What Would Gun Law Reform Look Like?


There’s a lot of talk about common-sense gun laws out there, and it’s been a long time since I sat down and thought out ways we could rethink our current laws to make them better for us, but that also reflect the strong political reality that we’re going to end up living with some controls on firearms. Here I’m not speaking of compromising with the gun control crowd, but to try to get to more “common sense” as in real common sense that would be acceptable to the American people and also the subset of us that are into firearms. First we would have to start with where public opinion currently is:

  • Strong majorities favor background checks as a concept. I don’t think they get all the ins and outs of the issue, but the idea polls well.
  • Strong majorities favor banning crazy people, violent felons and probably even some violent misdemeanants from possessing firearms.
  • Strong majorities favor giving law enforcement tools to enforce the above.

This is the wall we are up against. This is what decides how far this issue can go. Public opinion has moved a lot in the past few decades, and we’re definitely in a better position than we were in 1968. So we know the public’s primary creeds. What do ours look like? I’d argue it boils down to this:

  • Banning rifles, pistols and shotguns, semi-automatic or not, or a subset thereof, is non-negotiable. I think that’s branded into DNA at this point.
  • Registration, or any scheme that represents de-facto registration is non-negotiable. This is the primary reason we oppose laws that only allow FFLs to conduct firearms transfers. A lot of folks don’t understand that we already have partial de-facto registration, and how this would make it complete. It’s a tough issue to make people understand.
  • The right to keep arms is also the right to carry arms. This is essentially the concealed carry movement, and now the constitutional carry movement.
  • We strive for uniformity in gun laws across jurisdictions so they are easy to follow and understand. This started with the movement in the 1980s to pass state-level preemption. National Concealed Carry is also part of this uniformity movement.

Given that, what are could our gun laws look like if we renegotiated them today? If there were to be a FOPA II, what would it look like? What would be the key features? Are by base premises about right, or way off?

80 thoughts on “What Would Gun Law Reform Look Like?”

  1. The “(Glenn) Reynold’s Rule”: non-violent violations of gun regulations are civil issues only. No more prison sentences for having the wrong ammo – or an empty shell – in your car in Jersey or DC.

    If you were just going about your way without harming anyone, then they cannot threaten to lock you in a cage.

    1. I want to say the Reynolds Rule was that anyone who was not prohibited under federal law from possessing a firearm could not face a penalty of more than a $250 fine.

      1. Those were some of his details, but the primary takeaway for me was moving from criminal to civil for the otherwise law-abiding people caught unaware.

        I think the big issue is reclassifying simple violations from criminal to civil. I won’t get too worked up haggling price right now.

        1. OK, for now, but I really look forward to haggling over the price, too.

      2. And that should include NFA tax stamp violations – get caught with an unregistered suppressor or SBR, get a modest fine (say 10% of the tax value, or $20) and apply for the tax stamp within 30 days.

        1. No. SBRs and supressors should be taken OUT of the purview of the NFA and should no longer require tax stamps. The ONLY thing I’d be willing to compromise for in order to get it is to do a NICS check for those items.

  2. “A lot of folks don’t understand that we already have partial de-facto registration, and how this would make it complete. It’s a tough issue to make people understand.”

    We understand that it would make the registration complete, and that’s why it’s unacceptable.

    Once we’ve established a legal regime under which simple possession of a firearm is illegal, unless a proper paper trail exists, we’ve reversed the presumption of innocence.

    And that’s simply not acceptable.

    1. Once we’ve established a legal regime under which simple possession of a firearm is illegal, unless a proper paper trail exists, we’ve reversed the presumption of innocence.

      And also erased a Right. It’s not a Right if it requires governmental acquiescence.

      BTW, you phrased this more artfully than I’ve seen in a while.

      1. Why wouldn’t it be a right?

        If it’s licensed on a “shall issue” basis the way driving is, I don’t see how it’s a problem.

        The licensing process is to assure competency with a potentially deadly machine and assure proper background checks are passed.

        If we have a gun licensing system like that of driver’s licensing, it opens the door to federal reciprocity and a comprehensive removal of categorical, capacity, and carry bans.

        In such a licensing system, Heller would become the Roe V Wade of gun ownership because it establishes the requirement of a “shall issue” system in cases where permits are required.

        1. “Why wouldn’t it be a right?”

          A right is generally something that you don’t have to beg for permission to do. By the same token, activities that require such permissions can be rightly regarded as privileges.

          While such a system of mandatory respect for such privileges as you suggest would likely be a vast improvement over what we have now, it still wouldn’t reflect a state of true official respect for an enumerated natural right.

  3. Giving the political realities, this would be my FOPA:

    National Reciprocity
    Enhanced Travel protections
    Civil Penalties only for non violent firearm offenses
    Delisting SBRs, SBSs, and suppressors
    Cochran style background checks while allowing interstate shipment/purchasing of all firearms.

    I offer the last one as a sort of compromise.

    1. That’s along the lines of what I’m thinking. There are a few others. For one I’d like to see all the importation restrictions lifted.

      1. Import restriction removal is a good one to include as well.

    2. I don’t think that the time is yet ripe for your last option; It’s too easy to make shipping guns to individuals seems scary to the general populace.

      Still, with your list:

      *National reciprocity: If you can carry in your state, you can carry everywhere in the U.S.

      *Enhanced travel protections: If your firearms/accessories/ammunition are legal in your home state, you cannot be prosecuted for possessing them in another.

      Civil penalties only: non-violent offenses (carrying in a GFZ, magazines contain too much freedom, firearms have too many freedom features, etc.) are minor civil matters rather than criminal matters, along with a maximum total fine ($1000 per event/contact, including all additional fees and court costs, regardless of how many individual violations are cited.), and no possibility of imprisonment.

      *NFA reform: Treat all rifles/shotguns as Title I firearms regardless of OAL/barrel length. Stop treating firearm mufflers as any kind of firearm, and allow them to be sold by anyone without background checks, FFLs, or excise tax payments. Repeal the Hughes Amendment. Modernize the process for other NFA item transfers: Electronic registration and payment of excise tax, NICS check (subject to NICS exemptions that can apply to transfers of Title I firearms), and 30-day waiting period for transfers to those without FFL/SOT.

      *Institute a system by which background check pass/fail status can be put on drivers licenses/State ID cards. Mandate that all states provide the option to all applicants at no additional cost. Stipulate that such an ID with the “pass” notation would qualify as a NICS exemption for purchases from an FFL. Further, provide civil and criminal immunity to private sellers who sell to people who provide an ID with a “pass” notation. Forbid states from mandating dealers perform background checks even when provided with documents that would make the transfer NICS exempt.

      *Permit individuals to purchase any type of firearm in any state regardless of residency.

    3. Further:

      *Repeal the blanket bans on carry in schools and federal buildings/property.

      *Prohibit any government entity (federal, state, or local) from prohibiting citizens from carrying firearms without: Securing the facility (all points of entry secured by armed personnel, all entrants subjected to screening), and providing on-site safe storage for any prohibited items. (PACS 18 § 913(e) as a model).

    4. And more:

      *Restructure the system under which firearms rights are rehabilitated to make it impossible for a lack of funding to completely stop the process: Make restoration of rights automatic after 5 years from final release from custodial supervision, with the provision for the government to file to extend the custodial period should it deem it necessary. Further, maintain a system by which prohibited persons may appeal to have their rights restored prior to the automatic restoration date.

      *Stipulate that actual adjudication is required to trigger a prohibition: In other words, an actual hearing with lawyers and in front of a judge and jury, not something akin to a PA 302 commitment. Allow a period of 5 years for government to go through these proceedings for existing prohibitions, after which all previous prohibitions based on a lesser standard of review will be automatically invalidated.

  4. What I’d like to see is that photo ID issued to prohibited persons note this fact, and that the issuing authority release a way by which the ID card’s serial number be submitted and the submitter receive back a confirmation of the biometrics (sex, weight, height, hair color, etc) and photo that is supposed to be on the ID, as well as the ID holder’s prohibited status.

    You’d get wrapped around the axle of REAL ID, alas, and I’m not totally sure I like the idea of a searchable DB of prohibited persons. But it’s the least-impact “public” background check measure I can think of.

    1. If the ID holder changes prohibited state, the issuing authority has to re-issue at authority’s own expense. No taxing the regaining of rights.

    2. When I mentioned this to a state rep of mine years ago he got back to me personally (small state and he really liked the idea) a couple of weeks later and told me that there were serious Constitutional issues so it was a no go.

      Its also probably not a good idea to make it impossible for anyone with a criminal record to ever work again. Its is gross over punishment for what are in often fairly minor felonies. Especially since way to many states stint on defense and abuse the plea bargain system which weakens the right to a fair trail.

      1. The topic was brought up in Oregon just prior to the passage of SB 941, and the Democrats all went into a tizzy about how criminals have rights (but gun owners don’t).

      2. If the government can prohibit an individual from touching firearms, I don’t see how the government can be prohibited from noting this fact on government-issued identification documents.

        Still, a neat way to sidestep this is to make the notation of prohibited status a no-cost option that can be selected, or not, when applying for a state-issued DL/ID card.

    3. Actually, A better way to do it would be to create a system by which individuals can verify an ID/DL: The user inputs the ID/DL #, and a few specific pieces of information on the card, and in return is shown a digital representation of the ID/DL if the information entered was correct and the ID/DL is valid.

      1. That doesn’t tell you their prohibited person status; and you can’t open up NICS to individuals without enabling some pretty large avenues to steal someone’s Personally Identifiable Information.

        1. It does if the ID/DL has an a specific (likely optional) notation on it. Also, I didn’t suggest opening up NICS; I suggested a specific type of system, but I didn’t specify how it should be accessed.

          1. Read thread below – I suggested this and apparently there are issues with it.

            1. I’m not sure which thread you’re referring to; The one that I’m replying in, or another one that doesn’t appear for me?

              To put it simply though:

              If it’s Constitutional for the government to require individuals acquire licenses to operate certain vehicles, and it’s also Constitutional for the government to prohibit certain individuals from possessing certain objects as the result of adjudication(s), then what could possibly be unconstitutional about combining the two, especially if it entirely optional and at no additional cost?

    4. Since we’ll need something similar for actual immigration enforcement, might as well add a field for prohibited status.

      And if we DON’T get immigration enforcement, within 10 years enough new Democrats will be imported to make the Second Amendment moot.

    5. Go the other way:

      Put a green dot on their DL if their background is clean.

      In the event they get into legal trouble, part of the penalty process for conviction is the re-issuance of their DL with that green dot absent.

      1. As others have noted, there are potential legal issues with such notations if they are mandatory and/or automatic.

        Instead, they should be opt-in.

        As it stands, PA currently has a system by which veterans can have that fact noted on their Driver’s Licenses; It’s handled on an opt-in basis, and it is done at no cost* to the applicant. More info here.

        *Opting into the veteran designation has no fee attached, but they charge $27.50 for every license they cut; If you want to switch to the designation mid-cycle, you’ll have to pay for the new card.

  5. Sensible reform would be removal of almost all firearms laws.

    Yes nearly all of them.

    Unless a person is under state supervision (i.e prison, jail, parole, social workers care) they can won and carry whatever they like with a very few caveats mostly property rights issues,

    For those people who can’t control themselves we lock them up

    Gun laws even when they aren’t meant to disarm decent folks are just an attempt to cheap out on supervisory costs.

    Well sorry, if we are going to not have a socially Conservative faith driven society and we have easy divorce, we’ll have to pay for the prison costs.

    1. This!

      On the other hand our host is talking about what’s within the realm of the politically feasible, not what’s consistent with the federal and state constitutions.

      1. That ^^^

        There is idealism, then there’s realism.

        I supposed we could use Obama’s tactics and keep repeating how we don’t really want our ideal- so therefore they should just accept everything we offer…

      2. If we don’t have a goal, we can’t achieve it.

        We can play offense for a change and I’ve noticed when we do this, we win quite often.

        Anyway this goal is achievable if we sell it as “the only sure way to keep guns out of the hands of the bad guys” because in truth it is.

  6. Right now I think the best bet is national reciprocity and freedom to travel combined with harsh punitive measures ($$$) for jurisdictions that ignore or attempt to prosecute people.

    I also think that federal preemption of all gun, ammo and magazine laws could easily be a low hanging fruit. There is basically 40-45 state agreement on substantive law. Kill the magazine and assault weapons laws in all the remaining bad states and let gun culture flourish.

    Slightly more of a reach is removing short barrel stuff and suppressors from the NFA.

    1. Jim, ok but those harsh punitive measures have to be placed on the individual person violating the law–no “sovereign immunity” here.

      1. You can waive sovereign immunity in a statute. Where do you think 1983 suits come from? Section 1983 of title 42, aka the civil rights act. Just put a treble award of attorneys fees in there and you’ll start a lawyer stampede every time NJ tried to screw over an out of state gun owner.

        1. The states and federal government can waive their own immunity by statute. But the federal government can only waive a state’s sovereign immunity via the 14th Amendment.

          1. That’s not a meaningful restriction… and even if it were a meaningful restriction, protecting the exercise of the right to keep and bear arms would fit under that.

  7. Offenses I would like to see specifically enforced.
    Theft of a Firearm
    Possession of a stolen Firearm
    Transfer of a stolen Firearm
    Possession of a stolen firearm by a prohibited person (bonus time)
    Transfer of a stolen firearm to an underage or prohibited person (more bonus time)
    Most of this is illegal already but specific penalties for these specific violations would give teeth to laws that have the potential for doing some actual good.

    1. These two are a bad idea:
      1)Possession of a stolen Firearm
      2)Transfer of a stolen Firearm
      How many collectors / owners of firearms do you know who can say with certainty that every firearm they possess has never been stolen? My answer would be none. The only way to know for sure is if all your firearms were bought NIB from a retailer.

      1. A set of points I had not considered. I would entertain amendment to my list based on that. Focus on the prohibited persons possession and transfers.

        1. For this to work properly, there would have to be a national database, that ANYONE could access, to check for a stolen/lost status of a firearm.

      2. @ Jim: Just add a mens rea provision – i.e., “knowingly possessing/transferring a stolen firearm.”

        1. I like “knowingly” as a modifier. A national database of “Reported Stolen Guns” I would have no problem with. police reports and insurance info filed, up it goes to the database.

  8. Good timing Sebastian.

    That is a timely post because there is a decent chance of having a pro-gun president AND a pro-gun congress in 2017. So passage of FOPA part 2 is a realistic possibility for the next Congress.

    Best to start brainstorming now about what that legislation should do.

  9. Well…for all intents and purposes, the registration would be complete. However, there would still be no records for home-made firearms.

  10. I’ve been thinking more about my suggestion above re: 40 state agreement issues and I think this might actually be a great template moving forward because it should result in low resistance in the house and senate. If something is already the law in 40-45 states, you would think it would be easy to force through a federal law forcing the remaining states to follow suit, no? Why would the average senator oppose a federal law mandating shall issue in someone else’s state or prohibiting another state from limiting magazine capacity?

    What issues currently have 40+ state agreement that would be good areas for federal legislation?
    1) Florida style concealed carry is currently the law in nearly every state? Why can’t we get 80-90 senators plus a majority of the house of representatives on board for a federal reciprocity and a national shall issue mandate?

    2) Semi-auto bans (of any sort) are the law in a tiny handful of states. CA, CT, DC, HI, MD, MA, NJ, NY is it. Why can’t we get 85 senators and a majority of the house on board with a federal prohibition on states banning any types of firearms not prohibited under federal law?

    3) Magazine size limits are the law in a tiny handful of states. 8 plus DC. CA, CO, CT, HI, MD, MA, NJ, NY is it. Why the hell can’t we get 84 senators and 400+ representatives on board for a federal prohibition on states limiting magazine capacity?

  11. Reciprocity may actually be one of the less optimal issues to push federally. A lot of states don’t actually recognize permits from other states, which might indicate lack of real passion for the issue. One side issue that comes to mind is that if we had national reciprocity without nation-wide mandated shall-issue, law enforcement attitudes towards carry in places like NYC and NJ would still be extremely hostile- ie, it still wouldn’t be practical to carry in NYC on a FL permit even if it were legal under federal law. I think what we really need is a federal shall-issue mandate to be put in place and then do national reciprocity 5-10 years later.

    Look at the current situation:
    Only about half the states have universal or near-universal recognition of out-of-state permits. Some have reciprocity that is dependent upon the cooperation and good will of the executive branch to function, like PA. Some, like Florida, only have tit-for-tat reciprocity, which makes them vulnerable to left wing AGs or governors yanking reciprocity agreements. Some states don’t appear to have any sort of reciprocity laws in place at all.

    Currently, CA, CT, HI, IL, MD, MA, NJ, NY, OR, RI, DC don’t recognize out of state permits at all.

    DE, ME, NV, NH, PA, SC, VA, WA recognize a small subset of out-of-state permits. And then there are places like FL, CO, etc that have have far from universal recognition of out-of-state permits.

    My opinion is that a federal shall issue mandate would be an incredibly solid thing to push for. Considering the enormous percentage (90+) of states that are already shall-issue, this should slide right through THIS YEAR and be veto and filibuster proof. It would be a huge black eye to Obama and it would also give us a lot of moment in the bad states in the years to come. Reciprocity can wait until after the laws are harmonized across the states.

    1. I’ve got to agree with Jim, push for shall issue with reciprocity to follow. To many federal legislators will be reluctant to back reciprocity without including a higher training standard. They will get lots of anti pressure, and it would look badon paper. Further, states like PA might end up with a two tiered LTCF, one with no training for in state and a second with 16 hours for national carry. I’m all about training, but I can’t justify pushing that expense on a grandma living on a fixed income in Philly who has just as much right to protect herself as the rest of us. Now if the Feds paid for the classes…

      One of my other pet peeves is gun free zones. Courts, I’ll give them that, but churches, schools, and post offices have got to change (churches are private property, let them decide on their own). An argument similar to those made for state preemption could be made on the federal level: varying state laws result in harmful prosecutions of mistakes made without ill will (mens rae).

      I’m surprised no one has addressed open carry, or carry with no license. Are we all of the opinion that open carry should only be legal with a license? I like what Maine did, no shall issue required in the state. The only reason they still issue is to maintain reciprocity with other states.

    2. Except the last time this came up, National CCW got 57 senators to vote for it. I’m sure the House would vote even more strongly in that case.

      1. This.

        The federal government has a number of constitutional avenues by which it can act to enforce reciprocity of carry licenses.

        It’s a politically feasible legislative action, and once it’s done it will make it politically difficult for the remaining leftist gun-free utopia states to maintain anything more restrictive than a shall-issue permitting regime.

        This, in turn, will tend to make it easier to be/become a gun owner in these states, which in turn will increase the number of gun owners. This in turn allows the demographics to shift in our favor, which will help us make further legislative gains in these states in the years to come.

  12. Major rollback of gun-free zones. We don’t allow property rights to trump civil rights in any other area and we shouldn’t here either. For public facilities, I get that prisons are sensitive areas but libraries and the DMV?

  13. The only thing I would add is that I would get rid of NFA. If OSHA wrote run rules, suppressors would be a requirement for hearing protection. What the heck is the difference if my rifle is 8″ or my pistol is 8″? Civilians should be able to buy the same guns as law enforcement, including the giggle switch.

    The only thing that people overlook about background checks is *who is in the background check system*. 51% of the names are for unlawful illegal immigration. Another 20% or so are for non-violent offenses. If we legalize pot and grant amnesty, do people get their gun right back?

    Also, insofar as background checks: Sure, but if this were *really* about background checks, NICS would be open, free, on the internet, and anyone could do a simple search before selling a gun. Like a credit report. Criminal records are public anyway there is no privacy issue. If it’s mental health or state prohibition, it does not need to go into details.

    But, background checks are not about “background checks.” And, what we have in MD, NJ, and elsewhere goes well beyond background checks. Repeal those laws first then tell me about compromise.

  14. I would like to see the NFA reformed to at the very least use NICS instead of the archaic crap they use now. In the year 2016 there is no way that approval of a transfer should take multiple MONTHS.

  15. I’ll make it simple: De-list all items from the NFA, get rid of the ridiculous import laws/regs, and MOST IMPORTANTLY (note the caps) no restrictions on ownership of arms/arms accessories for those who were not convicted of a violent crime.

    That would be a good first step.

    Now, if a majority TRULY agree (and I don’t believe they do once you get down to specifics regarding private transfers) that “universal background checks” are needed, I’d offer it on the table as long as there is no paper trail/registration component and a private citizen can easily follow the law without payment for a right (i.e., any fees associated with conducting a check through an FFL).

    But, bottom line, if we are to truly believe that all we need is the UBC flavor of the week proposal to stop crime (even though the proof is out that it doesn’t) then I can live with that as well as long as the above is followed.

    As for carry, reciprocity is tricky, but I do think we should push for pre-emption of ownership first and foremost for arms and arms accessories. You need to normalize gun laws across the country so that even if you are carrying on another state’s license you aren’t nabbed for carrying a dubiously-defined “assault weapon” or “assault magazine”.
    or “assault bullet”. I’m looking at you, NJ, and DC.

    You simply cannot have any kind of reciprocity at the federal level as long as the conditions for ownership are not preempted at the federal level first and foremost. It’s gotta even be a pain for cops carrying on LEOSA permits.

    As for con carry, again, first let’s normalize gun ownership laws. We can bite that off after the “right to keep” part of the 2A is enforced by the state as a proper right.

  16. A simple fix but almost impossible to do would be to get a majority on the USSC and declare that strict scrutiny applies to to the 2nd.

  17. Federal statute establishing that guns and accessories u(1) sed in cmp service rifle/pistol, (2) federal le, and (3) state/local le are in common use and are not especially dangerous. Jurisdictions that ban or tac these items are either preempted under the 14th or at a minimum lose their federal funding. The compromise might be allowing some sort of shall issue scheme to be adopted by restrictive jurisdictions. That kills the awb and mag ban issues.

    National ccw reciprocity and a vehicle for those in may issue states to get some sort of permit (perhaps via an alternative, optional national program, or financial coercion against hold outs). We win with ccw.

    No federal funding for facilities that ban carry, unless all entranced are posted and secured by armed security with metal detectors. Repeal gfsza. Deals with gun free kill zones. Several states have used similar verbiage to kill local gfzs.

    NFA defanged, either via delisting or turning violation to a nominal infraction. Allow cash and carry with NICS.

    Something to protect ammo access.

    Allow sales across state lines.

    That would cover the bigger issues.

    1. All the felon-in-possession statutes rely on the herpes theory of the commerce clause. If you throw that out, because Congress used it to preempt the states, then you throw that entire regime into question.

  18. One I almost forgot. “Sporting purposes” needs to die yesterday. In light of Heller and McDonald that clause is facially unconstitutional anyway…

  19. I’d like to see the gun rights community start to actively push for a Coburn style DIY checks system. I think this has been viewed as an “in case of emergency break glass” proposal and if we can defeat their proposals without it, why bother. Though that may be true nationally, we have lost two states to Bloomberg’s statist bills that ban even temporary transfers. Passing a national bill that truly is an expansion of background check would take the wind out of Bloomberg’s sail, plus steer the debate to how the only thing they want to expand is the criminal code. The antis hate the DIY check idea, and it would be great to see the tables turned as they have to squirm around explaining why they are now suddenly against expanding background checks (assuming we can get at least some media acting like journalist who are willing to call Obama and company out).

    We also propose it as purely voluntary. They’ll of course gasp at the idea of a gun bill that doesn’t create new crimes, and we get to use their own “90% of gun owners want this” canard against them. “Are you telling me that the vast majority of gun owners want background checks, but also feel they need to be forced to use it by threat of federal incarceration?” We could expose how all they want is more crimes. Ask them why they think doing nothing is better than a voluntary, crime-free solution, especially given how they have been bleating for years about how we need to “do something” about gun laws, and the “do nothing” congress. We could take over the narrative with this.

    1. We already have a voluntary background check process for the private sales of rifles and shotguns in PA, and it prevents registration, which is something we all require. It’s just a matter of saying ‘I want to see your LTCF before I sell this to you’, and it works very well!

      1. This: pass a federal law codifying current NICS exemptions apply to all transfers, and cannot be overruled by state law.

        This would also have the effect of largely nullifying Bloomberg’s “UBC” push.

  20. Is there any way we can model an enforcement effort after the methods Congress used for drinking-age and 55-mph-speed-limits?

    Find some chunk of Federal funding for State law-enforcement and prisons. Have the funding denied if the State has a gun law which is felony-level, and which may entrap a visitor from out-of-state.

    (Do we have a Shaneen Allen-type case to wave around as a sob story?)

    The Federal law needs to have a clear measure for State laws.

    Thus, laws which match both of the following would dry up Federal funding.
    (A) assess criminal penalties for possession of gun/magazine/ammunition/ammo-components, if no other crime is in progress relative to possessing the object
    (B) put felony-level punishments onto citizens

    As an addendum, maybe make Federal Highway Funding disappear if the State/Locality doesn’t follow Federal laws about transporting firearms through a State.

    Would this enforcement be triggered by a citizen suing in Federal court, and showing that the State cops didn’t let them safely transit through the State with a firearm locked in the trunk?

    1. II like where you’re going with this.

      I’d further expand it to include automatic federal expungement of such “crimes.”

    2. LEO funds. Tell them police unions where their bacon comes from.

      To be fair, a lot of police unions have backed pro-gun measures. In MD, the state FOP went on the record against O’Malley’s gun control orgasm in 2013 and it was not easy on them.

      But cash flow is king and nothing says “No, really…” like telling a legislature they won’t get any more money to spend unless they do what you say.

      It’s sad the federal has such power, but the states are as guilty as the federal. Drug dealers would not be an issue if they didn’t have willing addicts to sell to.

  21. “Strong majorities favor banning crazy people,”

    Until someone reminds them of how Stalinists defined crazy.

    1. This is one of the problems that we run into with mental health reform. The ACLU and other advocates for the mentally ill (I was going to write “mentally ill advocates” but that isn’t quite right) convinced us that (1) sane people being committed was occurring far more often than it really was, and (2) we could better treat patients by “mainstreaming” them.

      It could be argued that this really is better for everyone, except perhaps for the homeless mentally ill and the occasional mass shooter…but even so, there is room for improvement for treating the mentally ill. At the very least, we shouldn’t have a standard for “danger to self or others” that permits a patient to starve herself to death, or requires a potential patient to literally hurt or kill someone first.

      But because we remember, for good reason, what Stalin did, and for that matter, what gun grabbers are trying to do right now, we need to be wary about how we expand the definition of “mentally ill” and what it does to our rights…

      1. What we need is for our laws to reflect reality.

        First, we need to destroy the legal theory that all forms of mental illness are forever. Most are temporary, and can be solved with professional intervention. There is no reason why someone should be continually treated as a danger to society when they have been properly rehabilitated.

        Second, we need to work to reduce barriers to care. While the above would go a long way, we also need to make it easier to compel people to seek care. Further, we need to seriously investigate means to make custodial care compulsory.

        Third, we need to shift our focus in the “war on drugs” from enforcement of prohibition to treatment of addiction.

  22. I don’t know how politically tenable this is, but I’d like to see background checks for long guns removed altogether. At the very least, perhaps we could start the ball rolling a little bit at a time.

    Indeed, two realizations pushed me into this direction. First, about every year, only 600 murders are committed by long guns; this makes them about 5 times *less* harmful than knives. This makes sense when you think about it: long guns are difficult to carry due to being, well, long and difficult to conceal, so they are inconvenient as a murder weapon. So, if rifles aren’t used as murder weapons, why are we wasting time and energy requiring background checks on these things?

    To further illustrate this point, consider that there are models of guns (mostly lever-action, but I think a couple of bolt-action as well) that aren’t considered firearms if their serial number dates to before 1896; these guns can be purchased by mail-order without a background check. The very fact that these guns aren’t used in crimes by criminals should indicate that requiring background checks for these same models of guns made *after* 1896 is pure folly! At the very least, we shouldn’t be doing background checks on these models of guns at all.

    I would further propose that as much as anti-gun types don’t like the idea of armed revolt against government, since they are so confident that this isn’t going to happen, surely they wouldn’t oppose the deregulation of the very types of guns–rifles–that would be most useful in such insurrections? They are barely used in crimes as it is! Let the paranoid gun owners have their rifles; after all, it is handguns that are the biggest problem in crime statistics…

    I’m not sure how this kind of reasoning can be expanded to handguns (except observing that most gun murders are committed by criminals carrying guns illegally anyway…) but I am nonetheless convinced that arguing about how useful background checks are anyway could start pushing us in the direction of gradually removing them altogether.

    1. Conflicts with my desire to do away with the SBS/SBR categories in the NFA (and consequently the legal difference between a handgun and a longarm). It’s a relic of the attempt to ban by punitive taxes any weapon capable of being concealed on the person, and the fallout of it on civilian defensive firearms design is ridiculous. WE have enough problems defining what category a “naked” receiver is.

      Face it, with NICS and a hard SLA on results (at least 3 nines of results in minutes, backstopped by default Proceed after a couple of days, 24×7 availability), BG checks aren’t going anywhere. Eliminating NICS checks is a fringe position right now.

      1. That’s fair. I hadn’t thought about the ambiguity between what makes a rifle or a pistol in thinking about my proposal; I think I’d favor removing these categories before supporting my claim, too.

        To further complicate matters, I’m not entirely sure how to make the transition from removing rifle background checks to removing pistol checks…and that does make me a little uncomfortable…

        (I think I would still support a removal of background checks on all models of guns that were originally designed before 1896, though. It’s hard to justify the claim that a gun is dangerous if it’s made after 1896, but harmless if made before.)

        One way to rehabilitate my proposal would be to define a gun as a pistol if it can easily be concealed, and uses pistol ammunition…but then again, the devil will be in the details, and those details have historically been difficult to sort out in a sensible manner…

        1. It’s easy: any firearm more than 100 years old is exempt from federal firearms laws, regardless of caliber or chambering.

  23. I would like to point out that we might get somewhere if we give ground on registration.

    The regime set up for automatic weapons in 1936 has a proven track record which now allows us to proudly proclaim legal owners of automatic weapons are not menaces to society.

    The procedures set up for class 3 licensing could be streamlined, cheapened, and expanded to all weapons in exchange for:

    1 – relief from all categorical bans and regulations (including full auto, which is important because the arms industry is moving in the direction of tiny caliber full auto “PDWs” that are pointless as semi’s).

    2 – that licensing system also serves as a national carry permit, whether concealed or open.

    3 – “infractions” not involving discharge of a weapon are reduced to misdemeanors applying to this license in the same way speeding does to a driver’s license.

    Despite the 1986 FOPA screwing with the original class 3 licensing scheme for no reason, none of the original weapons covered have been confiscated, and I really must contend: if they attempt to ban and confiscate later what difference does it really make compared to today? what use is secretly having a “banned” weapon if you are unable to maintain proficiency with it?

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