How About No?
How About No?
A few days ago, a self-professed “gun nut” published “A Gun Nut’s Guide to Gun Control That Works,” proposing a grand gun control compromise that is supposed to be effective and make us safer. I have no doubt that Jon Stokes meant well when he wrote this piece, advocating a federally issued license for simple possession of all semi-automatic firearms, just as I’m sure that many well-meaning liberals just want to see a decline in violent crime when they whine that we need to implement “common sense” gun control measures to keep guns out of the wrong hands (read: your hands).
But you know what? I’ve had just about enough of compromises and other rights-abridging nonsense! Gun owners have been compromising for decades, and there’s STILL no correlation between gun ownership and violent crime, and they’ve gotten nothing back for their willingness to give up just a few of their rights – for the children, or whatever.
So when Mr. Stokes proposes this hare-brained federal registration scheme, and proudly claims that his oh-so-fabulous idea is going to make us safer while protecting our rights, I have to point and laugh at his naivete and arrogance.
Let’s start with the fact that he feels the need to flaunt his “gun guy” credentials using all the right buzzwords.
I am a gun industry insider, a lifelong gun owner and a vocal advocate for Second Amendment rights. I am a Texan and an American patriot who hauls my family to church every Sunday in a diesel pickup truck, where I sit in the pew and listen to the Word with a 9mm pistol tucked inside the waistband of my fanciest jeans.
Yeah, you know what, dude? I don’t care if you trot out every gun nut, redneck stereotype to advance the message that you cling to your guns and Bible just like the rest of us rubes to give yourself some street cred when you propose yet another abridgement of our rights. I don’t care what you have tucked into your waistband – my .45 caliber M1911 trumps your 9mm pistol – because as soon as you start advocating yet another “compromise” after the National Firearms Act of 1934, the Federal Firearms Act of 1938, the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, the so-called “Firearm Owners Protection Act”, the Brady Bill, the “Gun Free Zones” (Don’t Make Me Laugh) Act, and the thankfully expired “Assault” Weapons ban, I stop listening.
The idea is simple but powerful: a federally issued license for simple possession of all semi-automatic firearms. This license would allow us to carefully vet civilian access to semi-automatic weapons, while overriding state-specific weapon bans and eliminating some of the federal paperwork that ties specific firearms to specific owners.
Excrement! Since when has anything involving the federal bureaucracy been simple? Since when is the federal government any good at “vetting” anyone? How many high-profile screw-ups happened when the government was tasked to vet civilians to determine who is safe to get on a plane?
How many terrorists are taken off watchlists, and then go on to commit terrorist acts?
How many false positives – innocent Americans – wind up having their rights denied without due process by being placed on federal watchlists? What happens when an administration that’s not so friendly to gun owners takes power? How many will be denied their rights without due process, and what will it take to reverse an erroneous decision?
It’s not a powerful idea. It’s a stupid one.
I offer this idea not only because I actually want to live in a world where it, or something like it, is the law of the land, but also because I and my fellow gun nuts are worried that a storm is coming that will sweep away a substantial portion of our gun rights without really making the country safer in return.
This guy is tossing his friends into the alligator’s maw, hoping against hope that the gator doesn’t eat him first. And sweeping away a substantial portion of our rights is exactly what Mr. Stokes is proposing, because the exercise of a right – by its very definition – does not require permission from sloppy bureaucrats who are sitting around, drawing a federal salary, and waiting until the day they can retire.
Our side faces a potent new enemy in the form of private-sector companies like REI, Delta Airlines, Citibank, YouTube and Reddit, which are taking an increasingly anti-gun stance. My fellow gun owners and I are now concerned not just with the potential erosion of our gun rights at the hands of our government, but also with the erosion of our ability to communicate and to educate about this topic in the online spaces that make up so much of modern civic life.
So because private companies make choices that negatively impact gun owners, as is their right to do, it makes sense to give away our basic rights – once again – to the feds? That makes zero sense, and it’s the lazy man’s way out. Gun owners talk a good game. They claim they will stop doing business with companies that don’t respect their Second Amendment rights, but very do they actually rarely take action. It’s too convenient to go to Dick’s right down the street rather than Cabela’s 15 miles away. It’s too tempting to fly Delta if it offers the best air fare. It’s too hard to switch banks. It’s too easy to whine about not having access to YouTube instead of working to start something similar for gun owners. Activism isn’t easy. Giving away your rights is. We know where Mr. Stokes falls.
There is fear, despair and anger on both sides, and neither side wants to give an inch.
Gun owners have already given many inches. See list above.
A new approach—a federal gun license for semi-automatic weapons like the AR-15s used in the Parkland shooting and at the Nashville Waffle House—has the potential to make us all safer while offering a net increase in liberty for the country’s law-abiding gun owners.
This is assuming that criminals will go through the trouble of getting a license, which I’m sure will cost money, since any new federal bureaucracy is going to require funds to create and maintain. So while I wait for the Feds to confirm that I’m a law-abiding citizen who’s worthy of exercising her Second Amendment rights, the psychotic, murderous gremlin goes out and buys what he wants off the street, steals it, or borrows it from a buddy, and goes on a shooting spree!
GREAT plan, asshole!
A federal license for all semi-automatic firearms would rest on two simple and well-defined concepts, one technical and one legal:
1) A “semi-automatic” firearm is one that fires a single round for each pull of the trigger, automatically reloading in between each shot until the ammo is depleted.
2) “Possession” is a legal concept from the drug war that implies that a person has a contraband item “on or about one’s person,” or has “control” over the item, perhaps by having it in a motor vehicle or in a home.
Because both of these things—“possession” and “semi-automatic weapons”—are easy to define, they’re easy to regulate.
Easy except for that pesky Constitution thingy that plainly says that the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. Keep meaning own, and bear means carry. I’m pretty sure possession is covered.
Except for that federal bureaucracy that needs to be created to regulate said possession and said firearms that costs the taxpayers billions of dollars, forcing us to PAY to exercise our constitutional rights. What’s next – poll taxes?
Except for inept state bureaucrats who can’t be bothered to report someone who may be ineligible to purchase a firearm to the feds, or simply fail to respond to credible threat reporting. Yes, I’m looking at you, Scott Israel!
Sure, once you do get your license – however long that may take – you can buy whatever semi-auto gun you want, trade, sell it to your buddy, whatever. But it’s also a convenient way to keep track of the purchases gun owners make, since they will have to present this little license every time they decide to make a purchase.
Once again, I say asking the state for permission to make a constitutionally protected purchase is revolting and an antithesis to the very concept of freedom and natural rights. And it’s not just gun rights that would be violated.
If you weren’t a license holder, then simple possession of any semi-auto weapon would be a felony. Don’t have one on your person, or in your car or home.
So, by infringing on no one’s rights, and harming no one, and by the mere possession of a tool one can become a felon? Gee, that’s fabulous! And how, pray tell, does Mr. Stokes propose to enforce this little scheme of his? Will he send cops door to door to search homes of suspected gun owners? Will cops check your car at a simple traffic stop? Will they perform a Terry frisk when you’re walking down the street?
And while we’re at it, what makes Mr. Stokes think that criminals will abide by the law requiring them to get a federal license? If they’re willing to murder or rape or rob, is a simple license going to stop them?
But God forbid something happens while I’m waiting on the feds to give me permission to exercise my right to defend my life with the best, most effective tool on the market today! I’m sure Mr. Stokes doesn’t care about that. The chances of it happening are slim to none, so he’s fine with it. I’m sure the residents of Sutherland Springs didn’t think something like a mass shooting could happen to them either – especially not at church.
And finally, I want to point you to the dumbest statement in that lengthy article, which is too long for me to fisk in its entirety.
If we can get past these concerns, this licensing scheme could make us both safer and more free. Gun safety advocates would have the security of knowing that anyone who lawfully possesses a semi-automatic weapon has been thoroughly vetted, and that there are clear criteria in place for temporarily or permanently revoking that license should the gun owner cross agreed-upon lines.
Mr. Stokes engages in some crazy doublespeak here. By asking the government for permission to exercise a basic right, we are supposed to believe we will be more free, and by relying on the government, which has been an abject failure at stopping violent thugs from committing murders – even with multiple laws and regulations, we’re supposed to feel more safe.
Sorry, douchebag. No.