I'm behind the commentary curve, only having commented in other blogger's posts, but I want to address a recent press release from Johns Hopkins' Bloomberg (yes Mayor Michael Bloomberg) School of Public Health: http://www.jhsph.edu/events/gun-policy-summit/information-for-media/ (h/t to Sebastian)
I want to address each of the items in turn, since some merit further discussion, and some don't. My comments will follow each quoted talking point.
This is an attempt to close the supposed "gun show loophole". Currently the federal government exercises its regulatory muscle in the form of background checks from federally licenses firearms dealers. It is required to have an FFL in order to purchase or transfer firearms across state lines. This is seen as an acceptable regulation, by most people, because it falls under the federal government's ability to regulate inter-state commerce. By requiring universal background checks, including for private sales between private citizens within the same state, the federal government should not be able to argue under the commerce clause anymore.
This is an extension of the above item except now they are not only requiring private individuals to conduct background checks, they would not allow private citizens to engage in firearms commerce at all except through a federally sanctioned middle-man.
A better solution would to increase the efficiency and staffing of the NICS program so that background checks didn't take longer than 3 days.
Again, I don't know where the federal government would derive its authority to enact this, but it is also reasonable that a citizen should report the loss or theft of a firearm, if only to ensure he is protected should it later be used in a crime.
This is an interested proposal, since they do not propose a national licensing scheme for handguns. However, if a state requires a license to carry a firearm and conducts regular background checks during renewals, this would be an excellent way to reduce the load on the NICS system and decrease the number of background checks that default because of the 3 day limit. I think this is completely COUNTER productive.
This is crazy. If a person is caught in a minor altercation, which can happen to anyone, and they were convicted of a Class C misdemeanor - which usually results in petty fines, they would be precluded from owning a firearm for their defense for FIFTEEN YEARS. This is crazy talk.
Again, crazy talk - especially since many court records for juvenile crimes are sealed or purged. I'm not sure how this would be enforceable.
So a person who gets into a minor physical altercation resulting in a Class C misdemeanor can't own a firearm for 15 years, but a person who is a habitual drug user and is only caught an convicted once in a 3 year period can? This makes COMPLETE sense (NOT)
I'm guessing it would be permanently/til death/etc... since no time frame is proposed. Drug trafficking offenses are quite broad in the scope of prosecution these days and this could preclude a person who had a small amount of marijuana crossing the border with Mexico as a teenager from EVER owning a firearm.
I have tried to re-write my response to this one several times. WTF??? So how would this be determined? Belonging to a gang, although wrong and maybe reprehensible, is not currently against the law. If one can't be convicted of being a gang member, how will a judge be able to determine, officially, who is and isn't a gang member? Will there be due process? Will there have to be evidence presented?
So first is was alcohol consumption. Now its owning a handgun (which by the by is the rule in most states already). Can we just have the discussion already? How about we raise the age of majority to 21. You can't vote til you are 21. You can't join the military til 21. If we are going to limit a legal adult's ability to exercise a right, let's just fix it so they aren't adults anymore. Any takers?
The biggest problem I have with this, again, is the FOREVER part. Because everyone knows that there have never been instances where emergency or temporary restraining orders have been filed because someone disliked another person rather than posing any real threat.
Johns Hopkins University and the "world's leading gun policy experts" do know that "dangerousness" isn't a word, right? How would they propose we determine a mentally ill person's "dangerousness"? Will that be a subjective determination by the mental health care provider? Will there by a government issued chart that grades "dangerousness" on a scale of 1 to 10?
This screams PRIVACY VIOLATIONS to no end. Mental health information about a person is protected by several legal means, including but not limited to HIPAA and HITECH acts. Without any proposals about the protections that would be put in place to ensure that health information wasn't improperly used.
Although I agree, I don't see how this will solve anything. It's not like the ATF has been running around like headless chickens because they don't have a permanent director.
I don't know what this means, other than "ATF, DO YOUR JOB". It's not a call for more funding (thank goodness).
The reason for this protection is that FFL dealers should not be subject to unwarranted searches of their property without reasonable cause. To be sure, if the ATF has reasonable suspicion to believe a FFL has violated the law, they are able to obtain a warrant to search them more than once in a year.
There's another made-up word, "evidentiary". I don't have much of a comment on this because I don't know what the standards for evidence are currently, or what they would be absent the FOPA.
Sanctions? Like they can't buy or sell guns anymore? If they are convicted of a crime, especially related to guns, they are subject to revocation of their FFL and will likely have their inventory seized and be thrown in jail. So do we need more? Are they suggesting that the ATF be able to shut down a FFL's business on suspicion and without a conviction?
I think there needs to be more tort reform in other areas of our society. Maybe dealers and manufacturers shouldn't be exempt (although I'm not sure they really are anyway), but I see this is a clear way to try and kill off an industry. Much the same way that tort liability has truly made a disaster of our healthcare system.
Do they want to make this public information subject to FOIA? What for? Firearms trace data can be used by criminal justice agencies (state and federal) so I don't see what the purpose of this suggestion is.
Well, I know I don't know everything, but I didn't realize there was a federal law that requires the reporting of multiple handgun sales. As far as I am aware, the ATF has interpreted existing law to allow them to require the reporting of "multiple" firearms sales. They tried to apply it only to border states in the Southwest not long ago. Again, I don't see how this necessarily does much to help the situation. A violent criminal can do a lot of damage with just one gun.
Glad they at least recognize you have to have consequences for violating these crazy new proposals.
Childproof? I know young children who have opened "childproof" pill bottles. Young kids have been known to steal their parents' cars. I can't think of anything they could come up with to childproof a firearm that couldn't be circumvented. As far as the "personalized" guns idea, it is crazy. They are suggesting that you have to put in a code, or enter a fingerprint, or other ridiculous ideas to use a firearm. Let's not admit that most defensive incidents that require the use of a firearm take a matter of seconds.
By the CPSC's own admission, their goal is "banning consumer products if no feasible standard would adequately protect the public". So essentially they are hoping to use the CPSC to ban all firearms, since their above suggestions wouldn't make them any less lethal.
This made of "assault weapon" terminology is getting tiresome. An ASSAULT RIFLE is a rifle capable of switching between automatic and semi-automatic fire. Assault rifles are illegal to own in the US unless they were made before 1986 and you have registered them with the federal government. The term "assault weapon" is a new term coined to try and fit as many firearms into it as possible so they can be banned under the guise of being more lethal or dangerous than other firearms.
I'm going to throw the slippery slope argument out there. I know what you are thinking, "people who argue slippery slope are delusional . Really? Look what happened in NY this week. They had a ban on magazines that could hold more than 10 rounds. Now, they have a ban on magazines that can hold more than 7 rounds. Is that not a slippery slope in action?
This is fallacy. "Gun violence" is no different than any other violence. The gun is the tool or weapon a violent offender chose to use. To we perform separate studies of "knife violence" or "baseball bat violence"? Violence is a human condition. The gun qualifier is misleading and a false flag.
Again, how is "gun violence" any different than any other violence?
So, in summary, my conclusion that this "commission" or whatever they are calling themselves is bogus and they need to work on their mastery of the English language. (which we all probably need help with)