What Can be Attached to UFA Renewal?

A good argument is happening in the comment section about the kinds of things that could possibly be attached to UFA renewal. Some things to keep in mind in that regard.

The Senate is still controlled by Democrats. If you start playing those games, you open up the possibility that our House additions get stripped off, and then they start trying to make their own additions. You’re also opening up the very real possibility that it escalates to big fight in the Senate on gun control. I don’t think MAIG and Brady have had any real success flipping votes on Manchin-Toomney, despite a lot of blustering, but I don’t really want to find out.  How confident are we that when Schumer floats the restrictions on hobbyists doing gun smithing at home, that we’ll get 40 Senators who will to stand up to him? How confident are we that the “nuclear option” won’t come into play, and they can pass it with only 51 votes? How much do we trust the conference committee process that will work out the differences between the House and Senate versions?

We cannot attach anything to legislation. You have to have friendly politicians willing to go out on a limb to do that. It presumes that we have friends in the GOP who are willing to go out on that limb over the UFA. I don’t think we do. Certainly no more than we have GOP friends willing to get out on the “Repeal the NFA” limb. They aren’t going to risk a flight on the issue.

Everything is a political calculation. There are scarce few politicians in any legislative body that are true friends because they share our ideology. The vast majority are our friends because it is in their self-interest to be our friends. Even with the ones that are ideological friends, they still understand politics is a game. No office holder wants to start playing weak hands. There might be a chance of stopping UFA, but if it happens, it’s only because Congress is completely dysfunctional. They weren’t willing to play this card in 2003, so it’s hard to see why they’d want to now. That’s largely why I’d rather dig my heels in over Chuck Schumer and Steve Israel’s expansion proposals. If UFA is going to die as a whole, it’s either going to do so quietly, or it’s going to do so because the Democrats overreached and poisoned the well.

13 Responses to “What Can be Attached to UFA Renewal?”

  1. KevinC says:

    Universal CCW Reciprocity, re-classification of suppressors as AOW items for starters. Repeal of the Hughes Amendment as well, if possible.

    • Sebastian says:

      Who’s going to introduce those measures? Other than CCW reciprocity, there’s no one in Washington that has shown any interest in easing NFA restrictions, or the Hughes Amendment. We can’t even get the Veterans Heritage Firearms Act, which is a very very narrow easement on Hughes up for a committee vote.

      • KevinC says:

        I could see a scenario where Landrieu or Manchin try to cover their ass…ets on their Obamacare votes and make kissy-face with conservative voters with something like this.

        There’s a lot of Dem senators from purple states who have to make up a lot of ground with voters really fast. Something like this would help.

        • Sebastian says:

          Yeah, but how many conservative voters care about suppressors? One reason we’ve had to push legalization for hunting is because we just don’t have a large enough constituency to push this stuff. We’re close to winning on Universal Reciprocity because the pool of potential voters you can potentially please is in the millions, maybe even 8 figures by now.

          The reason we have such a tough time with NFA stuff is because there’s just not a very large constituency for it. I don’t like this state of affairs, but it is what it is. Estimates have shown there are anywhere from 2 to 5 million “assault weapon” owners out there. We know that’s grown quite a lot in recent years. Before the ban there probably wasn’t 500,000. So I think you’d need to get about a million people who are interested in a subject, and motivated enough to be a political constituency, before you’re votes politicians will go out on a limb to get.

        • Sebastian says:

          It’s interesting to think about. I wonder if you could study what the risk/reward tradeoff is for federal politicians. How big a constituency do you need to have before politicians will take risky positions if they can be guaranteed to secure a good chunk of that vote?

  2. Matthew Carberry says:

    1) I think the Purple Senators could be brought on board with a clean-up to FOPA.

    There has been a lot of press, even in the mainstream media, about gun owners simply passing through airports getting nailed by local law enforcement.

    I’m not sure how it would be legally phrased: but cite to Heller and MacDonald about firearms possession being a fundamental right and a restatement that the intent of FOPA was to allow peaceable transport, and therefore the burden is on the -locals- to have probable cause that travelers are not “engaged in travel” before arresting them, with an explicit call-out that possessing ticket stubs documenting that an overnight stay is to change planes and such preemptively prohibit an arrest on local possession charges if that possession is otherwise within FOPA rules.

    2)If repealing Hughes or deregulating suppressors is a step too far for now, maybe requiring a response from ATFE on tax stamp applications of no more than 3 months or something as “a right delayed is a right denied” and any additional money requested by ATF for that purpose be documented as spent solely for that purpose. Penalties from ATFE to be paid out of their -existing budget- to the harmed citizen if they don’t make the timeline.

    That can be sold to the general public as “not extreme” by preemptively noting that the supply of machine guns is already restricted so it won’t result in more of them “flooding the streets”; all that “legally” exist are already on the streets with no harm being done.

    Then it can be pushed that suppressors are safety equipment legal in much of Europe and good “for the children”, that it will reduce “noise pollution” for folks near ranges, that they are legal for hunting in a majority(?) of states now so one of the original justifications for restricting them is obviously no longer valid.

    Bigger picture, the narrative can be comparisons to how “voter ID” laws are criticized for being burdensome in time and effort for requiring a person to sacrifice a day or two simply to verify they are actually the person voting; while people who are willing to pay $250 and who are voluntarily submitting to multiple background checks are kept waiting from months to over a year. The increased revenue from the “voluntary” self-selected taxes can also be mentioned.

    After all, if the regs are being changed to restrict the “trust loophole”, why should individuals still have to wait so long?

    • Matthew Carberry says:

      Reducing the time required for stamp approval will do almost as much to increase the suppressor contingent as taking them out of NFA status I think an it can’t be called “extreme” as it doesn’t change the existing standards for approval.

      There is a lot of competition in the industry now and prices actually aren’t bad, at least for folks willing to spend the $250. You can be into a .22 can for less than the stamp price. It is the wait that I think keeps the average person now interested in them from buying, tying up that money for months.

      If you could walk into your Class 3 dealer, fill out the forms, touch the suppressor (a quicker turnaround would lead them to stock more I think), pay your money and mail the tax packet in knowing you can pick the thing up in 12 weeks you’d be in custom gun and holster wait time and cost territory.

      We talk about how deregulating will lower prices, I think even with the regs in place if we decrease the ATFE response time, the real bottle neck, and thus get more people buying, the manufacturers will have to respond with lower prices to grab the new market. Which will create a growing constituency for deregulation.

  3. HappyWarrior6 says:

    Nice blog post on the issue. What is your analysis on a “lifetime” ban versus the presence of a sunset provision? To me, the latter is acceptable since that has been the precedent. The former is going to have to be scored as further ground gained by anti-gun politicians.

    Further, another thing not factored in to the above is whether or not the final bill would include a ban on 3D printed guns, further making the bill irrelevant in deterring any sort of actual crime.

    So to me these should be the two most important variables in our calculation of the situation.

    • Sebastian says:

      I’d call passing it permanently an expansion.

      • HappyWarrior6 says:

        Right. To me, permanency or a ban on 3D printing for hobbyists are threats that would require there to be more on the table in order to be even remotely acceptable.

  4. My take on it is that if the Democrats/gun grabbers want to maintain the status quo by reauthorizing the UFA, then we truly maintain the status quo on the issue. That means rolling back some of the EOs such as the CDC funding for garbage science, the NFA trust changes, and so on. Alternatively, if they get a small loaf (UFA reauth), we get a small loaf (Barasso Amendment for a matching time period).

    This and the NICS reauthorization are the best chances to take up the issue and push back a little. I agree that it is foolish to ask for too much. That is what the Dems did, and it activated our base and backfired on them. But we should ask for something, something small and with a relatively proven track record when it comes to surviving test votes. I’m ok with our something sunsetting in 5 years too.

    If we accept a reauth of the UFA then the administration will continue to roll back the 2A. I’d be shocked if we don’t see some sort of import ban following the 2014 elections, for example.

  5. KSGunner says:

    Honestly I simply do not see the UFA being reauthorized, no one but the usual extreme anti’s care, the most the House will do is pass a straight renewal, while the Senate might very well pass something that is unacceptable to the House and the whole thing will die in conference but I simply think that it will not even get that far because frankly I simply think that most members of the House majority don’t really care about this issue and are loathe to do anything that the administration to seize upon as a victory for their gun control agenda and something they can portray as positive to distract from the Ocare disaster. They have much more to gain by staying on message and do nothing that distracts from the insane train wreck that the administration has become. That is my $0.02.

  6. Patrick says:

    For the first time in a long time I see the GOP Not Being Stupid ™. It must be hard for them.

    The Dems are days from turning on themselves in very pblic fashion over ObamaCare. Senators and House members have openly told the press that they were going to rail against the ACA and the White House if it wasn’t fixed by the end of the month. Now the WH is telling people they are hoping it will work for maybe 80% of the people, and that the number of people they expect to hit it at one time is 50K or fewer. That means they are hoping it’ll support 40K people. They need to sign up several million before mid-December. The math is broken. The WH version of “success” (40K at a time) will not meet the needs of the law. Oops. The fail is going to get deeper and will be much, much worse than shitty code on a bad website. Dem lawmakers now understand the endemic issues and are scared.

    The ACA is hung around their necks. The Dems are about to go into duck and cover mode in prep for 2014. They fear losing the Senate. Pushing gun control now is a bad idea for them, as is pushing pro-gun bills right now. Don’t do anything to distract from the ACA mess. Right about now Obama is hoping that the GOP does something to distract the ACA mess and engage his base. For now, let’s not stand in the way of the liberals destroying themselves from within.

    The cynic in me would not be surprised to see some token anti-gun stuff thrown out, just to affirm the left that “we’re still trying” and at the same time allowing the at-risk Dem Senators to vote against it to shore up their support at home.

    Here’s hoping they keep imploding. We can then put our energy into pushing the new GOP majority in the Senate to do nice things for us in 2015.