Tuesday, March 12, 2013

May gun-control activists buy guns?

There is a bit of grumbling about gun-control activist, retired astronaut, and husband of Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, Mark Kelly, buying a couple of firearms. Some among the tin-foil-hat brigade are alleging that Kelly committed a crime because he says he wants to give away one of the firearms.

Hypocritical, yes. Unlawful, no.

Buying a firearm as a gift to a law-abiding responsible person is perfectly lawful according to federal law and the laws in the free states such as Arizona where Kelly bought these firearms.

A "straw purchase" is where the purchase is made on behalf of a restricted person. Here is the law:
18 CFR § 922. - Unlawful acts
(d) It shall be unlawful for any person to sell or otherwise dispose of any firearm or ammunition to any person knowing or having 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)));
(6) who [1] has been discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions;
(7) who, having been a citizen of the United States, has renounced his citizenship;
(8) is subject to a court order that restrains such person from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner of such person or child of such intimate partner or person, or engaging in other conduct that would place an intimate partner in reasonable fear of bodily injury to the partner or child, except that this paragraph shall only apply to a court order that -
(A) was issued after a hearing of which such person received actual notice, and at which such person had the opportunity to participate; and
(B)(i) includes a finding that such person represents a credible threat to the physical safety of such intimate partner or child; or
(ii) by its terms explicitly prohibits the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against such intimate partner or child that would reasonably be expected to cause bodily injury; or
(9) has been convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.
Kelly's local police department is [hopefully] not a restricted entity.

Remember that Kelly's fellow hypocrite Sarah Brady also bought a rifle as a gift to another (a law-abiding, responsive son). Hypocritical, yes. Unlawful, no.

You see, anti-gun zealots like Mark Kelly, Dianne Feinstein, Sarah Brady, and Barry Soetoro don't want to ban all guns -- just the guns that aren't in the hands of the elite (eg Mark Kelly) and myriad government agents -- just like the Soviet Union.

Kelly claimed that the process of buying the rifle was easy. So? Just how hard should it be for responsible people to exercise a constitutionally-guaranteed right? My question is, Mr. Kelly, how hard do you think that purchase would have been if your name were in a government database database as one of several categories of restricted persons?

My advice to Mr. Kelly is to keep that rifle. Take it out and shoot it regularly. Take your bride shooting with you. Celebrate your priceless right to responsibly own and use it. Besides, the police will only use it for one of the reasons you need it -- self defense and the defense of your family. But, if you chose to donate it to the local police department, good for you. It's one less expense they need to make -- but don't expect your local taxes to go down. And, don't forget to take that donation off your federal and state income taxes.

Buying a gun is different from voting in many states in some very meaningful ways:
• To buy a gun from a dealer, one must show photo ID to prove identity. The wise seller in a private gun sale imposes the same requirement. On the other hand, in many States, no proof of identity or citizenship is required to vote.
• It is unlawful to legally possess, buy, or sell a firearm or ammunition through a dealer or through a private sale if the buyer has a history of being irresponsible (that'd be that list of a dozen restricting characteristics that Kelly checked off on the Form 4473 he filled out to buy his firearms). On the other hand, in all States, irresponsible people are encouraged to vote.
• The buyer must be a legal resident of one of the United States. On the other hand, many States have no effective process to screen out those who shouldn't be voting. • To get a firearm permit, one must go to the effort to seek it out and then pass a criminal background check -- in addition the the check required to buy a gun. On the other hand, if a chimpanzee successfully applied for a driver's license, he'd likely also be automatically registered to vote.

Wouldn't it be nice if similar basic standards were applied to voting?

We need smarter voters.

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