They’re doing everything in their power to get the message across that they’re not suggesting what they’re suggesting, but the truth of the matter is that the Virginia State Crime Commission’s decision to take a “limited look” at private gun sales that happen to occur at gun shows is an opening move toward requiring background checks to be run by private citizens on private citizens.
Meeting last week, the commission agreed to study state and federal firearms laws so the General Assembly will have a clear understanding of the gun show law in any future legislative debates.
The commission, however, decided it will not recommend any proposed laws of its own because of the political divisiveness of the issue.
Only licensed firearms dealers are now required to conduct criminal-background checks of buyers at gun shows in Virginia.
The pressure to even start down this road is the so-called “gun show loophole” myth, wherein a person who would be subject to a background check in a gun shop would be free to buy all the firepower his little heart desired at a gun show because, so goes the myth, background checks aren’t required. The truth of the matter – an undeniable and documented fact – is that gun dealers are required to run those checks on anyone attempting to purchase a gun from them, whether that person is at their store, at a gun show, or showing up at the tailgate of the dealer’s pickup truck. What the people repeating this fairy tale as gospel truth are so concerned about is the fact that a private citizen can show up at one of these shows and sell his privately-owned firearm to another private citizen and not have to abide by the same rules as federally-licensed dealers. This is the “loophole” they speak of.
The recent remembrance of the Virginia Tech killings raised this issue again, with people citing that incident as proof that background checks should be required for anyone buying at a gun show, regardless of whether he’s buying from a private citizen or a dealer. The fact they’d prefer not to recall is that the Virginia Tech killer did not buy his guns at a gun show. He bought them at gun shops and underwent the required background check. Twice. The process being touted by these people did not stop him from buying a gun legally and at a licensed shop. It would have had no additional effect had it been done at a gun show. The problems that lead to his being allowed to buy a gun have been well researched and steps have been taken to correct the process so it shouldn’t happen again. But the mere fact that he did not buy his gun at a gun show makes any attempt to use that situation to press for more gun show laws a non-sequitur.
Add to that the fact that there is no evidence – none – that any such purchases at gun shows have been responsible for increased criminal activity. (Yes, I know that the lack of evidence isn’t strictly conclusive, but there have been enough such sales and enough crime statistics that were such evidence in existence, it’s far more than likely that we would have seen the correlation by now. We haven’t.)
Like the “assault weapon ban” that essentially banned guns that looked scary, pushing for private sales at gun shows to be held to the same requirements as federally-licensed dealers is just “feel good” and “sound good” legislation designed to create the illusion of doing something useful. Getting around it is as simple as leaving the gun show to drive to a parking lot down the street to complete the transaction. It would be every bit as legal and completely untouched by any law governing a gun show. This, my friends, is exactly what I said it was when Kaine suggested it back in January. It’s a solution in search of a problem, and a thick-headed, graceless solution at that.
It was 1 year and 6 days ago that the last batch of “angry truckers” made a call to come into the DC area and screw up the morning rush hour to protest something. Tomorrow, they’re supposedly returning to protest high gas prices:
A group of truck drivers is planning to caravan past the White House and the Capitol before a rally to protest high gas prices.
The group Truckers and Citizens Unite says it has organized hundreds of truckers to participate in the event on Monday. The activities are expected to start about 9 a.m.
No street closures are planned, but the influx of trucks could cause traffic disruptions during the morning rush hour.
Hey, we’re all steamed about the price of gas. (Well, all of us except the gas companies, I’d imagine.) The impact of higher fuel prices directly affects truckers but it does reach us all in one manner or another. My mother’s on a fixed income – she has very little capability to increase her income so higher gas prices force her to cut other spending, not raise her rates. All of us get dinged for the cost of gas in higher prices of virtually everything we consume. I understand fully the frustration of it all and I certainly do not suggest that the truckers shouldn’t speak their minds.
But speaking is what I’m talking about, not purposely snarling up rush hour traffic in the city with the second-worst traffic in the nation. As I mentioned in last year’s post, any action deliberately taken to cause innocent fellow citizens inconvenience and worse will backfire.
Mark my words. This will backfire and you will never, ever be able to say “we’re sorry” enough. Those people will never trust you or any of your ilk for the remainder of their lives and they will positively never look with an ounce of sympathy on you and your situation for the rest of your days. There are ways to get the message across that generate interest and positive action. This so ain’t it.
Now, I’ve got no information that says, as last year’s anticipated protest did, that there’s any intention to bring the traffic to a standstill. Playing with the ability of vehicles to move in as free a fashion as would be normally allowed does nothing but increase the chance that some desperately needed assistance will be late in coming or come not at all. I applaud the truckers’ desire to get a message across. They need to take care that the recipient of the message is who they intend and try to keep the collateral damage to a minimum.
Update: Well, it looks like the truckers managed to have their protest without significantly affecting traffic. Nicely done, folks. I’m still not sure a mandated gas price cap is the way to go but you’ve gotten your message out there. That’s the important thing.