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The only consistent factor in gun debate is inconsistency

Post by Brian O'Neill on Feb. 25, 2013 at 7:41 am with 23 Comments »
February 25, 2013 7:41 am

For those interested in deciphering the myriad federal, state and local laws governing firearms, let me first offer this tip. Don’t go looking for a super secret decoder ring to find your way through the various statutes’ dizzying levels.Instead, find a coin. Then flip it.

Our nation’s troubled relationship with firearms has created a paradoxical reality where protections are offerred in unlikely situations and controls restrict basic rights. A recent federal appeals court ruling, summarized in a Denver Post article, highlights the discrepancy.

The Denver court’s decision was based on a suit brought by a Washington State man denied a concealed weapons permit because he was not a Colorado resident. Ironically, the Rocky Mountain State does not recognize concealed permits from the Evergreen State for one simple reason: We do not recognize theirs.

So add to the list of divisive gun issues the following: The Neener-Neener factor.

Open carry in a coffee shop/ courtesy
Open carry in a coffee shop/ courtesy

The federal court’s ruling reflected a state’s right to restrict access to firearms, which, according to the court, does not fall within the scope of the Second Amendment. Without pausing for a breath, the court went on to state that if the plaintiff from Washington had broached the topic of “open carry,” he would have likely received a favorable reply.

Let’s make sense of this using a couple scenarios.

After submitting to a background check and paying a fee, a citizen carrying a concealed firearm and a permit for same walks down the street in a state that currently is out of favor with the state that issued his permit.

Survey says: ILLEGAL

A citizen walks down the same street carrying an AR-15 rifle on his shoulder, causing passersby to anxiously cross the street to avoid him and prompting nervous calls to 911, does so without the need to pay for or submit to a background check.

Survey says: LEGAL.

The dysfunctional set of local, state and federal laws is largely to blame. Cities such as Washington, D.C. and Chicago, Illinois, both have stringent anti-gun laws, yet share an alarming number of gun-related homicides.

What should be obvious is that private dealers and thieves move guns around the nation in much the same manner as bootleggers smuggled rum during Prohibition. Outlying cities and suburbs will always slake the thirst for firearms in larger cities. Nature abhors a vacuum.

That is not the only problem, however. The vocal minority are polarized: Wingnuts from the left waste their breath denouncing the Second Amendment; their counterparts on the right see any change to the status quo as a step towards a police state.

Then there is the National Rifle Association, the 142-year-old organization whose excellent record of advocating for safe and professional firearms ownership has been tarnished by its response to recent events. The NRA claims it supports enforcement of current gun laws yet has a strangle hold on the ATF. It has held to the talking point that gun control legislation only effects law-abiding citizens, yet it strongly rejects the majority-favored background check measures currently floating through the Beltway.

Here’s the point. Unless we return to medieval times and erect walls around cities with strict gun control measures, local statutes won’t keep gang-bangers in Chicago, Washington, D.C. or Tacoma from shooting up our streets. Regardless of one’s politics, this is a national issue and it must be handled at a national level.

In the meantime, let chaos reign.

Leave a comment Comments → 23
  1. I love to look at the guns in the store because of the machining
    and fine mechanical detail. I would wouldn’t have one around the
    house because members of the household most likely would be the
    gunshot victims.

  2. NotPoliticallyCorrect says:

    Some of my biggest concerns are people like Senator Murray and Kohl. Signing off as sponsors on a bill Murray stated “is probably unconstitutional” and Kohl admitting she did not read all of it. Then of course they had to revise it.

    Imagine elected officials such as them, drafting up unconstitutional laws, and not reading them thoroughly. Trying to make laws and knowing very little if anything about the subject. I believe that should / could be considered a criminal act.

    Wouldn’t it be great Brian to legally kick in somebody’s front door to check on the safe storage of weapons without a warrant? Again, fortunately that was removed from the bill. It may even be interpreted that way in the other bills also.

    This will be interesting to watch and see what happens.

  3. simonsjs says:

    There is no debate. What part of shall not be infringed don’t those who wish to debate understand? No retreat, no surrender. That is the American way!

  4. nwcolorist2 says:

    It is a well know fact that some politicians have little respect for the U.S. Constitution. They use it only when they can buttress their own legal arguments.

    And a majority, or even a super-majority vote, will do no good against a constitutional amendment. The 2nd Amendment must first be overturned in order to ban firearms.

  5. wyecoyote says:

    Supporting back ground checks even if it is a majority if it does nothing to stop crime then why support them? The FBI stats from last I read showed that 1.7% of firearms came from gun shows. Most were stolen. How will having a back ground check stop stolen firearm sales? Will the criminal suddenly say, “wait I have to go through a back ground check to buy that?” Most likely no. Another reason not so much in oposition is that the VPC and Brady camp groups want to all take and no give. SAF has made a proposal to the WA legislators to support back ground checks on certain provisional items are put in the bill. Such as sales between family members exempt, if a person holds a current CPL exempt, and removal of the current hand gun registry. Certain members of the State Legislator has stated that they can not support those items and they will not be in any bill. But, then they turn around and say that SAF and others are being to stringent and have no give. Those were simple things that SAF wanted and was told no.

  6. smokey984 says:

    The mass media is still all atwitter with talk of “closing the gun show loophole” and “universal background checks.” These phrases are tossed about without concern to their true intent: a de facto system of gun registration in these United States. I am dead set against any form of registration, since the history of the 20th Century showed countless times that registration leads to eventual confiscation.

    There is one other inherent problem with gun registration schemes that is often ignored: that is that it only applies to law-abiding citizens. By virtue of established case law and cemented with an 8-1 Supreme Court decision, criminals are exempt from gun registration because it would violate their Fifth Amendment protection from self-incrimination. Second Amendment expert Clayton Cramer explains it all in a fine essay titled: The Fifth Amendment, Self-Incrimination, and Gun Registration. Here is an excerpt:

    In Haynes v. U.S. (1968), a Miles Edward Haynes appealed his conviction for unlawful possession of an unregistered short-barreled shotgun. His argument was ingenious: since he was a convicted felon at the time he was arrested on the shotgun charge, he could not legally possess a firearm. Haynes further argued that for a convicted felon to register a gun, especially a short-barreled shotgun, was effectively an announcement to the government that he was breaking the law. If he did register it, as 26 U.S.C. sec.5841 required, he was incriminating himself; but if he did not register it, the government would punish him for possessing an unregistered firearm — a violation of 26 U.S.C. sec.5851. Consequently, his Fifth Amendment protection against self- incrimination (“No person… shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself”) was being violated — he would be punished if he registered it, and punished if he did not register it. While the Court acknowledged that there were circumstances where a person might register such a weapon without having violated the prohibition on illegal possession or transfer, both the prosecution and the Court acknowledged such circumstances were “uncommon.” The Court concluded:

    “We hold that a proper claim of the constitutional privilege against self-incrimination provides a full defense to prosecutions either for failure to register a firearm under sec.5841 or for possession of an unregistered firearm under sec.5851.”

    If you ever get into an argument with a neighbor or co-worker about any gun registration stupidity, then I recommend that you either send them the link to Cramer’s essay, or hand them a printout of it. End of argument! – J.W.R.

  7. Brian O'Neill says:

    Interesting viewpoints.

    I can understand the concern about gun registries, but the second amendment remains untouched more than two hundred years later. These lingering suspicions about confiscation border on the paranoid. I would point out that most people advocating universal background checks are not concerned with using the information as a de facto registry.

    Every year about 76,000 guns are sold privately, a figure which would decrease if background checks prevented at-risk individuals from making these purchases. Law-abiding people should be pleased that fewer guns will fall into the wrong hands. But then again, I’m having a tough time reconciling the epidemic of gun violence and the tight-fisted gun lobby that sees any limitation as a repeal of its God-given rights.

    This is the most polarizing topic in our country. I don’t expect it to change anytime soon.

  8. simonsjs says:

    So now you are using words such as paranoid to describe those with a brain who know world history and how gun registration leads to gun confiscation. We all here know you are a paid shill!

    You also point out that most people don’t think background checks are not concerned with using the information as a de facto registry. Really? Who have you been talking to? Where do you get your information? The MSM? Thought so.

    You then go on to say we have an epidemic of gun violence. Really? Nonsense. 11,000 plus killed per year and a lot of them gang bangers in the inners cities does not constitute an epidemic. If it did then you could also say we have an epidemic of deaths on the highways. 35,000 plus deaths a year. I don’t hear a call to ban large vehicles.

    Let’s face it here, you are simply repeating the nonsense the lame stream media is pushing. You have just proven you are part of the lame stream media. You keep up with the same type of nonsense again and again in your column. Maybe last weeks no comments to your column prompted you to write something that will get responses, so you can justify you column. You have lost all credibility and should be ashamed for pushing you and your cohorts anti American agenda. Luckily most are aware of what you are doing and will not agree with you, as you can clearly see from the responses to your column.

    Have a good day sir.

  9. One of the best examples of being paranoid is the person behind simonsjs.
    We register automobiles and they are not designed for killing, yet we cannot yet have a gun registry because of the paranoid belief that big government is lurking behind every door and under every bed just waiting to get one’s guns. And guns are designed for killing, almost exclusively.

  10. The self-incriminating findings in the Haynes case are not all that spectacular. He could still be charged as a felon with a firearm and that takes care of his proper conviction.
    And on top of that, another part of the law could be that simple possession of a sawed off shotgun is illegal. If the prosecutor stays away from the registration part, there can be no claim of self incrimination.

    Gun nuts will do everything in their power to obfuscate the issue that guns kill and too many guns makes it easier.

  11. simonsjs says:

    publico I guess you think our founding fathers were paranoid too huh? If you think those in government aren’t trying to get our guns you have been sleeping at the wheel. Feinstein herself has stated she wants all guns confiscated. They are and will continue to try and find ways for people to either not be allowed to own guns or will just plain try and take them through legislation. It is happening and it has nothing to do with paranoia. It has to do with common sense, something you are obviously lacking.

  12. Brian, just how will private sales having to go through an FFL stop criminals from acquiring guns? Are you saying that criminals will no longer transfer guns between themselves because they might get in trouble with the law? Criminals mostly get their guns via theft. Just what part of this universal background check and registration will stop criminals from obtaining guns via theft?

    Second, you make the claim that the 2nd amendment has been untouched for 200 years. You’re kidding, right? How can you, a law enforcement officer, with a straight face make that claim? There are over 20,000 laws in this country dealing with firearms, not the least of which is the gun control act of 1934 and the hughes amendment in 1986. Or the so called assault weapons ban in 1994 that thankfully sunset in 2004. The single fact that myself, a law abiding citizen, has to apply for a license to carry a firearm, pay a tax, get fingerprinted, etc, all to exercise my God given right to defend myself is proof enough that the 2nd amendment has been monkeyed with.

    Please, quit stating such blatant and outright lies. You should know better.

  13. There is no one part of the US Constitution that is exempt from interpretation by the courts. There is no one part of the US Constitution that has not been modified to one degree or another during the past 225+ years. There are no absolutes in the US Constitution for which there is but one definition.
    Be a big boy and get over it.

  14. The preceeding was for Gandalf.

  15. smokey984 says:

    Bottom line in 3, 2, 1..

    Can a God given right be legislated?

  16. People Argue about type of weapons to ban The Constitution does not mention types of Weapons just the right to Keep and Bear Arms.
    Look up what a melitia was in the 1700’s not the same thing as today.

    When the constitution was drafted Flintlock military rifles were smooth bore. A gun with a Rifled Bore would have been the “Assult Weapon” of the time,.Did the Government try to ban them? NO

    In the 1800’s The Rifled Muzzleloader was replaced by multi shot lever action rifles, and 6 shooter pistols these guns were no comparison to the number of shots one could fire rapidly so the “Assult Weapon” of the day was a Lever Action Carbine, did the Government try to ban them or their capacity? NO.

    Today the Military weapon of the day available to citizens is the AR-15. The AR does not stand for Assault Rifle its he original designers name and production model.

    Big wigs in DC and here in our state are trying to take away a constitutional right with scare tactics due to several psycopaths who illegally obtained weapons and did horrible things.

    Enforce the laws that are out there and quit allowing criminals to get passes out of jail to commit more crimes.

    There will be a pro gun rally in Olympia March 9th for those of you who believe in our forfathers wishes placed in Constitution, BE THERE!!!

  17. Militia didn’t check my work before posting

  18. smokey984 says:

    A hilarious video of American citizens resisting the rise of a police state. A great ending.


  19. smokey984 says:


    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

  20. There is an anti-gun effort that has been going on for years to which one can contribute. It’s the Brady Campaign. Send them some money and sign up for their newsclips. It will change your life to support the freedom to live in a society that is free from gun violence. It may never be perfect, but it can certainly be a lot better than it is now.

  21. simonsjs says:

    pubico ridiculous! A society free from gun violence, really? Guns are the great equalizer, where have you been? Do you not want people to be able to defend themselves? Would you like women to be easy targets for rapists? You can argue that women already are but many of them have been kept safe because of guns. Should homeowners have to use a bat or club or knife to defend their lives and those of their loved ones when someone breaks into their home? Guns prevent much more violence than they produce. You are just too unaware to have a clue about the true role guns play in our society. Once you hop on the anti gun bandwagon, you become blind to reality. Someday maybe technology can solve this problem. Maybe someday everyone could have a protective shield around them but until then, guns remain the great equalizer.

  22. smokey984 says:

    Would banning handguns in America reduce gun crime? After handguns were banned in Britain, gun crime more than DOUBLED. Gun control only creates victims who cannot defend themselves against criminals. More guns = less crime.

    1996: All handguns banned in the UK after Dunblane massacre –

    2003: Gun crime more than doubles after Dunblane –


    All political power comes from the barrel of a gun. The communist party must command all the guns, that way, no guns can ever be used to command the party – Mao Tse Tung


    After a shooting spree, they always want to take the guns away from the people who didn’t do it. I sure as hell wouldn’t want to live in a society where the only people allowed guns are the police and the military – William Burroughs


    Over the past two years alone, multiple draconian policies have been enacted through executive order by the Obama Administration which build upon the civil liberty crushing actions of George W. Bush and press far beyond. The Patriot Acts, the FISA domestic spy bill, the bailouts of corrupt international banks, attempts at CISPA and SOPA, actions like the NDAA authorizing the treatment of U.S. citizens as “enemy combatants” without rights to due process; all paint a picture so clear only a one-celled amoeba (or your average suburban yuppie) would not see it.


    Common Anti-Gun Arguments

    1) The 2nd Amendment is “outdated” and no longer relevant in today’s modern society.

    2) We do not want to stop you from “defending yourself”, or interfere with the American tradition of hunting, but people do not need “military assault weapons” for either.

    3) Your claimed freedom to own guns should not supersede my freedom to live without fear of guns. We exist in a society, and our society requires us to give up certain freedoms so that it can function.

    Again, in response to these arguments, I have to ask, what does the 2nd Amendment mean for the future? What was its original intent? Gun control advocates would like to ignore the fact that the Constitution specifically protects a broad application of gun ownership, but when they cannot deny the legality of it, they instead turn to more abstract and existential methods of attack. They try to twist the original intent of the 2nd Amendment to further their goals. To respond briefly to each of the above fallacies:

    1) The right to self defense from ANY threat, whether it be an individual, or a criminal government, does not “outdate”. It is a universal and eternal freedom. It is a foundational pillar of natural law. Even if the 2nd Amendment did not exist, I would still have the inborn right to arm and protect myself and those I love, and the best way to do that is to own firearms. The men who drafted the Constitution were far more intelligent than any pithy gun grabber today, yet, these socialist errand boys seem to believe that they have “surpassed” the wisdom of the Founders. The amount of ego required to fuel such an attitude boggles the mind…

    2) Because the legal argument over the “interpretation” of the 2nd Amendment is essentially over, and the Supreme Court has ruled that gun rights do indeed apply to individuals, and not just collective bodies like the National Guard, gun grabbers are now reverting to the argument that we ARE allowed to defend ourselves with firearms, but the kinds of firearms we are able to use can still be limited. The goal of this argument is to fool gun owners who only possess conventional firearms (hunting rifles) into believing that they will not be personally affected if they support a ban on military style weapons. These wishy-washy hunting enthusiasts are often referred to as “Elmer Fudds” because of their gullibility.

    All gun confiscation programs start by chipping away at the outer barriers of gun ownership. Like termites slowly chewing away at the wooden skeleton of a home, anti-gun proponents start small and end by destroying the entire edifice. Anyone who believes Feinstein’s legislation will begin and end with AR-15’s and AK-47’s is living in fantasy land. That said, the 2nd Amendment was not established for hunting purposes. Nowhere in the writings of the Founding Fathers do they mention “hunting” as their primary concern. Instead, gun rights are protected in order to ensure that the citizenry remains dominant over any centralized government that turns to corruption. We are supposed to police our own political leaders, and without military style arms, this becomes increasingly difficult.

    3) Here is where we get into the nonsense of intellectual idiocy. The only real skill which academics seem to have is jumbling piles of logical fallacies together to make a single argument that sounds “rational”, but, in fact, isn’t. The third debate point is an extremely collectivist one, and collectivist arguments generally exploit the idea that individuals must sacrifice their personal freedoms in order for the group to function.

    The truth is, the group does not matter. The perceived collective concerns and fears of a mass of people are not relevant. All that matters are the concerns of the singular man or woman, and whether or not those concerns are legitimate. If a person “fears” guns and gun violence, then that is their private problem, not the problem of our entire society. We as gun owners should not have to relinquish our rights because others are afraid of what MIGHT happen to them. We should demand that they control THEIR fear, instead of being allowed to control OUR guns. Just because a portion of our country shares this individual fear does not make that fear any more credible, or any more our problem.

  23. NotPoliticallyCorrect says:


    Have you read the SB Original and Revised? Or how about the HB’s? That is at the state level. Or how about the bills in the works at the federal level?

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