Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Reasonable Gun Laws

Ever notice how the Bradys and other anti-gun zealots always talk about "reasonable gun laws"?  They just want to pass just this one tiny, little, additional restriction.  It's for your own good.  Don't buy that?  It's for the children.

I think gun sales laws are too restrictive now. I think the whole setup of only being able to go to an FFL who can only send it across state lines to another FFL just perpetuates a protected market and doesn't do much good for anybody other than FFLs. I'll freely admit that a gun, because it is a "deadly weapon" may warrant some restrictions that, say, an iPad shouldn't get. I'll also freely admit I'm not sure where to put those restrictions.

Let's start here: any adult can walk into a sporting goods store in most places and walk out with a shotgun or a rifle with no waiting period. But if I wanted to buy an AR-15 or a Mossberg 500 from the factory or a store in another state, why does it have to go through an FFL's hands? Why can't I order a rifle or shotgun from an online gun store, or even an kind of "online superstore" and have it shipped to my house? What advantage is there to shipping it to an FFL?

I read that the number of assault rifles involved in crimes was 0.1% or some tiny number like that. I'll take a bet that the number of crimes involving rifles like a Remington 700 or other hunting rifle is dang near zero. The number of crimes you'd prevent is meaningless, so all it does is provide an income to FFLs to do the transfer. It protects the small shop. In consumer goods, your local camera shop, say, really does have to compete with the big guys in New York. Gun shops don't have that. I can see how gun shops might really like this setup. They get an easy few bucks for filling out the form and "receiving" your shipment, but I don't think there's any value added to you or society. If I owned a gun shop, I'd watch prices at the big online shops like Bud's or Impact and put my prices around midway between their price and the price with the shipping cost and FFL fees on my end.

If there's a 3-day waiting period for a handgun (without your CWFL), why can't you order a pistol from Bud's and wait 3 or 4 days for UPS to deliver it? What advantage is there to sending it to an FFL instead of to you? With today's computer security, you could verify age, do an NICS check - anything the local shop can do - online. The whole idea of that 3 day wait was a "cooling off" period, so a hothead doesn't go buy a gun in a moment of anger and then go kill someone (personally, I have a hard time believing there were large numbers of that sort of crime anyway). Fine -- how does waiting 3 days to pick up a gun in your city differ from waiting 3 days to get it delivered by UPS or FedEx?

Can't guarantee security, can't guarantee that criminals won't order guns online? Criminals don't have any problems getting guns now, how is this really different?

I realize this is pipe dream stuff that has a snowball's chance in Florida of ever passing, but our current system really doesn't make sense to me. Like I say, I realize guns are deadly. But so are kitchen knives (how many crimes involve those?), pocket knifes, and on and on, up to cars and trucks. I also realize there's a big group that thinks laws are too free now. We should advance this as a counter-proposal if we ever get to negotiate.

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