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49


L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 49, June 30, 1999

They're Just "Closing the Last Loopholes", See

by Vin Suprynowicz
Vin_Suprynowicz@lvrj.com

Special to The Libertarian Enterprise

           Offered a chance to let voters know her position on the Second Amendment in the Las Vegas Review-Journal last October, Democratic congressional candidate Shelley Berkley wrote: "I'm a strong believer in the Second Amendment. There's no need for more control, but I favor gun safety education."
           Last week, asked why she voted against a gun control bill which would have required "background checks" for any firearm sale between private parties at a gun show, the liberal New York lawyer now serving as a freshman Democratic Congresswoman from Nevada replied that -- the amount of time allowed for the background check having been reduced from three days to one -- this new assault on the Second Amendment simply didn't go far enough.
           "For the greatest deliberative body in the world's history to have done so little on such an important issue is ridiculous," spake the lady.
           They say the way to tell when politicians are lying is to watch for their lips to move. Rarely has this been more true than in the failed (so far) attempt to "close the gun-show loophole."
           The Democrats (and many Republican enemies of the Bill of Rights) who finally turned against this bill argued that allowing only one day for the state police or FBI to run a "background check" on a potential gun buyer -- after 24 hours the sale could have gone through -- "wasn't long enough."
           But under the "Brady Bill" compromise which the NRA foolishly embraced some years back, the gun-grabbers assured us that by Nov. 1, 1998, there would be in place a computerized, national INSTANT background check.
           Instant.
           If they have failed to keep that promise, than the Brady Law itself is null and void, and all "background checks" and "waiting periods" must be done away with immediately.
           But come on. This debate had nothing to do with how long it takes to determine whether someone is a felon -- that's entirely a smokescreen. What convicted felon is going to fill out his proper name and address on a government form and expose himself to felony prosecution for trying to buy a gun through a licensed dealer, when he knows full well how to buy one from Guido or Kareem out behind the tavern?
           The Clinton administration claims "background checks" have stopped 400,000 "felons" from trying to buy guns, but they've never tried to prosecute more than a handful of these people, knowing full well these were almost entirely "false negatives" -- decent citizens wrongly denied a constitutional right.
           No, the reason for all this misdirection about "how long it takes to run a background check" is that the real hoplophobe agenda here was to end all gun shows, which are generally held over two-day weekends.
           Let's say the widow of a police officer rents a table at a gun show. She displays seven or eight of her dead husband's revolvers and hunting rifles, priced from $250 to $950 -- more than enough to cover her overhead for the weekend.
           As things are now, I can drive to the show from 100 miles away, negotiate with her for one of her husband's old police revolvers, pay her $200 cash, and take the weapon home for my collection. We're both private citizens -- only those who maintain their major business in firearms are required to hold federal firearms licenses and run background checks -- so this transaction is perfectly legal, as it should be in any nation where "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."
           With a required "background check" which can take up to one day, the lady would have to tell me on Saturday to come back on Sunday. Now I have to spend $80 on a motel room to stay overnight, as well as $15 for the background check -- assuming we can find someone at the show who knows how to do that and who has a phone.
           By this time, my vintage $200 "bargain" handgun is no longer quite such a bargain.
           But if anti-gun government agencies were granted THREE DAYS to conduct the "background check"? Now the widow would have to tell me to come to her home the following Tuesday. But she doesn't want total strangers to know her home address, or that she has valuables stored there. Nor can I afford another 200-mile round next Tuesday, a work day.
           Presto: the "wait-three-days" background check would be the end of the gun shows -- the real gun-grabber agenda, which our courtesan press was so careful never to point out during this whole noisy debate.
           But wait: We still haven't gotten to the MAIN fraud inherent in this "three-day background check." The lapdog press obediently makes it sound as though the whole issue is determining whether the prospective buyer is a felon. But if that were the goal, why not allow any gun collector, hobby shooter, or militiaman to get his "background" run once, whereupon he would be issued a card, good for life, indicating "Not a felon; can buy any gun he wants" -- a card which he could be forced to hand over if ever convicted of a serious felony?
           (Mind you, even that would be unconstitutional and unnecessary, since the Constitution does not allow establishment of any second-class citizenship for felons once they've paid their debt to society. Just as the First Amendment automatically restores their freedom to attend church or publish a book the moment they leave prison, so must their guns be handed back to them as they walk out that door, their full sentences served.)
           But to figure out what this is really about, ask yourself one simple question: Why does the federal "background check" form also include the weapon's serial number and the buyer's home address?
           The answer is that this whole procedure isn't about "checking backgrounds," at all. It's national gun registration, which has proved to be a precursor to government CONFISCATION of all handguns and semi-automatic long guns in such "can't-happen-here" nations as Great Britain and Australia, in the past decade alone.
           Once a government agency knows your name, home address, and the serial number, make, and model of every weapon you've ever bought, does any thinking person seriously submit we can trust those bureaucrats to destroy those records?
           This is precisely what Bill Clinton and his fellow enemies of freedom really mean when they speak of closing "the loophole."
           The "loophole" has been that, up till now, should an armed government gang show up at your door with their clipboard and their list, you could safely lie about the weapons you'd been provident enough to bury out in the back 40, saying "Oh, I sold THAT one to some guy at a gun show years ago; never did get the old boy's name. Private sale, you understand -- no records."
           But once they've closed the last "loophole" -- banning private sales without a "background check" (a federal record being made of each transfer by serial number) -- the answer to that little white fib will be, "In doing that, Mr. Jones, you committed a felony, selling a weapon without a background check. So which is it going to be -- show us where you buried the gun, or go to jail?"
           National registration of all firearms, to be followed by confiscation.
           "Oh, it can't happen here," whine the Pollyannas.
           But it already is happening here. Last month, California Secretary of State Bill Lockyer gave California citizens six months to turn in many previously-legal, 1950s-vintage, SKS semi-automatic rifles purchased from 1992 through 1997. (Which ones will depend on official interpretation of the phrase "detachable magazines" - see www.sksbuyback.org.)
           Californians will be paid the current "going rate" of $230 -- no matter to what value they believe the weapons might have appreciated in the future.
           Get it? Firearms confiscation is already here.
           They're just "closing the last loopholes."


Vin Suprynowicz is assistant editorial page editor of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Copies of his new book, "Send in the Waco Killers," can be ordered at $21.95 for each copy plus $3 shipping via Mountain Media, P.O. Box 271122, Las Vegas, Nev. 89127. Or, dial 1-800-244-2224.


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