THE FEROCIOUS GUN DEBATE IS REALLY JUST ABOUT WHERE WE DRAW THE LINE by Rich Hayes. Note: Rich Hayes owned and operated a gun store for years, is an avid hunter, and currently an Alaskan hunting and fishing guide.
Following the mass church shooting in Texas on Sunday, Nov 5. 2017, I made a post and it was answered. I asked permission from Rich Hayes to download and, edit for readability, his response, here it is. Rosanne Morse
RM Posted: I am done tiptoeing around the BS that comes from the NRA. No one denies you the right to bear arms. We do object however, in the words of Senator Chris Murphy, “whether the political support of the gun industry is worth the blood that flows endlessly onto the floors of American churches, elementary schools, movie theaters and city streets.” Stop being stupid my fellow Americans, and find a way, as other nations have, to ensure that guns (1) are only in the hands of people sane enough to have them, (2) that a gun for protection is different than a military weapon capable mowing down a crowd, and that (3) gun owners are required to be background checked, licensed and well trained. Gun owners know better than anyone what regulations should be in place nationwide. YOU are responsible for this blood flow. NOW DO something constructive to stop this senseless carnage.
RH Replied: We can do better and honestly it wouldn’t take much to effect real change without denying people their second amendment rights.
Currently there are 3 legal ways to get a firearm. (1) You buy it from an FFL (federal firearms license) dealer, (2) you buy one from an individual, and (3) you inherit one. Currently there is no government background check when buying from an individual or inheriting a firearm. Only when a firearm is purchased through an FFL dealer is a background check done.
The background check looks for prior felonies and prior or pending domestic violence history and or charges/convictions. All records on the federal level of this background check must be destroyed, by law, within, I believe, 72 hours of this check being done. Therefore, simply saying universal background checks are good is false. Because the records must be destroyed, there is no way to enforce this. They can’t prove whether a BG check was done in a person to person sale.
So ok, how do we fix that? We already have the system in place.
Class 3 firearms, which are suppressors, machine guns, short barrel rifles, fully auto etc., etc. Anybody can buy these and as far as I know they are rarely if ever used in a crime. There is a long waiting period for the extensive background check required. It takes months. You can only purchase one class 3 at a time so maybe 2 firearm purchases a year, max. This eliminates stockpiling. There is a record of you owning the firearm, when you transfer possession that person has to go through the same process. This process also cost $150 in addition to the price of the firearm. We don’t necessarily have to put all weapons on the class 3 list, but centerfire semi autos and all handguns should be to start.
Handguns are responsible for the vast majority of gun homicides in this country. With this system in place the background check is more extensive, it is universal, it doesn’t allow for the stockpiling of weapons, you can’t even leave the state of residence with some of these without permission. It also generates a database of legally possessed firearms that law enforcement can pull up. So, if law enforcement finds you in possession of a firearm, say during a traffic stop, they can then run the serial number against a database that has all the legally possessed firearms. If it isn’t in the database, you have an arrest and a confiscation of the firearm. People would be unable to transfer weapons to criminals and any firearm found outside the database is pulled from the streets.
We could even go a step further in requiring firearm safes of predetermined specs to be utilized in the home. That way, if firearms are stolen from the safe the home owner is not liable. If they are not properly stored and are stolen there is some liability. Any stolen weapon has a serial number already logged with the government to go into the database as stolen. You can still remove a firearm from the safe while you’re home for self-defense, just lock it back up when you leave the home. The system is in place we just must put the proper firearms under the class 3 blanket.
The argument against this will be that it is essentially a registration. Which is true. People are afraid of the government knowing what firearms they have because it makes it a lot easier to be taken away. However, our most dangerous firearms have been under this classification for decades and at no point has anybody talked about coming after these weapons. This is because they aren’t used in crimes. If we’re not committing 9k-14k homicides a year than nobody will care what firearms you own. You can still get your bolt action hunting rifle or you’re. 12ga bird gun without jumping through all the hoops because those weapons are almost never used in homicides. Just put the weapons people use most under the class 3 blanket. It can always be adjusted if people start mowing down elementary schools with lever action 30-30s, but I doubt that will happen. Also, it is impossible to take a bolt gun or lever gun and inflict the amount or carnage as a semi auto handgun or rifle.
The NRA is doing the gun manufacturers’ bidding by creating an environment of fear in order to create an ever bigger market for the purchase of guns. The politicians on all sides must take responsiblity to ensure these non NRA member nut jobs can’t get their hands on any weapon they want. The NRA propaganda machine is extremely effective in convincing people they need to fight any measure of reasonable firearm restriction or the government will take over and kill all non-conformists. They stopped representing their members a long time ago and started representing only the manufacturers. That’s the reason I am no longer a member.
Where is the line of infringement? There are already lines. Should we be able to just over-the-counter buy whatever we want? Machine guns, Uzis, tanks? We already have background checks which don’t allow certain people to purchase firearms. All of this is technically “infringement” to some degree. Only the level of infringement is the debate. Some would argue that since you can buy Uzis, machine guns, suppressors, etc. That the rights haven’t been infringed, so why not add more control by classifying the most dangerous weapons the same? I guess the question is “Do people want no firearm control” i.e. you can buy anything anytime with no checks or “Do they want no more firearm control, reasoning that the measures we have in place are good enough. If it’s the latter than I would argue the control line needs to be moved a bit to reduce homicides in this country. Just my take on it.
RH: “WB, I’m not trying to fight I’m just curious if you feel your Constitutional right to buy whatever you want includes fully automatic .50 caliber machine guns without any vetting at all?
—– WB comment: The Constitution tells us that the federal government cannot tell me what I can or can’t buy. Common Sense tells me I don’t need one but that is the part of the liberty to make my own choice in the matter. It would be a nice weapon to have for coolness’s sake and there are people that own them. My point is that it is not the jurisdiction or even — authorized to the federal government to make the determination.
RH: I personally have no problem with the federal government vetting people before allowing them to legally purchase a .50 cal machine gun. They aren’t telling me I can’t have it. They are just doing some due diligence to make sure you’re not an overt threat to fellow citizens. Widening that vetting process to include some types of weapons not under that blanket currently I believe would still give us the ability to possess them and help keep them away from those that shouldn’t have them.
WB: I believe in the Rule of Law and cannot accept unconstitutional/unlawful acts from our federal government. I cannot give up liberty for security to an entity that expands its control and power over our populace because we so willingly give up that liberty. Since this power to vet gun purchases is denied to the federal government by our Constitution yet not denied to the States, each State can set up requirements that need to be met before purchase is allowed… oh wait… they already do this.
RTM: In conclusion, we already “infringe” on the raw right to bear arms. The ferocious debate is only about where we draw the line. Gun Manufacturers want to sell more guns. Citizens don’t want to be shot as they sit in church because some lunatic was able to get a gun capable of killing 26 people within minutes.
I can’t help but agree with RH, that the “line of infringement” simply needs to be reevaluated and updated to:
(1) reflect the new types of arms available, and
(2) require that all firearms must be registered and all buyers must go through a background check. No more exceptions for Guns Show purchases. This is a ridiculous exception and an unfair burden on legitimate gun shop owners who already follow the law.