A Democrat Against Assault Weapons Ban


That Democrat is me.  I have given this issue a lot of thought.  The question that should be asked, in my opinion, is not which weapons should be on the street, but what can we do in insure that those people who own weapons will be fully responsible.  The NRA and its supports love to trot out how good honest Americans should have the weapon of their choice without except.  I agree with that statement, but it does not go far enough.

Neither the NRA, nor anyone else, has much of any idea who legitimate gun dealers are selling weapons to.  And worse, is the private sale of weapons.  But let’s start at the beginning.  Every weapon produced in the United States has a serial number on it.  Why bother except that the manufacturer can tell by the serial number when it was made?  Once that weapon leave the manufacturer the is somewhere between little and no record of where it goes and who buys it.  Try to but an automobile that does not have a vehicle identification number on it.  You cannot!  Why?  Every state in the union requires that a record of the vehicle and all transaction be kept.  And there is the exact system I am suggesting for all gun sales.  I have never heard the NRA complain about having to register their cars, which intrinsically requires their own name be included, so why complain about gun ownership?  How much do you want to bet that the number of guns ending up in the hands of criminals goes down radically because otherwise responsible individuals suddenly become equally responsible about to whom they sell their guns.   And when a gun in found in the hands of a criminal, this data base can be used to find out who is selling weapons to these people.  If the NRA is entirely a group of law-abiding citizens, it is difficult to understand why they would stand in the way of the police from finding out who is selling these weapons.

This suggesting does not raise the level of difficulty for a truly law-abiding citizen to buy any gun he desires.  If anything, the general public view of them will go up because all Americans will be able to say they feel safer in general and that they favor ownership of any sort of gun.

One of the ancillary laws that needs to be passed is how many rounds can be loaded into a weapon at one time.  The Central Florida student who just committed suicide was to be found in possession of a magazine that held 100 rounds.  Law enforcement officials noted that he had gained legal ownership of all weapons.  But why does an arms dealer or a consumer need a magazine that holds 100 rounds?  I suggest 16 rounds might be a reasonable top end.

Democrats are focused on the wrong thing.  We do not need to remove any weapons from the street.  We simply need a system of tracking what is sold and who can sell weapons and under what circumstances.  Republicans are also focused on the wrong thing.   When the Police Chiefs Union and other law enforcement groups are calling for better gun regulation, if you truly support your local police department, you have to listen to them.

The problem with gun control, or a lacking there of, is the absolute refusal by each political party to even attempt to find a middle ground.  Are they being controlled by PAC or special interest group?  They shouldn’t be!

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8 thoughts on “A Democrat Against Assault Weapons Ban

  1. We did both in Britain but we still had Dunblain and Hungerford. Any legislation will only effect people who obey it. The criminals carry on regardless.

      • You wrote:

        “70% of the homicides in the U.S. are committed with a gun, while 9% in the UK are committed with a gun.”

        Before guns were invented 100% of homicides were committed without a gun.

        According to this article in the Wall Street Journal about gun control in the UK (quoting):

        Dunblane resulted in the Firearms Act of 1998, which instituted a nearly complete ban on handguns. Owners of pistols were required to turn them in. The penalty for illegal possession of a pistol is up to 10 years in prison.

        The results have not been what proponents of the act wanted. Within a decade of the handgun ban and the confiscation of handguns from registered owners, crime with handguns had doubled according to British government crime reports. Gun crime, not a serious problem in the past, now is. Armed street gangs have some British police carrying guns for the first time. Moreover, another massacre occurred in June 2010. Derrick Bird, a taxi driver in Cumbria, shot his brother and a colleague then drove off through rural villages killing 12 people and injuring 11 more before killing himself.

        (end quote)

        See:

        http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323777204578195470446855466.html

        The UK has always had a lower crime rate than the U.S. It is largely cultural. Where I live in Texas I bet we have a lower homicide rate than much of the U.K. Homicides for most years are 0 per 100K.

        In fact the problem with violence and murder is largely concentrated in urban areas, usually inhabited by inner city blacks and hispanics where a full fledged “drug war” is being waged. Blacksin the U.S. account for over 50% of homicides while being 10% of the population (and mostly killing other blacks).

        If you were to surgically excise the statistics of these areas from those of the U.S. as a whole you wouldn’t have much to brag about in the U.K.

        lwk

  2. You wrote:

    “I have never heard the NRA complain about having to register their cars, which intrinsically requires their own name be included, so why complain about gun ownership?”

    Because so far there is no strong movement in Congress to confiscate privately owned firearms. The primary problem with gun registration is that a) there is really no good cost/benefit ratio in doing so, and b) it tells government exactly where to go to confiscate weapons.

    In regards to a) above – Canada recently shut down their registry of long guns. They saw no particular law enforcement benefit from it.

    In regards to b) above, registry lists were used in the U.K. and Australia to confiscate weapons that were legal when they were registered, but then were later deemed illegal.

    Therefore neither point above is the product of irrational conspiracy theories. They are both based on fact and history.

    And:

    “Once that weapon leave the manufacturer the is somewhere between little and no record of where it goes and who buys it.”

    The serial number is registered when a new gun is sold to the first buyer and the BATFE uses these for traces (the older a gun the less likely they are to attempt to trace for obvious reasons). However serial numbers are easily removed from firearms. The FBI has technology to sometimes get back partial or whole serial numbers, but the crooks keep up on technology too.

    And:

    “And when a gun in found in the hands of a criminal, this data base can be used to find out who is selling weapons to these people.”

    Not often. And as said above, a person in the business of selling new weapons bought from dealers will often have the serial number removed to obliterate the trail of evidence.

    And:

    “If the NRA is entirely a group of law-abiding citizens, it is difficult to understand why they would stand in the way of the police from finding out who is selling these weapons.”

    Why isn’t the BATFE working harder to catch them? It seems they spend most of their time harassing lawful gun dealers attempting to catch them in minor accounting violations (not necessarily deliberate, just the consequence of volume and the human propensity to make errors).

    And:

    “And when a gun in found in the hands of a criminal …”

    Yes, and what should we do when we find a convicted felon in the possession of a firearm? We should put them in jail, don’t you think? Under the current administration the prosecution of people making false statements in attempting to buy a gun from dealers is down something like 40% from the previous administration.

    We have Federal laws under which every convicted felon caught with a gun could be put in jail for a long time. Why aren’t we enforcing those laws? I assure that would do a lot more to prevent violent crime than a fairly useless and expensive gun registry.

    And:

    “One of the ancillary laws that needs to be passed is how many rounds can be loaded into a weapon at one time.”

    Ok, are you going to enforce those laws against the police? If I can’t own a 30 round magazine then why should they? They have them to defend themselves against criminals. Who is a criminal most likely to attack, the police, or me? Criminals usually go out of their way to avoid armed police. But it is me in my home they may attack because they think they can rob me, or worse.

    And:

    “The problem with gun control, or a lacking there of, is the absolute refusal by each political party to even attempt to find a middle ground.”

    No, the problem is people who try to disguise “people control” as “gun control.” I have a right to be armed, with an AR-15 and 30 round magazine the police have. Period. The problem is people who think it is all right to violate that right.

    By the way, an AR-15 carbine is arguably the best possible weapon for home defense. I defend that statement in “Who Needs An Assault Rifle” on my blog.

    lwk
    free2beinamerica2.wordpress.com

  3. P.S. In my response above I wrote:

    “Because so far there is no strong movement in Congress to confiscate privately owned firearms.”

    I meant to say:

    “Because so far there is no strong movement in Congress to confiscate privately owned CARS.”

    Typos are only visible after posting. 🙂

    lwk

    • Cars are, in fact, regularly confiscated by local and state police, and the FBI among other organizations. There does not need to be a strong movement because good laws over confiscation are already in place. But to that point, do you know that in many states, Alaska, New Mexico, Idaho, Wyoming, Texas, Arizona, and Utah, it is easier to buy a gun than a car? In those states you do not even need to be licensed to buy, own, or carry a gun to get one. I am willing to bet criminals know this too! Want to bet they are not getting a lot of their weapons to commit crimes from these states?

      Federal Law at present forbids the tracking of gun through the NCIS database. The ATF can only require registration of guns specifically designed for war, mortars, machine guns, etc., as well as short barreled shotguns and rifles. The ATF’s involvement in firearms is otherwise limited to those used in the commission of a crime.

      Only one state requires the registration of all firearms, Hawaii. Seven states specifically make it illegal to keep a database of registered firearms. Makes you wonder why they bother with registration at all.

      Let me emphacise, I am 100% against the confiscation of any and all legally owned firearms, assault weapons included. I can shoot at the expert level at 300m with an AR-15, and am quite proud of the fact!

      The entire point of my post is that Democrats and Republicans have to get together and figure out how to have a comprehensive gun registration law that allows guns owners to feel comfortable that no one is going to take their guns away. We need to support our local and state police departments that are begging for stronger gun laws to assist them in reducing crime and bringing in criminals. This is a difficult taks, but it is in everyone’s best interest to figure it out so most people are happy. That can happen!

      I suggest the 50 states, 4 territories, and D.C. come together on uniform licensing of individuals who wish to purchase, own, and carry weapons. These people are entered into a national database. That license will also serve as proof to having had a background check. The states will still retain the right to say what weapons a person can carry, and where.

      As to the filing down of serial numbers, those numbers can usually be raised using relatively simple techniques. Even so, it would answer the question of who is selling guns to criminals. How can that be a bad thing?

      I really appreciate your comments.

  4. You wrote:

    “Cars are, in fact, regularly confiscated by local and state police, and the FBI among other organizations.”

    If they are used in the drug trafficking and some other crimes. However there has been in the past considerable evidence of police confiscating cars, and money without anything the Founders would have considered “due process.” Police in Louisiana have confiscated cash from motorists and refused to return it unless the vicim went through the courts, and sometimes had to spend more money to get justice than they lost in the first place.

    So there has absolutely been serious violations of individual rights.

    After Katrina police in New Orleans confiscated firearms from law abiding citizens. Those police should be in jail now for that egregious violation of human rights. Many of these people did not get their firearms back although they violated no law. That is a very basic violation of Constitutional rights.

    And:

    “…in many states, Alaska, New Mexico, Idaho, Wyoming, Texas, Arizona, and Utah, it is easier to buy a gun than a car?”

    I don’t particularly see that as a problem with that. But in fact if you buy a new gun through a licensed dealer the procedure for Federal law requires you fill out a form and pass an FBI “instant check.’ In any state it is a violation of Federal law to sell to someone who is not a resident of your state, even in a private sale.

    And:

    “In those states you do not even need to be licensed to buy, own, or carry a gun to get one.”

    And again, I don’t have a problem with that. There is nothing in the 2nd Amednment requiring to get a license from the government to exercise a basic Constitutaional right.

    In all of these states it is a violation of Federal law for a convicted felon or person abjudicated mentally ill to possess or attempt to buy a firearm. Enforce that law.

    Do you have register, or get licensed to practice free speech, the First Amendment?

    And:

    “I am willing to bet criminals know this too!”

    Criminals don’t give a damn what the law is. That is why we call them “criminals.” All the laws and licensing you are talking about largely affect the law abiding without in any significant degree burdening the criminals.

    And:

    “Want to bet they are not getting a lot of their weapons to commit crimes from these states?”

    Do people in Chicago have any problem getting drugs imported through the Mexican drug cartels? If you can’t keep billions of dollars of drugs from entering the U.S. from Mexico do you think you can keep guns from coming across a similar route?

    Better than that, the Mexican drug cartels now grow marijuana in our National Forests. How hard do you think it is to make a functional semi-automatic handgun? Trust me, and I have built significant parts of guns with hand and machine tools in the past and assembled and headspaced high powered rifles, so I have some knowledge of what I am talking about. I was trained as a professional gunsmith, although my career path diverged from that career many decades ago.

    And:

    “Federal Law at present forbids the tracking of gun through the NCIS database.”

    The BATFE regularly traces _new_ guns found to be used in crime. The BATFE not only violates the law, it is giving access to foreign governments like Mexico to a database of firearms purchasers.

    And:

    “The ATF’s involvement in firearms is otherwise limited to those used in the commission of a crime.”

    The BATFE has no business tracing guns _not_ used in a crime.

    And:

    “Only one state requires the registration of all firearms, Hawaii.”

    Registration serves very little purpose in preventing crime. That is why Canada recently shut down their long gun registry.

    And:

    “I can shoot at the expert level at 300m with an AR-15,…”

    DCM high power matches go to 600 yards. 300 yards is only used for the rapid fire stage. I shoot that with an M1A (M14).

    And:

    “The entire point of my post is that Democrats and Republicans have to get together and figure out how to have a comprehensive gun registration law that allows guns owners to feel comfortable that no one is going to take their guns away.”

    There is _no_ registration system that will make many gunowners “comfortable.” The only real purpose of registration is for future confiscation. There is little law enforcement utility of a registry in preventing violent crime.

    And:

    “We need to support our local and state police departments that are begging for stronger gun laws…”

    A lot of Sheriffs are saying they won’t enforce many of these gun laws. In my experience there is a lot of divergence of opinion in police departments. A lot of the “on the street” police I know fully support the 2nd Amendment. As I said some Sheriffs in Texas where I live have said not only will they not support an Assault Weapons Ban or registration, and they will not allow the Feds to do so in their counties. That would be interesting to see, I suppose.

    As you go higher in the police departments, especially large city departments, you will find police that have become politicians first, and police second. Those are the kind you see testifying before Congress wanting more gun control. At least that has been my observation.

    And:

    “…to assist them in reducing crime and bringing in criminals.”

    In Chicago gang-bangers are caught with handguns, sometimes over and over again, and suffer little legal retribution. It is already illegal for convicted felons to even possess a firearm.

    If we aren’t enforcing laws against criminals, then who are these new laws really designed to be used against? The answer should be obvious.

    And:

    “As to the filing down of serial numbers, those numbers can usually be raised using relatively simple techniques.”

    If it is so simple and foolproof why doesn’t it happen more often? No, sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t, and crooks are learning techniques to outwit current technology. Heat and some chemical treatments can erase “traces” if done properly, I am told.

    And:

    “Even so, it would answer the question of who is selling guns to criminals.”

    I would be happy if we would prosecute the criminals we catch now with guns and put them in jail. If necessary let out non-violent offenders on parole to make room in the jails. Politicians make promises about just needing another tool, but in fact we are not using the tools we already have.

    And:

    “How can that be a bad thing?”

    It if leads to the violation of individual rights then it is a bad thing. Stop focusing on guns, and law abiding gun owners. Focus on criminals. Don’t practice “catch and release” criminal prosecution.

    In summary, we don’t have a “gun problem.” We have a “criminal” and “mental illness” problems that we are not addressing. The author Lt. Col. Dave Grossman wrote a book “On Killing” and now another one about the relation between violent video games and killing. Have read the first, and now need to read the second.

    lwk

  5. One last comment on gun registration – you might find this link interesting:

    The Fifth Amendment, Self-Incrimination, and Gun Registration
    by Clayton Cramer

    http://www.firearmsandliberty.com/cramer.haynes.html

    It discusses the Supreme Court decision i Haynes v. U.S. (1968):

    We hold that a proper claim of the constitutional privilege against self-incrimination provides a full defense to prosecutions either for failure to register a firearm under sec.5841 or for possession of an unregistered firearm under sec.5851.

    -end quote-

    Basically you cannot prosecute a criminal for failure to register a firearm or possessing an unregistered firearm – it violates his right against self-incrimiation

    One last quote from above article:

    Consider a law that requires registration of firearms: a convicted felon can not be convicted for failing to register a gun, because it is illegal under Federal law for a felon to possess a firearm; but a person who can legally own a gun, and fails to register it, can be punished. In short, the person at whom, one presumes, such a registration law is aimed, is the one who cannot be punished, and yet, the person at whom such a registration law is not principally aimed (i.e., the law-abiding person), can be punished.

    lwk

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