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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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  •  A reasonable compromise on registration (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Patrick Costighan

    would be a dual system in which the government maintains only non-personal information on each transfer, and a third party that gun owners trust (like the NRA) maintains the personal information.  Like this:

    1.  Bob does a private sale to Sally of a Smith & Wesson .38 caliber revolver, serial #1234.

    2.  Bob does the required background check on Sally, which Sally passes.

    3.  Bob reports the make, model and serial # of the gun to a federal database, but does not include any personal information about the person to whom he transferred the gun.  Basically the info just says that on March 4, 2013, this gun (including make, model & serial number) was transferred to a person who passed the required background check.

    4.  Bob reports the same information, plus Sally's personal information, to the third party (let's say the NRA).

    5.  Thereafter, if that specific gun is recovered as part of a criminal investigation, the NRA is obligated to turn over the personal information attached to all of the transfers of the gun to law enforcement.  The NRA would also need to turn over the information if a specific gun seller was being investigated for selling guns to a straw purchaser or not performing background checks.  Otherwise, law enforcement is not entitled to the information, and the law provides that no law enforcement agency has the authority to seek a search warrant for the information.

    6.  The status quo is preserved by including a provision in the law to the effect that if Congress ever moves to require the NRA to turn over the "whole database" to the government, the NRA is legally entitled, without penalty, to delete and wipe the entire database after the law requiring the database be transferred has passed either the House or Senate.  This would ensure that the information could never be used in the future as part of an effort to confiscate legally purchased guns.

    Kind of complicated, but this kind of thing might be needed until people on both sides develop more trust.

    •  Re: (0+ / 0-)

      Not bad.  Have one small objection on financial privacy grounds with an easy enough solution.  Require deposit of transfer records with a third party--a retailer, wholesaler, law office, notary, RFPA covered institution--that implements a system the government can query when presented with a valid warrant.  That is, the government must have a crime gun and be able to link it to a manufacturer and first retailer before accessing these records.  We want civil redress against fishing expeditions into gun ownership.

      Also, while I'm certainly for permitting Bob to pass on Sally's information to an RFPA covered institution or other party bound to maintain privacy, no need to require him to do so. Your system is robust enough that private citizens can maintain the records, or face the penalty for failure to do so.

      To that end, I'll also compromise and require that any existing firearm, when transferred for the first time on the system, must be logged by a third party and for all future investigation that third party is deemed to be the first point of origin beyond the manufacturer.  Obviously, at this point we can also conduct tests to ensure that the firearm wasn't used in a crime.  Isn't perfect, you may have people who evade the system over several exchanges, but if a crime gun ever rises back into the legitimate secondary market you're more likely to generate a solid lead from which to work backwards.

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

      by Patrick Costighan on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 04:09:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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