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Examining the flip side of Obama’s gun control actions

January 8, 2016

On January 7, 2016, CNN hosted a Town Hall to allow President Obama the chance to explain and flesh out his remarks on his newly authorized gun control policy.  The NRA while invited, chose not to participate, but a number of people with questions about his logic were in attendance.

One of the points raised by Anderson Cooper was that well, people just don’t trust the Federal government in general and this President in particular not to expand their reach “incrementally” as they have done in many other instances.

For a printable transcript of the event, in case you missed it, you can visit this link:

http://www.cnn.com/2016/01/07/politics/transcript-obama-town-hall-guns-in-america/

The President made the comparison that cars have many more technological innovations added and laws passed that make drivers safer, and questioned why anyone would be against the same scenario for guns.

In a way, that’s symbolic of both the good and bad points of his argument.

While it is true that traffic fatalities and catastrophic vehicle injuries are down, the mandated equipment on vehicles and the ever-increasing pollution control devices have effectively put a new or even a reasonably recent used car or truck out of the purchasing range of many Americans.

The consequence is that many people are driving around in 10, 15, even 20 year old cars and trucks, making those vehicles and their drivers not only unable to avail themselves of the technology, but more vulnerable to an accident due to mechanical failure.

It is more than likely that putting fingerprint locks or GPS tracking on a gun would drive the price of firearms up to the point that more people would be looking for cheaper used guns than there are today, just as they look to the used for-sale-by-owner market for used cars.

Secondly, the idea only works if the older guns are taken off the market, much as was done in the cash-for-clunkers auto crushing schemes of a few year ago. That leaves one wondering just how far the Federal government would go to gain ownership of the technology-challenged guns.

Keeping with the used car analogy, we have to license our cars every year and provide proof of insurance.  How long would it take for some government agency to figure out that scenario for gun owners?

Another issue that wasn’t explained is what happens when the gun is a family gun?  This writer grew up in a gun-owning home. There was a family .22 that everyone used both for target practice and varmint hunting. How would the technology address that issue?

When the President says that most gun owners do not object to having all the people in all venues that are “in the business of selling guns for profit” having to do background checks and obtain an FFL, he is probably right, according to most folks’ ideas of what constitutes a dealer.

Brick-and-mortar dealers don’t particularly like the idea that online sellers and gun show sellers get a pass on the added costs of obtaining an FFL dealer license.

Ordinary gun owners, sportsmen and hunters have zero interest in criminals and jihadists purchasing any firearm, anywhere.

The argument becomes a little cloudier when you start to define “in the business” and “for-profit.”

For instance, and using myself as an example again, when my father died in 1962, most of his dozen or so guns were sold through an ad in the newspaper and in a gun club newsletter, and they probably brought as much or more than they did when new. Since we didn’t have receipts for most of them it could be legally argued that all of the money was profit to my mother.

Although that might not qualify as a dealer today, what about under another Democratic administration?

When the President characterizes Americans as “bitter people clinging to their guns” he reveals much more about his judgment of the people he supposedly represents than of his firearms  policy decisions.

An awful lot of people feel, the President’s protestations notwithstanding, that he really doesn’t like very much about Americans who are gun owners and the country’s Constitution as it was conceived and as it has existed for 250 years.

Without attempting to spread too large an umbrella over the country, Mr. Obama is the titular head of a political wing of the Democratic party that seems to hold the same contempt for a  segment of the citizenry of  the country that he often manages to convey.

Even Mr. Obama had to admit that less than 1% of criminals are buying guns at gun shows. But he also used the illustration that guns bought legally in one state can then be sold to criminals “out of the trunk of a car”  in another area, and that’s undoubtedly true.

Which leads one to ask this question.

If the goal is to remove guns from the hands of the bad guys, why didn’t he institute a national stop-and-frisk law that targets a known population that habitually obtains its guns that way, or introduce policies to reduce the population that pulls the triggers?

Instead, we have instances like the recent agreement signed in settlement of a lawsuit by the New York City Police Department that says in effect, even if you know that criminals and terrorists are found most often among certain populations, you can’t watch or target  them because the majority  of them have certain easily identifiable visible characteristics.

That is logic that is just a little too fuzzy to follow, particularly in an election year.

The President got a chance to make new converts to his argument and believers in his actions.

It’s doubtful that the effort succeeded.

From → op-ed

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