Featured Post

It’s Time for Hunters to Participate in the Gun Conversation

At the start of this post I will ask readers for a bit of patience with the narrative path I would like to take. I need to share a bit of history in order to arrive at the present day. The (brief) story I would like to tell is about wildlife conservation in the United States and I promise, it’s a happy tale.

Many Americans, living in a time of wildlife abundance today, do not understand how close we were to losing it all at the start of the 20th century. At that time, market hunters, who killed wild animals in great numbers for fur, feathers and meat, had hunted some species into extinction while others were in real danger of suffering the same fate. 20th century policy makers, among them giants like Teddy Roosevelt, saw a need to protect wildlife if it was going to be there for future generations. They began the process of rallying American sportsmen to the cause of conservation. By 1918, market hunting had been ended through a series of federal laws and the hunting of many species was outlawed. The damage was stopped, but restoration efforts would still take decades to reverse the damage already done. What was needed was the funding required to restore our natural resources.

Fast forward to 1937. In the middle of the Great Depression, American sportsmen came upon a solution to the much needed funding problem and supported passage of the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act of 1937, known by most hunters as Pittman-Robertson (the two men that sponsored the bill in the House and Senate). The bill diverted a pre-existing excise tax of roughly 11% on all firearms and ammunition to conservation and restoration efforts. At a time when many people would have liked to have had that money back in their own bank accounts, they instead chose to fund efforts that in many cases would not pay off until their grandchildren were in the woods. Today, nearly all of the money that goes to supporting wildlife in the United States comes from hunters and fishermen (the latter coming on-board with Dingle-Johnson in the 1950s). Every hiker, skier, canoeist, etc that marvels at the abundance of wildlife in our country today, is benefitting from money generated mostly from guns and ammunition. How much? The 2017 fiscal budget received $750 million dollars from Pittman-Robertson.

So how does all of this relate to gun control? Well, I could write thousands of words here about how proud I am to be part of the community of sportsmen and women that quite literally put our money where our mouth is when it comes to conservation. Likewise, I am proud to be part of a community that, in my anecdotal experience, is incredibly reasonable when it comes to guns. What I wish, though, is that we were more willing to talk about them.

In the last week, there has been a predictable response from many that it’s time for the NRA to get out of the way of new gun legislation. While I agree that the NRA has been obstructionist at times, they have also done an incredible amount of good. Gun safety and hunters’ education programs (the latter also funded by Pittman-Robertson) have both been made better by the involvement of the NRA. Likewise, at a time when the numbers of hunters and recreational shooters are declining, the NRA allows us to still have a powerful voice in the halls of Congress. For every high-profile piece of lobbying that draws the scorn of the anti-gun crowd, they are also quietly doing things that benefit responsible gun owners. So while we need to add other voices to the conversation, the NRA still deserves to be one of them.

At the same time, conservation groups that I tend to favor with my donations are doing the Lord’s work mostly outside of the public’s eye. Groups like Ducks Unlimited, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Teddy Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, Quail Forever, National Turkey Federation, and a host of other groups are spending public monies and private donations on habitat and animal restoration while also advocating for hunting and fishing regulations that ensure these natural resources remain plentiful. These groups are also hosting programs that introduce new hunters to the sport, which includes gun education.

This is a point I have made in previous essays, but for so many of us in the hunting community, guns are not the focal point of our sport. We stray into conversations about guns frequently, but often we would rather talk about the 10-pointer we saw or the flock of ducks that came into our decoys on a string. And for many of us, our gun collections don’t look like the guns found at the scenes of high-profile mass shootings. There is more wood on our guns and less tech. Magazines, if visible at all, are small (hunting regulations usually limit ammo capacity). What’s also true is that we don’t buy ammo by the case because many of us rarely shoot targets. We put a few rounds through our rifle or shotgun before the season to make sure everything is in working order, and the rest remain un-fired until we are ready to bring home dinner.

You will often hear from sensible folks on the Left that they aren’t interested in taking guns from hunters. I believe that. But slippery slopes sometimes being a real thing, hunters still fear new gun regulations as the first step towards taking away our sport. At the same time, I think many of us also want to have a private talk with our friends who like those tactical rifles with the flash suppressors and 30-round magazines and tell them they aren’t doing any of us favors on social media. And if you don’t believe me, follow ten hunters and ten recreational shooters on Instagram and see who brings up the 2nd Amendment first. Better yet, count how many times they show an American flag in their feed. The hunter would rather share pictures of backstraps on the grill than wrap themselves up in Old Glory.

And for the record, why should hunters worry about the 2nd Amendment? The Left has already told us our pastime is safe and hunting is part of American culture…until it isn’t. Ask a golf pro at your local country club what their membership is like these days. Kids don’t play golf. Stores that sell golf equipment are struggling. Meanwhile, the numbers of hunters are also shrinking. And we know that guns are being concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, even if there are more and more guns out there (over 300 million is the most popular estimate but no one really knows). As a hunter, it’s easy for me to be happy about this. Less competition on Opening Day and less trucks parked at the trailhead of my favorite public spots. But I also realize that means less allies and eventually, there will be a critical mass of people who have so little connection to guns or shooting sports that they will gladly sign away the right to gun ownership so they feel safer when they are at a concert. And I would understand it when they did because that story has repeated itself in American history over and over.

So what to do? It’s time for sportsmen to quit hiding from the gun conversation. We don’t have the luxury of sitting in a quiet corner of a bar and debating whether a .270 or .30-06 is the best caliber for whitetail (for the record, it’s the .270). We don’t get to point to our guns stored responsibly in a safe in the basement and say, “None of this is my fault.” It’s time for us to step up like our grandparents did in 1937 when they agreed to pay it forward so we would have an abundance of game in 2017. As Steven Rinella puts it, “We’re living in the good old days of hunting right now,” but if we don’t show a willingness to have difficult conversations, the legacy we may leave our children is the removal of firearms from our sport.

What I plan to urge my elected representatives to do is to invite sportsmen and women to the table. I want to see every major conservation group represented. At the same time, invite federal and state fish & wildlife departments, recreational shooters, ammunition manufacturers, firearm companies and yes, even the NRA. Everyone gets an equal seat  and everyone gets heard.

I can tell you this today…a majority of Americans, many of whom are gun owners, believe it’s time to change our laws. Items like gun registration and ending the gun show loophole should be considered. We just need the right people, people who responsibly represent gun ownership, to talk to each other and show the rest of the country we understand their fears. And we have to resist the urge to talk down to them. Yes, many of them need to be educated, but we can do that respectfully. Outside of the spectacle of a public conversation, I would urge gun owners to calmly talk to their friends about guns when their friends give them the opportunity. And if you’re like me, you might even need to sit down with your spouse and address their concerns too. It’s the least we can do.

I for one welcome the conversation on guns in the coming weeks and months and I hope it has legs this time. It’s long overdue, and I have to believe, much like the folks who passed Pittman-Robertson 80 years ago, that we can find common ground.


Associate Editor
Home Page Public Email Facebook YouTube Instagram 

Mike Dwyer is a writer in Louisville, KY. He writes about culture and the outdoors for Ordinary Times. He is also one of several Kentucky authors featured in the book This I Believe: Kentucky. Mike is active on Facebook and Instagram. He lives with his wife and daughters in the distant suburbs, at the place where neighborhoods give way to farms and forest.

Please do be so kind as to share this post.
TwitterFacebookRedditEmailPrintFriendlyMore options

477 thoughts on “It’s Time for Hunters to Participate in the Gun Conversation

  1. I really appreciated reading this, as someone who was raised in a hunting culture (I read every single one of my Poppy’s Field Notes magazines until I went away to college) and who is both pro-hunting-at-least-most-of-the-time and pro-gun-control.

    Thanks, Mike!

    Report

  2. I second Maribou’s comment. I came from a rural culture, not really a gun culture per se, but a culture where a rifle was just another tool on the farm. Most pickups had a gun rack.

    The NRA of 2017 is nothing like the NRA that sponsored the hunter safety course I took in eighth grade. I don’t doubt that they still do things benefiting sportsmen and women like you, but Wayne LaPierre and Ted Crapped-my-pants-to-dodge-the-draft Nugent ain’t doing you any favors in the PR department. Perhaps you should stage a coup?

    Anyway, thanks for this and may I say that I sincerely wish folks like you and Oscar were the face of gun-rights advocacy.

    Report

  3. People simply are not going to tolerate sweeping gun policy changes. Somebody is always going to ruin all the arguments in favor of more controls with statistical arguments showing why they either aren’t needed, or won’t have any effect.

    Report

  4. I think the sentiments are nice, and maybe I’ve become too cynical, but I’m not sure a real policy conversation is possible. It might be in other parts of the country, but I’m in hostile territory. I was subject to a wild eyed rant from my boss earlier in the week about gun control where he exposed his near total ignorance of firearms, firearm laws, and his disdain for opposing views. You’d almost think we didn’t live in a state that enacted a bunch of the items on the gun control wish list after Sandy Hook (no discernable impact on gun violence of course).

    As usual I sat there quietly and let him assume I agreed. And for the record I’m sure there are plenty of people out there in red America who have seen the mirror image, which I think is just as dumb and unpersuasive.

    I’d like to be able to have a reasoned conversation. There are a number of policy changes I’d concede to under the right circumstances, where the very limited impact legislation would have might be worth it. But the last thing I need is people assuming I’m crazy or dangerous. I’d like to think there are others who agree but the entire issue has gotten so wound up in tribal divisions I don’t know where we go from here.

    Report

      • Closing the gun show loophole, tightening up the NICS system into a real universal background check, tiered licensing and training schemes (free of charge or cheap and available for any citizen over 18), civilian oversight of some kind (law enforcement can’t be trusted). I’d also be open to some type of gun club requirements where you have to show your face periodically.

        Depending on the kind of concessions I could get in exchange I might even go farther but there would need to be trust building along the way.

        Report

          • It’s really an outdated/inaccurate term. It’s referring to lack of federal regulation over transfer of firearms between private individuals in the same state. Maybe this once was something that happened at gun shows but like you I’ve never been to one where sellers weren’t FFLs.

            Report

              • I don’t disagree but I still think it’s bad policy. Mike asked for good faith discussion and for the types of reforms I would consider. If getting rid of it stopped the Brady campaign from insinuating that out back behind every event some guy is passing out guns to psychopaths it’d be worth it.

                Report

          • C’mon @george-turner… I feel like you know the answer here. I’ve bought and sold guns at shows that were never documented. Several were to guys that had a table full of guns but were technically a private sale because they weren’t a licensed dealer.

            Report

            • That hasn’t been fixed because the solution is to allow everyone to run a federal background check on anyone they might want to sell a firearm to, which is any neighbor, acquaintance, or anyone who wants to date their daughter. That’s worse than the problem.

              Report

              • This is very easy to fix.

                Gun seller needs an id code(like a public key in encryption) that they give to the purchaser.

                Buyer enters the public key & their information including their “private key” or PIN number privately on the form. Check gets processed and results are sent to the seller they had to authorize.

                Seller checks photo is to match you to background check and completes the sell.

                There now only the seller you chose can see the results.

                Report

                • One problem is that the buyer and seller are both in their 70’s and the person handling the government end used to work at the DMV.

                  The second problem is that it’s easier to just give the buyer the gun in return for cash or some other gun in trade, or a combination thereof.. This has gone on for so long that a huge number of guns do not trace to their current owners, and in some cases are five owners off from their paperwork, which might date to the 1970’s. Why give the government an update on something that’s none of their business? That’s just stirring up potential trouble.

                  Now, you could say it’s a new legal requirement, but the assault rifle registration in Connecticut had dismal cooperation. Of an estimated 350,000 rifles, only 50,000 got registered, and of an estimated 2 million high capacity magazines, about 40,000 were registered. It seems most Connecticut gun owners are willing to be felons rather than complying with a law they view as unconstitutional.

                  Report

                    • Yeah, this doesn’t seem that complicated to me. If you are selling/trading weapons and don’t comply with federal laws regarding licensing then you should be arrested and go to jail.
                      I understand that’s not how the culture has operated in the past, but it’s a pretty crazy thing to tolerate if you’re starting from zero.

                      Report

                      • How do you intend to get a conviction?

                        Bud sells a rifle to Joe. The police find the rifle while searching Joe at a traffic stop.

                        Q: “Where’d you get the rifle?”
                        A: “Some guy left it at my house.”
                        Q: “Who?”
                        A: “No idea. Never seen him before. We’d been drinking in a bar and swung home after it closed.”
                        Q: “Why did he leave the rifle?”
                        A: “Don’t remember. We was awfully drunk. Might’ve been a bet.”

                        The police check the serial numbers and the rifle traces to Fred.

                        Q: “Did you give a rifle to Joe?”
                        A: “Who is Joe?”
                        Q: “They guy who had your rifle.”
                        A: “What rifle?”
                        Q: “This one, serial number 12873”
                        A: “Oh, I sold that thing twenty years ago.”
                        Q: “Who to?”
                        A: “Some farmer from Iowa. Don’t remember the name.”

                        Report

  5. If sportsmen are anything like me, I’m betting part of the reason they aren’t such an active part of the conversation is sheer mental/emotional exhaustion.

    I got these guys to the left screaming at me about loving my guns so much I’m OK with kids and innocent people getting killed, and those guys to the right screaming at me about how I don’t love freedom and I want everyone to be defenseless from the vast dangers out there…

    And now I just want a Tylenol and a nap because both sides have given me a fecking headache.

    Report

  6. Good points, but a few decades too late.

    I’m probably as far to the “left” as any reader of this site, and I personally have exactly zero objection to hunting, and zero objection to hunting with guns. Deer are tasty!

    But that stopped being the point sometime in the last century. That a rational conversation about gun control might be productive died in the 1970s or 80s. Now it’s just a matter of: which side are you on?

    The point today is that it may come down to hunters vs. more than 30,000 gun deaths annually. I’m sincerely sorry if you lose your hobby (or have to switch to bow & arrow), but I’m not willing to sacrifice the lives of tens of thousands of people to preserve your hobby.

    Are you?

    Report

  7. I see no reason to believe that the War On Guns will play out any differently than the War On Drugs (if enacted, of course).

    The only thing I see happening is that the Tamir Rice shooting becomes a good shoot.

    Edit: but if banning a handful of tacticool cosmetic enhancements will make people feel better, perhaps that’s the best course of action. (It just won’t change much of anything. But feeling better ain’t nothin’.)

    Report

    • I see no reason to believe that the War On Guns will play out any differently than the War On Drugs (if enacted, of course).

      We’ve already seen signs of that. The rationale for New York’s “stop and frisk” program was finding illegal weapons (and any other contraband was just a bonus), and sweeps for illegal guns were a recurrent theme in civil rights abuses by the Chicago PD.

      I’m half-convinced that a serious effort to get rid of guns would make gun violence in this country worse, not in a daft John Lott way, but in a breakdown of order way. It will (further) degrades trust in the police in the most vulnerable communities, leading more people to take matters into their own hands, while law enforcement becomes (even) less able to intervene effectively before the shooting starts.

      I don’t think it will do much harm to ban bump stocks and 100 round magazines and other Stupid Gun Tricks, and may even help a little bit at the margins to mitigate the atrocities, but the vast majority of the 12 000 gun homicides a year are a very different sort of problem.

      Report

      • I think youre absolutely right. None of the proposals I ever hear (including mine above, which I reiterate I’d only support in certain circumstances and if concessions from the other side were on the table, which they never are) would impact the gun homicide rate much. If we tried mass criminalization of firearm possession I see no reason that would go any differently than other times we’ve tried mass criminalization of any other commodity.

        Report

      • I’m half-convinced that a serious effort to get rid of guns would make gun violence in this country worse, not in a daft John Lott way, but in a breakdown of order way.

        I agree with this 100%. Here’s something else for you to add into your “how will this play out for real?” daydreams: A judge ruled just a countable number of days ago that it was unthinkable that a heroin dealer wouldn’t have had a gun on him.

        Report

        • If people wanted to try things other than gun control to address the violence issue that would be great.

          So for a moment table what I think on guns etc.

          Murders happen for reasons and he FBI tracks those.

          Largest reason by a huge factor? Arguments.

          Non-gun related solutions: classes on conflict resolution, PSAs, your even better idea

          As has been said biggest category of gun deaths is suicide. Make a real push with funding for prevention and an investment in mental health. I don’t know what it costs but we lose way too many this way.

          Third category: solve murders. There is more than one city where the solve rate is below 50%. So a coin flip whether a killer stays free or not. I don’t care what the penalty is knowing you can get away with the crime means it isn’t a deterrent.

          Report

          • A gunshot is extremely loud. A smart phone can hear them. A smartphone knows its own GPS location. If it’s not out in the woods (hunting) and not on a known farm or gun range, it could automatically send a tip to police saying “Hey, I was just in really close proximity to a gunshot. Here’s the audio. Frankly, judging by my shock and motion sensors surrounding the gunshot, I think my owner might have shot somebody and then ran off.”

            Report

  8. Well, there are a couple of things that I feel would go a long way, mainly as they would combine things from both sides. Several states have instant check processes, like Virginia or Oregon. Adopt that nation wide and you could make serious headway with personal sales while not engaging in the business (the “loophole”) Have online, easy, instant ownership transfers. Interstate CCW reciprocity (under Full Faith and Credit.)

    But all that brings me to another point, are you sure that what you want is what hunters the nation over want? I know some who would welcome greater GC, and some who wouldn’t.

    Report

  9. But slippery slopes sometimes being a real thing, hunters still fear new gun regulations as the first step towards taking away our sport.

    The way to make sure no one takes away your sport is taking positive action to make sure your sport is different from what happened in Las Vegas, or Newton.

    What I mean is, disentangle yourselves from your friends who like those tactical rifles with the flash suppressors and 30-round magazines. They are not doing you any favors, and you are not doing yourselves any favors by being silent, letting them monopolize the conversation, supposedly “in your name”, and giving them cover with your silence.

    I’ve arrived to a pro-hunting position from an ecology perspective. I’d be glad to see hunters sitting at the gun control discussion table. But the reason they are not represented there is not because the gun control lobby is opposed to hunters. It’s because the pro-gun lobby is not letting you speak with your own voice. They are telling everybody that they speak for you, and, apparently, most hunters are fine with this situation.

    If you truly think hunters are not sitting at the negotiating table, the first thing you need to do is to say: “You all, we are not at the table, and we want to be. No one currently at the table speaks for us. Don’t believe them when they say they do”

    Report

    • What I mean is, disentangle yourselves from your friends who like those tactical rifles with the flash suppressors and 30-round magazines. They are not doing you any favors
      Here’s my question: of the 30,000 people killed every year by guns, how many are killed by these tactical rifles? How much gun crime is committed by the minority of folks who fall into the avid gun collector/assault rifle enthusiast/paranoid survivalist category?

      And more importantly, should the answers to those questions matter to how we thing about meaningful reform of the gun control laws? I ask all of this sincerely, because I don’t really see a clear strategy from the pro-gun control side.

      Report

      • For a long time, Kentucky had only one murder with an assault rifle. A guy kept going in and out of his house, letting the screen door slam behind him each time. His wife got more and more annoyed with the door slamming and finally grabbed an SKS and shot him dead.

        In 1989 we had a famous Prozac shooting in Louisville in which eight people were killed. It seemed to be a copy-cat crime based on another shooting, and he only fired forty rounds in total.

        In 1992 we had a guy (now on death row) with warrants in Ohio who killed two police officers with an assault rifle.

        In 2009 a Hispanic used an assault rifle to spray a house in Louisville, killing a young black man and getting a 70-year prison sentence. It was probably gang related.

        So twelve total going back to the 1980’s.

        I don’t really care for tactical rifles because I’m sick of people who put the word “tactical” on anything, including pants and pocket knives. It’s a marketing fad. Tactical is about tactics, not equipment. The Vegas shooter’s tactical advantage came from his firing position and having 22,000 insufficiently armed targets to shoot at. His guns didn’t really matter that much unless you go way back in gundom.

        Going by early US Army testing, he would have hit 5 or 6 people in 12 minutes with a muzzle loading flintlock rifle or musket. He’d have hit 12 with an 1819 Hall breech loading flintlock rifle, assuming a 36% hit rate at 100 yards was maintained at 350 yards due to crowd density. Twelve hits with .525 caliber 220 grain ball (a round ball at that time) probably wouldn’t be devastatingly lethal at that range in comparison to Civil War era Minnie balls (which are bullet shaped) but it would be a mass shooting in a public space producing a dozen dead or injured, and it would have been done with a flintlock, which uses a flint striking a frizzen to make a spark.

        The rate of fire from Civil War muzzle loaders was lower than the Hall rifle, so I’ll skip those.

        With a British Lee-Enfield Mk III, originally a black powder gun from the late 1800’s, the record for aimed fire hit rate is 15 per minute, which would be 180 aimed hits in the 12 minutes the shooter was firing. Being hit by aimed .303 is very bad. But let’s assume the shooter wasn’t going to be a record setter, even though an obsessed millionaire very well could be.

        Major General Julian Hatcher, the author of Hatcher’s notebook (PDF)) relates that in tests in 1931 at 325 yards the 1903 Springfield and the M1 produced about 4 hits per minute (he gives 3.85 and 4.23 respectively). That would be about 48 hits in 12 minutes. But that’s with iron sights, which is why the M1 was not outperforming the 1903 at that range. At 200 yards the numbers were 14 hits per minute for the 1903 and 22 hits per minute for the Garand. That would be 168 hits and 264 hits, again with iron sights.

        With the modern scopes that everybody mounts, along with the planning and preparation of a psycho, along with the increased lethality of a 30-06 over a 5.56, his kill score probably would have been higher with a scoped 1903 Springfield, and almost certainly would with a Garand with a really good scope mount, which we didn’t have in WW-II.

        My conclusion: As you move forward into modern hunting rifles, not custom sniper rifles but just bolt action Bambi guns, that firing position overlooking a huge crowd for 12 minutes would’ve probably had a worse outcome in dead, but not in wounded, even with rifles from the late 1800’s, with scopes, in skilled hands..

        One part of tactics is about stacking all the cards, and he did that tremendously with his hotel room. Not so much with his choice of weapons. That looks like pretty much a wash to me. A semi-auto 6.5mm in one of several cartridges, kept on semi-auto, would’ve been quite a bit worse, and if it’s true he had an accomplice, it could’ve been twice as bad as it was even if they’d stayed with the same guns and tactics.

        But then again, if his obsession was with welding cutting blades and whirling spiked murder balls to a large truck even more people would have died. If he’d have done that then we’d be debating whether it should be mandatory for people at public events to carry assault rifles to stop suicidal maniacs in murder trucks.

        Report

      • Here’s my question: of the 30,000 people killed every year by guns, how many are killed by these tactical rifles?

        Not many. Lumping all the “gun deaths” together as a single undifferentiated mass instead of several different sorts of problems is a continual mistake that I see from members of every side in this debate,[1] when the idea that suicides and monsters murdering dozens of people at a time are really the same thing is, to be blunt, dumb as hell.

        On the other hand, the fact that mass shootings only account for ~100 murders a year doesn’t mean they aren’t a significant issue from a law enforcement perspective or even from a public health perspective. It’s not worth turning everything upside-down to stop them, but there’s a long history of making real, if modest, efforts to address comparably dangerous problems.

        [1] I also often see pro-gun people saying, even when the subject is only mass shootings, that most gun deaths are suicides or one-at-a-time homicides….

        Report

      • Here’s my question: of the 30,000 people killed every year by guns, how many are killed by these tactical rifles?

        Very few as a percentage of the total death, but most (all?) of the mass shootings. And there are more mass shootings in America than we register in our minds. Hours after Las Vegas, five people were shot in Lawrence KS (three dead)

        How much gun crime is committed by the minority of folks who fall into the avid gun collector/assault rifle enthusiast/paranoid survivalist category?

        Again, probably few in absolute numbers (“few” being in the hundreds or low thousands – lack of proper statistics that might show a problem is another problem), but a very large percentage of mass killings.

        A summary of the arguments after every similar incident seems to be:

        – Mass shootings are rare, most deaths are handgun deaths. Regulating assault weapons would do nothing to solve that.

        – Handguns are needed for home protection, you cannot regulate self-defense. Plus, responsible handgun owners are not killing anyone (yes, they are, btw)

        – Hunting is in our DNA, it’s a rite of passage, etc. The government wants to stop a centuries old tradition because city liberals. You cannot regulate rifles. It’s what the Second Amendment is about.

        – Who said the Second Amendment was about hunting. The Second Amendment is about defending ourselves from tiranny. Any restriction on gun owning, gun trading, gun carrying, puts us in the road to tiranny.

        There are perfectly reasonable measures that could be taken to reduce the impact of gun deaths generally in the USA to a “normal” level. Measures that any responsible gun owner should have no problem with. For instance:

        – Mandatory liability insurance attached to each gun.

        – Waiting periods and background check for gun purchases, which could be waived if you have a government issued “trusted gun owner” (similar to the trusted traveler program that lets you skip most of the airport and immigration checkups) certificate. I’m perfectly fine with a state issued certificate, it doesn’t have to be from the Federal government, if you distrust Washington.

        – Fines for failing to report a gun loss. Many guns used in crimes are legally purchased and then stolen from or lost by (“lost”???) their rightful owners. You don’t report the loss and the gun is found later, you get hit by a fine.

        But instead of promoting responsible gun ownership, gun rights advocates promote (successfully, btw) laws forbidding pediatricians to talk to parents the about safe storage of guns in their houses.

        That’s the advocacy group that has allowed to represent him in defending responsible hunting in America. Instead, they attack pediatricians. But is apparently ok with that, or at least, he’s not enough not ok to say “Stop. You do not talk for me”

        Report

        • @j_a

          I’m not sure how you read the OP and arrived at this:

          “That’s the advocacy group that Dwyer has allowed to represent him in defending responsible hunting in America. Instead, they attack pediatricians. But Dwyer is apparently ok with that, or at least, he’s not enough not ok to say “Stop. You do not talk for me”

          Maybe try again?

          Report

          • You are right. I went sort of personal. That’s wrong, apologies.

            What I meant is that while your OP says So while I think the NRA should still have a voice, they can no longer be the only voice we hear., I don’t hear any other voice raising up.

            There’s one reason why the NRA is the only voice we hear. That’s because other voices have chosen not to speak separately. I welcome that you believe that we just need the right people, people who responsibly represent gun ownership, to talk to each other and show the rest of the country we understand their fears., but most hunters seem to be fine with allowing the NRA to be their voice.

            I take your word that the NRA might be quietly doing sensible things that benefit gun owners, but they are also loudly -and proudly- doing those things that, as you point out, draw the scorn of a large majority of people, like pushing for -and getting enacted- laws forbidding doctors to discuss gun safety with patients.

            You say -of imply- that hunters are concerned that gun control promoters will not stop until all guns and rifles are banned. But you should acknowledge that the NRA opposes every single reasonable gun regulation proposal. The NRA is as maximalist now as you seem to be afraid the gen control side will be in the future. Right now, the only side that says “there’s no compromise” is not the gun control side, it’s the NRA.

            There is people out there that claim they are speaking in your name. If they don’t, it’s important that you make that clear to everyone

            Report

            • @j_a

              I get what you are saying, but you’re also sort of pointing out the obvious as it relates to the main point of the OP. Hunters have been content to let the NRA defend our gun rights so we can focus on conservation and stay in the woods. The OP was intended to say that we can’t do that anymore.

              Report

        • Very few as a percentage of the total death, but most (all?) of the mass shootings. And there are more mass shootings in America than we register in our minds.

          That depends on almost entirely on how far you want to stretch the definition of mass shooting. Lumping the narrowly defined mass shootings with other high casualty shootings with ordinary street crime with suicides certainly helps to inflate the “gun violence” numbers. I’m just not quite clear how it helps us to understand these phenomenon better. More importantly, it would probably be much easier to get widespread agreement on the most obvious reforms if they didn’t so often come bundled with a general anti-gun sentiment that puts gun owners on the defensive.

          – Mandatory liability insurance attached to each gun.

          I don’t understand how this is supposed to work. People always make the car analogy, but car insurance only covers your liability when the car is being operated legally. If someone steals your car and hits someone, the insurance doesn’t pay. If you get liquored up and hit someone, the insurance doesn’t pay. If you purposefully commit an assault with your car, the insurance doesn’t pay. Under the same conditions as cars, liability insurance would basically cover accidental discharges. Even medical malpractice insurance has limits to coverage.

          Report

          • More importantly, it would probably be much easier to get widespread agreement on the most obvious reforms if they didn’t so often come bundled with a general anti-gun sentiment that puts gun owners on the defensive.

            This is an interesting comment to me, particularly because it’s so often stated with slight permutations. To be honest, I’m not sure I understand it. I’ve always read these and related claims to imply that gun owners and the pro-gun rights community to actually believe, in their heart of hearts, that legislation curbing gun access is perfectly appropriate but that they won’t publicly support it until anti-gun nuts (for example) cool it with the insane rhetoric. In effect, they reject supporting policies they ostensibly agree – if we take them at their word – for what strike me as irrelevant reasons.

            One example of this sort of thing: that until liberals start using proper gun terminology GRAs won’t publicly support sensible legislation which they otherwise agree with. I’m baffled by this sort of reasoning. Am I reading it wrong? Cuz the alternative, which is my operating assumption after years of listening to this sort of thing, is that “putting GRAs on the defensive” or “I won’t talk about gun control legislation with liberals till they learn the right terms” strike me as convenient excuses for commitments they won’t change.

            Report

            • While I agree it’s not fair to draw an intellectual line in the sand before we consider reasonable policy proposals from the Left…it’s damn hard to take them seriously when they really do seem to be unable to intellectually understand guns and the culture around them. I mean, it’s not rocket science and it’s not a mystery, but every gun guy I know has a dozen stories about gun ignorance that makes me shake my head.

              Imagine that conservatives were talking about, I don’t know, new traffic rules they hoped would reduce deadly auto accidents, but they didn’t understand the difference between an automatic or a manual transmission. Even if they had good ideas, wouldn’t you find it just a little hard to take them seriously?

              Report

              • I don’t find that persuasive, Mike, given that the GRA argument is usually framed as a general willingness to support sensible gun legislation on its own terms EXCEPT FOR those pesky idiotic liberals who continue to screw things up. If you think certain types of legislative restrictions are legally justified and yield positive utility both within the gun-rights community and for society in general, then why not just support those policies? Why does that cohort care that liberals don’t know a firing pin from a clothes pin?

                Report

                • It isn’t just that the lingo or terminology is wrong, if that was all it was, it wouldn’t be an issue. It’s the total misunderstanding or blatant misrepresentation of the physical principals involved.

                  For instance, HRC put this bit on Twitter after last Sunday[1]. I’ve talked about sound suppressors before, about how on average they drop the report firearm about 30 dB, about how they do nothing for the supersonic crack of a rifle round, about how they are actually quite common in Europe because noise abatement and hearing damage. All these points are made time & time again by the GRA crowd, and yet the GCA continues to perpetuate the myth that a sound suppressor can turn a BANG! into a ‘pfft’ and that they are the tools of assassins or some other ridiculousness.

                  And this is just one example of legislation being lobbied for or against based upon technical misunderstandings that the GCA refuse to accept correction for. So when technical errors, even silly, understandable ones, pop-up, there is an assumption of ignorance that has to be overcome. And to be frank, while I can appreciate that the GRA needs to be willing to politely and respectfully educate people about the technical details that matter, the GCA has an obligation to understand what they desire to regulate. I mean, if a person who was wholly ignorant of aircraft started talking to me about the need to regulate aircraft in certain, technical matters, I’m going to have a hard time taking them seriously at the start of the conversation.

                  [1] FYI had the Vegas shooter used suppressors, he’d get 5, maybe 6 rounds out of the gun before he would have to stop and let the barrel and can cool down. Any more than that and he’d slag the suppressor and jam the firearm.

                  Report

                  • So when technical errors, even silly, understandable ones, pop-up, there is an assumption of ignorance that has to be overcome.

                    But not, per my comment, for the GRAs who favor sensible legislative restrictions on their own terms. For those folks, why is the ignorance of liberals relevant to furthering their own policy goals?

                    Report

                    • Honestly, because the support for sensible changes often involves rolling back stupid technical restrictions (like suppressors) that then gets met with resistance for reasons like I highlighted above.

                      I mean, legislative horsetrading shouldn’t be a big deal, but it’s hard to do when one side is largely ignorant of the technical issues, and the cultural issues. And this is not meant to ding the legislators, necessarily. I am quite certain they can be as informed as they want, but if the GCA constituents are clueless, then when proposed bills come up, and they have something that everyone has the wrong idea about, it gets shot down.

                      PS There is an element of BSDI in this as well, as I see the emails from the GRA extremes; although the GRA side tends more toward hyperbolic slippery slopes rather than incorrect technical definitions.

                      Report

                      • I’m still not getting your argument as a response to mine. I’m not talking about legislative horsetrading, I’m talking about GRA advancing their own conception of sensible regulation. Your comment makes sense in a world where the GOP, the NRA and the GRAs are pushing to get things done with legislation ready for a floor vote but it’s held up by a Dem filibuster demanding more. That’s not our world.

                        Report

                        • Your comment makes sense in a world where the GOP, the NRA and the GRAs are pushing to get things done with legislation ready for to take to the floor but it’s held up by a Dem filibuster demanding more.

                          This takes us back to the OP. The NRA and the GOP dominate the conversation, and honestly, it is REALLY HARD for others to get a word in edgewise.

                          Terry Gross had a guy on the other night talking about how the NRA has lobbyists who are very, very good at torpedoing the political careers of politicians who step even a smidgen out of line. The goal has to be taking back the NRA and getting them to dial it back, and I frankly don’t know if there are enough hunters out there to do it.

                          Report

                          • Seems to me that, if true, that dynamic effectively confirms what I’m arguing here: all the talk about liberals needing to learn the right terms before substantive regulation can be passed is cover for institutional commitments the right has made to block any legislation that the NRA perceives as impinging on gun rights.

                            The solution to this problem is found on the right because the problem itself exists on the right. And insofar folks on that side really are committed to some set of policies which they believe will make things better, seems to me it’s on them to bring those proposals to the floor for a vote. Liberals have nothing to do with it.

                            Report

                              • Is impinging like infringing, the thing banned in the Constitution’s 2nd Amendment? Remember, the legislation has to get past Heller vs DC.

                                Getting past Heller vs. DC isn’t that hard. That said that people had an individual 2nd amendment right for traditionally lawful purposes such as ‘self defense within the home’.

                                Theoretically speaking, allowing everyone to own a single revolver, and nothing else, would probably satisfy the rules laid out in Heller.

                                Now, ‘such as’ is an interesting phrase and might, for example, also include hunting, so people might also be allowed to have a rifle and a shotgun, but hunting is already heavily regulated (In addition the obvious season-based regulation, it’s regulated by different animal, barred in cities, etc, etc.) so might not even qualify anymore as ‘traditionally lawful’.

                                I’ve actually argued in the past that the wording of Heller (Even if we do assume hunting counts under it.) makes a perfect premise to hang various gun control on. If the individual right to own a gun hinges on ‘lawful purposes’, that means that anything that is not usable for ‘lawful purposes’ can be banned.

                                For example, large magazines. It’s impossible to make a claim that lawful hunting requires large magazines.

                                And despite the fact people will try, it’s pretty hard to claim that self-defense requires large magazines either. No, not even if more than one person attacks. That sort of action movie nonsense is just that…nonsense. If the people attacking do not run away upon the first person being shot, you are almost certainly screwed, both because they are almost certainly trained killers, and because they probably attacked you at close range and you’re probably not going to have time to shot more than one of them anyway!

                                If you really think multiple people are going to attack you, if you’ve pissed off trained killers or the people who hire trained killers, you need a bodyguard or two. Not, like, more bullets in your gun.

                                Report

                                • Then you’ll have to convince the court that the police, who are interacting with the same criminals we are, carry AR-15’s with 30-round magazines because it makes their uniform look spiffy.

                                  We face the same opponents they do, and thus we get to use the same weapons for our defense that they find necessary for theirs.

                                  Report

                                  • Then you’ll have to convince the court that the police, who are interacting with the same criminals we are, carry AR-15’s with 30-round magazines because it makes their uniform look spiffy.

                                    I’d rather convince the courts that the police do not actually need such weapons either.

                                    Report

                                    • George’s point is, to me, salient, because I’m such a fan of Peel. These days, it isn’t the tyranny of the military we should worry about, if the military is actively operating against civilian targets in the US, whether or not the Feds know I own a gun is the least of my worries.

                                      However, I’ve said before that the police currently set the tone for gun ownership in the US, and if the patrol units are kitted out with AR-15s and M-16s, people will want to be as well (One can make the case that the very limited set of SWAT members can have bigger stuff in their armory, but such weapons should not be part of the patrol cruiser kit).

                                      If we want the public to be limited to revolvers and single shot long guns, that should be the extent of the normal police armament as well.

                                      Report

                                      • I’ve said before that the police currently set the tone for gun ownership in the US,

                                        Excellent point. If trends continue the only distinction between beat cops, SWAT, and the Navy Seals will be training. This is one of those issues where the dog chases its own tail.

                                        Report

                                        • This is one of those issues where the dog chases its own tail.

                                          Sure, but only because the dog really wants to chase it’s tail, not because it has to.

                                          Again, we have such a thing as SWAT. They are supposed to be the police that arrive when you have criminals that are able to outgun the patrol units or investigating detectives. But departments suddenly decided that patrol units need to be able to be armed with carbines as well, because they can imagine some rare and unlikely scenario where an officer might have to engage a small squad of armed roving criminals. Because Mad Max is just around the corner.

                                          Oh, and the police have to regularly release videos and photos of themselves being all tacti-cool and crap.

                                          Report

                      • A lot of the stuff from the GRA extremes is more about nutso fantasies about how if there were just more citizens carrying, mass shootings never would have happened. These reached what is, I hope, the peak of ludicrousness in response to the Vegas shooting, with people asserting, with evident sincerity, that more people should be carrying scoped rifles with them to concerts.

                        Also, I do think it might help a bit if GRAs were a bit more careful about distinguishing between technical matters that are definitely important (like what suppressors do and the difference between automatic and semiautomatic), stuff that’s kind of important (the .223 round fired by most AR-15s isn’t very powerful), and stuff that’s basically irrelevant (like calling a detachable box magazine a “clip”).

                        Report

                    • PPS Another thing the technical ignorance represents (to me, a lot of times) is that the person I am talking to is too invested in the GCA extremist narrative. I’ve spent many a keystroke (usually on FB) patiently explaining the technical specifics to people who were wrong about them, and why some idea about legislation they were talking about wouldn’t have the effect they were hoping for; only to have them turn around a few days later and post some meme or comment or whatnot continuing to perpetuate the technical error.

                      That tells me they aren’t interested in actually having a reasonable conversation with me, because they are too invested in this other narrative.

                      After awhile, technical ignorance becomes it’s own signal.

                      Report

                  • Ever fresh: Representative Loretta Sanches (D-CA)

                    multiautomatic round weapons are easily available, even though not in California.

                    Youtube clip

                    I think you could get most gun owners on board with a ban on multi-automatic round weapons. It’s a compromise worth making.

                    Report

                • I actually think is closest to the mark on why it’s hard to compromise with gun control advocates. The technical ignorance is frustrating from a utilitarian policy setting standpoint but the real issue is that it at least appears to tip their hands on their intent. It starts to sound like the death by a thousand cuts strategy the pro-life movement has taken thats effectively eliminated the ability for women to have abortions in large parts of the country.

                  Report

                  • I actually think is closest to the mark on why it’s hard to compromise with gun control advocates.

                    Re-read my comment. I wasn’t talking about compromise. The opposite, in fact: I was referring to the GRAs who claim to want sensible legislation but make it conditioned upon liberal’s (eg) learning the names of gun parts.

                    Report

                    • Well, seriously, let’s go back to the ultrasound thing.

                      Legislators were talking about passing a law that said that fetus-gestators considering getting an abortion had to get an ultrasound.

                      Now, when they were thinking about “ultrasounds”, they were thinking about the versions of ultrasounds that one would see on Friends or, perhaps, in a Doritos commercial.

                      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_b3uc7tg2so

                      As it turns out, only, like, really late-in-the-pregnancy ultrasounds are like those ultrasounds. The ones that they were legislating? The term is “transvaginal”. (I was going to find a link but chickened out once I saw the images.)

                      Personally, I don’t think that they thought they were advocating for transvaginal ultrasounds.

                      I think that they thought that they were asking for the ultrasounds that look like the doctor is running an attachment to the vacuum cleaner over the fetus-gestator’s body. Like, NO PENETRATION.

                      Now what does this indicate? Well, for one, that they were *HUGELY* ignorant of what they were actually trying to legislate.

                      Like, ignorant to the point where they sure as hell shouldn’t have been writing bills on the subject in the first place, let alone voting on them to pass.

                      Report

                      • If GRAs are committed to a set of regulatory provisions because they believe they constitute good policy they wouldn’t make demands that liberals change their rhetoric. My view: They don’t, so they do.

                        Report

                        • In the case of the ultrasound legislators, there were all kinds of dynamics but here are two fun ones:

                          1. The legislators were really ignorant
                          2. They were so ignorant that they thought that they weren’t ignorant but that they actually knew stuff

                          It’s not exactly “change your rhetoric” but “your rhetoric signals that you don’t know shit from shinola” and the not knowing shit from shinola is the deeper and more significant problem.

                          Report

                          • I’m talking about legislation the “smart” guys would right if they were really committed to a set of commonsense regulations. And sure, there are a few here and there (quite a few here, actually). But the idea that *that* legislation is written and would hit the floor but for the inanities of stoopid liberals is laughable. Really, it’s a debate which needs to take place on the right and doesn’t include liberals. Until GRAs are willing to back CCers advocating sensible regulations, liberals are bystanders.

                            Report

                          • The difference, of course, being that there isn’t a liberal wing saying “we would be totally ok with reasonable amounts of punishment to pregnant women seeking abortions, if only those nutty GOPers could figure out how to tell the difference between different types of ultrasounds”

                            Instead we say “that’s a hard enough thing already, let’s keep the government out of it”

                            Report

                          • Well, a lot of people on the pro-choice side, with more than a little justification, believed that the legislators were actually entirely aware of what transvaginal ultrasounds entailed, and believed that was a feature, not a bug.

                            I don’t know if that strengthens your analogy, or weakens it, to be honest.

                            Report

                    • Well… I’m not saying such people don’t exist. Still my suspicion is that the dynamic has more to do with a polarized legislative environment and fear of being useful idiots for opponents who arent operating in good faith.

                      Report

            • I’ve always read these and related claims to imply that gun owners and the pro-gun rights community to actually believe, in their heart of hearts, that legislation curbing gun access is perfectly appropriate but that they won’t publicly support it until anti-gun nuts (for example) cool it with the insane rhetoric.

              Those claims are out there, but that’s not what I’m talking about. It’s not that the more gun control crowd needs to convince the gun nuts anything. I agree that they likely could not move the absolute gun rights crowd towards any meaningful compromise.

              The problem with the more gun control crowd is that they routinely overestimate the popularity of their position, which makes it very difficult to implement a winning political strategy. It’s not about winning over the gun nuts. It’s about winning over the median voter long enough to get legislative wins.

              Report

              • I don’t really believe this is a plausible explanation, because even stuff that’s well beyond acceptable to the median voter usually founders. Now some of this is probably bad legislative strategy, but not all.

                Report

                • What exactly is implausible?

                  Go look at the opinion polls for yourself. They tell a number of possible different stories. But the one story that they don’t tell is that the overwhelming majority of voters want more gun control now and the only reason we don’t have it is because a small monied minority led by he NRA won’t let it happen. And yet, that’s he narrative that those most actively seeking gun control want to tell.

                  There likely is a majority of voters that would get behind any number of increased gun restrictions. The problem is that to get there, you’re going to have to break a bunch of people away from the side in which they normally caucus. And to do that, you’re going to have to give those people something that they want and don’t currently have. That’s the part that’s missing from the more gun control strategy.

                  Report

                  • And to do that, you’re going to have to give those people something that they want and don’t currently have.

                    That’s where I’m losing the thread of your argument. According to the polls that we both agree on, the increased restrictions are something that most voters want.

                    I think there are a lot of problems with this Damon Linker piece [1], but I do think he’s onto something when he talks about the disproportionate power of highly engaged activists.

                    [1] Not the least of which is that it was written by Damon Linker.

                    Report

                    • According to the polls that we both agree on, the increased restrictions are something that most voters want.

                      True. But you’re not taking into account two things. One is geography. The status quo is lots of gun regulations and severely restricted individual gun ownership in some places and nearly unrestricted gun ownership in others.

                      Second, and this flows from the first, it’s not so much about the specific collection of discrete opinions that an individual holds. It’s more about where they choose to caucus. Right not there are whole lot of folks, myself included, who aren’t happy with the status quo, but who aren’t likely to move in the direction of more gun control unless it comes with some assurances that the proposed measures aren’t just part of a long plan to abolish or severely restrict individual gun ownership everywhere. Those are the people that you have to win over, not the “gun nuts.” Unfortunately, almost everything I see from the gun control crowd has the effect of making sure that is unlikely to happen.

                      Report

                      • OK, I definitely agree with all of that.

                        I actually am not sure that such assurances are even possible, even if the gun control advocacy scene weren’t such a mess.

                        Report

                      • comes with some assurances that the proposed measures aren’t just part of a long plan to abolish or severely restrict individual gun ownership everywhere.

                        If Congress wants your guns, and taking your guns passes SCOTUS’ constitutional muster, then any Congress can take your guns. There is no need for a lengthy, sneaky attack on your gun rights. It might be helpful, but a Congress that wants your guns will take them. It’s not like they’ll go “Drat, we were going to, but we don’t have a universal registry so we’ll make one of those and just wait a few decades until we can try again”.

                        What you’re asking for — those assurances — are utterly meaningless and impossible to comply with. No one can bind a future Congress’ will.

                        I can understand the worry about it being the camel’s nose, but attaching a clearly impossible condition is basically saying “No, I won’t compromise, but I’ll pretend I’m willing to”.

                        There’s no checklist required for Congress to seize your guns. No step-by-step method that requires ticking off one box before moving to the next. You can go straight to the end, and no amount of dealmaking with the people of today can prevent the people of tomorrow from deciding to go there.

                        Report

                        • What you’re asking for — those assurances — are utterly meaningless and impossible to comply with. No one can bind a future Congress’ will.

                          Exactly. That’s why all the claims that GRAs will support sensible regulations but *only if* liberals cool it with the ignorant extremist rhetoric are nonsense. There will always be vocal pro-gun-ban liberals just like there will always be pro-individual-right-to-nukes GRAs. And as you say, assurances are meaningless given the power of Congress, and even more so because no GRA would ever believe those assurances, even if offered with all sincerity.

                          Report

                        • and

                          You guys are still missing the main point. Maybe I’m not explaining this correctly or maybe you’ve got a particular version of the contours of this debate cemented in your minds. Let me try again.

                          It’s not about the meaningfulness of the assurances. It’s about seeing an end state that is acceptable to those people living in jurisdictions where it is relatively easy to get guns, people who would either prefer or at least tolerate more restrictions, but who presently have no reason to defect to the more gun control side. Likewise, almost all of the pressure on anti-gun control politicians is coming from outside of their constituency, which gives them absolutely no reason to change course.

                          Really, what I’m getting at is that the gun control crowd’s strategy often centers around telling those of us in the middle that we better get on the right side before we end up maligned, on the wrong side, and lumped in with the gun nuts. This could be a credible threat, I guess, except… The gun nuts currently occupy the political high ground and that’s not likely to change any time soon.

                          Report

                          • Again, I’m not sure why being maligned by a group of people you fundamentally disagree with is a driver in a debate about policy positions you and similar folks ostensible hold. As I’ve been saying – and obviously you disagree with this – the reason your view re: sensible regulation isn’t dominant on the right is because folks on the right, and in particular folks in positions of power on the right, reject *any* regulation whatsoever. So the fight you’re critiquing isn’t with liberals, but GRAs and the NRA, and the CCers representing those anti-regulation views.

                            As long as those groups dominate the gun debate at the electoral level gripes about liberal extremism are irrelevant, seems to me. Or to say it another way: griping about liberals would make sense if GRAs and their elected reps had legislation ready to hit the floor for a vote. But they don’t. The opposite, in fact.

                            Report

                            • I’m not critiquing “liberal extremism.” And I’m not griping about anything, either. My whole point is that I don’t really have anything to gripe about, which makes me impervious to the virtue signaling and petty moralizing that surrounds the gun control debate. And I think that there a lot of people out there whose position is pretty close to mine. The status quo is imperfect, but I don’t think that any of the things currently being touted as “common sense gun control” will have much of an effect on current rates of gun crime. My default position is, “come back to me when you’re ready to get serious about gun regulation and the underlying causes of most gun crime.”

                              Really, I’m doing three things: (1) making an observation about the political landscape in regards to gun control; (2) making a prediction that the status quo won’t change unless the folks in the middle see some reason to defect; and (3) making a claim that the political messaging from the more gun control side is particularly inept at getting any of us in the middle to move.

                              Report

                              • My default position is, “come back to me when you’re ready to get serious about gun regulation and the underlying causes of most gun crime.”

                                Isn’t that what Mike Dwyer, Oscar, InMD, Road Scholar, and others are doing on this thread? Taking gun regulation seriously?

                                Who do they need to persuade, tho? Liberals or folks like Damon and George?

                                Report

                                • They are not the people who need to persuade anyone. The middle of the road folks will ultimately end up deciding which way this debate goes, but we’re not the ones in the driver’s seat. And that’s not likely to change anytime soon.

                                  Get it. I’m not talking about right and wrong here. I’m not even primarily talking about good and bad policy I’m talking about the political landscape.

                                  Report

                                  • And the political landscape you describe includes a causal relationship between ignorant liberals blabbering on about banning guns and the moderate middle’s disinclination to promote the sensible regulations they would otherwise be happy to advocate. I still fail to see how getting liberals to shut up factors into the debate or will change the minds of the folks who actually *do* control the policy debate right now, which is the folks on the right. The argument seems to be that moderate GRA’s sensible regulatory views are rendered insensible because a liberal CCer used the term “multiautomatic rounds”.

                                    By your lights she’s an idiot. Why does her idiocy affect what you, or anyone, view as sensible?

                                    Report

                                    • And the political landscape you describe includes a causal relationship between ignorant liberals blabbering on about banning guns and the moderate middle’s disinclination to promote the sensible regulations they would otherwise be happy to advocate.

                                      This may be where the disconnect is, because that’s not quite what I’m saying. It’s not that the political landscape is being caused by “ignorant liberals blabbering on about banning guns.” It’s not being really being caused by anything other than the United States’ historical relationship with guns. It’s just the status quo.

                                      My point is that to change the status quo would require the more gun control crowd to bring more people to their side, specifically more people in jurisdictions currently controlled by the “gun nut” side. And I see little on the more gun control side that demonstrates that they have a strategy to do this or even correctly understand the landscape.

                                      Report

        • Waiting periods could easily help reduce suicide deaths. I believe there was a study recently but I don’t have it handy.

          It is definitely something one could study on a state or county basis before trying it nationwide.

          The idea is that by crating a waiting period you give the person more time between initial idea to shoot themselves and being able to actually do it. That time gives them time to reconsider which saves their life.

          Report

          • Waiting periods are fine if it’s your first gun, then yes, the time represents an opportunity cost.

            If I’m buying my second… Or if I’ve gone through the trouble of getting a permit of some kind (owners permit in some states, CCW or hunting permit in others, etc.)…

            Report

        • – Who said the Second Amendment was about hunting. The Second Amendment is about defending ourselves from tiranny. Any restriction on gun owning, gun trading, gun carrying, puts us in the road to tiranny.

          That line of thinking still makes me laugh. The last time it did, about a year ago or so, I had some Second Amendment fanboy drag me into a 100+ comment discussion and I got the Christian nation treatment.

          Report

  10. Great post. I do think most proposed gun regs won’t have a huge impact on gun violence because they are so genuinely minor. I suspect the only way to reduce gun violence is to have many fewer guns around. I’m no expert, but it seems most sporting firearms are not the ones involved in homicides or mass shootings and are at least inconvenient for suicide (the largest # of fatalities in the US). Rifles and shotguns can likely serve most sporting/domestic protection needs. Then semi-autos and handguns could be restricted to use/storage at licensed recreational shooting facilities, if necessary. Obviously not a likely scenario, given popular opinion and the sheer number of weapons out there right now. But do folks feel like this might actually make a dent in gun violence?

    Report

  11. Well, I think one of the reasons the pro-gun side doesn’t rush to put hunters out front is that the 2nd Amendment wasn’t really about hunting, since in the Colonies that was just an assumed natural right whose elimination wouldn’t have even occurred to any of the Founders. All Native Americans were hunters. They were hunters when the cross the land bridge to get here. It’s half of being a hunter-gatherer, and being a hunter-gatherer is man’s natural state of existence. So if the Native Americans can hunt, then the Colonists certainly had the right to hunt, and they did not question it.

    The 2nd Amendment isn’t about putting a limit on government in an area where the government wouldn’t have had any say in the first place. The 2nd Amendment was a reaction to past government abuses in the Old World (and south of the US border) to maintain a complete monopoly on both military force and to make sure only the aristocracy has access to the use of effective lethal force. Many European states had early on banned peasants from owning firearms, and these bans increased with the invention of the wheel lock and flint lock because with those, highwaymen could rob the gentry. This was especially true in Italy.

    However, the English had an assumed right and duty to keep and bear arms going at least all the way back to King Alfred, and those rights became enshrined in case law in the 1100’s and then made their way into the Magna Carta. But then those rights were trampled by King James II so he could collect taxes and do all sorts of other nasty stuff. That was so unpopular that we had a Glorious Revolution and put our trust in the Dread Lord Protector, Oliver Cromwell. So the Pilgrims went with gun rights. King George III tried to take our guns as a form of taxes and we weren’t having any of it. We knew the common law, we knew the Bible, and we had guns. We got rid of King George, not our weapons.

    So we passed an Amendment that has the strongest wording used in the Constitution, “shall not be infringed“. The First Amendment says the free exercise of religion shall not be prohibited. They can infringe all over it. They could tax different churches at different rates. They could make people register their religion. They could refuse building permits to certain religions and make them worship in tents or people’s barns. Those would be infringements on the free exercise of religion, not prohibitions on it.

    When it came to the 2nd Amendment they got serious. No infringement is allowed. People could and did own not just cannon, but heavily armed ships known as privateers. Joining a privateer, a privately owned warship, was one way to be excused from militia duty during time of war. Admittedly, warships are expensive and using them to turn a profit is risky, so they were usually owned as a partnership or by a corporation, although an enterprising individual could gather a crew, plenty of cannon, and set sail.

    One of the requirements for getting a letter of marque and reprisal (still legal in the US) was proving to the government that the ship carried sufficient firepower to carry out the its profit-seeking mission. Unlike England, over here the ship owner didn’t have to pay a bond for the right to go raiding. Note that the government was requiring government approval and a license to go raiding in foreign waters, which is what distinguished it from piracy, but to get the license the shipowner already had to own enough cannon to do the job. No license was required for the cannon.

    So getting back to hunting, pushing the hunters to the forefront just confirms the anti-gun belief that the 2nd Amendment was about deer rifles. Those were so well assumed to be a natural right that hunting wasn’t even mentioned. The 2nd is about the people’s right to bear arms in self-defense and in defense of their state against any and all threats.

    So historically, where the compromise should be made is in what today would be considered crazyville. Prohibitions on private strategic nuclear weapons are probably okay, and perhaps short range tactical nuclear weapons (that’s a debate we could have), but SAMs, artillery, armor, aviation, and anti-tank missiles should almost certainly be protected.

    The pro 2nd Amendment crowd has obviously made a whole lot of concessions already. We’re talking about bump-stocks when North Carolina law allows store owners to use air or water-cooled belt-fed machine guns to protect their merchandise. Somehow their legislature passed that without input from store owners across the street, but there we are.

    Report

    • Well, I think one of the reasons the pro-gun side doesn’t rush to put hunters out front is that the 2nd Amendment wasn’t really about hunting, since in the Colonies that was just an assumed natural right whose elimination wouldn’t have even occurred to any of the Founders

      The same can be said for just about every type of personal property for any kind of normal every day use; however, I disagree with your take on natural rights since it was well-established that rights to property, including personal firearms, were common law rights. Natural rights may have been kept in mind but even under Lockean social compact theory, those rights are regulated as people enter into civil society.

      The 2nd Amendment isn’t about putting a limit on government in an area where the government wouldn’t have had any say in the first place.

      It most certainly is…

      Go back to 1791, strip the Second Amendment out of the Constitution and the federal government still couldn’t strip citizens of their personal firearms. With all that history behind you, I’m somewhat surprised that you’re missing out on the doctrine of expressly delegated sovereign powers – something the Founding generation knew quite well, especially the anti-Federalists.

      The 2nd Amendment was a reaction to past government abuses in the Old World (and south of the US border) to maintain a complete monopoly on both military force and to make sure only the aristocracy has access to the use of effective lethal force.

      It’s a little more complicated than that. Remember, prior to the Constitution there existing thirteen sovereign states, each with plenary control of their militias, as it is the sovereign right of any state to bear arms in its own defense, a point no one in the founding generation would have disputed given their knowledge of compacts, treaties and the laws of nations.

      A key differentiation between the AoC and the Constitution was the Constitution’s power to raise armies and call forth the state militias. Both were concerns and right or wrong, some of the anti-Federalists saw that as a means for the federal government to either disarm the miltias or let them deteriorate.

      What 2A does is demonstrate that the militia power, unlike the other enumerated powers in Article I Section 8 is shared by both the national and state sovereigns that constitute the parties to the compact, with “the people” not representing individuals in plural but rather sovereign political units.

      Worse than the butchering of text and history, proponents of the individual rights view of the Second Amendment, whether they realize or not, are implicitly rejecting the key political theories that can’t be disentangled from the Constitution like popular sovereignty and expressly delegated powers.

      Individuals believing they have a right to use force to provide a federal check on tyranny within the constitutional system itself and not as an extralegal right of secession, self defense or revolution, suggest that “We the People” as individuals are the sovereigns in the constitutional order not “We the People” as a unified political unit.

      Maybe libertarians prefer this because it caters to their worldview, but I can assure you that this is not what the Founding generation held, not even close to it.

      When it came to the 2nd Amendment they got serious

      So serious that a private right to bear arms was barely mentioned throughout the ratification process. Hell, it wasn’t even one of the primary reasons that the Federalists proposed a new Constitution and lord knows the anti-Federalists weren’t all gung ho about a centralized power protecting their liberties. They saw the states as playing that role.

      They can infringe all over it.

      The federal government or the states?

      However, the English had an assumed right and duty to keep and bear arms going at least all the way back to King Alfred, and those rights became enshrined in case law in the 1100’s and then made their way into the Magna Carta.

      The smart people that the individual rights crowd doesn’t run into very often are more than happy to acknowledge. What we demand from the individual rights crowd is to trace those rights through the Declaration through the Articles through the Constitution in a way that closely matches Founding era political thought and not through some modern day originalism theory.

      What you’ll probably find is that when the colonies declared independence from the crown, they retained sovereignty for themselves. Their state constitutions and declaration of rights included rights for both the sovereign political units “the people” and individuals (i.e. persons, men). Sovereign rights to bear arms were easily reconcilable to a sovereigns right of defense. You probably won’t find much on individual common law gun rights, as the people would have retained those rights and delegated whatever regulatory authority as they saw fit.

      All of this would have been in the realm of each of the states. The people didn’t delegate them to the federal government under the Articles of Confederation, and with a Constitution that they knew was going to be legally binding on them as a people, they were jealously guarding their liberties and weren’t going to use the federal Constitution to solve a problem that they felt best solve themselves.

      Instead, all we get is the rah-rah pom-poms nationalist living Constitution which best justifies the Second Amendment.

      If I had to time to fully flesh this out, I’d need at 20,000 words on at least six separate topics to appropriately rebut the individual rights 2A position. Not sure if I have the time so this is the best I care to do at the moment.

      Report

      • 1) I would love to read that post.

        2)”Maybe libertarians prefer this because it caters to their worldview” was… not really necessary? I don’t, personally, even know that George is a libertarian, and I know libertarians who don’t believe or prefer that.

        Report

        • My comment about libertarians wasn’t intended as a backhanded slap but rather an off-the-cuff reference to how I think libertarian political and constitutional theory drive the modern 2A arguments, including a natural right of self defense.

          Wasn’t meant to be mean spirited.

          Report

          • One of the fun things is that we trade away our natural right to self-defense when we enter civil society. I mean, wouldn’t it be nuts if people were allowed to shoot others if they were in fear for their lives? Especially because we have no idea if someone is “really” in fear for their life after the fact. We’d be stuck with people gaming the social convention and saying “I was in fear for my life” even though they weren’t just so they could get a freebie. That’d be crazy.

            As such, we trade our natural right to self-defense to the society as a whole and trust that society will defend us appropriately.

            Of course, at that point, libertarians probably bring up Town of Castle Rock v. Gonzales, DeShaney v. Winnebago Country, and Warren v. District of Columbia but… I mean, come on. Those are blatant appeals to emotion.

            Report

            • One of the fun things is that we trade away our natural right to self-defense when we enter civil society.

              I genuinely don’t understand this. If the right to self-defense is natural it can’t be taken away. What you may lose, I suppose, is a codification of that putative right (you and I both agree there are no natural rights) in precisely the terms you prefer. (Eg, I have a natural right to nuclear weapons.)

              Report

              • I didn’t say it was taken away. I said it was traded away.

                As part of the social contract of living in a civilized society, natural rights are traded away to the society. Indeed, if you don’t like it, move. Somalia still uses Natural Rights.

                Report

                  • Is this one of those things where I’ll swap words around until we agree on something like “in exchange for living in civil society, I will waive my ability to exercise my right to self-defense knowing that if I exercise it, the civil society will exercise its own force against my person” or something like that?

                    Because I’m down with hammering out the precise wording of the concept I’m trying to get across (which, I think, is within our grasp).

                    Report

                      • Sure.

                        How about something like “In exchange for living in civil society, I will waive my ability to exercise my right to self-defense knowing that if I exercise it, the civil society will exercise its own force against my person.”

                        If we agree that rights can’t be taken away, and we agree that they can’t be traded away, can we agree that our right to exercise our natural rights can be waived?

                        Or is that something that cannot be done either?

                        Report

                        • If we agree that rights can’t be taken away, and we agree that they can’t be traded away, can we agree that our right to exercise our natural rights can be waived?

                          No. Natural rights can’t be waived either. The codification of those rights might not align with a person’s conception of them tho.

                          But again, neither you nor I believe in natural rights, so…

                          Report

                          • I’m not saying “waiving the right”, I’m saying “waiving the right to exercise the right”.

                            Or is the right to exercise a right a natural right as well, as would be the right to exercise a right to exercise a right, all the way down the infinite regression?

                            Report

                                • I think it means you should get your woman some lunch, personally.

                                  (Speaking PURELY personally, of course. Since moderator intervention based on the desire to not have to go allllllll the way downstairs and make myself some toast would definitely be an abuse of powers. *wistful sigh*)

                                  Report

                                  • I thought that it was the whole “you can’t waive the right to exercise a right” argument that was absurd.

                                    I mean, we agree that rights can be *VIOLATED*, right? Now we just have to ask if people can violate their own rights, willingly, as a cost of living in a civil society.

                                    But maybe you can’t violate your own rights either. No more than you can trade them away. Or waive them.

                                    Report

                                    • I thought that it was the whole “you can’t waive the right to exercise a right” argument that was absurd.

                                      JB, *your* argument is that people can waive the right to exercise a right. If you think that claim is absurd, then you think your own argument is absurd

                                      Report

                                • You can waive away your right to exercise your right to self defense, but you can’t waive away my right to self defense.

                                  There is of course also a ton of case law that establishes your right to self defense.

                                  My housemate once defended a really nice kid who was arrested for assault because he saw somebody getting beaten up and tackled and punched that person’s assailant. He figured he’d be convicted because he did technically assault the guy.

                                  My housemate (who was a public defender) told him. “No. What you did was not a crime. You are allowed to use force to defend yourself, your family, and any other person, even a stranger.” He says he’ll never forget the smile on that kid’s face when he realized he hadn’t committed a crime. It made practicing law worth all the hassle.

                                  Report

                • This doesn’t sound right. I mean, I think the whole “natural rights” idea is a bit suspect, but I don’t think I’ve traded away my right to property, or privacy, or freedom of movement, or sexual autonomy, or speech, or for that matter self-defense, just because I live in a civilized society. To the extent that a civilized society is infringing on those rights, it really ought to stop.

                  It seems like the proper argument here is that the natural right to self-defense is respected by the law, which allows for justification as a defense when one is charged with a violent crime.

                  Report

                  • This doesn’t sound right. I mean, I think the whole “natural rights” idea is a bit suspect, but I don’t think I’ve traded away my right to property, or privacy, or freedom of movement, or sexual autonomy, or speech, or for that matter self-defense, just because I live in a civilized society.

                    I can find you no shortage of examples of the right to self-defense *NOT* being respected by the law. (Granted, my most egregious examples are from Europe (see, for example, this one).)

                    To the extent that a civilized society is infringing on those rights, it really out to stop.

                    I mean, I *AGREE*, but it doesn’t seem to be playing out that way in practice. The law remains the law and one still finds oneself in a position where one has to pick between honoring one’s own right to exercise one’s natural rights and one’s right to live in accordance with the law.

                    I suppose we could argue for “jury nullification” or something like that but I looked behind that door and people started talking about racism and lynching and it went in bad and dumb directions so let’s avoid that.

                    Report

                    • I can find you no shortage of examples of the right to self-defense *NOT* being respected by the law.

                      Sure. Along with rights to life, liberty, and property.

                      It seems to me that having a civilized society that actually always respects those rights is an aspirational goal, and one that any real society can, at best, approach asymptotically.

                      Report

                      • Along the way to approaching that goal, people need to collaborate and agree to not exercise their right to, for example, revenge. Or bump stocks.

                        Should “handguns” be part of that, is (one of) the question(s).

                        Report

                        • I would question whether people have a right to revenge at all. A right to bump stocks also seems a bit on the silly side.

                          Having a handgun seems to plausibly flow from a right to self-defense.

                          But this is actually getting perilously close to my own problem with the whole idea of natural rights, which is that there doesn’t really seem to be a good way to sort out what is a natural right and what isn’t.

                          Report

                          • Well, the perilously fine hair that I enjoy splitting is the whole issue of prevention of other people from doing things.

                            Do I have a right to X?
                            Let’s agree that the answer is “we don’t know, but leaning ‘no'”.
                            Should you, therefore, have the power to prevent me from Xing?

                            And it seems to me that there’s a lot of things that I don’t technically have a “right” to that you don’t have the “right” to prevent me from doing.

                            Of course, we, as a society, might come to the conclusion that, yes, we *DO* have the right to prevent you from doing X (and you can find all sorts of examples that fit easily in there as well as examples that we, as a society, agreed upon a number of years ago but now we know that we, as a society, were totally wrong back then).

                            Report

                            • And it seems to me that there’s a lot of things that I don’t technically have a “right” to that you don’t have the “right” to prevent me from doing.

                              Me personally? No, obviously not.

                              Me as part of society, with all the various due process protections in place? I think so. Without those protections in place, though, it’s illegitimate, just a lawless exercise of power. Even if you don’t have a right to eat styrofoam, throwing you in jail for eating styrofoam if there isn’t a law against it is (to me) obviously bad. But if there is a law, well, it’s on you.

                              The whole deal seems to be that you trade the power to decide on your own to stop people from doing stuff that they don’t have a right to do, even if them doing it infringes on your rights, in return for getting the state to do it for you. It’s not obvious you have a general right to do that, which is why it makes sense that there’s a specific right to self-defense that we talk about, which only applies to immediately prevent the most serious sorts of infringement.

                              As part of the deal, you get a bunch of rights that don’t make a lot of sense in the absence of a state, like due process, the right to counsel, and the right to trial by jury.

                              Report

                              • And when it leads to weird places like “and that’s why cancer patients can’t smoke marijuana”, you find yourself in weird places.

                                “Well, that’s why we have a process to change things” would be the answer to that, I suppose.

                                The answer to that?

                                Report

                          • The right to revenge was cited by Locke as an example of something a legal system is meant to short circuit. As he said, when people are left to seek justice on their own they go too far, and it often perpetuates a cycle of vengeance. So we have courts and sheriffs and such.

                            The right to a bump stock doesn’t exist under the logic of either US vs Miller (1939) or Heller vs DC (2008) which considered both the use of a weapon by our military (no unit used sawed off shotguns) and what the people are popularly choosing to use to defend themselves (semi-automatic pistols and rifles). If tens of millions of people had chosen to use bump stocks they might be protected, but bump stocks are an oddity, arguably make the rifle less useful (they become full-auto all the time) and are quite uncommon, so bump stocks aren’t protected.

                            Report

            • One of the fun things is that we trade away our natural right to self-defense when we enter civil society.

              We trade it away for a common law right of self defense, which sets forth the boundaries and conditions under which self defense is justified, does it not?

              I mean, wouldn’t it be nuts if people were allowed to shoot others if they were in fear for their lives?

              The answer to that question is circumstance-specific. Someone that has a gun and is a direct threat? Not nuts. A home intruder that didn’t expect you there and is running, out of your home, has his back turned to you and is 100 plus feet away? I may have an issue with that. In a state of nature, you can probably make a self defense claim, but I don’t know if common law doctrine goes that far. It’s not my area of expertise.

              As such, we trade our natural right to self-defense to the society as a whole and trust that society will defend us appropriately.

              Yes and no. You are part of the society and it’s the society that delegates powers to an agent like a government to protect those rights, pass laws for the common good, establish a police force/military/whatever, etc. You would hope that a common law right of self defense would mirror the natural right in appropriate circumstances.

              Report

              • We trade it away for a common law right of self defense, which sets forth the boundaries and conditions under which self defense is justified, does it not?

                Sure, sounds good to me.

                The answer to that question is circumstance-specific. Someone that has a gun and is a direct threat? Not nuts. A home intruder that didn’t expect you there and is running, out of your home, has his back turned to you and is 100 plus feet away? I may have an issue with that.

                I’m also 100% down with this. Personally, I’m a big fan of the Castle Doctrine and much, much less of a fan of the whole “Stand Your Ground” thing (though I understand why it would frustrate people to hear that a woman who shot a male carjacker would have charges pressed against her).

                You would hope that a common law right of self defense would mirror the natural right in appropriate circumstances.

                And if it doesn’t, you can either vote in someone who will change the common law or, tah-dah, you can move. Right?

                Report

                • And if it doesn’t, you can either vote in someone who will change the common law or, tah-dah, you can move. Right?

                  No, there’s always revolutionary violence.

                  Report

                • Legislators don’t get to vote to change common law, only statutory law. Common law is the body of case law that gets handed down. What makes common law so good is that it’s not based on the whims of a politician, but on lawyers and judges trying to find the right answer in a specific case, so it tends to comport with our sense of property rights, fairness, and all that.

                  Report

      • I recently heard someone describe the 1st and 2nd Amendments thusly:

        1st Amendment: The government has to guarantee me the right to Free Speech, Freedom of Religion, etc.

        2nd Amendment: Because I said so.

        Report

            • I just went and re-read it.

              I could have done better but I couldn’t get him to understand how painfully wrong he was about “the people”. I”d push more on that now seeing as I’ve read Kurt Lash’s work on the 9th, 10th and 11th amendments.

              There’s the whole popular sovereignty thing too but let’s not overwhelm anyone.

              ;)

              Report

              • I thought you did a great job on that myself. As I recall you had to do a lot of chasing as he kept changing his definition and that ain’t easy. All the other stuff was great too.

                Do you have the linky handy? I’d like to read some of that stuff again.

                Report

                • There’s a lot of chasing going on here, but in this specific, I don’t think it’s one-sided. I know I’m throwing out a lot of stuff so broadly that it’s going to leave gaping holes I can’t plug without a deep dive into the details.

                  For example, I’d have to address George’s comments on the Kentucky Constitution (and other state constitutions) in a much better manner than I can now, especially since 2A arguments flow from the state constitutions and the conceptions of liberty therein.

                  I know I can do it, but not in a 100-word, three sentence paragraph.

                  http://ordinary-gentlemen.com/2016/11/22/confession-of-a-liberal-gun-owner/

                  Report

                  • Thanks for the link! That was a fantastic discussion. I’d bet you could cut-and-paste your comments into a coherent essay with only minimal editing, Dave. You wrote a lot of really good stuff there which I think folks would enjoy reading and thinking about.

                    Report

      • What 2A does is demonstrate that the militia power, unlike the other enumerated powers in Article I Section 8 is shared by both the national and state sovereigns that constitute the parties to the compact, with “the people” not representing individuals in plural but rather sovereign political units.

        The Heller decision disagrees with this reading, holding that the right to keep and bear arms is also an individual right. Under the early militia laws, each person was required to provide for themselves a specified minimum of arms deemed sufficient to let them do any basic soldiering that they might be called on to do.

        And early state constitutions bear this out, and in some cases make explicit that the right is an individual one. For example, my state constitution says “The right of the people to keep and bear arms, in defense of themselves and of their state, shall not be questioned.

        The arms here are serving two purposes. Individual self defense and collective self defense, and those purposes are being served with the same arms in both cases. My state also makes it illegal for the state government to hand out weapons to the militia, so in the past the state has just told the militias which gun stores had the best deals, even if those gun stores were located out of state. Seriously. They did that.

        My state also makes it illegal for law enforcement or any state officials to seize guns and ammunition during a crisis. They can commandeer your car, occupy your house, and take all your food, but they cannot touch your arms. Those are off limits.

        Given all that, the people have to have the right to personally keep and bear arms to fulfill their obligations to their state. If I don’t show up armed when called upon by my lawful militia commander (who is a gay Democrat), I can be hit with a $20 fine or the seizure of an equivalent value of my furniture (thanks to the Shakers who were conscientious objectors that made really nice chairs). The only exemptions I could get are if I worked as a gunsmith, in a lead works, or was involved with weighing tobacco. One the bright side, if I get wounded during militia service I get workman’s comp just as if I’d been injured in a mine. (KRS 37.285 – Amended 1974)

        As an aside, there were some very interesting legal debates just prior to WW-II about the Constitutionality of the federal draft. The Constitution says the federal government can raise an army, but nowhere does it say the federal government has the power to force people to join the US Army or Navy. So in a series of legal contortions, they held that the federal government isn’t drafting citizens, it’s just reassigning militia members who are fulfilling their obligation to show up with a gun when called, and that absent their service in the militia, they can’t be drafted by the US government.

        Report

        • The Constitution says the federal government can raise an army, but nowhere does it say the federal government has the power to force people to join the US Army or Navy. So in a series of legal contortions, they held that the federal government isn’t drafting citizens, it’s just reassigning militia members who are fulfilling their obligation to show up with a gun when called, and that absent their service in the militia, they can’t be drafted by the US government.

          I…don’t think this is right.

          I’m pretty certain the right to draft people is understood to be one of those inherent rights of a government that just exists in general.

          They can draft people into an untrained or less-trained fighting force aka a militia, they can draft them into a more permanent and trained fighting force aka a military, they can draft people for law enforcement aka a posse, they can draft people to dispense legal conclusions aka a jury, etc, etc.

          We sorta inherited a bunch of English political assumptions like that. Like the right to a writ of habeas corpus, which literally not is granted anywhere in our constitutional texts, yet still somehow exists and can only be revoked in specific circumstances.

          Report

          • The debate over the draft was occurring because the Continental Army depended on states to draft people into state units, which then provided them to Washington. They did impress some sailors, but I’m not sure we want an impressment system.

            Anyway, there are a few snags. The Constitution says “he President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States.”

            The militia is where the drafting happens, and Washington couldn’t just reach down and steal recruits from the states. A federal draft does that. During the War of 1812 Congress didn’t succeed in implementing a draft, and during the Civil War it was done at the state level, but almost everybody was a volunteer anyway.

            Then came WW-I and the idea was that if England, France, and Germany were drafting everybody into national service, we would have to do the same. Then we dropped the system after the war, only to restart it in the late 30’s. Various Supreme Court rulings have found it’s okay, but the reasoning seems somewhat unsatisfactory. The framers insisted that the militia would be a check on the tyranny of a national army, but if the federal government can just draft everybody into the national army, there’s no one left to serve in the militias that are supposed to keep the federal army in check. There’s a contradiction there, and some of the practices we inherited from England are practices we wanted to explicitly get rid of. And then we hit the vagary that the Constitution says the federal government can raise an Army, but doesn’t say how it’s supposed to do that. Lawyers like to be on firm Constitutional grounds, and this question is mush.

            Report

        • The Heller decision disagrees with this reading

          Well, yeah, but obviously I have more than a few disagreements, the least of which being that anyone that fancies himself or herself an originalist should recognize the Heller decision and the “originalism” behind it as an abomination.

          I want to respond to your points so I don’t want to go too far down into a rabbit hole, but for the purpose of addressing whether or not the Second Amendment protects an individual right, I’ll ask this – why the hell should we care at all about the original public meaning?

          Go back and read this. Better yet, I”ll post a quote from one of the most influential and devastating critiques of original intent originalism:

          As understood by its late 18th and early 19th century proponents, the original intent relevant to constitutional discourse was…that of the parties to the constitutional compact – the states as political entities. This original “original intent” was determined not by historical inquiry into the expectations of the individuals involved in the framing and ratifying the Constitution, but by a consideration of what rights and powers sovereign polities could delegate to a common agent without destroying their own essential autonomy. Thus, the original intentionalism was a form of structural interpretation. To the extent that the historical evidence was to have any interpretive value, what they deemed relevant was the evidence of the proceedings of the state ratifying conventions, not the intent of the framers (pp 887-888).

          Powell was critiquing the original intent originalism of the 1980’s, but his criticism applies equally to anything that doesn’t fit the structural description that I would use to argue against Heller or any other position.

          Powers were delegated to a national sovereign. How? The people in each of the states, not as individuals but as a sovereign collective unit had to consent, and if they did, it was their collective understanding, that should be sought for meaning. The best sources are the notes to the ratifying conventions as these were “the people” acting in their sovereign capacity.

          The problem for proponents of the individual rights view of 2A is that there’s almost no direct evidence that they can hang their hats on. They may be references to an armed populace, etc., but the silver bullet argument just isn’t there.

          If you want to see that real original intent originalism in Heller, read the dissent.

          Under the early militia laws, each person was required to provide for themselves a specified minimum of arms deemed sufficient to let them do any basic soldiering that they might be called on to do.

          I”m not sure why that’s relevant to an individual and CONSTITUTIONAL right to own firearms for private use

          And early state constitutions bear this out, and in some cases make explicit that the right is an individual one. For example, my state constitution says “The right of the people to keep and bear arms, in defense of themselves and of their state, shall not be questioned.”

          Three issues.

          First, define “the people”. The Declaration of Independence spoke of the “Right of the People” to alter and abolish their governments. Does that suggest that altering and abolishing a government, a right of revolution or secession are rights held by the people as as individuals plural? No. Not at all. The Right of the People is one of the cornerstones of popular sovereignty. In the founding era, “the people”, which would be used in several amendments in the Constitution including the second, did NOT mean a group of individuals plural but rather a sovereign unit.

          Second, does a sovereign people “bear arms” to hunt? To protect against personal intruders? To shoot at old whiskey bottles? No. Bearing arms in the context of a sovereign people had a military context – i.e. the militias. A free and sovereign people claiming a right to self defense predated the Constitution, the Declarations and was well-established in the laws of nations. The founding generation were well-schooled in the du Vattel.

          It’s possible that your amendment came later in the 19th Century, but it reads like the Pennsylvania Declaration of Rights. People had a distinct meaning in that era.

          Third, let’s just say a state constitution did confer an individual right. I say so what? Any sovereign people can (well, could at the time) put whatever they wanted into their own state constitutions. That’s the right of the people. However, what drives me crazy is what feels like a default position that because a right was at a state level, they would have elevated it to a federal level. Given the debates, the fear of centralized power and the debates over who protects the rights of the people from federal tyranny, such a view stands history on its head.

          The arms here are serving two purposes. Individual self defense and collective self defense, and those purposes are being served with the same arms in both cases.

          What sources are you using and when was your state constitution ratified? If you’re in the 19th Century, we have a whole other angle to discuss – the rise of nationalist constitutional theories. While I haven’t fully vetted it out, my gut is telling me that the individual rights view of the Second Amendment started to develop in earnest as nationalist theories were trying to combat the compact theory.

          Since I’m fading fast – I’ll hit one more point:

          As an aside, there were some very interesting legal debates just prior to WW-II about the Constitutionality of the federal draft. The Constitution says the federal government can raise an army, but nowhere does it say the federal government has the power to force people to join the US Army or Navy.

          This was an issue prior to the War of 1812 as well, and Daniel Webster may have referenced the Second Amendment in his response to it. I’ll have to check on that though but I do remember the discussion turning to militias.

          Report

          • Well, there are some problems in your reasoning. The people are the same people who are protected by the 4th Amendment against abuses by the collective that might show up without a warrant.

            If they don’t have an individual right to bear arms, then they’re useless to the collective “people” because they wouldn’t have any idea which end of the gun to point, nor would they be familiar with its operation and use. Somebody has to be cleaning those things, making sure the flint is good, and maintaining all the accoutrements. Note that the people who were excempt from militia duty were the gunsmiths. They were needed to maintain everyone’s personal weapons.

            And those weapons were personal. When Kentucky sent troops to defend New Orleans against the British, they left their rifles at home. Those rifles were for defending their families against Indian attacks stirred up by the British, and of course for putting dinner on the table. Those rifles stayed with their wives and kids. They wrongly assumed that when they showed up in New Orleans the government would issue them government rifles. The government didn’t do that, and they refused to fight unarmed. This caused a bit of a stink.

            And of course if the right to keep and bear arms wasn’t an individual right then Kentucky wouldn’t be a state because no organized military units came here, just guys with guns looking to see what was here. I’m pretty sure Daniel Boone was armed. I’m definitely sure our state was okay with that, being settled by guys who came here with guns.

            If you look at the state’s own bill of rights, you’ll find that many specifically said that the right to keep and bear arms was for personal defense, such as my state constitution which says “in defense of themselves and of their state.” Those are two different things. They’re only defending their state when called up. When they’re not called up they’re not defending their state, just themselves.

            But in any event it doesn’t much matter because I’m a Browning machine gunner in what used to be the 79th Kentucky regiment, whose commanding officer is a gay Democrat. I used to hang out with the commander of Rockcastle County’s militia. A third of his swearing in ceremony is about dueling and another third is about commanding the militia. Then there’s some stuff about being a judge, probably added so people would know what job he’s being sworn in for.

            Report

            • Read the first part of the 4th Amendment and explain why people and persons are both used. They mean two different things. Would you like to go to the First Amendment and explain that “people” meant individuals when the right to assembly was typically understood as a political act and not as groups of people protesting?

              Like I said before, and I know I can’t really post a ton of links in a comments section, research on the 9th, 10th and 11th amendments lean heavily towards “the people” as a sovereign political unit. As Kurt Lash has said repeatedly, the retained rights of the people could include individual rights but also include the right to self rule. It’s not that individual rights aren’t addressed but rather HOW they are addressed. Again, this goes back to the underlying structure of the Constitution and how the idea of sovereignty drove it.

              The term collective rights is garbage and is unfortunately a term that crept into the modern lingo. “Collective” assumes rights exercised collectively by a group of individuals. That’s not the correct way to view the early Constitution. “Collective” should be more like “sovereign” and you’re in the ballpark.

              The rights retained by the people in the Ninth Amendment included those sovereign rights, as both the 9th and 10th were addressing structure and federalism as opposed to rights.

              Report

              • Well, let’s look at it:

                The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

                Seems to me that they’re using “persons” when they’re talking about a direct object and “people” when they’re talking about a noun.

                Report

          • The founding generation were well-schooled in the du Vattel.

            I doubt that. There were only a few copies of his work in circulation in the colonies and those had only recently arrived.

            It’s possible that your amendment came later in the 19th Century, but it reads like the Pennsylvania Declaration of Rights. People had a distinct meaning in that era.

            That’s from our 1792 constitution.

            It states in Article XII:

            II. That all power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority, and instituted for their peace, safety and happiness. For the advancement of these ends, they have at all times an unalienable and indefeasible right to alter, reform, or abolish their government, in such manner as they may think proper.

            The right of the people to abolish their state government, or the federal government, is recognized.

            XXIII. The rights of the citizens to bear arms in defence of themselves and the State shall not be questioned.

            XXIV. That no standing army shall, in time of peace, be kept up without the consent of the Legislature; and the military shall, in all cases and at all times, be in strict subordination to the civil power.

            XXV. That no soldier shall, in time of peace, be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

            There they’ve worded it “the right of the citizens to bear arms in defence of themselves and the State.” Is that a collective citizen, or is a collective citizen a comrade?

            Then back in Article VI it says:

            2. The free men of this Commonwealth shall be armed and disciplined for its defense. Those who conscientiously scruple to bear arms shall not be compelled to do so, but shall pay an equivalent for personal service.
            3. The field and staff officers of the militia shall be appointed by the Governor, except the battalion staff officers, who shall be appointed by the field officers of each battalion respectively.
            4. The officers of companies shall be chosen by the persons enrolled in the list of each company, and the whole shall be commissioned during good behavior, and during their residence in the bounds of the battalion or company to which they shall be appointed.

            And the militia is different from the state Army. Article II on the governor says:

            7. He shall be Commander-in-Chief of the army and navy of this Commonwealth, and of the militia, except when they shall be called into the service of the United States.

            Report

            • Let me see if I can understand you…

              1. On du Vattel, I’m wrong because you said so based on your “doubts”.

              Let me be blunt here..your doubts don’t interest me. Your substance and ability to defend it does. Even if I concede your unsubstantiated claim about the founding generation not having access to du Vattel due to the fact that all copies in circulation were not available to them, compacts, treaties, alliances and the laws of nations were all out there during the Founding era and it all came from him.

              Do you think the Articles of Confederation and the doctrine of expressly delegated sovereign power was created in a vacuum? Do you think there wasn’t some historical basis in the southern states’ arguments about a right to secede?

              You do realize that in order to make your arguments work, you have to ignore large swaths of history, right?

              Never mind. Resolved: The founding generation knew nothing about the laws of nations because no one could find a book.

              2. Your state constitution gives you the right to abolish the federal government? That’s impossible given that it was in effect a compact involving fourteen parties, the people of each state in their highest sovereign capacity and the sovereign We the People of the United States that they created. We the People of the United States have that right. We the people of each of the states have an extralegal right to secede, something the Civil War did not change.

              Your state has all sorts of remedies in the event that you believe a law is unconstitutional, mainly interposition, but that’s really it. Otherwise, it’s secession or revolution and no longer being a party to the compact.

              3. For the rest of your state constitution, I’m going to need to know what state it is so I can read it and look at the timeline of any amendments.

              I’ll note that your highlighting the term citizen undermines your argument because nowhere is that term mention in the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

              4. You’ve avoided several of my arguments. The last time I argued this subject about a year ago, my “opponent”, if I may use the term loosely, was only effective when forcing me to chase down and counter his arguments. Had I been able to drag him into a discussion about the Constitution, the compact theory and the key defenses of it, especially James Madison’s Report of 1800 and St. George Tucker’s A View on the Constitution (which the individual rights crowd attempts to hang it hat on…amusingly I may add), he would have been more finished than he was.

              If I REALLY wanted to get cute, controversial and inflammatory as hell, I would associate the individual rights view of the Second Amendment, at least its most extreme interpretations, with John Calhoun and the 19th Century nullifiers. The only person that would be more upset than modern day individuals would be Calhoun himself.

              In fact, now that I think about it, wasn’t John Calhoun’s theory of nullification, both his constitutional and political theories (compact theory on steroids and concurrent majorities) meant to serve as a federal check on tyranny, or at the very least, unconstitutional laws?

              Poor John. All he had to do was cite the Second Amendment and send the South Carolina patriots with their guns to the ports to prevent the Tariff Act from going into effect.

              Damn, can you see how much fun I can have with this?

              Report

              • 1. Vattel didn’t create international law. He was a Swiss guy who in 1758 gave his own observations about how it seemed to work. Every country already had a long history and a plethora of its own observations on how law worked, along with how citizenship worked.

                The latter is important because English citizenship was not like most European citizenship that Vattel was familiar with. He assumed that a person wasn’t an English citizen unless they were born to two parents who were already English citizens. His current popularity is due to the fact that if he was right, and if the Founders actually used him as a major reference, Barack Obama was never President of the United States. He’s a totem for the Birther movement.

                Three copies of an English translation of his book were known to have been given to Benjamin Franklin in 1775 and Washington’s name is associated with two of those. Franklin says they were popular but we don’t know which or how many founders actually read them, or read which parts, or what they thought of it. We do know they were familiar with English common law in the Colonies, along with a wide range of British statutory law.

                2. The Declaration of Independence says people have a right to alter or abolish their systems of government if those systems become abusive. Early Constitutions are just echoing that, and from that idea they derive their legitimacy.

                3. It’s the Kentucky constitution of 1792.

                Perhaps the Kentucky Constitution used the term “citizens” instead of “people” because they knew who they were referring to, and it wasn’t just the state delegates to the Constitutional conventions, nor was it slaves or illegal immigrants or any other way their meaning might be later misconstrued.

                4. The US Supreme Court takes the individual rights view.

                Report

                • Point (1) doesn’t rebut my points about the laws of nations, treaties, compacts, etc. Even if I’m incorrect on the technical points on du Vattel, and I don’t think I am, it doesn’t change how the founders approached organizing a federal government under the Articles of Confederation. Tell me that wasn’t a compact. Tell me the Constitution wasn’t a compact either, at least partly. I got plenty of Madison for you to read.

                  Point (2) is a “Right of the People” not the “people have a right”. Big difference. Again, you claim that the people are individuals pretty much because you say so. Fine. I don’t need to convince you, and all you’re doing is showing me your weak points. A comments section is neither the time nor place to appropriately address this.

                  Point 3 is what it is and your “perhaps” tells me you’re just throwing shit against a wall to see what sticks. I’m not going to chase your mental gymnastics and goal post moving until you put own line in the sand and stick to it.

                  Still, we can talk all we want about state constitutions and what they may or may not have held. You still have not come off of the default assumption “if it was in the states, surely it was intended at the federal level”. I don’t agree with that at all, and that’s a function of the 20th to 21st Century rights-centric view of the Constitution that developed over the last 60 years.

                  That was not the tone of the ratification debates, and one of the reasons a Bill of Rights was added was because of a lack of a clause that expressly limited the powers of the federal government like there was in the Articles of Confederation. Much of the debate was about delegating powers, the threat to state sovereignty and certain rights that needed to be protected as a result of the new government binding the people (i.e. due process, jury trial, cruel and unusual punishment).

                  There was great distrust in centralized government and the opponents of the Constitution saw it as a threat to liberty, not a rights-respecting entity. That’s why the states jealously guarded their sovereignty. That’s why the Federalists bent over backwards to explain that the states would be the protectors of the the liberties of their own people.

                  As it is, under the original Constitution, absent a Second Amendment, under what power could the federal government disarm citizens? None. Zip. Zero. Zilch. Reading the 2A as an individual right protected by the federal government reads like the federal government trying to solve a problem that no longer existed.

                  Sure, tell me about how the British attempt to disarm the citizens and I’ll tell you the people solved that by claiming sovereignty for themselves and declaring their rights in their own respective constitutions.

                  On (4), do you agree because it fits your worldview or do you agree because you have the firepower to debate me on the merits/flaws of the decision.

                  If we can get you off of the number of du Vattel’s books in print and focus on the points that matter, we can get into the nuts and bolts of Heller. I’m game. You?

                  Report

                  • “Point 3 is what it is and your “perhaps” tells me you’re just throwing shit against a wall to see what sticks. ” is a bit much. On the other hand, , your point 3 is… problematic in any interpretation I can come up with, particularly as phrased it seems deliberately inflammatory at best. So I agree that it should be dropped.

                    Report

                  • 1. How the government was structured has little to do with the natural rights it protects. Whether we were a confederation or a union doesn’t impinge on jury trials, your right to counsel, the need for a search warrant, grand jury proceedings, or your right to bear arms, as opposed to perhaps addressing issues about the Supremacy Clause.

                    2. If the people only have a collective right to bear arms, where do they get the arms they’re supposed to bear as a group? The colonists had always kept their personal rifles, pistols, and swords at home. Only cannon and large supplies of powder (that might make a big boom at an inconvenient time) were stored in public spaces. All the framers were intimately familiar with how they kept their guns and how the militia operated. The reason they emphasized organization back then was that the combat tactics of the day required large unit actions by disciplined men to stand up to massed volley fire. Better weapons made those tactics obsolete, and now we fight more like Indians or pioneers.

                    In the English and especially the Colonial tradition, people supplied their own arms when called out, as opposed to looting royal stockpiles and gunsmiths and then using those weapons to storm the Bastille to get yet more weapons.

                    3. Reinforces the point that the people be armed, not just as military units after being called up, but all the time. Our state government never had a vast stockpile of weapons in an armory somewhere. We had no Bastille, just some little wooden stockades where everybody initially lived, such as Fort Boonesboro. Everybody in those stockades kept their rifle at hand and they didn’t go about the land unarmed. That would be suicide because this whole place was a battleground that war parties fought over. So we said that all the citizens have a right to bear arms.

                    4. Heller:

                    Held:

                    1. The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home. Pp. 2–53.

                    (a) The Amendment’s prefatory clause announces a purpose, but does not limit or expand the scope of the second part, the operative clause. The operative clause’s text and history demonstrate that it connotes an individual right to keep and bear arms. Pp. 2–22.

                    (b) The prefatory clause comports with the Court’s interpretation of the operative clause. The “militia” comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense. The Antifederalists feared that the Federal Government would disarm the people in order to disable this citizens’ militia, enabling a politicized standing army or a select militia to rule. The response was to deny Congress power to abridge the ancient right of individuals to keep and bear arms, so that the ideal of a citizens’ militia would be preserved. Pp. 22–28.

                    (c) The Court’s interpretation is confirmed by analogous arms-bearing rights in state constitutions that preceded and immediately followed the Second Amendment . Pp. 28–30.

                    (d) The Second Amendment ’s drafting history, while of dubious interpretive worth, reveals three state Second Amendment proposals that unequivocally referred to an individual right to bear arms. Pp. 30–32.

                    (e) Interpretation of the Second Amendment by scholars, courts and legislators, from immediately after its ratification through the late 19th century also supports the Court’s conclusion. Pp. 32–47.

                    I cited my state constitution of 1792, which would be one of those they mentioned in (c). They go on to say that it doesn’t protect a right to unusual weapons, or to carry weapons in particular places such as court houses.

                    Report

  12. I return to what I often offer: make people responsible for what happens with the guns they purchase.

    If you buy a gun and maintain it safely and no harm ever comes of it, you’re cool.

    If your gun is used to harm people, you fail the “responsible gun owner” test and at the very least you forfeit your right to own guns and perhaps have some civil or criminal liability depending on the specifics.

    If your gun is lost or stolen, report it. That’s what a responsible gun owner does. That mitigates your liability. Lose too many or have too many stolen? You ain’t responsible.

    If you buy a gun in Wisconsin and it’s used in a gang murder in Chicago and you can’t account for it’s whereabouts or how it got there, you aren’t guilty of murder but you sure as hell aren’t responsible: no more guns. And if it’s found you intentionally participated in it getting there, now you’re facing criminal charges of some kind.

    What’s wrong with this plan?

    ETA: If you sell the gun legally, the sale is tracked and responsibility transfers to the new owner. A pattern of sales to future-crime-breaking buys may forfeit your rights.

    Would hunters back this? It’d likely have no impact on them beyond some paperwork to document sales and ownership. If not, why not?

    Report

    • As a Hunter, that’s not particularly a concern of mine… but I do know that guns are a prime target for theft out here; my [minor] issue would be a system that allows me to indicate that I am not in possession of my Marlin 336. I mean, if my car gets stolen, I have no idea what my VIN is… I just report my Nissan Altima is stolen. Which just leads to the whole question of a registry.

      Report

      • Yes, the system would require a means of tracking guns. Knowing who owns what guns where and when is a step toward being responsible.

        If guns are a target for theft, secure them adequately.

        Report

      • It’s really only a registry if it is centralized and under government control.

        As long as Uncle Sam can’t go data mining without a narrow warrant, it’s not much of an issue.

        Report

          • Only after a crime? Please. My state has a registry. You think cops are going to roll up to a house, say on a domestic disturbance call, and say “i could call in and see if there are any firearms registered to this address or i can just wing it”? Nah, they are gonna call, or dispatch will have already told them.

            Report

              • “unreasonable” no.

                But every thing like this as creep.

                Oh, we’d NEVER use stingers to actively monitor people’s cell phones. Until they did. Oh, we’d never use the registry when we pull you over for speeding, ’cause you might have that gun in your car.

                We’d never use lisc plate recognition sw to build a pattern of people going about their daily lives, no..just for emergencies, oh and amber alters…and oh yes, silver alerts…

                Camel nose/tent. Give them an inch, they’ll take a mile and just not tell you.

                Report

          • You could do something wild like have the NRA run the registry and require a warrant to get the information.

            Gun owners report info on what guns they have to NRA, contact them & policeif the weapon is stolen etc.

            Report

            • I outlined pretty much that same idea here a couple years ago. I called it F.O.R.T., Firearms Owners Registry Trust. It would be a legal trust with a charter laying out the mission of the trust and its responsibilities to the trust beneficiaries — the firearms owners — as well as the general public. It would protect the registration data behind a picket of lawyers who would scrutinise requests (warrants) and challenge any that crossed a constitutional line. The trust itself would be vulnerable to tort actions by beneficiaries for non-performance to its charter mandate, which is essentially to protect their 2A rights in accordance with SCOTUS interpretation. If the government truly went off the rails they could simply smoke the whole thing.

              Report

        • That’s a dead issue because up in New York, where registration is required, an upstate newspaper published a map of all the gun owners’ locations. Many of them were retired law enforcement officers. Outrage resulted.

          Report

          • If the registry is held by private insurance companies, and the information in it is only accessible with a warrant, the FOIA has no bearing. If a reporter comes poking around for the list of gun owners All State insures, they are going to be told to go pound sand.

            Report

            • Yet that would run afoul of both the 2nd Amendment and the 4th Amendment’s right to privacy. Many states have passed CCW laws, thereby acknowledging that a person has a right to carry a firearm without other people knowing that they are carrying a firearm. That is an acknowledgement of both your 2nd Amendment right to bear arms, and your right to not let other people know that you’re exercising your right to keep and bear arms.

              Report

              • What would? A private insurance company maintaining records of identifying information for the items they insure, or someone digging for those records without a warrant?

                Report

                • My objection would be a law requiring you to give that private information to someone else. Guns are covered under a general homeowner’s policy, when insured at all. We’ve got 300 million guns and virtually none of them are covered by a special insurance policy, and nobody has complained yet. Arguing that guns suddenly have to be insured for some new reason is a stretch, especially since we don’t require ax and knife insurance.

                  We do require insurance for cars, but cars are still considered a privilege, not a right, and especially not a right made explicit in the Constitution. Often the car analogy is brought up in gun discussions.

                  There is an argument that in the modern age, a car should be a right instead of privilege because we’ve shaped society around cars, and without one many people can’t get to work or go to school. Basically, they’re the new horses, and the government never licensed horses or required horse insurance. A car used to be a luxury item, as aircraft are today, and that’s when the idea of taxing and regulating them took hold, but once they became a necessity for modern life, their status should’ve changed.

                  Report

                  • An insurance requirement is not beyond the pale. You own guns, you need to have sufficient liability insurance to cover a mishap. I have a $500K rider on my homeowners in the event of an accidental shooting. Costs me $50/year, because I have a safe. My home theft coverage only requires I be able to prove I owned big ticket items I claim, so I write down the serial numbers and take photos, then email them to myself. My insurance company doesn’t have to keep that information on hand, but if one wanted copies, I would not have an issue giving it to them.

                    Now, if the government insisted insurance companies keep those records, I would most certainly want to make sure such records are only accessible via a warrant, but straight up liability coverage would not require such records. All liability would be concerned with is, “do you own a gun?”. If yes, they may have follow-up questions regarding safe storage, and training, etc., but the specifics of the firearm remain irrelevant.

                    Report

                    • I don’t even see why you need to disclose your have firearms.

                      I have liability on my car, my rental house, and and umbrella liability policy. Not sure the base liability on the house, but the car is 500k and the umbrella is 1m. I see no need to tell the insurance company WHY I want that level of liability. But if pressed I can say “if I hit a soccer mom with 3 kids in a SUV, and injuries result, I could be in for some major liability.

                      Report

                      • I worry less about the personal disclosures of ownership (although I pretty much handle mine like Oscar – I’m a meticulous record-keeper). But I do think one of the best things we could do long term is to start getting the movement of firearms regulated. Trafficking is what is causing much of the trouble in places like Chicago.

                        The mistake that the Left often makes though is when they start talking about broad documentation of all ownership. Rooting around in people’s basements and documenting every gun they own. That’s the stuff that makes gun owners cringe. Or when they say things like, “No one needs to own THAT MANY guns,” which implies they want the government to put a cap on ownership. Also a scary prospect.

                        Report

                        • I wonder if legally requiring personal sellers to maintain contemporaneous records of sales (including who the gun was sold to) without necessarily putting them in a centralized repository would be a reasonable compromise.

                          Report

                          • Maintaining the records at the seller is a stretch, too unreliable.

                            I’d suggest the records be maintained by the local sheriff. Honestly, if I was to author a compromise, I’d say that every transaction record be maintained in an electronic database that the local sheriff runs. That way a trace would run from manufacturer to sheriff to buyer. My reason for sheriffs to hold the records is that many sheriffs are always a bit surly when it comes to federal over-reach, so should the BATFE or FBI go on a fishing expedition to hoover up ownership records, you just know there will be enough sheriffs who will make a stink as to put the brakes on it.

                            Report


                            • Actually, it wouldn’t be TOO difficult. Right now, if you have a C&R license (FFL type 3, Collector of Curios and Relics) require you to have a Bound Book recording all transactions of firearms. In return, this allows you to mail order firearms that are listed by the ATF as C&R, along with anything over 50 years old.

                              Something of this sort could be workable. If I remember correctly, you are required to keep the book for life, it is available at anytime to the ATF, etc. But you get the ability to bypass waiting periods, buy out of state, etc. This could be a solution, if there are exceptions for gun owners piece of mind.

                              Report

                              • Yeah, I read that.

                                Doesn’t mean it can’t be done, we just need to find a way where the trace is doable, but wholesale data mining is not. Back in 1986, preventing computerization was the way to do that. These days, there might be a way to satisfy the GRA side while still allowing LEAs a way to complete a trace rapidly.

                                Report

                                • Since the folks at the warehouse in that article have to go through microfiche or reams of paper just to find who sold the gun with a given serial number and then call them to get the info on the buyer/owner, I don’t understand why just the seller part can’t be put in a computer database.

                                  No searchable list of names of owners that govt might come for, just serial number tied to last seller, who has to be contacted by appropriate authorities with appropriate reason to get the name of an individual current owner.

                                  It wouldn’t bother me at all to have a weapon’s serial number listed in that sort of searchable database. But then I’m not a hardcore GRA. What reason for objection am I missing?

                                  Report

                                  • Because once you have the computer database, you could add other searchable data fields as well, and apparently that way lies madness.

                                    Although to be serious, the issue isn’t about allowing limited data center updates, as such, as the fact that doing so would require a new bit of legislation, and the NRA is not interested in allowing new legislation through that could alter that status quo, because they have so firmly hung their hat on that peg that to budge on it is to risk loosing support to groups like the GOA.

                                    Report

                                    • [[sigh]]

                                      I am reassured to hear that I am not simply missing an obvious argument because I grew up in a less paranoid era (back when not knowing the rules for safely handling a gun meant the community of gun owners would be the ones wanting your gun taken away until you demonstrated that you had learned).

                                      However, I am also deeply disheartened that I have to agree with you. It’s sad thing that an organization that I once considered a good source for gun education is increasingly one that seems to have all the credibility of the Tobacco Institute.

                                      Report

                          • I think extra special tracking for guns inflicted on private sellers may be a problem in terms of getting people to follow the law, and I especially think it’s going to be twisted by the powers that be to make purchasing firearms more difficult simply because that’s what they want.

                            So how big is problem we trying to fix here, and how likely is it that it’s going to help?

                            This can’t do much for mass murderers, because those cases are always solved (the dead guy with the gun in his hand did the shooting). Tracking/crime solving also isn’t an issue with suicides, and that’s two thirds of the deaths.

                            Isn’t the bulk of the remaining already outside the system? Drug dealers and gang bangers killing each other with guns they’re already forbidden from having?

                            Report

                        • “best things we could do long term is to start getting the movement of firearms regulated. Trafficking is what is causing much of the trouble in places like Chicago.”

                          Really? Seems to me that’s the same as saying “we need to start tracking narcotics transfers”. Like criminals are gong to disclose the movement of their products.

                          Report

                          • The transaction of importance is when the arm moves from the legal market to the illegal one, and not because it matters for any single transaction, but in the aggregate, patterns emerge and things like corrupt dealers or straw buyers become visible.

                            Report

                            • Let’s assume that’s true. That’s a matter of convenience only. It’s not too hard to actually make firearms. Let’s assume that trafficking in firearms is made prohibitively difficult. Don’t think a “solution” will occur?

                              Report

                              • I refuse to believe that people will start building handguns at home if we do things like trace ammunition and document all gun transfers. Will they look for ways around the law? Sure. But I think what you are talking about is assuming too much.

                                Report

                                • The LAW ABIDING won’t do it, except for a minority. I’m talking about the criminal element. If a crew of crooks typically get’s their guns through straw purchases and that avenue is no longer available, they’ll seek other ways. Now, those guys are probably in the drug trade, a multi billion dollar industry. Think they’ll think twice about getting some guy to make their guns? Of course they could also just break into gun stores or national guard armories too, or pay some guy to “loose” a shipment.

                                  Report

                                  • So that circles around to enforcing the laws on the books. If all gun purchases have to be registered, then people caught with those guns go to prison. The trafficking stuff is something we should be able to do better at…and I’m saying this as someone who is adamantly opposed to the Drug War.

                                    Report

                                    • The fact that guns are non-addictive will probably help. :)

                                      Also the fact that even the most ardent gun control measures leave both ranges and hunters alone, meaning if you like to shoot guns for fun, there’s perfectly legal ways to go about it.

                                      If you banned guns entirely, confiscated them all, then maybe you might have a black market situation.

                                      If instead you’re just insisting on registration and insurance, and that certain classes of guns can’t be owned without certain licenses (you know, like now) — well — the truly hard-core hobbyists will get the licenses, the dabblers will visit ranges with the licenses, and the vast bulk of owners won’t even notice because all they own is some hunting stuff or a handgun, so they just register it and move on.

                                      Report

                            • Every illegal firearm possession starts with a legal purchase by someone. That makes it much different than illegal narcotics.

                              Only currently, and only because it’s easy. The market for illegal weapons exists, is well established, already used by criminals, and is more or less parallel to the narcotics trade so those criminals already have access to import/export trade routes even if they don’t currently use them much for guns.

                              Close down all gun manufacturers tomorrow and by the end of the month drug dealers will be using imports. The month after that they’ll be selling guns as well as drugs.

                              Report

    • I was going to put this in tomorrows Tech Tuesday, but I thought it might be applicable here.

      https://futurism.com/illinois-is-experimenting-with-blockchains-to-replace-physical-birth-certificates/

      Illinois is going to play around with the idea of using blockchain to help secure birth certificates. For those who are more familiar with the details of blockchain than I ( , etc.), could blockchain technology be useful for creating a way to trace a gun, without creating a fully searchable registry?

      Report

      • Uh…probably?

        I’m not sure what is actually trying to be accomplished here.

        I get the birth cert thing, although there’s absolutely no reason to use blockchains for it.

        Using blockchains for that means there are are exactly three options there: a) if someone loses their cert they can get another copy of it, in which case this is basically just a login, b) if someone loses their cert they can get it reissued, and the state somehow indicates the new one is the true one, in which case this is basically just a login, c) if someone loses their cert they are screwed and no longer legally exist, in which case this is really stupid.

        So I do not see any point of ‘blockchains’ over just ‘Everyone gets a login at a website that holds their records, and can grant other people access to said records’. (Which is a good idea.) But whatever.

        But anyway, WRT to guns, what are we trying to accomplish here?

        The gun store, when they sell the thing, could, instead of writing down who they sell it to, have that person make a block indicating they got ownership of it, and make sure that block gets out. (It’s slightly different than that bitcoins, where the new owner wants to make sure the transaction data gets out to prove they are the owner after that point, so the bitcoins can’t also be transferred to someone else, whereas here, the old owner would want to make sure the data gets out to prove they are no longer the owner after that point…but that works fine.)

        It’s basically replicating the existing system, where they write it down and keep the paperwork. Except with an added bonus that gun shops have to publish that documentation…which means they cannot forge or alter it later. So, I mean, sure, blockchains would basically work better in that sense. But there are a few problems with that.

        First, the problem with the current system is that it only applies to gun stores. Are we going to make individuals sign transfer blocks and distribute them when selling guns? Because right now we can’t even seem to make them do paperwork, and now we want to make them do digital signing?

        Granted, this is exactly the same weaknesses as the existing system, so whatever.

        But, hey, let’s pretend that birth certificate thing got off the ground, and we have people regularly signing things, including gun blockchains.

        And now…the government knows exactly what guns everyone has. The entire concept of blockchains is that information is signed, and then distributed to everyone, and the fact everyone knows it is what keeps people from rewinding the chain. (Which keeps a bitcoin owner from being able to transfer the same bitcoins to multiple people, and why transactions take a bit of time.)

        All the government has to do is get in the networks, and it can see each and every gun transfer and who owns them.

        Now, depending on who is issuing the starting blocks for these things, it might not know what a particular gun actually is. Maybe the manufacturers are starting the blocks. And people could even invent fake guns and trade them around to confuse the system.

        But this system seems to do exactly what the anti-gun control people don’t want.

        Honestly, if we were going to do this, plain ole locally-kept digital signatures makes more sense. Every new owner could sign that they now own the gun, and give a copy of that signature to the previous owner. We don’t need any ‘blockchains’ or anything…if I buy a gun, I fill out a digital form, with my name and gun serial, and then digitally sign it and the old owner keeps a copy of it to prove who it was sold to.

        Which makes it almost exactly the same the system works now, including privacy. Except if you did that with government-issued digital signatures, and, most importantly of all, made it apply to all gun transfers, it would be a bit better.

        Edit: Oh, and as an added bonus…if we actually had government-issued digital signatures, we could require background checks for all transfers, because right now the current sticking point is ‘We don’t want to let any random guy do a background check on anyone because he claims he might sell a gun to them’, but if people had to sign their own background check request, that problem is solved.

        Report

        • Admittedly, it is probably long past time for me to sit down and dig into the mechanics of blockchain, but I haven’t yet, so I apologize for not being up to speed on this.

          The basics for what I see as a reasonable system is one where the information about who owns what exists, but is obscured/encrypted/protected unless the law enforcement has a serial number and make and model (and ideally a warrant). If the police have that, then they can get the whole ownership chain up to the last legal owner. The make/model/serial number becomes a public key that reveals the rest. Now the government could get all that information from gun makers, but attempting do so on a simple warrant or subpoena would attract attention from the NRA/GOA/SAF/EIEIO.

          I just don’t know if such a thing is possible.

          Report

        • Or….you could just do the equivilant of transferring title to the gun. I’m frankly happy, as a citizen, to subsidize that to make it cheap (a few dollars, tops).

          Of course, once again, sensible things like “It’d sure be nice to know who owned this gun” runs into rampant “But then the government will known what guns we have”.

          And the questions is: What possible difference do you think that will make? Has there every been, in the last century, some point where the government said “I guess I won’t arrest you, we don’t know if you have guns”?

          Report

          • “But then the government will known what guns we have”.

            I’ve never understood the privacy argument. Unless someone is spending zero time on gun-related websites, only making purchases with cash, not buying hunting licenses, not carrying a CDW, etc…Uncle Sam knows.

            Report

  13. I don’t think hunters are gonna change the gun arguments any. Last statistics I saw indicate that self-described hunters are a much smaller group than they used to be (and those that have actually hunted in the last year even smaller).

    I wouldn’t be surprised to find that hunters are a minority among gun owners.

    Report

    • True on the declining numbers but I think in terms of dollars spent, we have a lot of clout. State wildlife departments get at least 25% of their budget from us (the other 75% potentially comes from Pittman-Robertson – and of course we also supply a % of that). I also think we get a lot more approval from the Left than the guys that run tactical rifles, for better or worse. So…put us out there and maybe we can fight above our weight class with all of that support.

      Report

      • I’m sure you do. But it’s declining.

        And I’m not sure hunters have the clout to be the face of gun owners anymore. You’ve been pushed aside by the tacticool bros and the militia and that’s the best case because at least neither of them are white supremacists, the other heavily armed group.

        And frankly, you do get a lot of support from the left — only the most ardent anti-gun left has anything against hunters or guns being used and owned by hunters. (And those are, by and large, urban liberals dealing with urban gun problems and bluntly hunters are at the bottom of a long list of stuff they’re totally impotent on, so I wouldn’t fret).

        I worry less about any backlash against the tacticool types taking hunters with it than about your numbers and clout diminishing further because gun ownership becomes synonymous with, well, the idiots.

        Bluntly put: If you guys don’t put your foot down on the stupidity soon, I’m not sure you’ll be able to. Hunters lost the NRA at least a generation ago, in favor of “self defense” types that are currently morphing into some bastard child of militia sovereign citizen nutbags and outright white supremacists gearing up for the race war.

        And the NRA is the face of guns in America. It ain’t my father-in-law, hunting in the woods and teaching gun safety to his grandchildren. It’s a scared guy buying his 9th gun for “self defense” while openly fantasizing about what he’s gonna do to the “thugs” when they invade, or some moron in face-paint and camo outside a Denny’s, complaining that people get upset when he brings his AR-15 in.

        Report

          • I was mostly just agreeing with you.

            And I feel you. Speaking as a Democrat, if somehow we end up getting super-majorities and replacing SCOTUS, I’ll be lobbying to make sure gun control changes don’t impact hunters.

            Well, besides paperwork. Universal registration will probably require some forms. :)

            Seriously, if all gun owners were like my father-in-law and not like, well, as opposed to the two people I know with CC licenses (in a sane world, why they claim they need a CC license should be justification for not giving them one) I suspect life would be a lot more pleasant on this subject.

            Report

        • ” If you guys don’t put your foot down on the stupidity soon, I’m not sure you’ll be able to.”

          Isn’t that pretty darn close to the actual point of Mike’s post? Not sure why he’s getting so much pushback that seems to … fundamentally agree with him.

          Report

        • I worry less about any backlash against the tacticool types taking hunters with it than about your numbers and clout diminishing further because gun ownership becomes synonymous with, well, the idiots.

          The political left has been making an awful lot of bets based on the prospect of those beyond the pale of acceptable progressive opinion being considered idiots. Most of those bets don’t seem to have paid off. I’m honestly not trying to be facetious here, but maybe it’s time to try a different strategy.

          Report

          • ’m honestly not trying to be facetious here, but maybe it’s time to try a different strategy.

            You think that’s a strategy I’m arguing for? I don’t think you read what I wrote very closely.

            If it was something I was hoping for, I wouldn’t use the phrase “I worry that….” for one.

            Report

  14. The National Rifle Association’s signature issue these days is the right to carry, concealed or not, a loaded short-barrel handgun in public places, many of them quite crowded. Where do you think a hunter-centric advocacy group should stand on that issue?

    Report

  15. The Bee forgot this part of the pro gun control side:

    “lie lie lie about not wanting to ban all guns” No we want “reasonable gun control” :)

    Report

    • I think this has more to do with the structure of the coalition working towards guns control than actual deliberate deception. Sure, some activists lie, obviously, but gun control advocacy is a mix of people who just want (what they see as) relatively mild “common sense” measures that leave private gun ownership largely intact [1], others who will openly they want no civilian gun ownership, and a lot of people in between.

      This means that gun control advocates aren’t generally bad, dishonest people, but it still means that the basic “if you give an inch, they’ll take a mile” logic still operates, because the people who just want limited new regulation simply can’t commit that the gun control coalition won’t go further.

      [1] This is one area where the complaints that a lot of gun control advocates don’t know anything about guns is most relevant, since a lot of rank-and-file advocates, at least, have no idea the scope of what they’re asking for.

      Report

      • I think this is where I have trouble being patient with the gun-control side. If you are someone that has reached the point of actual advocacy vs. just having a strong opinion, you need to do your homework. And as I mentioned upthread somewhere, this isn’t rocket science. It’s way easier to educate yourself on guns and gun laws than say, healthcare policy

        Report

        • Yup. It’s especially frustrating when you come across it from people who usually spend a lot of time and effort diving into policy minutia when the subject is taxes, or healthcare, or the environment.

          Report

      • This means that gun control advocates aren’t generally bad, dishonest people, but it still means that the basic “if you give an inch, they’ll take a mile” logic still operates, because the people who just want limited new regulation simply can’t commit that the gun control coalition won’t go further.

        Weirdly, for some reason despite this being true of literally every single political issue, somehow it’s only a deal-breaker for moderate laws WRT gun control.

        There are a lot of examples of this sort of conflict in politics. There is one group of people, let’s call them the pro-control, favoring regulation of something, often with a bunch of that not knowing much about what is going on and wanting things to go too far. And there’s another group of people, the anti-control not wanting regulations anywhere near that far.

        And in pretty much all cases, the anti-control people works together with the sane members of the pro-control people to come up with some sort of ‘compromise’ that isn’t really a compromise at all, as it’s the sane and rational regulations that even the anti-control people are in favor of.

        I mean, let’s look at supposedly the most extreme example…abortion. The anti-control (aka, pro-choice) side of the abortion debate seems like they could hypothetically be that, a group of people opposed to any regulation at all…except they aren’t. No one else is out there saying ‘I am anti-control, but this specific proposed law restricting abortion is reasonable. Except I won’t support it because the pro-control people have no idea what they are talking about and their rules will continue all the way until abortion is completely illegal’. (They don’t say that despite this being blatantly true.)

        And thus there are, indeed reasonable laws about abortion that pro-choice people do agree with, like only allowing doctors to perform it. (They are so reasonable we tend to even forget they exist!) The pro-control people are still pushing nonsense and extreme regulations and often do not appear to understand anything, but, weirdly, the anti-control side is not saying ‘You know, we should be demanding the right to have abortions provided by Starbucks baristas!’.

        This…does not appear be how it works in gun control, and it’s because this description has omitted the lunatic anti-control side, who want no regulation at all. Those people are completely marginalized (Even moreso than the lunatic pro-control side.) when it comes to every other issue in politics…but not here.

        I also remind people that that gun control in this county used to work exactly the way I described. We outlawed machine guns because no one was insane enough to think people should have machine guns. We outlaw shooting guns in city limits. Etc, etc, etc, until suddenly, the lunatic anti-control side hijacked the discussion.

        So the excuse of ‘There are crazy people on the pro-control side’ is just that…an excuse. Every issue that can be regulated by the government has a bunch of crazy people who want to over-regulate it…and also a bunch of crazy people who don’t want it regulated at all. And the knowledgeable and moderate people in the middle get together and work something out.

        Except in gun control, where the moderates on anti-control side have decided to pretend that the extremists on the pro-control side render them incapable functioning…despite the fact they could actually work without the support of anyone on the pro-control side at all! It doesn’t matter what the pro-control side thinks! The anti-control could say ‘We disapprove of all your dumb suggestions, and offer a counter of a magazine limit,’, and the pro-control people would leap on it and do it. No ‘deal’ is needed.(1)

        This is because, of course, that supposed reason is just a lie…the actual reason the moderate anti-control side can’t do anything is because the lunatic anti-control side is too big a threat to their political career. There is nothing anyone on the pro-control side could change to change that.

        1) And I can prove that by the way that the anti-control side is basically offering to do that for bump stocks, almost unasked. Politics doesn’t require any sort of ‘deals’, you can just offer things and they get done and everyone remembers ‘Oh, we solved that problem’ and a lot of push by the other side’s extremists goes away. There is a reason that slippery slope is listed as a logical fallacy…a lot of the time, it’s exactly the other way. Moving slightly down the slope sometimes improves your footing! It makes you seem more reasonable, and politics is mostly the art of appearing reasonable.

        Of course, the anti-control side is only offering that because the leadership of the anti-control extremist loons, aka, the NRA, got on board with it.

        Report

        • I’m not sure I will be able to do justice to every point in your long post, but I think your analogy with abortion is a good one, but it is misapplied.

          Many (the vast majority, IME) opponents of gun control are entirely content with some regulation. For example, there is very little resistance to the idea that automatic weapons should continue to be tightly controlled, to be the point of being virtually banned.

          This is not so different with the way pro-choice people are generally OK with requirements that abortions be performed by doctors, or with restrictions on abortions after the point of viability (or almost equivalently, in the third trimester).

          In both cases, new stuff is viewed as dangerous, but stuff that’s been there “from the start” gets much less resistance or pushback.

          But pro-choice people will fight like hell to avoid new restrictions. Often these restrictions are cast as reasonable, and in some senses probably are reasonable. It’s certainly the case that countries which have, in practice, abortion access that’s better than that in most of the US also start restricting abortions well before the third trimester, but pro-choice activists are (rightly, IMO) fighting like hell against restrictions on abortions past 20 weeks.

          Because when you see how those interact with motivated private anti-abortion activists and aggressive state governments that agree with them, it becomes another tool that can really hinder access, and makes the incremental benefit of throwing other barriers to delay women from getting abortions that much higher.

          You can find analogous examples of gun control that looks benign or helpful on the surface but, in practice, just turned into a way of preventing people from getting guns. For instance, a lot of people think (reasonably, IMO) that it’s a good idea to require training before letting people buy/own guns. After all, people who do stupid things with guns can be pretty dangerous.

          Unfortunately, this sensible idea has been more or less ruined (at least I think so) by governments that have basically kept the number of slots available for training very small, and they wind up going to people who have the right sorts of political connections.

          Report

          • You can find analogous examples of gun control that looks benign or helpful on the surface but, in practice, just turned into a way of preventing people from getting guns. For instance, a lot of people think (reasonably, IMO) that it’s a good idea to require training before letting people buy/own guns. After all, people who do stupid things with guns can be pretty dangerous.

            Yes, you can find analogous examples in the gun control debate, things that seem reasonable but are not in the current situation. Mandatory training and short waiting periods, both would seem reasonable on their own, but they are a tool used to restrict access.

            You can also find things that seem reasonable but aren’t actually, like banning ‘silencers’ and mandatory ultrasounds, both of which are stupid ideas that only sound reasonable to people who have done no research as to what those consist of.

            But the thing is, in guns, you can also find examples that are not analogous. They have no analogy in any other political debate. They are good ideas, they have no actual objection to them, they are not part of some sort of existing restriction…and yet, somehow, the ‘reasonable’ anti-control side will not even consider them.

            For example, requiring registrations of guns. Having magazine size limits. Requiring documentation of transfers. Requiring people to get a FLL if they sell X guns a year.

            Even something like bump stocks exist because, before this point, the anti-control side were basically out-of-control in demanding that gun regulators not be allowed to bar obviously absurd and dangerous gun modifications like that without specific laws. While no one may have specifically fought for bump stocks, they only exist because Federal regulators were completely and deliberately hamstrung.

            Report

            • 2 Points: The BATFE will absolutely demand you get an FFL if you sell more than a few guns a year (I think the limit is something like 5 a year or so, but I’d have to research it to be sure).

              The BATFE has near total control over certain firearms accessories it permits unless it is specifically prohibited by law to do so. Every bump firing device on the market has to be approved by the ATF before it can be offered for sale, and they are not obligated to explain why they declined to approve your device. The reason bump firing devices are generally allowed is because the same effect can be had with a stick, or a hand with one finger hooked through a belt loop, and the thumb in the trigger guard, i.e. up to this point, the negatives of bump firing a weapon significantly outweighed the advantage of the improved fire rate. It was seen as little more than a novelty that let people have fun turning money into noise and smoke at an accelerated rate.

              But there is no law (that I am aware of) that hamstrings the BATFE when it comes to such devices.

              Report

              • 2 Points: The BATFE will absolutely demand you get an FFL if you sell more than a few guns a year (I think the limit is something like 5 a year or so, but I’d have to research it to be sure).

                Nope. The law says is if you are in the ‘business’ of reselling guns, you need a FFL. This is…completely undefined.

                I, personally, would be rather inclined to think that people who bring multiple guns to gun shows and rent booths in advance to sell them and have signs and prices are, in fact, ‘in the business’ of selling guns, but apparently the ATF does not think so.

                The ATF’s definition mostly appears to be if you purchase a gun for the purpose of reselling it, you need a FFL…but weirdly do not seem to think that someone maintaining purchasing 30 guns in a year and selling 30 guns of the same model (If not the same guns.) the same year is an indication that they are buying them for the purpose of reselling them…until it does think that.

                This is, weirdly, one of those vague regulations that injures gun owners and sellers, who can never be sure if they’re close to any line, and instead of an unprovable rule about ‘intent’ a much better rule would be hard and fast numbers…but nope! Because specific rules are ‘regulation’ and the NRA won’t allow that.

                You compare this to, for example, rules about used car sellers, which my brother has to live within…he sometimes purchases broken cars, fixes them, and resell them. There is a very specific number of cars he can sell a year (I think it’s five.) so he isn’t classified as operating a used car dealership. I mean, he’s not close to that number, his number is ‘maybe one’, but he knows what it is. A nice hard line.

                We could make nice hard rules about gun reselling, too. You get to average two a year, starting now. We will exempt from that total any sale where money can be proven to be lost based on purchase price vs. sale price (Because obviously gun resellers cannot operate a commercial business by making sales at a loss.) , and so we’ve exempted counting returns(1), gun buyback programs, and emergency hardship sales. Throw in an inheritance exemption also, so people can quickly sell off large collections they’ve inherited, and we’ve got a workable regulation.

                But nope. Not going to do it. It’s ‘gun control regulation’…despite the fact that the law already exists. BATFE sitting down and making it well-defined would count as ‘regulation’. So it’s just this vague ‘in the business of’ rule that they will arrest people for breaking.

                There are, of course, state laws about this. California almost completely bans sales between private individuals, other states require you to register them.

                1) I am assuming gun stores charge some sort of restocking fee, but if they do not currently, they can surely charge a single penny or something so that a person who returns a gun technically ‘loses money’ on the entire transaction, and thus it isn’t counted against their reselling total. Assuming gun stores even take returns.

                The BATFE has near total control over certain firearms accessories it permits unless it is specifically prohibited by law to do so. Every bump firing device on the market has to be approved by the ATF before it can be offered for sale, and they are not obligated to explain why they declined to approve your device. The reason bump firing devices are generally allowed is because the same effect can be had with a stick, or a hand with one finger hooked through a belt loop, and the thumb in the trigger guard, i.e. up to this point, the negatives of bump firing a weapon significantly outweighed the advantage of the improved fire rate. It was seen as little more than a novelty that let people have fun turning money into noise and smoke at an accelerated rate.

                That claim isn’t anywhere near how anyone else is explaining things.

                This is what the ATF said about bump stocks:

                The stock has no automatically functioning mechanical parts or springs and performs no automatic mechanical function when installed. Accordingly, we find that the ‘bump-stock’ is a firearm part and is not regulated as a firearm under Gun Control Act or the National Firearms Act.

                The ATF itself seems to think it has no authority to regulate ‘firearm parts’.

                You can argue it is wrong, but my point is not that they are not allowed to do so via the law, my point is that either the law does not allow it, _or_ the regulators are so threatened by the NRA that they are interpreting the law wrong.

                BATFE felt it was unreasonable for them to attempt to regulate bump stocks based on their interpretation of the current law, and by ‘their interpretation of the current law’ I mean ‘what the NRA will not sue them over’.

                But there is no law (that I am aware of) that hamstrings the BATFE when it comes to such devices.

                The BATFE is only allowed to regulate what the laws allow it to regulate.

                Report

                • The ATF web page has a pretty good FAQ on what constitutes being in the business of selling. You are correct that the definitions are squishy (and I do hate squishy legal definitions, I really do), but a person can use the guidance as stated to avoid running afoul of the ATF.

                  Also, the ATF just got done denying another type of trigger assist device called the AutoGlove. The ATF does denials like this all the time. One of the more famous ones was the Akins Accelerator. I know there have been others, but I can’t recall their names, and right now the Google is choked up with everything Vegas when you search on the general key words.

                  Report

        • So the excuse of ‘There are crazy people on the pro-control side’ is just that…an excuse. Every issue that can be regulated by the government has a bunch of crazy people who want to over-regulate it…and also a bunch of crazy people who don’t want it regulated at all. And the knowledgeable and moderate people in the middle get together and work something out.

          Except in gun control, where the moderates on anti-control side have decided to pretend that the extremists on the pro-control side render them incapable functioning…

          This is a pretty good example of the kind of outlook that I’m getting at in my comments. I think it is a fundamental misunderstanding of the terrain. And that misunderstanding is part of why the more gun control side will continue to get very little traction, despite holding the dominant media/cultural position. That won’t translate into legislative victories, because Jimmy Kimmel and Andy Borowitz just aren’t that important outside of certain circles.

          For one thing, the excuse isn’t “there are crazy people on the pro-control side.” That’s your characterization of the middle position, formed in large part because you seem to want to deny that there is a middle position instead of only moderate versions of the pro-gun and anti-gun extreme positions. Personally, I think that there are many more crazy, irrational people on the pro-gun/pro-NRA side. It’s just that on the merits of the case for a so-called assault weapons ban, the crazies happen to be more right than the more gun control side.

          Report

          • I would also argue that because of the opportunism that keeps creeping up on the Left, gun owners will remain suspicious. Case in point: the rush to get rid of bump stocks after the Vegas shooting. Feinstein decided it was better to get something taken off the market, rather than nothing…so she went for it. When gun owners see that, it doesn’t look very well thought out.

            Report

            • Feinstein decided it was better to get something taken off the market, rather than nothing…so she went for it. When gun owners see that, it doesn’t look very well thought out.

              She introduced legislation banning bump stocks in 2013.

              Edit: That’s wrong. The 2013 leg. banned semiautos that could accept a bump stock.

              Report

          • For one thing, the excuse isn’t “there are crazy people on the pro-control side.” That’s your characterization of the middle position, formed in large part because you seem to want to deny that there is a middle position instead of only moderate versions of the pro-gun and anti-gun extreme positions.

            I didn’t once say pro-gun or anti-gun. I said pro-control or anti-control. People who want some large level of restrictions on guns, and people who want less restrictions on gun. If you want I can call them more-control and less-control instead.

            By definition, two sides meet somewhere in the middle. It is a spectrum, like all normal political positions. Everyone sorta picks an amount of regulations on a topic they want, from 0 to 10, and we end up in ‘the middle’, or at least somewhere between those two, with perhaps some weird carve-outs. (I.e., instead of being 5, we might have a few parts that are 7, and a few parts that are 3.) This is not a complicated idea.

            Right now, we’re at 1 WRT guns. I’m not saying that because I think we should have more, I’m saying that because the population as a whole thinks that.

            The problem is, as I am pointing out, is that people who claim they are a 3, or 4, or even 5, refuse to let us set the dial to a 2. Which is well within what everyone is in favor of. We can argue 4-6, but we can’t really argue 2.

            Pillsy claimed this is due a bunch of people on the other side yelling for 10. That is the excuse that Pillsy just presented, not me. As I understand it. (And then he claimed that some regulations can interact in weird ways, which is true, but there are plenty of regulations that won’t.)

            And this, because this is a spectrum, I have no idea what sort of distinction you’re trying to make with the idea that there is some sort of ‘middle’ position on gun control that is somehow distinct from the moderates of two sides meeting together in the middle. The ‘sides’ are, literally, defined off the middle anyway.

            It is possible to make an argue that neither side is correct, that incorrect things are being argued over. Like we don’t need gun control, we need ammo control or bulletproof vest subsidies or something.

            But you can’t just vaguely wave your hands in that direction.

            Personally, I think that there are many more crazy, irrational people on the pro-gun/pro-NRA side. It’s just that on the merits of the case for a so-called assault weapons ban, the crazies happen to be more right than the more gun control side.

            And when the hell did we start talking about any sort of assault weapon ban?

            Report

              • You do realize that having to include regulations on explosives rather undercuts your point?

                And to a lesser but still obvious extent, so does including importation rules that pretty much are incredibly complicated for literally everything anyone is trying to import. Which is why normal people do not attempt to operate import/export businesses. Forget tripping up over gun rules, at least there it’s somewhat obvious that you should have some legal documentation for that…you can get in trouble important _wood_ if you don’t know what you’re doing.

                The remaining document is mostly relevant, at least to people trying to sell guns. There’s maybe 40 page that aren’t.

                People who are just trying to purchase guns do not really need to know any of that, and certainly don’t if they go to a gun dealer, who obviously is supposed to make sure that all transactions are legal.

                Beyond purchases and sales, gun owners are pretty much limited by state law(1), not Federal. Oh, there are a few laws, but there aren’t certainly 200 pages of them.

                But let’s pretend we’re talking about gun dealers here, not gun owners.

                Is knowing ~200 pages a lot of information to require a business owner to know?

                No.

                There are ~200 pages of regulations about selling milk. (Not making it, which is a whole different set of standards. Just marketing and selling it.)

                https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CFR-2010-title7-vol9/pdf/CFR-2010-title7-vol9-subtitleB-chapX.pdf

                1) I remind everyone, once again, that the organization that supposedly cares a lot about this has not taken the obvious step of creating some sort of app or web page where people can put in a model of gun, and their current location and figure out the various state laws about them.

                Because it suits the NRA’s purpose if state laws are seen as utterly incomprehensible and random, when in reality anyone could easily keep track of the nearby state laws about the guns they actually own.

                Report

                • The explosives regulations are highly relevant. I’m into reloading (thus I have gunpowder, including black powder), high power rocketry (regulated by the ATF since the motors are explosives and the rockets are just short of being SAMs), and caving, where we sometimes uses chemistry to make small passages into larger ones. I’ve used everything from ANFO to RDX, but dynamite remains the most common.

                  Report

            • Right now, we’re at 1 WRT guns. I’m not saying that because I think we should have more, I’m saying that because the population as a whole thinks that.

              This is where you are fundamentally mistaken. And I think from where all the other mistakes derive.

              Report

              • Do you want me to cite polls?

                http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/06/23/bipartisan-support-for-some-gun-proposals-stark-partisan-divisions-on-many-others/

                Note the headline there.

                77% want background checks at gun shows. 77% of Republicans, that is.

                56% of, again, Republicans, want a Federal database tracking gun sales.

                47% of Republicans want to ban high capacity magazines, which is admittedly not a majority, but in politics, we generally do what 47% of one party and 79% of the other party wants, maybe with some slight concessions.

                All those are the sort of sane and reasonable laws I have been speaking of, that have majority support, and only one of them falls barely short of majority support of both parties. That poll is from July 2017, which did not have any sort of recent major mass shooting to bump the numbers up.

                So, yes, we are, indeed, at a 1 on the dial of regulation. We can’t even implement a regulation, ‘background checks at gun shows’, that 3/4ths of one party and 9/10th of the other party wants.

                Granted, this regulation seems to be stupidly polled on. We don’t need to run ‘background checks’ at gun shows, what we need to do is stop allowing obvious and blatant gun resellers from running unlicensed gun stores at gun shows. We shouldn’t require ‘background checks’, we should require FFLs for 95% of these guys, which in turn require background checks and inventory management and other stuff. And rightly get a bunch of people who could not get a FFL due to previous unlawful activities out of the market.

                And incidentally, that dumb polling is why the complete failure of the ‘moderate less-regulation’ side is so damaging, and in fact is the cause of what some people here are nonsensically blaming Democrats for…stupid gun control laws. Those dumb laws aren’t the Democrats’ fault…they’re the Republicans’ fault.

                Not only will Republicans not support any sort of sane regulations, but by refusing to participate in any manner except to say ‘No!’ to everything, they have allowed the debate to wander into nonsense by people who have no idea what they are talking about, and thus, for example, 56% of their own voters support a dumbass assault weapon ban.

                We tend to get annoyed when people from an industry participate in regulation of itself, we tend to call it ‘regulatory capture’ and assume they are clearly working for their old bosses…but there’s a reason it happens, and the reason is that people with experience of an industry are people with knowledge of an industry, and thus are the ones best suited to regulate it. In theory.

                Dumbass gun control proposals is what you get when an industry, and people with ties to an industry, utterly refuses to participate in its own regulation. You get people doing a bunch of really stupid regulations that don’t do anything because that’s not how things work. Because they do not understand guns.(1)

                Any other industry in this situation would be stepping forward with a bunch of suggestions, carefully calibrated to not impact profits or increase costs very much, and yet calm down the people screaming for their head. Indeed, they would have proposed all the proposals above a long time ago, as none of them would significantly impact their business at all.

                Not normally the gun industry, though, because the gun industry operates, at this point, solely on outrage, paranoia, and lies…and a notable amount of illegal gun sales. Although interestingly they have, for the first time in a very long time, seemed to have noticed that the American people are collecting pitchforks and torches, and they have thrown bump stocks under the bus.

                1) It’s worth pointing out we get exactly the same sort of policies from Republicans on healthcare, complete nonsense, as they have no idea how any of that works…although that’s less from Democrats saying ‘no’ than from Republicans refusing to ask or listen to them.

                Report

                • Good comment DavidTC. I’ve been saying much the same. The idea that liberals need to moderate their language or learn correct technical terms in order win over the undecided middle makes no sense given the data. That argument is increasingly perplexing to me.

                  Report

                  • The data shows we could completely ignore assault rifles because they’re not even common in mass shootings. They disappear into the roundoff error in the homicide rate. Vastly more people are killed with hammers.

                    Report

                  • I don’t think it’s the un-decided middle that liberals need to win. They need to actually convince the pro-gun folks they know what the hell they are talking about. Because, in my experience, the undecided folks (on guns) are looking to the pro-gun folks for their opinion more than Diane Feinstein. Right now, that often boils down to, “We can’t agree much on policy, but we’re united on the opinion that liberals are clueless on guns.” So yeah, I do think language matters because it’s hard to think of another issue where liberals are this un-educated.

                    Report

                    • You’re ignoring things like…universal registration, which polls at like 85% — including a majority of Republicans. Unless that’s some weird polling result where the 15% is the “undecided middle”…

                      In any case, there is a simple proposed regulation with massive support. But it can’t be passed, and it’s not because of “liberals” or “the middle”.

                      I’m with David here — saying “We can’t have regulations until liberals know what the parts of a gun are” is a cop-out at best. A bald-faced lie at worst. We can’t have regulations because a tiny minority is violently opposed to any regulation whatsoever.

                      If the real problem was “Liberals don’t know enough about guns to make this work” then people who know about guns would weigh in on how to achieve it. Or why achieving it is a bad idea.

                      Nobody says “Well, we have some good ideas or some real objections. But we’re gonna keep them to ourselves until you pass a quiz”.

                      Report

                      • I’m with David here — saying “We can’t have regulations until liberals know what the parts of a gun are” is a cop-out at best. A bald-faced lie at worst. We can’t have regulations because a tiny minority is violently opposed to any regulation whatsoever.

                        I could craft a survey tomorrow that asks people if they think the government should invest heavily in Elon Musk’s idea to use rockets for transportation on Earth and, if I worded the questions carefully, I bet I could get a very positive response. But I don’t know much about the engineering hurdles there so I would trust the rocket scientists if they told me it was a terrible idea, even if it sounds super-cool.

                        If the real problem was “Liberals don’t know enough about guns to make this work” then people who know about guns would weigh in on how to achieve it. Or why achieving it is a bad idea.

                        Ummmm….wasn’t that the whole point of my OP?

                        Nobody says “Well, we have some good ideas or some real objections. But we’re gonna keep them to ourselves until you pass a quiz”.

                        I’m REALLY, REALY not trying to be snarky there, but that feels like every policy discussion I have had with liberals for the last 20 years. Isn’t that the side of the aisle that prides itself on how smart they are?

                        Report

                        • We can’t have gun control laws until liberals are experts in guns. Meanwhile, the actual experts in guns have nothing to contribute.

                          Why is guns the one subject where the experts refuse to offer their expertise?

                          Report

                          • Again, you’re making the same point I did in the OP. I want hunters (i.e. knowledgeable about guns) to step up so the uneducated GCAs don’t reach a critical mass and do really dumb things instead. If the Left wanted to educate themselves though, maybe they could actually move the conversation along themselves. The pro-gun side tends to dig in because we have been burned by liberals that don’t understand guns before. Example A would be the AWB which was a terrible piece of legislation but helped some folks sleep at night.

                            Report

                            • So what are you proposing? See therein lies the rub — plenty of gun owners say the same thing. Very few suggest anything.

                              Sometimes they day. My favorite is requiring schools to train kids to handle guns. It’s right behind “arming teachers” to deal with school shootings in terms of unseriousness.

                              So by all means, I hope hunters step up. I don’t have high hopes — I suspect they’ll do what has always been done. They’ll be pro-regulation in theory for sensible regulations — except sadly, nothing proposed is ever sensible and darnit, they don’t seem to have any workable ideas themselves.

                              Report

                              • If you’re asking me personally, I have lots of ideas, which I have shared on the site and even mentioned in this thread. Things like tracing ammo (I like Oscar’s suggestion of microdots in the powder) to documenting all purchases.

                                I’m also an advocate of firearm education in schools. Not ‘training kids how to handle guns’ as you reference, but simply what to do if they encounter a gun. Follow the basic rules of gun safety and tell an adult.

                                I went through gun safety stuff in the Boy Scouts and then Hunter Education when I was 17. That gave me a very good foundation for how to be safe with guns. Both my daughters have been through hunters education also, despite neither being hunters. But they like to shoot and it’s the best program I know of. So, I don’t consider that unserious at all, but actually a very good idea.

                                Report

                                • “I’m also an advocate of firearm education in schools. Not ‘training kids how to handle guns’ as you reference, but simply what to do if they encounter a gun. Follow the basic rules of gun safety and tell an adult.”

                                  FWIW, Basic rules of gun safety, tell an adult, don’t touch the gun, etc., is something we were taught in school starting in first grade up in Canada. If anything it was just kind of funny for those of us who were already way more educated than that due to family stuff, but still somehow reassuring to be hearing it from school/teachers, knowing that other kids were also getting the #@%* scared out of them about the idea of ever pointing one at someone else, etc., and thus all of us were safer than we would’ve been if those city kids came across a gun and nobody ever taught them to be careful / nervous.
                                  I mean, it wasn’t that intense, right up there with “don’t run with scissors,” “don’t do drugs,” fire safety, and the like, but about 10X more serious.

                                  Not sure if they teach it here or not, but it wouldn’t be the worst thing if they did.

                                  Report

                                  • Ach, no. Plenty of schools teach that, insofar as it’s needed.

                                    No, the proposal was — I can’t remember which elected idiot or NRA spokesman floated it — was basically mandatory gun-handling and range time at schools. It was during the “arm all the teachers” phase.

                                    You’re Canadian, so you’re used to sensible regulation and sensible owners. I don’t think you have many influential people whose response to a school full of dead toddlers is to bemoan the fact that the teacher’s weren’t packing.

                                    Gun owners like to complain they can’t trust gun control advocates, but the OP here is one of the few times I’ve seen a gun owner mention that maybe gun control advocates can’t trust gun owners because their public spokesmen are often insane.

                                    Report

                                    • Just to be clear, I’ve lived in the US for most of my adult life, since 1998. I remember Sandy Hook. I remember those people making those completely bizarre proposals. I see them now (even in the comment sections of OT posts, though they are doing a pretty good job of being civil).

                                      But I think conflating Mike with them, or with do-nothings who don’t care about the problem (which you have done, repeatedly, as when you asked him what he was proposing) is about as sensible as it would be for me to conflate you with someone who wants a total ban on all guns and doesn’t know anything about them.

                                      I don’t read Mike (in the OP *or* in his comments here) as saying this is liberals’ *fault*, I read him as saying in the comments “gun owners, specifically hunters, need to clean this up, we need to take responsibility for this problem – but if you moderate liberals want to actually *work with us* it would be helpful if you educate yourselves and/or your allies first in order to help us trust you.”

                                      FWIW that’s actually what both sides DID do in the conservation movement, back whenever, they educated themselves about what the other side cared for. And for as long as that education-about-each-other lasted, hunters and other environmentalists were pretty good allies despite having a TON of cultural/political/etc/etc differences. And on the issues where they agreed they had a crapton of power, punching well above their weight as Mike says.

                                      That particular alliance in Canada was still going strong in some quarters even in the 90s, not sure if it still is or not. I get the sense the Vietnam war put an end to it here, mostly, but not everywhere or for everyone…

                                      Report

                                • If you’re asking me personally, I have lots of ideas, which I have shared on the site and even mentioned in this thread. Things like tracing ammo (I like Oscar’s suggestion of microdots in the powder) to documenting all purchases.

                                  And yet….those are never introduced as legislation. Never brought up by the NRA, or pro-gun politicians.

                                  Instead they spend 90% of their time harping on non-existent “anti-gun” legislation. People still whine about the AWB, which expired without a sound — despite happening around the time of a bunch of toddlers getting gunned down.

                                  Universal registration — to bring it up again — is heavily supported. It’s not a wild, impossible idea — quite a few countries manage it. And yet, despite majorities of both parties supporting it, no one has even bothered to try. It’s a non-starter.

                                  And even here — so much ink on how those darn liberals just really need to understand guns. It’s more than a little condescending, not to mention an obvious excuse rather than a reason.

                                  (As for teaching kids about guns. Schools teach them “don’t touch it, call an adult”. Clearly you missed the fun proposals to turn schools into gun ranges with mandatory attendance. It was several mass shootings ago. )

                                  Report

                                  • “And yet….those are never introduced as legislation. Never brought up by the NRA, or pro-gun politicians.”

                                    But that’s the point of the post? Telling his fellow hunters, we need to get into these conversations and start doing these things? It seems rather uncivilized to keep complaining *at Mike* for not doing the thing he is actively trying to get people doing?

                                    Report

                                    • Except he’s still pinning quite a bit on “the problem is clueless liberals who don’t understand guns” and how that’s keeping the middle from embracing sensible regulation.

                                      Which is, frankly, bullsh*it.

                                      Universal registration polls at 80%+ — majorities in both parties. Shutting down straw purchasers polls that highly as well. How are those dumb liberals who don’t understand guns preventing that from being enacted?

                                      Have they voted against it? Bottled it up in committee? Run ads against it?

                                      Did middle America — most of whom don’t own guns — support it right up until the point where they realized Congressmen Bob, who doesn’t own a gun, was gonna vote for it?

                                      I’m glad Mike’s trying to wrest control of the face of gun ownership away from the insane people. I’m glad he’s open to gun regulation in theory.

                                      But I’m not gonna give him a pass and pretend that the the problem is “liberals don’t understand guns”. Liberals not understanding guns (a broad brush if there ever was one) does not block anyone from offering solutions.

                                      If liberals kept blocking working solutions because they didn’t understand guns, that’d be a real point. But complaining you can’t support a regulation — not because it won’t work, but because some of the people proposing it aren’t expert enough for you — is so ridiculous an objection that it’s impossible to take seriously.

                                      It’s a weird form of ad hominem argument, at the heart of it.

                                      Report

                                      • But complaining you can’t support a regulation — not because it won’t work, but because some of the people proposing it aren’t expert enough for you — is so ridiculous an objection that it’s impossible to take seriously.

                                        It’s even worse than that. The argument seems to be that sensible GRAs can’t support policy X because ignorant semantically challenged liberals support policy Y.

                                        Report

                                        • That’s not it at all.

                                          It’s more like

                                          “Sensible GRAs don’t want to work with the people pushing for policy X because those people also work with / are the same people as ignorant semantically challenged liberals who support terrible policy Y.”

                                          Most people have trouble actually working politically with people who they think are stupid and untrustworthy.

                                          I sure would.

                                          I suspect you would.

                                          Now, the question of why on earth those sensible people WOULD work with / put their trust in the NRA is a good one, but I think it’s one that Mike both answers in the OP and *also* is calling people to stop doing on this particular topic.

                                          Report

                                          • The mistrust started with Sarah Brady and Handgun Control, Inc. All the GRA’s just pointed to what that group kept saying. Everything they did was aimed as a step toward a total abolition of privately owned firearms. They really made no bones about it.

                                            Report

                                              • Oh yeah, I see George making it. I just don’t see Mike making it. It seemed as though you and Morat20 were addressing Mike, not George. I wouldn’t (no offense George, but I’m basing this off your own comments here and elsewhere) put George on a list I was making of sensible GRAs, which is what you originally said the argument was. George is a fairly extreme GRA who feels very strongly about the topic and doesn’t really fit into Mike’s target audience.

                                                Report

                                          • Most people have trouble actually working politically with people who they think are stupid and untrustworthy.

                                            That’s true. That’s why I’ve been saying (repeating) the same thing throughout this thread: if Mike and other GRAs want to see what they view as sensible regulation passed then they need to write it up and send it to the floor for a vote. The hurdle he needs to clear has nothing to do with liberals and everything to do with the more extreme members of his own coalition. The logic that liberals have anything to do with conservatives/GRAs advancing their own preferred policy positions strikes me as confused.

                                            Report

                                            • It seems to me that you’re taking a post that’s 90 percent “here’s how we sensible pro-regulation conservatives should work on gun control” (ie, perhaps, writing that sort of legislation you’re talking about) and 10 percent “and if we don’t want liberals passing something we hate, we should educate the ones we know instead of fleeing into the arms of folks like the NRA who don’t actually represent us”, and comments from Mike that further pass into “well if you want to work with us, liberals, here’s what would get us to trust you more” (mostly because so many of the people here are commenting from the liberal position) and …. agreeing with all of it except the idea that liberals would want to work with moderate conservatives on shaping gun control legislation? But in a very non-agreeing way?

                                              I’m not sure why Mike is getting this pushback, specifically, just because he agrees that lack of information is a reason he doesn’t want to work with liberals on gun control measures. I’ll freely concede that I’ve been AFK a lot today but I’m pretty sure I’ve read all the comments, and I’m not seeing it.

                                              One thing I’ve noticed among a lot of commenters here (self included at times) is a tendency to lump everyone on “the other side” together and reply to one person as if they represent the aggregate of “not on my side” commenters in one piece. I think it’s important to try to tease out what each person is saying, and reply to that, rather than the aggregate effect.

                                              But I also know it’s hard to manage that. Seemingly for all of us.

                                              Report

                                              • My comment isn’t a response to the post, but to comments within the threads. It’s all there, to be read at anyone’s leisure upthread, so I won’t repeat it all here. I’ve done my best to present the view I’m critiquing more clearly, even engaging in dialogue with those commenters to better understand it! I’m not sure why you think my presentation of that argument is disingenuous or a mischaracterization of the actual words people have written. So I will say a few things about how this got started.

                                                Here’s j r’s comment that started the current dispute:

                                                More importantly, it would probably be much easier to get widespread agreement on the most obvious reforms if they didn’t so often come bundled with a general anti-gun sentiment that puts gun owners on the defensive.

                                                The argument, as it struck me then, was that liberal’s anti-gun sentiments put gun owners on the defensive, which is, I let’s stipulate, descriptively accurate. My response was to ask j r why gun owners, who ostensibly *want* to pass substantive regulations consistent with their aims and goals, would view liberal sentiments as being at all relevant to that project, especially in light of GRAs rejection of those views. I mean, it’d be nice to get liberals on board, I suppose, but that’s not the goal of a GRA initiated set of policies. Ostensibly, the aim is to pass socially useful regulations consistent with GRAs broader commitments regarding the 2A (no assault weapons ban!) and current law. But if that’s the case, then how can a liberal extremist make GRAs defensive about advancing their own views? Both now and then I mean that question to be taken seriously. Is it because they fear their legislation will start regulation on a slippery slope to fulfilling that liberal’s dream of full bans? If so, then they don’t actually support that legislation except on condition that liberals tone down the rhetoric which puts them on the defensive. Is it something else? Just the general offensiveness of the view? In that case, the person is rejecting their own views because they find liberals’ views generally offending. In each case, they’re rejecting their preferred policy X because liberals advocate policy Y. And so on.

                                                That’s the short recap, and thus, here we are!

                                                Report

                                                • I wasn’t saying you’re being disingenuous, I’m saying it doesn’t seem to me like you’re listening to, and distinguishing between, the people you’ve been talking with, very well.

                                                  They’re a bunch of people who agree about some things, and disagree about other things, and each have a separate perspective, not a unified debate team.

                                                  so when you respond to mike as if he’s j r, and to j r as if he’s making a different argument than the one he’s making, etc…. it’s ineffective.

                                                  At least I assume it’s ineffective, because I assume your goal is to increase both your own and others’ understanding of the situation.

                                                  Rather than to frustrate the people you’re in conversation with. Or some other goal I’m not seeing. I actually do assume it’s the first thing.

                                                  Report

                                                  • I hear ya loud and clear. But there’s clearly plenty of frustration to go around and one type of frustration for me is hearing GRAs pin the lack of gun-reg progress within their own community on liberals. I’ve heard that complaint in various formulations from 5 different commenters in this thread and repeatedly in previous discussions.

                                                    Report