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Gun Control, yeah I know.

December 17, 2012

People say you should not post about hot topics or such.  But I feel the need to put public a conversation I’ve had with a pro-gun-control advocate.  To be fair, it was the most rational conversation i’ve had in the last few days.

My argument was that most of the gun control ideas being pushed would result in a defacto gun ban.  No they would not ban all guns, but the ideas if enacted would result in fewer people being able to own guns, and that this was the short term goal.  The long term goal is total ban.  The writer said he had ideas that did not do this, but were rational and would have prevented the murders in Connecticut. (his comments are in italics, my answers in normal.  His posts were in two grouping’s, i’ve put my answers in between as if it was a conversation.)

1. All Firearms sold, resold, or gifted here on must be Registered.

1) you want to create a national registry of every weapon a citizen owns and track that ownership as a way to prevent crimes?  In other nations the national registry was used to confiscate weapons (Australia, New Zealand, France, etc) or to target minority citizens (Rwanda, Turkey, Kosovo – by the Serbs).  New Jersey used its registry to go after “assault” weapons which it made illegal with out a grandfather clause till the courts ruled otherwise.  I don’t see how this will prevent what happened here, as the weapons were all registered with the state.

2. All people Purchasing Firearms Must have a License.

2) License requirements are specifically designed to restrict ownership.  They ad additional costs to the ownership of what ever is licensed, allow additional restrictions on the use of the items licensed, and turn a right into a privilege granted by the government.  This makes it much harder to afford to buy, driving low income people out of the market, it also adds an expense in time to jump through hoops to get, costing more money in lost wages.  Further depriving low income people of the right to buy.  In addition, Conn required all owners to hold a license, which the owner did hold.

3. To get a license one needs to complete a NRA level qualification course.

3) Would this be for each weapon? Or just one?  Even then, all this does is raise the cost to own a weapon, depriving low income families of the ability to have effective means to defend themselves.  It also makes it hard for average people to meet this requirement which would restrict access even more.  All this serves is to increase the cost of ownership to a point that prohibits all but the wealthy access.  It is not cheep to give up two days for a 16 hour basic course, in my case that would mean $240 less in earnings on top of the cost of the course which is not cheep. Oh, and in Conn, the owner had taken several gun safety courses along with her sons.

4. To get a concealed permit, or license to distribute firearms, you need liability insurance.

4) Insurance for liability is also another way to raise the cost of ownership.  What would be insured against? That you as a owner misbehaved with the weapon? (you are liable under crimal law and civil law now.) Or that it is to cover the cost of defending yourself/family in court when you do use the weapon to save your loved one’s lives? (being sued by the attacker is not uncommon, how much more common if they know you have access to money?) The wealthy won’t have a problem coming up with the $200 a year but many gun owners will.

5. All states must coordinate and share databases on Firearms registration and gun crime.

5) Having the Federal Government take over what the States currently do is an interesting argument, it would force the four states that don’t require State registration to start, and would allow the Fed Gov to have a complete idea of who owns what.  (at least those who follow the law.) Which I point back to #1.  Currently the FBI tracks gun crimes, granted there is no requirement that all police departments submit crime reports to the FBI but it is around 95% now.  Still not seeing how that would prevent this other than we could be sure that the FBI is informed of the crime.

6. Converting a weapon to fully automatic requires a special license.

6) That is already the law.  In fact, merely owning the parts to make such a conversion is illegal with out special permission.

7. Adequete incentives need to be provided to bring in and register existing firearms not already in the system.

7) Well if you’re going to do #1, this would be a good idea.  But I like to point out that “incentives” when used by the government seldom are friendly and often are expensive.

8. “Assualt” style weapons will be deleted as a category of weaponry. Automatic, Not Automatic, Shot Gun, and barrel length are the only Categorizations necessary for detailing levels of Licenses available.

8) I could go with this one.  Automatic, Non-Automatic, Shot Gun. I like that.  Right now we only have Automatic, Rifle, Pistol, Shotgun.  It would end the non-sense that Ms. Feinstein is pushing with her AWB law (that uses type of stock, color, and cosmetic features for her ban).  However you slip in another thing here: “the only categorizations necessary for detailing levels of Licenses” your licensing plan would have levels.  Each one would result in more cost, more training, more fees and less access for the non wealthy.

Four of the eight ideas you would like to see, would reduce the ability of average people to own weapons.  Not directly by law, but by cost.  This is what I mean by a defacto gun ban.  Each would increase the amount of time and money to be able to buy a weapon that could be used effectively to protect your family.  Sort of like saying “you can use all the pot you want, just pay the tax.  Except the tax is $200,000 an ounce.”  See no ban here.

Three of the eight really just enforce the first four.  (and adding a cost borne by the tax payers or will require fees in addition to cover the cost)

It could be argued that five of these ideas are currently law in Conn, and did nothing to stop the crime.  In the last several shootings these laws were already on the books.  Even still, 6 is the law.

These are slightly different from what I have seen as “reasonable” but they still result in making it harder and more expensive to own firearms, driving current gun owners to give them up due to the cost and preventing new gun owners from coming in.  This is what I oppose.  I am for lowering the cost of entry, making it easier to have new people join in. (though lately at the range it has been very crowded, and at times I miss the old days when hardly anyone came.)

Raising the cost is a defacto ban.  It just hurts the low income hardest.

 

His response to my answers was:

My Driver’s License cost $34, my car cost $20,000. Trust me, the license didn’t prevent me from buying a car.

Driver Licenses cost less vs the value of the car.  In NYS,[where the writer is from] to get a permit it cost around $95, plus $5 each time you want to make a change to your permit, plus the processing fee which varies by county.  You spend close to $200 for the first gun just to get the permit.  (you have to cover the cost of the Fingerprint check, back ground check, taxes, etc)

When you look at the cost of a gun, say $250, spending $200 to get a permit to buy the $250 gun becomes more of a concern.  (add in the time needed to complete the process means loss of work time.  I had to take two half day’s off each time I wanted to buy a firearm to get the coupon and permit amended.)  Now if the permit was $34 every two years that would be different.  But that is the problem.  Pro-gun control advocates want to make it harder for people to get guns.  They can’t pass laws to ban them outright, but can make it so people are less likely to make the effort because it cost so much in time and money.

This is why NY has such low rates of gun ownership, the cost is to high to get in and with the additional requirements (where you can carry, what you can shoot at, where you can shoot, what ammo you can own, etc) The result is even if you own a weapon, you can’t do much with it so why bother with the cost.

Yes, it is a restriction on my right to own, which is the goal.  I don’t like that this is the case and is why I fight against it.  I work three part time jobs to make ends meet, and $200+ a year to be allowed to own what I own, in addition to some of the other ideas you said you would like, could turn this into $800 a year or more.  (Training, insurance, taxes, transfer fees, etc)

What happens when I end up with the choice of paying the fees/taxes/license or paying rent?  I have to give up my firearms.  We have to eat, I might not need to defend my family again.  Because of money I play the odds and hope that no one will try to attack me and mine.  In the mean time I’ve had to give up family history.

*******

I’m not sure this is a good reply to a pro-gun control advocate, but I think it makes clearer what these “reasonable” ideas are aimed at.  Reducing the number of people who have access to guns.

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