Senate Rejects Post-Orlando Gun Control Efforts

As expected, the Senate rejected four gun control measures introduced in the wake of the attack in Orlando.

Once again, a mass shooting prompted Senate Democrats to attempt to pass gun control legislation, including legislation that would have mandated expanded background checks and other proposals that would bar anyone on the terrorist watch or no-fly lists from being able to legally purchase a firearm, and, once again, those bills failed to make it past an initial Senate vote:

WASHINGTON — The Senate on Monday failed to advance four separate measures aimed at curbing gun sales, the latest display of congressional inaction after a mass shooting.

Eight days after a gunman claiming allegiance to the Islamic State killed 49 people in an Orlando, Fla., nightclub, the Senate deadlocked, largely along party lines, on amendments to block people on the federal terrorism watch list from buying guns and to close loopholes in background check laws. Families of gun violence victims looked on from the Senate chamber as the votes were held.

Further action on gun safety measures or mental health provisions seemed unlikely before the fall election, given the rush to finish a series of spending bills and the relatively limited time that Congress will be in session before November.

In addition, the four gun measures were attached to legislation that contains several other thorny issues, such as the question of whether to take passports away from terrorism suspects, which suggests there will be little chance for further debate.

Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, has been working on a compromise, disliked by both party leaders, that would bar the sale of guns to terrorism suspects who appear on either the government’s no-fly list or the so-called selectee list of people who receive additional scrutiny at airports. That bill, which is not as broad as the Democratic watch-list measure that failed on Monday, could surface later in the week

Partisanship and the power of the gun lobby played a large role in the amendments’ failure. Democrats structured their bills in a way that was almost certain to repel Republicans, while Republicans responded with bills equally distasteful to Democrats.

Democrats vowed to hammer Republicans during the campaign this fall.

“Our constituents see a disturbing pattern of inaction,” Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic leader, said on the Senate floor on Monday. “Sadly, our efforts are blocked by the Republican Congress, who take their marching orders from the National Rifle Association.”

Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, the highest-ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, introduced one of the failed measures, which could have prevented anyone on the federal terrorism watch list and other terrorist databases from buying firearms or explosives. Democrats tried unsuccessfully to pass the measure after the shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., in December.

“It’s time for us to stand up,” Ms. Feinstein said.

Republicans, arguing that the list of people affected would be too broad and that the measure would not offer proper due process, put forward a competing measure. That amendment would have required the government to delay, during a 72-hour review period, the purchase of a gun by anyone who is a terrorism suspect or has been the subject of a terrorism investigation within the last five years.

“No one wants terrorists to be able to buy guns or explosives,” Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, said on the Senate floor on Monday.

The two other measures that failed included one offered by SenatorChristopher S. Murphy, Democrat of Connecticut, who led a filibuster last week to make a point on guns. His measure sought to tighten background checks for gun buyers at gun shows and on the internet. Republicans offered a measure that was more focused on the mental health system.

The Obama administration, which has been pushing for a variety of new gun control legislation, vowed to press on.

“The view of the administration is that the American people should be engaged in the debate,” Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, said on Monday. “So the fact that this is something that is being actively debated and considered in the Senate does represent incremental progress.”

Donald J. Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, has largely supported the positions of most Republicans, who want to preserve gun rights. Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee, has made her support for gun control a central tenet of her campaign.

None of this should come as a surprise, of course. Three years ago, in the wake of the killing of twenty elementary school students in Connecticut, the Senate was unable to pass an expansion of background check system notwithstanding the fact that polling at the time showed that the vast majority Americans, including most Republicans and most gun owners, supported such legislation. Last November, in the wake of the San Bernardino shootings which were soon determined to be an ISIS-inspired attack by an American who had been born in the United States and his foreign born wife, there was a similar effort to pass a “terrorist gap” that Senate Democrats had suddenly discovered and it too failed in the wake of Republican opposition prompted, at least rhetorically, over concerns about civil liberties and the propriety of using essentially secret lists to bar people from exercising their Constitutional rights. Again, this happened notwithstanding the fact that polling at the time indicated support for the measures that were considered by the Senate. Given the result those last two times, and again notwithstanding the fact that polling showed that the public generally supported the Democrats’ position, it was hardly surprising that the outcome turned out the way that it did. One suspects, in fact, that Senate Democrats went into this debate knowing that this would happen and hoping that it would be the beginning of a strategy that would turn the issue of gun control into one that could help Democrats up and down the ballot in the fall. The political cynicism behind this was seemingly evident in the fact that Democrats such as Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy were jumping all over this issue within 72 hours after Omar Mateen opened fire in the Pulse nightclub, and legislation that ordinarily takes weeks to draw up was ready to go to the Senate floor, without even so much as a committee hearing, within five days of the tragedy.

As a matter of substance, the background check provisions that were voted down were, at least from my point of view mostly unobjectionable. To a large degree, however, the “gaps” in the current background check system are largely exaggerated by gun control supporters and are generally limited to situations where private individuals are selling or transferring guns on their own rather than buying them from a federally licensed arms dealer, in which case the dealer is required by law to conduct a background check regardless of the circumstances of the sale. The so-called “gun show loophole,” for example, is largely non-existent because the vast majority of sales at gun shows are made by licensed dealers who will still go through the background check system. In that situation, someone who buys from a licensed dealer at a gun show will only leave the show with a firearm if the check is completed in time, which often depends on logistical issues beyond the control of the dealer. If there’s any kind of delay in the background check, the purchaser will have to go to the dealers place of business to pick up the weapon when the check is complete. Similarly, contrary to the representations of the President and others, it simply isn’t true that one can easily go online and purchase a gun without having to go through a background check. Under Federal law, any such online sales would still be subject to a background check and the weapon has to be shipped to a licensed dealer for pickup rather than sent directly to the purchaser. The number of situations where someone can legally avoid the background checks, then, are very limited and hardly as endemic as gun control advocates would have you believe. Notwithstanding that, as I said, I personally would not object to expanding the background check system to require, say, non-familial weapons sales and transfers to be processed through a federally licensed dealer and subject with a background check. The reality, though, is that this would do very little to cut down on either mass shootings or the illegal use of weapons.

Similarly, the issues surrounding the so-called “terrorist gap” which have been the subject of Senate votes in the wake of domestic terror incidents twice now, are far more complicated than the political talking points. As I noted when the issue first came up last December — see here and here — there are significant civil liberties issues raised by the idea of using either the “terrorist watch list” or the far more expansive “no-fly list” as a basis for denying someone a legal and Constitutional right. For example, individuals generally end up getting placed on these lists without notice and without any real opportunity to question the process that placed them on that list. This has proven to be quite a problem for people who have found themselves on either list for reasons that nobody would explain to them. Indeed, it’s often been the case that someone has ended up on one or both of these lists because of clerical error or other, inexplicable, reasons. The most glaring example of this may have been the time that Senator Ted Kennedy, yes that Ted Kennedy, discovered that he was on the no-fly list. Kennedy, of course, was able to use his influence as a Senator to get his situation fixed relatively quickly, but the same has not been true of average Americans who find themselves in similar situations. Given the flaws in these lists, using them to deny Americans constitutional rights seems completely inadvisable.

Leaving aside the merits of these bills, though, it was obvious from the start that they were not going to pass the Senate, much less the House, and that Democrats were largely staging these votes in the hope of providing themselves with an issue to exploit in the fall elections. Previous experience, though, suggests that this effort will fail. As I have noted numerous times before, even in the limited number of cases where polling shows that the American people might support a specific gun control measure, the odds that it can be exploited at the ballot box have been low because Americans do not consider gun control to be a high priority issue.  In the wake of the Charleston shootings a year ago, I put it this way:

In the wake of the massacre of schoolchildren at Sandy Hook Elementary School by Adam Lanza, we saw a spike in public support for at least some forms of gun control, a phenomenon which caused many supporters of these measures to believe we’d reached a tipping point in a battle that has been going on for decades now. What both polling and actual election results tell us, though, is that gun control is a low priority issue for the vast majority of Americans, which means that the fact that a particular candidate may be more in tune with public opinion on that issue is no guarantee that they can actually win elections. We can see this in the fact that the failure of Manchin-Toomey led to no backlash at all against the Senators who blocked the bill from proceeding when elections rolled around. Additionally, while support for gun control had risen in the wake of Sandy Hook, that support quickly began to fade to the point where, by the one year anniversary of the shootings, public opinion on those issues had returned to the levels it was at prior to the attack. Conversely, it is also very apparent that the one group for whom gun control is something of a high priority issue are people who oppose it, as we say evidenced in the successful efforts in Colorado torecall legislators who had voted for the laws enacted in that state after Sandy Hook. That phenomenon continued into the 2014 elections, where even the millions of dollars thrown behind gun control efforts by the likes of Michael Bloomberg had little to no impact on the outcome of actual elections. By November of last year, gun control was at the bottom of the list of issues that most Americans said they were considering in deciding which candidates to vote for. As long as this remains the case, the political efforts to enact stricter gun control will fail. Indeed, Karl Rove was correct earlier this week when he said that the only way we’d see real political success for the gun control movement would be if the Second Amendment were repealed, although even that suggestion led some of the more paranoid elements on the right to falsely claim that he was advocating repeal of the Second Amendment. Rove is right, of course, mostly because if we actually lived in a world where there was enough support and intensity to achieve something like repealing one of the elements of the Bill of Rights, then there would also obviously be support for the kind of laws that gun control advocates continue to fail to get enacted except in the deepest of deep blue states.

This is the political reality of gun control in the United States. Unless and until it changes, significant gun control on the national level is unlikely. The situation is different in heavily Democratic states like New York, Connecticut, and California, of course, but then these states already have some of the toughest gun control laws in the country that go far beyond what the Federal Government has passed. Expecting anything similar in other parts of the country is, for the moment at least, politically naive.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2016, Congress, Guns and Gun Control, Public Opinion Polls, US Politics, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. An Interested Party says:

    If significant gun control legislation can’t be passed when children are massacred (Sandy Hook), than it can probably never be passed…but the Supreme Court will soon have a liberal majority…there are ways other than legislation to change things…




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  2. SKI says:

    Something to keep in mind: Past performance does not guarantee future results.

    Yes, any legislation, even the most common sense versions (and both bills had flaws though it should be noted that Feinstein’s bill didn’t actually use the No-Fly list as the test for preventing – it was more nuanced and a bit less problematic) was DOA in the current Congress but this Congress won’t be the same going forward. If/when the House flips (I’m expecting the Senate to flip and Clinton to win), we will see some form of legislation pass. The pro-regulation crowd is getting smarter about applying consistent political pressure the way the NRA has for years. It will come.




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  3. Mu says:

    I still don’t know how closing the “private sale” loophole, which includes gun show sales by non-dealers, should work under federal law. We’re talking, by definition, about a private person-to-person, non-commercial in-state transaction. How you get that under the commerce clause without killing it for good is beyond my understanding of federal and state competencies.




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  4. stonetools says:

    To a large degree, however, the “gaps” in the current background check system are largely exaggerated by gun control supporters and are generally limited to situations where private individuals are selling or transferring guns on their own rather than buying them from a federally licensed arms dealer, in which case the dealer is required by law to conduct a background check regardless of the circumstances of the sale. The so-called “gun show loophole,” for example, is largely non-existent

    Actually,Doug, that IS the d@mned loophole. Can you not understand the security implications of someone being able to buy firearms from a private seller, no questions asked and no records required? Sure, it’s convenient for your libertarian gun guy who wants to buy any gun he wants, in any quantity he wants, whenever he wants, but it’s convenient for terrorists too.
    Suppose Mustafa, ISIS operative, wants to buy some assault rifles and handguns for a terrorist strike in Virginia. Under current law, he can go to various gun shows, buy ten AR15s and ten handguns from various private sellers, send for ten operatives(by encrypted email of course) to fly in in from Europe, and they’re all set. Ammunition? He can just go to the local Walmart and buy a few thousand rounds, no questions asked. Body armor? He can order it over the Internet.

    Think this is far fetched? This exists:

    For instance, in 2011, the now-deceased American al-Qaeda operative Adam Gadahn released a video telling American jihadists to purchase guns and use them:

    In the West, you’ve got a lot at your disposal. Let’s take America for example. America is absolutely awash with easily obtainable firearms. You can go down to a gun show at the local convention center and come away with a fully automatic assault rifle without a background check and most likely without having to show an identification card. So what are you waiting for?

    Now gun nuts are going to focus on the fully automatic/semi-automatic thing, but ignore that. You actually can buy a weapon that can kill or injure 100 people at a time, without need for an ID card, so the ISIS guy is right.
    What’s your solution to that, Doug? Is it ¯\_(ツ)_/¯, the way you do with 30,000 deaths per year?




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  5. Mu says:

    Sill rolling the 20,000 suicides in the overall gun death rate? Of course, Japan, with probably the strictest gun laws in the world, has a suicide rate 50% higher than the US. But it’s the easy access to guns that make people do it in the US.




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  6. Todd says:

    In addition to the very legitimate civil liberties concerns that Doug highlighted about using the terrorist watch or no fly lists, I also have another theory about why Republicans are so adamant in their refusal to pass such an amendment.

    I obviously don’t agree with the result of the vote to defeat these amendments, but if we put ourselves in the shoes of Republicans, especially conservatives, I do understand why they don’t want to pass the no guns if you’re on the terrorist watch list provision.

    If this rule ever gets passed, it will Never go away. There’s no way even the most Republican congress would be able to vote to affirmatively let terrorists purchase weapons legally (blocking this amendment has the same effect, but is not the same level of bad optics).

    So then the argument would shift to who does and does not belong on the FBI terrorist watch list.

    Any Democratic administration could likely make a compelling argument (to courts if needed) that members of a lot of these right-wing anti-government militia groups very much belong on such a watch list.

    So while it is almost inconceivable that any President is going to take away their guns through executive order, or even a law passed by Congress. It’s not hard to imagine that this sort of amendment could very plausibly have essentially the same effect.

    I personally wouldn’t have an issue with those sort of people having less firepower at their disposal … but I can see how this argument would be persuasive to Republicans whose constituents (who vote in primaries) may care very much about such a possibility.

    In any case, Democrats should keep pushing this no guns for terrorists message … because even with all its flaws, the “common sense” framing is very much in their argument’s favor.




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  7. al-Alameda says:

    In economics there is Say’s Law – supply creates it’s own demand. Well, America is awash in guns. With a supply of over 300 million guns and relatively easy access to semi-automatic firearms it’s virtually inevitable that there will be periodic mass shootings in America.

    Since about 1996 there has been no political will to restrict the supply and access of so-called ‘ordinary’ Americans to military grade automatic and semi-automatic weaponry. Gun advocates disingenuously point to states that have restricted gun access and availability laws and say that gun crimes are still committed in those states, blithely ignoring the obvious fact that people in those more restrictive states may easily cross a state line and procure weaponry in those easy access states.

    It’s hard to be optimistic when it comes to restricting civilian access to military grade weapons.




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  8. stonetools says:

    As I noted when the issue first came up last December — see here and here — there are significant civil liberties issues raised by the idea of using either the “terrorist watch list” or the far more expansive “no-fly list” as a basis for denying someone a legal and Constitutional right.

    That’s true, and the Democratic bills addressed these civil liberties issues. Republicans voted these bills down anyway (surprise!).

    It’s almost as if these guys care more about doing the NRA’s bidding, instead of addressing the constitutional issues raised by these lists.




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  9. Hal_10000 says:

    @Todd:

    Any Democratic administration could likely make a compelling argument (to courts if needed) that members of a lot of these right-wing anti-government militia groups very much belong on such a watch list.

    And Left-Wing groups. Some of the gun control measures we have were a response to Black Power movements (and the Black Panthers specifically). Always remember that the door swing both ways. If you give Obama the power to block gun sales, you also give it to Trump.

    I don’t think the Democrats wanted these bills passed. There were proposals to put in due process provisions making it easier to challenge the watch lists and forcing the government to reveal the reasons for blocking gun purchases. This might even have brought the ACLU on board. The Democrats didn’t want them in. They want an election issue.




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  10. Gustopher says:

    Because, obviously, people have a constitutional right to walk around with enough firepower to kill and maim a hundred of their fellow citizens.

    I believe it was mentioned by Alexander Hamilton in the Federalist Papers, “whilest one does not have the right to kill and maim five score, and whilest there is not yet a way to Carry the means to kill and maim five score, One must have the right to carry the means to kill and maim five score. Rights are bigger than people.”




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  11. Todd says:

    @Hal_10000:

    There were proposals to put in due process provisions making it easier to challenge the watch lists and forcing the government to reveal the reasons

    This is something that should happen anyway. People should have a way to challenge their inclusion on these lists … especially the no-fly.




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  12. Jeremy says:

    @Todd: Please elucidate us as to what those ways of challenging are.




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  13. Jeremy says:

    Rahinah Ibrahim, a Malaysian architect with a doctorate from Stanford, knows from personal experience that they have a compelling point. Ibrahim is the only person since the 9/11 attacks to file a court challenge that ultimately removed her name from the watch lists. It took her almost a decade to prevail in court and even that victory has proved pyrrhic for her. While a federal judge agreed that her inclusion on the no-fly list was groundless, she remains unable to obtain a visa that would allow her to visit the United States even to attend academic conferences. A close look at her case by ProPublica provides dramatic evidence of what was argued this month in Washington: It is indeed remarkably easy to get on the list and nearly impossible to get off.

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/12/15/one-woman-s-case-proves-it-s-basically-impossible-to-get-off-the-no-fly-list.html




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  14. Jack says:

    @al-Alameda:

    It’s hard to be optimistic when it comes to restricting civilian access to military grade weapons.

    Why do you believe you are qualified to determine what I “need” and what rights I should exercise?

    …blithely ignoring the obvious fact that people in those more restrictive states may easily cross a state line and procure weaponry in those easy access states.

    Yet, they must still undergo a background check, and it is already illegal for them to buy handguns from out of state.




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  15. Todd says:

    @Jeremy:

    Please elucidate us as to what those ways of challenging are.

    I have no idea, any solution is probably beyond my scope of knowledge.

    I will say however, that this seems to follow a common pattern here in the United States, where we give our reason for doing (or continuing) things as “better safe than sorry”. In other words, more people don’t object to the blatant civil liberties violations that are inherent in something like a no fly list that you can’t get yourself removed from, because they worry about what would happen if a real terrorist wasn’t included on the list.

    We saw this same sort of attitude displayed during the Ebola scare a couple of years ago.

    “Better safe than sorry” is a perfectly legitimate doctrine when we are making personal decisions about risk vs. reward. But it’s just not a legitimate excuse to limit the civil liberties of others.

    The gun debate brings this into focus. People who have previously had no problems with the FBI terrorist and no-fly lists; because they assume it consists only of “bad” people, now have to confront the potentially real implications to their own lives if they were to somehow find themselves on such a list.




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  16. Jenos Idanian says:

    How unsurprising. Two of the four measures were brought forth by Republicans, and the Democrats stood in lockstep to kill them.

    And no one here is willing to acknowledge that.

    I am so, so stunned.




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  17. JKB says:

    Interesting. No one here, including the lawyer who wrote the post, dare bring up the whole “due process” right concerning the various lists.

    You might remember, not a recent victim of the public school system, due process was first enumerated 801 years ago in Magna Carta. I say enumerated as it had been a part of Anglo-Saxon common law from time immemorial.

    True, Magna Carta applied this to free men, but then over the intervening 800 years, the Anglosphere has, all be it slowly, expanded those considered free men to include not only all men (and women) in theory, but also in fact.

    But that’s okay, let’s just toss out that Due Process. Ironically, this is most often promoted by those on a prior or subsequent day yell about how the police are fascists or denying due process to some minority citizen.




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  18. Jack says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Two of the four measures were brought forth by Republicans, and the Democrats stood in lockstep to kill them.

    And no one here is willing to acknowledge that.

    They will say “the measures didn’t go far enough.”

    What they will not say is the measures didn’t give government enough power to take away rights they don’t like.




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  19. Jenos Idanian says:

    @JKB: One of the GOP bills would have addressed that. If someone on the watch list tried to buy a gun, they’d have a72 hour hold put on their application. That would give the feds time to pull together their rationale for depriving someone of their Constitutional rights and show it to a judge.

    As Jack said, it obviously didn’t go far enough, which is why the Dems killed it.

    The other bill would have given more funding to the background check system. That one had to die, too, so the Democrats could keep “gun control” as a campaign issue.

    Saving lives? Screw that! There are elections to be won!!!!




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  20. stonetools says:

    @Jack:

    Yet, they must still undergo a background check, and it is already illegal for them to buy handguns from out of state.

    Not if it’s a private sale. The people who keep repeating “there’s no loophole” seem to want to pretend that private sales don’t happen.
    If I was a terrorist who wanted to shoot up a nightclub in Virginia, I could buy all the guns I wanted from a private seller at any gun sale this weekend, no questions asked and no ID needed.
    Heck, I can do it online:

    Gibbon hooked up with his academy buddy Brian Mancini, and two years later the pair launched a website they thought was destined to fill a natural void in the online marketplace: Armslist, a website devoted specifically to the private sales of guns and related gear. The site allows private sellers to offer guns for sale to other private purchasers. Buyers can contact sellers via phone or email to set up the sale, and avoid going through a federal background check or even leaving a paper trail. Such transactions are more anonymous than purchasing a weapon at a gun show, where people who can’t pass a background check can buy large quantities of guns.

    Armslist quickly took off. By 2011, it was one of the largest online gun sites in the country, with more than 13,000 active listings for firearms. The site also had another, more dubious distinction: Weapons obtained through the site have been tied to the murders of four people and one suicide. An undercover New York City investigation (PDF) found that the site likely was a major conduit for illegal gun sales. Investigators discovered that 54 percent of the sellers they contacted through the site were openly willing to sell firearms to people who admitted they couldn’t pass a background check (which is a felony, incidentally).

    That’s both an inconvenient fact and a huge security hole. Making this country more susceptible to terrorist strikes using firearms is something you gun worshipers just have to own up to. Sorry.




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  21. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Mu:

    We’re talking, by definition, about a private person-to-person, non-commercial in-state transaction. How you get that under the commerce clause without killing it for good is beyond my understanding of federal and state competencies.

    Read Wickard v. Filburn, 317 U.S. 111 (1942), and then get back to me. When Congress has the power to use the commerce clause to regulate your consumption of something that you grow essentially in (and which never leaves) your own yard, which SCOTUS held that it did in Wickard, the scenario you’re describing above is a walk in the park by comparison.




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  22. Jack says:

    @stonetools: You seem to think private sellers are in it to only make a buck, to hell with what the person does with the gun. You are wrong.

    I’ve been to gun shows, I’ve bought in private sales. Most sellers want to write up an unofficial bill of sale in case the gun is used later in a crime so they want to know “who” they are selling it to. People selling guns must also abide by current laws, which means they need to make sure the people they are selling to can legally own a gun. They ask for ID. If it’s an out of stater, they know they can’t sell a handgun. While there are some unscrupulous sellers out there, there aren’t many and they don’t typically have the arsenal your scenario calls for.

    But you don’t care to know the facts because your mind is already made up.

    Also, please tell me again how the “background check” for immigrants is all that and a bag of chips, but the one for purchasing a firearm too lenient. I’ll wait.




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  23. An Interested Party says:

    Saving lives? Screw that! There are elections to be won!!!!

    Indeed, which is why gun control laws can’t be passed on the national level when so many politicians are more worried about winning elections rather than pissing off the NRA…




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  24. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @stonetools:

    Until we somehow manage to accomplish federal preemption of all state gun control laws, coupled with cradle to grave licensing & licensee liability, this will honestly continue.

    Of course, we could always pull a Trump and just build walls across state borders. I hear that works pretty well too 🙂




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  25. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Jenos Idanian: How unsurprising. Two of the four measures were brought forth by Democrats, and the Republicans stood in lockstep to kill them.

    And no one here is willing to acknowledge that.

    I am so, so stunned.




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  26. al-Alameda says:

    @Jack:

    Why do you believe you are qualified to determine what I “need” and what rights I should exercise?

    I just checked – “well regulated” is still in the Second Amendment.

    And … “qualified,” as in: Are you qualified to determine that we (collectively) should permit individual to own military grade automatic and semi-automatic weaponry?




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  27. Jack says:

    @al-Alameda: The 2nd amendment was written to restrict government. You, based upon your ramblings, are definitely not qualified to tell me what rights I can and cannot exercise.

    The 2nd amendment is not a collective right. It never was. It’s been an individual right since the founding. You need only look writings by the Anti-Federalists at the time who demanded the Bill of Rights…

    “that the people have a right to bear arms for the defense of themselves and their own State, or the United States, or for the purpose of killing game; and no law shall be passed for disarming the people or any of them, unless for crimes committed, or real danger of public injury from individuals.”– Pennsylvania ratification convention

    “Congress shall never disarm any Citizen unless such as are or have been in Actual Rebellion.” — New Hampshire ratification convention

    “that the people have a right to bear arms for the defense of themselves and their own State, or the United States, or for the purpose of killing game; and no law shall be passed for disarming the people or any of them, unless for crimes committed, or real danger of public injury from individuals.” — Pennsylvania ratification convention

    You don’t get to rewrite history just because you “believe” something.

    I just checked — the right of the people” to keep and bear arms, “shall not be infringed“–is still in the 2nd amendment.




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  28. stonetools says:

    @Jack:

    While there are some unscrupulous sellers out there, there aren’t many and they don’t typically have the arsenal your scenario calls for.

    Well, we have gone from “There’s no loophole” to “Private sellers exist, and some of them are unscrupulous”. Progress!

    As to whether I could get terrorist scale firepower from private sellers, there’s this:

    A stranger handed me an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle Monday afternoon in a South Burlington parking lot. I handed him an envelope stuffed with $500 cash. We filled out no paperwork and completed no background check. He had no idea who I was nor what my intentions were, and he did not ask. Nine minutes after I met the man, I drove away with the sort of weapon used 39 hours earlier to slaughter 49 people in an Orlando, Fla., nightclub.

    In Vermont, home to the nation’s most permissive gun laws, everything I did was perfectly legal.

    My unexpected gun purchase began with a simple Google search for “AR-15 Vermont.” The top result, armslist.com, provided plenty of local options.

    I did a search for “AR-15 Virginia private sale”. First hit : armslist.com.




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  29. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jack:

    The 2nd amendment was written to restrict government.

    Romantic fantasy. This theory that the 2A empowers insurrection that you guys love to beat you chests about was tested shortly after the Bill of Rights was ratified – in the Whiskey Rebellion. Indeed, it was tested prior to the ratification of the Constitution (Shay’s Rebellion) and tested a third time some years later (Fries’s Rebellion).

    In every instance, these founders you love to romanticize – the guys who wrote and ratified your favorite amendment – reacted with governmental force to put down the rebellions and put the rebels on trial, in many cases for treason.

    You don’t get to invent a constitutionally protected right of revolution just because you believe something.




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  30. stonetools says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Until we somehow manage to accomplish federal preemption of all state gun control laws, coupled with cradle to grave licensing & licensee liability, this will honestly continue.

    This is fairly close to the regulatory scheme in Canada. I’m a big fan of the Canadian regulatory scheme. They have almost no mass shootings, despite having lots of guns and a vibrant hunting scene. Culturally, too, they are very similar to the USA too, which demolishes the whole “these are countries where gun control works are so different” argument.




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  31. Jack says:

    Seems like background checks work to me.

    http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2016/06/hah-liberal-reporter-tries-buy-ar15-gets-denied-violent-past/

    Now if they only had a box on the 4473 asking if the person was a Democrat, shootings would drop by 60%.




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  32. Jack says:

    @stonetools:

    Well, we have gone from “There’s no loophole” to “Private sellers exist, and some of them are unscrupulous”. Progress!

    There is no loophole. All new firearms are sold via FFLs. Period.

    What you are talking about is after market transfers. And that is where criminals get 70% of their guns…from other criminals!

    Less than 1% are bought through gunshows, yet that is what democrats are pushing.

    On the other hand, no one should come between me and a friend, brother, sister, uncle, nephew, or child when it comes to transfers.

    I’m not saying you cant buy a weapon through private sales. Never did. And if someone want to get top dollar, they will typically sell via private sale. No different than selling a car. Car dealers, like pawn shops, don’t give top dollar. But just because someone does buy something on Armslist, doesn’t mean the seller doesn’t check or that the buyer is a criminal.




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  33. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jack:

    Seems like background checks work to me.

    They certainly worked for Seung-Hui Cho, and Mark Orrin Barton, Larry Gene Ashbrook, and Byran Uyesugi, and Michael McDermott, Robert S. Flores, and Doug Williams, Jeffrey Weise, and Jennifer San Marco, and Charles Carl Roberts IV, and Robert Hawkins, and Steven Kazmierczak, and Jiverly Voong, and Nidal Malik Hasan, and Amy Bishop, and Omar S. Thornton, and Jared Lee Loughner, and Scott Dekraai, and One L. Goh, and James Holmes, and Wade Michael Page, and Andrew Engeldinger, and Radcliffe Haughton, and John Zawahri, and Aaron Alexis, and Elliot Rodger, and Dylann Roof, and Christopher Sean Harper-Mercer, and …

    Well, I think you get the point …




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  34. Jack says:

    @HarvardLaw92: My bad. I meant to write that the Bill of Rights was written to restrict government.

    In every instance, these founders you love to romanticize – the guys who wrote and ratified your favorite amendment – reacted with governmental force to put down the rebellions and put the rebels on trial, in many cases for treason.

    False. I refer you to the Battle of Athens, 1946.




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  35. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jack:

    What you are talking about is after market transfers. And that is where criminals get 70% of their guns…from other criminals!

    Which brings up a question: where do these other criminals get their guns from? If, as you’ve just conceded, all new sales are conducted under the onus of federal law, then how do all of these guns get into the hands of criminals to begin with? (and don’t even try to come back with “they’re all stolen”).

    On the other hand, no one should come between me and a friend, brother, sister, uncle, nephew, or child when it comes to transfers.

    Why not? What makes you a special snowflake to whom the law shouldn’t apply?




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  36. Jack says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Well, I think you get the point …

    Aren’t these the same background checks the left is touting works for the immigrants/refugees? Those background checks?




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  37. Jack says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Which brings up a question: where do these other criminals get their guns from? If, as you’ve just conceded, all new sales are conducted under the onus of federal law, then how do all of these guns get into the hands of criminals to begin with? (and don’t even try to come back with “they’re all stolen”).

    I typed “gun store robbed” into Google and got 619,000 results (0.92 seconds). The other typical method is use of straw buyers.




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  38. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jack:

    False. I refer you to the Battle of Athens, 1946.

    Somebody explain to this nimrod the difference between federal and local governments?




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  39. Jack says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Why not? What makes you a special snowflake to whom the law shouldn’t apply?

    I will ignore the law just like 90% of those in Connecticut have ignored the “Assault weapon registration” law, and 90% of those in Colorado have ignored the “large capacity magazine Law”, and 90% of those in Oregon/Washington have ignored the 100% background check on private transfer laws.




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  40. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jack:

    The other typical method is use of straw buyers.

    Who are rarely prosecuted. I wonder how well cradle to grave licensing at the federal level would put a dent in that practice?

    Which begs the question of why the NRA and gun enthusiasts like yourself are so fervently opposed to licensing.




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  41. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jack:

    I will ignore the law just like 90% of those in Connecticut have ignored the “Assault weapon registration” law, and 90% of those in Colorado have ignored the “large capacity magazine Law”, and 90% of those in Oregon/Washington have ignored the 100% background check on private transfer laws.

    Then, according to you, we should put you into prison where you belong?




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  42. Jack says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Somebody explain to this nimrod the difference between federal and local governments?

    Was government held in check by armed individuals or not? How about the Bundy Ranch? Is BLM not federal enough for you?




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  43. Jack says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Which begs the question of why the NRA and gun enthusiasts like yourself are so fervently opposed to licensing.

    Because it is none of the governments business if and how many guns I own. Period.




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  44. Jack says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Then, according to you, we should put you into prison where you belong?

    If your only goal is to make criminals out of perfectly good citizens, then go ahead. Arrest all those people in Connecticut, Colorado, Oregon/Washington. Ahhh, see there is that whole local sheriff thing to get around.




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  45. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jack:

    How about the Bundy Ranch? Is BLM not federal enough for you?

    You’re really going to come back at me with some looney tune taking up arms over land that doesn’t belong to him in the first place?

    But hey, since you brought up, do you have the prison addresses for the Bundys (the ones that aren’t now dead anyway)? Perhaps some of your friends would like to write to them.

    Yea, that “insurrection” thing really worked out well for them …




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  46. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jack:

    If your only goal is to make criminals out of perfectly good citizens, then go ahead.

    Curious – if you’re the one violating the law, you’re making yourself a criminal, and if they just violate the law whenever they feel like it, then they’re not “perfectly good citizens”. They’re criminals.

    Neither I nor the law have anything to do with it. Choices have consequences.




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  47. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jack:

    Because it is none of the governments business if and how many guns I own.

    So mass shootings and gun violence are just, in your opinion, the price that society has to pay for assuaging your paranoia?

    Thanks for finally laying out what underpins the gun lobby.




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  48. Jack says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Yea, that “insurrection” thing really worked out well for them …

    The fact remains, the Federal government backed down and release Bundy’s cattle. To date, the Bundy family continues to graze cattle on Federal land and has not paid the fees.




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  49. SKI says:
  50. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jack:

    To date, the Bundy family continues to graze cattle on Federal land and has not paid the fees.

    So they’re criminals too. No wonder you idolize them 🙂




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  51. Jack says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    So mass shootings and gun violence are just, in your opinion, the price that society has to pay for assuaging your paranoia?

    Private weapons are illegal in France and Belgium. Somehow the criminals still managed to get them and orchestrate mass murder.

    I guess they didn’t see the giant “Gun Free Zone” signs.




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  52. SKI says:

    @HarvardLaw92: I don’t know why you are wasting your time. He clearly isn’t rational. Given that the Government has always been able to regulate guns – and SCOTUS has been extremely explicit in stating so – his belief that his “rights” to own, transfer, buy, sell guns without oversight is without basis in reality or the Constitution. At this point, I can only presume you are bored and enjoying punching a defenseless fool.




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  53. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @SKI:

    Rumor has it that the votes on those proposals have been turned into action campaigns, with who voted which way and office contact information attached.

    I suspect that McConnell’s goal here is to change the story by allowing a bill he has no expectation of passing to get a vote. They’re interested in changing the narrative, not the law, IMO.




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  54. SKI says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Maybe. But he wouldn’t have felt the need to a few weeks ago. And that was my initial point – Doug’s presumption that nothing will ever happen isn’t based on what the trajectory of the debate actually looks like.




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  55. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @SKI:

    I’m at the airport and I’m bored 🙂

    Jousting with Jack over his pet obsession is one of the ways that I amuse myself, and it’s good mental exercise. I haven’t been a litigator for a long time now, so it’s good to take advantage of a chance to flex those muscles from time to time. It keeps them from atrophying.




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  56. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jack:

    Private weapons are illegal in France and Belgium

    Actually, they aren’t illegal. They’re highly regulated, but they are not illegal.

    Try again …




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  57. SKI says:

    @Jack: Only the complete abolition of all instances of a particular type of negative result justifies any attempt to minimize or limit its occurrence?

    Are you really this stupid?




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  58. stonetools says:

    @Jack:

    There is no loophole. All new firearms are sold via FFLs. Period.

    Interesting, but totally irrelevant to the question of the ease of a terrorist acquiring firearms.Nice attempt at re-defining the meaning of loophole, though.

    But just because someone does buy something on Armslist, doesn’t mean the seller doesn’t check or that the buyer is a criminal.

    Dude, I posted evidence of this happening. Now, that’s a huge security hole and proof positive that the existing laws make it easy for a terrorist who wants to use firearms.
    Note that Doug has thrown the towel in on this. He sees the logic of extending background checks to private sellers, although he says (falsely, as the evidence shows) that it won’t help.
    Making background checks universal is exactly what Democratic Senator Murphy’s bill does. What’s the argument against that?




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  59. Jack says:

    @SKI: I guess we should regulate illegal drugs too. Let’s see how that works out, cupcake.

    Are you really this stupid?

    Did you learn nothing from prohibition?




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  60. Jack says:

    @stonetools:

    I posted evidence of this happening

    You posted evidence that the buyer was a criminal. You should immediately go talk to the FBI.




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  61. Jack says:

    @stonetools:

    Making background checks universal is exactly what Democratic Senator Murphy’s bill does. What’s the argument against that?

    BECAUSE THE CRIMINALS WILL NOT UNDERGO BACKGROUND CHECKS. Only law abiding citizens will.




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  62. stonetools says:

    @SKI:

    What this shows is that “Republicans favor arming ISIS ” is working as a wedge issue. McConnell is doing this because he fears the Dems will beat the Republicans over the head with this in the November elections.

    “We’ve got to make this clear, constant case that Republicans have decided to sell weapons to ISIS,” Murphy said, using an alternative term for the Islamic State militant group. “That’s what they’ve decided to do. ISIS has decided that the assault weapon is the new airplane, and Republicans, in refusing to close the terror gap, refusing to pass bans on assault weapons, are allowing these weapons to get in the hands of potential lone-wolf attackers. We’ve got to make this connection and make it in very stark terms.”

    Finally the Dems are learning to play hardball. Go, Murphy!




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  63. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jack:

    I guess we should regulate illegal drugs too. Let’s see how that works out, cupcake.

    Are you really this stupid?

    Did you learn nothing from prohibition?

    Are you really coming back with “heroin should be available to anyone who wants to buy it”?

    On the other hand, it’s an interesting comparison – gun nuts and drug addicts. Maybe you’re trying to argue that we should offer treatment for gun lunacy like we do for drug addiction?

    Hmm … OK, I’ll agree with that 🙂




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  64. Jack says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    “If you pass laws that people have no respect for and they don’t follow them, then you have a real problem,” Connecticut Sen. Tony Guglielmo (R-District 35), told the Hartford Courant when large numbers of state residents flipped the bird to lawmakers and defied the new gun law.




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  65. SKI says:

    @Jack: Yes, but you apparently didn’t.

    We regulate alcohol and limit who can buy it and whether it is made safely, we don’t totally ban it.

    So to with guns. No mainstream politician is suggesting we ban all guns. That you refuse to acknowledge that shows that you aren’t actually dealing with reality.




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  66. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jack:

    That’s why we have arrests and trials and prisons – so that people follow the law. It’s all about the optics.

    Put 50 of them in prison, and do it publicly, and the rest will fall in line.

    If they don’t, then put 50 more in. Repeat as necessary until the rest of them get the message or they’re all in prison. Makes no difference to me which outcome eventually happens.




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  67. Jack says:

    @SKI:

    No mainstream politician is suggesting we ban all guns. That you refuse to acknowledge that shows that you aren’t actually dealing with reality.

    In a 1995 broadcast of CBS’ 60 Minutes, Feinstein admitted she would love to have instituted an “outright ban” on all guns. “Mr. and Mrs. America, Turn em all in”.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ffI-tWh37UY

    The fact that you lie like a typical liberal politician doesn’t surprise me.

    Next you’ll try to convince me that Bill Clinton never actually said, “I never had sex with that woman, Miss. Lewinski”




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  68. Jack says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Put 50 of them in prison, and do it publicly, and the rest will fall in line.

    Defiant gun owners will also be included in the jury pools chosen to sit in judgment of unlucky violators scooped up by law enforcement. That situation will likely replicate the difficulty prosecutors had in getting convictions of Prohibition scofflaws in the 1920s and marijuana law resisters today. If juries consistently nullify certain types of criminal charges (charges for possession of a small amount of marijuana, for example), this can render an unpopular law ineffective.




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  69. grumpy realist says:
  70. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jack:

    In a 1995 broadcast of CBS’ 60 Minutes, Feinstein admitted she would love to have instituted an “outright ban” on all guns. “Mr. and Mrs. America, Turn em all in”.

    And yet to my knowledge she’s never introduced legislation to that effect, even as an act of political theater.

    I’m pretty liberal. I own guns. I’ve never thought that the answer to our national disease of gun violence (and that’s exactly what it is – a disease) is banning guns entirely. I’m also not bothered by the concept of cradle to grave licensing, or by liability for licensed owners when a weapon licensed to them is used in the commission of a crime, or by mandatory training, or by periodic recertification, etc.

    Because, as a responsible gun owner, none of those things threaten me in the least. The fact that they seem to threaten you a great deal indicates to me that you’re either 1) a criminal or 2) obsessively paranoid, possibly both. Neither really encourages me to give your opinion any weight here.




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  71. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jack:

    Defiant gun owners will also be included in the jury pools chosen to sit in judgment of unlucky violators scooped up by law enforcement.

    You evidently have no concept of how voir dire functions, or how a prosecutor would cheerfully (and legally) exclude them from the jury.




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  72. Jack says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Would you also support a law making you liable if your car is stolen and used to commit murder or destruction of private property? Insurance has NEVER covered illegal use of an insured item.

    I don’t believe in registries as they lead to ultimate confiscation. Pass any law you want, I will never register my guns.

    You have money, it’s no big deal for you to license every gun you own, the poor and lower income however…I guess they shouldn’t get to exercise a right. That and the whole poll tax thing kind of kill your idea.

    Finally, if mandatory training and recertification is ok for guns, how far before religious leaders, news people, writers, public speakers, photographers, politicians…must undergo training and recertification before exercising their rights?

    I don’t need permission to exercise my rights. Period. If I have to ask permission then it’s not a right.




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  73. Jack says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    You evidently have no concept of how voir dire functions, or how a prosecutor would cheerfully (and legally) exclude them from the jury.

    And yet, juries even today fail to prosecute people for low levels of marijuana possession.




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  74. grumpy realist says:

    @Jack: Oh, you can own as many firearms and shoot off as many bullets as you want. It’s when those bullets end up going into other humans that we get shirty.

    I should point out that if we wanted to do profiling, keeping anti-social young white male punks with a history of violence (domestic and otherwise) from having guns would be a Jolly Good Idea…




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  75. Jack says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    You evidently have no concept of how voir dire functions, or how a prosecutor would cheerfully (and legally) exclude them from the jury.

    You evidently think it was wrong for juries to acquit those arrested under the Slave Act. As far as you are concerned those slaves should have been sent back to their masters, you know, because it was the law.




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  76. Jack says:

    @grumpy realist:

    It’s when those bullets end up going into other humans that we get shirty.

    And yet, none of my bullets have done that. I guess my guns are broke.

    Those with a history of domestic violence are already prohibited persons, white or otherwise.

    But it would be presumptive of me to assume you know the laws about which you are speaking.




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  77. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jack:

    Would you also support a law making you liable if your car is stolen and used to commit murder or destruction of private property?

    Not if you called the police, promptly reported the theft and there is a reasonable basis on which to affirm that your claim is legitimate, no.

    Don’t call the police and don’t report the theft? Sorry, hope you have a good liability policy.

    The end result there is that, if you were trying to hide an intentional transfer, you have the choice of taking the fall for whomever you gave it to or of throwing them under the bus. I like those odds.

    I don’t believe in registries as they lead to ultimate confiscation

    🙄

    You have money, it’s no big deal for you to license every gun you own, the poor and lower income however…I guess they shouldn’t get to exercise a right. That and the whole poll tax thing kind of kill your idea.

    Yea, I do. Know how much it costs to license a handgun here in godwafulexpensiveliberalnirvana Westchester County, NY?

    10 space bucks …

    If you can’t afford that, you really have no business blowing money on firearms to begin with …

    I don’t need permission to exercise my rights. Period. If I have to ask permission then it’s not a right.

    🙄




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  78. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jack:

    Prosecutors prosecute. Juries convict or acquit.

    That’ll be 10 space bucks.




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  79. Tony W says:

    @Jack:

    BECAUSE THE CRIMINALS WILL NOT UNDERGO BACKGROUND CHECKS. Only law abiding citizens will.

    Again, who cares? What harm is done?




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  80. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @Jack:

    BECAUSE THE CRIMINALS WILL NOT UNDERGO BACKGROUND CHECKS.

    So tired of hearing that BS. Colorado bureau lists every year the hundreds of criminals who submit to NICS check while trying to buy firearms. Even more amazing is that some are actually fugitives.

    Dumb, but there you have it. CRIMINALS DO SUBMIT TO NICS Background checks.




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  81. stonetools says:

    @Jack:

    BECAUSE THE CRIMINALS WILL NOT UNDERGO BACKGROUND CHECKS. Only law abiding citizens will.

    Wow. You shouted that. Guess there must be no evidence that universal background checks stop criminals.A single Google search turned up this study:

    Missouri's 2007 repeal of its permit-to-purchase (PTP) handgun law, which required all handgun purchasers to obtain a license verifying that they have passed a background check, contributed to a fourteen percent increase in Missouri's murder rate, according to a new study from researchers with the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research.

    The study, published in the April 2014 issue of Journal of Urban Health, finds that the law's repeal was associated with additional 49 to 68 murders per year in Missouri between 2008 and 2012. State-level murder data for the time period 1999-2012 were collected and analyzed from the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) system. The analyses controlled for changes in policing, incarceration, burglaries, unemployment, poverty, and other state laws adopted during the study period that could affect violent crime.

    The increase in murders with firearms in Missouri began in the first full year after the PTP handgun law was repealed when data from crime gun traces revealed simultaneous large increases in the number of guns diverted to criminals and in guns purchased in Missouri that were subsequently recovered by police in border states that retained their PTP laws.

    "This study provides compelling confirmation that weaknesses in firearm laws lead to deaths from gun violence," said Daniel Webster, ScD, MPH, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research and the study's lead author. "There is strong evidence to support the idea that the repeal of Missouri's handgun purchaser licensing law contributed to dozens of additional murders in Missouri each year since the law was changed."

    OOPS!

    And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are other studies showing that background checks result in arrest of criminals trying to buy guns legally, and stop criminals from buying guns for legitimate dealers. So you, and Doug, are dead wrong on this.
    OK, I’m tired of swatting away Jack’s arguments. What it does show that Jack and the various other gun rights enthusiasts are impervious to rational argument or evidence on these issues. Essentially they believe in a religion of the gun, the first commandment of which seems to be that guns are innately holy and just and good, and that nothing-neither law, nor facts, nor the deaths of thousands of their countrymen-shall keep them from the enjoyment of their sacred objects.




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  82. stonetools says:

    @Jack:

    I don’t believe in registries as they lead to ultimate confiscation.

    Huh. I can think of one dangerous instrumentality that everyone has to register upon purchase . Oddly enough , there are a gajillion of them all around the place, and no one has ever suggested confiscating them, or argued that registration will inevitably lead to confiscation of such objects.. Funny that.
    I may be wrong on this , though. If you can show me an argument that registration of motor vehicles will inevitably lead to their confiscation, I stand corrected. Please link to such an argument. I’ll wait.




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  83. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    We need better people more than we need better laws to solve this problem. Alas, all we got is Jack.




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  84. An Interested Party says:

    We need better people more than we need better laws to solve this problem. Alas, all we got is Jack.

    Indeed, it is hard to have any kind of conversation about guns with this guy




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