On the Subject of Gun Control

Given the recent dialogue on gun control laws, I think that the people who want better gun control laws should stand back and let the “responsible gun owners” make the case for them.  Here’s a sample from recent headlines that had me scratching my head today.

One would think that members of the law enforcement community would be considered amongst the group of sensible gun owners as they carry as part of their job, and they also enforce the laws governing guns.  It should make one think when even law enforcement officers have the perception of not showing the best in judgement.

I’m not passing judgment on any of the people involved in these stories here, but using the perspective of an average citizen, why would anybody think it’s ok to walk around town wearing body armor with an AR-15 strapped to your body?  This is a classic example of “just because it’s legal, that might not be a good idea” type thinking.  If you’re doing nothing wrong, why not answer questions from cops to put them at ease.  Given the rash of mass shootings, when they get a call like that, I can only imagine the adrenaline is already pumping before they hit the scene.  A little common sense goes a long way at times, and it was definitely needed there.

Also, private sales are perfectly legal, but the sale in Arizona shows an inherent weakness in the current system.  There’s no way to know whether a person can legally own a gun without a valid background check.  You can’t always look at someone and tell if they are legally restricted from owning a firearm.  WIthout checking, there’s no definitive way to ensure guns don’t end up in the wrong hands.

Finally, all I can say about Florida is “just damn”.  I’m really beginning to wonder if it’s safe for the citizens of Florida who have enhanced melanin to leave the house.  I know they’re not the only victims of gun violence there, but when you’re getting shot up just steps away from your own home, something ain’t right.  It’s even worse when the victim is unarmed.  Police have a stressful job, and sometimes they have to make split-second decisions that may not seem remotely justified in hindsight.  I sincerely hope the deputies in Florida were acting within their training, even if that training is wrong.  A problem like that can be corrected with adjustments to training.  If they were acting on their own, then I’m at a loss for words.

One final issue I have about gun ownership that I rarely see addressed by any of the factions is training.  I could care less about someone wanting to express their right to carry a firearm.  I’m more concerned with that person’s ability to carry, use, and defend that firearm in a confrontation.  Just having a gun doesn’t mean diddly squat if someone can take it from you and use it on you.

http://www.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/bestoftv/2013/07/31/early-start-or-teen-attack-in-city-hall.cnn.html

When trained people can lose their weapon in a scuffle, what does that mean for the untrained?

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9 thoughts on “On the Subject of Gun Control

  1. “Also, private sales are perfectly legal, but the sale in Arizona shows an inherent weakness in the current system. There’s no way to know whether a person can legally own a gun without a valid background check.”

    What they ought to do is scrap the current FBI instant check system. Throw it away.

    Instead each state could be instructed to put a code on everyone’s driver’s license.

    I have a code on my license that says I have to wear glasses when I am driving.

    So put a code on every license that sayd basically “not disqualified by law to buy a firearm.” The ex-felon doesn’t get the code. The schizophrenic just out of the hospital doesn’t have it.

    Then if a guy goes into a store, or is dealing with a private person, they show their license or photo id and if the code is there it is legal. No code and it is a felony to sell.

    Government doesn’t get info to register guns or gun owners. But concerns of background checks are dealt with. Essentially do a background check on _everyone_ when they get their driver’s license or state id.

    lwk
    free2beinamerica2.wordpress.com

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    • Not a bad idea, and one that sounds perfectly reasonable. There are two areas where I could see a potential hiccup in such a system, but overall, I wouldn’t have any issue with something like that.

      One potential area would be where someone was issued a license with a clear background check and then have an issue afterwards where he becomes disqualified from owning a firearm. Would that require the person to have to get a new license issued to update that information?

      The other area would be where you have people who don’t have a driver’s license but would want to own a firearm. Do you make them get a driver’s license even if they don’t have a need or desire to drive just so they can purchase a gun?

      I’ve thought that we should have done away with state driver’s licenses long ago and went to a national ID that covered such things. The technology that’s available today would make it easy to accomplish such a thing. The national ID could serve multiple purposes without the need for numerous ID’s for different things. Using chip technology, you could code one ID to serve as a voter registration card, citizenship verification, social security card, concealed carry permit, and anything else you would obtain an official government ID.

      You could code the chip to access a data base to obtain that information instead of simply loading all that information on the card too in order to make it less vulnerable to ID theft. Link it with biometric data, and it becomes a more secure method of identification as well.

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  2. BRO

    Seems nothing is easy…unless of course one has time to distill it…As I’ve mentioned before, mentally ill folks or those owning some threshold of a criminal record, need not own guns. Problem really is the 300,000,000 guns already out there..at least what we know about.

    I simply don’t see any laws that will keep these folks away from firearms but all for trying. All that can be done, like with home robberies, is to slow them down.

    I saw Fruitvale Station last evening..wow!

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    • I’d agree and disagree. We sent astronauts into space with computers with less computing ability than today’s calculators. I won’t say it’s easy, but it is a problem that is solvable if we really wanted to solve it. It’s easier to cast it aside as something that’s just going to be.

      People get scared when they hear the word “registration” mentioned with gun ownership. At the same time, I’ve never heard a single owner mention any worry about guns sold via private sales. Serial number information is recorded at the time a gun is purchased through a dealer. That information is available to ATFE authorities if needed. I’ve never heard of a person who privately sold a gun and sent that information to the ATFE to remove their name from the ownership chain.

      I don’t see any way our government could confiscate every single gun in this country, even if they knew who owned what guns. The manpower necessary to pull such a thing in this country could never be put together. In order to keep the mentally ill or criminals from getting their hands on guns, there will have to be some type of registration database involved. Whether it’s simply a sale/purchase database or ownership database, it would be a necessary thing to accomplish that objective to some degree of success.

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    • “One potential area would be where someone was issued a license with a clear background check and then have an issue afterwards where he becomes disqualified from owning a firearm.”

      Typically I would think those might occur when a person is convicted of a crime, has an injunction issued against them, is commited to a mental institution, or declared mentally incompetent. Those immediately come to mind.

      At that point their current license would be taken away or perhaps marked in some way to indicate “firearms ownership” is invalidated. They would probably have to apply for a new license, perhaps using this modified license as a temporary license until then.

      “Do you make them get a driver’s license even if they don’t have a need or desire to drive just so they can purchase a gun?”

      People who didn’t want to get a driver’s license could get a state issued photo id which would function for firearms purchases the same way. Probably a good idea also for people to identify themselves for voting. I see no good reason for a citizen to not have one or the other, driver’s license of state id.

      I imagine a reasonably good system could be set up.

      “I’ve thought that we should have done away with state driver’s licenses long ago and went to a national ID…”

      Technically that would work. I think a lot of people would object to giving this to the Feds, the NSA and such you know.

      But there are two separate ideas here that don’t depend on each other:

      1. Merits of a national/Federally controlled id system

      2. Coding ids as a default background check for firearms purchase ability.

      As far as national databases go I would like to see an online national database of stolen firearm serial numbers so people buying firearms could anonymously check that the gun they are thinking of purchasing is not reported as stolen.

      Regards,

      lwk
      free2beinamerica2.wordpress.com

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      • “Technically that would work. I think a lot of people would object to giving this to the Feds, the NSA and such you know.”

        I think that cat got let out a long time ago, but that’s just me. There are private sector companies that have far more information on you and I than the feds do. The credit bureaus alone probably have more information than all other sources combined.

        “As far as national databases go I would like to see an online national database of stolen firearm serial numbers so people buying firearms could anonymously check that the gun they are thinking of purchasing is not reported as stolen.”

        That would work if and only if all stolen guns were reported. Based on what I’ve seen not all stolen guns are reported, and stolen guns account for less than 1/4 of guns used in crimes. That’s a great idea though, and it could be done now if laws allowed local law enforcement to run those serial numbers for potential buyers. I don’t know whether it’s legal for that to happen now or not.

        http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/guns/procon/guns.html

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  3. “That would work [national stolen firearms database] if and only if all stolen guns were reported.”

    Maybe if such a database was available and you could query it over the Internet anonymously then maybe a lot more would be reported? I am not saying people should be able to report s/n’s as “stolen” anonymously, just query the database for a s/n they may want to buy.

    Of course dealers are required to report stolen guns (at least I thinks so) and those could be entered. Apparently from an article I read a while back guns stolen from FFL dealers are a significant number. Maybe some small number of “rogue” dealers are pipelining guns into the criminal infrastructure and reporting them “stolen”? Certainly a large number of reported “stolen” firearms repeatedly over time should be a red flag for a dealer.

    “…stolen guns account for less than 1/4 of guns used in crimes.”

    I don’t know. Maybe if more were reported then the number would be higher?

    Also when we talk of “crimes” we ought to distinguish between the professional criminal vs. crimes of passion or stupidity where the person is not necessarily a professional criminal. Maybe if only looking at the professional criminals and had accurate serial numbers of stolen guns the count might be higher?

    Like I said I don’t know the answer to the above questions, but it would be interesting to know. Unfortunately I don’t trust the BATFE to give an honest, non-political answer. They are more interested in growing the size and power of their agency I think than getting honest answers.

    “local law enforcement to run those serial numbers for potential buyers.”

    Why not just a web page on the internet where you could anonymously enter a s/n and find out if it is listed? A lot of people, even honest people, shy away from dealing with police if they can. 🙂

    lwk

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    • You could probably get a local cop to run the gun in the NCIC database, but access and use is strictly monitored.

      http://www.fas.org/irp/agency/doj/fbi/is/ncic.htm

      “Categories of records in the system:

      […]
      D. Stolen Gun File: 1. Stolen guns. 2. Recovered guns, when ownership
      of which has not been established.”

      It would depend on whether your local departments will allow officers to run the serial or not. I would wager they wouldn’t have a big problem with that if there is the potential to recover a stolen firearm. If you Google “NCIC firearm serial number check”, you’ll find many different discussions on that very topic. The NCIC database is a FBI system too and not BATFE. If you can’t trust the local police, then we’re all in trouble.

      🙂

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  4. “If you Google “NCIC firearm serial number check”, you’ll find many different discussions on that very topic.”

    Thanks I will look that up. I have not seen a lot of discussion on it.

    “If you can’t trust the local police, then we’re all in trouble.”

    Most of the local police in Texas I have met have been great. Have had less than great experiences many decades ago in Chicago. Let’s just say not all of them are really on the side of honest law enforcement. 😉

    lwk

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