Thursday, November 24, 2011

Refuting The Idea That "Gun Grabbing Paranoia Is Baseless"

You know, I'm really getting tired of hearing from the antis that our fears of an Obama Presidency have been shown by events to be mere 'gun-nut paranoia' (if they're feeling really frisky they'll throw in a 'black-helicopter-conspiracy-nut' too).

This evenings particular rant was set off by a letter in Spokane's The Spokesman-Review today. In the letter Joe Speranzi assures all of us weak-kneed paranoid gun nuts that:

"The facts are on record that Obama believes hunters, collectors and other law-abiding Americans have the right to purchase, own, transport and use guns responsibly, plus he respects the rights of Americans to hunt, target shoot and use guns to protect their families. In his own words, 'I believe there is a Second Amendment right, an individual right for people to have the right to lawfully bear arms.'"

Ooh, yeah, there's the kicker, "the right to lawfully bear arms." Now let us (for the moment) take the President at his word that we can lawfully bear arms. Well that means that if, say, certain ugly black semi-automatic rifles were banned, they would no longer be "lawful", so we couldn't carry them. You see where I am going with this I'm sure, the slippery slope of gun control, or, as a friend calls it, "Goldilocks gun control": This one's too big (vest buster), that one's too small (pocket rocket), etc.. The problem being, of course, that the antis will never find one that is 'just right'.

Tangentially, I'm reminded of when Smith & Wesson introduced the Model 500. For decades the antis had been bleating that the only thing handguns were good for was killing people, so you might think that when a handgun specifically designed for hunting was introduced they would be, if not happy, then at least quiescent. Oh my stars and garters no! You would have thought someone was trying to emasculate them with rusty hedge-clippers! The Violence Policy Center produced a couple of reports: Big Boomers and Vest Buster that didn't (quite) accuse S&W of deliberately designing a gun to kill cops, but they did accuse the company of trying to wrest a profit from having "the most powerful handgun in the world". Hmph, a corporation trying to make a profit, how scandalous! The VPC also claimed that S&W was using the introduction of this new gun to try to "escape from the dog house" in gunnies eyes after the company's craven capitulation to the Clinton White House's lawsuits against gun manufacturers. I guess the were unaware that the company had been sold two years before they introduced the Model 500, and had regained about 70% of the market share they'd lost after knuckling under to the Clinton cabal.

Anyway! End of digression. Paranoia, Obama, truthful, lawfully bear arms. So yes, Obama offered a weasel-worded, limp-wristed "support" of our rights but in our "paranoia" we gun-nuts believed that he wanted to "take away our guns". Actually, I don't know of anyone who seriously believed that an Obama Presidency would try to implement a mass confiscation, but if we back away a bit from that straw-man we come to a real fear: that Obama would incrementally ratchet up laws and regulations, making it just a bit more difficult and expensive to manufacture, sell and buy guns, again and again until it just wasn't worth the effort and expense to make or sell guns. It was not, after all, 'paranoia' that on his website Obama the candidate listed outlawing most semi-auto rifles with a new and improved AWB as one of his goals. Nor was it 'paranoia' that he said he wanted to repeal the Tiahrt Amendment which would allow the Illegal Mayors Against Guns to use ATF trace reports (sometimes erroneously called crime gun trace reports) in spurious lawsuits aimed at bankrupting dealers who sold "too many crime guns". Nor was it 'paranoia' that he supported a bill to close the (mythical) gun-show loophole. A bill which would have had the effect of banning all transfers of firearms without a NICS check. This bill, however, did not define what constituted a 'transfer'. When my dad died, I got his shotgun; was that a 'transfer'? If you and I are at the range and I let you take a couple of shots with my new pistol, does that constitute a 'transfer'? How about when a store clerk pulls a weapon out from behind the counter so I can inspect it, is that a 'transfer'? "Oh you're being paranoid again" cry the antis, but the devil is in the details and definitions can be very devilish indeed.

Let's go past Obama the candidate and look at his record now that he's in office. One of the antis' favorite 'gun-loon paranoid conspiracy theories' to trot out is that Obama wants to use a UN treaty to get our guns. This is less of a straw-man because there is, indeed, movement in the UN on a world-wide small arms treaty, but that isn't the treaty that Obama was pushing. In April of 2009 he announced that he wanted the Senate to ratify the Inter-American Convention Against Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms (known by it's Spanish acronym, CIFTA, which had been signed by then President Clinton). Now, who but an absolute wacko gun-loon could possibly be opposed to combating illicit manufacturing and trafficking of firearms? Again, the devil is in the details. Specifically it is in the definitions section of the treaty. From the definitions:

"For the purposes of this Convention, the following definitions shall apply:
1. 'Illicit manufacturing': the manufacture or assembly of firearms, ammunition, explosives, and other related materials:

b. without a license from a competent governmental authority of the State Party where the manufacture or assembly takes place"

Well geez, that sounds innocuous enough, right? But hold on, how do they define "ammunition"?

"4. 'Ammunition': the complete round or its components, including cartridge cases, primers, propellant powder, bullets, or projectiles that are used in any firearm." [emphasis added]

And what do they mean by "other related materials"?

"6. 'Other related materials': any component, part, or replacement part of a firearm, or an accessory which can be attached to a firearm."

Very devilish details indeed, because a strict interpretation of these definitions means that you would need a license to reload ammo, to add or change a scope on a rifle, to replace a bad trigger, or to upgrade the stock. Hells bells, with a strict enough interpretation you couldn't even load a revolver or magazine, or so much as put a mag into a weapon without an "assembly" license. And how much would one of these licenses cost anyway? And what would I have to go through in order to get one?

Do you believe for one instant that Slick Willie would not have used these provisions to try and outlaw, well, everything gun related? Remember all the bitching about how companies were "evading" the AWB by making cosmetic modifications to the affected weapons (which is what happens when you base a ban on cosmetic features)? Do you think Billie boy or his spiritual heirs wouldn't use CIFTA to implement their anti-gun wet dreams? It ain't paranoia if it's true.

"But he hasn't done any of these things" the antis bleat, "In fact he hasn't done anything you gun loons could object to!" Au contraire!

While it is true that President Obama has been remarkably ineffective when it comes to implementing anti-gun policies his administration actually has done a few things, like blocking the previously approved importation of surplus rifles from South Korea. Their reasoning? These guns could fall into the hands of bad guys. That argument is very revealing when you realize that sales of these rifles would be handled by the (government run) Civilian Marksmanship Program through local FFLs, with each purchaser subject to a NICS check, just like the sale of any new rifle. In other words, the Obama administration believes that regular, every-day, law-abiding gun owners are, in fact, bad guys.

Another administration policy change that almost slipped through unnoticed was the decision by the DoD to shred all once-fired brass instead of selling it to ammunition re-manufacturers. Fortunately our community was paying attention and a veritable firestorm of outraged protest prompted Congress to rein in the DoD.

And this post is already long enough so I am not going to touch on the 90% myth or Operation Fast & Furious and all its tentacles and offshoots, but: "Let me 'splain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up."

We gunnies are "paranoid" because we believed Obama the candidate's promises to re-implement the AWB, repeal Tiahrt and ban private sales. We are also "paranoid" to believe that his administration is anti-gun when they block the import of 850-thousand rifles and take millions of rounds of once fired brass off the market when ammunition manufacturers were already straining (and failing) to keep up with demand.

Okay, maybe not so "paranoid" then.

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