Feinstein Ban – Rope-A-Dope
The president, in his recent “children’s hour” photo-op, proposed three major legislative measures: 1) renewal and expansion of the “assault weapons” (sic) ban, 2) limitations on magazine capacity, and 3) “universal background checks” for all gun purchases. The first two measures were out of the chute early, being filed in different and overlapping versions by Dianne Feinstein and Frank Lautenberg. Each is every bit as bad as anyone predicted. In fact they are so bad that they are generating a huge amount of publicity and churning up all kinds of turmoil within the firearms community.
While it’s gratifying to see the gun culture fired up, I can’t help but think of Ali vs. Foreman – the “Rumble in the Jungle.” In that fight, Ali covered up and leaned into the ropes absorbing slugger Foreman’s infamous body blows. By the fifth round, Foreman had drained his tank. As he started slowing down, Ali whispered to him, “This ain’t no place to be gettin’ tired, George.” Ali won by a knockout in the eighth round.
The gun people have been fired up for the week since Obama’s “human shield” press conference. In the intervening week the Harrisburg Eastern Outdoor Expo has been shut down because of boycotts stemming from its promoter’s refusal to allow “black rifles” on the floor.
The Feinstein gun ban, which was introduced today, January 24, had been heavily anticipated and has dominated the news. Lost in the noise is the “universal background check” which, I’m beginning to suspect, is what the other side really wants out of this fuss.
The gun people, the administration hopes, will soon be exhausted by the orgy of calling, writing, blogging, tweeting, and forum posting, and may experience “activism fatigue.” The real fight starts with the introduction of the delayed “background check” bill, and like Mohammed Ali in the fifth round, Barack Obama will whisper to the gun-rights crowd, “This ain’t no place to be gettin’ tired.”
Formerly NRA A-rated senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia tells the Washington Post, he is working on a “universal background check” bill. “Real Movement,” says the headline.
Meanwhile my own freshman senator Jeff Flake suggested in last Sunday’s Arizona Republic that maybe “background checks” could be a point of common ground. Calls and letters to the senator’s office have gone unanswered. It’s been a busy week. I’m sure he’ll get back to me.
My other senator, John McCain, pushed a gun show bill for years, but saw the light when he felt the heat prior to his presidential bid. Has he flopped back? I’m waiting to hear from his office as well.
“Universal background check.” The phrase, like others in the gun-grabbers’ carefully honed lexicon, sounds so simple, so common-sense. But if you start looking into the mechanics, and the problems of a “universal background check” quickly become apparent. In response to one of the 23 executive orders announced by the president, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives recently released an “open letter” to dealers suggesting that FFL holders can “enhance public safety and assist law enforcement” by “facilitating transfers of firearms between private individuals through their businesses.”
The bill has not yet been introduced, but the most likely scenario is a provision in federal law declaring that all transfers of guns must be made through an FFL, such as was long required for interstate firearms sales. Naturally, the “universal background check” requirement will have teeth – most likely a felony with a five-year prison term and $5000 fine, like other provisions of the amended 1968 Gun Control Act.
Consider the following scenario. Bob and Bill live next door to each other. Bob has a .22 single-shot rifle that his son used but is no longer interested in. Bill has a lawn mower but just acquired a better one. They agree to trade. Bob walks the gun over to Bill’s house, Bill rolls the lawn mower over to Bob’s house. Both are now felons. They failed to go to a dealer and complete a Form 4473 – Firearms Transaction Record. The dealer did not perform a NICS check. The dealer did not post the record to his bound book. The gun is “unpapered.” In Arizona, and most of the rest of the country, it is a perfectly legal transaction. Or at least it will be until we have “universal background checks.”
Call, write, email, and fax your senator and representative. We need to stop this nonsense.