One Additional Gun Law I am in Favor Of

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Here is one law that I wish we would enact. Close the gun show/private sale loophole. I don’t get why anyone can buy a gun via private transaction without using an FFL (Federal Firearms Licensed dealer). It makes no sense. They should require all purchases of firearms to go through an FFL. When you do that, you would require both parties to go to a local gun shop that has the FFL, have them hold the gun, pay the fee (roughly $35), that would have them go through the background check/waiting period and have the gun cleared (not stolen or used in a crime to the knowledge of law enforcement). That is a win/win for everyone involved. The seller gets peace of mind that the buyer isn’t a criminal and that there gun probably won’t get used in a crime. The buyer gets peace of mind that the gun isn’t stolen or used in a crime. The gun shop makes a few bucks off the transfer fee. No one has the rights to purchase the firearm infringed. This is the exact same process one would go through if you bought the gun new at the store. What is the drawback here? I would welcome this if I was going to buy a gun from someone. I get piece of mind for a very small fee. What is keeping us from doing that?

37 Responses

    1. Where did I say “can’t”? This in no way restricts your right to buy and sell to whomever you choose as long as they aren’t a felon and the gun isn’t stolen. That is the current standard. I would be curious why anyone wouldn’t want to know if who they are selling their firearm can’t pass the check and who buying a gun would want to know it isn’t stolen. Help me understand the rationale of your objection.

    2. There is no reason to have a 3rd party involved for a citizen to sell anything to another. Do you think a gun broker is going to do a back ground check free? I prefer to handle gun ownership the exact same way it has been for over 200 years, that’s all.

      People are the problem, not guns. Unfortunately, some people are irresponsible and are involved in dangerous behavior, not only to themselves but others. A tiny percentage of the population use fire arms to commit crimes and even to kill. A higher percentage drive on the highways impaired by drugs or alcohol and injure and kill people. Every state in the union has laws against driving impaired with penalties up to years in prison, but every week, just in the parish I live in here in Louisiana people are arrested for driving under the influence of some mind altering substance. If more restrictive laws would stop people from being killed with guns I would be on board. More restrictive gun laws will only restrict those who are inclined to obey the law, not those who ignore it.

      If you think laws, of any sort, will stop so called “assault weapons” or weapons with large ammo clips from being used in violent and deadly crimes you are naive. Gun law will stop criminals from using guns in the same way drug laws have stopped people from selling and using drugs.

    3. Let me add this is already the process if you buy a gun online from an individual through a broker. It has to be shipped directly to an dgl and then you have to fill out the regular paperwork and have a background check. This is already happening on some level.

    4. Royce, I addressed the costs in my post. It typically costs $35-50 to do a transfer. That is already in place for certain purchases and is covered by the seller. So no, you don’t have to pay anything to sell your gun. And this doesn’t infringe on your rights to be able to own anything whatsoever. I am a gun advocate and I think this idea is beyond reasonable.

  1. I agree with this. Guns are not toys or gadgets, they are dangerous and life-threatening. Anyone buying one should have to go through the background check adn waiting period. This is common sense.

  2. I agree as well. And, if I’m a gun shop owner and wanting to sell a weapon to a man who cannot legally purchase one, can I just meet him outside of my shop and skirt the system by selling it to ‘a friend’? No background checks for friends doesn’t even make good nonsense Imo.

    1. A gun store owner/worker couldn’t do that legally with a gun from store inventory. They could do it with a personally owned firearm.

  3. Matt, you asked why we can’t do this. Because it makes way too much common sense. It would close a huge loophole and bring a small degree of sanity to the gun ownership/buying/selling/trading issue. As Royce so eloquently illustrated, common sense just does not work. I truly fear the situation when Americans love their “freedoms” more than they love people. Just my two cents worth.

    1. Thanks for sharing that Paul. One other thing that is never brought up in all the politicking on these things is…have similar attempts in the U.S. actually been effective? Why re-do something that hasn’t worked in the past?

    2. Matt, I doubt that anything like you have suggested has been tried. One statement that drives me crazy is the “we do ________ at our school and we have never had a shooting like at Sandy Hook.” Well, Sandy Hook never had a shooting before 12/14, and neither had Columbine, Virginia Tech, the movie theater in Aurora, etc. The fact is we are living in a different world now – a different culture, and we must take steps that have never been done before in order to respond. Where will the next mass shooting occur, and what will our response be at that moment?

  4. How would you enforce sales through a firearms dealer? How would you know that the sale took place in a shop rather than in a home? In order for your plan to work there would have to be a registry that specifically documented who had what and when are where they got it. I am personally against registries because of incidents like we saw in New York(?) where a paper published the names of all of the legal gun owners in two counties. There is also the fear that if the gov’t knows I have gun X then if the gov’t decides that gun X is too dangerous, then I am now at risk of having my legally purchased property confiscated “for the greater good” despite the fact that I have done nothing wrong.

    1. Great question. Every law currently on the books is breakable and not all are enforceable on the spot. For instance, it is already illegal to sell a firearm to a felon but you may not know they are a felon when you sell to them. There is no perfect system. Every law depends on how law abiding people are going to be. To me, as someone who has spent a lot of time around firearms, there are several advantages to implementing this, outlined above and I can’t really think of ways the current system is superior to this proposal.

    1. My last “illogical” comment on this thread. People who abide by the law are not the problem, they already obey the law and would obey a new law such as you suggest. It is those few who do not regard the law or obey it that are the problem and they would still be the problem. Have you noticed that there are plenty of guns available in Chicago where they have tough gun law? And did you notice that during the years assault weapons were against the law that the bad guys still had them. That will not change.

    2. Royce, you and I largely agree on nearly every angle of the issue as a whole. On this specific suggestion I am putting out there I think you are missing parts of it. How does your last comment apply to the private sale of a law abiding citizen to an unknown buyer who may or may not be following the law. He may be a felon, mentally unstable, etc but a law abiding seller doesn’t have the background check resource at his disposal without a third party. Hope that makes sense.

    3. It goes the other way too. If I am a law abiding gun purchaser I have no idea if the gun I am buying from Joe at the show has been stolen unless an ffl runs a check on it. I don’t have access to that personally so I would need a third party to handle it per my suggestion.

  5. If we are talking about American law, “gun shows” are not exploiting a loophole, rather, the Federal Firearm laws are the loophole. There are basic constitutional rights having to do with the right to property and the right to contract, even setting aside the very specifically mentioned protections for firearms.

    The federal firearm laws work on the principle that gun dealerships operate under licenses, and anyone who applies for a license MUST do exactly what they are told or they have their license revoked. You can make any type of law, no matter how ridiculous, and the licensed one must follow it or lose its right to exist.

    On the other hand, individual people (you, me, etc) start out with the right to exist, along with other basic God-endowed rights that supersede government, including the right to buy and sell, which under the American law, includes the right to buy and sell firearms, even regardless of whether one (or more) of the parties has a criminal record.

    Your question was, “what is keeping us from doing that?” The answer was the U.S. Constitution. If you don’t like that, your best move is to change that constitution.

    1. Andrew, how familiar are you with the laws restricting unlicensed people from buying and selling firearms? Some of the things I am talking about are already on the books in various forms. You can find some of those laws here –

      If you sell me a firearms and you don’t live in my state (Florida) you are required to ship that firearm through a licensed (FFL) dealer and not to me directly. That dealer then does a background check, has me fill out the necessary (typical buying a firearm) paperwork and has me do the waiting period. That is exactly what I am saying here only I am saying apply that law within the state and not just between states in “unlicensed” sales.

      According to what you are saying, I am not so certain that the Constitution fills the role you think it does on this or else the laws on unlicensed sales that already exist would be unconstitutional. Make sense?

    2. There very well could be some unconstitutional laws on the books in this case. It wouldn’t be the first time unconstitutional laws had been passed. However, in the cases you are citing so far, it sounds like the Federal government is invoking its “interstate commerce” clause.

      As to “interstate commerce” … don’t you think that that is being applied outside of its intended purpose? When you had 13 or 15 or 31 states that could set tariffs on one another or charge tolls on their roads to people from outside their state, that’s when you would use the power to “regulate interstate commerce” to keep things even. The power to “regulate interstate commerce” was never intended to override basic constitutional rights to buy and sell…. firearms, especially.


      Amendment 2 – Right to Bear Arms

      A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

      Firearms are the only instance of property that is specifically protected by the U.S. Constitution. In the case of a conflict between the U.S. Constitution and any other law, that other law is not considered a law at all.

      I didn’t have this completely memorized off the top of my head, so I pulled this up quickly by searching on “constitution repugnant null void” –

      All laws which are repugnant to the Constitution, are null and void.” Chief Justice Marshall, Marbury v. Madison, 5, U.S. (Cranch) 137, 174,176

      “Where the meaning of the constitution is clear and unambiguous, there can be no resort to construction to attribute to the founders a purpose of intent not manifest in its letter.” Norris v. Baltimore, 172, Md. 667; 192 A 531.0.

      “Where rights secured by the Constitution are involved, there can be no rule making or legislation which would abrogate them.” Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 491.

      The federal firearms laws you mentioned clearly have the intent of restricting access to firearms. The federal constitution they are supposed to follow clearly has a specific protection in the case of firearms. The federal firearms laws are using an “interstate commerce” clause outside of its intended purpose in an attempt to nullify basic rights of firearm ownership and transfer. I don’t think this is a tough call to make.

      Not all unconstitutional laws are struck down immediately (and some never at all) but it can happen. Remember the Brady Bill? That got struck down, at least in part, but not until after some people went through a lot of work to challenge it.

      From the perspective of the people trying to pass restrictive gun laws, do you think the really want to challenge “gun shows” and risk that the challenge might backlash through the supreme court to reach the light of day… and have people find out that they had the right to buy and sell to each other all along? That would be too damaging. So they probably figure that it’s better to leave it as it is with people thinking that it’s a “loophole.”

    3. You do realize that the “interstate commerce” clause has even been used to crack down on the illegal sale … milk? Yes, they have done “milk stings” when the sale has crossed state boundaries.

      I’m not kidding. Tell me that isn’t an abuse of federal power, beyond the intended purpose of the “interstate commerce” clause, where a farmer cannot sell his raw milk to willing parties that live just outside the bounds of New Jersey.

    4. 1 – One could argue that they didn’t have background checks or even electricity when the Constitution was written.
      2 – There are people who possess firearms prior to 18/21 but not who have legally purchased them. You are talking about all sorts of things and using examples that this post is not even about. I am talking about how we purchase firearms. Also, I am not talking about being restrictive in what firearms we can buy or who can purchase them any further than current law already permits and restricts.
      Where in my post have I talked about parents and children? That was your example, not mine and even in that example you aren’t talking about children purchasing and owning firearms…you are talking about them learning to safely handle the firearms of their parents. Where have I addressed that or condemned that? You are attacking points I am not making and don’t even support!
      3 – Are you advocating felons to lawfully purchase firearms? Are you advocating the insane to be able to purchase firearms? If so, why?
      4 – You wrote, “How far does your “disarming” policy go? So as such I think your question may not have been thought through to its logical conclusion.” – Where have I advocated disarming anyone? Somehow you guys keep reading that into what I am saying and I haven’t said that at all! I haven’t said any type of gun should be restricted either. I am talking about the process of transfer. That is ALL I am talking about.

      Any of your points addressing me as restricting gun ownership are completely out of place so I won’t continue to address them. I have made it plain as day…I am not advocating the restricting of gun purchases. I really am uncertain why you keep saying that when it is nowhere to be found in my post.

    5. Andrew,

      Based on the original post and any comments I have made since help me understand how this comment you made holds up,

      “The federal firearms laws you mentioned clearly have the intent of restricting access to firearms.”

      Where am I limiting anyone from owning anything in my suggestion? The only people this would limit are the insane and felons. Period. That is already law. Are you saying that by having to pay a transfer fee that is limiting access? I don’t really get your conclusion. Royce came to the same conclusion above. Maybe I am just a really bad communicator on this one. Read what I wrote again…there is nothing there about limiting people from access to firearms. It is all about the process of transfer.

    6. I’ll state a disclaimer later, but there’s more than a few angles for what you’re asking:

      1) I do not see any restriction in that second amendment saying that the right to bear arms is a God-given right, save for those who have received a criminal judgment at one time in the past, or been declared insane.

      2) … expanding on the first point, do you know how easy it is for a corrupt judge or jury to declare someone a criminal? or how easy it has been historically to declare someone insane?

      3) … expanding further, so what if someone had a criminal history at one time? Have they “paid the debt” or not? Should someone really be branded with a lifetime stigma once they have made amends?

      4) *any* semblance of a “transfer fee” is a restriction and/or a type of a tax. Marbury vs. Madison = “The power to tax is the power to destroy” (I hope they still teach that in high school?) To put this in another light, would you accept a tax of 25 cents ($ 0.25) to exercise your right to walk down the sidewalk? Why or why not?

      If yes, then you’ve just granted that government has the right to tax your ability to walk down the sidewalk, and surrendered any ability to claim it as a right. So what if you can afford that $ 0.25? Someone else may not. Plus, just wait until they raise it to $100.00, $5000.00, or some number that you cannot afford.

      If no, it would be because you would recognize that a right, or the exercise thereof, cannot be taxed (and there’s supreme court decisions backing that also) and that appeasement is not the best policy (we have WW2 as a demonstration of that as well.)

      So yes, any sort of “fee” or prerequisite registration requirement is an infringement on what that constitution has stated is a right. Let’s imagine another scenario…. imagine if government passed a law saying it was illegal for husbands and wives to … you know … unless they applied for and received a permit for each … instance. The fee would be nominal, and the permit would be granted except for those who had been judged to be insane. What would be your reaction to such a law? Would you still think that the right was not being infringed upon, just because the fee was minimal?

      5) At least according to the founding principles of American law, the government has no business even knowing who has firearms and who does not, and allowing them to maintain any sort of knowledge base has already defeated much of the usefulness of the “right to bear arms.” The second amendment was not about protecting “hunting rights” or about self-defense from burglars. These were military grade weapons they were talking about, and they weren’t just to keep the French and Indians at bay, but also with primary purpose of keeping the American government in check.

      As for the disclaimer… if you start studying history and law, you will eventually have to face that the current American government is not operating under the principles upon which it was founded. If you’re into loyalty, you have to make a choice of which government you will honor over the other. There’s law under the constitution, the highest law of the land, and there’s law as popularly perceived and enforced, the practical law of the land.

      It’s as the saying goes, one cannot have two masters. Which brings me to my point… because as I understand things now, I don’t have to worry about this like I used to, because “…it’s not my country (not my kingdom)”

      Heb 11:13-15 KJV
      (13) These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
      (14) For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.
      (15) And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.

      Joh 18:36 KJV
      (36) Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.

      So when we were discussing those things before (above) it was under the presumption that we were within the framework of American constitutional law. I don’t need to research hundreds of federal gun laws to see where it violates a plain constitutional amendment (and it is supposed to be that simple) but I no longer worry about it. It’s not my kingdom, and the coming kingdom will smash the other kingdoms to pieces in one blow, so I had better not invest my talents in trying to redeem that which already set to oppose that cornerstone.

      So while I don’t anything smashing the governments of this world to pieces right now, I have faith that a Rock will descend and take care of this soon enough. Until then, I think it’s a lot better to declare ourselves strangers and pilgrims on the earth. It would be nice if America followed its constitution, but it doesn’t, so that’s that. What did we expect anyway?

    7. It isn’t a tax. You are paying for the background check and to have the gun run to see if it has been used in a crime or has been reported stolen. You receive a service for the fee.

    8. Anything that taxes has the effect of a tax, regardless of who gets the money in the end. Use the broader meaning of the word tax then.

      There’s another principle that I didn’t mention in my list above… whatever happened to “Innocent until proven guilty?” There seems to be a presumption that whomever is trying to
      sell a gun is a criminal, and they are being given the burden of proof to show otherwise.

      If you wanted to voluntarily seek out someone to run a criminal background check on you and pay for the fee yourself, you were already free to do so. When the government requires if of you, that’s another story, and you can no longer say that it is “receiving a service for a fee.”

    9. A few more things to address your points:

      – The government doesn’t set the transfer fee. It is the fee private individuals (FFL’s) charge for a service. Could the government try to regulate that? Of course, but that is not what I am suggesting here.

      – The government already restricts the rights to keep and bear arms in ways most of us would agree with. You cannot purchase a handgun under the age of 21 or a rifle under 18. You also cannot purchase a firearm if you have lost your rights due to insanity or are a felon. Would you be in favor of selling guns to an 8 year old, a 5 year old? Would you be willing to remove restrictions to selling to felons or the insane that are already on the books? I am curious what your take on those already existing laws are.

    10. 1) Under the American Constitutional principle of law, it’s still none of the government’s business to require someone to obtain a background check before selling or purchasing a firearm, or any other item of property.

      2) I am pretty sure that I know people that have had firearms before the ages of 18 and 21. It would probably be blanketed under the “gun show loophole” because they would be gifts from their family… NOT going through any background checks or reporting to a government, and even without paying a tax for the transfer. Yet the people with the best safety with firearms are those who have been trained with them since they have been young.

      So to turn the question about, would you be so in favor of closing the “gun show loophole” that a parent would be forbidden to teach their child to use a firearm until they reached the proper age, and purchased one through a licensed dealer, background check and all?

      It seems to me that America did very well with firearms for quite some time before they even invented “background checks” … and there weren’t any age restrictions on firearm ownership then, either. So what do you think changed?

      As to be more direct to your question, much is already answered in what I said earlier. A “ex-con” status is not a proper indicator of anything, neither is a ruling of “insanity.”

      But if someone was really declared dangerous to humanity, why are they being turned loose on other people? I’ve something to declare that you’ve probably heard before, guns don’t kill people. People kill people, and they can use any number of tools, if they use tools at all. For example, in England far more people are killed by knives.

      But I think you are missing more than one point here.

      1) Assuming the American constitution is being honored at all, that 2nd amendment stands absolute. It was not put there with an intent on reducing crime, but for the purpose of arming the people so as to prevent the threat of tyranny. If you are worried about crime, address the root of that problem (hint: it’s *not* firearms).

      2) Are you prepared to declare America as your country? And if so, which America will you choose? The constitutional republic of yesteryear, or the representative democracy of today? You’d have to fight for the constitutional republic, but the other alternative:

      . a) taxes its populace to pay doctors to slay the unborn
      . b) goes out of its way to defile the concept of marriage
      . c) promotes theft and murder on a grand scale for profit (war)
      . d) openly abandoned God and officially teaches a pagan religion called “evolution” to its youth (even requiring children to attend these schools by law)

      Isn’t there a better country that we should be declaring our allegiance towards?

      But let’s consider your original question one more time…. and I will use another example. Let’s consider the laws that God laid down for Israel. I’m looking for anything that would resemble a restriction on the “right to keep and bear arms” or anything that would set an age restriction. Or else David would have been arrested for illegal use of a sling (remember that slings were military weapons back then… *effective* military weapons.)

      So I cannot think of a good biblical precedent to support “firearms laws” of that sort. In fact, those ages you mentioned are good times to teach children how to properly use arms: sword, bow… and rifle. How will they learn if they don’t have the weapon?

      I wouldn’t hand a rifle to someone that was running around drooling and shouting obscenities, but I wouldn’t hand them a knife, a power saw, or even a hammer for that matter, and I wouldn’t trust them with their bare hands. How far does your “disarming” policy go? So as such I think your question may not have been thought through to its logical conclusion.

      But the question of questions… is wouldn’t it be appropriate to address the questions I already put forth before asking new questions? Like the “do you know how easy it has been to get someone declared insane”, “should someone who has paid their debt be branded with a lifetime stigma”, the “sidewalk tax” and the “husband and wife tax?”

      You said you were wanting to understand the other viewpoint, and as such I’m trying to help. But this is not my fight. I’m simply saying that the current American federal laws are largely unlawful, against the intent of its constitution, but I really don’t care any longer, because it’s not my kingdom.

      You asked “why not close the “gun show loophole?”” so I answered that the constitution-minded American might have an objection on the basis of property rights, 2nd amendment firearm rights, privacy, and even with the intent of keeping their government in check.

      It wasn’t a “loophole” to begin with… the federal laws making the exchange of property illegal in most other commonly occurring circumstances was performed by loopholes as to avoid the constitution.

      So to close that “gunshow loophole” you would need to abolish private property rights. That’s how you’d have proper gun control. Like in Russia (Stalin) and Germany (Hitler) and China (Mao Tse Tung) and we all know how well those governments behaved once they had control of the firearms, don’t we?

      Now if you had a law that you could pass that would also keep guns out of the hands of government, I’d be very interested in hearing how that would work (seriously).

  6. Have you ever talked with anyone from Maryland about how easy it is to get a firearms violation on your background check, without ever doing anything wrong (or against the law) at all? Just curious…

    1. I haven’t ever spoken with anyone from Maryland on that one. Do you have an example? I do know there are times instant check doesn’t work as well as it should and you get hung up for a while on the check.

    2. I have an example of an acquaintance from Maryland… the examples he gave of what things were like there sounded positively police-state. He was saying how you could be driving from one spot to another with a gun in the trunk of your car, with a proper license and everything, and you could be stopped, and a gun sniffing dog would identify that you were carrying firearms, and the police would file charges against you that would show up as a “firearms violation” on any background check.

      … so you have an idea of what type of reaction people have if they run a background check and see “firearms violation” on it? Essentially, they freak and think you’re an insane criminal.

      The police shouldn’t be filing baseless charges, but there are no repercussions against them when they do things like that. That’s one of the reasons why I was saying that simply having a conviction in your background shouldn’t be any sort of stigma. It’s far too easy for someone to create a black mark against you out of incompetence, malice, or spite.

      Have you ever read (or seen) Les Miserables by Victor Hugo? They had a system there where it was essentially “once a convict, always a convict.” That didn’t seem like a good system.

      As for the practical issues:

      1) criminals don’t follow gun laws
      2) at least in the States, increased gun restrictions also increases crime rates
      3) the highest crime rates are in the areas with the tightest gun control
      4) higher gun restrictions brings about more and more police control
      5) statistically, higher police control brings about more danger from police
      6) extreme cases of police control lead to death and genocide

      I think you’d be in far less danger by “risking” an ex-convict keeping and bearing arms, than turning over an entire country to a system of continual background checks and cataloging in the name of “security” (that security will not materialize).

      … and once that final line of property rights has been completely crossed over (to eliminate a so-called “gun show loophole”) there’s not much left to stand in the way. It may seem like a small item, but it stands for a lot more.

    3. Let me also say thanks for the discussion. I am someone who enjoys shooting and is appreciative of the 2nd amendment. I also agree that the government doesn’t always get these things right and tends to abuse its power and overstep Constitutional bounds. So we do have to be careful with any additional laws that are passed.

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