By Mike Piccione
A fundamental principle of a free people is the ability to transfer property to someone else without government intervention. In the case of firearms, it is often a tradition to pass on a gun from one generation to another.
A group called Mayors Against Illegal Guns co-chaired by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, commissioned a poll to determine how the public felt about tightening background checks on people that bought guns. It will come as little surprise that a group called Mayors Against Illegal Guns wants additional restrictive legislation on the already restrictive process; and they even bought the research that indicates the public agrees.
The target of liberal legislators is the gun show. If you are a licensed gun dealer you hold a Federal Firearms License and are required by law to perform a background check before you can release the gun to the buyer. That makes good sense and often there is a waiting period. A waiting period makes good sense too unless you are someone being threatened or harassed and you happen to need a way to defend yourself. The attacker will be reassured that the government will deny you, the potential victim, an immediate opportunity to purchase a tool to defend yourself. When an attack is going to happen in seconds the police, if called, will respond in minutes to take the crime report.
Here is the controversial aspect of a gun show: the unlicensed seller. This is a person that wants to sell his personal property to another individual. It is the equivalent of you saying “Mike, you want to sell that .22?” And then me telling you I’ll take 50-bucks for it. We have a deal and I’m the unlicensed seller. But, I don’t need a license to sell you my .22. That is the “gun show loophole.”
Closing the “gun show loophole” enables the government to curtail person to person sales. That is what is really behind the attack on gun shows. Every gun would have to be turned-in to a gun dealer so that it could be tracked by the Federal Government and then the transfer process would be monitored by the Federal Government. The right you have now to sell your neighbor your shotgun will be gone, forever.
What is even more disturbing is the loss of the right to pass on your gun to a family member. The tradition of passing on grandpa’s gun to his grandson will be legislated out of existence. Gramps will have to pass the gun to a federally authorized entity that will then register it and pass it on to the recipient. Often the gifting of the first firearm is to someone thirteen or fourteen years old. Because they cannot legally own a gun at that age it would have to be transferred to someone who would then hold the gun until it could be then transferred to the final owner when legal age is reached. That’s a lot of red tape to give someone your squirrel rifle.
Anti-gun liberals know that more bureaucracy on law abiding citizens is the easiest form of gun control and hidden under the label of “common sense gun measures.” If the government, with administrative measures, can make criminals out of people that have never committed a criminal act then people will avoid buying, owning and transferring guns altogether. Then the government accomplishes what it set out to do; stop legal citizens from owning guns.
New York City has some of the toughest gun laws in the United States but they have not eliminated crimes committed with guns. Why? Because going after gang members is dangerous, expensive and more often than not the criminal ends up back on the street. Mayors Against Illegal Guns should take a closer look at those that are committing the crimes and focus on punishing the perpetrators rather than building a bureaucracy that is targeted at legal gun owners.
I remember when I was a teenager walking down the street with an Ithaca Model 37 pump 12 gauge in the rural Adirondack mountain town where I grew up. I had purchased the gun from a friend and there wasn’t any paperwork, background check, state or federal government involved. A police car pulled up next to me and the officer asked “Are you coming or going? I get off in a few minutes and if you want to go hunting together hop in and I’ll give you a ride.” It turns out I was walking home and after I told that to the officer, he just said “Ok then, next time” and drove off.
To me, that officer exercised common sense gun control. An anti-gun liberal would have had me, the gun seller and probably the officer up on federal charges and locked us up for a long time. It’s a pity that the left doesn’t understand the relationship between gun ownership and crime but it will be a tragedy if we let the Bloomberg lead coalition erode the gun rights of a free people.