Reinventing the Wheel: Firearms Legislation

 

Law enforcement is more than just police departments, sheriff’s offices, and federal law enforcement officers. District attorneys and federal prosecutors are also part of the law enforcement process. Law enforcement officers make arrests, but prosecutors make the decision to take a case to court. Prosecutors may add, subtract charges, or decline to prosecute someone who has been arrested.

There has been a cry that we must do something to stop mass shootings. Do something, anything, regardless of whether or not it will work. Panic: Running around in circles, screaming and shouting are not going to mitigate a problem.

The recidivism rate for firearms offenders:

Firearms offenders recidivated at a higher rate than all other offenders. Over two-thirds (69.0%) of firearms offenders were rearrested for a new crime during the eight-year follow-up period compared to less than half of all other offenders (45.1%).

How many criminals that have possessed a firearm in the commission of a crime have been referred to federal prosecutors for prosecution for the following law? I don’t know.

From the NRA-ILA website:

Under federal law supported by the National Rifle Association, the use of a firearm in a violent or drug-trafficking crime is punishable by a mandatory prison sentence of up to 20 years. A second conviction, if the firearm is a machine gun or is equipped with a silencer, brings life imprisonment without release. Violating firearms laws should lead to very real punishment for violent criminals, but the laws first must be enforced.

Focusing on law-abiding gun owners is not going to stop mass shootings or any other crime committed while in possession of a firearm. Prosecutors that see criminals as a victim are a problem and they are a contributor to rising crime rates including gun crimes. Criminals have their own advocates; they are called defense attorneys.

Rights come with obligations. Law-abiding gun owners don’t step out onto their front lawn on the Fourth of July and empty a 17-round magazine into the night air.

There are many myths from the Left involving the purchase of firearms, gun shows, and ammunition. New firearms laws are working their way through the House and Senate. Let’s look at current federal firearms law from the NRA-ILA website:

Caution: Firearm laws are subject to frequent change and court interpretation. This summary is not intended as legal advice or restatement of law. This summary does not include state or local laws, ordinances or regulations. For any particular situation, a licensed local attorney must be consulted for an accurate interpretation.

Ineligible Persons

The following classes of people are ineligible to possess, receive, ship, or transport firearms or ammunition:
• Those convicted of crimes punishable by imprisonment for over one year, except state misdemeanors punishable by two years or less.
• Fugitives from justice.
• Unlawful users of certain depressant, narcotic, or stimulant drugs.
• Those adjudicated as mental defectives or incompetents or those committed to any mental institution.
• Illegal aliens.
• Citizens who have renounced their citizenship.
• Those persons dishonorably discharged from the Armed Forces.
• Persons less than 18 years of age for the purchase of a shotgun or rifle.
• Persons less than 21 years of age for the purchase of a firearm that is other than a shotgun or rifle.
• Persons subject to a court order that restrains such persons from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner.
• Persons convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.

Persons under indictment for a crime punishable by imprisonment for more than one year are ineligible to receive, transport, or ship any firearm or ammunition. Under limited conditions, relief from disability may be obtained from the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, or through a pardon, expungement, restoration of rights, or setting aside of a conviction.

From dealers

Provided that federal law and the laws of both the dealer`s and purchaser`s states and localities are complied with:
• An individual 21 years of age or older may acquire a handgun from a dealer federally licensed to sell firearms in the individual`s state of residence
• An individual 18 years of age or older may purchase a rifle or shotgun from a federally licensed dealer in any state

It shall be unlawful for any licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer to sell, deliver, or transfer a firearm unless the federal firearms licensee receives notice of approval from a prescribed source approving the transfer.

Sale of a firearm by a federally licensed dealer must be documented by a federal form 4473, which identifies and includes other information about the purchaser, and records the make, model, and serial number of the firearm. Sales to an individual of multiple handguns within a five-day period require dealer notification to the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Violations of dealer record keeping requirements are punishable by a penalty of up to $1000 and one year`s imprisonment.

As with firearms, shipments of ammunition must be accompanied by a written notice of the shipment`s contents. It is unlawful for any licensed importer, dealer, manufacturer or collector to transfer shotgun or rifle ammunition to anyone under the age of 18, or any handgun ammunition to anyone under the age of 21.

It is illegal to manufacture or sell armor-piercing handgun ammunition.

A law-abiding firearms owner needs to know both federal law and their state laws. State law changes usually occur on January 1.

Existing laws should be enforced. Existing laws and new laws will not prevent all shootings it might stop some. The only way to eliminate a crime is with the stroke of a pen. Declare that bank robbery is no longer a crime only means it will no longer be reported, or prosecuted, therefore it no longer exists. The act itself will be repeated on a regular basis.

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  1. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    You left out judges. In King County the prosecutors regularly charge repeat offenders, who are promptly returned to the streets by lenient judges. And some of those judges have been, themselves, assaulted outside the county courthouse by those repeat offenders!

    • #1
  2. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    You left out judges. In King County the prosecutors regularly charge repeat offenders, who are promptly returned to the streets by lenient judges. And some of those judges have been, themselves, assaulted outside the county courthouse by those repeat offenders!

    When a judge presides over a bail hearing their first and only consideration should be is the subject a danger to the community. If so, the subject should be a guest of the county until and during their trial.

    • #2
  3. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    You left out judges. In King County the prosecutors regularly charge repeat offenders, who are promptly returned to the streets by lenient judges. And some of those judges have been, themselves, assaulted outside the county courthouse by those repeat offenders!

    Remember that New York judge nicknamed Turn Em Loose Bruce?

    • #3
  4. MWD B612 "Dawg" Member
    MWD B612 "Dawg"
    @danok1

    Doug Watt: Existing law should be enforced.

    Kevin D. Williamson has harped on this for years. There are almost no Federal prosecutions for straw-buying, although that law is on the books and could prevent some criminals from more easily acquiring firearms.

    Similarly, Federal law requires a FFL to release a firearm to a buyer if there is no “decision” from the NCIS background check after 72 hours. Sometimes a final decision of “Denied” comes after the buyer takes possession of the weapon. What happens then?

    Nothing happens. There is no effort made to retrieve the weapon from the prohibited person. There should be an attempt to get the weapon out of the hands of a known prohibited person, but there isn’t.

    These are two things Biden could do immediately. The laws are on the books, so he doesn’t have to wait for Congress. He simply needs to send a memo to the ATF  instructing them to recover those weapons that a prohibited person took possession of after 72 hours of waiting for the background check. And one memo to the DOJ instructing them to investigate and prosecute straw buyers. Both agencies would also to instructed to report regularly to POTUS on the implementations and results of these directives.

    But that would require government employees to get off their backsides.

    • #4
  5. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    Kevin Williamson had some stats in his last NR piece:  From a 2017 GAO study for stats of that year:

    There were 112,000 instances in which a legally barred person tried to purchase a firearm (which is itself a crime).  36 percent of those 112,000 denied firearms were convicted felons, 30 percent were subjects of protective orders, and 16 percent had been convicted of disqualifying domestic-violence misdemeanors. 

    Only 12,700 of those instances were investigated resulting in only 12 (yes, no typo: one dozen) prosecutions.

    I would bet that Chicago and LA do not regularly go after straw buyers (girlfriends and grandmothers who buy guns for felons) which is a major source of firearm availability to violent idiots.

    Enforcement is too much work.  But if we pile some more paperwork and harassment on those Americans least likely to commit a violent offense, we will be Doing Something About It.

     

    • #5
  6. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    In the State of Oregon State Troopers receive a fax from FFL dealers to conduct the background check. Troopers check the NCIC, NCIS and the state data base. When someone was refused a state trooper would visit the applicant and interview them. In some cases, the applicant did not realize that he/she could not purchase a firearm. They would explain why they were refused and warned not to apply again. In other cases, they would be arrested. The detail was disbanded to due to staff shortages, but the state has decided to restart the program.

    • #6
  7. Douglas Pratt Coolidge
    Douglas Pratt
    @DouglasPratt

    https://www.nationalreview.com/2022/05/explaining-the-gun-debate/

    Best thing I’ve read on the subject.

    The frustrating thing to me is that any discussion of guns in relation to crime is completely irrelevant. Guns have no moral agency. People commit crimes.

    • #7
  8. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Doug Watt: Law enforcement is more than just police departments, sheriff’s offices, and Federal law enforcement officers. District Attorneys and Federal prosecutors are also part of the law enforcement process.

    Should we add judges and juries to that list?

    • #8
  9. Vince Guerra Member
    Vince Guerra
    @VinceGuerra

    Mass shootings don’t just happen one day. They are the the end result of observable, predictable behaviors that go unchecked and unaddressed for months and years. The guns themselves have little to do with the issue (they’re just one tool out of many options) until the very end of the long journey nobody felt like doing anything about till it was too late. 

    • #9
  10. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    Vince Guerra (View Comment):

    Mass shootings don’t just happen one day. They are the the end result of observable, predictable behaviors that go unchecked and unaddressed for months and years. The guns themselves have little to do with the issue (they’re just one tool out of many options) until the very end of the long journey nobody felt like doing anything about till it was too late.

    Indeed, someone doesn’t wake up one morning who was living a virtuous life and decides to shoot-up, or go on a stabbing spree at a school, grocery store, or mall.

    I wish had a dollar for every time I heard he’s really a good kid, or he was trying to turn around his life. I wish had another dollar for every time the sixth-grade class photo, or better yet holding an infant that was released to the media after their son had been arrested.

    • #10
  11. Mad Gerald Coolidge
    Mad Gerald
    @Jose

    Here is one example among many of lenient judges and prosecutors – in Chicago.  Don’t they have an on-going problem there?

    One year ago, cops arrested Joshua Concepcion after officers allegedly saw him walking down a street at 12:05 a.m. with a gun in his hand. Later the same day, Judge John Lyke released Concepcion on his own recognizance to await trial on two felony counts of unlawful use of a weapon.

    Concepcion, 19, got ahold of another gun and, one week before Thanksgiving, he shot and killed a 60-year-old man who was riding in another car on the inbound Stevenson Expressway in the Bridgeport neighborhood, prosecutors said Tuesday.

    • #11
  12. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    There will always be individuals that will escape notice until they carry out a shooting. The 2017 Las Vegas shooter is an example of someone who escaped notice.

    Regardless of conspiracy theories the Vegas shooter was on no one’s radar.

    Paddock’s gun purchases spiked significantly between October 2016 and September 28, 2017. He purchased over 55 firearms, the majority of them rifles, according to Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. He also purchased a number of firearm-related accessories. Prior to that, he purchased approximately 29 firearms between 1982 and September 2016, mainly handguns and shotguns. His girlfriend noticed the increase of firearm-related purchases but believed his interest in guns was just a hobby.

    He had traffic violations on his record, not crimes so he would not have been in the NCIC or NCIS data base. Multiple long gun purchases do not have to be reported to the BATF unlike multiple handgun purchases within a five-day period. He had no social media presence, nor did he leave a manifesto.

    • #12
  13. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Vince Guerra (View Comment):
    They are the the end result of observable, predictable behaviors that go unchecked and unaddressed for months and years.

    That’s the basis for red flag laws. I’d have to see the evidence before I’d believe it. 

    • #13
  14. Vince Guerra Member
    Vince Guerra
    @VinceGuerra

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    There will always be individuals that will escape notice until they carry out a shooting. The 2017 Las Vegas shooter is an example of someone who escaped notice.

    Regardless of conspiracy theories the Vegas shooter was on no one’s radar.

    Paddock’s gun purchases spiked significantly between October 2016 and September 28, 2017. He purchased over 55 firearms, the majority of them rifles, according to Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. He also purchased a number of firearm-related accessories. Prior to that, he purchased approximately 29 firearms between 1982 and September 2016, mainly handguns and shotguns. His girlfriend noticed the increase of firearm-related purchases but believed his interest in guns was just a hobby.

    He had traffic violations on his record, not crimes so he would not have been in the NCIC or NCIS data base. Multiple long gun purchases do not have to be reported to the BATF unlike multiple handgun purchases within a five-day period. He had no social media presence, nor did he leave a manifesto.

    I’ll guarantee you that if you ask his former employers or coworkers you’ll find a long history of stories and incidents that made people worry about him. 

    • #14
  15. Cassandro Coolidge
    Cassandro
    @Flicker

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    There will always be individuals that will escape notice until they carry out a shooting. The 2017 Las Vegas shooter is an example of someone who escaped notice.

    Regardless of conspiracy theories the Vegas shooter was on no one’s radar.

    Paddock’s gun purchases spiked significantly between October 2016 and September 28, 2017. He purchased over 55 firearms, the majority of them rifles, according to Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. He also purchased a number of firearm-related accessories. Prior to that, he purchased approximately 29 firearms between 1982 and September 2016, mainly handguns and shotguns. His girlfriend noticed the increase of firearm-related purchases but believed his interest in guns was just a hobby.

    He had traffic violations on his record, not crimes so he would not have been in the NCIC or NCIS data base. Multiple long gun purchases do not have to be reported to the BATF unlike multiple handgun purchases within a five-day period. He had no social media presence, nor did he leave a manifesto.

    Good points.  How many guns is permissible?  I know a guy who has literally hundreds of guns.  Some you can’t even get brass for anymore, and this guy doesn’t care.  He just collects guns.  My childhood GP was a very nice man.  He had muskets hanging on the walls of his waiting room.  He had a cartoon of himself on the wall behind his desk of him vaguely reaching to pick up something and a syringe was right next to a pistol (in the cartoon).  And the caption read “Are you ready for your shot?”

    When he died, his estate was divided into three lots, and each lot supplied a gun shop for years.  I believe there several thousand guns and rifles of all makes and models.  You can be a nice guy, and like guns, and if you make a lot of money, you can buy a whole lot of guns.  That doesn’t make you a terrorist or anything.

    • #15
  16. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Vince Guerra (View Comment):
    They are the the end result of observable, predictable behaviors that go unchecked and unaddressed for months and years.

    Which means if a whacko has to wait three days for a background check or three years to turn 21, he’s still going to commit the crime . . .

    • #16
  17. Vince Guerra Member
    Vince Guerra
    @VinceGuerra

    Stad (View Comment):

    Vince Guerra (View Comment):
    They are the the end result of observable, predictable behaviors that go unchecked and unaddressed for months and years.

    Which means if a whacko has to wait three days for a background check or three years to turn 21, he’s still going to commit the crime . . .

    Or that if he cant get a gun he’ll use a knife, or a car, or gasoline, or a propane tank…a man  committed to murder doesn’t need a gun.

    • #17
  18. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Vince Guerra (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    Vince Guerra (View Comment):
    They are the the end result of observable, predictable behaviors that go unchecked and unaddressed for months and years.

    Which means if a whacko has to wait three days for a background check or three years to turn 21, he’s still going to commit the crime . . .

    Or that if he cant get a gun he’ll use a knife, or a car, or gasoline, or a propane tank…a man committed to murder doesn’t need a gun.

    True.  If he wants to kill now, he’ll find other ways.  He can still barricade himself in a classroom, and run around with a machete . . .

    • #18
  19. Cassandro Coolidge
    Cassandro
    @Flicker

    Stad (View Comment):

    Vince Guerra (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    Vince Guerra (View Comment):
    They are the the end result of observable, predictable behaviors that go unchecked and unaddressed for months and years.

    Which means if a whacko has to wait three days for a background check or three years to turn 21, he’s still going to commit the crime . . .

    Or that if he cant get a gun he’ll use a knife, or a car, or gasoline, or a propane tank…a man committed to murder doesn’t need a gun.

    True. If he wants to kill now, he’ll find other ways. He can still barracade himself in a classroom, and run around with a machete . . .

    I think I read that most murders are committed with knives (I could be wrong).  Nonetheless, it’s difficult to commit a mass killing with a knife.  But machetes do make it easier.

    • #19
  20. Douglas Pratt Coolidge
    Douglas Pratt
    @DouglasPratt

    “The important variable does not seem to be guns. Americans shoot each
    other to death at a much higher rate than do citizens of most other
    countries, but they also stab each other to death, beat each other to
    death, burn each other to death, etc., much more frequently than do
    citizens of other countries. In fact, the number of murders committed by
    Americans armed with nothing more than their bare hands each year
    exceeds the number of murders committed by Americans with so-called
    assault rifles. The United States has unusually high rates of criminal
    violence across the board rather than just an unusually high rate of
    gun-related violence.

    My conclusion: The problem with America isn’t that it is full of guns
    — the problem with America is that it is full of Americans.

    –Kevin D. Williamson

    • #20
  21. Richard O'Shea Coolidge
    Richard O'Shea
    @RichardOShea

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    There will always be individuals that will escape notice until they carry out a shooting. The 2017 Las Vegas shooter is an example of someone who escaped notice.

    Regardless of conspiracy theories the Vegas shooter was on no one’s radar.

    Paddock’s gun purchases spiked significantly between October 2016 and September 28, 2017. He purchased over 55 firearms, the majority of them rifles, according to Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. He also purchased a number of firearm-related accessories. Prior to that, he purchased approximately 29 firearms between 1982 and September 2016, mainly handguns and shotguns. His girlfriend noticed the increase of firearm-related purchases but believed his interest in guns was just a hobby.

    He had traffic violations on his record, not crimes so he would not have been in the NCIC or NCIS data base. Multiple long gun purchases do not have to be reported to the BATF unlike multiple handgun purchases within a five-day period. He had no social media presence, nor did he leave a manifesto.

    He is the Black Swan of all the mass shooters.  No history of violence, old, and well off.

    • #21
  22. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Cassandro (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    Vince Guerra (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    Vince Guerra (View Comment):
    They are the the end result of observable, predictable behaviors that go unchecked and unaddressed for months and years.

    Which means if a whacko has to wait three days for a background check or three years to turn 21, he’s still going to commit the crime . . .

    Or that if he cant get a gun he’ll use a knife, or a car, or gasoline, or a propane tank…a man committed to murder doesn’t need a gun.

    True. If he wants to kill now, he’ll find other ways. He can still barracade himself in a classroom, and run around with a machete . . .

    I think I read that most murders are committed with knives (I could be wrong). Nonetheless, it’s difficult to commit a mass killing with a knife. But machetes do make it easier.

    Yes.  More murders are commited with knives, blunt objects, or hands and feet . . .

    • #22
  23. Gazpacho Grande' Coolidge
    Gazpacho Grande'
    @ChrisCampion

    Richard O'Shea (View Comment):

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    There will always be individuals that will escape notice until they carry out a shooting. The 2017 Las Vegas shooter is an example of someone who escaped notice.

    Regardless of conspiracy theories the Vegas shooter was on no one’s radar.

    Paddock’s gun purchases spiked significantly between October 2016 and September 28, 2017. He purchased over 55 firearms, the majority of them rifles, according to Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. He also purchased a number of firearm-related accessories. Prior to that, he purchased approximately 29 firearms between 1982 and September 2016, mainly handguns and shotguns. His girlfriend noticed the increase of firearm-related purchases but believed his interest in guns was just a hobby.

    He had traffic violations on his record, not crimes so he would not have been in the NCIC or NCIS data base. Multiple long gun purchases do not have to be reported to the BATF unlike multiple handgun purchases within a five-day period. He had no social media presence, nor did he leave a manifesto.

    He is the Black Swan of all the mass shooters. No history of violence, old, and well off.

    The good news is: Our FBI is all over the case.  We’ve learned so much since the incident.

    • #23
  24. Gazpacho Grande' Coolidge
    Gazpacho Grande'
    @ChrisCampion

    Douglas Pratt (View Comment):

    “The important variable does not seem to be guns. Americans shoot each
    other to death at a much higher rate than do citizens of most other
    countries, but they also stab each other to death, beat each other to
    death, burn each other to death, etc., much more frequently than do
    citizens of other countries. In fact, the number of murders committed by
    Americans armed with nothing more than their bare hands each year
    exceeds the number of murders committed by Americans with so-called
    assault rifles. The United States has unusually high rates of criminal
    violence across the board rather than just an unusually high rate of
    gun-related violence.

    My conclusion: The problem with America isn’t that it is full of guns
    — the problem with America is that it is full of Americans.

    –Kevin D. Williamson

    Or full of criminals.  Generally speaking, when I have a beef with a co-worker, it doesn’t turn into a drive-by shooting.

    I love Kevin’s writing, but the tendency to smugness overpowers him.  The number of crimes committed is by a tiny percentage of the population.  Extrapolating that to all Americans is the same as saying all Americans are racists because some of them are.

    Kevin might as well say America is full of humans.  That would be more accurate.  Unless we want to start pulling in the stats of those countries that confiscated and barred gun ownership, and killed tens of millions of its own people immediately afterward.  That’s also part of our shared human history.  And yet, still, no one calls for the banning of communism.

    • #24
  25. Richard O'Shea Coolidge
    Richard O'Shea
    @RichardOShea

    Richard O'Shea (View Comment):

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    There will always be individuals that will escape notice until they carry out a shooting. The 2017 Las Vegas shooter is an example of someone who escaped notice.

    Regardless of conspiracy theories the Vegas shooter was on no one’s radar.

    Paddock’s gun purchases spiked significantly between October 2016 and September 28, 2017. He purchased over 55 firearms, the majority of them rifles, according to Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. He also purchased a number of firearm-related accessories. Prior to that, he purchased approximately 29 firearms between 1982 and September 2016, mainly handguns and shotguns. His girlfriend noticed the increase of firearm-related purchases but believed his interest in guns was just a hobby.

    He had traffic violations on his record, not crimes so he would not have been in the NCIC or NCIS data base. Multiple long gun purchases do not have to be reported to the BATF unlike multiple handgun purchases within a five-day period. He had no social media presence, nor did he leave a manifesto.

    He is the Black Swan of all the mass shooters. No history of violence, old, and well off.

    And now a second odd one. A 70 year old that shoots three other elderly folks.

    At a church.

    I don’t get it .

    • #25
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