Gun Control: A Pound of Prevention (Part 1) by Nancy Thorner and Ed Ingold

April 17, 2013

Part 1: Gun Control: A Pound of Prevention


Will President Obama’s exploitation of Newtown families force Republicans to cave on gun control? After all, the Democrats want gun control, the media wants gun control, and Republicans want to be loved by the media.

Relatives of Sandy Hook shootings victims were flown to Washington D.C. on Monday, April 8 aboard Air Force One with President Obama to lobby senators to move forward on gun control. In the aftermath, the Senate approved a procedural motion (68-31) to allow debate on the bill. White House spokesman Jay Carney implied that the voices of the Newtown families may have been the decisive factor.

The sixteen Republican senators who voted to allow the firearms bill (S.649) to proceed, however, claim it was because they wanted to know what was in the bill before they needed to vote on it, especially in relation to the  background-check measure, the centerpiece of S.649.  But by voting to proceed the sixteen Republicans did acquiesce to Obama’s recent tilting of the gun control debate around one pivotal message centered on a public relations push, that S.649 deserves a vote.

Michelle Obama  managed to take time out from her vegetable garden to travel to Chicago on Wednesday, April 10, where she tearfully begged for more gun control in remembrance of Hadiya Pendleton, who lost her life due to gang violence.   Hasn’t any one informed Michelle that despite the fact that Chicago has the strictest gun urban control laws in the nation, it has the highest urban gun homicide rate in the nation?….

As to be expected, nobody challenged Mrs. Obama to show that background checks would have kept the gun out of the hands of Hadiya’s killers, who were prowling the streets looking for rival gang members. When they saw a group of young people seeking shelter from the rain, they circled the block and opened fire. Nobody raised the notion of moral turpitude that these thugs possessed. Nobody blamed the Chicago PD for failing to detain and search their car in any of three stops in the previous three weeks, when one was a parole violator. The Police excused their actions because the court records in their computer were not up to date several months after parole was granted. It is implied that white, suburban gun owners are somehow responsible for Chicago gang violence.

Then for continuing drama, President Obama handed the podium over to the mother of a young child killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School, to deliver his Weekly Address on Saturday, April 13.

Just why did the Obama administration spend so much time and effort to garner enough votes so debate could proceed on S.649?  Might it have been because the issue of gun control ranks high on the Democrat’s agenda?  The importance of S.649, which the Democratically-controlled Senate is anxious to pass with limited debate and few amendments, if any, is crucial to what has long been a dream of the Democratic Party to eventually take guns out of the hands of the American people.  Legislation is essential for achieving this goal, as the American people will never willingly give up their gun!

What is at the crux of the gun debate?  The familiar adage is that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” This seems to be upset in the assault on our second amendment rights by President Obama and the Democrats. By any reasonable measure, they wish to apply “a pound of prevention for an ounce of cure.” That is because the “prevention” proposed by the Democrats in Congress, and actually implemented in several states, including New York, California, Connecticut and Maryland, have a profound affect on law-abiding gun owners with negligible impact on gun violence.

The popular “prevention” at this time seems to be expansion of background checks for gun purchases. The talking point, proven false, is that 40% of gun purchases are made without a background check. This is based on a survey taken in 1993, before background checks were instituted, on a small number of subjects (681). The real error is in the interpretation of this data, assuming that only purchases made from gun stores incur background checks, and that gun shows and internet sales do not.…

According to present law, all internet sales must go through a federally licensed dealer (FFL), who may be an individual working out of his garage or home office. The seller and buyer agree on a convenient FFL holder, and the seller delivers the firearm to that licensed dealer (or store).  An FFL is required by Federal law to complete form 4473 and execute an NICS background check before transferring a firearm to the buyer. About half the states require background checks at gun shows.

Regardless of state law, most of the dealers at gun shows have an FFL, complete the paperwork and NICS checks, and comply with local laws. While this seems to constitute a loophole, a survey of Federal prisoners indicates that only about 0.8% obtained guns used in their crimes from gun shows. 40% were bought on the street from unlicensed dealers, and 40% were obtained from family members (who should have known better). About 11% were stolen. In short, background checks is a solution looking for a problem.…

The devil is in the details. Senator Schumer’s version would make it a felony to loan a gun to a friend for an informal plinking session, unless it were on a licensed target range.  Schumer’s bill also tightens the qualifications for any gun range, requiring full-service training personnel and range safety officers. It is estimated that 80% of existing ranges will be forced out of business due to the expense of compliance.… .

The Durbin-Kirk version of anti-trafficking measures makes it a felony to lose a firearm to theft or mishap unless you report it to the Attorney General within 24 hours.… – –

Another section of S649 requires owners obtain a million dollar liability insurance policy for each firearm, at enormous expense. Why? Because gun crime causes financial hardship on the victims and government. Of course, the people responsible for gun violence aren’t the same people being forced to comply (or face a $10,000 fine). Worse yet, it implies that law-abiding gun owners are responsible for gun violence, or that they should be punished for exercising their Constitutional rights.

Suffice to say, S649 (and other gun-related bills) are bad bills which should be rejected – too many pounds of prevention, too few ounces of cure. Like vaccinations against disease, there are always bad effects which must be weighed against the advantages, but it cannot be shown that S649 will have any measurable effect on reducing gun violence. Since the right to keep and bear arms is a Constitutional right, second only to the right of free speech and religion, it is doubly important that whatever we do is effective, not just easy.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 07:14 PM | PermalinkPublished initially at Illinois Review on Tuesday, April 16.


Tags: Dick, Durbin, Ed, Illinois, Ingold, Kirk, Mark, Nancy, Newtown, Review, More…


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