Saturday, February 16, 2013

Colorado House Restricts Gun Rights

The Colorado House of Representatives passed four bills placing restrictions on gun possession today.
Among the proposals are bills that would require background checks for all gun purchases - paid for by applicants - a ban on ammunition magazines with more than 15 rounds and a measure to allow colleges in the state to ban concealed weapons on campus. 
The left and the President, but I repeat myself, keep arguing that background checks are just so reasonable that only child-haters would object.  What does a background check really mean?  The FBI says this about background checks and its database.
Mandated by the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993 and launched by the FBI on November 30, 1998, NICS is used by Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) to instantly determine whether a prospective buyer is eligible to buy firearms or explosives. Before ringing up the sale, cashiers call in a check to the FBI or to other designated agencies to ensure that each customer does not have a criminal record or isn’t otherwise ineligible to make a purchase.
It all seems so quick and reasonable. Who else is ineligible, besides criminals?  It turns out that you don't have to be convicted of anything to be ineligible.  From the U.S. Code:

(d) It shall be unlawful for any person to sell or otherwise dispose of any firearm or ammunition to any person knowing orhaving reasonable cause to believe that such person -         (1) is under indictment for, or has been convicted in any court of, a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year;        (2) is a fugitive from justice;        (3) is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance (as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 802));        (4) has been adjudicated as a mental defective or has been committed to any mental institution;        (5) who, being an alien -           (A) is illegally or unlawfully in the United States; or          (B) except as provided in subsection (y)(2), has been admitted to the United States under a nonimmigrant visa (as that term is defined in section 101(a)(26) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(26)));
The paragraph regarding "adjudicated as a mental defective" made me wonder as well.  It turns out that your Second Amendment rights can be violated without the need for a court hearing.  Adjudicated turns out to mean that a government agency has decided that you're crazy.  Maybe because you want to keep your guns. According to ABC News:
The definition of a "mental defective" includes anyone whom "a court, board, commission, or other lawful authority" has determined to be "a danger to himself or other" because of "marked subnormal intelligence, or mental illness, incompetency, condition, or disease."
I can't find the primary source for that definition, but its pretty scary.  It means that any American could be targeted and once committed, can never really get their gun rights restored.  In the comments section of the lead news article, a gun control advocate remarked that gun-rights supporters were complaining over being inconvenienced.  I think not.  Restrictions on our rights that lack the due process is hardly an inconvenience; it attacks the bulwark of our liberty, the Bill of Rights.

None of this would have prevented the tragedy at Newtown, CT.  Given that some of the most tragic gun violence has occurred at schools, allowing schools to ban concealed weapons will lead to more, not less gun violence.  I think these killers are perfectly aware that there is a near zero probability that they will face armed resistance when they launch their murderous sprees on campus.  Only arming a sufficient number of personnel on campus will change that calculus.

Finally, it is predictable that these laws will be shown to have zero statistical correlation to any reduction in firearm violence.

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