Monday, October 10, 2011

What if the BATFE Goes Away?

In the wake of the Fast and Furious investigation, gathering more steam, there has been talk about abolishing the agency entirely.  The story I've heard is that there was similar talk in the mid '90s after the Vickie Weaver murder and Branch Davidian Cluster.. Foxtrot.. in Waco. It has long been a topic of wonder that a tax collection agency, the bastard child of prohibition, has grown to a multi-billion dollar agency with one of the worst records of civil rights violations, revenge-motivated actions, and just pure gratuitous cruelty of any agency in the hydra. 

Now if BATFE goes away, the gun control acts don't, so whatever monster we get has the same wretched laws to enforce.  I can imagine it being FBI, although it seems it should really be in the IRS.  I can see the major tasks divided between the existing agencies, although the government never passes up a chance to grow.  None of those are exactly "feel good" ideas.

I've written before about what I consider "reasonable gun laws": basically treat guns like pretty much everything else, but take advantage of the digital technology that's available today.  I was happy to run across Joe Huffman's View From North Central Idaho, and see his ideas are very parallel to mine.  Pardon me while I lift his major points

  • The ban on interstate gun sales. We have NICS, run by the FBI already, which covers the concerns put forth for the original proponents of the law.
  • The registration and tax on suppressors. Make a NICS check on them a requirement with 4473 like paperwork shouldn’t be that much of a political sell because all the functionality of the existing system would still exist except for the tax revenue which almost for certain doesn’t pay for itself as well as being constitutionally suspect.
  • The laws against on short barreled rifles and shotguns. This only made sense when there were plans to ban handguns (originally part of NFA 34). That didn’t happen and isn’t going to happen (see Heller).
  • Postal restrictions against mailing of firearms. We can ship them via UPS, FedEx, etc. Why not USPS?  (trying to limit their revenue? - GB)
  • The classification of some 12-gauge shotguns as “destructive devices”.
  • The “sporting purpose” tests for firearms. The Heller decision makes it very clear that the Second Amendment isn’t about duck hunting. This particularly affects imports. Unless it as part of some trade war it makes no sense that guns and ammo which are perfectly legal to manufacture and own inside the U.S. cannot be imported. Either ban them as part of a coherent (as if trade wars can make sense but that is another topic so please don’t get into it at this time) trade policy or get rid of the bans.
  • The ban of sales of firearms to citizens who have no U.S. residence. Just because someone has been living and working in another country for a few months or even years does not mean they should be prohibited from exercising their specific enumerated right to keep and bear arms when they return for a visit.
  • These are all commonsense things.  The idea that a shotgun barrel 18.05" long is fine, but one that's 17.95" is some sort of killer monster weapon is just silly.  It's there simply to create law violations.  It's also one of their most enforced laws - probably because it's among the easiest to determine innocence or guilt of.  Why are some 12 ga. shotguns "destructive devices" but others aren't.  Are they scarier looking?  More nonsense.
    Time for my regular, "there: does that make it less scary?" cartoon...


    1. Unless it has changed since the last time I did it, it is still possible to ship long guns via USPS. I mailed an AR-7 back to the factory for repair work.

    2. If the BATF goes away, it'll be done in a way that works to the Home Team's advantage--you can bet on that.

    3. I seem to recall that shipping guns for repair work is somehow different, and that you can use the USPS for that. It's the only time normal folks don't need the FFL to ship guns, too.

      I had a real unpleasant thought today - what if they replaced the BATF with Homeland Security? Give it to Janet "the system worked" Incompetano as another gem in her crown?

    4. what if they replaced the BATF with Homeland Security? Give it to Janet "the system worked" Incompetano as another gem in her crown?

      Now you're thinking like Machiavelli. Or a 'progressive' tyrant. Or George Soros' and Bill Ayers' sock-puppet.

    5. Graybeard,

      The USPS prohibition for non-licensees applies only to handguns.

      You're thinking of the bit where, if you ship a gun for repair, it can be shipped back to your doorstep, no FFL required. (In much the same way as you can ship your own guns to yourself.)

    6. Thanks, Tam!

      Just another example of the 9000 pages of "reasonable gun laws" we have, that are so logical and so easy to follow.