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Signs and Portents

Politico reports on what is alleged to be a White House proposal (PDF link) for increasing background checks. Only, something is kind of fishy about it. The Politico story quotes a White House spokesman

As far as the document circulating on the Hill, [Hogan Gidley, a White House spokesman] added: “That is not a White House document, and any suggestion to contrary is completely false.”

And when I actually read the (alleged) document, I have my doubts. It’s possible that the White House drafted a proposal that starts with the premise that there are Unlicensed Commercial Sales, and that there are commercial sellers who are not licensed dealers, but that doesn’t seem all that likely to me. Unless they’re expanding the definition of “commercial sales” to include all sales (there’s a reference to “Manchin-Toomey draft legislation” as well, which I haven’t seen the current iteration of).

Anyway, with the White House disavowing the proposal, and the Republican Senate refusing to move without clear guidance from the White House, things are looking a bit less grim? No reason to stop paying attention, though.

71 Responses to “Signs and Portents”

  1. Countertop says:

    This seems to me to be trying to come up with a compromise similar to what Senator Coburn (R-OK) tried during the Manchin Toomey debate. Coburn wanted to develop an app that a private seller could conduct a background check through prior to selling a gun without having to head off to a gun store and pay an outrageous transfer fee.

    As your aware, over the years Democrats have succeeded in reducing the number of FFL holders and have passed laws to make it difficult to be an FFL holder if you don’t have a retail establishment and/or actually engaging actively in the business of selling firearms. Kitchen counter dealers is the slur the Clinton’s used in the 90s to shut them down. That meant that if Toomey Manchin passed we would have, absent the Coburn compromise, would have had to go to a gun shop to run the transfer. Which was bullshit.

    Rather than provide an app, this seems to be setting up a new class of individuals who can do these transfers. In theory, they can create an app that handles the transfer (heck, last gun I purchased at Cabelas all the paper work was actually done via an app). But it seems the most likely candidate would be a gun club. Or really anyone else.

    Have to see where this shakes out. But from what I’ve seen and heard, I don’t think anything is moving on this issue anytime soon.

    • Ian Argent says:

      Immediately prior to seeing this article, I figured this issue to die quietly due to silence from the White House.

      Given that the White House disavowed the plan, I think it’s still likely to die that way, but not guaranteed.

  2. PeterO says:

    Saw context somewhere that “commercial seller” was anyone who posted an advertisement, in classifieds, print or online, or put up a sign at a gun show. That’s how they’re trying to make all the GunBroker/Facebook/guys walking at gun showetc posters go through a background check

    • Divemedic says:

      That is what I thought- this is aimed at Craigslist, GunBroker, ads on social media, etc.

      • Ian Argent says:

        IIRC Cragislist and most social media sites won’t take ads for weapons. I guess you could sell a gun via gunbroker without involving an FFL if you told your buyer where you lived and you were both residents of the same state, but most of that already goes through FFLs for the transfer, no?

    • aerodawg says:

      That’s a big leap from the current criteria of being in the “business” of selling firearms. IMO it’s a legally dubious leap to make. It would essentially be the only item where simply advertising as a private individual makes you legally a business retailer. If I sell my car second hand on craigslist, I’m not a car dealer, and neither am I if I do the same with a pistol or rifle

  3. Ian Argent says:

    Sounds like it might be an An Actual Compromise, then, instead of simply shafting gun owners.

    Even if it does appear that the one shooter who got his gun in a private sale after failing a BG check got it from someone who was illegally selling guns…

    • Richard says:

      It’s not an Actual Compromise unless they give us something we want. Taking less than they want is just delaying confiscation.

      • Ian Argent says:

        Private sellers being ABLE to make background checks is something gun people want. Being MADE to make background checks is not.

        • Richard says:

          I don’t trust the FBI not to retain the records with identifiers no matter who initiates the background check so I am underwhelmed by the proposal.

          • Ian Argent says:

            I look at this as “what’s the downside if they do retain?” (To a certain extent because I already believe they are effectively retaining.

            To be sure, my preferred option is something along the lines of non-FFL transferors may do a BG check on the receiver, and if they do they are immunized against the “known or should have known” provisions already in law. If you don’t, the transferor has gotta take their chances.

            • Richard says:

              Not that I am selling anything these days but if I were selling to a stranger, there are a couple of things I could ask for. A CCW is the obvious choice but there are others. Proof of employment by an employer that requires background checks like a school district. There are probably others like banks or private security (medical marijuana places have security). That way I get the benefit of NICS (such as it is) without engaging the government in any way.

              • Andy B. says:

                “A CCW is the obvious choice but there are others.”

                That is actually pretty clever, because a LEO of any kind wouldn’t need a CCW, so probably wouldn’t have one unless he/she was in deep cover and they had thought of everything.

          • Andy B. says:

            “I don’t trust the FBI not to retain the records with identifiers…”

            That’s what the Pennsylvania State Police do, even though the law explicitly prohibits them doing it.

            That was part of the gun control law the NRA sold Pennsylvania’s gun rights community on back in 1995, and the prohibition of cop record-keeping was a major selling point. Possibly I was the lone guy in the state saying the prohibition would never be obeyed or enforced.

  4. Joe says:

    Open up NICS to the General Public. Those Scumbags in The Brady Campaign and Bush 41 and Clinton Presidencies fought tooth and nail to ensure that could never happen.

    The only way I’m supporting UBCs is through that.

    • 342 says:

      That’s a gun registry right there.

      • Ian Argent says:

        Registry of owners, but NICS doesn’t record serial numbers. (That’s the 4473s)

        • 342 says:

          Thanks for the correction.

          Still not a good thing.

          • Ian Argent says:

            Not a good thing, but, barring the people who NEVER have bought a firearm from an FFL, the government can put together an Owner’s List any time they like. With only a little work, they could probably get a mostly complete list of the people who only buy paperless by looking for ammo and component purchases.

            I’m foursquare opposed to registration of firearms or licensing of owners, but I’m not going to pretend that both aren’t already possible.

            So opening up NICS to private sellers isn’t a big deal to me.

        • Mike Q says:

          It doesn’t even really register owners. It just registers people who thought about buying a gun at some point in their lives. Just because you did a background check doesn’t mean that you completed the sale and doesn’t mean that you still have the gun.

  5. Zermoid says:

    ” It’s possible that the White House drafted a proposal that starts with the premise that there are Unlicensed Commercial Sales, and that there are commercial sellers who are not licensed dealers”

    Well as far as I know it’s already illegal to be a commercial seller of firearms without a FFL, at least it was when I had mine back in the 90’s. If they are saying they know of unlicenced commercial sellers and they don’t arrest them isn’t that aiding and abbetting a crime?
    I believe there was a limit to the number of guns you could sell, thinking 20 a year but not certain, before you were considered to be dealing in firearms, and of course without a FFL you would not be able to order at wholesale thru the mail either.

    • Ian Argent says:

      Possible, but not plausible, was what I was going for.

      Per comments, in this case “commercial seller” appears to mean someone who posts an ad to sell a gun.

      (Which is, incidentally, illegal in NJ)

      And the examples given of Craigslist and FB are somewhat laughable, in that neither one takes gun ads by policy.

      • Divemedic says:

        The fact that the sites prohibit it means nothing. Just like closing the so-called gun show loophole, one of their boogie men is that guns are routinely sold on the Internet. This is aimed squarely at that.

  6. Andy B. says:

    Random thoughts are:

    A faulty White House document would seem to be an excellent way to float a trial balloon and yet have plausible deniability.

    Given that nobody in the White House knows or cares the first thing about guns or gun rights beyond their vote-harvesting value, technical faults and/or ambiguous language in a White House document addressing those issues would not surprise me in the least.

    Quite likely nothing serious will happen before the 2020 election(s). The Dems are pretty clearly unnerved by the sharp rebukes (even from their own base) of Beto’s gun ban ideas, and probably are realizing that gun issues could be their third rail for 2020. Expect a lot of posturing and no action from either side. Maybe enough action to make a plausible claim to have “addressed the problem” but nothing substantial.

    Emphasizing that it’s not what I want to see happen, tactically I would advise the Ds to dither but do nothing until November 2020 passes, and hope thereby to capture the Senate. Then if they hold the White House and both houses of congress, they can do as they damn see fit. But Ds are as guilty as Rs of looking at polls and equating numbers with voter-motivation, so they’ll likely believe that 90+ percent support for ideas in polls, will translate into votes. It won’t. (I have an Old Story to illustrate that, but I will forbear this time.)

    Watch the local elections this year as a barometer. In Pennsylvania this is a municipal election year. If Ds score big wins in (e.g.) county government row offices, that spells trouble for the Rs next year, barring unforeseen events. “Ideology” may not affect your Register of Wills office very much, but a D sweep of the courthouse row offices will indicate lots of voters pulling the straight-D levers, either to “send a message” to the Rs, or for no rational reason beyond being tired and bored by the daily Trump show.

    • Ian Argent says:

      If this was a trial balloon (and you make a plausible case) then I don’t think Trump sent it up – that’s not how he works. (His trial balloons are tweets; which he did have a couple on the topic).

      I’d put this on Barr himself, possibly with White House Staff input.

      • Andy B. says:

        I agree that it’s not Trump, because I suspect this is one of the few subjects where he knows he has no idea what he’s talking about. We may yet hear him make a major gaffe while standing on his hind feet next to a helicopter, or in a tweet, but I suspect right now he is feeling too trapped by the issue to risk saying anything substantial if has/takes a minute or two to think about it.

  7. Sigivald says:

    There totally are unlicensed commercial sales.

    They’re just illegal already.

    • Ian Argent says:

      I figured I didn’t need to do more than imply that in this crowd

    • Mike Q says:

      We’ve all seen “private sellers” who have tables at gun show after gun show. These people are in a legal limbo where they are probably doing too much business to really be private sellers but they don’t fit all the requirements for a FFL. If the background check winds up giving them a proper legal place that will probably be a net positive.

  8. dwb says:

    Been enough time now that I think I can say that you really should fix your links.

    http://onlygunsandmoney.blogspot.com/?m=1

    Is now https://onlygunsandmoney.com/

    • Will says:

      What!? You expect a blogger to update their blog list? Since the Mid 00’s, I think I’ve only seen this done maybe twice.

      I’ve learned to ignore these lists, and only use them to grab an address of a blog that a current blogger has referenced.

      I’ve picked up a virus clicking an old, abandoned link in a blogger’s list. They never seem to die, as they get grabbed because of a built-in audience, I suspect.

  9. tincankilla says:

    i know that we’re all used to jumping to defend 2A rights whenever anybody (esp republicans) suggests that they’re wavering, BUT Trump doesn’t operate that way. he signals, he weaves, he uses messaging to inflame and distract and defuse. Just imagine if you were stridently opposed to him, how completely aggravating and exhausting you’d find him to be!

    with him, messaging doesn’t matter the same way. he has a great polling and data org and I guarantee that they all know how 2A issues are now locked into total resistance at all levels.

    keep your powder dry and enjoy watching a master at work.

    • 399 says:

      “he has a great polling and data org and I guarantee that they all know how 2A issues are now locked into total resistance at all levels.”

      You had better pray you’re right because the other things he has locked the gun rights movement to at the hip are all shit, so we can’t support our rights without supporting total shit. As people have been saying, it’s not that we can prove he’s a Nazi, it’s that all the Nazis and white supremacists think he’s a Nazi, and they should know. Add that all the grifters know he’s a grifter, because he’s never associated very long with anyone who wasn’t a grifter, so now we also have to support grifters, like the people in the NRA management. If for some reason voters decide to turn their backs on fascism, grifting and treason, there’s a good chance our rights are going to go down the crapper with them. Even if the voters support fascism, grifting, and treason, you then need to pray that the U.S. can be the one nation in history where gun rights coexist happily with fascism. Other than those worries, I agree Trump looks like our Great White Hope and total resistance now means total rejection of all that’s decent.

      • HappyWarrior6 says:

        Stifle yourself, Edith. Your inner pANTIFA is showing…

        So you want a president 100% focused on expanding gun rights and divorcing gun laws from the pursuit of any other pet regulations? I am among the most optimistic but even I will say that isn’t going to happen. Presidents operate by building coalitions. If you want to start the gun rights party be my guest.

        Now if we’re talking about the NRA I’m in 100% agreement with you. I want my gun rights organization to represent 100% gun rights. That’s a valid argument. And they organization will also support the candidate who is close to 100% with them.

        • 399 says:

          “Presidents operate by building coalitions.”

          I got your coalition, right here.

          But now that you’ve mentioned it, consider that the Republican Party has probably done itself in for a couple generations with the coalitions it chose to embrace. What’s going to happen when we go from having 1.5 political parties, to having only one, even? The Republicans had a broad base until 2016, based on economic conservatism and social conservatism. The social conservatives’ days may have been numbered by demographics, but their pitch still had some good miles left on it. The much broader “center right” base was made up of economic conservatism. The Republicans have now shown they were totally full of shit on economics, by rushing to embrace Trump’s “populist” (“bullshit”) economics of protectionism, trade wars, and economic stimulus benefiting selected people. Does anyone even bother tracking how high the national debt and deficit is anymore? Just like the Dems, the Republicans are arguing that “deficits don’t matter” as long as they are for a good cause. So, good luck now going back and trying to win back that “center right” by going back to the old economic rhetoric they never meant in the first place. “Trickle down,” anyone? I’ll be the first one to agree with “building coalitions,” except I doubt the common sense of a building a coalition made up entirely of grifters and fucking morons.

          • 399 says:

            “Republican Party has probably done itself in for a couple generations with the coalitions it chose to embrace.”

            Cancelling their own primary elections has been a nice touch. When you can’t even form a coalition with your own party, I would say that points to problems. ;-)

            • Ian Argent says:

              There’s plenty of reasons NOT to run a primary; especially if it’s a lot of money wasted to answer a question already known.

              (Primaries are run by and for the parties – open primaries and CA’s “jungle” primary are both terrible in their own ways)

              • Andy B. says:

                “There’s plenty of reasons NOT to run a primary; especially if it’s a lot of money wasted to answer a question already known.”

                I’ll ring in on this subject because it involves a (voting) life-long pet peeve of mine:

                I think that’s bullshit, though I think you probably believe it and are just repeating it.

                At least here in PA — and I can’t speak for any other state — most of the cost of primary elections are paid by the taxpayer, even though many of the taxpayers (e.g., me, my whole life) cannot legally participate in them. Sure, the parties and candidates have to pay their campaign costs, and I wouldn’t be surprised to learn they may have to pay some printing coasts or whatever, but the entire expense of setting up and tearing down the polling places, etc., etc., is paid out of the public till.

                To turn this into one of my Old Stories, when I was Bucks County Libertarian Party chairman, we achieved “ballot status” in the county, only to learn that we still weren’t permitted, as a “minor party,” to participate in the primary elections. But, cost was not a consideration. They were Democrat and Republican special privileges.

                I could see declining from participating in a primary when there are no challengers, but if there are challengers, saying that the outcome is preordained is anti-small-d-democratic bullshit. And even if there are party-borne costs, one of the anti-democratic aspects is that it gives the party an advantage in the general election.

              • Andy B. says:

                I wouldn’t belabor this, but as I said it’s a life-long pet peeve of mine:

                Here in Bucks County, PA there have been times when no Republican candidate in the county had a primary challenger. Usually at the same time, there were offices for which no Democrat was running at all — not in the primary, not in the general election.

                Never, ever, have I heard a Republican complaining about the cost of participating in a primary. Since the expenses are paid by the public, they all consider it a worthwhile opportunity for self-promotion.

                I’m sorry if I seem to be turning insulting again, but that “cost of holding an election” (when there are challengers) sounds to me like bullshit that even the Soviets would have choked on — and I have relatives who grew up in the Soviet Union, who have told me how things worked there.

                • Ian Argent says:

                  I’m annoyed that the parties do not bear more of the costs of the primary elections, myself. I’d like to see the parties hire the election apparatus (a la off-duty cops moonlighting as security) simply because, while elections in the US are almost literally amateur night, they’ve got more experience at it than anyone else.

                  One of the reasons I think open and jungle primaries are terrible is because I don’t think the major parties should have special privileges.

                  • Andy B. says:

                    In Pennsylvania the staff at each polling place consists of a Judge of Elections, a Minority and Majority Inspector of Elections, and the machine operators. I doubt anyone does it for the money, which is nominal at best. In my experience the positions are usually held by sincere “civic minded” citizens and not necessarily party operatives.

                    At one time I worked a lot of election days at the polls for various reasons, but never as an “official.” I was known well enough to be allowed to hang out for the vote counts, even though I never had a “poll watcher’s certificate.” It was all pretty collegial. Anyway, in my neighborhood I never saw a need for a police presence, though Constables would often come and go during the day.

                    I have worked the polls in other states at times, and I’ve always found the citizens working at them to be sticklers about adhering to whatever the law was. Maybe that’s the last thing in the universe I remain naive’ about.

                    • Ian Argent says:

                      That’s why I called it “literally amateur night”. The cost I referred to isn’t the cost of the poll staff – as you note, they’re almost all volunteers; but rather the cost to deploy the voting equipment and set up the polls, etc.

                    • Richard says:

                      Just guessing you never did this in Philadelphia. Personally, I would feel unsafe trying to ensure that no one commits vote fraud there. As I recall, that is where the New Black Panthers incident took place.

                    • Andy B. says:

                      “Just guessing you never did this in Philadelphia.”

                      Actually I did, but it was in a Center City district where the voters were mostly upscale.

                      The only example I ever witnessed of “voter intimidation” was in my home polling place, where one time a Democratic candidate (a former county commissioner running for state rep or state senate, as I recall) had labor union members working the polls for her. They tried to project a union tough-guy image and mostly failed miserably. It appeared to backfire as the candidate (who I didn’t expect to win, anyway) got even less of the vote than I expected.

                      Poll-working is a skill that demands more than just handing out sample ballots. I won’t pretend to have had it, though I knew some of the basic tricks. But I have seen a minor party candidate actually win polling places, where he had skilled and experienced major party workers working on his behalf. Mainly they were familiar to the voters, who would vote the way they asked them to. Everywhere else he got 5 – 10 percent.

  10. Andy B. says:

    Watch making predictions. You can’t overestimate how stupid either of our parties or their leadership can be.

    A book was released on January 1, 1997, titled “The Last Democrat. Why Bill Clinton Will Be The Last Democrat Americans Elect President” It was coauthored by ten (I think) presumably eminent pundits. I found it plausible at the time, because I wanted to believe it. I never anticipated GWB, the Patriot Act, Iraq, or dozens of other factors and issues.

    Even if you find the Trump Era something you never could have imagined, that doesn’t mean something even more unimaginable can’t come along next year or next decade. Actually, it kind of proves it can, because you couldn’t imagine what we are seeing now.

    • Richard says:

      Predictions are hard, especially about the future.

      • Andy B. says:

        Predictions about the past (or, based on the past, anyway) are hard enough, when the past is being explained by contemporary conventional wisdom. That is usually the motivation for my “Old Stories.”

        Elmer Keith authored a book “Hell, I was There.”

    • Alpheus says:

      I never saw “The Last Democrat”, although I’m confident that if I had, I probably would have agreed with the sentiments.

      For that matter, when Obama was President, I remember seeing a book called “40 More Years” which made the case that Democrats will be in power for that long. I didn’t read the book myself, but I found it very arrogant, and seeing it in the public library made me rather angry. I was prepared to write an angry letter to the author about why he was completely wrong.

      Oddly enough, no one has been writing books like this about the Republicans with President Trump as President….and this, despite the fact that the Democrats are currently imploding before our very eyes. At most, everyone’s expecting four more years of Trump, but I have the impression that even those on the Republican side are asking themselves (when they think about it) “After Trump, then what? Will we ever be able to return to normalcy?” At times I wonder if the answer is “Civil war”. Heck, sometimes I wonder if we’ll even finish Trump’s second term before getting to that point.

      Having said that, over they years, I have been convinced that one party or the other is going to collapse on itself. There were years I thought it would be the Democrats, and other years I thought it would be the Republicans. And there were times I was eager for that to happen.

      Now? I think the Democrats are on the verge of complete collapse…but I sure as heck am not looking forward to it. I’d like to think that if they collapse completely, we’ll get something “sane” to replace it. (And being a libertarian conservative, I kindof hope that the party that replaces the collapsed one would be the Libertarian Party, but I don’t hold my breath for that!) Right now, though, I have a hard time seeing a major party collapsing, without it igniting a nasty Civil War….

      Maybe we’ll be lucky, and portions of California, Washington State, Oregon, and and New York will peacefully secede, and will leave the rest of us alone in peace, too…or maybe we’ll re-discover Federalism….but I’m not holding my breath for those outcomes, either….

      We live in Interesting Times. I would rather wish we didn’t.

      • Richard says:

        Federalism won’t work because the Left doesn’t support it except situationally. As soon as they have the power, they will override any deals they may have made when they didn’t have the power.

        Secession of the leftist enclaves is the best, non-violent solution assuming we are smart enough just to let them go. Google the Clinton Archipelago to see a map of the places that need to go away.

        • 399 says:

          “Google the Clinton Archipelago to see a map of the places that need to go away.”

          This is a sincere suggestion, the outcome of which I would not bet on, one way or the other. Find a similar map of where most federal income originates, net payers versus net takers, and overlay those. There is at least some chance those leftist regions would take a lot of the national income with them, and at the same time a lot of the rightist regions would discover what welfare cases they have been. I suggest that in the spirit of, the Confederacy’s collapse was virtually preordained by economics at the start of the Civil War, and only an early concession by the Union or subsidization by a foreign power could have saved them. An economic freeze on the red state region by banking interests in the blue states would probably count for more than anything else in a conflict, and I think support from any foreign entity would come with strings and soon be regretted.

          • Richard says:

            The Deplorables as a welfare case is a familiar leftist theme but don’t believe it. Financial wealth is always concentrated in the cities because since the days of Ur, the cities have exploited the countryside. Charge them the real market price for food, water, power, raw materials and see what happens.

            • 399 says:

              Like I said, I wouldn’t bet the farm on any outcome, but these things are fun to think about like if we were writing a future fiction novel or something. So for the sake of argument: Historically the cities have exploited the countryside because they can. Consider that the leftist areas are the home of the internationalists, and always have been. In terms of commodities, they can get them on the international markets for damn near any price they feel like paying. For example they could go to leftists in Venezuela for oil. Even domestic, non-corporate family farming in the leftist states could become viable again rather than being a gentleman farmer’s enterprise. The leftist states also tend to be the coastal states, so if things got really dicey they could impose a blockade (ala’ the Union during the Civil War, blockading England’s cotton trade with the Confederacy) or just impose huge pass-through tariffs or tolls if things aren’t quite on a war footing. To make this somewhat gun-related, consider that the Confederates were much better marksmen than the Union, which is why the NRA was formed by former Union officers in 1871, but prowess with weapons still didn’t count for much compared to economics.

              Your move chapter… :-)

              • Richard says:

                I am not anticipating the National Divorce resulting in a war. In fact, my advocacy is an attempt to avoid a war. I regard a civil war as inevitable if two irreconcilable groups keep trying to rule the whole polity. Sooner or later someone (probably the Left) will overreach, there will be a spark and its on. CW2 will be much worse than CW1 because there won’t be any front lines and the Victorian culture of not making war on non-combatants is long gone. There were episodes in CW1 that give a picture of what it will be like. Sherman comes to mind but his actions, while effective, embittered the South for a century. There were places, like Missouri, where the combatants were all mixed up and infested by outright bandits that will come closer to what I expect the next time but on a national scale. It will be something like the wars in the former Yugoslavia or the Russian or Mexican revolutions. Scaled up to the size of the US, there will be massive loss of life and the virtual destruction of the economy. And whoever wins, it will mean the end of the republic. The Left will have that as there goal and the Right will need to do it to win.

                If reconciliation between the parties were possible, this could be avoided. I don’t think it is. The divide is not only political but cultural as well.

                • 399 says:

                  “I am not anticipating the National Divorce resulting in a war.”

                  You may not anticipate it, but I would be very surprised if a war didn’t evolve out of it. What you define as “culture” borders on “religion” and in many examples either grows out of religion or more often religion is adapted to the cultures. I’m not a good enough historian to know all examples, but I’m not sure essentially opposing religions can coexist contiguously but separately on the same continent. I believe they can mix and have a strained coexistence, but they cannot get along separated without falling into open conflict, because both see themselves as doing God’s work. I think the Civil War is once again the example. Two Christianities, both explainable by economics, evolved in the United States. The southern Christianity found justification for slavery as an institution in the Bible. The northern Christianity opposed slavery and was abolitionist, also with appeal to the Bible. Events like Harper’s Ferry and the conflicts in Missouri were the precursors to the legalistic separation (secession/divorce) becoming violent, because there were too many overlapping interests that demanded government intercession to settle disputes, for example, who did Fort Sumter belong to and who was going to have a monopoly on deciding?

                  • Richard says:

                    One of the odd things about some conservatives is that they are absolutely convinced that they will win a civil war because guns but also convinced that they will lose an international war. But the enemy is the same people with the same international connections.

                    Me, I prefer to avoid a war and think there is a better chance if we are separate countries. There would be thorny issues as you point out but better that they be worked out at the bargaining table rather than the on battlefield or worse yet in all the neighborhoods.

                    Can you say that you think the differences between the sides can be reconciled. If so we can argue about that. If not, the question is how best to avoid a horrible disaster.

                    • 399 says:

                      Continuing in the same spirit of brainstorming a future fiction novel, something I think you are forgetting is that “red” and “blue” areas (let’s call them that) are far from homogeneous, and some of them are evolving and changing. Other than in very small enclaves, it is seldom that a candidate for one party will get a true super-majority of the votes and the other almost none. More often the spread is less than double-digit. We have few examples where one culture is truly dominant over the other, even if one culture usually prevails at the polls. What that means is that “divorce” as a metaphor does not really apply, and a substantial portion of the population would be in a large and very substantial minority. How do we decide who “gets custody” of states, counties, whatever? Require a referendum for which way the population wants to go, requiring some sort of super-majority? What do we do with those states or counties that can’t achieve that super-majority, either way? And even if a super-majority wins, how long will it be before the minority become identified as bothersome “troublemakers”? Do we then undertake “ideological cleansing”? Then will the states or counties that went in the other direction, take action to defend the human rights of their ideological allies, and violence result?

                      I tell you, we have the makings of a great novel shaping up, here! ;-)

  11. Ian Argent says:

    Well, it looks like all the oxygen got sucked out of this room by A Bigger Fish.

    • Miles says:

      And sometimes it makes you wonder if both sides breathed a sigh of relief because of that ‘bigger fish’.

      As divisive as impeachment is (if actually done, as opposed to being merely the subject of continual grandstanding) all the standard operational politicians remember the past that informs them that a real gun control bill actually getting passed would be positively detrimental to their staying seated at their cushy place on the .gov gravy train and their party remaining in the majority.

      Unless and until the House proceeds to a floor vote on impeachment, it’s nothing but chimpanzees howling at the edge of their territory.

      • Ian Argent says:

        The vast majority of politicians would prefer not to be on record voting on this issue, based on previous behavior.

  12. Richard says:

    @399
    We seem to have exceeded the limit for back and forth comments so I am starting a new one.

    A lot of the census and voting data indicates that a great sort is going on in the population with areas becoming more homogeneous, not less. This is especially true in big blue cities though the foundries seem to be moving out into the inner, older burbs. At the same time though, the exurbs are spreading probably in reaction to this. My little slice of country which is somewhere between rural and exurb, is so Republican that the last legislative election was won 2:1 by the Republican even though he was a dead pimp. On the flip side, Denver where I used to live elected an avowed communist to the City Council. There may be a lot of closet conservatives in big cities because it is dangerous to be out there. Leftists in suburbs/rural areas are easier to find because they are not in danger. There is apparently a trend of Millennials leaving the cities. Are they taking their politics with them as they flee taxes, bad schools and outlandish housing prices or are their politics changing as they age? Nobody knows.

    You are correct that residential patterns are complicated but I would rather have it sorted out by negotiations than by violent ideological cleansing. You really haven’t answered my question as to whether you think the differences can be reconciled. That is really the key question because if the answer is no, we are headed for civil war.

    The Left has never been interested in anything other than the destruction of conservatives. The Right of Bush and Romney was probably OK with surrender on the installment plan. Trump’s Right not so much.

    • Ian Argent says:

      Which states have multiple-seat single-party congressional delegations? (Obviously the 3-EV states have a single-party House delegation, but even then I’m not sure they ALL have a single-party Senate delegation?)

      Cities vs Rural cannot divorce.

    • 399 says:

      “You really haven’t answered my question as to whether you think the differences can be reconciled.”

      My apologies. I think a reason I forgot to answer was, that my answer is a not very satisfying “it depends.” It depends very much on whether the differences have transitioned from being just “cultural,” to being semi-religious. That is, believed to be true just because they are true as a given, and no deeper analysis required. At the moment I’m thinking of Sebastian’s frequent emphasis on recruiting young people into the “shooting culture.” That is, creating a culture where it may not have existed before, in order to preserve a culture we believe in as almost a religious matter. “Cultural recruitment” if you will. But that also reminds me that within our own culture, Sebastian often makes a distinction between generational shooting activities, that activities that appealed to the older shooters no longer appeal to the younger shooters. That is a trivialized example of a “culture” itself evolving. A final thought is that one man’s “propaganda” or “indoctrination” is another man’s “cultural recruitment” or maybe even “evangelizing.” Not very satisfying for an answer, just a longhand way of saying “it depends.”

      • Richard says:

        I lived through 1968 and I think the vitriol is worse now than then if the violence hasn’t ramped up to that level yet. Obviously, I didn’t live through 1860 but I have read a lot. I think we are not at that level but it is trending there. I do think it has reached your religious level on the Left. Not there yet on the Right but moving that way. So I think things are irreconcilable.

        • 399 says:

          “I do think it has reached your religious level on the Left.”

          Ironically though it is the right that is joined at the hip with the literally religious, and presents things in terms like “God given rights,” while characterizing the left as “godless.”

          • Richard says:

            The Left has religion. Both Socialism and environmentalism reach that level of belief for them.

            The phrase “God given rights” has an alternative rendering which is natural rights. They are the same thing and which is used is mostly a statement of the speaker’s formal religious affiliation or lack there of.

            It only takes one side to start a war assuming the other side fights back. I think the Left will do that if they ever gain power again which I think they will at some point. But it doesn’t really matter who starts it except to the history books and the winner will write those. It will be the same disaster in either case. This is why planning for separation must start before it is too late. Once the shooting starts, it will be most difficult. I should say widespread shooting because the Left has already started (Scalise).

            • 399 says:

              In my opinion you are making a mistake by attributing too much difference between the left and the right. They both use the same tactics, though there will be small differences in the degree they will apply them from time to time. Sometimes one will be “better” and the other will be “worse.” Continuing to use religion as our example, “right wing Christianity” is pretty similar to “liberation theology” in terms of commitment and tactics. For a more everyday example, both left and right are probably about equal in using front groups to advance their agendas right now. Failing to recognize that makes you susceptible to manipulation by whichever side has gotten to your first and persuaded you of their own virtues and the pure evil of the opposing side. Usually that is the purpose of the aforementioned front groups. Usually “evil” tactics are attributed to the opposing side, even though knowledge of those tactics predates even Machiavelli or probably the Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians.

  13. Andy B. says:

    Something everyone seems to avoiding above is the proverbial “800 pound gorilla in the room”. The efforts of Russia and possibly International Fascism in general to foment secession and a civil war in the United States.

    That has been going on for a long time. Both left and right having been falling for it. On the left, perhaps the best examples are “sanctuary” cities and states. On the right it is manifested by the issues (including gun rights) for which red states have passed or attempted to pass “nullification” laws stating that federal authorities will have no authority over certain issues, some going so far as to dictate that federal officials can be arrested and imprisoned for attempting to enforce federal law. As an old timer, I can recall a time when that might have been construed as illegal advocacy of “the violent overthrow of the United States” (arresting an imprisoning federal officials seems to imply violence), but now certain factions regard it as “patriotism.” (See, “Constitutional Sheriffs” declaring themselves the ultimate law enforcement authority in the nation.)

    My dad always told me to watch out for those kids who would go around advocating “why don’t you and him fight?” But if we are first convinced we are perennial victims, and then are convinced that our position (“culture”) will be served or defended by a fight, we become suckers for it.

    • 432 says:

      “On the right it is manifested by the issues (including gun rights) for which red states have passed or attempted to pass “nullification” laws stating that federal authorities will have no authority over certain issues”

      It is a fact that federal authorities do not have authority over certain issues. That is federalism, and is written into the Constitution.

      Please read James Madison in the Federalist, number 45:

      “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the Federal Government, are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State Governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negociation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will for the most part be connected. The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects, which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties and properties of the people; and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.”

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