Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Of Sand, and Lines Drawn Therein

The report from Hershel Smith that the GOP is getting ready to cave to gun grabbers is distressing. According to Smith, the GOP leadership is set to approve universal background checks and gun registration. You can read Smith's report over at the Captain's Journal. The report also indicates that the NRA may be mixed up in helping the GOP leadership cave.

I believe Smith's reporting is sound because this has been the behavior of so-called conservatives and the NRA for years.  Smith accurately notes that his sources may be shaky, but we have been down this road before.  Rather than drawing a line in the sand, and standing on principle, they eventually cave.  Sure, they kept the gun grabbers from getting everything, but as I pointed out before, the gun grabbers will be back again, with yet more demands.  The gun grabbers will not be satisfied until the Second Amendment is a dead letter.  Oh, they might let you keep one overpriced and heavily taxed shotgun for skeet and trap shooting, down at the gun club, locked up so that you can't access it, and regularly inspected by the ATF.  They might.  But as far as keeping and can forget that.

In talking to other gun owners, there is a certain ambivalence about background checks.  Most have no problem with a background check because they pass it, at least for now.  You see, once a background check is instituted, and a reasonable list of those who should be prohibited is created, then you have the constant expanding of the list of prohibited persons by the gun grabbers.  Returning veterans with PTSD are routinely put on the list with only the word of a government paid psychologist.  No court findings, are necessary, and the veteran need not be convicted of anything.  They don't even have to state that the veteran may be a danger to himself or others, just that he isn't capable of managing his finances.  Are you getting a divorce?  Divorces are often ugly, and many women seek a restraining order out of revenge, or in order to hurt their husbands in such situations.  If your wife seeks such an order, you are a prohibited person, whether or not you have ever threatened her, and again, whether or not you have been convicted of anything.  In recent years, there have been laws proposed that would make everybody on the "no fly list" a prohibited person.  The "no fly list" is a secret list.  How you get on the list, and how you might clear yourself if you find you can't fly is also a secret, and you and I have no need to know.  There is once again no due process.  A judge does not have to have found you guilty of anything to be on the list.

Then there is the problem of results.  An often cited statistic is that 80,000 people have been prevented from buying a firearm since background checks were instituted.   But, that statistic only reflects buying firearms from a legal, Federal Firearms Licensed (FFL) dealer.  How many of those 80,000 people turned around and bought a firearm on the black market?  Of course, nobody knows the answer to that, but a good guess would be a substantial number of them did exactly that.  Do you think the black market will dry up because of universal background checks?  Criminals will get the guns they need, no matter what is done to prevent them.  The only people who are inconvenienced by background checks are peaceable citizens, the very people you don't have to worry about.

As for gun registration, which the Attorney General has stated is a necessary part of any universal background check system, there are words in the law to the effect that background checks may not be used to create a registration system of guns and gun owners.  But as we have seen with the Fast and Furious scandal, the ATF hasn't any problem with breaking the law.  In the Seattle office of the ATF, agents have been going around to the FFLs and copying their bound books of 4473 forms, thus gaining a registry of guns and gun owners despite the law.  I am not holding my breath while Congress jumps on this infraction of the law, for I would have to hold my breath a long time indeed.  But here's just one problem with registration. The State of California knew where to go because that State requires registration. The injustice came about, in part, because a nurse wrongly wrote down that Mrs. Phillips was involuntarily admitted to a mental hospital. Note, once again, that no due process was involved, no finding by a judge that she represented a danger to herself or others, but now she must go before a court to get her husbands gun rights back. Talk about turned around.

We have made a system in which in order to exercise a right that we all have by virtue of our Creator, we must prove ourselves innocent to the government's satisfaction.  But our government keeps moving the goal posts, making more and more of us ineligible to own the means of self defense. Someday you may find yourself ineligible if you have ever had a parking ticket.  There would be no merit to such a system if it did work.  Unfortunately, it isn't working, as one can predict. Instead of going after people who abuse or misuse their rights, they instead go after the some of the tools used by the miscreants. They pretend that killing with a gun is somehow worse than killing with a screw driver, or a hammer, or a two by four. Well, no more. The GOP leadership should take this to heart:  Our line in the sand is drawn.  Molon Labe.     

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