The Gang That Couldn’t Not Shoot, Straight, Part III: That Golden Ticket!

I’m continuing my five-part series going over “Protect” Minnesota’s press release on the Self-Defense Reform and Constitutional Carry bills, which were introduced last week in the House.

But first, a quick aside.

Records:  While the criminal-safety  movement would like you to think otherwise, gun violence is neither generally random nor unpredictable.  Our violent crime rate – which has been dropping for two decades – is not evenly distributed across the population.

I’m not referring to geography here – although the numbers also manifest geographically.

Ethnicity, either, for those of you who are inclined to see racial dog-whistles in all conservative writing.

But it’s a simple fact that if a person gets to age 21 without a violent felony record – whether they’re from rural Kentucky or downtown Baltimore – the odds are pretty good they will go through their entire life without one.

And the vast, vast majority of firearm crimes involve people with records of violent and serious property crime, either as perps, victims, or both.  It’s exceedingly rare that someone of any race with a  pristine record vis a vis violent and property crime shoots someone.  (Mass shootings are usually an exception – but they are also a different  phenomenon and, notwithstanding the coverage they receive, are vastly rarer.  Also, they are overwhelmingly associated with places where victims are disarmed – but that’s another discussion).

This isn’t a tangent; it’ll come back up.

Clairvoyance?:  Consider the following scenario:

A man walks out of a bank.  He’s carrying a sawed-off shotgun (a violation of federal law) and a bag of cash.

A policeman rolls up.  A policewoman jumps out and, taking cover behind her car, yells “Show me a your carry permit!”

That sounds absurd, doesn’t it?  It is, of course.  There’s a crime underway.  The subject’s paperwork is less relevant than the fact that they reasonably appear to be in the middle of committing a violent felony.

Here’s another scenario; a policeman sees a middle-aged black family man, with his wife and his kids, sitting outside a Dairy Queen across from Lake Josephine, drinking malts and talking about their day.   A passing police officer sees the imprint of the butt of a handgun under the man’s shirt.

It’s possible that the guy is carrying illegally – and the cop may well walk over to ask if the man has a permit (he does) and advise him to tuck in a little to avoid getting ninnies riled up.  But it’s pretty much a fact that middle aged family guys, Tony Soprano notwithstanding, generally aren’t gangsters on the warpath.

This discussion brings us to The Reverend Nord Bence’s next point (with emphasis added by me):

The permitless carry bill also represents a particular threat to law enforcement officers, who cannot possibly discern who is a “good guy with a gun” and who’s a “bad guy with a gun” during the few seconds they would have to respond to a lethal threat.

Um, what now?

Does The Reverend Bence think carry permits are externally visible?

If the officer is facing a lethal threat – an immediate threat to their existence on this planet in this lifetime – permit status is irrelevant.  If you present someone with a legitimate fear of death or great bodily harm, the paperwork is irrelevant.

And not just if you’re a cop.   One of the criteria one must face to justify lethal force in self-defense as a civilian is a reasonable, immediate fear of death or great bodily harm.  If someone is waving a gun, a knife, a machete or a chainsaw at you, and a reasonable person – 12 of them, really – would agree that your life is in danger right now, then the law doesnt’ require  you to be a mind-reader, whether you wear a badge or not.

And if your fear is not reasonable, you are going to be in trouble – as Saint Anthony officer Geronimo Yanez is discovering to his chagrin in court, after allegedly panicking and shooting and killing Philando Castile, who was in fact a good guy with gun, and had a plastic card in his wallet  to prove it.

Yanez might be acquitted – he’s innocent until proven guilty – but it points the the fact that when the Reverend Nord Bence says:

If passed, this bill would force police officers to treat everyone they encounter as armed and dangerous.

…she is, as usual, talking through her ELCA hair.  Cops are always alert for danger, but behavior counts – and the consequences of misreading behavior are serious and irreversible for the shooter, whether it’s a cop or a civilian.  And even more so for the target.

Handicap:  I’ll spot Nord Bence a point here:  I’ll help her explain the point that she apparently can’t.

A carry permit can, in theory, help a cop figure out who is and is not a law-abiding citizen, assuming there isn’t a violent encounter underway – something Nord Bence apparently hasn’t figured out.

Of course, all the information a cop needs to know about a citizen’s legal status is available with a call to their precinct, or a few keystrokes on the computer in their squad car, just as fast as checking the validity of a carry permit.

The Reverend Nord Bence may not know that – which is ignorant – or may know it but be trying to fool the ignorant, which is merely repellent.

It gets worse.

  • Monday:  Game On!
  • Yesterday: Data, Data Everywhere!
  • Today:  That Golden Ticket
  • Thursday:  I Don’t Think That Word Means What The Rev. Nancy Nord Bence Thinks It Means
  • Friday:  Everyone With ELCA Hair Looks The Same

28 thoughts on “The Gang That Couldn’t Not Shoot, Straight, Part III: That Golden Ticket!

  1. Mitch,

    I agree with 99% of what you’ve said. First, cops don’t “wonder” if someone is carrying legally or illegally if that person has a weapon out. They’re going to tell that person to drop the weapon and expect immediate compliance, period. In short, having an open carry, concealed carry, or no permit to carry in a state which does not require it is moot to the evaluation of the cop on scene’s state of mind. It seems incongruous that this was the assertion of the Reverend. Is there more to the quote than this?

    That aside, her goals seem admirable, if misguided in your eyes. A quote from a story about her in the Strib reads, ‘But the pastor also acknowledges there are challenges to advocating for such issues as universal background checks for gun purchases. In Minnesota, for example, half of all households have a gun.

    “We have a long way to go to convince Minnesotans that we’re not out to get their guns,” she said.’

    So, I don’t know the context of the quote you’ve given but it seems her goals are for universal back-ground checks and putting in provisions to restrict straw purchases. I think there is broad agreement that checking folks at gun shows, if it can be done reasonably and swiftly, is the right direction to go. I think there’s little argument on either side that straw-buyers are a pariah, supplying the gangs of this country with perhaps as much as 80% of the illegal firearms they receive.

    Let’s assume the left (for whom I’ll speak in this instance) ABSOLUTELY agrees the removal of violent persons from the street has a dramatic impact on gang related violence and should/must be part of any sustainable solution to gun violence proposals. May I assume you would likewise agree that the vast majority of gun violence (not suicides, suicides tend to happen regardless of the presence of a gun, if someone truly wants to die, they manage it), but criminal activity (like robbing a bank), gun violence which leads to harm or death, is far more commonly (as I understand) not related to gang activity. It is far more commonly related to a husband or wife shooting their spouse (girlfriend/boyfriend). Your point about someone not being likely to use a gun to commit a crime once past the age of 20 if they’ve never used one before/committed a violent crime before is likely true if we exclude relationship violence, but I find no facts to conclude or deny it when we include relationship violence. That doesn’t mean I think you’re wrong, but rather have no facts to support it either way.

    Still, the point remains, and based on your comment about the Philando Castile case I assume you agree with one part of the below. Namely, we have two serious issues. The first is, we have a cultural phenomenon which believes guns can solve problems which they are either very unlikely to solve or which create such a risk that having them is proving to be more damaging than any problem they were going to cure. I’ll elaborate in a second. The second (the part I think you’ll agree with), is that we have police officers who have been, during the course of the “war on drugs” and terrorism been taught to take charge first, to preserve their lives first, even if it may mean some harm to an innocent person. They won’t have intended it, but it will happen. That in and of itself is problematic but is less the point than I think it has lead to a small set of police choosing to react violently – such as when they stopped and assaulted a PHD candidate at Northwestern University who was identified as “maybe taking a car” and who fully complied with the police when stopped yet was thrown to the ground and told by police, “You’re lucky we don’t shoot you” and “If you want to cause us problems, we’ll cause you problems” He was charged with resisting arrest (he didn’t). He was black, he was 25 and he was assumed to be someone whom they could treat roughly. That assumption comes from both training and background. The training part is, they were trained whenever stopping someone for a potential car theft, make them exit the vehicle and cuff them on the ground. The fact they needed to tackle him, rough him up, that seemed more than “over the top”, but it’s training in part that has created a sense of “us” vs “them”. None of us, middle-aged, white guys, want to be tossed around by cops, have them dislocate a shoulder, choke us into unconsciousness. The facts are though, that it is FAR less likely to be done to us. As you say, John Doe, sitting at Dairy Queen with his kids, should not be assumed to be a violent threat if he is seen with a gun in his waistband, nor is he likely to be assumed to be a car thief if stopped by the police. They are more likely to run his plates and confirm ownership before having him exit the vehicle and cuffing him rather than afterward, if he is white, quite simply because (and this is the background piece) they are aware that doing otherwise is going to cause trouble whereas, at least in Chicago, doing that with a black youth (cuffing first) is not.

    Back to the second point. Kids stupidly bring guns to school to scare the people who make them fearful (bullies, threats, whatever). Someone may pull out a gun to threaten a spouse when really REALLY angry, someone else may bring along a gun to a meeting with a rival gang. In nearly all cases of the above, those people hope they don’t use that gun. They were stupid to think it would help and to bring it along, but they brought it along because they thought it would help. We watch in the media how one guy with a gun (The Sniper, Dirty Harry, Gran Torino whatever) takes on the world and lives or at least solves his problem, but the real world doesn’t work like that. We also believe that one civilian armed with a gun might have stopped some sort of violence, and while true, the chance exists – it’s like the chance that I’ll win the lottery. We have seen police officers killed attempting to stop a well prepared assailant (I believe there was a cop at The Pulse, for example), and so we believe guns will “help” stop that sort of thing. They may stop one, but that help, whatever it is, has to be weighed against the other deaths which result from the other 10 situations where someone shot another person by mistake because they believed THEY were an assailant and were in reasonable fear of great bodily harm because that first person (the person they shot) had their gun out to stop the actual assailant. We’ve seen evidence of mass confusion and hysteria in mass shootings where having civilians armed didn’t help, and may have in fact hurt/lead to confusion. This was true in the Dallas cop shootings. So, in short, we feel guns will help, whether it’s with intimidating bullies or in stopping the guy in the Pulse, but the weight of evidence seems to say clearly that whatever “help” it offers, is offset by the harm it causes.

    Even so, that is not justification for banning firearms. There is NO reasonable justification for doing so. It is pointing out that firearms aren’t a curative. They are a fearsome responsibility which should be taken eminently seriously. They do NOT solve problems anywhere near as often as they exacerbate them, including making police more fearful, and permits or a lack thereof are irrelevant.

    So, what is the solution to a cultural psyche that mythologizes guns? They have a reasonable and fair place and they are a right, however, and this is undoubtedly where we part ways of thought, that right is not limitless and restricting the available firepower, while no solution to the use of firearms in killing a spouse/partner, does potentially begin to address the mythology AND I believe comports with law and the Constitution. I’m willing to be swayed otherwise because I think the issue is not as black and white as I once believed it to be (based on further reading), but I do believe reasonable limits are permitted.

    That’s not the thrust of your post, but it IS the thrust of Protect Minnesota, namely, that banning guns isn’t fair or right, but putting reasonable protections in place, like background checks at gun shows, is the right step. Is it perfect? No. Will it stop all gun violence or gang violence, not hardly, but we cannot let perfect be the requirement, we cannot let perfect be the enemy of good. Just like we don’t fail to enact laws against drug trafficking because it won’t stop all drug traffickers neither should we fail to enact laws/strengthen laws against straw buyers simply because it will not stop all gun trafficking.

  2. BTW, apologies for the length of this post, but it’s a complex question and I know it’s near and dear to your heart and mine so I ask for your forgiveness.

  3. It strikes me that there is another message in the fact that Ms. Nord-Bence apparently cannot wrap her mind around the fact that a carry permit is not a trump card that gets one out of trouble; it would suggest that she is aware of (and may even endorse) other “trump cards” that many in her area do indeed use to get out of trouble.

    In other words, she’s saying “OK for me but not for thee.” Troubling.

  4. A fellow in Arizona was recently the recipient of several gunshot wounds while he was beating a highway patrolman to death on the pavement, after having shot the copper. The cop had stopped because the fellow had rolled his vehicle into a ditch, and thought it would be sporting to set out some flares.

    Turns out the fellow was a former Mexican Federale, in the country illegally. The fellow that delivered the fatal gunshots to El Federale was just a regular Joe who happened upon the scene as he was driving to, of all places, California.

    Now, it’s likely that all of the people involved in this caper had some sort of certification that would certify them as being legally in possession of a weapon. El Federale’s story might have been co-opted if anyone checked his immigration status, but the dude is brown, so he’s good to go, at least until January 20 of this year.

    Questions for Reverend Nord Bence:

    1. What good is it to have documents (visa, passport or carry permit) if reprobate, America hating leftists preclude inspection by LEO’s?

    2. In this instance, would El Federale been thwarted or assisted with the requirement that a carry permit be presented upon demand?


    3. How did celebrating diversity and welcoming all immigrants fail to provide rainbows and unicorns, Jan. 12, 2017, on US 10 in Phoenix?

  5. Bubba, I don’t read that at all. Her comments were clear that she agrees people have the right to be armed. She (apparently fatuously) believes that not requiring a permit puts cops in greater danger. That’s false obviously. As far as, “many in her area”, what do you mean, pastors or minorities? (I don’t believe she’s a member of an ethnic minority, fyi). I think there’s substantial evidence that minorities neither get out of trouble easily nor avoid it easily by use of “trump cards.” In short, crying “police brutality” (if that’s what you’re asserting and I’m only guessing) rarely works and even more rarely gets one out of any trouble. The police are pretty practiced at adhering to the letter of their training even if the spirit may be broken (rarely).

  6. Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Now what did I do? There’s not even any damn cussin in it?

  7. People have a right to own a gun and nobody wants to disarm America, but guns don’t solve any problems, they only cause the problem of spouses shooting each other so the solution is background checks at gun shows and restricting straw purchases. Seriously, Pen? Can you not see the silliness of your analysis?

    Straw purchases work BECAUSE the straw buyer can pass the background check, regardless where it’s administered. Straw purchases already are illegal under state and federal law, but are rarely prosecuted because they tend to be sympathetic figures (single mothers and girlfriends of gang members). How can you further restrict them if you’re not willing to prosecute them?

    If you have no facts to support the conclusion that the vast majority of gun crime is domestic, then why should we assume it to be true? Do we really believe that 700 people in Chicago gunned down their lovers last year? In the absence of statistics, I’d be unwilling to make that assumption and therefore unwilling to draw the implied conclusion that a gun in the home means a dead spouse. Half of all households have guns but not half have dead spouses. Whatever causes domestic violence, it’s not the gun.

    Even if it did, the gun is already in the home – it’s not waiting at the gun show for a buyer to slip through without a background check. A crime of passion cannot be deterred by bureaucratic procedure.

    The solutions you propose are unrelated to the problem you want to solve.

    Next, you argue that cops are racists because Black . . . yeah, yeah, not relevant to the point, moving on.

    Legally armed citizens cause as much harm as they prevent. Seriously? You cite the Dallas incident in which five police officers were shot – I wasn’t aware that legally armed civilians shot anybody. Care to link to a news story about that? Not to the chief complaining that it’s hard to tell the bad guys from the good guys which was idiotic on its face, but to actual harm?

    The reason I don’t believe Protect Minnesota is a group of reasonable people is their arguments are unreasonable. The reason I suspect they do not have modest goals is they keep moving their goalpost, every time proposing another restriction, another limitation, another hoop for law-abiding gun owners to jump through while simultaneously declining to prosecute people who violate the existing laws which they assured us would solve the problem.

    You are absolutely correct that willingness to grab a gun to solve a problem is a cultural problem. But it’s not the culture of Greater Minnesota, or Downstate Illinois, or the Napa Valley. It’s the culture of North Minneapolis and parts of Chicago and of Compton. Making it harder for a farmer living near Thief River Falls to buy a plinker will do nothing to change that culture.

    If Protect Minnesota wants to do something to reduce gun violence, it should send missionaries to North Minneapolis to convert the heathens who are doing the killing.

  8. Joe; friendly tip.

    After you tear a fresh moonbat pelt off like that, it’s really important to salt that thing down right away or it will shrivel up to something that looks like a moldy potato chip.

  9. Pen,

    The “Gun show loophole” is a misnomer. What they’re trying to do is force background checks on ALL private transfers.

    Think about it for a moment; a guy with a stolen gun (felony) gets together with a guy (with a record, who can’t legally buy) in a parking lot outside a bar at 2AM to sell a gun (to a criminal – also a crime), so guy #2 can use it in his illegal activities.

    You are too smart to know they’re not gonna call off the sale because neither of them are going to pass a background check. Right?

    And “P”M never mentions straw purchases, because they are already a federal crime. It’s just that the feds aren’t prosecuting them, because no AUSA ever built a run for Senator on the basis of putting gang members’ girlfriends in jail.

    Finally – it’s possible that “P”M’s goal isn’t a complete ban on guns, at least in their individual hearts. But the gun control movement from top down IS committed to incrementalism. After the defeats they suffered in the ’90s and 2000s when they were talking bans, they changed their rhetoric.

    And it is an issue on which I’m disinclined to compromise – I say “disinclined” for a reason; let’s just say they’ll need to make a very good case indeed – because:

    1. Their case is so full of holes (as I demonstrate in this space, year in, year out.
    2. The good guys are winning. Why deal away victory?
    3. While I disdain litmus tests, this issue has become one, for reasons I’ll explain in a post most likely next week.
  10. Pen, your first comment is loud testimony to the old proverb, “If you can’t blind them with brilliance, you can baffle them with BS.” Just like the testimony of Ms. Nord-Bence, really. Please don’t give me this condescending nonsense about her “meaning well” when in reality her every statement reads like the operation of the hog manure cannon Dave Barry wrote about a while back.

    Fact of the matter is that she is either clueless, in which we must wonder why she can’t wrap her mind around the fact that a permit to carry is not a trump card against the police, or a liar. There is no other option.

  11. Joe, to be candid, you have married a. to b. in my argument when I did not. No, a gun show loophole does NOTHING to prevent spousal murder. I was discussing the confusion that exists (imho on the right) that gun crime is primarily by “bad guys”. I didn’t say it gun show checks curtailed spousal/relationship murder. I was speaking to a broader point, that broader point was that gang violence (bad guys with guns) which isn’t really the primary issue(s), and Protect MN isn’t attempting to solely address that point, but it is AN issue and gun show checks are a valid check. Closing that loophole is appropriate (imho).

    Mitch, thanks for the thoughtful reply, I’ll try to address your comments in order and in full.

    “The “Gun show loophole” is a misnomer. What they’re trying to do is force background checks on ALL private transfers. ”

    I agree that requiring it on all private transfers is silly/wrong and an over-reach. The issue remains that people are going to shows, bad guys whether we’re talking about straw buyers or even felons, and buying guns. Whether we require a 24 hour waiting period or something which makes this impermissible for an amount of firearms exceeding one (or two or some number), it’s a loophole. So, I agree that it should not be forced on individual transfers, I do not agree the gun-show should avoid background checks. Hope you see the difference I see.

    ??”Think about it for a moment; a guy with a stolen gun (felony) gets together with a guy (with a record, who can’t legally buy) in a parking lot outside a bar at 2AM to sell a gun (to a criminal – also a crime), so guy #2 can use it in his illegal activities. You are too smart to know they’re not gonna call off the sale because neither of them are going to pass a background check. Right?”:

    Well, either you think I’m smart or not, and so shouldn’t need for me to confirm. That’s like asking me if I beat my wife :).

    Also, I have been told you should not start off arguments by suggesting thinking other than your argument proves someone isn’t smart. It’s not considered good cricket. Someone might disagree with you who is smart for not doing so, you might be wrong.

    Now, yes, I completely agree, if someone wants to buy a gun from a guy in a parking lot, background checks are meaningless, but a parking lot sale from one felon to another, or even from one non-felon to another, isn’t the same as a gun-show, and I’m sure that’s clear.

    >>”And “P”M never mentions straw purchases, because they are already a federal crime. It’s just that the feds aren’t prosecuting them, because no AUSA ever built a run for Senator on the basis of putting gang members’ girlfriends in jail. ”

    This isn’t purely about PM. Straw sales but straw sales are the tail of the dog in the issue because many straw sales are of guns bought at gun-shows, circumventing background checks. The straw buyer/transport laws ABSOLUTELY need to be better enforced, I think we are in full agreement, but making it harder to make straw purchases by making it harder to do so through gun shows, is a correct step, imho, smart guy or not.

    >>Finally – it’s possible that “P”M’s goal isn’t a complete ban on guns, at least in their individual hearts. But the gun control movement from top down IS committed to incrementalism. ”

    I think that’s a fear, and for some of that movements members it’s true, but that fear is a slippery slope argument of the type you’ve railed against on other subjects. I can say the same about voting ID restrictions and you’d likely say “that’s not justification because that’s not what’s proposed.” What’s more important is that SCOTUS has made the point of individual ownership concrete and essentially put it out of further review. At this point the only arguments are around what are reasonable laws.

    >>After the defeats they suffered in the ’90s and 2000s when they were talking bans, they changed their rhetoric. ”

    Agreed, they lost on McDonald and Heller. I agreed with the outcomes of both, though I didn’t agree with inserting into the Constitution a “right to hunt” it’s not in the Constitution, whether or not it’s in the Federalist papers as justification, is moot.

    >>And it is an issue on which I’m disinclined to compromise – I say “disinclined” for a reason; let’s just say they’ll need to make a very good case indeed – because:

    A.Their case is so full of holes (as I demonstrate in this space, year in, year out.

    (I’d disagree, I think you poke holes in arguments they aren’t really making. The point they are making is that certain reasonable limits are sound policy. You’ve not yet convinced me at least that such sound policy somehow runs afoul of your Constitutional liberties, but more importantly, SCOTUS told you it doesn’t, not just me. So while you may be eviscerating their position, the larger context, that of whether gun show checks, bans on high capacity magazines, and the like, ARE – for now and it seems likely to remain that way – Constitutional.)

    B.The good guys are winning. Why deal away victory?

    (Because it’s not about winning, it’s about good policy and what’s good for the country and good for public health.)

    C.While I disdain litmus tests, this issue has become one, for reasons I’ll explain in a post most likely next week.

    (And I would say nothing should be litmus test, and as a smart guy, perhaps you will want to look at whether your reaction is smart, because as you say, you disdain them. You should and I should. If we have them, we become intransigent and unable to develop policy which mutually respects liberty and the public good.)

    Again, thanks for the reply. Assuming you reply back, I’ll try to respond in a timely manner.

    BikeBubba, I am simply quoting her. You are inferring intent which isn’t stated. That said, I agree that she is conflating a permit to carry with risk evaluation. Mitch is right, and I agreed, the police don’t care about a permit if they feel at risk so her point is foolish if that was the full context of her point.

    My point to you and to anyone reading is this. I suggest you do not assume ill intent by someone with whom you do not agree. Ill intent is rare. They may be wrong or misguided, but likely they aren’t stupid (they would likely not get to that position if so) and likely they mean well. I assume as much is true about Mitch, he’s not stupid and he means well, I assume the same about you. I may think you’re in error on a point or two, but I actually find that on the larger parts of the points I agree, and you’ll find the same in reverse, it’s on the process of implementation that we don’t. If we, as a country, are to move forward, the right HAS to accept, just like the left HAD to accept, that solutions only work if they are respected by the majority – if not, they don’t last.

  12. Pingback: The Gang That Couldn’t Not Shoot, Straight, Part IV: I Don’t Think That Word Means What The Rev. Nancy Nord Bence Thinks It Means | Shot in the Dark

  13. “The issue remains that people are going to shows, bad guys whether we’re talking about straw buyers or even felons, and buying guns.”

    It’s fascinating that you state that as fact when I can’t find any source for it.

    One might logically reason that a person who is ineligible to possess a firearm could conceivably buy it from a gun show where IDs aren’t checked; but one might equally well reason that a person who is ineligible to vote could conceivably do it in any Minnesota precinct where IDs aren’t checked. I’m routinely assured there is no voter fraud and therefore no need to check IDs during elections. Is there any scientific reason to believe gun show sales to criminals are more prevalent that voter fraud? Any survey data? Any factual basis for what you calmly proclaim as fact?

    I read the appellate court opinions every week, but it occurs to me that I’ve never seen one where the court said the ineligible person acquired the gun at a gun show. They borrow guns from friends, they find them under the seats of cars, guns mysteriously turn up in coat pockets but nobody admits to buying the gun from a private seller at a gun show. So how do you know they did?

    Remember, if the criminal’s girlfriend has a clean record so he sends her to buy the gun, it doesn’t matter where she buys it – at a gun show or a licensed dealer or private sale. She’ll pass the background check and then hand over the gun to him. That’s what a straw sale is. Background checks cannot stop straw sales. Background checks can only stop sales to ineligible persons: felons, minors, the insane.

    So we’re talking about imposing background checks on gun shows, not to stop straw purchases, and not because we know that’s the source of criminals’ guns, but IN CASE they might be the source of criminals’ guns.

    Requiring background checks at gun shows IN CASE they might stop a felon from buying a gun is the same as requiring ID from voters IN CASE they might vote in an election. Since there’s absolutely no evidence either way, your proposed solution cannot be shown as a way to solve a problem. But it does require manpower and resources which means it does impose real costs.

  14. That’s fine, thanks. I normally don’t during the week. Abnormal week.

    I think the thrust of your point, to help save time, is:

    1. You don’t trust folks like those at PM and so closing any loopholes looks/smells just a first step to checks on all private sales. I agree that’s wrong.

    2. You have won, why give ground?

    3. This is a bell-weather issue, don’t compromise.

    My response is, in short, 1. Agree but then fix the loophole and fight the expansion, don’t fight the fix to fight the expansion. 2. Because it’s good policy to define and implement reasonable limits – failure to do so only leads to worse changes when you’re out of power AND you’re not going to lose the key victory regardless and 3. Solutions, not litmus tests, are what the victors should seek – it’s what makes someone a gracious winner and establishes a just outcome.

    All that said, to anyone else choosing to step into this discussion, please accept:

    1. I am a gun owner
    2. I abhore the idea of banning guns
    3. I would fight against it (politically)

  15. JD, you silly goose. It is all about intentions and feeeelings for libturds, dontcha know? If they can save only one life!

  16. We can quibble over what percentage of criminals get guns at gun shows–I’ve heard about 2%–but the fact remains that when we’re getting about 36% of murders going unsolved (who knows what for lesser crimes?) and twice that in big cities like Chicago, the #1 issue on the Pareto is “are we putting criminals in jail where they belong?”

    Also worth noting, per Joe’s comment, is that the DOJ has de-prioritized federal prosecutions of straw purchasers and other firearm offenses in Chicago. Hopefully President Trump will remedy this.

  17. Re the reference to armed citizens doing more harm by shooting police – I think this might be related to the story earlier this week about the guy in Texas that shot 3 LEOs as they busted his door down after deploying a flash-bang grenade. The citizen had had previous experience with gangsters breaking in and trying to kill his son. The police argument was that they had shouted “Police!” so the man should have known they weren’t gang-bangers busting in in the wee hours. The story was in the news this week because the court had ultimately decided that the homeowner was in his rights to shoot.

    This isn’t an example of citizens doing harm, it’s an example of the risks of No-knock raids, which should be outlawed before another ineffective gun law is passed.

  18. There is a gun show within 50 miles of me every other weekend, and I attend many/most of them. What you will find are 3-4 guys wandering around with signs on their backs advertising a weapon they have to sell, and once in awhile there will be a table set up to liquidate some dead guy’s collection.

    Everyone else selling guns is a FFL dealer, and the ALL have signs up reminding you that there will be a background check conducted. Also you will find at least 3 uniformed coppers and an unknown number in civilian clothes wandering around watching the action. Since SC is a very ClassIII friendly state, there are more vendors selling selective fire, SBR’s and sweet, sweet, suppressors at our shows…the cops are watching, trust me.

    You have to be a real desperate crook, or a stupid crook, one, to do your off the books, felony transactions at a gun show. I’m not saying it’s never happened, but I’d bet a paycheck it doesn’t account for more than a fraction of a percentage of the guns out there doing the murdering and robbing in Democrat controlled urban areas.

    This, as has been said by just about everyone, is a bullshit issue gun grabbers have latched on to, to get their runny noses in under the tent. Our job is to put the boots to ’em every time.

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  20. Bubba and Swiftee, honestly, your comments are instructive and helpful and thanks.

    So, Bubba, you’re right, I’ll give you your point, the vast majority of criminals DON’T buy at gun shows. Likewise, though, they DO buy from straw buyers. The stats say 80% of guns confiscated from felons in NYC are brought in from out of state, through straw buyers. So, how do you address that?

    But, put that aside for a moment, checking people at gun shows isn’t wrong. So, what’s the solution? Let’s assume that 99% of the people at gun shows are very conscientious, I’m sure that’s true, but then again, if you’re a straw buyer, you only need that one person who isn’t?

    In the end, will this keep guns out of the hands of those who want them? No, but we can’t expect laws to be perfect preventatives. We can, like drug laws, hope they make it harder – but it will never be perfect. If it’s right to keep straw buyers from buying out state (or outside Chicago) and then selling someplace, from Harlem to Mankato – then it’s right, and we have a responsibility as good citizens to find that balance between law and preserving liberty.

    I think liberals have a poor view of gun right’s advocates, that they don’t want any limits, that they’re just a bunch of scared men who want guns as security blankets. Likewise, I think conservatives think liberals want to ban everything. Both views are insulting, and both are wrong. We are capable people, smart people, able to find real solutions. The time to be gracious is in victory, the time to be realistic is in defeat.

    So, let’s say for a moment the requirement is simply this – if you sell at a gun show, the person buying must present ID, and be photographed, and that ID will be subject to a check. You can buy what you want BUT it will be shipped to you once the ID check comes back, shipped at your expense. I’m not saying that suggested law is perfect, so poke holes in it as you like, but offer a better solution to closing the hole that exists, just for the sake of argument – for consideration, consider a solution. What would it be?

  21. Pen,

    You keep referencing (and infering) the Gun Show Loophole. Several people have reminded you that it doesn’t exist. Buy from an FFL, at a store, gun show or out of their kitchen, and they will run a NICS check. It’s the law. In many jurisdictions a purchase permit is also required. Again, it’s the law.

    You keep lamenting Straw Buyers. Again, many people have reminded you that a Straw Purchase is illegal but rarely prosecuted. There’s even a line item on the NICS check that asks, under penalty of perjury, if you are buying the gun for yourself.

    Are there private sales between one private citizen (that isn’t in the business of selling firearms) and another private citizen? Sure. I’ll even spot you that sometimes the buyer has a criminal record and wouldn’t pass a background check.

    My questions are;
    1) What is the source for “80% of confiscated guns in NYC” are straw bought?
    2) How would any expansion in the background check rules foil straw purchases?

  22. Smith,

    #1. It was from a study by the Attorney General’s office of NY. The percentage, as I now read it, was closer to 75% rather than 80%, but that’s still a very high number.

    So, to the point in question, if we are willing to accept it’s a large number – and I’ve hear similar figures about the city of Chicago, then it seems straw buying is a real issue and real mechanism for supplying guns to those who are not supposed to have them. I don’t think you disagree, and we both agree it’s not sufficiently enforced, but then that begs the question, how better to enforce it?

    So, the answer to #2 is, requiring a background check (I propose a way below), on people who are buying more than one or two firearms from someone who isn’t an FFL dealer, would impede anyone from using such a seller to avoid checks when buying several firearms from a few people at each gun show they attend, so that they can then sell them without any trace of their purchase.

    I’ll illustrate that here. It seems pretty feasible to complete straw purchases at gun shows (and some criminal investigative data supports this as I recall). While the vast majority of those at such shows follow the law, in fact it only takes 1 or 2 who don’t to allow for someone to buy a fair number of guns without tracking. That person, the buyer, could go (easily) to many such shows, and soon 4-5 guns becomes 40-50, bought at 8 or 10 shows in the course of 4 or 5 weekends, If that buyer is in fact 2 people buying 4 or 5 weapons from 2 people per show, they could easily buy 20 or even more weapons per weekend. The point is, as I’m sure you can see, it’s not hard to exploit a loophole. So, MY suggestion, as a starting point to stop illegal gun trafficking, is to remove the easy path undocumented purchases, bought under the guise of single person direct sales offers. Is there a way to do so, sure there is, limit the amount that can be sold by a person in a period without full documentation.

    However, would that alone materially change straw-buying, I wouldn’t say with confidence it will. The more impactful change would be to document purchases. I know that’s an anathema to people who want to defend their right of people to remain private from the government’s intrusive eyes – but I want to ask you, does repealing the law from 1985 (as I recall) which prohibits the government from documenting much about gun crimes or documenting gun ownership do more harm than is done by straw-buyers? I think straw-buying does far more harm that tracking purchases. Gun ownership is a right, but it is not an unlimited one.

    Regardless, if we will not allow law enforcement to track people to identify traffickers, then I’d ask you, what would you suggest as a solution? More police effort in this area? I’m fine with that but we are seeing that police assets aren’t either cheap nor necessarily available to redirect from counter-terrorism work (or other work). Society doesn’t seem to put much stock in the harm caused by gun trafficking either, why do you feel that is? You asked me questions, I answered I think, so I’m asking you, what is it you’d be willing to do to stop straw buying?

    I’m spit-balling as I write this with an idea, What if there were a requirement that anyone who purchases three or more weapons, regardless from whom they do so, must be checked against the Federal database, just as if they’d bought from an FFL’d dealer? Again, this attacks gun show sales to be clear – but I cannot honestly conceive of a way to detect a straw buyer if we are not going to document the pattern of purchase at the point of purchase, can’t randomly search them in transit, nor are we going to detect them at the time of sale (obviously).

    I believe the need I am hearing from your side (Mitch’s side) is that you want to feel safe that your right to buy a firearm will not be unreasonably infringed. I feel the same way, that need should be able to be met in a just society and is fair. What this comes down to is whether or not we trust society to follow through on promises it makes, to follow the law, for example. I trust society that far, so long as we don’t give the government unreasonable power, such as confiscating property simply because of an accusation of conduct rather than being found guilty of that conduct. I am not concerned the government would use a database to confiscate all guns, not now and not in the future because we DO have a Constitution, one which we’ve followed pretty sincerely on this point. At least, I consider that possibility sufficiently remote that I do not feel it merits preventing the tracking of buyers. There is far greater and more clear harm done by straw buyers than the nebulous fear that at some point in the future the government might behave in a way that they have never behaved before with respect to firearms.

    So, the bottom line still is, what would you be willing to allow for? If it is nothing? (and I hope it isn’t) How does that make things better? Simply saying “enforce it better” is a value judgment made from (at least if it were made by me) a distant and relatively uninformed position, that the people are willfully doing worse, which is pretty unlikely. So, what would you suggest?

    To me, the harm (straw buying, the illegal transport of guns to those who will use them improperly, e.g. gun traffic) far outweighs the other harm, the potential harm of government being able to use such a database to demand guns from citizens. Not only is that unlikely, pretty obviously any such attempt would be impossible to keep quiet, and there aren’t enough soldiers/police, whatever, to accomplish it. It also wouldn’t be complied with.

    Anyway, those are my thoughts.

  23. Penigma, the argument against closing the “gun show loophole” really derives a lot from what’s been done in New York, California, Chicago, and DC. The people of these areas foolishly believed that their politicians were not about to ban guns, and were flat out lied to. As a result, gun owners will trust governments no further than they can throw them.

    This is a pattern that’s been repeated throughout history, really. “Common sense gun control” becomes an excuse to confiscate, and then repression. Hence people with real sense say “No thank you”.

    Again, you deal with crime by dealing with criminals. Put them in jail, execute the nastiest of them, and let their buddies take notice. You don’t harass the law abiding majority to deal with the lawless minority.

  24. Bike, I hear your concern and appreciate that, based on your history, there is sufficient reason to not trust some of those on the left. I think (without wanting to open a can of worms) the same argument exists about voter fraud complaints. Some people are serious about wanting to protect the integrity of the system, others are simply trying to suppress votes from a block of people they don’t like. So, does that mean, do nothing in either case? The difference between when DC or Chicago enacted their bans/over-reaching controls is that SCOTUS has declared those laws, like Jim Crow, defunct. The worry you express, while real, seems to be to be effectively dead. To say that because there were oversteps in the past there can be no changes, now that the right has been made inviolate at the individual level, both contradicts SCOTUS and prevents any improvements at all. That’s not a reasonable outcome. The law has to mold with the populace to some degree or it will be shelved entirely. In short, while there may have been radical ideas in the past, that doesn’t mean the majority will stand for doing nothing, whether it’s about straw buyers or otherwise.

    I chose the issue of straw buyers and their access to firearms at gun shows to illustrate a fairly clear hole in the laws. Criminals can go to gun shows, buy 3, 4, 5 guns from 2 or 3 people and pretty quickly have enough to transport. Those guns are proving to be hitting the streets, just because criminals will eventually get guns if they want them doesn’t mean it should be made easy. We enforce our laws against owning explosives if people need them, it’s not made easy to get or to traffic in. No it’s not a Constitutional right clearly, but the point is the point, we should not make breaking the law easy – whatever the endpoint use may be.

    Straw buyers do traffic a lot of guns. There is no way to prevent the sale of guns through criminal activity, they’re going to hide it. There’s little to no way to prevent the transport, so there’s really only one avenue of attack, and that’s at the point of sale. Saying “put criminals in jail” doesn’t stop the crimes. I agree that taking violent felons off the streets has worked. I don’t think “sending an example” works at all – and a lot of study backs that. People who commit violent crimes are frequently hopeless, thinking their life is going to be short anyway, so why not “live it up” while they can? Taking violent felons off the streets has worked because it is clear that often people “graduate” from one type of violence to higher scales and that the threat posed by those people itself escalates the violence. So, while it has worked to lessen it, it doesn’t really end it by itself. I agree we don’t have to have perfection, so I’m not arguing against enforcement at all, quite the opposite, but I am also advocating for stopping the crimes that make other crimes easier to commit – will that stop those crimes, no, but it will make them harder and that’s all ANY prevention is intended to do. I also have focused on it because criminality seems to be the focus of the political right when talking about guns. So, I’m trying to argue on your home field here – the point is, if you don’t want criminals to have easy access to guns, we should not make it easy for people to transport guns to them.

    The larger point though is still this, while criminal activity (like robberies, home invasions and the like) absolutely DO account for a considerable number of gun related fatalities in this country, they pale next to simple acts of anger, one man shooting one woman, one woman shooting one man. THAT was the premise of my point to Mitch, we believe guns solve problems, when they very rarely do. You have even said this is about the “lawless minority” when the statistics seem to show it is not, at least not the majority. The majority of murders aren’t committed by career felons.

    The broader question is, how do you argue against a violent response when the imagery of violence is so pervasive, when the idea of “taking up arms” is romanticized? I think it’s a dichotomy that cannot be sustained. We talk about hating others, ISIS for example, for being willing to use arms on innocent people. That conduct is abhorrent and entirely against their stated religion but in the same breath we aspouse taking up arms against (name your political cause) if the person/government group, doesn’t do what we want. I think that mindset is at the core of our violence problem in the country. What other explanation exists for it? We have far more gun related crimes, especially killings, than our peer nations. Other countries have crime, even some violent crime, but their incidence of fatalities is fractional to ours. Some have access to firearms, but very few seem to idolize them like we do. So, while I’m talking about straw buying, my point is that a rational discussion about guns in this country is overdue. That’s not just my opinion. As I recall the poll, some 85% or so of the public is ok with the idea of requiring background checks for all gun show or online sales ( So, while Mitch is right, the 2nd Amendment “won” a victory when it was incorporated, that victory is not boundless, and even a right-leaning SCOTUS said so. My point in trying to have a dialogue is to do just that, in the heart of those most committed to opposing gun regulation – my question is, is there ANY regulation on any point, which you are willing to allow? If you answer “no”, then I’d ask you to consider if you are being reasonable. Stopping straw buyers seems reasonable.

    Anyway, thanks as always for taking the time to discuss.

  25. So….you seriously believe that voter ID is going to lead to overturning the Civil Rights Act? Seriously? People are going to start doing drivers tests in Chinese and the like?

    Sorry, that kind of garbage has been gone for 50 years, while the District of Columbia and the city of Chicago are currently fighting and undermining the Heller and MacDonald decisions. If you can’t see a difference, get to the optometrist!

    And again, if indeed 2% of guns used in crimes come from gun shows, that leaves 98% that are either obtained/retained illegally, or are owned by a first time criminal. Pareto principle; you deal with the big stuff first.

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