Why We Could Lose Private Transfers

Because we have plenty of groups out there who seem to be fine with it. First, NSSF:

The trade group for the nation’s leading firearm manufacturers said it will not actively oppose the expansion of background checks, which are designed to prevent guns from reaching criminals or the seriously mentally ill.

“That’s more the NRA’s issue,” Steve Sanetti, president of the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), said in an interview. “From the commercial side, we’re already there, and we’ve been there, and we were the ones that have been the strongest proponents of an effective, complete background check.”

But I thought NRA were shills of the gun industry? It’s amazing they can believe that, considering we seem to be witnessing the industry going back to its old ways of supporting gun control, as long as it’s gun control that will benefit them. It occurs to me that a ban on private transfers would put a damper on used gun sales, as well as driving more business to FFLs. But NSSF isn’t the only one here:

In Washington state last month, the head of a gun rights group offered to support mandatory background-check legislation for most firearm sales in exchange for a state commitment not to maintain gun records. It’s not clear whether the proposal will succeed but it has drawn support across the divide of the gun debate.

“This is a good compromise with real give-and-take,” said Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation and chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

How do you have background checks without the state maintaining gun records? In Pennsylvania, we were told the PICS system wouldn’t be used to make a registry. Guess what happened?

Federal law prohibits the establishment of a national gun registry. But advocates of expanded checks say some recordkeeping is necessary because federal authorities would otherwise be unable to trace guns used in crimes.

Figuring out how to meet law enforcement needs while ensuring that the recordkeeping does not constitute a government-backed database is one question the four senators are contemplating.

Pennsylvania law prohibits the establishment of a gun registry too, but the Supreme Court decided to take an interesting view of what constitutes a registry. Every gun sold in this Commonwealth gets entered into a database. But it’s not a registry, according to our Supreme Court.

I get that we can’t win every battle, and sometimes you have to cut deals so that you get slapped around instead of beaten up. But promises from lawmakers aren’t worth spit. We shouldn’t kid ourselves. We also shouldn’t kid ourselves that’s there’s something we can concede that will make the gun control advocates go away. They won’t. They’ll be back with further demands. How do I know this? I live in a state that has banned private transfers of handguns for years. Criminals still get guns, and every year, I’m asked to give up more and more liberty. Don’t forget that there was a decade long fight for the Brady Act, and an almost near as long fight for a federal assault weapons ban, and the passage of the former gave them the momentum they needed to pass the latter, and even after that, they came back with even more demands.

I’m tired of arguing over whether they get half my cake or a quarter of my cake. That’s not compromise. So if that’s the game being played, screw them, we fight them on everything.

UPDATE: NSSF responds here, “An article is today’s Washington Post incorrectly implies that this position puts NSSF at odds with the National Rifle Association. There is no conflict.” OK, so then the quote “That’s more the NRA’s issue,” was made up then? I rather doubt that, and I can imagine any context that came out of where the impression wouldn’t be that there’s a conflict.

Lastly, why even talk to Sari Horwitz? She’s demonstrated hostility to civilian gun ownership.

43 thoughts on “Why We Could Lose Private Transfers”

  1. Sanetti needs to STFU right now.

    Gottlieb should be forced (with his man marbles in a vice) to explain publicly what exactly our side would get in return for this compromise because as it stands now we would lose something and gain nothing in exchange.

    1. “Gottlieb should be forced (with his man marbles in a vice) to explain publicly what exactly our side would get in return. . .”

      Don’t forget that Gottlieb was the guy who came out in the national media supporting “safe storage” laws back in 1999. Here’s some residue of the pissing contest I had with him at the time.

      How charlatan is still in the gun rights business fourteen years later beats the crap out of me.

      1. Kudos, Andy B.!!!! That was a superb letter! I loved the seatbelt analogy. Glad you are on our side!!!!!

        1. Thanks!

          To continue as far down memory lane as I can at the moment, Gottlieb’s Op/Ed piece advocating safe storage laws appeared in our local paper and in others in the area. I forget where my response was first published, but it was local, and meanwhile I had submitted it to GOA, who published it.

          Gottlieb came back at me, calling me a “carpetbagger” attempting to interfere in the affairs of Washington state gun owners — despite the fact that is was his national celebrity that had gotten his opinion printed in my local paper — in Pennsylvania!

          My regard for the guy was never high, but has done nothing but decline over the years.

    2. Alan Gottlieb did issue a statement. He agreed to the background check law if they (State) would destroy the records they have kept on handgun purchases for the past several years and stop the practice in the future. It was considered a win because the political climate in that state may lead to universal checks through referendum anyway. It was also thought to be a poison pill for the gun banners who wanted to keep their registration process intact.

      1. That is a hardly a win for our side. Let the antis put repeal of ’34 NFA and ’68 GCA on the table along with new full auto sales and nationwide reciprocity then we’ll talk.

        1. I’m willing to accept that this may have been in the nature of “conceding to get slapped around instead of beaten up,” because a ballot measure fight would be in the realm of “very bad,” because of the costs and stakes.

      2. I’m a little confused by the above; who the eff is Alan Gottlieb to be able to “agree to” anything?

        The time is long past when gun rights advocates should have shaken off the majority of their “leaders” and started speaking for themselves.

      3. A comment above says Alan Gottlieb is playing chess while the rest of us are playing checkers. I think that’s a good analogy.

        His proposal to support expanded background checks has several caveats, including:
        – Prohibition and destruction of Washington State’s handgun registry
        – Exemption from background checks for Concealed Pistol License holders
        – Exemption from background checks for transfers between family members
        – Exemption from background checks for members of firearms collectors groups (like Washington Arms Collectors) at their shows/events, if that group requires a background check for members (WAC does)

        With all the exemptions he’s requiring, they’re hardly “universal”, and his caveats include significant victories for pro-rights groups. Note that NO American gun registry has ever been repealed or destroyed, so that would be a true milestone. Failing that, Gottlieb does NOT support expanded background checks (you can read his statement at the above link).

        Final note: In this chess game, we can now legitimately say our side offered to compromise, but the anti-gun groups refused to play. They are only interested in getting something for nothing. Who’s being unreasonable now?

        1. I’m willing to accept the idea that cutting a deal was necessary to avoid just getting steamrolled, and I know Washington State is getting tougher and tougher for our side. But it seems like an awful lot of ground is being given here for a commitment I’m not sure I have faith in.

          Time could prove me wrong, and this might end up being a brilliant move, and is thoroughly necessary to prevent something worse from passing. I’m did not go so far as to condemn Gottlieb, but I’m skeptical of floating a bill that still introduces a pretty significant expansion of the transactions that are subject to the checks.

        2. What makes you think the registry will actually be destroyed?

          We can’t make deals unless it is absolutely necessary to avoid disaster because the other side does not play fair. At the federal level these laws will be enforced by the Jekyll Keystone Kops/Hyde JBTs at ATF. They will do whatever they can to screw us over with whatever they are given, rule of law be damned.

  2. I personally wouldn’t mind a law requiring background checks on all firearm transfers, as long as everybody and everybody has access to call in an instant background check free of charge and the entire burden of proof is placed on the government to show that a background check was not performed if they want to put a violator in prison.

    But then again monkeys might fly out of my butt. :)

  3. “In Pennsylvania, we were told the PICS system wouldn’t be used to make a registry. Guess what happened?”

    Just because an above comment has put me into the mood for reminiscing: That is an issue that really sticks in my craw, as it was one of the features of Act 17 of 1995 that was used to divide and conquer us while it was still pending legislation. At the time “instant check” was being pitched as a good thing, pro-gun, and to our benefit.

    I remember screaming about the prohibition of a registry (pitched as an additional swell feature) that no matter what the law said, it was bullshit, and the prohibition would never be enforced. I was of course dismissed as a radical cynic by even the best (as it were) pro-gun minds in the state.

    It took a number of years before my radical contention was fully vindicated by the state Supreme Court’s decision, and of course all those great minds were shocked, SHOCKED! at that outcome. Of course they had long forgotten the radical fool who had predicted it; and it only cost them thousands and thousands of dollars to find out for themselves.

  4. So in California all transfers (except for C&R long guns) have to go through and FFL, and CA FFLs are required to do them for a nominal fee set by the CA DOJ (correct me if I’m wrong but I think it’s $35). It sucks, and it’s occasionally bizarre, sometimes it’s cool – I’ve met one of my best friends and shooting buddies via a PPT (private party transfer). Here are some of the byproducts of this system: some FFLs will “run out” of Handgun Safety Cards (required for transfers) if you go to do a transfer and don’t have one (to avoid doing it). Some stores will flat out refuse if they are busy or make you wait so long you leave. Sometimes it takes hours. You need 2 proofs of ID and if the store does not like your proofs, go home and get something else (I have waited a couple times for someone to go get a utility bill). Unless you are a veteran of PPTs, you are pretty much guaranteed to fail on your first attempt. Some stores will give you a gun lock, free, most stores make you buy one, and once the store only stocked locks that sold for $30. Then you get dealers that only do internet sales and PPTs, who are awesome, but . It’s crazy, it’s bizarre, and tons of people do illegal FTF transactions all the time – not because they are trying to break the law, but because the law is so complex as to be difficult to follow. This is what you can look forward to!

    1. Tons of people get caught doing illegal FTF transfers too. That’s how they nail a lot of the illegal dealers.

  5. Gottlieb showed up in Olympia WA to testify AGAINST the bill in question.

    The writers of this “BLOG” here should do some research before they carbon copy everything in the liberal media.

    1. So he testified against the bill. Nice of him. Then it was reported he was negotiating features that would make the bill acceptable to gun owners.

      I’ll return to my own question: WhoTF is that little turd to be negotiating anything? Since when does running a master class fund-raising outfit place someone in the position of being our spokesman?

      Maybe what he had “negotiated” was misreported, but who or what but him and his self-promotion made whatever was said, in his little chat with a legislator, worthy of being misreported? Why was it significant?

      If you’re going to resist legislation, resist it. Don’t go out and tell the enemy how to make it more palatable for us to swallow.

      As I said above, it’s time for us to start announcing that none of these charlatans are authorized to speak for us.

    2. I believe I offered reasons why I was skeptical of the deal, and didn’t just “carbon copy everything in the liberal media.” I am not one of Gottlieb’s detractors, and I appreciate the work SAF has done in the courts greatly. But I don’t think anyone is beyond question.

  6. Part of our problem is the same one the Republicans had with the Healthcare mess; No (perceived) alternative to offer. We keep claiming we need to push back, but we do none of the effort necessary to force them to compromise, we’re always only ever playing for what we have, never for what we want. We’re not even *thinking* offense, because we’ve never formulated what we’re going on the offense for. We need to move from defending what we have to EXPANDING what we have.

    Look at the success we acheived with CCW, because we had a specific goal. What’s the goal after CCW? That’s right; Open carry where it’s not allowed, Constitutional carry where it is allowed already. See that? That’s the plan. And we ALL know it! We need that same automatic response to efforts to restrict.

    It’s like we’re afraid to talk about restoring what we’ve lost. It’s no wonder they keep pushing us around, there’s no consequence to it. They can’t lose. If they don’t get their ban this time, they’ve not risked anything. Every push is a freebie for them, because we don’t make them pay for it with the understanding that any “compromise” must result in expanded rights somewhere. They literally have nothing to lose.

    So, on the principle of what we should be asking for in ANY such discussion, here’s what I propose;

    No new background check changes.

    Removal from the NFA Registry of all SBSs, SBRs, suppressors and small arms falling under the AOW category. No more tax stamp, no more CLEO, firearms treated like Title 1 items, suppressors treated like any non-receiver firearm part.

    Repeal of the Hughes Amendment, or failing a full repeal, reopening of the NFA Auto Registry with a $1,000 tax stamp and no CLEO signoff.

    And we’re not doing ANYTHING to mainstream these ideas in the gun community and beyond! How many posts on gun rights do you see a day, and how many address ANY of these items? None. We have to start marketing these, not just as items that should not be restricted, but as items that are desirable, items that have little effect on the lethality of the firearm. I’d bet most who favor strict controls don’t even know these restrictions are in place. Push the lower lethality of shorter barrels, push the health and safety aspects of suppressors, especially in the home. Get the laws changed/relaxed, start buying them like there’s no tomorrow, and we gain the protection of the “in common use” part of Heller!

    On the Federal Level we’re sitting on two supreme court decisions. We need to get something protecting carry, sure, but some of this stuff should be low hanging fruit. And we’re not even attempting to pick it. Are we waiting for a better time? You think there’ll BE one?

    1. Removal from the NFA Registry of all SBSs, SBRs, suppressors and small arms falling under the AOW category. No more tax stamp, no more CLEO, firearms treated like Title 1 items, suppressors treated like any non-receiver firearm part.
      Repeal of the Hughes Amendment, or failing a full repeal, reopening of the NFA Auto Registry with a $1,000 tax stamp and no CLEO signoff.

      In order to go on the offensive, you have to have lawmakers willing to go on the offensive with you. We have the House Republicans. Think they are willing to propose any of this? They are not.

      1. Ever ASKED them? I don’t know of any who have been. I doubt they’re even aware of most of this stuff. Keep pushing for it, like the anti-rights crowd do. The big difference is that unlike them, we don’t have to wait for tragedies to occur. We can push this discreetly througout the year. Start small, one or two items. We’ve been running that strategy at the State level everywhere for the last 20 years, and it’s responsible for much that we now have. We’re not doing it at the Federal level, and it really doesn’t cost us anything. Do it small scale, quietly and piecemeal.

        What exactly will this cost us? What exactly are we afraid of?

        1. No one I’ve ever asked who knows Congress well thinks there are the votes to get something like that done, or even get it moving. So yes, I have asked people who’s job it is to know these things.

  7. What, a Rand Paul or other NRA A-Rated Senator/Congressperson won’t go for even a part of one of those items? With respect, I find that very, very difficult to believe.

    1. Anyone can introduce a bill. His father used to introduce a bill every year to repeal most of the federal gun laws. It gets referred to committee where it goes nowhere. It’s only really an offense if it has a chance of passing, or even getting a committee hearing.

  8. Then there’s our problem right there;

    One, it was introduced by RON PAUL. What would we expect?

    Two, it was to REPEAL MOST of the Federal Laws. What would we expect?

    Get someone OTHER than a cartoon-politician to introduce a bill to reduce the the tax stamp to $100. Or to remove the CLEO signoff. Or to reduce inspection requirements. Or to provide some small exclusion for CCW Permit holders. We need to be playing legislative limbo. One tiny bite at a time, see what we can get pushed under that low bar.

    The anti’s are sitting round figuring out low they can go to get something passed. Is there a reason we can’t do the same? We’ve been doing the nibble-by-nibble dance at the state level for years. At least *start* doing it at the Federal Level.

    1. Actually, the CLEO signoff is a regulatory requirement imposed by ATF, not one imposed by statute, which they are reconsidering currently.

    2. Lots of bills are introduced to restore some of our rights, to move in the right direction. The problem is *not* the politicians. It is the Media, or more correctly the *Old Liberal Media*.

      A couple of reasonable compromises for us would be repeal of the gun free school zone act of 1996, after which mass shootings in schools increased by four or five times (depending on definitions and how you count) or universal reciprocity for concealed carry, where we clearly have the votes, but the leadership is bottling it up in the Senate.

      If the Old Dominant Media was anything like balanced we could pass these bills in a minute, but they are pushing all the nasty stuff we are seeing. The Old Dominant Media runs the country far more than the legislators do.

      Politicians are media creatures. They live and die by their characterization in the media.

      The Old Dominant Media is dying, but I do not know if it will be fast enough for the Republic to survive. Long live the new media of which this blog is a part!

      1. The Mainstream Media (and let’s be candid here, there’s no “Old Media”, they’re still in control, and reports of their death are *greatly* exaggerated) don’t know much about these laws either. When was the last time they ran an expose on the 1934 NFA? That’s right, NEVER. These smaller laws are off their radar. The Media is NOT the reason these laws continue to exist – WE are, because we won’t push the incremental changes needed.

        The GFSZ law should be gone, but what makes you think that would be “incremental”? It’s not. The anti’s have a LOT of ego tied up in that law. So it’s probably the wrong target. The RIGHT target is the obscure stuff. That’s where we need to start. And the mechanisms we build getting the small stuff changed will help us get the larger items changed later on.

        1. If you are correct, then when we push for changes such as universal ccw reciprocity, they should sail right through.

          They do not, and they do not because the MSM oppose them. If the MSM supported them, they would go through without a problem. Consider the reform that did away with the ban on guns in national parks. There was great support for it in the congress. It went through before the MSM could really crank up a campaign against it.

          In a sense, you are correct, that if we do enough, we can bypass the MSM. It is simply incredibly difficult to do so.

          Consider the effect if the MSM chastised politicians for violating their oath of office; instead the MSM praises them for violating their oath, and says that they have “grown” in office.

  9. Universal CCW reciprocity isn’t an incremental step. It’s a next logical step, but NOT an incremental step. An incremental step is a small, perhaps mostly unnoticed change that restores something to us, even it it’s something small. We have to start thinking smaller. It sure beats the nothing we’re doing at the Federal level these many years past.

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