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View Diary: Sen. Patrick Leahy to introduce bipartisan gun-trafficking law, a merger of previous proposals (103 comments)

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  •  Hard to believe Coburn... (13+ / 0-)

    Seems as if they want to run background checks on the honor system, pretty much. If only they extended such courtesy to, say, folks on unemployment.

    We demanded a plan to reduce gun violence. Now it's time to demand a vote.

    by tytalus on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 12:31:06 PM PST

    •  Re: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Honor system has nothing to do with it.  The point of a universal background check system is to ensure that handing guns to felons or the insane and such is done knowingly or recklessly, thereby removing the unwitting defense for private transfers to prohibited persons.  Who keeps the records of transfer has no bearing whatsoever on that issue.

      When God gives you lemons, you find a new god.

      by Patrick Costighan on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 01:30:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  THAT records are kept, however, is key. (4+ / 0-)

        It is key to enforceability and to tracking streams of purchases. This cannot be left to private parties, even Federally licensed ones, to make and keep relevant records and make them available in a timely fashion to others who will need them to correlate information.

        In fact, central databases of gun purchases, trades and private transactions and one for background checks would be eminently administrable. We have a centralized fingerprint file that's accessible nearly in real time, and centralized auto licensing records. It's not that burdensome, or costly and not that hard to do.

        2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

        by TRPChicago on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 01:40:53 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Re: Missing the point (3+ / 0-)

          Regardless of who keeps the records--private citizens or public agency--you have prima facie evidence of an illegal transfer if a record of transfer is missing (and there's no evidence of a theft).  You can prosecute until your heart's content.

          A decentralized audit trail is also cheap and fairly easy to implement; in fact, it is less costly than a centralized one because it requires almost no taxpayer expenditure beyond developing tools that the public can access or even host themselves.  And while you might not find a national registry burdensome, a sufficient number of Congressmen and Senators due in order to kill all progress on background checks.

          So what do you want?  Something that does the same job and circumvents that registry powder keg, or is a national registry truly the hill you want "gun safety" to die on?

          When God gives you lemons, you find a new god.

          by Patrick Costighan on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 01:46:58 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  You really think "burdensome" is the issue? (4+ / 0-)

            "Administrative burden" is usually the refuge of those who don't want to do something, or to see something happen. Or won't give their real reason for opposition.

            I think the gun-owning segment of the public can handle background checks and a national database. A much larger portion of the public than gun owners are accustomed to renewing auto plates and re-upping drivers licenses. Such databases are common in law enforcement: fingerprint records readily accessible in real time, for example.

            As for arguing that a missing record will be taken as prima facie evidence of an illegal transfer, I think the absence of something is a slim reed. And it's easily rebutted as in "I know I made the entry, but ... these blasted computers ...!" Or, "Has my kid been playing video games again?" A record that can't be found is excellent evidence of a record that can't be found, not of what it did or didn't contain or that it wasn't made in the first place. In any event, do you foresee a lot of prosecutions on that kind of issue? I sure don't ... and No, I don't want to prosecute the absence of records in individual's files.

            Why should individuals or even small businesses have to make, keep and share reliable records in the first place? That's a "burden" very easily lifted. Place a call or do a database entry. Channel through a national or linked statewide bases like other law compliance records. Burden in there? Not so much.

            Let's face it, some legislators are scouting for an out. If nixing common sense databases of background checks and gun transactions to assure compliance is the issue "gun safety" advocates want to hang their reputations on, they need to face voters, not just town halls of gun enthusiasts.

            2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

            by TRPChicago on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 02:58:29 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Re: (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              happy camper, KenBee

              Actually, no I don't.  In fact, I propose considerably more administrative burden than you do.  Also, don't you find it ironic that a couple of paragraphs later you're arguing against burdening small businesses and individuals with record keeping?

              The registry presents a different, intolerable burden, specifically the risk it poses in enabling confiscation down the road.   Guess what, you have to contend with decades of mistrust on both sides.  We're not simply going to take your word that this or a future administration, Congress, or slate of statehouses won't take the next steps towards mandatory buybacks and round ups.

              Your objection to the "missing record" standard of evidence is no greater flaw in registryless audit sytsem than it is for a national registry.  You think counsel is going to be so stupid as to not dispute the absence of a record in a federal database?  And if you don't foresee a lot of prosecutions on that front, then guess what?  Your precious registry is just as useless.  Or is there something magical about a central database that just inspires prosecutors to impanel grand juries?

              We're in agreement on universal background checks and auditable transfers.  So I'll ask you again, is a national registry really vital that you're willing to scuttle that agreement?  You have to ask yourself this question, what's more important?  Reducing gun violence or grinding an axe with gun owners?  You can't do both.

              When God gives you lemons, you find a new god.

              by Patrick Costighan on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 03:25:19 PM PST

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              •  It's too bad it's either/or for you. (2+ / 0-)

                I'm not grinding any axe with gun owners. I think most of them and I agree that measures should be taken to prevent as much violence by gun as possible. Nor do I think a registry is "precious." I just think that without one, enforcement could be shallow, cumbersome and incomplete. That's the NRA trick - the patina of something important that can be safely ignored.

                I agree there is legitimate concern for "enabling confiscation down the road." It's a slippery Slope argument that many bills and regulations fail on and many succeed in spite of it. A lot of laws contain "matters of degree." We live with them.

                We also live with the fact that none of us can bind future administrations on this or any other "bargain." Man, that's life. Those who worry about that have a lot more to worry about than just this this set of gun issues.

                As for "burden:" I'm happy to reduce whatever administrative burden individuals and small business owners foresee, but not to relieve them of the ultimate burden of complying with the law. As you say, you "propose considerably more burdens" on them than I would.

                Now back to your either/or choice. That's a statement of raw political power, not of good policy. In effect, "You can't have your way, and you can't make me." That's essentially what the GOP-controlled House and the GOP-filiblusterated Senate are saying and doing on spending, debt and deficit issues.

                I'm amazed that gun owners concerned about gun safety (and every gun owner I've talked to acknowledges that guns are dangerous and worries about gun safety) would "scuttle" gun violence legislation because of nightmare visions of ultimate misuse of a registry no more intrusive than registering cars and drivers. "Confiscation" - certainly of guns for reasonable self defense use - violates this current Court's view of the Second Amendment. Background checks and "registering" gun transfers, I believe, do not.

                I understand - gun registration is a trip wire issue. Maybe two bills should be proposed: one that has the enforcement heft of a background check database and a gun registry, one that doesn't. I expect naysayers will find other things to object to, but that particular choice is a start.

                Bottom line: No, I wouldn't forego these ways of addressing gun violence to hold out for a registry, but I'd work hard to convince legislators that's not a sensible choice.

                2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

                by TRPChicago on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 05:53:47 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Re: (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  It's too bad you can't be bothered to read what was written.  I've just explained in detail why your registry--which you still insist on despite saying it's not precious to you--is no more effective than my audit trail.  And you call me out for speaking to raw political power?  At least I can count legislators.  You completely ignore the substantive point to parrot some line about how "reasonable gun owners" stand with you the nefarious naysayers.

                  If and when you actually have something interesting to say on the substantive matter, which is on the merits of a national database over a distributed system for recording and auditing transfers, let's talk.  I don't have time to deal with yet another nauseating round of talking points.

                  When God gives you lemons, you find a new god.

                  by Patrick Costighan on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 06:16:20 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Sorry, but your paranoia is showing. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Glen The Plumber
                The registry presents a different, intolerable burden, specifically the risk it poses in enabling confiscation down the road.
                Where to begin?  Perhaps by first pointing out that there's nothing at all intolerable about a registry.  As has been pointed out so many times, we register all sorts of things.  Like our cars, for example.  Do you tremble in fear of confiscation when you register your automobile?  How about your pet?

                Of course, since you're one of the gunnies, you're going to respond by spluttering, "But, but, but you don't have a constitutional right to own a car!!!!!!!!  My guns are protected by the Second Amendment!"  Precisely so.  So since you and the rest of the RKBA crowd are always crowing about this constitutional right you've got, why are you so worried?  I mean, think about this logically.  Cars are registered.  We have no constitutional right to own them.  Yet cars, which are unprotected by Antonin "Racial Entitlement" Scalia's interpretation of the Constitution, haven't been confiscated.  Shouldn't that soothe your frazzled nerves?

                Finally, I'll offer you a personal anecdote, one which I've mentioned in this connection before, so do forgive me if I repeat myself.  I have HIV.  Because of that, my name and all sorts of other personally identifying information is part of a registry maintained by the state of California's Department of Public Health.  I'm also in the CDC's files, and since I participate as a subject in HIV studies, my info is at NIH too.  

                You may not remember this, but back in the 1980s, there were a lot of prominent politicians calling for the quarantine of HIV+ people.  These were folks with real clout, and they were talking about quarantining a tiny, despised minority.  Even today, there are only about 1.2 million Americans with HIV.  In terms of political power, we're sitting ducks, since we're few in number and almost half of us live at or below the poverty line.

                Yet somehow I manage to get up and go to work every day without looking over my shoulder in fear of arrest and internment.  I fall asleep at night without fear of a sudden knock on the door.  I live a pretty normal life, and I'm out about my HIV status to most people outside of my family.  

                Maybe you should buck up.  If I can live without fear, so can you.  After all, I've got far more justification for being afraid than you and your fellow gun owners do.  Given our relative circumstances, I hope you can see why it's hard for me to understand your delusional fears.  

                My advice -- be less afraid.

                "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

                by FogCityJohn on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 09:27:05 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

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