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Lautenberg Introduces PROTECT Act

Press release here. He’s calling for NICS audit records to be kept for 10 years if your name happens to match up to someone or some alias on the terrorist watch list, which as we know would have been the late Senator Kennedy. For the rest of us lucky folks, the records will only be kept for half a year. You will have no way of knowing that you’re on the list, or that your purchase records are being kept and scrutinized by the government. Not being a Senator, you will also have no way of getting the name off the list. Lautenberg is also reporting some misleading information about how the NICS system currently operates:

The 24-hour destruction requirement hinders the FBI’s ability to verify that gun dealers are conducting background checks properly and to retrieve guns from those who are prohibited from having them.

The destruction requirement only applies to records that have been cleared by NICS. In other words, only for people who have no criminal record. In addition, it only requires that identifying information be destroyed. For the purposes of verifying that a background check was conducted, the system is permitted to store an anonymized identifying token, which can allow matching to the number provided on ATF Form 4473 for purposes of verifying the dealers are conducting the background checks properly.

This is another one of those things there can be no negotiation on. NICS is not to be used as a backdoor registry for firearms. Its purpose is to conduct background checks on sales, and the standard should be a an up or down answer within a reasonable amount of time. Can you imagine the response if this proposal was for logging and keeping track of abortions?

31 Responses to “Lautenberg Introduces PROTECT Act”

  1. Carl from Chicago says:

    “The measure is cosponsored by Sens. Charles Schumer (D-NY), Carl Levin (D-MI), Jack Reed (D-RI), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA).”

    That alone, in addition to Lautenberg’s sponsorship, should be enough to make any second amendment supporter a little more than skeptical.

  2. Pete says:

    I’m sure you could get at least 30 votes to get an abortion registry in the Senate. Don’t be so pessimistic when it comes to statist desires for control over the people.

    Someone should put Frank Lautenberg on the no-fly list so the TSA can tase him next time he flies somewhere.

  3. Heather from AK says:

    “…to someone or some alias on the terrorist watch list…”

    What d’you want to bet that everyone would suddenly “match an alias”? Oh, that’s right, we can’t check because the list is secret.

  4. mikeb302000 says:

    The destruction requirement only applies to records that have been cleared by NICS. In other words, only for people who have no criminal record. In addition, it only requires that identifying information be destroyed.

    I thought I read somewhere that one of the problems is that in many cases the instant system registers a false negative and by the time the failed background check is known the records are long destroyed.

    Also, wouldn’t there be a number of people who get caught in a felony for the first time after passing the background check? Wouldn’t it be good to have preserved the records on those?

  5. Man, mike sure makes a habit of lacking logic.

  6. Weer'd Beard says:

    What part of Troll don’t you understand, Tom?

    MikeB is just the type of guy who likes to fart in Church just to see how many nasty stares he can get.

  7. Sebastian says:

    There are examples of trolling, but I don’t think his comment here is among them.

    Mike:

    The document you read was a GAO study in all likelihood, which showed that a very very small number of NICS approvals were either erroneous, or that a very small number of approved persons would later become unapproved person during the period of time when the audit logs were available. We’re talking hundreds in a bucket approaching a million.

    The argument for keeping NICS records is basically the argument for registration, which I know you support.

  8. Ian Argent says:

    That’s actually the kind of superficially reasonable question that we need to have answers for (as Sebastian does).

  9. Agreed. We need a good response to this, and I think Sebastian hit it: “You’re arguing for a gun registry. We can have that debate, but slipping it through disguised as a NICS tweak isn’t acceptable.”

  10. Jo says:

    These jackals want to disarm the American people, never happen. Who do they expect to defend us against the 35 terrorist training camps operating on American soil. Millions of illegal aliens vowing to take over America, but worst yet, our enemies in Washington who pass legislation to disarm Americans. Keep the faith.

    Lock & Load.

  11. mikeb302000 says:

    Is your problem with a gun registry based entirely on the possibility that it would turn out to be the precursor to gun confiscation?

    I don’t think that necessarily follows. And the benefits would be great. Imagine if straw purchasers could be identified as the last legal owners of guns used in crimes instead of the FFL guy who sold to them in good faith. Those straw purchasers, who are the main source of gun flow, would be put out of business. That would be good for everyone.

  12. Mike, you just described exactly the system that currently exists: when an FFL sells a gun, he’s required by law to keep a record of the sale and of the buyer’s identity. When the gun’s recovered at a crime scene, it’s traced from its manufacturer to the FFL, who shows the police his records so that they can find that “last legal owner”. It’s been like this since 1968.

    This decentralized system, which only works when the police want to trace a specific gun, gives all the benefits you’re talking about while addressing our confiscation concern: it _can_ be used to investigate a gun used in a crime, but it _can’t_ be used to generate a list of owners of a particular type of gun.

    A registration does nothing to advance your stated goal, decreasing our ability to resist a _potential_ confiscation for no benefit in return.

  13. Weer'd Beard says:

    Anti-gunners want more laws because they have no idea what our current laws are, so we need more laws, OBVIOUSLY!

    More laws will work!

  14. Bob S. says:

    Sebastian,

    MikeB302000 did ask a good question. One that he’s asked before, many times I’m sure, and it is one that has been answered many times.

    A quick search of HIS site shows 32 hits on NICS alone.

    This is why Weer’d commented on Trolling. This is MikeB302000’s M.O.

    I’ll not deny that he asks intelligent and reasonable questions (mostly) but he asks them over and over and over again.

    Try an experiment. Let MikeB302000 comment as much as he wants to but remove the link to his website. See how long he keeps commenting.

  15. Ian Argent says:

    There’s almost no good reason to have a separate gun registry for tracking crime guns anyway. Despite what you see on TV; it’s essentially impossible to determine anything useful about a gun from examining a recovered fired bullet. You can *sometimes* match the bullet to a known gun – but it’s not all that reliable even then. So what good is a registry?

    The useful thing – tracing a recovered gun, can already be done via the 4473 records (as Elmo noted). No need for an explicit registry.

  16. Bob, I agree completely. He probably already knows the answers to these questions. I finally stopped giving him the benefit of the doubt when it became absolutely clear that for all his earnest noises, his argument never changed to reflect past conversation. I think Sebastian had a post about that some time ago, too.

    Thing is, we’re gonna have to be prepared to answer the same questions over and over in any event. Having Mike bring them up constantly can actually be a good thing: it lets us get used to the questions, refine our answers to them (a punchy, clear answer honed by repetition and consensus makes a much greater impact than a paragraphs-long treatise that’s more thorough but loses the fence-sitters’ attention), and, crucially, gets our debunking of popular gun-control myths out in as many places as possible.

    In a way, Mike’s doing us a big favor. He gives us the opportunity to refine our message, and to get it out again and again.

    Which does us the most good: a page of Google results where anti arguments are unanswered, a page of results where anti arguments are answered with frustrated abuse from gunnies, or a page of results where anti arguments are neatly refuted in a way readily grasped by a casual observer?

  17. Bob S. says:

    Elmo,

    I agree that having our answers out there is a good thing. I also agree with Weer’d that we don’t need to do it on sites that have proven an unwillingness to have a legitimate debate.

    What I was commenting on is that for all the legitimacy of MikeB302000’s question, Weer’d was right about him trolling.

  18. Truf. I just think we’d be better off if a Google-surfer sees:

    [Anti-gun argument]

    [Tidy refutation]

    _Without_ any dismissive accusations of trolling. I’m not saying for a minute Weerd’s wrong, I’m just skeptical of whether it adds to our side’s cred while we’re at the turning point of an important fight.

    I’ve been doing a lot of thinking recently about times when being right isn’t enough to win with, and this is one of those cases where it’s my opinion that being polite to something aggravating may do more good in the long term.

  19. Sebastian says:

    Any links in the comments are rel=nofollow, so Mike gets nothing from them.

  20. Sebastian says:

    On the topic at hand though, if I were pro-gun-control, one thing I’d want my grassroots to do is go around hitting up pro-gun sites with their talking points, even if they are inane talking points. Make the other side work for it. Keep them busy having to talk about the same things over and over again until they get worn out.

    I’m not saying Mike is a great grassroots organizer, by any stretch of the imagination, I think he’s one guy that likes traffic and attention, and seeing people talking about things he brings up (in other words, Mike is like most bloggers). I am saying, though, that from a tactical point of view I can see Mike’s accidental strategy being useful for the other side, so I wouldn’t be too surprised to see it, if they ever happen to develop any real grass roots energy for their issue.

  21. Sebastian says:

    I should say, get worn out, or ban anti-gun commenters. Either way, they win.

  22. Sebastian says:

    On the topic of trolling, I think trolls almost by definition have to use emotional or inflammatory language in order to incite a reaction. Jadegold used to fit that mold to a T. MikeB can be frustrating at times, but doesn’t always fit the mold. I’m not saying he’s not a troll, but a different species, perhaps.

  23. Bob S. says:

    Elmo,

    I’ll continue the debate, hopefully in the same constructive tone.

    As to the trolling accusation, I think that in some cases it is important for the casual search engine reader to see that information.

    Think about it. Mikeb302000’s comment appears reasonable, right? IF we explain why it is trolling as we debunk it (that was already done so I didn’t feel the need to repeat), then we educate the casual reader just a little more.

    We show, as we have in this thread, why people like him have to resort to those tactics. I think it destroys their legitimacy to point out their trolling tactics.

    I wouldn’t do it with every anti-gun commenter,haven’t in the past and don’t plan on it in the future. But some commenters such as the one named here have proven they are trolls with their behavior.

    Sebastian,

    The link that I referenced is the link to his blog from the comment sign in. I’ve started editing his comments only to remove that link. If people want to make the effort to search for his blog based on his name, great but I’m not going to provide traffic back to his sight. Linoge atWalls of the City started that policy and surprise comments by MikeB302000 dropped off considerably there.

  24. Sebastian, I agree. Mike seems to have gotten more abusive on his own blog, but he mostly keeps his comments here very civil. I guess it’s a case of him being a troll, but not trolling in this case. The distinction is important; I’m a shooter, but am not shooting right now. ;)

    Bob, fair point. The fact that a reader may not appreciate the context doesn’t mean we shouldn’t provide some context. I’d just suggest that something like:

    “We’ve addressed this point several times here, Mike, and I don’t think you’ve responded. Once again…”

    Will read much better to the “audience” than:

    “I see he still can’t think logically.” – “What do you expect? he’s a troll.” Followed by somebody _else_ addressing the point.

    _We_ know that Tomcatshanger and Weerd are smart guys who know what they’re talking about. But somebody who comes into this discussion not knowing the players sees only a reasonable question answered with dismissive abuse. Even if _our side_ then gets down to details, we’ve “confirmed” the anti-gunner’s real core argument: lots of gun owners are bad people.

    Make no mistake; all the statistics, exploitation of technical ignorance, and victim-parading haven’t won the antis nearly as many battles as their stereotypes of gun owners have. While we’re fighting the legal and information battles, we can never forget that there’s another battle being fought over personality. We actually tend to be very nice, competent, smart folks in general, but every time we let the antis provoke us into obscuring that fact, they win a little.

  25. …the anti-gunner’s real core argument: lots of gun owners are bad people.

    Copyedit: read “mean people”.

  26. Weer'd Beard says:

    “On the topic of trolling, I think trolls almost by definition have to use emotional or inflammatory language in order to incite a reaction. Jadegold used to fit that mold to a T. MikeB can be frustrating at times, but doesn’t always fit the mold.”

    That’s why he managed to fool me for several months. He does resort to standard troll techniques on occasion, but in general his MO is mock curiosity (As BobS points out, MikeB is VERY well read and learned on gun laws, as well as the flaws of anti-gun arguments…but he fakes naivete) and endless repetition.

    He drums up interest and discussion by simply repeating the same thing over-and-over again. He discards anything that doesn’t generate controversy.

    But Bob is correct, remove his trackback link (or in my case delete random inane comments….I’ve personally done a grand-total of 2) and Mike suddenly loose interest and moves on.

    I’m all for countering arguments for the sake of our cause. But if we spend all our time refuting the same bullshit all the time don’t we loose as well?

  27. Sebastian says:

    He drums up interest and discussion by simply repeating the same thing over-and-over again. He discards anything that doesn’t generate controversy.

    Gets old after a while. That strategy will be self-limiting over time.

    I’m all for countering arguments for the sake of our cause. But if we spend all our time refuting the same bullshit all the time don’t we loose as well?

    Sort of. You kind of lose either way, which is why it’s a relatively smart strategy for the other side. If you don’t deal with them, you lose because you’re letting them spout without being called to account. If you spend all your time countering their nonsense, you lose because you’re not doing other things that might advance the cause.

    He drums up interest and discussion by simply repeating the same thing over-and-over again. He discards anything that doesn’t generate controversy.

    I’ve noticed this, but I haven’t figured out if he does this because it generates eyeballs, or because he’s trying to provoke. It’s occurred to me as well that he might be a pro-gun guy that’s figured out how to stand out, even if it’s by making the other side’s arguments badly.

    I think he is a species of troll, I just haven’t figure out whether he’s a really dumb species, or a brilliant species.

  28. Weer'd Beard says:

    Nah, I can’t imagine he’s a pro-gun guy. He’s certainly not who he says he is, and despite my trumpeting of it, I doubt he ever criminally owned guns despite his own admission.

    As for the nature of comments, he’s doing it for either traffic or comments on his blog. This is why he won’t post at my site or at Linoge’s (and likely he’ll stop posting at BobS’s place) when we refuse to allow him to draw traffic to his site.

    He still gets loads of controversy as ALL of us still engage him wherever he posts, but if it doesn’t include links back to his den, he’s not interested.

    I’ll be interested to see where things go, but because of recent events the traffic and comments to his site have dried to a trickle. How he reacts to that might clarify if he is smart or dumb.

    I certainly think he’s smarter than JadeGold and similar angry trolls, as he manages to get people in MUCH closer and can generate a bit more controversy when people start pointing out his dishonest acts (I myself have been on your side arguing that he isn’t a troll, but more somebody like my former self who was anti-gun because of ignorance rather than propaganda), but all he manages to do is extend the lenth of time he can go unmolested in his trolling.

    Actually come-to-think of it he COULD be brilliant if instead of pretending to be simply ignorant of the law, he could pretend to LEARN and be converted….then switch identities, much like the lead character Victor , in Chuck Palahniuk’s novel “Choke”.

    Victor would go to a restaurant and pretend to choke on food and allow somebody to “Save” him. He would then use that victim/savior relationship for fulfillment.

    As it stands, I’m with Uncle when he says:
    “Mike, I note that you didn’t address my point. Because you’re stupid. Go away, the adults are talking.”

    Why would a smart or functional person bother with such behavior?

  29. mikeb302000 says:

    Sebastian’s right. I’m “a different species.”

    Bob and Linoge and Weer’d who suggest removing the links back to my blog and who promote boycotting it are really funny characters in that they see no problem with that and calling themselves pro-freedom and pro-rights.

    The definition of Troll is this on Wikipedia:

    In Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts controversial, inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room or blog, with the primary intent of provoking other users into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.

    What you guys seem to be talking about is someone trying to bring traffic to his blog, which as Sebastian has pointed out a couple times, is not such a crime.

  30. Weer'd Beard says:

    Trolling is a crime? Do you also think that Boycotting is also a crime?

    Hooray for Strawmen, without them you’d have no arguments at all!

    Also you’ll note your inability to stay on-topic or direct an issue directly. That consistent tactic does indeed make you fit neatly into the definition of an Internet Troll you cite.

    So we can all agree you’re a troll, then?

  31. Bob S. says:

    Mikeb302000,

    Bob and Linoge and Weer’d who suggest removing the links back to my blog and who promote boycotting it are really funny characters in that they see no problem with that and calling themselves pro-freedom and pro-rights.

    Let’s see if we can put this into perspective to address the Troll.

    MikeB302000 – calls for the restriction of our right to keep and bear arms
    We – call for people to exercise their right NOT to read his site

    MikeB302000 – examines the actions of criminals and calls for laws that affect the majority of the population
    We – examines the actions of a single person and call for actions that only affect him (boycotting his site).

    MikeB302000 – is so pro-rights that he deletes comments that he dislikes.
    We – are so pro-right we encourage MikeB302000 to comment on our site – we just delete the link back to his site.

    Strawman argument demolished.

    Now can you get back to Sebastian’s point(s)?

    Can you explain how keeping records of the NICS checks for 10 years will prevent a violent crime?

    Can you name a place where gun registration hasn’t lead to a decrease in ownership of firearms among the law abiding?

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