Let’s separate the meat from the bullshit shall we?
I live in western Washington. The state of Washington has already implemented the entire wet dream wish list of the left where “gun-control” is concerned.
We have special rules for semi-automatic rifles. You need an “enhanced” background check, a certificate proving you have passed a safety class, and you have to wait. It takes 6 months to get a concealed carry permit. Buying a handgun is a two week wait in most cases. Aside from an outright ban and confiscation – Washington has already implemented every single item on the Dem’s firearms wish list.
By the way – shootings in Seattle are up 75% this year over last year. The plan is working obviously. “Trust the plan.” Nice job Dems.
But rubbing the libs noses in their obvious failure is not my mission today. It’s fun – sure – but I need to move on to the meat of the post here.
The details (as I write this) are not at all clear. The Senate has announced a “bipartisan” deal on “gun control” – I’ll do my best to unwrap that – based on what has been reported. I think there is some good here – and some bad – and at the end of the day I frankly think little will change. I hope I’m wrong.
Here are a few of the highlights, at least as reported so far:
Red Flag Laws: Washington already has them. They are set up such that a family member or a LEO can file with the court to have someone deprived of their firearms. Close – but not close enough. Some conservative commentators believe such laws can be crafted in such a way as to preserve due process. They make a compelling case. Others make an equally compelling case that they can not. Frankly, I’m not sure such laws can be crafted in a way that preserves due process. In the case of Washington, there are a lot of provisions that keep the identity of the accuser from the accused. The rules of evidence are very porose. I think in practice they amount to a legal nightmare. There are no apparent safeguards against activists – or activist judges – arbitrarily and capriciously denying citizens their Constitutional rights. Washington certainly is not a model for the nation. I suspect this is one that will be contentious – and I suspect it is a provision put forward by the left. The arguments from the right are very obviously well founded. The arguments from the left I discard out of hand (the left has no regard for individual rights – according to the left – I’ll take them at their word).
Straw Purchases: Here is silly political posturing bullshit at it’s absolute finest. Straw purchases have been illegal for decades. How about enforcing the existing law? I guess our representatives have never considered such a radical idea as that. They want to beef up the penalties? Fine – but I have a hard time seeing what the effect will be of stiff penalties if the law is not enforced in the first place. How many high profile shootings to you recall where a straw purchase was involved? The two most recent were legal purchases. Granted – it has and does happen – the Columbine shooters got all of their weapons through straw purchases if I recall correctly. How many were prosecuted?
Mental Health: I support this one. Here we are actually getting to some root causes. Will there be effective “teeth” in this? Who knows? I’ve seen entirely too many articles from the left screaming that mental health is “not the issue” – when over half of all deaths involving firearms are suicides. Over half. Over HALF! If you ignore mental health in this matter, you simply are not serious about saving lives – no – you are not – you have a political agenda you value more.
School Security: I absolutely support this one as well. I’ve heard some on the left say, “we can’t have our schools turned into prisons!” Again – unserious – I’d rather my kid was alive in a grey concrete building than dead in “strawberry fields forever.” The left can take their pick – I’ve chosen mine. There is no logical argument against improving school security – none.
Enhanced Background Checks for those under 21: I’m not opposed to this – but “enhanced” how exactly? The law is the same and the definition of a “prohibited person” is the same – so how exactly would this work? What does “enhanced” mean? I hope it means holding the states feet to the fire to report prohibited persons to NICS. That would be an improvement. There are also legal and Constitutional issues with denying protected rights to people based on age. Maybe the voting age should be 21. Maybe the draft age should be 21. This brings up the question – rightly – “When exactly are you a full legal citizen?” Is it 18 or is it 21? Fair question. Having said that, I’m not really opposed to raising the age (provided those legal questions are answered) to buy a rifle. Possessing a rifle is a little different though. I was able to legally carry a rifle to hunt with when I was 14. And at the end of the day – the difference between being able to buy (legally) and possess (legally) is significant to the conversation, I think. I rather doubt our folks in the senate have considered this.
The Definition of a “dealer” (FFL): More silly political bullshit. The laws regarding dealers are old and well defined. These are laws already on the books. Are the good senators saying the laws are not being enforces? What a fucking shock.
The picture from 20,000 feet doesn’t change much with this. Starting with the NFA in the ‘30’s, then the GCA in 1968, and the Brady law going into effect in 1998, the access to firearms has been very steadily restricted. The crime numbers don’t reflect this as having an effect. Violent crime in Washington is up – after the passage of the libs wish list of firearms laws. Statistically, it is easier to argue that firearms laws increase crime than it is to argue that they reduce crime. Some of this “bipartisan” agreement does go to root causes (mental health, school security) and I support that 100% (even if I have little confidence it will actually work) but the rest is politics – unserious politics – you know, the kind of cynical unserious bullshit we see from the left on a daily basis.