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A Stretch Too Far

By Greg L | 29 April 2007 | Virginia Politics, Crime | 13 Comments

As stretches go, this is one of the longer ones.  GoodbyeKen has posted an article saying that Ken Cuccinelli was somehow responsible for the massacre at Virginia Tech because he opposed attempts to regulate private firearms transfers at gun shows.  SB 807 (in the 2005 session) had absolutely nothing at all to do with the manner in which the crazed lunatic who committed this outrage obtained his firearms, and even had Cho tried to obtain a firearm at a gun show under the regulations that SB 807 imposed, he would not have been denied.

I can understand that there are some who view any opportunity to impose restrictions on the possession, transfer, or use of firearms as an imperative.  It might be an uninformed view to hold, but not everyone out there has experience in this subject.  Nevertheless, it would be refreshing for those linking cause and effect to at least be able to follow the wording of the law, and be able to apply the circumstances accurately.  This kind of call for more gun control, as if those with evil intentions will ever be dissuaded from committing their atrocities by just one more gun law, actually harms us.  For whenever we think that more restrictions on liberty will prevent evil, we’re just showing how little we understand those who founded our nation.  It’s too bad ignorance isn’t more painful.

Cho didn’t buy a firearm at a gun show.  The firearms he did purchase were transferred to him from a licensed firearms dealer, who complied with the National Instance Check System.  Cho passed that background check, and unless we start talking about stripping everyone who has received outpatient mental health services of their gun rights, this discussion is entirely inane.

Perhaps such an idea might appeal to some, who might find such a notion consistent with their imperatives, but I’d hope they don’t rush too quickly into supporting such an idea.  Consider the scenario of a single mother who loses her child, who seeks assistance in dealing with such a terrible tragedy.  After news coverage of her tragedy, she starts attracting stalkers, and after learning that there’s really no way for the police to provide her with round-the-clock protection for an indefinite period, she seeks to obtain effective means for her own defense.  Would gun control advocates, who typically describe themselves as socially conscious progressives, want to endanger folks such as this?  I can’t imagine even the progressive crowd wanting to sacrifice the vulnerable on the altar of their gun control dogma.

But maybe we’re going to have to wait and see about this.  Given how hard the gun control crowd is trying to cram their square peg of an agenda into the round hold of the circumstances surrounding the Virginia Tech tragedy, perhaps anything is possible.  They’re stretching pretty far already.



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13 Comments

  1. Jonathan Mark said on 29 Apr 2007 at 11:01 pm:
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    Well, I am sorry that we have this disagreement. I am quite angry that Cuccinelli has endorsed Faisal Gill, and believe that he does not deserve to hold his office primarily for that reason.

    He is representing a predominantly Democratic district. Cuccinelli is not candid with the Democratic constituents who he represents about what his true views are.

    “”"SB 807 (in the 2005 session) had absolutely nothing at all to do with the manner in which the crazed lunatic who committed this outrage obtained his firearms, and even had Cho tried to obtain a firearm at a gun show under the regulations that SB 807 imposed, he would not have been denied.”"”

    True, but not the point I was making. Cuccinelli and Kaine agree that a background check should include any court finding that the would-be purchaser is mentally incompetent. In fact, I think we all agree about that.

    Cuccinelli on WTOP this weekend certainly seemed to support the idea that a person with Cho’s background of mental incompetence should not be purchasing a gun. The problem is that no matter how inclusive background checks become, those who purchase firearms at gun shows from private sellers are not subject to background checks.

    Cho was devious. Had he been denied a firearm because of a background check he could and perhaps would have gone to a gun show and purchased weapons from a private seller. The Columbine killers bought their guns through an intermediary at a gun show precisely because of the lack of controls over such purchases.

    At this point the goal ought to be to prevent the mentally incompetent from purchasing guns anywhere, even at a gun show from a private seller. What Cuccinelli is proposing would not stop that from happening, because SB 807 failed by one vote in 2005…Ken Cuccinelli’s vote.

    He should move to somewhere that the people agree with him on guns. I doubt they do in the district he represents.

    “”"This kind of call for more gun control, as if those with evil intentions will ever be dissuaded from committing their atrocities by just one more gun law, actually harms us.”"”

    In this case we already have background checks at gun shows for those who purchase their guns from dealers. All SB 807 would have done was require private sellers at gun shows to use the same system that dealers use. Am I missing something. Did SB 807 do more than I say?

    “”"Cho didn’t buy a firearm at a gun show.”"”

    Agreed.

    “”"The firearms he did purchase were transferred to him from a licensed firearms dealer, who complied with the National Instance Check System.”"”

    Agreed. The problem and half-solution that Cuccinelli proposes is that court findings of mental incompetence are not included in background check results, and they should be.

    “”"Cho passed that background check,”"”

    Agreed.

    “”"and unless we start talking about stripping everyone who has received outpatient mental health services of their gun rights, this discussion is entirely inane.”"”

    That is quite a check. Only a small percentage of persons who receive outpatient mental health services are mentally incompetent.

    “”"After news coverage of her tragedy, she starts attracting stalkers, and after learning that there’s really no way for the police to provide her with round-the-clock protection for an indefinite period, she seeks to obtain effective means for her own defense.”"”

    There was nothing in SB 807 that would have any impact on the single mother’s ability to get a gun, unless a court has found her to be mentally incompetent. In which case it was totally appropriate for her to lose custody of her child. A mentally incompetent person is not in a good place from which to decide if someone is stalking her, and ought not to be making the life-or-death decisions that carrying a concealed firearm involves.

    Cuccinelli is fooling his predominantly Democratic constituents into thinking that he is a moderate on guns, and in fact he does not represent his constituents’ views. He is unfit for office because of the Faisal Gill matter, his district is near mine and I intent to do my small part to retire him.

  2. Chris said on 29 Apr 2007 at 11:51 pm:
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    Are you crazy? You take ONE endorsement you don’t like and throw a fit? Do you even realize who you would be elected if you “do my small part to retire him?” Janet Olecek might be to the LEFT of this district and for everything you and I and all of us conservatives believe in she will work against it. We bemoan the lack of conservatives in the Senate, and now the ONE straight up conservative there you want to take out becasue of Faisal Gill? THIS is why we are losing, this internal cannibalism. You don’t like Gill? Fine, work for Lucas. But if you start going after every Republican who doesn’t pass your smell test, we are gonna find ourselves in the minority, adn the Democratic senate that replaces this one will ensure that Republicans never get near NOVA seats again.

  3. Greg L said on 29 Apr 2007 at 11:59 pm:
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    Jon, with all that we find common ground on, I guess this is one of those instances when we don’t see things the same way. Probably when we dig deeper, there’s a few more of these, but that doesn’t detract from my impression that there are issues where both sides of the aisle can find common ground, and forge bipartisan solutions.

    The “gun show loophole”, as it is somewhat foolishly called, preserves the right of those not regularly engaged in trading firearms — ordinary gun owners — to trade their personal property with others. That’s really what’s going on here. Require anyone selling their own property to register with the BATF in order to do so, and we invite major problems.

    One might consider this rare circumstance of private individuals selling their property at a gun show to pose somewhat of a threat. In reality, there’s no demonstration that it is. Before engaging on a quest to close this “loophole” of allowing citizens to freely trade their goods as protected under the constitution, one might want to establish concretely whether there actually is a problem in need of solving, or whether this is just an inconvenient citizens right that just sticks in the craw of liberals who can’t fathom the idea of anyone purchasing a firearm no matter what the source.

    At any rate, Cuccinelli has endangered no one with his vote on this bill, and merely sided with the same political philosophy that the founders of our nation adhered to. He should be congratulated on this, not criticized.

  4. Alton Foley (I'm Not Emeril, if you prefer) said on 30 Apr 2007 at 5:11 am:
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    “…because SB 807 failed by one vote in 2005…Ken Cuccinelli’s vote.”

    BUT;

    because SB 807 failed by one vote in 2005…Roscoe Reynolds’ vote.

    I wonder if “Goodbye Ken” will join me in helping to defeat Senator Reynolds now.

  5. Jonathan Mark said on 30 Apr 2007 at 6:57 am:
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    “”"if “Goodbye Ken” will join me in helping to defeat Senator Reynolds now.”"”

    Did Senator Reynolds receive $15,900 from officials of the Safa Group? Cuccinelli did.

    Did Reynolds endorse Gill? Cuccinelli did.

    Cuccinelli is dangerous, because he is saying that it is okay to have been the chief lobbyist (Gill) for or on behalf of a convicted terrorist (Abdurahman Alamoudi), you can still go to Richmond.

    To see why Cuccinelli’s acceptance of $15,900 from the Safa Group is so dangerous, google “Safa Group” and “Isle of Man.”

    Cuccinelli is a matador who has turned his back on the bull, the anti-terrorist majority of people, to please the crowd of hacks, corrupt pols, sharia law advocates, whatever at the Faisal Gill kickoff. We will see if this works out for him.

  6. anon said on 30 Apr 2007 at 12:29 pm:
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    Isn’t Alton Foley, the Martinsville blogger, the one who wrote he had no use for the Koran “except for pissing on it?”

  7. Turn PW Blue said on 30 Apr 2007 at 1:41 pm:
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    I think the issue with the gun show “loophole” is that it provides an avenue to evade the “normal” requirements of a background check. If Virginia law says you must undergo a background check and waiting period to buy a firearm from a licensed dealer, then you certainly should have a similar process for guns bought through other legal means. In many ways, not requiring gun show sales to follow the same rules as gun shop sales seems to be discriminatory against owners of gun shops who must go through an additional set of requirements that others do not. This is more than citizens exchanging goods in a free and open market. This is a case of citizens exchanging controlled items in a free and open market. There is a difference. If I want to trade you my bottle of Oxycotin for your lawnmower, I’m in violation of the law even though I am simply engaging in simple commerce.

    It’s also interesting to note that Governor Kaine issued Executive Order #50 today (with advice and consent from AG McDonnell) that makes reporting of anyone who is ordered to undergo involuntary mental health treatment (inpatient or outpatient) a requirement. (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070430/ap_on_re_us/virginia_tech_4;_ylt=AqDlFKIpykvmGYG_KfdyMGRH2ocA)

  8. Greg L said on 30 Apr 2007 at 1:48 pm:
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    Virginia law does not mandate a waiting period. Also, licensed dealers at gun shows are required to adhere to the same standards they would if they had been conducting a sale in their store. There is no difference in the means of sale between retail establishments and gun shows. If you are a licensed dealer, you must fill out the required BATF Form 4473 and conduct a background check using the NICS. If you are a private individual, you are not required to complete Form 4473 or conduct NICS checks regardless of where you sell your personal property.

  9. Turn PW Blue said on 30 Apr 2007 at 2:20 pm:
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    Mea culpa on the waiting period.

    But, if gun shop owners must abide by one set of rules for the sale of firearms, why shouldn’t anyone who sells a firearm be subject to the same set of rules (whether that’s requiring filling out a BATF form and completing a background check or dropping that requirement for all sales including gun shop sales)?

    By calling is personal property, you do well to cloud the argument, Greg. It makes it sound like you’re selling your car (which requires you notify the state and file change of title papers) or a boat (which, again, requires you notify the state). But it’s not quite the same, is it? Firearms, like it or not, are currently subject to regulation regarding their ownership and sale. While this remains the case, shouldn’t all firearm sales be subject to the same requirements?

    From a more personal perspective, wouldn’t you like to be assured that the person you are selling your gun to isn’t an off-balanced psychopath? Wouldn’t you want to be sure you aren’t selling a weapon to someone with a history of violence?

    I won’t make any disengenuous leaps between Cho’s purchasing of firearms and any lack of restrictions on the transfer of a gun from one private party to another. That just seems like an opportunistic jump. I just find it interesting that we hold business owners (who are just trying to engage in the free market) to a different standard than we hold individuals when it comes to the sales of firearms. Do I want to see an undue burden on the individual? No. Do I want to see gun show sales banned? No. What I do want to see is the same standard and rules applied to any firearm sale. Maybe that means whoever runs the gun show provides the resources for filling out the BATF form and completing the NCIS check. Maybe that is a role for the State Police. Maybe there are other creative, less instusive methods out there that are just waiting for a creative mind to wrap around.

  10. Greg L said on 30 Apr 2007 at 3:19 pm:
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    The only thing that distinguishes a firearm from any other sort of personal property from a legal perspective is that ownership and possession of the firearm has explicit constitutional protection. All other forms of personal property are protected under less specific language in the Declaration of Independence which does not carry the force of law, but is accepted as a general statement about the principles we were founded under.

    While there are requirements under which those who engage in the sale of firearms as a trade must adhere to, such regulation is authorized under the state constitution, and when interstate commerce applies, the federal Constitution. There is no legal authority for the state or the federal government to regulate the transfer of firearms between individuals unless the recipient is a disallowed person or the transfer crosses state lines. I’d like to restrict the private sale of automobiles to legal residents and citizens, which would have an even more significant impact on public safety, but if the government doesn’t have the authority to impose the restriction I’m just blowing smoke.

  11. Turn PW Blue said on 30 Apr 2007 at 10:01 pm:
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    But Greg, you put the exact reason for extending background checks to non-gun shop sales right in your reply:

    “There is no legal authority for the state or the federal government to regulate the transfer of firearms between individuals **unless the recipient is a disallowed person** or the transfer crosses state lines.” (emphasis added)

    How can you be certain, in a private sale, that the recipient is not a disallowed person unless you run a background check?

  12. Alton Foley (I'm Not Emeril, if you prefer) said on 3 May 2007 at 7:53 pm:
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    Yes anon, the same one. What you do with your Koran is your business, what I do with mine is not your business.

  13. Alton Foley (I'm Not Emeril, if you prefer) said on 3 May 2007 at 7:56 pm:
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    Jonathan Mark,
    I was trying to point out that several Senators could be accused of being the single vote that caused SB 807 to fail.

    You have very good arguments against Cooch, use those instead of falling back on tired cliche`s.

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