A step toward common sense gun laws

I’m all for common sense gun laws. The current laws restricting the exercise of our specific enumerated right to keep and bear arms are nonsensical.

Here is just a small sample of the stupidity of some of them:

  • Short barreled rifles are restricted. You are allowed to own a handgun with a barrel shorter than 16 inches but if you cut the barrel and/or stock of a rifle down approaching the size of a handgun you go to jail.
  • Noise suppressors are required on cars but restricted on firearms. Then the neighbors of ranges complain about the noise.
  • Most states don’t have laws against openly carrying a firearm. But if you carry it concealed they have a problem. Even though some ignorant and/or malicious people threaten to, or do, call the police if someone openly carries a gun.
  • Some guns are illegal to be imported into the U.S. But the same exact gun is perfectly legal if “enough” of its parts are made in the U.S. “Enough” is subject to the whims of regulators at the ATF.
  • You are required to have a FFL to be “in the business” of selling firearms. It is okay if you occasionally sell or trade guns from your own collection. But if you sell or trade “too many” guns the ATF will charge you with “being in the business” without a license. They refuse to tell us how many is “too many”.

All of these are weak links that I think are should be challenged in court before some of the more difficult issues like “high capacity” magazines, “right to carry”, “Roster of Handguns Certified for Sale”, “micro-stamping”, etc.

This doesn’t mean that I think anything other than “shall not be infringed” should be the final objective. It’s just that I’m a big proponent of picking the low hanging fruit first.

To that effect today we have the CCRKBA announcing they are attempting to pick some of that low hanging fruit:

CCRKBA FILES LAWSUIT CHALLENGING FEDERAL LAW ON HANDGUN PURCHASES

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

BELLEVUE, WA – The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms has filed a lawsuit today in federal court in Texas against Attorney General Eric Holder and B. Todd Jones, director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, challenging the current federal law prohibiting cross-state handgun purchases.

CCRKBA brings this lawsuit on behalf of its members throughout the country, who would legally buy and sell handguns outside of their home states, just as they currently do with long guns. Joining CCRKBA as plaintiffs in the case are Texas resident Fredric Russell Mance, Jr., and Tracey Ambeau Hanson and Andrew Hanson, both of Washington, D.C. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Fort Worth division. Financial assistance for the lawsuit is provided by the Second Amendment Foundation.

CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb, noting that his organization rarely pursues a legal action of such magnitude, said today’s lawsuit is necessary to advance the right to keep and bear arms for all citizens. He said current law essentially criminalizes the interstate handgun market, which does not apply to the sale of rifles or shotguns.

“It is overreaching, if not downright silly, in today’s environment with the federal instant background check system to perpetuate a prohibition on interstate handgun purchases that has outlived its usefulness,” Gottlieb observed. “If a law-abiding citizen can clear a background check and legally purchase a handgun in his own state, he would pass the same background check just across the border in another state.”

This is very important to District of Columbia residents, who can now legally purchase rifles and shotguns from federally-licensed gun dealers in neighboring states, but they still may not purchase handguns. Plaintiff Mance is a federally licensed firearms dealer who would sell handguns directly to consumers in other states, but under current law, he is prohibited from doing so. The Hansons are fully qualified under federal law, and laws in Texas and the District of Columbia, to purchase and possess handguns.

“Federal law allows for interstate long gun sales,” Gottlieb noted, “as long as the dealer follows the law, so what’s the logic of the federal government banning interstate handgun sales? Some states allow for, or even welcome, interstate handgun sales, so what’s the federal government doing?”

43 thoughts on “A step toward common sense gun laws

  1. Corrupt officials are more afraid of the honest, principled, and armed citizen than just about anything else. Understanding THAT is how some of these idiotic restrictions begin to make perfect sense.

  2. “I’m all for common-sense gun laws. How many will we be repealing this session?”
    -Maxwell

  3. Common sense gun laws? Simple – start with mandatory firearms operation and safety training, K-12. Include basic marksmanship lessons in HS, but ONLY available to those with good attendance, no history of discipline problems or on medications (legal, prescribed, or otherwise), and with good grades. That will filter out the gang-bangers.

  4. Can’t buy a shotgun with a 4 inch barrel but you can buy a Taurus Judge Magnum.

    Can’t buy an SBR without a lot of money and paperwork……but you can buy an AR or AK pistol.

    Shall not be infringed is the ONLY common sense law.

    • And you can buy a “wrist brace” for that AR or AK pistol that ATF has specifically said that have no control over how it’s used as long as it’s designed as a “wrist brace” and all parts are present (as in, don’t take the straps out of it)

  5. “◾You are required to have a FFL to be “in the business” of selling firearms. It is okay if you occasionally sell or trade guns from your own collection. But if you sell or trade “too many” guns the ATF will charge you with “being in the business” without a license. They refuse to tell us how many is “too many”.

    This is true of almost any product. You can sell a few but once you start selling a lot, you need a license and you are declared a business (and this is how the government collects taxes and fees). It’s not just guns — it’s cars, handbags, dogs, beverages, you name it.

    • Fine (for now). Just tell us how many guns per year/month/week/day is “too many”. It’s unconstitutionally vague at this point.

        • I take it from your answer that you’re perfectly comfortable with regulations that amount to “don’t worry; when we prosecute you for multiple felonies, you’ll know that you’ve violated them”?

          • Who says I’m okay with it? The problem is, those are the rules and people need to play by the rules or face the consequences.

            Imagine I want to sell Louis Vuitton handbags. I’ve found a source in China who will sell me authentic handbags that sell for $5,000 each here for $20 apiece. I can easily sell those handbags for $1000 here so I’m going to buy 500 of them. I AM NOT A BUSINESS! (I don’t want to pay taxes on my $490,000 profit.)

            So — I get nailed for selling counterfeits and tax evasion (along with other charges like “running a business without a license,” etc.)

            All businesses have rules that they need to follow.

          • Except the BATFE won’t say what the rules are.

            Why is this point so hard for you to grasp? Or are you being purposefully obtuse?

          • Ubu — what you described with your hypothetical business is actually LEGAL under federal law, with the exception of your hypothetical refusal to pay income tax, and your violations of trademarks.

            Guess what? Those restrictions are NOT inherent to you doing it as a “business” — they would apply if you bought ONE counterfeit bag and sold it for a profit. (It’s just not worth the trouble to go after you, generally, for such a small infraction. Threaten you, and try to get you to settle for a fine, sure.)

          • Actually, ALWAYS, the IRS will tell you what the rules are. The problem with the IRS is that the tax code is so complex that if you took five IRS accountants and handed them a moderately complex middle class tax situation, you would get five different answers as to what the refund or payment would be.

            The tax code is really complicated and often self-contradictory, but actually there aren’t any “secret” IRS rules.

            There ARE, however, secret ATF rules on what they consider the law to be — and they have fought like Hell in court to KEEP them secret.

        • “Usually the rules are set by the IRS, not the constitution.” But the only rules the IRS, or any other agency, is permitted to set are those permitted by the Constitution. So that’s not a difference.

    • Nice try, Little Girl. Let’s see how you’d react if other constitutionally guaranteed rights required a license, background checks, special permits, taxes, and presented the prospective user of that right with a minefield of over 20,000 legal restrictions, many of which carry a ten year prison sentence, and had a special federal bureau for the purpose of limiting the exercise of that right, a bureau known to go out and kill people for trivial technical violations and making jokes like “Always Think Forfeiture”.

      We could start with the made-up “right” to an abortion. Enough said, or would you like to take a trip down this road? We might explore what the Bureau of Alcohol, Speech and Abortion might have been doing for the last 80 years, who they might have killed, who they’d currently be targeting under orders from the Attorney General and so on. Then we’ll see how happy that would make Progressives in general, and we could explore their possible responses.

      You and I both know pretty well how that would play out, so don’t bother.

      • “Keep and bear” — I see no right to sell, manufacture, etc. Where are you finding that in your Bill of Rights?

        • You are being stupidly pedantic. You cannot keep and bear if you are disallowed to make, buy, sell, repair, transfer, or buy ammunition for them.
          Otherwise, you might argue that “free speech” doesn’t include the right to print, mail, post or communicate electronicly, it’s only by mouth verbal speech that is covered. Or “free exercise of religion” doesn’t include texts, buildings, or proselytizing.

          • There is no “right to run a business without any regulation.” Newspapers have to pay taxes, get business licenses, etc. Why should gun dealers be any different?

          • I think you should be subject to secret regulations, ubu. Regulations that vary according to who you ask, and to what the agents think they can convince a judge.

            THAT is what the BATFE does. Do you still think it’s a good thing?

          • Ubu —

            FFLs ALREADY have to have the same licenses and pay the same sorts of taxes that every other business does.

            And ON TOP OF THOSE, they ALSO have a seperate set of federal (and often, state and/or local) licenses, taxes, and regulations THAT DO NOT APPLY TO ANY OTHER TYPE OF BUSINESS.

            If “POOF!” the 1934 NFA and 1968 GCA magically went away tomorrow, gun businesses would STILL be getting the same business licenses and paying the same taxes and fees that other businesses in similar lines (i.e., retail = “dealer”, factory = “manufacturer”, wholesale = “distributor”) do.

            It’s as if newspapers, churches, and publishing houses all had to pay extra “1st Amendment” taxes and fees that ONLY apply to them, on top of the same. And businesses that made things like industrial rolls of newspaper, barrels of ink, and crucifixes had to have the special “1st Amendment” licenses and taxes AND a seperate State Department issued annual fee that costs a MINIMUM of $2,250 per year, because they are manufacturing “1st Amendment Items” that could concievably be exported.

            That’s the reality of FFL taxes, licenses, and fees. Claiming that they are somehow only being treated like every other business is as blatantly false as claiming the firearms are less regulated than teddy bears, just because they don’t come under the control of a department that was established primarily to regulate safety in children’s products like toys and baby clothes.

          • What do you mean, no right to run a business without regulation? If you mean federal regulation, there absolutely is: Article 1 Section 8 does not authorize the federal government to regulate businesses. So therefore it has no authority to do so.

    • Um, business licenses are generally state and local licenses ONLY, and an FFL needs those IN ADDITION TO the federal FFL.

      It’s like saying that if you want to transport guns in your car, in addition to having a state issued driver’s license, you also need a federal one that doesn’t actually permit you to drive in any state, but you need it anyway. Oh, and you have to get a seperate federal driver’s license for each and every location you have a parking space or garage in.

  6. short barrel and suppressor aren’t illegal, they just require forms and taxes and registration. Given that SCOTUS just ok’d the ACA tax/fine for not buying healthcare, they’ll rubber stamp a tax for anything.

    • I can see them saying you had to pay a tax. Perhaps even something as high as the $200 tax/per item. But criminal charges for failing to go through a multi-month background check and registration scheme is more problematic. Why not just use the NICS check system and have the retail seller collect the tax? The answer is that they want to burden and demonize gun owners. That might not pass muster in the courts.

    • They also require specific permission from some law enforcement type, permission that can be withheld at will for any reason or none at all.
      It doesn’t make sense to require paperwork and a high tax for a gun muffler any more than it does for a car muffler. And even if it does, that doesn’t justify an LE background check. And even if it does, at the very least it should be on a “shall issue” basis.

  7. Wasn’t the “no handgun sales across stare lines” from Bill Ruger, who wanted to protect his dealers? I think that particular item was part of the1968 GCA…..

    OBTW, Bill Ruger was also responsible for the original 10 round magazine limits, IIRC…..

    • I think Ruger said anything more than 15 was acceptable to ban (some Glocks held 17 while none of Ruger’s pistols held more than 15). The legislature decided 10 was an even better limit and everyone got screwed instead of just people buying guns from Ruger’s competitors.

  8. I think the federal ban on cross-state purchases of handguns is uncommonly silly, but given that it seems (for a change) to actually fall under the category of Interstate Commerce, I’m not really sure how it can be unconstitutional.

    • You’ve fallen for the popular lie that “regulate commerce between the states” means the power to impose random arbitrary restrictions. It actually means “make regular” — its purpose is to enable the federal government to nullify roadblocks put in place by the states, such as discrimination against out of state businesses.

  9. Kirk,
    The Feds have been using the “Interstate Commerce” clause for decades to restrict, regulate and outright BAN anything they can get a handle on.

    That’s the most often mis-interpreted (not just my words) portion of the Constitution. How can it be unconstitutional to use? Read your history. Google it.

    • Let me tell you a story.

      In this story, a group of very intelligent people spend years fighting a bloody war to gain independence from a far away gov’t, that they view as exceeding it’s authority and trampling their rights as citizens. When they’re done, they set up a new gov’t, with the rules written down, that spells out all the powers of the gov’t, along with specific protections for individual liberties. And then right there at the end, they insert a “commerce clause” that roughly translates to “ignore everything else we just wrote and do WTF ever you want.”

      Does that story sound as goofball to anyone else as it does to me?

    • Please read what I actually wrote. The Commerce Clause *is* in there, and it does mean something, rather than nothing.

      Rob Crawford gave a real answer to my actual question (which was not “The CC lets Congress legislate on anything and everything, doesn’t it”?, but rather on the interstate sale of firearms.)

      In addition to what Rob said, it also occurs to me that what’s actually happening if I as a Washington resident travel to Idaho and buy a handgun there is NOT interstate commerce: the transaction takes place entirely within Idaho. Imagine if Congress passed a law stating that a person could only buy food in the state wherein they had their permanent residency…

      • They would argue that your traveling there was interstate, therefore it was interstate commerce, because you went there to buy it. Stupid, but ever since Wickard v. Filburn it’s been all screwed up.

        • No, that hypothetical DOES in volve interstate commerce, EXACTLY as it was thought of in 1787.

          The fact that the buyer, rather than the seller, is handling transport is irrelevant — it is being purchased in one state for end use in another. That’s “interstate” and it’s “commerce”.

          The question is whether or not the right “shall not be infringed” is superior to Congress’s authority to regulate (in the 18th century meaning) interstate commerce. “Shall not be infringed,” is a pretty emphatic right, and almost any gun purchase in the modern era will involve interstate commerce, so I would say, yes, it’s an infringement, and yes, the right outranks the authority.

          However, the same argument can be made in regards to importation (which Congress also has authority to regulation) of arms. The answer (IMNSHO, and IANAL) is, in this case, the authority would outrank the right, because we DO have a very robust domestic arms manufacturing market, and any “foreign” gun that someone wished to sell to Americans could be manufactured it here and utterly bypass customs duties or outright importation bans — so the situation is going to fall below the threshhold of “infringement”, just as it is not an infringement to disarm prisoners in custody.

      • 1. Congress _HAS_ imposed regulations on the interstate commerce of food. And courts have upheld them.

        2. However, buying food in a state not your own residence to consume it in that same state would not be interstate commerce. Of course, food is comsumed in use, so the anology is quite shaky to begin with.

        • “There’s nothing in the constitution that says the Federal government has got anything to do with most of the stuff that we do.” — James Clyburn (D-SC)
          It’s really hard to think of examples of Congress doing something that actually paid attention to the Constitution.
          And the courts are only a little bit better. The vast majority of unconstitutional acts of the federal government go unchallenged, and a large fraction of those that are challenged are waved through. The courts are little if any better today than they were in the days of justice Roger Taney.
          On your point #2: this is exactly the sort of thing that HAS been regulated under color of the commerce clause. The argument is that doing something in a state affects interstate commerce because it causes you not to do interstate commerce instead. Or some such garbage. It was a popular (and upheld) arguments in the constitution-trampling FDR administration. Read about some of the farm regulations, it’s quite explicit.

  10. The idiocy that is “common sense gun control” is just that….idiocy.
    And it’s adherents are labeled for what they are…..anti freedom
    criminals seeking to destroy freedom OR…..IDIOTS who simply
    do not understand the concept of what a RIGHT is.

    Any discussion, any negotiating and any compromise whatsoever on the issue
    is an admission that what IS a fundamental inalienable right that is NOT subject to ANY control by ANYONE EVER has been ceded and is now a privilege. A privilege to be granted, withdrawn, restricted or interpreted. And whenever you
    have a privilege eventually that privilege is taken away by people in power….because THAT IS WHAT THEY DO.

    There can be NO COMPROMISE….not in the slightest.
    NO LAW that in ANY way limits any weapon of any type
    from being manufactured, transported, bought, sold carried
    or owned is legal or acceptable under the meaning and
    wording of the Second Amendment.

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