Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Why laws that stop no fly list members from buying guns are WRONG

(Image complements of wikipedia boeing 747)

Why are laws that stop no fly list members from buying guns are wrong?

Ok, I hate that I have more to write about here.  I really do.  This issue though is so wrong it makes me feel dirty, and its the exact opposite of what is right and good about this country. This though is a great example of why I started this blog though that I cant let it go past without commenting on it.

First off, Bernie Sanders, I love your campaign and truly hope you win the primary as I think you could do the most long lasting good for this country, as long as you abandon this belief.

Why are these bills so wrong?  Why do they keep me up at night that they might get traction to actually pass?  Well lets take this idea to a slightly different context.  

First lets look at what the idea is, and what it really gets to.

We have a list of names.  Call it a no fly list, call it a terrorist watch list, call it a list of undesirables.  Call it what you will.You want to take this list, and use it to block these individuals from a basic CONSTITUTIONALLY granted right.

Based on what evidence exactly?  What due process?  What precedence?

Lets say this list of undesirables listed all the American followers of the Jewish faith.   We determine them to be undesirable and untrustworthy of firearm ownership.  (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_legislation_in_Germany#Disarming_Jews_in_Nazi_Germany)
Yeah that seems like a legacy we want to have.

Or how about we list all Muslim Americans on that list, and lets not go after their 2nd amendment right, but after their 4th amendment rights.  Just barge into their homes and take EVERYTHING.  Hell take the homes too.  Why?  Well if they didn't do anything wrong they wouldn't  be on that list would they?  (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_Fly_List#Notable_cases)  I mean its not like a few reporters who are in disagreement with a presidential administration could end up there, or a senator...  Or anything like that.

Hell while we are at it, why stop at the 2nd and the 4th?  Lets go for the big dogs.  Lets pull their access to the 5th and 8th amendment rights.  Then we can torture the "Truth" out of them.  I mean lets face it, they HAD to do something wrong, whey else are they on this list.  (http://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/guantanamo-bay-detainee-case-mistaken-identity-dod-n472616)

Yes, all of these things are the reasons the bill of rights exists.  To guarantee the rights of citizens of the Unite Sates and to protect us from the overreach of our government.  Even if this type of a bill could pass the house and senate, and if the president signed it into law, its a short SHORT matter of time before the ACLU could get it in front of a judge and tear that precedent down as they SHOULD.

Please America, don't react with fear to a threat.  Its not a new threat, and its not a real threat.  Its nothing more than a quick bid by those who feel they should rule "for our own good" to try to take power from us as a proud, strong and united people.

Lastly lets remember that the act of terror we are responding to, wouldn't have been prevented by this legislation, and even if it could have been, it appears the weapons were possibly purchased as a straw man purchase* to begin with (http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/san-bernardino-shooting/san-bernardino-shooters-planned-attack-least-year-advance-n476521)

Be Brave Americans

"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety" - Ben Franklin

*Straw man purchases have been covered here before (http://common-sense-explained.blogspot.com/2015/10/straw-man-purchases.html)

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Want to Reduce Gun Violence? Heres how in four easy steps...

From Wikipedia

Want to Stop Gun Violence?  Heres how in four easy steps...

Ok, so I lied, its not so easy.  All of these are difficult, and they wont stop all gun violence.  That can't even be done reliably in prison. These will reduce a lot of the social issues though that feed into violence.

1.  Address our unemployment, standardize and establish healthcare for all, and establish a living wage.
Wow, that shocked a lot of people.  Yep, its forward thinking, and progressive, sorry I do that sometimes.  
How would it work?  Well, if a family can live off what they make, they're much less inclined to turn to crime.  With parents who can work for a living wage, the can afford to be home more to actually raise their children.  Reducing the impact of gangs and crime on their families.  Much of this is based on and around a family dynamic and allowing them to separate themselves from the daily struggle to survive, and allow them to actually thrive and improve the lives of the next generation.  Something something American Dream?!

Reference:  Geography of Gun Deaths in America
Reference:  Interactive Map of Poverty in America

Wow, pretty close eh?

2.  Build families and neighborhoods again.  Get to know those around your home in your community.  Community action helps to prevent crime, it builds a sense of self and pride along with togetherness.  Violence builds off hate and isolation, fight it with community and inclusion.

3.  Don't accept violent behavior in your families and communities.  Build a community where violence is abhorrent.  Violence is reported, and violence is stopped.  No snitches is a great way to destroy everything above.Community based policing is important here.  Not guys rolling around in MRAPs with heavy body armor, and riot gear who are willing and eager to taze Gramma or little Suzy at the first sign of "resistance".  Black lives matter?  Yes.  Yes they do.  Gun violence isn't a black problem though, its an everyone problem.  All lives matter, and I don't say that to take away from Black lives matter, its the truth as well.  Police violence is a problem as well and while even more complicated in some cases, should be as abhorrent as any other violence.

4.  End our stupid War on Drugs.
Really, can we do this yet?  Talk about building poverty and destroying communities and families.  Additionally this is a major source of revenue for your criminal gangs.  Tax it, monitor it, standardize it, and stop destroying lives over it.  Use the money to build real rehab centers, put people to work again and give them a way to turn their lives around rather than just shove them off the urban map into the no mans land you just don't go to after dark. Once this is legal an amazing thing happens, if someone steals drugs from you, you can send the police after them rather than try to shoot them!  Since its no longer illegal the profit margins go to pot and its just not worth it anymore.  Drug crime goes away with the movement of a pen, and the subsidiary crime (robbery, murder etc) that comes along with it fades away as fast.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Straw Man Purchases

Borrowed from Wikipedia 

Straw Man Purchases

Also from Wikipedia:
Strawpersons sometimes engage in straw purchases to protect the privacy of the beneficial owner or to allow the beneficial owner to acquire a property when the seller's rules, policies or biases might not have allowed it
The straw man purchase is arguably the hardest part about any "Common Sense" gun control, and because of this, its one of those that is mentioned the least.  One time when I was sitting in my local sporting goods store I saw a straw purchase nearly occur.

A fellow wanted to buy a .22 caliber handgun.  A small inexpensive handgun of a lower power ammunition usually used for small game hunting or target practice. The shop ran his background check, and he was denied by NICS.  A lady who was with him (whom I suspected to be his girlfriend but I have no real basis for this, other than their attitudes towards each other that could be viewed) stepped forward and said "Its OK, I'll buy it for you honey".  To their credit, the shop employee turned to her and stated in no unclear terms that he would NOT sell it to her as she had expressed her intent to hand it over to a prohibited person.  She got angry and had to be removed from the store.

I mention this instance specifically because I left that store thinking that the couple was just that much more informed of what not to do at the next store they come to, as well as that the store I was at would continue to get my patronage for being an upstanding establishment.  They passed up on a sale, where there would have been no proof of wrong doing because it held to the spirit and letter of the law.That day I did buy a double barrel shotgun from them, one Joe Biden himself would have been proud to own.

It also points out how hard it would be for the next shop to stop this type of purchase, and how hard it would be to stop these purchases in general.  My only thought is that this individual failed the NICS check.  Somewhere some system should have registered that.  Maybe this is one way we can improve that system.  Establish a law that allows a warrant to be issued to search that home for a weapon using that failed check as sufficient probable cause.  If not probable cause, perhaps a parole violation to establish a search/inspection.  I'm not a lawyer, I don't play one on TV, and I didn't even stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, so I have no idea if what I'm suggesting here is even feasible, but it makes more "common sense" than most things I've heard of coming from most gun control outlets.

Monday, October 5, 2015


Welcome everyone to the new common sense explained blog.

I plan to make this a series about some of the various political sound bytes pushed off as common sense gun control.

I recently wrote this to help describe to some intelligent and reasonable people that I usually agree with exactly whats wrong with Universal Background Checks, and why they are not the panacea politicians promise, and some people believe they are. So, let’s start off here with a few assumptions. First, you have some definite opinions on gun control, and believe there are some simple steps to that could be easily taken to drastically reduce gun crime, and mass shooting events in America. Second, let’s assume that someone you know who you otherwise respect and find you can agree with sent you to this posting. Third, you’re not (at least openly) calling for registration and confiscation of all personally owned firearms in America.

Ok now with those assumptions out of the way, let’s get down to business. Universal Background Checks (to save me some keystrokes referred to as UBCs from this point forward) sound like such a simple and sensible idea. Anyone opposed to them why they’d have to be either protecting criminals, or just be an unreasonable paranoid nut job right? Well like with any political statement the simple solution generally isn’t really so simple, and isn’t really a solution.

Let’s consider the two following situations first a mass shooter, and second general street crime.
Your mass shooter. Generally firearms are purchased by individuals who pass the existing NICS background checks (Aurora Theatre shooting, Washington Navy Yard shooting, Chattanooga military shootings) or through existing failures in the back ground check system (Virginia tech, Charleston Church shooting), or they are sourced from family members (Columbine and New Haven). Many or most mass shooters have shown significant mental stability issues beforehand, several have had issues with illegal substances, but the majority do not have the background that would keep them from purchasing a weapon under current background check requirements. In short, UBCs wouldn’t stop or significantly change mass shooter access to weapons, and would correspondingly not reduce these incidents.

Now, certainly someone who hasn’t committed a crime yet getting access to a firearm must be significantly different from a hardened criminal getting access to one right?

Let’s look at a hypothetical scenario. Jimmy is a two time felon we’ll say assault with a deadly weapon, and possession with intent. Either would invalidate him from passing a background check of any type. Jimmy wants to get a gun for enforcement of his unlicensed pharmaceutical business. He KNOWS he cannot pass a background check, knows it’s not even worth trying so he goes to his pal Rob. Rob has a clean background, and a legitimate job, but runs a nice side business keeping guys like Jimmy supplied with what they want. Rob picks up a few guns every few months, then reports a “break in” to the police where his guns were stolen and then uses insurance money to replace them. Rob sells Jimmy a gun with a $200 mark up. Rob knows Jimmy’s background and doesn’t care. Why not? They BOTH are criminals only one hasn’t been caught yet. A law requiring UBCs isn’t going to stop either of them from this transaction, they both ALREADY know its illegal, but they DON’T care.

Think this is a crazy story that doesn’t really happen? Well let’s look at the common sources of firearms for street crime.
 • 39.6% of criminals obtained a gun from a friend or family member
• 39.2% of criminals obtained a gun on the street or from an illegal source
• 0.7% of criminals purchased a gun at a gun show
 • 1% of criminals purchased a gun at a flea market
• 3.8% of criminals purchased a gun from a pawn shop
• 8.3% of criminals actually bought their guns from retail outlets Source: http://dailycaller.com/2013/02/11/where-criminals-get-their-guns/

So that’s that 12.1% of those sales SHOULD have gone through a FFL (Federal Firearms Licensed dealer) being a retail gun shop or a pawn shop. Nearly 80% were acquired from either an “illegal source” or from a family member. Less than 2% were person to person sales which are what UBCs are supposed to regulate.

The real problem is that someone else usually purchases the gun for a criminal. Either a friend with a clean enough record (often a significant other), or a family member, or often a designated purchaser who may later report the firearms as stolen to keep themselves safe. This is referred to as a straw purchase, and is already illegal but is very difficult to prosecute. More importantly these individuals know fully well that they are selling to a prohibited person and would have no intent of making the sale legal. In short, UBCs wouldn’t stop or significantly change access to weapons for street crime, and would correspondingly not reduce these incidents.

Ok, so we’re not going to significantly change mass shooting incidents, and we’re not significantly affecting street crime. What are we doing with UBCs then? Well, we’re directly impacting legal firearm owners, who want to sell or trade their firearms.

How does this make life more difficult? Well, let’s say we have Johnny. Johnny bought a rifle legally when he was 18, a 30-30 deer rifle, lever action, scoped, think your grandpa's hunting rifle. Now he lives in an area of his state where he can’t use it nearby and doesn’t want to travel to hunt. Johnny has a young family now, and needs some money back out of his gun. Currently he can take that rifle to a gun shop, or pawn shop, who might give him $150 for it and then they will sell it later for $300. Or he can sell it to his friend Bob who lives nearby who hunts and doesn’t mind the travel for $250. Very similar to selling a car a person to person interpersonal sales of firearms generally work out better for both the seller and the buyer each getting a better deal by cutting out the middle man. If UBCs were mandatory for these fellows to stay legal, and since they both are law abiding citizens they want to, they now have to have a background check performed. How? Do they have to go into a FFL ((Federal Firearms Licensed) dealer? Will he charge them $25 each to do the background check? If he’s not allowed to charge, will he even do checks for interpersonal transfers anymore?

So, let’s talk about enforcement. How do you enforce a law that requires people to act in good faith and take it upon themselves to be law abiding? How can you say that this person got this gun from that guy and had a background check performed? The only way that makes sense is universal registration. Every serial numbered firearm in the US would have to be registered with its current owner, so a history can be made, and every owner will have to renew that registration periodically (lets saty every year) so discrepancies can be tracked. Wow, that was easy. We went from UBCs to universal firearm registration in less than 100 words. Now, before you get all paranoid firearm registration has NEVER been used before for confiscation (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_legislation_in_Germany#Gun_regulation_of_the_Third_Reich) not even in this country (http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=pen&group=30001-31000&file=30710-30735). Wow, that was even faster. I hate to say slippery slope, but this incline is pretty low friction.

So lets sum this up. UBCs we agree wont significantly impact mass shooting events, and wont significantly affect street crime. They will directly harass legal gun owners, and they will create an enforcement nightmare with legal consequences you probably don’t want to admit to. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say this is similar to the ultrasound before abortion bills in some states. You agree something is legal, and you claim you don’t want to stop it, but you want to make it as invasive and difficult as possible because you don’t like it and you want to be a jackass to those who disagree with you.

Now remember that third assumption we made way back 1200 words ago? “Third, you’re not (at least openly) calling for registration and confiscation of all personally owned firearms in America.”? Well either you need to fess up and say “Yeah, that’s exactly what I want to see” or you need to realize what UBCs really are a move towards and that your politicians are either naive, or lying about why they want to see them signed into law.

Now this isn't to say nothing can be done. Remember the parts above about how NICS sometimes fails? How most mass shooters have shown mental instability and substance abuse issues? Those are reasonable places to start. Lets revisit our mental health and drug issues in this country. That will do much more to fix any violence issues than UBCs could ever hope to.