactly how it stands now without the unnecessary extra legislation.

    As for mandatory safe storage laws, I oppose that as an unlawful barrier to exercise a fundamental right. I have a fairly extensive firearms collection, so I own a pretty decent $1000 safe to safeguard it. However, I made that decision on my own, and I wasn't forced to do so by the government. Besides, anyone willing to break into a house can break into most of the inexpensive safes out there. I just don't think it makes common sense to force someone on a tight budget to purchase a $1000 safe to protect a $90 surplus Nagant revolver that they use for concealed carry and a $110 single shot 12 ga. that they keep for home defense.

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  42. Sorry it took so long, but I was searching the Constitution for any evidence that the Federal Government has any authority to regulate firearms. I couldn’t find any. Brent’s proposals rest on two unsupportable assumptions. First, that the Federal Government can regulate firearms. The Commerce Clause has been bent into origami shapes in order to pretend that the Feds have powers, but when Obamacare’s individual mandates go down in flames, the idea that the Government can regulate any commercial activity because it affects interstate commerce will go down with it. The National Firearms Act of 1934 rested solely on the ability of the feds to lay a tax on things. They realized that they could not regulate machine guns, so they taxed them instead. $200 was so wildly expensive that no one could afford to pay the tax. Rest assured that if the Feds could have found a way to just ban them, they would have. The Constitution hasn’t changed since then. It might take some time to remind the Supreme Court of that fact, but it will happen soon.

    The second assumption is that the States will stop regulating firearms. Good one. With fairy tale skills like that you should be working for Disney. The proper place for firearms regulations is the State level. Criminal law should be decided upon at the State level. This fetish for federalizing everything needs to stop.

    “One side-benefit of this approach is that it'll be clear to the American people that the gun owners of this country are doing all they can to reduce gun violence.”

    You imagine that they don’t already know this. It is only anti-gun groups like the Brady Campaign that keep trying to call gun owners criminal’s best friend.

    “future revolt against gun rights in an ever more urban, ethnically diverse culture”

    Are you saying, that “minorities” are too stupid to listen to reason? Climb down off your high horse and talk to them! Stop pretending that they have to understand your desire to whack Bambi with a hand built muzzleloader before they can understand that firearm ownership is a right. You are living in the 1980’s, when we all thought that a gun ban was right around the corner. Now there are too many people with AR-15’s to stand for another ban. The big fight is over. All that’s left is mopping up. Why compromise now when just a few years effort will end this charade forever?

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  43. Sorry it took so long, but I was searching the Constitution for any evidence that the Federal Government has any authority to regulate firearms. I couldn’t find any.

    Of course you couldn't, Sean. You're not bright enough to understand the Constitution.

    It cannot be denied a gun is like any other piece of property. And since the late 1930's, the Supreme Court has been unanimous in its opinions that the Government acan regulate property. Unanimous. Even the same Court that gave us DC v Heller says the Govt is well within its bounds to regulate property. Even in the Heller decision, Fat Tony Scalia noted that certain guns can and should be banned and certain people should be barred access to any firearm.

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  44. I wrote: "Let's say, for the sake of argument, that your side ultimately wants a total prohibition on firearms except for on-duty cops, the on-duty military, and maybe professional athletes and/or the very wealthy."

    Mike B Replied: This exaggerated arrangement is what he places on one end of the spectrum. The other end, with which he wants to compromise is the Kennesaw deal, which actually exists.


    I guess you haven't seen Chicago's gun laws? Even Post-McDonald the city is dragging its feet something fierce... DC as well. Try carrying a firearm in either city if you aren't a cop or politically well connected! Our local anti-gun advocate in Anchorage backs that position as well (good luck in Alaska...) so there are at least a few people in your movement that want to go there.

    \\

    Brent,

    Regarding your position:

    That firewall would be near-universal background checks, safe storage requirements, lost/stolen gun reporting and serious penalties for chronic traffickers.

    The problem that I see is that a cornerstone of such a system would have to be mandatory registration. I just don't see how you can do it without a registry That causes all sorts of problems, in my opinion. I think that a substantial plurality will be vigorously opposed to any sort of registration requirement if done on a national level for many reasons.

    Such laws have been tried. In the US, you can look at Guam. Guam has mandatory registration for the weapons and licenses for the owners. It is also an island, so one would think that it would be relatively simple to control entry of firearms from "outside" the closed registration/licensing scheme. Yet, when I was in Guam, I noticed armed robberies and other gun crimes in the paper's police blotter on a regular basis. You can look at other literal islands with strict registry/licensing rules from the Bahamas to Great Britain and observe that even with the strict registration/licensing scheme, the bad guys still find ways to penetrate the system.

    If you can figure out a way to make the proposed system work without a registry we can talk more.

    Sorry...
    Chris

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  45. Jadegold,

    I'll take what I can get from the SCOTUS but they are not infallible. Dred Scott, anyone? Just because 12 robed justices say it is so doesn't make it just, or permanent.

    That is why we are working to expand the shooting sports, expand legislative gains, and continue to gain media acquiescence if not acceptance. Gains in the courts need to be firmed up elsewhere, especially when they are based on a slim 5-4 majority.

    By the way, I don't agree with other recent court decisions on property rights. Look at Kelo vs. New London, for example. More than any other recent decision I think that illustrates how the justices -- and court watchers -- feel about private property rights and the appropriate role and power of government.

    On a related note, knock Scalia all you want, but at least he is the sole justice on the court to acknowledge the dangerous creep of federal laws that are vague and lack any sort of mens rea. Ref US v. Santos where he wrote, “venerable rule vindicates the fundamental principle that no citizen should be
    held accountable for a violation of a statute whose commands are uncertain, or subjected to punishment that is not clearly prescribed.” And in his lone support for certiori in Sorich, Scalia highlighted this dangerous creeping problem as well. I'd think that anyone who is a civil liberties supporter would be concerned about the chilling effects of vague federal laws on 1A and 6A rights...

    Cheers,
    Chris from AK

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  46. I'll take what I can get from the SCOTUS but they are not infallible. Dred Scott, anyone? Just because 12 robed justices say it is so doesn't make it just, or permanent.

    Agreed. It should be continually pointed out, however, that Heller and MCDonald were 5-4 opinions. That means almost half of what are purported to be the best legal minds don't agree with your viewpoint. Further, it should be noted that even the majority opinions quite clearly state that guns can be regulated.

    Yes, I'll knock Fat Tony simply because he uses "originalism" as a light switch--sometimes he's all for it, sometimes he militates against it.

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  47. Many things to say & questions to answer.

    Sean, the Constitution is intended to have a certain degree of built-in flexibility, for without that it could fracture. Many of the Founders suggested that future generations review the Document as time passes in order to keep it relevant as conditions change. This review is not meant to weaken the intent of the Document or gradually curtail the rights it guarantees, but to allow it to remain strong & thus protect those rights.

    I'm going find that quote of Jefferson, emblazoned in his monument, which deals with the notion of review. Please stand by and I will post it.

    The demographic shift that's occurring in this country is unstoppable. Also is the ever-increasing citified lifestyle. Fewer Americans are as in touch with the out-of-doors and the traditional outdoor pursuits as folks in mine & previous generations. And many of them come from other countries. They & their children will likely remain largely urban dwellers, based on current trends. Though they cherish American freedoms, they have different traditions than those of us born here; especially those of us who were introduced to these traditional outdoor pursuits early in life by our parents. Also, many of these new arrivals and younger generations have never heard the names Daniel Boone, Simon Kenton, Kit Carson, Frank Hamer, Bill McDonald, Bill Jordan or Elmer Keith. (I truly feel sorry for them in that regard. But then, they have heroes of their own who were equally amazing. Why would they require our heroes anymore than we require theirs?)

    Furthermore, the tradition & heritage of the armed citizen is a hard sell for persons whose lives have been touched by gun violence. This is especially so in inner cities. I've personally met the family members of those who died by gun violence. These folks have little or no appreciation for AR 15s or Kentucky Rifles. If I were them I wouldn't either.

    But you're right concerning the impossibility of a ban on firearms, ARs or whatever, providing we meet these 21st Century American citizens half-way. They don't want to disarm you & me. They want to disarm the bad guys.

    Brent G.

    P.S.: It's not Bambi, it's Boo Boo. (Well, yeah, it's Bambi too. Mainly Bambi. Bugs Bunny is too sly for me.)

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  48. Is this it Brent? " The inscription on the panel of the southeast interior wall is redacted and excerpted from a letter July 12, 1816, to Samuel Kercheval:[citation needed]
    I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions. But laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors."

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  49. "the Constitution is intended to have a certain degree of built-in flexibility,"

    No Brent, the Constitution either means what it says, or it means whatever someone wants it to mean. There is no middle ground. If you want to change it, amend it.

    Rather than view it as a living document, I suggest you view it as a contract. If you violate that contract, I, and many others, will cease to be bound by the contract. That'll go very poorly for everyone. Best if you just stick to the bargain as it stands. If you can get 3/4 of the States to agree to an Amendment, fine. Otherwise, just follow the rules as agreed to.

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  50. Anonymous,

    I think a background check law, if it's national, well-funded & well-enforced but has no paper trail (i.e., no defacto registration) is O.K. with me and likely many other folks. It makes catching gun traffickers tougher, but your idea of STIFF penalties would certainly adjust their attitude in a favorable direction. I also agree with Sean that the 4473 is a joke & fossil from another era (unless, as I guessed before, that the 4473 can lead to potential perjury charges for prohibited buyers. But then, in an era where NICS exists, who needs it?)

    I also agree that a loaded gun IN A LOCKED TRUNK is no real threat to public safety.

    I do feel that gun lock boxes would deter many home burglars and are a good option for safe storage when actual gun safes are too expensive, as you say. While there are burglars who have the time, temperment & means to do a thorough rip off, a lot of them, perhaps most, are of the quick hit & run variety. They see a lock box & will just take the TV, et al.

    I've been a fan of lost/stolen gun reporting laws for a while now. But the reasoning you offer gives me pause. To lay this out so we all can understand, assuming I get what you mean here: A gun trafficker buys guns somewhere & then sells them on the street to bad guys. At a future date some of those guns are confiscated from crooks, or recovered at crime scenes, & traced back to the trafficker. If no lost/stolen gun law is in place, he merely claims the guns were lost or stolen. He can do this repeatedly & what can the authorities really do without some hard evidence?

    Well, if a lost/stolen gun law is in place, the worst that the trafficker can suffer is a minor offense; likely pay a fine that's a pittance in comparison to the revenues he enjoyed by trafficking the guns. And that's only after several repeated infractions by him since such a law must necessarily have some graduated severity lest legitimate theft victims become criminals (as a result of being victims). Not to mention, the trafficker could put in a false lost/stolen report to cover the illicit sale & thus have a ready alibi.

    SO WHAT DOES THE LOST/STOLEN GUN LAW ACCOMPLISH? Maybe nothing except, as you guys have mentioned, make criminals out of victims. Japete, do you know anyone associated with passing one of these laws who could enlighten us?

    Perhaps, after repeated infractions, a person violating these laws ends up on the NICS as a prohibited buyer. I don't know. I propose that we get a copy of the Connecticut law & see what it actually says.

    Brent G.

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  51. http://www.lcav.org/content/reporting_lost_stolen.pdf

    Check out the website for the reasons why 7 states have passed these laws. it's a pretty good explanation of the laws.

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  52. Japete,

    That Jefferson quote you posted is the one I was thinking about. Thanks much.

    And thanks for the "7 states" website thing which I will read & then report back to everybody regarding what it says.

    Like I said, I was always a strong supporter of lost/stolen gun laws. But Chris brought up a good point for which I had no answer. Maybe this website does have the answer, which means he's missed something. But maybe it doesn't, which means he's right & they've missed something. I'll see if I can figure it out.

    Sean, I don't think any reasonable American would mess with the true intent of a civil right, especially to the extent that it in any material way curtailed that right for law-abiding citizens, or limited the peaceful exercise of that right. But it is clear that those same reasonable folks disagree on some of the peripheral issues regarding these rights. That's why we have the debates we do & the court challenges.

    Brent G.

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  53. Brent,

    "If no lost/stolen gun law is in place, he merely claims the guns were lost or stolen. He can do this repeatedly & what can the authorities really do without some hard evidence?"

    In almost every jurisdiction, making a false statement to the police is already criminal.

    If you make a false statement to a federal official that hinders their official duties, whether or not you are sworn under oath, it is a potential felony. So if local LEOs notice a troubling trend and then call in an ATF agent, you can slap felony charges on the trafficker.

    So, I'm not sure why we need another law. LCAV's analysis explains the goals of the laws but not the actual observed outcomes. I am highly skeptical about their paragraph for how it benefits law abiding gun owners in particular. It is possible that such laws could actually decrease the odds that the police would find my stolen property. For example, right now, say that 10 stolen guns a year are reported to my local PD. After the law is passed, maybe 30 stolen guns per year will be reported. Do you think that APD is going to assign more officers to look for lost property? I doubt it. That means that the existing staff will be stretched thinner and only 1/3 as many efforts will be made to recover any person's particular gun. The only way to tell is with data.

    I really see this law as having more downsides for law abiding gun owners, who are probably going to report losses anyways. It just is a way to criminalize and harass them. Folks on the up and up are overwhelmingly going to report the crimes anyways.

    To flip the tables, how would you feel about a mandatory reporting law for domestic violence in order to protect children from abusive situations? This proposed law would say that if you are a victim of domestic violence in a household with children, you must report it within 36 hours to local police. A judge will then issue a 14-day restraining order against the alleged perp; if the victim doesn't want a restraining order filed, then any children in the house will be taken by CPS for the two week cool-down period. If you fail to report the domestic violence w/in 36 hours then you'll be charged with a crime. Does that seem like it'd actually be effective at helping victims? I don't think so.

    \\

    I am still skeptical that such a scheme can work without a registry. For example:

    - FFL sells gun to Buyer A
    - Buyer A illegally sells guns on the street
    - Gun used in crime

    The police then trace the gun and track it back to the FFL. Ok, cool. They then pull the 4473 and find out who Buyer A was. When they hunt down buyer A, he has several alibis:
    - "My gun was stolen"
    - "I legally traded my gun to Buyer B in a private sale"

    You have to close the private sale "loophole" to remove the second explanation from the table, and that means registration so that you can theoretically track a gun through its lifecycle.

    Or, if you have any actual evidence that he's lying, you can use existing laws on the book (making false statements) and charge him right there. Even without strong evidence beyond a reasonable doubt, you can file charges that are good enough to get past a grand jury and start turning on the heat for a plea bargain, especially if federal felony charges are involved.

    Cheers,
    Chris from AK

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  54. " To flip the tables, how would you feel about a mandatory reporting law for domestic violence in order to protect children from abusive situations? This proposed law would say that if you are a victim of domestic violence in a household with children, you must report it within 36 hours to local police. A judge will then issue a 14-day restraining order against the alleged perp; if the victim doesn't want a restraining order filed, then any children in the house will be taken by CPS for the two week cool-down period. If you fail to report the domestic violence w/in 36 hours then you'll be charged with a crime. Does that seem like it'd actually be effective at helping victims? I don't think so."

    Chris- you have the most interesting and sometimes convoluted ways of coming up with "what if" scenarios to dismiss doing anything about the gun issue.
    "

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  55. Chris,

    I have yet to look at that website Japete has posted. You obviously did. I'll certainly get to it this weekend. I'd also like study the "gun situation" on Guam. See what it tells us, plus look at that Connecticut lost/stolen law.

    About background checks: you're correct that w/o a defacto registration component the traffickers can easliy slip by the authorites.

    Your above scenario is correct, as far as I can tell at this point.

    But here's another one: Given; There's a universal background check law in place.
    A non-FFL seller has a firearm that's no longer wanted. (It's maybe a person who inherited this weapon & has no need or desire to keep it. Whatever.) So they post it for sale on a lunch room bulletin board, in the local newspaper, etc.

    Now any potential buyer would then need a "permit to acquire" or have a background check done on them according to this BC law. Since the vast majority of sellers are law-abiding folks they'll likely cause that BC to be done, probably at the local gun shop. Thus this second hand market would be constricted as a source for crime guns.

    Of course, this doesn't stop those who avoid the law for a one time sale. Nor does it stop the traffickers.

    It's really sad that there is such a lack of trust in our country. Without trust, it's hard to move forward on initiatives on any front or issue.

    Decades back, the gun control groups essentially made "take no prisoners" a mantra. They were out to ban guns, halt the taking of game, etc. I remember when "big brother" groups were out to save citizens from themselves. They wanted to outlaw everything from sky diving, auto racing, boxing, guns, shooting sports and a whole lot more.

    But that was then & this is now. The American people will not allow such freedoms of choice to be taken away.

    The current gun control/gun law outfits are far more mellow. (I wish they'd tailor their message & image to more reflect their true intent.) On top of that, in spite of being composed of intelligent, resourceful, passionate & otherwise capable people, their somehow woefully incapable; they can barely sit up & take nourishment. (Sorry Japete, nothing personal.)

    Somehow, some way, we as a nation need to get our gun violence down to a level like other gun-rich western countries.

    Chris, to be entirely honest, I think you're ideas may be part of the solution. Seriously. SO LAY 'EM ON US MAN. LAY 'EM ON US.

    Brent G.

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  56. " On top of that, in spite of being composed of intelligent, resourceful, passionate & otherwise capable people, their somehow woefully incapable; they can barely sit up & take nourishment. (Sorry Japete, nothing personal.)"
    Really Brent? A slight exaggeration there. I know quite a few very capable folks involved and they are decent, caring, intelligent, as you said, and certainly can sit up and take nourisment quite a bit better than some on this blog ( not you)

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  57. Yeah Japepte,

    I did shoot a bit wide of the mark there. But I can't get over the fact that the gun law lobby has such trouble with the very issue they've decided to claim: gun violence.

    They're their own worst enemy in many ways.

    Typically, if you wish to gain people's support for a policy/law/initiative/whatever that appears to have negative consequences for them, you try to show the policy/law/initiative/whatever in a good light by playing up its positves & playing down, even hiding, its negatives. Used car salesmen, if they're any good, are masters at this.

    But the mainstram gun law lobby manages the opposite time & again. As you are aware, these groups are not gun grabbers, they don't hate freedom, they're not opposed to self-defense. But they take stands, like their view of the 2nd Amendment, that says precisely the opposite to gun owners & the general public.

    Even if the 2nd Am was nothing more than authority for the States to keep a militia arms pool, and legal history scholars definitively proved it to the gun law lobby, the lobby sould have made certain that the knowledge got good and buried! Tactically, the worst possible position in a contest is to announce "no quarter" to your opponent; they just fight like demons as a result. And that's what the "States right only" intreppretation of the 2nd Am did. It's basically why we're here now w/o the adequate national gun laws we need.

    I shouldn't spout off & make exaggerations. You're right & I do apologize. But if Brady, et al, doesn't come up with a more effective paradigm they will be fighting the same battles, for the same ground, decades from now that they've unsuccessfully battled for in decades past.

    Brent G.

    P.S.: How do you get pictures on this thing?

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  58. Thanks for clariying that, Brent. As to getting pictures on your comment, I am not sure. I can get pictures up in the editing function since I am the blog host.

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  59. Thanks Japete. It would be fun to show some photos. It's one thing that could lighten things up a bit. (Maybe also exchange recipes or something.)

    Concerning my recent extreme comments; likely the result of a sugar high - a coupla' too many (too many DOZEN that is) X-Mas cookies.

    Anyway, it's indeed tough to watch groups seeking to pass sensible gun laws constantly thwarting themselves. At least that's my take on it. Now, as you've said, they are getting better at not doing that. There's plenty evidence of it, 'tis true.

    But I think they could use a boot camp experience of sorts. This camp would instill good techniques/tactics & eliminate bad ones. It's too bad they don't have the resources for such a thing.

    I've got a few shop-related things ahead to do. Then, as promised, I'm going to get on that LCAV website, look up the lost/stolen gun law from Connecticut, & check out the gun situation in Guam.

    Also, I did carefully read the Kates-Mauser Report a while back. Rather insightful, though I didn't agree with some of their conclusions.

    ' Be back soon.

    Brent

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  60. Lightening things up would be great but don't know if that is possible. We'll see.

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  61. Chris- you have the most interesting and sometimes convoluted ways of coming up with "what if" scenarios to dismiss doing anything about the gun issue.

    I find it useful to reason by analogy, at least for illustrative purposes. Take the arguments being made in relation to gun control and apply them to a similar tension between liberty and order in society, and see what the results are. Posing hypotheticals is an interesting way to expand the range of possibilities. I don't necessarily think it is good at the end of a problem solving process when more rigor is required, but it is useful earlier on.

    If you didn't like my domestic violence one, how about this? How would you feel if a southwest border state passed a law stating:
    "Any individual knowing of illegal border crossings occurring on their private property must notify the state troopers within 36 hours of obtaining such information."

    In theory, reporting illegal activity on your property is something you'd probably be inclined to do anyways, so this isn't a burden on anyone. In fact, it provides substantial benefits to land owners, who will face a decreased threat from drug traffickers. It also benefits the migrants themselves, many of whom are victimized by human trafficking "coyotes."


    My point this this pair of analogies is simply this: I am troubled by turning victims who have suffered a wrong into criminals themselves. I think that if you look at reporting requirements similar to lost and stolen in other contexts it becomes pretty clear how abusive they can be to the actual victims. I guess you don't see gun owners who have their homes and cars burgled as victims, though, which is where we differ.

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  62. Brent -- typed up some thoughts on Guam over at my blog. Tried to email you but your profile doesn't have an email address listed! Anyways:
    http://armaborealis.blogspot.com/2010/12/guam-guns.html

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  63. Chris,

    My e-mail is bgurtek@gmail.com. Thanks much for the info. I did get to look at that LCAV website last night. And they have a link to the Connecticut law which I took a peak at.

    My next step is to look at your comments in hard copy right alongside the print I made of the LCAV info. Then mull things over. That approach seems to work best for me.

    I'll be posting about this soon.

    Brent

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