It’s Time to Discuss the Bloomberg Problem

Bloomberg NV Ballots

Miguel jumps on the news that Bloomberg’s outfit has silently been pouring money into the State of Nevada for the past several months, and have now dropped the bombshell of having collected 250,000 signatures to get their “Universal Background Checks” fraud on the ballot for 2016.

It is my opinion that we are going to lose this fight as bad or worse than we lost Washington, if the ballot title is as equally misleading. So that begs the question, what do we do? The way I see it, this is our reality:

  • The concept of background checks for gun purchases is overwhelmingly popular with voters. They lack the passion to push for legislative change through a Republican process, but put it on a ballot, and voters think it’s a nice idea that translates into “keep guns away from criminals.” If they see it on a ballot, backed up by enough advertising, they will vote for it.
  • Bloomberg and other rich asshole billionaires can afford to outspend us 10 to 1 or even 20 to 1 in every state that has the ballot and it won’t put a dent in their fortunes. Ballot initiatives mostly come down to who can spend the most money, so they will win just based on sheer spending alone.
  • Voters don’t actually read ballot initiatives. The title says it all. If the title talks about universal background checks, we will lose. People have no idea the implications, because they are rationally ignorant. If we could get it called the Universal Registration Initiative of 2016, we’d probably beat it.

The next question is what do we do to counter it. I see a few paths forward:

  • Develop a more acceptable compromise bill that implements background checks upon change of title, but without the registration component, which is far more dangerous. You can exempt CCW holders, and allow people to obtain a background check certificate that certifies someone is clear, and then the private sale can happen. In this case all the government would know is that Joe Blow obtained a background check certificate. They wouldn’t know if he bought, or what he bought. Maybe he just got it to go shopping. Remember, as long as there’s a way to transfer a firearm without a 4473, there are legal avenues for you NOT to have that gun when they come knocking for it. In order for this to shut Bloomberg down, it would have to be done at the federal level. It’s too late for Nevada, even if something like this passed next week. Of course, I wouldn’t accept anything like this as the federal level unless we got something in return, so attach to the bill eliminating restrictions on interstate transfers. Why do we need them? Now everyone gets a background check.
  • Keep fighting Bloomberg on the ballot measures until we beat him. I don’t believe this will work, because even if this ends up on the ballot in Arizona, I think it will win. See the part about background checks as a concept being popular with voters. I don’t think he’ll get the margin in Arizona, but even in a best case scenario, we beat him in Arizona, he still wins two state for our every one.
  • Forget fighting defensively, and shove National Reciprocity and some Federal Preemption under the 14th Amendment so far up Bloomberg’s ass that he chokes on Section 5. Hold open carry protests outside his residences in New York City as a giant FU. Emotionally that might feel good, but at the end of the day he’s still going to continue winning ballot fights, because he has the money for it.
  • Fight it in court. I don’t believe the courts will invalidate the applicability of background checks to private transfers in title, but I think there is a better chance to get the courts to rule that applicability of background checks to temporary transfers is overly broad and thus unconstitutional. Even California, for instance, exempts transfers for up to 30 days. I think it would also be possible to argue that as applied to CCW holders, the statute is overly broad. However, the other side is likely to argue that the registration component, processing through the FFL and 4473, is a key government interest. Personally, I’d love to have them in court arguing that, because it makes the case that this isn’t about background checks, but about sneaking universal gun registration in through the back door. Either way, the courts take a while, and without more pro-2nd Amendment ruling from higher courts, I think we’re a long way from being able to fight this effectively with lawyers.

I don’t like any of these options, really, but the purpose of the post is to get people thinking and talking. Sometimes you don’t have a choice between winning and losing. Sometimes the choice is between losing a lot, or losing a little.

117 thoughts on “It’s Time to Discuss the Bloomberg Problem”

  1. As someone who lives in a state that got a Bloomberg anti-ownership law jammed into place — and we don’t seem to be able to get rid of it — I’m afraid the best option is this one:

    Develop a more acceptable compromise bill that implements background checks upon change of title, but without the registration component, which is far more dangerous.

    This takes the wind out of their sails. And if they can get one gun law passed they may piggy back on others, even though they aren’t widely supported.

    Molon Labe and all that but the reality is the 2nd amendment isn’t treated like other rights and a majority of people are ready to infringe if they get a chance. And if we get another Democrat president in in 2016 (which seems likely, as I assume the Repubs will spend the next 2 years fighting among themselves and looking bad while trying to take away abortion rights and gay marriage) then we will get judges in place who will make it even less protective and eventually just overrule it as meaningless aging ink.

    Ironically I think the polls show we are continuing to win the battle for the hearts and minds of The People, but we run the risk of still losing the war (at least until the current patch of aging liberals fades away) unless we can fix the fact that a majority of people will vote for a restrictive law that sounds good even if it’s really just an attempt to limit their personal rights.

  2. Having just escaped from California to Nevada, Bloomberg’s chappin’ my ass with this nonsense. I think you may be right that we need to look at some Federal option, but it doesn’t have to be as onerous as you outline. David Codrea introduced me to the BIDS idea a few years ago; maybe we should dust it off and start pushing for that. (In a nutshell, BIDS pushes a list of prohibited people to every gun dealer. The dealer can check to see if a buyer is on the list before finalizing the sale. No record is kept of the transaction, and the reason for the prohibition isn’t included with the list.)

      1. Assuming by “they” you mean Bloomberg’s minions, well, of course they’ll object! However, it actually accomplishes their stated goal (which we know isn’t what they’re really after, but that’s OK), is more effective than their proposed method, is less onerous to us peaceable citizens, and preempts their initiative activities throughout the rest of the US.

        1. I mean more borderline Congressmen than Bloomberg’s guys, though they will object and lobby as well. How do you prevent identify theft with the system? You’d have to include names and birthdates. What happens when two people have the same? Who does the manual review? You certainly wouldn’t want to include socials.

          What happens when a dealer ends up using an out-of-date list? How often is the list going to be updated? Can NCIC even do those queries on people?

          1. Those are all good questions, but they’re all pretty easily answerable, too. My understanding of the current BIDS idea is that the list is pushed out to a computer at the point of sale. You can query against it, but you can’t expose the entire list–you supply ID information and it tells you if there’s a hit or not. Like the current NICS, you’ll have to provide enough personal info to uniquely ID you. Of course the data itself would be encrypted to prevent ID theft, and it would be automatically updated on a regular basis just like any modern software/anti-virus program. The list would have an expiration date and the software wouldn’t run with an out-of-date list.

            But, I’m not really telling you anything that isn’t already in the BIDS proposal. :)

            If we’re going to have this rammed down our throats, let’s control how it’ll be done. I thought Alan Gottlieb was crazy for the specifics of his proposal in WA state, but getting ahead of this and nipping it in the bud may be the right thing to do.

            1. If you can do queries on the data, then encryption won’t help. Somewhere on the machine is a key or password that can decrypt it. A determined person could find that and retrieve all the data on the list.

              1. Encryption issues are a red herring objection to BIDS — not the essential feature. The essence is that the list is in the *dealer’s* possession, and the *dealer* does the check on site, not the government. And it’s not a background check. It’s a check to make sure the buyer is not prohibited.

                The BIDS list would be a list of prohibited persons or firearms disabilities, not a list of crimes and conditions. It could be a hard copy for that matter. The information flow would be one way — from the government to the dealer. The government would never see who buys a gun.

                That said, encryption would be good, to protect exposure of prohibited persons, even though most disabilities are due to crimes that are public information. But compared to placing prohibited person status on drivers licences for the world to see every time someone cashes a check and a lot of other activities, not to mention being information gatherable from the dmv, an encrypted BIDS list is considerably more private.

                Also, the biggest point of BIDS is as a tool to show that prohibited person checks can be done by the dealers themselves, without any risk of registration, thus turning the enemy’s objections around and showing that the enemy’s true goal is registration, not public safety.

                Moreover, all the beltway pseudosophisticate appeasers and “prags” who are claiming now that we must pre-emptively surrender were panicking and saying the same thing right after Sandy Hook, but they were WRONG. They mindlessly insisted on demoralizing the gun rights cause with hysterical claims that “something is going to pass” (federally, immediately), “we have to give them something” (appeasement), etc. But more manly gun rights advocates like GOA, GRNC and OFF stood up and said no. And NOTHING passed, even though Gottlieb tried to offer up universal registration. His attempt at pre-emptive surrender, and the NRA’s appeasement feelers, are what brought this on. The enemy smelled pansy weakness and jumped on it. That’s why they ran the first bill in Gottlieb’s own backyard, where the urge to panic and surrender was highest.

                Worse situations than this have been won when our side decides to man up, say NO, explain why, resist, make the enemy TAKE his real estate and pay for every inch.

                But you don’t even want to try. You want to make the enemy’s arguments for him, demoralize our side, hand the enemy our turf without a fight.

                1. You might as well not encrypt it, since it would be about as useful as encrypting DVDs. So the guy who got a firearm disability for a minor domestic incident years ago risks getting his identity stolen because the BIDS database was compromised.

                  There’s ways to anonymize the data, so the system running the check has no idea who it’s looking up, because it’s checking anonymous tokens that were one way hashed from a name and DOB. There’s also ways to do this with public key cryptography that don’t suffer from the same problem.

            2. Personally, I’ve always liked the idea of marking on people’s licenses “Firearms Prohibited,” and having that instead of a check. NICS would only be consulted when you go to renew your ID/drivers’ license, and it would happen to everyone, whether they buy a gun or not. The problem is, the feds don’t have the power to control that.

      2. Sure thing. The enemy will have objections, so why even try? Just preemptively surrender, then there will be no objections. Good call. If folks like my Dad had listened to folks like you, we’d all be speaking German and goose-stepping.

        1. The question is whether they will have objections that will cost us the votes we need to get it done. I think in this case there will be. I also think there are better ways to skin this cat, that accomplish the same goals as BIDS.

        2. Rusn8r – I could and should, ask myself the same thing – but – WTF are you even doing replying to an author of preemptive surrender notions?

          These prags are the reason we’re in this situation. Let them eat cake.

          1. We’re in this situation because a vast majority of your fellow citizens don’t agree with you. You need a strategy to deal with that. Living in a fantasy land where you just yell NO louder is not a strategy, or a tactic even.

            There’s a lengthy continuum between a world with no gun control, and civil war.

  3. As weird as it sounds, having looked it up recently, something like the current Illinois FOID card may be the way to go as a counter. It just says that it is legal for you to own a gun and ammo, without determining how many you have or even if you have any at all. It keeps weapons unregistered, and quick to legally exchange (you just type in the other guy’s FOID number on the state website to check that it is legal).

      1. Instead of licensing to solve the problem, I’m currently thinking as having a valid license (i.e. a valid CCW) as a means to bypass UBC, since a license should be sufficient.

  4. Keeping an eye on this as we’re moving out there in a few months. Will fight the good fight as best we can, but I am afraid your assessment is not far off.

  5. I disagree with your conclusions. I believe the fatalistic view that concedes UBC as inevitable will limit our options in fighting back. Accepting defeat, rather than looking for victory, eliminates creative ways to block these big money interlopers. I’m not going to get into specifics, as I live in a target state, but asking “how do we win?” creates more options than “how do we live with defeat?”

    1. I’m interested in ways to beat them. But I’ll admit I’m not optimistic. This was never really a 95% issue, but I think it is a 50 to 70% issue, depending the state.

      1. how about, just say no?

        this really reminds me of a conversation from a while ago involving onesie pajamas and hot chocolate, except this time (again) its the NRA wearing the man boy glasses and the smug *insider* smirk.

        the NRA is useless, and you sir are deluded. my $ is going to the GOA.

        1. You can say no all you want. When 60% of you fellow citizens say yes, you lose. Why is this so hard for people to understand? In an initiative, the world doesn’t care whether you say yes or no if you can’t get %50+ percent of your fellow citizens to agree with you.

        2. Where was the GOA in the fight against I-594? If they were there, they were just as ineffective as the NRA.

          Yes, I think the NRA is currently useless on this topic. I think it’s because NONE OF US know what it will take to attack these proposals, and bring them down. And we need to; we need to bring them down HARD!

          1. The NRA knows many things that can be done; but it doesn’t want to do the right thing. The NRA has long supported systematic, massive de facto registration systems such as GCA ’68 and NICS. And the NRA has helped create the “gun free” zones that facilitate and exacerbate the carnage. LaPierre testified to Congress in favor of gun free zones after Columbine. The NRA built poison pill gun-free zones and penalties into “shall issue” laws of the states, even where they could’ve easily passed shall issue without these poison pills, then sabotaged efforts of grassroots groups to repeal the poison pills.

            Worst example is Virginia, NRA’s own home state. For years VCDL struggled tirelessly to repeal NRA’s restaurant carry ban, etc and nearly succeeded at least twice, getting it through one house or the other. NRA could’ve lifted a finger to repeal its poison pills, but instead put the winkie-word out to kill it. And NRA’s preemptive surrenders, poison pills, unnecessary “compromises”, and passive-aggressive sabotage, my dear reader, is how a lone punk was able to murder 30 defenseless people at Virginia Tech. I don’t know what the status is now in Virginia, since I was so disgusted I gave up watching.

            After Sandy Hook, NRA’s President tested the waters for a preemptive surrender on universal registration (aka government conducted background checks). Then instead of manning up and calling to repeal gun free zones in favor of teacher, staff and parent carry, LaPierre called for security guard or cop carry in schools, which would not solve the problem and would’ve added about a half million more government union employees to accelerate the destruction of the USA.

            The other thing is the NRA takes in over $300 million a year. If that were spent to do the right thing instead of the wrong thing, the gun rights cause would have no problems whatsoever. Republicans would have veto proof majorities in both houses. Etc. But most of it gets stuffed into the pockets of the beltway vampires who control the NRA, starting with $2 million a year for LaPierre.

            So, keep sending in your money. Or dump NRA and join GOA. The bigger GOA gets, the more it can do. I’m a life member of both, but I’d gladly take a refund from NRA and flip it to GOA.

  6. Nat’l Reciprocity please! Restore our civil rights in NY/NJ/CT and stick it to Bloomy in one fell swoop.

  7. I am still thinking this through, and my opinion may be subject to revisions.

    I tend to agree with Sebastian’s views here. That being said, I don’t see it as accepting defeat either; in some ways UBC can act to call out some of the anti’s BS, although they would never admit it.

    To begin, if someone is prohibited from possessing a firearm, then having a means in place to prevent them from buying one is a good goal. I can all but guarantee that almost nobody wants to willing sell a firearm to a violent felon.

    Since issuing violent felon cards as proof the bearer cannot buy a firearm isn’t a practical solution, it is reasonable to conclude that a way to prevent such transfer is to have the purchaser show some level of proof they are not on a prohibited list is acceptable in theory.

    Nor can it be ignored that the antis really don’t care about preventing felons from obtaining guns, they simply want to make gun ownership as difficult as possible.

    Therefore, allowing the pro bill of rights side to dictate the terms as to how to accomplish the goal is far superior than allowing the anti bill of rights side setting the terms. Case in point – in New York City, merely being arrested, even if no charges are filed, is sufficient to deny the right to own a firearm.

    FFLs already are required to use background checks.

    Therefore, what conditions could be set to allow non FFL to ensure they buyer is not prohibited.

    My current thinking (subject to revision) is to adopt UBC, which then begs the question, what exactly is a background check?

    For starters, opening up the NICs system to private parties is one possible solution.

    Another option could be to allow NICs to approve sales prospectively, say 30 days, for a potential buyer. Anyone who wants to purchase a firearm within a 30 day period would not have to be checked again. This of course, is a “common sense” approach to “streamline” the system.

    Another option is to exempt people with valid firearm licenses from NICs check. There’s a lot of potential here. If a license is not sufficient to allow a purchase of a firearm, then what purpose does it serve? That its ok for someone to carry but not buy a new gun? This argument may very well back the opposition into a corner; they can argue for licensing, they can argue for background checks, but its hard to argue for both.

    Having a valid voter ID card could also be reason to exempt someone from a background check too, many of the rules prohibiting voting are fairly close to the conditions to prohibit ownership.

    I’m sure there are more, as these are just off the top of my head.

    But the reality is this. Opposing popular sounding laws with simplistic titles will gather far less support than taking a pro active approach to solve a perceived (and artificial) problem. Voters like solutions, people like solutions. Sometimes the correct solution to a problem is doing nothing, but that will always lose in the popular vote.

    1. “Another option is to exempt people with valid firearm licenses from NICs check. There’s a lot of potential here. If a license is not sufficient to allow a purchase of a firearm, then what purpose does it serve? That its ok for someone to carry but not buy a new gun? This argument may very well back the opposition into a corner; they can argue for licensing, they can argue for background checks, but its hard to argue for both.”

      I really like this idea of trying to make the antis choose between license to buy/carry. We already know that CCW permit holders very rarely commit crimes, so we should be bludgeoning gungrabbers with this statistic when we come up with our own bill.

      Gottlieb was right when he said that we have to lead on background checks, he already knew that the background check idea was popular among low-information voters already. Too bad the first UBC bill (manchin-toomey) was for crap.

      1. Some of us were quick to burn Gottlieb at the stake when he came out trying to take the lead on this issue, but the more I think about it the more I think he was just trying to read the tea leaves and head it off. Maybe not the best way he went about it but it’s definitely starting to make more sense now.

  8. You actually need to have a debate and address the issue of criminals legally buying guns. That is the inherent argument behind all background checks. Second you have to address the workability, solvability and significance of the bill. Then I would personify the negatives of the bill and link them to out of state money.

    You can also engage in other laws such as requirements to put laws on the ballot.

    Just my thoughts.


    1. The problem is, that debate in a ballot question is going to be fought through TV ads, where we will be outspent 10:1.

      1. Ironic comment given the DNC spends millions on social media, and GOP is picking up similar values. Most of that is for consultants. Do we really need to worry about dollar for dollar? That’s not an effective means for validating an approach. So what if they outspend us 20:1 if the message we have resonates? The angle is not “UBC are bad” but the many videos of gang members and crooks talking about how UBC and restrictions make their lives easier. Do a short video spoofing a stolen gun getting a UBC. Mock UBC. If you argue the merits, you provide the tacit admission it is valid. We don’t have to tell people the end state, even though we know it. Reveal UBC for the idiotic idea it is.

        Giving gov’t of any type a UBC and they will make it Registration before long. I wouldn’t doubt the paper copies in WVa are already digital. This problem has always been an issue within democratic systems. Trying to fight a superior resourced opponent on their grounds is always suicide. Move asymmetrically.

  9. This is clearly an infringement so fight it in the courts.
    Also fight it using jury nullification. That is track this carefully and when someone is charged fill the airwaves with information to let the public know that an honest person is getting railroaded and that there is such a thing known as jury nullification and how to do it.

  10. I’m really not sure I like this idea, because I really don’t like the idea of conceding anything. I’d much rather come up with an effective way to stop the whole “UBC” nonsense. But the idea popped into my head, so I’ll put it out there for discussion …

    Create a requirement that a state-issued driver’s license (or official state ID) that is issued to a person who is prohibited from owning firearms will have a “no guns” symbol that indicates that the person is prohibited from owning firearms (perhaps a red circle/slash with a handgun inside). Persons who are convicted of a crime that prohibits them from owning firearms would immediately have to go get a new DL/ID with the “no guns” symbol.

    This would mean that transfers would not need to go through a dealer, since a private seller could simply look at a license to verify whether or not the individual was a prohibited person. No records would ever need to be kept for private sales.

    In exchange (in the spirit of political compromise), all existing records of firearms maintained by any state or local government agency would be destroyed, and no list of firearms owners would be kept by any state/local government employee. There would be very limited exceptions to this rule (e.g. gun was used in a crime and/or stolen; law enforcement keeps a record of owner of the firearm, and if applicable returns to the rightful owner). Any state/local government employee maintaining a record of firearms ownership (save those limited LE exceptions) would be guilty of a felony. Police and other state/local employees would be prohibited from simply browsing through a FFL dealer’s sales records. They could use a search warrant to find out if a firearm was purchased from a dealer, but they could only obtain the record for that specific firearm, and no others. Police and other state/local employees would also be prohibited from seeking out any information about firearms ownership indirectly, from other sources (e.g. credit card companies, banks, insurance companies, etc.) unless it is directly related to a crime and a search warrant has been issued. LEO’s would also be prohibited from stopping a person who is carrying a firearm for the sole reason of checking the DL/ID to verify whether or not the person can legally own a firearm. The person of interest would have to be suspected of another crime.

    I really don’t like the compromise. I’m not a fan of compromise, and I’m certainly not a fan of background checks or licensing or any government restrictions for what is supposed to be a constitutional right. But I’d prefer this vs. the alternative of simply having not-really-universal background checks.

    I’d also be in favor of the 2nd half of the proposal (the stuff against gun registration) enacted by itself.

  11. May be the NRA and us in the pro-second amendment crowd need to stop pussyfooting around with the pussyfoot lines of “criminals will still get guns”, “criminals break the law”, “it violates our second amendment rights”, and “it will do nothing to prevent crime because criminals won’t go through back round checks” bullshit. They are busy calling us racist, inbread, nazi, fascist, red neck, wife beating, child molesting, mass murdering, extremists. But this is funny coming from Wannabe Soviet Communists in capitalist clothing like Bloomberg and Gates. These ballot initiatives are designed to discourage gun ownership, create confusion for those who wish to continue with it, and most importantly, somewhere down the line, spark violent conflict with the police. Notice how there was no unanimity amongst Washington State Law Enforcement against I-594. That means that “I am just following orders” will be very prevalent, and there will be conflict. That is the intent. Bloomberg is a STALINIST and so is Gates!! Time for the NRA to question the allegiances of law enforcement throughout the nation with ad blitzes depicting a family of people at the shooting range being SWAT-teamed by thugs in black masks and toting machine guns (actual weapons of war) for simply handing a firearm over to a friend. The message should be that STALINIST FUCKS like Bloomberg wants your life ruined or ENDED! NO MORE PUSSYFOOT ADS! GET THE TRUTH OUT!! Bloomberg isn’t just some poor minded control freak, but a filthy sociopath who if he gets control of police forces and armies, is no less dangerous than any mass murdering dictator of the past.

    1. Ad blitzes are expensive, and part of the problem in WA state is that Bloomberg outspent us 10:1. We could spend double, and he could still afford to maintain that ratio. Ballot fights come down in most cases to who can spend the most money. We’ve had very surprising grassroots wins with the ballot, but in those cases they were perceived as more severe restrictions.

    2. @Joe
      Im going out on a limb here as you were very subtle, but I get the impression you don’t like bloomberg.

      1. I’ve already made plans to have a party when the little napoleon kicks the bucket. It’s not in bad taste if the demise of the dead guy is well deserved and Bloomberg richly deserves it.

        Think of the good that his money could do. Instead he is hell bent on denying us the most basic right of self-defense and for that he is an enemy of American citizens.

        Disagree? Imagine someone buying elections so that troops could be quartered in your house? How about having to register your religion, allowed only one sermon a month, and every time that you hand your holy book to your friend a criminal history check is performed.

        Why is it that our Second Amendment rights are treated like an ugly kid sister who is kept in the basement when dinner guests come over?

  12. I think we need to offer something we can live with at the federal level that preempts local state law along with universal ccw in the same bill, for straight up/down vote. If we don’t we’re going to have problems every year with another state loss. Let’s preempt this.

    1. Nicely summed up. I don’t mind background checks per se (as long as they’re cheap and easy to do), I’m just against registration — and whenever anti-s do the former they are really doing the latter.

    2. Federal pre-emption is the only way to beat this, I think.

      It is the same tactic we’ve won with at the state level to beat gun-grabbing localities.

    3. Oh, and I forgot – we should also add something to normalize black rifle legality along with CCW – no more stupid 3 features limits, or mag buttons as part of an overall ubc deal.

  13. I really like Joe’s idea of running the ads.

    Who’s chipping in how much to the NRA-ILA and Second Amendment Foundation? Both are “Member” organizations, largely supported by you and me.

    It just cost me $100.00 for a brick of .22 target ammo; that’s going to go up in smoke, so it doesn’t seem out of place to send at least that much to the 2 organizations above.

  14. This is going to be a major problem in states that allow ballot initiatives because like you said, nobody reads the damn text and this is a battle of dollars (and Bloomberg will beat us at that every time).

    That doesn’t mean the NRA shouldn’t be fighting it though. Problem is they need to stop gloating over all these congressional victories, a pro-gun congress is a great thing but it’s obvious Bloomberg and his minions gave up on federal action long ago and are using the low information voter to do their work for them moving forward.

    The time to start an education campaign is now. It may only affect 5% of the vote in the end but we’re going to face these ballots anyway and in a few states that might matter. In the meantime we need to keep working on our strengths, which is right now the impressive victories we’re stacking up in the courts. I do think national reciprocity and pre-emption can be the ultimate FU to Bloomberg, and in the PR side of things can pretty much negate all of this crap he’s pulling.

  15. A thought. Probably not an original one.

    Turn the NICS system (which all parties seem to accept) to public access.

    A wants to sell a gun to B. A and B go online, and B enters his identifying information into the NICS system. The system does its background check, just as now, and generates a GO/NOGO answer, with a unique transaction number. Only the transaction number is retained at the federal level, the rest is erased (yea, I know, if you think they’re dumping that information now, like they’re supposed to, I have a bridge to sell you).

    If NOGO, the transfer is illegal, and seller, if he continues the sale, puts his liberties at risk. If a GO, both parties, A and B print out the GO sheet, with the unique transaction number, and the sale goes through. Background check done.

    Seller is assured that the sale is to a valid legal person. The transaction number, like now, has nothing about how many guns, just that there is a transfer.

    If the buyer turns out to be a prohibited person after all, despite the check, I am protected by prosecution by possession of the GO sheet, with the transaction number attached.

    Now if I’m selling to my very bestest friend, who I’ve known since he was in diapers, and I am ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN that he is not a prohibited person, I might risk foregoing the check. But if I sell to ANYONE else, and it turns out they are a prohibited person and I sold to them, I’m on the hook. Crime. The safe and sane option will always be to do the background check.

    No FFL needed (though if buying from a dealer, the same thing could be done). Could be free, though I would not oppose a nominal fee ($5? $10?) to finance the system, by credit card draft, for example. Both parties, and the public assured. Transfer without a record of background check, if the buyer turns out to be a prohibited person, is a crime. Selling without doing the check would be prohibitively risky, and it would be quick and cheap.

    So quick and cheap, it could be done for even loaner guns – say I loan a rifle to a friend for deer season. Write transfers to NOT include temporary possession by another when the owner is still in immediate presence of the other; i.e. you can let your buddy shoot your gun at the range without becoming a criminal.

    Satisfies Bloomberg’s stated objections. I know they’ll find another objection, of course, as their stated goals are different from their actual goal: to make owning a firearm legally risky and difficult, in hopes of driving firearms ownership down.

    Tie national reciprocity to it as a “compromise.” Dammit, make the anti-rights jackasses compromise for a change.


    This will have to be pushed through at the federal level, of course, to preempt state by state action. On what basis would Obama veto it?

    1. How would you prove any of that was valid without registration. You can’t. And leave off the “compromise” whine- you just talked about how to enact registration….

      1. Then we effectively have registration now, at least of FFL records. ANY “universal” background check system, where the Feds keep a record, becomes a de facto registration. If you have a way around that, I’m all ears.

        I understand that bad guys will bypass all this and just get their gun illegally. The antis understand that too. They don’t care. Their goal isn’t public safety; it’s gun banning.

        Do you have an alternative? If our position is NO, NO, NO, NO, we’ll be beaten in state after state, just like in Washington. Bloomberg will buy the elections, and most voters don’t understand the implications of what they’re passing, nor do they care. They see “background checks” and “for the children” and check the box.

        Can we offer an alternative that is acceptable and can undercut Bloomberg’s billions?

    2. I would add that it should be a universal background check for just about ANYTHING. I have do all sorts of checks for my profession, to drive kids at my school, to be a camp counselor, to be a Girl Scout leader.

      I want the system for all sorts of things so that before someone babysits, they can run the check. The idea is to make the reason for the check unknown and flood it with numerous reasons for the checks so that it is not a red flag and backdoor registration for a firearm transfer.

  16. If we can pass a national law, make it so FFL’s must destroy any record of a background check after 90 days.

    If we don’t have the power to pass a federal law, then it’s not really worth worrying about. Just ignore the requirement. Its an unenforceable law anyway.

    1. The ATF will just illegally photocopy there bound books every 60 days. We already have a national gun registry. The FBI does not destroy NICS records. Well the destroy the original but make a photocopy and probably put that into a central database. And the ATF going to dealers and photocopying an FFL’s bound books to make there own registry. Out of date and incomplete as it is they still have this.

  17. If it’s only 60% popular in a state like Wash, it can be beat. But we need to go back to your strategy with the federal bill in 2013- only offer an alternative if we have to.

    Instead of banning them like i591, have an alternative one on the ballot that has all of our favorite parts- like the Grassley/Coburn style.

  18. Simple fact is that background checks for private sales will NEVER work without linking the background check record to a specific firearm.. Anything less will be viewed as a “loophole” by the antigun people. They will argue, and rightfully so, that the only way to truly keep track of sales and ensure they are legally being done is by linking the sales record to a specific firearm and that those records must be maintained to keep a paper trail. Now, they may agree to a simple check like opening the NIC system to private citizens but they’ll pull out the “loophole” card soon after.
    Because of this I would NEVER agree to any background check law for private transfers and would fight it tooth and nail.

    Also…I would go to court on the Constitutionality of all this. Private property rights are fundamental rights and the government has no right to force me to either register my property or go through a background check to give my property to others. The only reason FFLs can be forced to do this is through a bad reading of the Interstate Commerce clause. Yes, technically I must go through the govt to sell my house but this is based in common law(deeds, etc) and has to be in place as land is not a portable possession of an item that is MADE. Deeds are the only way to ensure that someone who says they own property does. Without them there would be no way to have a system of private land ownership. Saying that, there are no background checks for land anyway. Besides land, there are NO other Reconstruction on items I own in terms of the govt forcing me to go through them to sell…NONE…NOTHING. And don’t say cars. I’m not forced to get a title of a car or transfer a title, etc to sell you a car. Yes, you won’t be able to use the car on a public road( title no license plate). But if the car never leaves private property there is no legal requirement for titling. Also, the whole titling of cars is more of a way to tax things. And certainly one doesn’t have to go through a background check to transfer a car. And there are no anti car groups out there dying to get all cars registered so they can confiscate.

    1. Yes, the antis will scream at any background check law that doesn’t have “paperwork”.

      The problem for them is that if they do so it reveals that they don’t care about “background checks” and what they want is a registry. And they *know* registration is not popular and does not poll well.

      Hence why they work so hard to conceal their efforts towards registration and why they call us paranoid for pointing out how much they want it. Heck the three main prongs of this are to: hurt expansion of new gun owners by knee-capping training, grow political “juice” for gun control, and shift registration from defacto to universal and eventually dejur.

      If played right them objecting to a no-registration background check law would expose their obsessions, and their desire for something that is not popular. However, like all gun laws there is the risk of things scaling up.

      On the gripping hand, I’m not so sure the courts would strike down background check laws (or if they do it can’t be counted on for a while). We can talk about how there’s no constitutional support and how no other right (or property) is treated that way. Recall we’re dealing with several circuit courts that think it’s okay for the police to be able to deny carry permits for any reason.

    2. And don’t say cars. I’m not forced to get a title of a car or transfer a title, etc to sell you a car.

      In Washington State, that is factually incorrect. Transferring a title for a car is required.

      RCW 46.12.520
      Certificate required to operate and sell vehicle — Manufacturer or dealer testing — Security interest, how perfected.

      (1) A person shall not:

      (a) Operate a vehicle in this state with a registration certificate issued by the department without having a certificate of title for the vehicle that contains the name of the registered owner exactly as it appears on the registration certificate; or

      (b) Sell or transfer a vehicle without complying with the provisions of this chapter relating to certificates of title and vehicle registration.

      Note that (a) is about registration certificates being required to match a title. Note that (b) says nothing about how it will be used.

  19. Crazy idea- create a ballot initiate that sounds like UBC, but forbid it in actuality. In other words use Bloomberg’s tactics against him. Title it nicely “Initiate for Universal Background Checks” and use the text so it read something like “In order to prevent criminals from attaining firearms and to ensure only permitted persons can purchase a firearm, no firearm transactions must not be compelled to be checked.” Confusing… maybe. But once that is on the books, there is some level of “inoculation” against the move.

  20. I believe that fight is worth fighting but at this point in time even in Arizona I expect this to pass. I will ignore it of course since it is unenforceable but without Federal Preemption this will be the law of the land state by state. I give it 6-8 years before every single state in the union has there own I-594. Or at least EVERY state that has ballot initiatives. Because at this time we have no real way of stopping this. The battle is pretty much over on this. We lost. It’s just a matter of how long it takes for them to get this on the ballot in each state. So the only thing one can do is defy it. Openly if need be. I expect in a decade Arizona will have a ballot passed so fucked it makes the SAFE act combine with all of NY other gun bills combined look tame. Something so horrible it defies imagination to pass by ballot. Maybe owning a gun being punishable by death without trial; they just take you outside and shoot you in the back of your head execution style. Owning a gun will make you literally not have rights at all, not even the right to live. And then let the law of Unintended Consequences fall where they may.

    I can’t help but be negative about this. We have and never will have anything to counter both the literally unlimited budget of our opponents, voter ignorance and a media cheering the anti-gun mantra every step of the way.

    1. Hyperbole aside this does raise a valid point.

      The antis will push this as hard and as fast as they can afford it, and with a compliantly cheering media willing to push the “dominoes and people’s will” narrative….

      The question becomes how much can they expand to ballot initiatives beyond background checks?

      If I recall, when they’ve tried full on gun bans by ballot in the past they have not had much luck. Also it’s far easier to spin a private sale ban as “not being a ban on *your* gun” than putting up for a ballot vote a magazine limit or a confiscation.

      Something to watch is to see if they expand their focus on ballot initiatives, especially in places like Washington or California where they’ve already got their registration.

    2. You make some good points, however I’m not as pessimistic as you are about everything overall. These ballot initiatives aren’t so much Bloomberg gaining the upper hand as it is him realizing this is pretty much the only avenue he has right now to get anything done. Congress is a brick wall, most state legislatures outside of the left coast and northeast wouldn’t entertain his crap, and a large majority of 2A-related cases aren’t going his way in the courts.

      We’re winning judicially, legislatively, and culturally, but Bloomberg’s proxies are in this for the long haul, and for them a lot more of what they constitute victory and defeat is perception, and these ballot initiatives no doubt provide them with some wind in their sails. I don’t think now is the time to wave the white flag because if we can beat him in at least a few of these states that have the ballot process, it will blast a huge hole in their phony stats and help swing things back our way while we simultaneously beat him in literally every other arena.

      1. I know that in an overall sense we are winning in the congress, courts and slowly in the minds of people. Gun control is dead on the federal level and most states. But that doesn’t really help the states we have lost and it really doesn’t matter if civil war breaks out in Connecticut when Malloy starts having his men go door to door to confiscate guns by force and end up killing a few hundred gun owners.

        But our court gains and wins in legislature are worthless if we start getting gun ban initiatives such as a ban on the sale and ownership of ALL semi-auto rifles and handguns passing state by state backed by literally a quarter billion per state Bloomberg investment in multiple states at once.

        1. I think that’s an overconfidence that might kill us in the long run. Perception is reality in politics, and state by state wins that kill our culture with laws that make gun owners commit felonies in training or simply getting new converts will kill us in the long run. Take a look at the change in the nation formerly known as “Great Britain” for example. What’s the latest now? – knives possessions are criminalized. It’s a slippery slope, and one we won’t want to do unless we control the dialog.

        2. I agree completely with all your points. I was just saying if we look at the big picture things are still going our way. Bloomberg has pretty much had every avenue of our republican form of government slammed shut and he’s now essentially resorted to mob rule to get anything done. And even with these ballots he knows there are still lines he can’t cross.

          I’m also not saying we shouldn’t count these ballot initiatives as loses, these definitely need to be fought. I don’t know the best way for doing it, but maybe a combination of an earlier ground game, using Bloomberg’s own strategy against him (competing ballots or poison pills), and litigation can have us prevail. I think we will need to prepare ourselves for some short-term defeats before we accomplish any victories in the end.

          1. I don’t think competing legislation would work. In the case if I-591 it ended up confusing people who then may of ended up voting for both. In Arizona competing ballots don’t work and we already have protections like that when it comes to gun ownership and other federal actions they were passed legislatively. It’s a waste of money and resources on that front. At least here. If we end up having that fight in Arizona it should be a straight run to oppose it.

        3. Shawn, I would think that civil war would erupt after the use of just a few of these gestapo raids in CT. Not with hundreds of dead citizens, but only a few and probably a SWAT member or two. The media would go insane covering this travesty.

          What would the press release offer as the excuse for the fatal raid? “The gun owner had refused to register his “evil assault weapon” so the heroic police shot him 39 times while he was at his breakfast table.” I think not.

          Most of us can recognize such despotism. There would be enough angry people out there that Malloy and any friends or family would have the live out the rest of their lives in a bunker.

          Seriously, if he declares war on decent citizens, would they not respond? Can he be that stupid to think he will not have to pay an incredible political cost? Maybe a personal cost?

  21. Who controls the final language for the ballot proposal? It appears that we’re letting Bloomberg, Inc. control the entire show from composing the statute to writing the ballot langauge. If it’s possible to influence the language that appears on the ballot, it might be possible to insert a poison pill of some sort, with a possibility of turning off the LIVs who might support it. A thin reed, to be sure. Lacking that, each state has an acceptance process for the back end language – the statutory language that gets enforced if the ballot measure is approved by the voters.

    Looking at 594, it seems there’s more than enough there upon which to base multiple federal suits attacking it on broad constitutional grounds beyond 2A. Should it be possible to file a suit(s) that have sufficient strength to convince a court to issue an injunction against enforcement pending outcome of the suit(s), that buys some time. That will work only once, however, because once pursued the other side will wake up to it and modify language.

    It also seems we’re treating symptoms rather than the disease. The ultimate solution is modification of constitutional and/or statutory language to prohibit such voter-based ballot initiatives in the first place.

    1. This is a very good question. If we could change the name on the ballot, that might prove critical.

  22. The real attack has to be on the state level with pro rights groups fight the ballot initiative . Even infiltrate the ballot groups to poison the language.
    I strongly disagree with any licensing tactic or conceding. Education that background checks are to prevent families from lending guns to each other at the range. Get our message out that the background checks are to prevent people from using and carrying on the gun tradition.

    Like Background checks are to prevent fathers from teaching his children. A criminal does not care about a stupid background check. We have won that argument before. It just needs tweeking

  23. One alternative is to pursue the “Strict Scrutiny” amendment rout. That’s passed in at least a couple of states, and could be a viable weapon to force the state courts to protect against ballot initiatives.

    1. Because the billionaires can afford to, and prefer to, outsource their security to someone more reliable than the police.

  24. We need to say that the current background check is fundamentally defective the way it is. It needs to be drastically reformed, followed by a period to see how that works. Then, we might talk about expanding it.

    Background checks are currently defective in 4 ways.

    1. The checks look for past criminal behavior. At the time of the Revolution, “felony” used to mean a really serious crime, usually capital. The recent background check legislation has followed the quick and dirty definition of “felony” as some crime which MIGHT have been punished with 1 year imprisonment, even it such punishment was not imposed, regardless of how far in the past. So, we treat someone who got 6-months probation 30 years ago for a bad check the same way as someone who just got out of jail for armed robbery. Is this the “common sense” that proponents are talking about? How many minor or accidental criminals move on to become real menaces to society? The answer is out there in the massive system of criminal justice records.

    2. The search looks for vaguely-defined “mental illness” or “mental defectives.” This is enforced by people with no mental health expertise, leaving it open to the well-known prejudice against any kind of non-standard mental condition. Decisions should be made by someone who has taken a judicial oath after an proper hearing with sworn testimony and legal representation.

    3. The current operation of background checks shows that it is a broken system. Typically 1-2 percent of the NICS requests are rejected, but these are more often than not false positives from confusing identities or erroneous data. Upon further investigation, most of the rejections are found to be unwarranted, such that less than a tenth of one percent are prosecuted for making false statements on Form 4473. This is a system that is 99.9 percent useless. Is that worth the expense?

    4. Proponents of background checks say they want to keep guns “out of the hands of persons who should not have them,” yet the way the law is enforced is far broader than this. Transgressing the law punishes people for simple possession with no requirement for criminal intent. Given that keeping and bearing arms is a fundamental right protected by the constitution, there must be a mens rea requirement.

    In short, we have very good arguments against background checks as a whole. we need a lot of voter education.


    1. I would add a fifth way that background checks have proved to be absolutely useless. Consider that black powder guns–including revolvers–are exempt from background checks. So is any gun made before a certain year–1896, if I recall correctly. These guns can be mail-ordered, transferred across State lines, given to felons and crazies at will without any background check required. Are these the weapons of choice of felons?

      Keep in mind that this includes the odd case where you can have two lever-action rifles, with the only difference between the two being a serial number, and one has no restrictions on it whatsoever, while the other requires the full force of the law–background checks, FFL State Line Transfers, etc.

      Is there really any sense in this? Do you seriously expect me to believe that without background checks, felons would be using lever-action rifles to rob banks? Why are we wasting time checking for these guns?

      Heck, when rifles *of all types* are used in less than 500 murders per year, why are we wasting our time and resources with background checks on rifles?

  25. Im getting frightened. I live in a State with initiatives and referendums. But so far, the Bloomburg tactic has not occurred to anyone here. What can I do to pre-empt such a thing, or at least pre-warn voters about the deception of UBCs? Right now I’m just encouraging all my patriot friends to buy all the guns they can before this tyranny transpires to lessen its impact. But I’d feel better if there’s a tactic to derail this slime-train before it arrives at my station.

  26. There’s one thing you could do at the federal level to monkeywrench this, and it’d only be a partial monkeywrench. Allow access to NICS for “permanent” transfers. You could try and sell it as a privacy measure. But it probably wouldn’t fly.

  27. After thinking this over for a few days, I think the right approach is a long game. This thing passed 60/40 in a pretty blue state, right after a high-profile shooting. That’s a convincing electoral win, but it’s also significantly nowhere near the 90% public support Bloomberg’s been claiming all this time.

    What we need to do is put the bug in the public’s ear that these initiatives are being pushed by the evil richie rich billionaire megalomaniac who wants to subvert the Constitution. Bloomberg as Lex Luthor. Making some version of that into conventional wisdom nationwide is something even tens of millions of dollars in blatantly false TV ads would have a hard time overcoming when a voter is standing in the ballot box.

  28. “Because the billionaires can afford to, and prefer to, outsource their security to someone more reliable than the police.”

    Outlaw ‘Guns for Hire’?

    The fact that some people can hire guns for their own purposes sounds pretty nefarious to me.

    Did you know that it is legal to hire mercenaries in America? Machine guns and everything… should be equivalent to conspiracy to commit murder… what else could it be good for?

    BUT Seriously, those prohibited from buying firearms are already public record (or am I overlooking the secret police, arrests, courts, and convictions) – make the background checks available to the general pubic – the specific firearm is irrelevant – GO or NO-GO – the seller can hand annotate the make/model/serial number on his copy of the check receipt.

    In a hundred years there might be a compete paper trail from manufacturer to FFL to first retail buyer to resale to second/third/forth resale… but the intent is either to deny prohibited persons from buying… or is the intent to catalog those who actually comply with the law.

    Make the background check public domain. NO COST.

    1. The (obvious) intent is to catalog those who follow the law, and at a politically advantageous time, disarm. This has happened before, even in USA (LA, Chicago, etc), and will happen again. Unless we decide to fight early, we will all be caught napping and behind. Stop complaining and start talking to your friends and family. Make youtube videos showing the impact of these laws. Write your newspaper, as liberal as they are, to start reaching out. In short- do something! Not all progressives agree, but they don’t know how to argue it. In the end, we might be left with civil disobedience similar to NY and CT. But if we do nothing but chatter now, we will certainly be left with nothing.

    2. If you want to make it sound even more nefarious, remind people that one of Bloomberg’s former body guards is currently serving time for attempted murder. He committed the crime shortly after finishing a shift escorting Bloomberg’s daughter, using a weapon he was carrying specifically for his job.

  29. In Washington, somewhere between 50-60% of voters are either registered Democrats or lean Democrat. Even with that built in advantage, they couldn’t even get to 60%. If 1 out of 4 people opposed to UBC could have changed the mind of a poorly informed friend, it would have been a dead heat.

    I think most of us probably know a few people who buy the gun grabbers narrative because they haven’t given it any thought and swallow anything that’s spoon fed to them. I’d suggest sharing this (warning, autoplay video) with them. Share it with every Fudd you know who buys the “common sense gun safety” line and ask him how his widow would feel about the police knocking on her door asking for his guns if he falls out of his tree stand. Share it with every “left-libertarian” you know and ask if the government that she thinks shouldn’t be able to tell her what she can put in her body should really be allowed to track what she keeps in her home. Share it with every single person who’s ever told you that it’s paranoid to believe registration leads to confiscation. Share it with every “liberal” who’s told you that they support civil rights but that the 2nd Amendment is an anachronism, and ask them how they feel about the 4th.

    The big-government lovers are obviously out of reach, but I can’t help but think there are a lot of uninformed voters in the squishy middle who can be turned. Politically active gunnies like to talk about how we have the real grass roots movement on our side, let’s act like we really believe it on a personal level.

  30. I agree with Jeremia and AndyN, we need to stop these things if at all possible, not propose some half-a$$ed alternative. Education is the key, and the events in Buffalo should help.

    Share it with every “left-libertarian” you know and ask if the government that she thinks shouldn’t be able to tell her what she can put in her body should really be allowed to track what she keeps in her home.

    This is especially good.

  31. I can’t help but see the sneering of Jonathan Gruber, who depended on the “stupidity of the American public” to sell the most flawed piece of legislation, Obamacare – one that is going to keep healthcare prices the same, and add more people to the system, and, eventually in 10 years, collapse all private insurance – through the magic of Obama’s personality and the duplicity of very smart people to deceive even the CBO:

    “So we had a meeting in the Oval Office with several experts, including myself, on what can we do to get credible savings on cost control that the Congressional Budget Office would recognize and score as savings in this law.”

    These same people want to take away gun rights by strangling gun culture with some really smart long range planning. And we expect that low information voters will care what gunnies say? Good luck with that!

    The only thing that will work against Bloomie’s millions is millions spent against him, with a strong messaging strategy. Without that, we have to look for another strategy – federal preemption. Maybe we need both strategies, but I don’t think Bloomberg is stoppable with counter messaging unless anyone has a billionaire in their pocket, ready to pony up. Anyone?

  32. The gaming and travel industries are the major industries of Nevada. We need these industries, their employees, and their unions our allies in the fight in Nevada.

    Trade shows and conventions are a $7.4 billion business in Las Vegas. If one of their top 5 trade shows permanently left, it would hurt. That is, of course, the SHOT Show. I can only find 3 larger trade shows in Vegas.

    Add in the Safari Club International with about 20,000 visitors and it becomes enough to make an impact. The Everytown Moms can barely gather 100 people even when all the costs are being subsidized. We bring visitors who spend to Vegas. They don’t.

    Make it about the money in the fight for Nevada. Everyone attending the SHOT Show should have cards to hand out to maids, front desk clerks, taxi drivers, etc. showing how much money is brought in when we attend SHOt and SCI. Put that on one side of the card and on the other say it will all be gone if the initiative passes.

    This doesn’t help Arizona or Oregon but it will be a start.

    1. Great idea because you know they will try to use the union angle to get out the vote in favor of any initiative.

  33. It’s all about branding. We just defeated a tax on businesses by branding it as a business tax, they tried to brand it as an education support bill (the money would supposedly go to schools). We need to brand this as a gun tracking/control bill, not as a background check bill.

    1. rebrand the universal background checks as Registration.
      If we can screen people for firearms disabilities without making a list of who the lawful gun owners are, then maybe we can get somewhere.

  34. Branding, partly – I agree with that.

    But we have conceded the urban vote, then are shocked that these ballot measures pass in urban areas.

    In my mind the was to de-fang background checks is to push tor educe the number of crimes for which one loses gun rights – nonviolent offenses and immigration, for example. I think we will have a lot more luck rebranding background checks as a snare for minorities.

  35. I see 3 possible methods to dealing with Bloomberg& his minions in NV.

    1st, a counter initiative that would prohibit gun registration.
    This is simple enough to get through to the knuckle headed “sportsmen” who can’t comprehend that’s the intent behind the universal background check push.

    2nd A true universal background check such as:
    A proposal such as the Red-light, Green-light concept, where by default whenever you get a driver’s license, or non-driver’s identification you get screened against a database of persons with a firearms disabilities, by default, everyone over 21 * get’ a green stripe indicating their license is in compliance with the new standard. the only ones with out that green stripe are those with a disability, or those who have specifically opted out. Also a 3rd category would catch those under 21, legal resident aliens, and those who have had their rights restored, so those who are legal, but need to slow down. This in essence is the inverse of the FOID where instead of applying to be on the white-list of approved to possess firearms, you are automatically on it, and those who would be on the black-list are not specifically singled out.
    This can be done on the state level.

    3rd this would have to be done through federal legislation, and that would be to abolish the NICS system in favor of something like the BIDS system.

    1. I like this idea. Now how would you do this? What would be done at the Fed vs. State level? 591 was an attempt to counter 594… so if at the state level, I’m assuming we would pick another state other than Nevada, and start pushing to get these done at the state level? Given the head start bloomies have in Nevada plus unlimited funding, I’m assuming that state is done.

      I really want my other goodies too, like universal CCW, universal acceptance of modern sporting rifles that exclude the 3 evil features, and universal acceptance of hollowpoint ammo as a safety feature along with suppressors for saving hearing. I guess this is all too much for one federal push, so gotta pick my battles.

      1. I think the error with 591 was it was too hard for some to understand the subtleties, and the Elmer Fudd types, + the non gun owners couldn’t be bothered to object to 594, because of the attractive packaging. Strip it all away, and make the debate about what the core issue is, Registration. Then that put’s Bloomberg’s bunch on the defensive in explaining how their measure isn’t that.

  36. We could have a non-intrusive, non-entrapment background check system that works as follows:

    * A prospective buyer goes online, fills out a web form that asks the same questions as the existing ATF Form 4473, provides a state-issued photo ID number, and within a few hours, passes the existing NICS instant background check and can print out a certificate. Having software development experience, I can say that it would be trivial to develop such a web site to piggyback on the existing infrastructure.

    * The printed certificate is good for 90 days to buy one or more than one gun.

    * The buyer presents the certificate to the seller with the same photo ID. The seller calls an automated telephone number or goes online to verify that the certificate is genuine.

    * Only the seller and buyer keep a copy of the certificate for their private records. The certificate expires after 90 days and the buyer’s identity is purged from all government records.

    * This scheme prevents gun registration (and later confiscation) and protects the privacy of the buyer, since there is no government record that she bought any firearm using the certificate.


    The existing exemption of CHL holders and other licensees from background checks is maintained.

    Temporary transfers of possession without an explicit or implicit change of ownership are specifically exempted from any background check.

    Something like this could be developed without too much effort and difficulty.

    1. Yup. There’s only one hole: do you really believe that the Feds would purge the records, even if the law said they were required to?

      I don’t.

      It ends up being de fact registration.

  37. Fortunately for us here in South Carolina the anti-gunners can’t put an initiative on the ballot. Doesn’t matter how many signatures they get. Only the State Legislature can do that, residents cannot do it. AFAIK.

  38. “Develop a more acceptable compromise bill that implements background checks upon change of title, but without the registration component, which is far more dangerous.”

    After 10-15 yrs out of the gun-rights-activism loop, I’m jumping back in. So if I write anything erroneous here, please feel free to correct.

    It seems to me that “change of title without the registration component” is an oxymoron. “Title” seems to me to entail “registration,” by definition. (Think of the titles to your house and car.)

    But your idea of a way for sellers to be able to confidently sell to non-prohibited persons is right on. Perhaps what we ought to be looking at is the Blind Identification Database System (BIDS), and scrapping NICS.

    Articles here:

    1. Perhaps I am missing something – the page says, “Trace data through 4473 forms is addressed by BIDS.” Do you take that to mean, since there is no 4473 Section D, that there is no trace data, or that the data is still at the FFL in this form only?

  39. I think we’re making a mistake looking at Bloomberg’s money, and deciding that there is no way we can outspend him. We need to ask ourselves, “How much money does it cost to saturate a market, so we could get OUR message out?”

    That is the first problem. I have the feeling that neither Gottleib, nor the NRA, nor even the “venerated” GOA had their heart and soul in opposing I-594.

    But that leads us to the second problem. We need a message that resonates. That’s going to take time, and trial and error, I think.

    But I have a couple of ideas. First, as someone mentioned above, we need to make a clear link between universal gun checks, gun registration, and gun confiscation–particularly of long guns, which are rarely used criminally. If Government has nothing to hide, it doesn’t need to know who has guns, right? Otherwise, why is the Government so paranoid?

    Second is the attack on gun culture. Show a series of situations, ranging from “would you like to see my new gun?” to “here’s how to shoot” to “your life is in danger, here’s a gun you can borrow for a few weeks” and show the first person handing the gun off to the second person as “misdemeanor”, and the second person handing the gun back as “feleony”.

    Then point out that someone who already disregards the law isn’t going to care only less about such things–and that peaceable gun owners, who will have a scrupulous desire to obey the law, will be forced to choose between breaking the law, and reasonably teaching others how to safely use and care for guns–that is, this law is *only* useful for attacking the spread of righteous gun culture.

  40. I like Alpheus’ approach, the only problem being MONEY, and lots of it. Bloomberg, et. al, has the $$$ and has demonstrated a willingness to spend it on The Cause. We don’t necessarily have to match him dollar-for-dollar, but I think being outspent 10:1 is going to result in a loss nearly every time. If each of us donated the price of a brick of .22 ammo to whoever promises to spend it fighting these issues, I think that gap could be minimized, if not actually closed.

    Trying to sell an alternative that’s palatable to us is a losing cause. The issue is NOT trying to “keep guns out of the hands of criminals”, it’s “Keeping guns out of the hands of undesirables, period”, with you and me being “undesirable”.

    1. The thing to keep in mind about being outspent, though, is at some point the market is going to be saturated, at which point it’s not going to matter how much you spend. This makes me wonder: what is the saturation point for Washington State? It almost certainly wasn’t the money that was spent against I-594.

      Suppose the NRA had dumped $5 million into Washington, and Bloomberg maintained a 10:1 ratio, and bumped his spending to $50 million. Would it have mattered? If $5 million was enough to get the message out, and the market saturates at $20 million, then Bloomberg would have wasted $30 million immediately…and the initiative would still go on to fail.

      This, of course, supposes that the NRA could find messages that would reverberate against I-594, which is a challenging task indeed, but likely not impossible. At the very least, getting the message out that the proponents of I-594 are lying about it would be a good start!

      While Bloomberg is a formidable threat, we need to remember that all the spending in the world won’t help you if your message falls flat, and there is a good alternative whose message resonates with the people. People have won election being outspent 10-to and 20-to-1 before, and it has generally been because the big spenders promised something bad (“I want to raise everyone’s taxes”) vs. someone who opposed that bad idea…

    1. It’s been so long since he’s done a General Sebastian post, I was starting to think he didn’t care. I’m touched, really. He hasn’t forgotten.

    2. I’m not really calling for preemptive surrender. I still support trying to beat the measures through traditional means. I also support the civil disobedience Washingtonians are organizing. Ignoring the law has worked for us in PA, and I’m sure it will work for Washingtonians too.

      But I am skeptical we’re going to win, because ballot fights almost always come down to who spends more money, and gun control has never seen a pocket book like Bloomberg’s. I don’t consider discussing options, even options that involve still losing some ground, but not as much, to be preemptive surrender. I also wouldn’t just give it to them, but to trade it for something we want, like National Reciprocity and allowing transfers across state lines.

      1. I know. I read what you wrote – the whole thing. Vanderboegh’s taking it out of context, and judging on the quality of comments I doubt many of his readers are reading your whole piece before spouting off.

        I think it’s wise to plan for the possibility of a defeat and put some effort in making the gun-grabbers’ victory a little more bitter: some give-and-take, or a poison pill, or a sunset clause, or something laying foundations for us to regain ground later. Defeat at the polls is a very real possibility – Washington’s I-594 proved that – and to not consider it and take precautions is, to put it simply, idiotic.

        I took a moment to try making that case over there. We’ll see if it gets approved (since when do “pro-gun” blogs need to approve comments?). I like the guy’s historical perspective, but his “all or nothing, don’t take no for an answer” won’t always work (again, see I-594). I doubt Generals Patton and Eisenhower would have fared as well in WWII Europe if they had charged in full-force at every encounter, not understanding the value of a tactical retreat, or forcing the enemy to pay dearly for any and all ground gained even as the Allies were back-pedaling.

        1. I love your WWII references, Archer! Indeed, it was Hitler who refused to give ground at Stalingrad and Falaise in France:

          “Soon after, the Allies were racing across France. They encircled around 200,000 Germans in the Falaise pocket. As had so often happened on the Eastern Front Hitler refused to allow a strategic withdrawal until it was too late.”

          Sometimes the German high command persuaded Hitler to let them retreat and then successfully counter-attack the Soviet bulge thus created, as at Kharkov in Feb-Mar 1943. This strategy is a faithful one when you are initially outnumbered by your adversary, or out-moneyed as in our fight vs. Bloomburg. Whenever the Nazis took them on toe-to-toe with no allowance for tactical retreat, it was a disaster for the heer (German army).

          While we should work for majorities and the money to take on these ballot issues, until we acquire those, taking on Grant in Virginia will result in brutal losses. Wise tactics like Lee’s at Cold Harbor can hold off the monster until more help arrives.
          Blessings to all!
          – Arnie

          1. The American Revolutionaries faced a similar dilemma: going toe-to-toe with the British would have been suicide. The only feasible option was to engage in “guerrilla” warfare. Flanking maneuvers, hit-and-run tactics, shooting from concealment, etc., up to and including facing losing battles, but making sure to minimize American casualties while maximizing British casualties. Even while retreating.

            The Spartans at Thermopylae were the same. It was a losing battle, and they knew it. The goal wasn’t to win; it was to make the Persians pay a heavy price for advancing, while buying time for their country to prepare for war.

            The moral of the story: if you must lose, do what you can to make it a “Pyrrhic victory” for your opponent. In Bloomberg’s case, making him spend $10-20 million in each state on referendums won’t break his bank account, but if we can use the referendum process to sneak in poison pills, compromise language, sunset clauses, or even pro-gun amendments wherever we can, it will make his victories significantly less sweet while being just as costly.

            Of course, Mike Vanderboegh is a history buff, and should know all this, so it’s unfathomable to me that he’d attack another gun-rights blogger for writing about it in the first place.

  41. I was just about to bring up what Mike Vanderboegh posted but apparently I was beaten to the punch.

      1. It’s funny, reading back on the comment section in that old post. Six years of Obama later, there are a lot of points I wouldn’t make today. Plus, since then, I have to hand it to him that he was instrumental in Fast and Furious, and I think his involvement in civil disobedience with CT and CO is admirable. I wouldn’t make the accusation today that he’s just a chest beater.

          1. I have no idea what they are planning to do about Holder’s replacement. I’d also point out that when the gun control laws came, we beat them, when almost no one expected that outcome.

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