How to Close the “Gun-Show-Loophole” Without Affecting Private Sale of Firearms

Today the President is expected to use an executive order to further close the so called Gun Show Loophole, as well as add more restrictions for those trying to purchase a firearm legally. (Those who are trying to obtain a gun illegally will not be impacted by these actions…)

The media seems to imply that people who attend a gun show can just buy anything they want without any sort of background check. That’s not true, of course. The only loophole, and I use that term reluctantly, is that a person who is not “in the business of” selling firearms can sell a gun to someone else without having to do a background check.

According to some, the only real issue is that the ATF refuses to define what it means to be in the business of selling guns.

I can fix that. If you sell enough guns that you are required to pay taxes on your profit, then you are in the business of selling firearms. And should then require a license, and do background checks, etc… That’s it.

If you have a few guns you need to sell in order to pay some bills or raise some money, then you can do so without the red tape. But if you are buying guns and reselling them for a profit greater than the minimum required to pay taxes (I think that’s $600 annually right now.) then you need to fill out the paperwork and do what the law requires.

Sell a gun to your buddy, no issues. Make a profit selling guns to people, file the paperwork.

Mass Shootings Don’t Justify Gun Control

Although I shouldn’t need to, I will define mass shooting. It’s not- like some would have us believe- when 4 or more people are wounded or killed in a gun crime. It’s when one person attacks a group of people with the intent to kill as many people as possible. (If gun control advocates want to use general gun crime as a reason to push their agenda, they can. But don’t broaden the definition of mass shooting to artificially raise the number of incidents.)

Every time we see a new mass shooting in the news, the same thing always happens. People who support gun control jump up and down begging for more laws and restrictions while pointing to the mass shooting as an indication of the need for these new restrictions. But no new gun law will ever stop a mass shooting.

Mass shootings are not crimes of passion. They are committed by people who have decided to break a lot of laws. They are planned. And then executed. Anyone who already plans to murder people will not blink at breaking laws about gun acquisition, or any other gun restriction. No gun law will ever stop a criminal from getting and using a gun to commit crimes.

They are criminals. They break laws.

OK, sure, we could limit access to guns for a lot of people, and that might slow the mass murderer down. He or she might have to work a bit harder to get the weapon they plan to use to slaughter defenseless people. But they will find a gun, no matter what the laws says. So yes, we could  restrict the rights of law abiding citizens in order to hopefully slow down criminals. Yet, unless we can un-invent guns, we can’t stop criminals from getting them.

Guns exist. That genie is out of the bottle, that egg shell has cracked. There is no going back. Look at any country that has made guns illegal. Gun crime still exists. How? Guns were not just restricted, but completely illegal? Criminals break laws. Prohibition doesn’t work.

I’m not unreasonable. I am willing to accept reasonable back ground checks. For example, violent felons should not have the freedom to own handguns. They gave that up when they committed a crime. Assuming due process, I’m am willing to agree to reasonable background checks.

But as a law abiding American citizen, I’m not willing to give up my right to own a firearm, if I so choose. Whether I use it to hunt, or protect my family in my home, for target shooting, or any other legal way I choose to bear arms; that is my right.

The rights of US citizens should not be infringed because criminals might commit crimes. Any proposed gun restriction that is in place or might ever be put in place, whether by actual law or executive order, will never stop someone who has already decided to break the law. No new gun restriction will ever stop a mass shooting.


A Pro Life Look at Arguments for Abortion 4

I’m doing a few posts about some of the arguments for legalized abortion from a pro life view point. I want to really look at them, and try to explain why they are not persuasive for someone who supports making abortion illegal.

Other posts in this series:

Abortion Argument 1: If abortions are illegal, we will have women dying from back alley abortions.

Abortion Argument 2: If you are so Pro Life, why don’t you care about the kids who are born into families who don’t want them?

Abortion Argument 3: It’s my body, my choice! The life of the mother is more important than the potential life of a fetus.

Abortion Argument 4: It’s not really a child. It’s not a human being yet, just a bunch of cells/tissue. It’s not a person.

Frankly, this is the weakest argument for abortion, in my opinion. It is tied to the 3rd argument in this series in that it seeks to strengthen the notion that a woman has control over her body, and anything inside it.

Pro choice advocates will sometimes admit the fetus is “human” but not a human being. The unborn child is human like any part of a body is human, but it isn’t a person yet. They point to historical views of pregnancy, which might not consider a fetus as  person before “quickening”, where the baby moves. Of course, with modern medicine, we know much more about the development of the fetus in pregnancy.

They may say that since the child is inside the mother it can’t be defined as a different person from the mother. An article from the Pro Choice Action Network website states (among other things):

Besides the capacity to experience emotions, we generally think of personhood as possessing the qualities of intelligence, self-awareness, and moral responsibility.

Fetuses do not share these characteristics. On a more practical level however, the term “person” is really a legal and social construction. Persons enjoy legal rights and constitutional freedoms, such as the right to assemble, travel, protest, speak, and believe as they wish. Persons have birth certificates and social security numbers. Persons earn income, pay taxes, and vote, or they are registered dependents of those that do. Under this definition, it is an indisputable fact that fetuses are not persons. They are literally incapable of exercising legal personhood in any meaningful way. Although you could call a fetus a “potential person,” a potential person cannot have personhood rights either, in the same way that a 6-year old cannot obtain a driver’s license just because he’s a potential 16-year old. Potential persons have only potential rights, not actual rights.

When I read that the word “poppycock” comes to mind. In this article, the author asserts that pro life (anti-choice) people “beg the question” when they say that it is a scientific fact that the unborn fetus is a human being. But the author makes the exact same mistake here, when arguing that the legal status of an unborn child is defined by the inability to exercise the rights legally given to a person. If you can’t do the things that legal personhood allows you to do, then you can’t be legally a person.

Pro life people know that a fetus is not legally considered a person. We want that law changed. We know that fetuses can’t currently exercise the rights mentioned above. But does that alone mean they are not entitled to them?

If I choose to not write this article and exercise my 1st amendment rights, does that mean my right to do so does not exist? If I am illiterate, do I forfeit my 1st amendment right to write whatever I want simple because I cannot yet write? I have the potential to learn to read and write. Do I still have those legal rights?

Let’s reverse this, and look at end of life care. An poor, elderly man with alzheimer’s. He is on life support.  He’s not self aware or capable of moral responsibility. He can’t speak or assemble, or travel. He doesn’t contribute to society, he doesn’t pay taxes, earn income or vote. He can’t do any of the things this author says are necessary to be legally considered a person.

If I walk into the hospital room and inject deadly poison into his arm, ending his life, did I murder a person or not? If so, why? If a person is only legally a person because they can do certain things, not because they have the potential to do them, this this old guy is not a person. According to this argument, the fetus isn’t a person because of its current state. This old man’s current state would mean he is not a person either, under this definition.

The fundamental question is this: What makes a person a person?

Does something happen that changes the fetus to a baby in the process of birth? A child that is one minute old is the exact same as it was right before birth. The baby didn’t change.

From conception that little child has 23 different chromosomes and different DNA, it’s a different being. Sometimes the baby even has a different blood type. There is absolutely no evidence to suggest that the unborn child is a part of the mother.

Often the argument of viability comes up… where people say that if a baby cannot live outside the womb it should not be considered murder to kill it. Premature babies are often born without being developed enough to survive outside the womb. Parents put them on machines and hospitals work miracles to keep them alive.

What is the moral difference between a 23 week fetus that is aborted and a 23 week preemie that doctors labor to save? Is it simply that one is wanted and the other isn’t? There is no developmental difference. But one is legally a person and one isn’t. And we should note, the preemie that everyone is trying so hard to keep alive can’t do any of the things on that list any more than the elderly man in the example above.

If someone murders a pregnant women the criminal is sometimes charged with a double homicide. Again, is the only difference whether the child is wanted or not? Is that what makes it a human being?

If you believe that the baby in the womb has the same level of being a newborn infant does, then the argument of viability goes out the window. Whether the child is wanted or not does not impact the fact that the unborn child is a human being. Pro life people will not be persuaded by this argument.

Next up: Abortion Argument 5: If you close down Planned Parenthood/women’s health clinics who do abortion, where will women get health services?