Saturday, January 7, 2012

Jeff Knox Makes a Christmas Wish. Santa Gives Him Coal Instead

Jeff Knox has a good article over at World Net Daily entitled All I Wanted for Christmas: Fewer Stupid Gun Laws that points out the enormous annual costs of gun control. Hat tip to David Codrea of the War on Guns for pointing me to the article.

Knox firsts points out the personal costs of gun control:

In order to take advantage of the great deal from my friends in Prescott, I had to either drive up there or call and have the gun shipped to a dealer closer to my home in the Phoenix area. Driving up to Prescott takes over 2 hours each way and would burn close to $50 worth of gas. Having the gun shipped down to a local dealer would add a $22 shipping charge plus a $35 transfer fee from my local dealer. Either way, I would have to fill out paperwork and get approved through the NICS “instant” background check system.

My sister, who lives in Prescott, could have gone down to J&G and picked up the gun for me, except that’s illegal. If she were buying the gun for me as a gift, that would be OK, but if she were to buy it on my behalf or with the intention of selling it to me, that would be considered a “straw purchase” and she could face 5 years and $50,000 in penalties.
But that's not all. If you wish to carry your gun legally, you must also get a Concealed Handgun License. In some States, that can be as much as $100 dollars every five years, plus training requirements. Altogether, it can cost you quite a bit to exercise your right to keep and bear arms. Remember too that a lot of gun control laws grew out of the war on so-called "Saturday Night Specials," those cheap guns supposedly used by poor people to defend themselves against those who would prey on them. We may now have a higher quality class of firearms, but at what price?

But there is another message which could get lost in Mr. Knox's article:
There were some 16 million NICS checks conducted in 2011 at a direct cost of more than a billion dollars. That billion dollars comes out of your paycheck, and the value received for it is highly questionable. There has never been a single study indicating that the background check system has reduced violent crime. Still, a NICS check is required every time I buy a gun from a dealer. It doesn’t matter how many guns I already own or how many I have recently purchased. Each time I wish to add to my collection, I am placed under suspicion and investigated anew. Couldn’t those billions have been used to fund proven, effective crime-fighting programs or to keep serious criminals behind bars longer?

One of the principles under girding our legal system is that we are innocent until the State proves us guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. We often take that for granted, but there are many places where you are automatically guilty until you prove yourself innocent.  But our system is supposed to assume we are innocent. The background check turns that principle on its head. Now you are guilty until the State satisfies itself that there is no evidence of your guilt. Further, by imposing a background check before you purchase your gun, the State is creating a prior restraint. Imagine if I had to get permission from the State prior to publishing this blog. Do you think they would let me? Do you think most of the articles that are linked to in the blog would have been published. "Shall not be infringed" means that no prior restraint should be placed on the keeping and bearing of arms.

Of course, I can hear you now saying "but we don't want criminals to have guns! What's to keep the criminal from just going in and buying a gun from Walmart, if we didn't have this background check?" My answer is that criminals don't get their guns through legal means. They steal them, of purchase them through the black market. Criminals don't get a background check, only the law abiding individual submits to it. So, what is the real purpose? Who is inconvenienced by it?

The answer to these questions becomes obvious with a little thought.  By some counts, there are 20,000 gun laws on the books at the Federal, State, and local level.  Nobody can be aware of all of them, much less observe them all.  Because of background checks, concealed carry laws, and a stunning array of other laws that you might not know about until you break one, most people no longer carry a gun as a matter of routine.  That is, of course, the purpose of all those laws.   

1 comment:

  1. Yep, I just went through this (again!) last week.
    My little Marlin 60 came in, I paid the balance, signed zee papers, and started my 10-day wait.
    Considering I already own 4 handguns, two 12-gauge shotguns, a 30-30 and a 357 rifle, waiting 10 days to take legal possession of a 22LR gun is a bit strange.
    At least Kaliforniastan had enough good sense to allow a tube-magazine 22 to hold more than 10 rounds.....