I’ve noticed something about some comments that some conservative commentators have been using to frame the new McCarthy-Launtenberg ammo sales ban/restrictions. It gets under my skin because it makes it easier for our opposition to say that we’re delusional and don’t understand their “reasonable” attempts at gun control. We don’t have to misrepresent the anti-gunners to highlight just how creepy and restrictive their proposals really are. We can just give straight up facts and people will find it bothersome!
Take, for example, this tweet from Tim Graham that Cam from NRA News retweeted:
— Tim Graham (@TimJGraham) July 30, 2012
Without having been in NYC to watch the press conference live, I have not read anything that indicates McCarthy, Lautenberg, Bloomberg, or any of the other speakers said Olympic & world record holder Kim Rhode should not be practicing with 1,000 rounds a day – except the post written Tim Graham’s group that tries to make that leap. I hate that they do that. You know why? Because it’s so damn easy for the anti-gun groups to say that they said nothing on that order. In fact, Sen. Lautenberg actually congratulated Matt Emmons and recognized him as an Olympic shooter this week. Now you want to say that he was out attacking Olympic shooters? Yeah, it doesn’t stick and it’s so easy to tear down as an argument.
You know what isn’t so easy to defeat? Telling people what the bill actually does.
Instead of saying that Lautenberg & McCarthy don’t want Rhode to practice as much as she has to in order to compete at the Olympic level, why not emphasize the fact that Senator Lautenberg and Representative McCarthy want Kim Rhode to be reported to law enforcement authorities every single week for the rest of her career?
Most gun owners and non-gun owners alike would find that creepy as hell and consider it a case of government overstepping its bounds. The anti-gunners can’t argue with it. If she’s shooting that many rounds a week, her name and information will be passed on to authorities every single time she stocks up on her practice ammunition. They will be put into the corner of having to defend why our Olympic athletes should be treated like “pre-“criminals. And it’s all factual. No need to make up statements or claim more than what is really in the bill.
Emily Miller reported on Facebook that the bill targets those who buy more than 1,000 rounds at one time. That is factually true. However, even many gun owners wouldn’t buy more than 1,000 rounds at a time. (Let’s face it, many gun owners don’t actively shoot that often.) It’s not unheard of by any means since just a couple of bricks of .22 and even one extra box of anything else would put you over the limit, but it’s not something that’s done all that commonly by many folks. For those who don’t shoot at all, 1,000 rounds seems like a ton of ammunition regardless of the fact that it’s really not.
However, you know what message will really hit home with far more folks – gun owners or not? The mass of paperwork and bureaucratic headaches this reporting requirement will cause for small businesses.
Because, while Emily’s claim is true, it actually leaves out that businesses selling ammunition will have to track every single round you buy since the 1,000+ round reporting requirement actually spans every five business days. That means that JoeBob’s Gun Shop will have to take down your information when you buy that first brick of .22 for your son’s Boy Scout shooting event on Saturday. Then, should you pop in on Tuesday to pick up the boxes of shotgun shells for your club’s Women on Target event, JoeBob will need to write down everything you purchased, find the record for your Saturday sale, and add the two up. If you cross that 1,000 round limit, he has to report you to the authorities. That means at the end of every business day, these licensed ammunition retailers will have to read through all of their paperwork of the previous week to figure out if anyone crossed over the limit.
On top of all this, without having a bill to actually read, we don’t know what happens with chain stores like Dick’s, Cabela’s, Bass Pro, or Wal-Mart. Will they have to calculate the list of buyers and ammunition purchase totals across their entire network or stores, or will the reporting requirement only kick in for each location? Regardless, at high-volume businesses like that, they will likely have to cut workers from other areas to monitor these sales and pay thousands of dollars for new software to track such specific information or just give up and get out of the ammunition sales business altogether. Even gun owners whose rifles have sat in their cases collecting dust for half a decade will understand why that kind of reporting burden is too onerous.
Once again, the point is that we have plenty of ammunition (pun intended) to attack this bill for the incredible burden government wants to put on businesses. It’s not like that hasn’t been a theme of the Obama administration or anything…
My advice to gun owners who oppose this bill is not to put words in the mouths of the sponsors that could set off people’s BS detectors, nor should you simplify the talking points down to something that can give a perception of not impacting many people. Focus on the facts. Connect this bill to feelings of unease about government overreach and attacks on business that people already feel and identify with, and you’ll have more success in highlighting why this bill is not the solution.