Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Why We Need To Write And Pass Expanded Background Checks - An Open Letter To My Fellow Gun Rights Advocates

Alan Gottlieb is a leader in the gun rights movement.  His Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) has won many significant legal victories securing and expanding gun rights.  SAF is also headquartered in Seattle Washington - and because of this he was heavily involved in the battle of I-594.  As such, he foresaw the outcome of that battle and the implications for gun rights nationwide.   At this year's NRA convention, he said this:

Sadly, he has been proved to be right.  In spite of our best efforts I-594 passed.  The gun banners are not stupid - they too have and will learn from this victory.  We were successful in electing many pro-gun rights legislatures, governors and, of course, a pro-gun Senate.  However, none of this matters if Bloomberg and his buddies can bypass those elected legislators as they did with I-594.  Remember, I-594 is much, much more than a simple expansion of NICS checks to private sales.  Hidden in the measure were many horrible provisions having nothing to do with sales.

It is critical that we understand the new reality following this Bloomberg victory:

1) Now that they have been successful, it is certain that these billionaires will employ the same tactic in many more states.  In fact, they have said that they will do so.   In 2016, we can expect to have to fight the same battle we just lost in many more states.  
In states where initiative measures are not possible, we can expect Bloomberg and friends to use the same dirty tactics they used in Colorado.  An excellent analysis of why we lost can be found HERE. 

2) A majority of people - including some gun owners - will vote for a measure labeled as "universal background checks" - especially when a billionaire or two floods the airwaves with advertizing.  They also will not understand that the measure contains many additional anti-gun provisions.  Trying to explain the details when both the billionaire's money AND the media are shouting that it's just about background checks is a fool's errand. 

3) It quite simply does not matter that these background checks are of limited value in stopping criminals and the insane from obtaining firearms.  What does matter is that a majority of the public thinks this is a good idea - in contrast to all other gun control measures which lack majority support. 

4) NICS checks have been in effect for a long time (about a decade) and present few if any problems.   In our own bill we can and should make improvements designed to prevent abuse of this system.

5) Perhaps most significantly WE CAN USE THE SAME TACTICS USED BY BLOOMBERG TO BEAT HIM!!!  We can push our own background check bill through Congress, that expands NICS checks to private sales AND contains a bunch of pro-gun provisions, including federal preemption of state and local background checks, as well as safeguards against creating an underground registry.* We can turn a background check bill into a net win.

The reality is that expanded background checks are going to happen - the only question is will anti-gun rights or pro-gun rights provisions be attached to it.  What we choose to do will determine which of these possibilities we have to live with.

*Pro-gun rights provisions that should be attached to any federal bill expanding background checks:


1) As is the case now, no firearms specific data shall be required to run a NICS Check.
2) As is the case now, all data on approved NICS checks shall be destroyed in 72 hours or less.
3) As is the case now, 4473 forms and dealers bound books shall be the only place firearms specific data is maintained.
4) Dealers shall be exempt from all civil liability for conducting background checks.
5) The charge for a background check shall be capped by law at no more than $25.00 adjusted for inflation.
6) Records (4473 forms and bound books) of closed FFLs shall no longer be surrendered to ATF - instead, all prior and future records shall be maintained jointly by the NSSF and the NRA,  As is the case with records of open FFLs, they shall be available only for traces involving a criminal investigation.
7) The entire area law governing of firearms purchases, transfers and ownership shall be preempted by the federal government.
8) Since this entire area of regulation is being preempted by federal law, all state and local registration records shall be destroyed.
9) Anyone creating a registry of firearms shall be guilty of a felony punishable by a minimum of 15 years in prison.  In addition to federal authorities, the Attorney General of any state shall be authorized to investigate and prosecute such offenses.

Pro-gun provisions:

Violation of the safe transit provisions of FOPA shall be considered civil rights violations and governments violating the provisions of FOPA shall be subject to both civil and criminal penalties.

National CCW Reciprocity/National Shall Issue CCW system.

Removal of the restriction that you may only purchase firearms in your state of residence.

Anything else that we can get!

No comments:

Post a Comment