My Letter to Vice President Joe Biden

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wlewisiii
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My Letter to Vice President Joe Biden

#1 Post by wlewisiii » Thu Dec 20, 2012 12:19 pm

If you read my thread yesterday, there is nothing new here. However, I cleaned up the presentation and sent it to The White House today. This is simply my response to the recent tragedies as well my attempt to participated in the political process as all citizens should. I hope you will find it at least of some interest.

I realize that the Vice President will probably never even see my letter. Still one must do every little bit that they can. If for no other reason than the simple reality that if nothing is ventured, nothing can be gained.
December 20, 2012

Vice President Joe Biden
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20501

Sir,

The recent incidents in places as divergent as Colorado, Oregon and Connecticut have served to cause much grief and introspection. As is always the case with ideologically polarizing issues, the responses have generally tended to be loud and fall into all too familiar patters. On one side we have those who cry 'They're coming to take our guns!!!' and on the other there is a tendency to focus on the cosmetic features of the 'scary looking black guns!!!' at the expense of not understanding what exists and can be regulated.

As a gun owner, hunter, concealed carry permit holder and, most importantly to me in this context, the father of a young son, I find this to be one of the most important issues of our day. I believe that change will come; now or later, the cats are out of the bag and we find ourselves attempting to herd them. How well they are herded in a direction that helps, rather than hurts our nation, will be our greatest task.

There are a number of conflicting issues.
1)Some fear all guns being banned.
2)Some fear any people having guns.
3)Too many people being killed. Suicide, homicide, accidents all add up to far too many lives.
4)Bowers v. DeVito "...there is no constitutional right to be protected by the state against being murdered."
5)District of Columbia v. Heller & McDonald v. Chicago holding an individual's right to self defense
6)The "well regulated" language of the 2nd Amendment with historical understanding of it's meaning by looking to how it was implemented via Militia Acts of 1792.
7)"From the oligarchy's perspective, the people were thoroughly neutralized by the false sense of political empowerment that guns gave them. Guns don't work in this country — they didn't work for the Black Panthers or the Whiskey Rebellion, and they won't work for you or me either." Mark Ames, www.nsfwcorp.com
8)The National Firearms Act of 1934's success in regulating full automatic weapons (only a small number ever used in crimes since then)

Frankly these are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to consideration of the issues surrounding the appropriate regulation of firearms in America.

In the heat of the moment, it is easy to desire to 'do something'. Such 'somethings', however well intentions, are rarely effective. The Assault Weapon Ban of 1994 was such a something and it was a complete and utter failure. By specifying specific models and listing a laundry list of things that were purely cosmetic in nature, it was easily circumvented. The sheer number of existing magazines ensured that the magazine ban was meaningless. The political capitol expended in passing the AWB was enormous, especially when one looks at it from the perspective of 2012, when it's failure is all the more obvious.

So what can be done?

First, and most importantly, the word BAN must be forgotten. It is the word that many people have been taught to fear by those who prefer fear. You will never be able to ban anything. What can be done, and was successfully done in the aftermath of the Bank Robbery Era of the Depression, is regulation. Just as fully automatic firearms, short barreled firearms and other weapons were successfully registered under the National Firearms Act of 1934, so too can high capacity self loading firearms be regulated under an amendment to the NFA.

This, I believe, would give us much the same benefit as the NFA has provided the nation in regulating full automatic weapons while minimizing constitutional issues (self defense per the SCOTUS) and lowering the impact on the responsible gun owners.

This legislation would require the following elements:

a) Create new class of regulated weapons: High Capacity Self Loading Firearms. Any center fire semi-automatic firearm, long gun, shotgun or hand gun, would be part of the class. The capacity of greater than 10 rounds in it's OEM magazine would be the definition of high capacity. Cosmetics (flash hider, stock style, etc) are irrelevant and not mentioned in the legislation.

If a firearm was originally designed for less than 10 rounds but can be used with larger magazines or modified to hold more than 10 rounds, it will need to be registered before the owner can either take possession of the higher capacity magazines or make the necessary modifications. Once registered the owner may own any magazines of any capacity that they wish to own. They do not need to register the firearm so long as they do not possess any high capacity magazines but if they do so without registration, it is a criminal penalty.

b) Require registration and possession of valid tax stamp before firearm can be possessed.
1) Registration is done by the same process as is currently used for Class III NFA firearms with the following exceptions:
2) Tax must be kept minimal. Max of $50 if that.
3) CLEO must be informed of purchase and must maintain database of purchases but can not veto purchase.
4) ATF must actively deny the purchase within 72 hours of receiving the application or the purchase is automatically approved.
5) This class of NFA firearms can be possessed by any 18 years of age or older who can pass the requirements for the class.

c) The Hughes Amendment closing of the Automatic Firearms Registry is repealed.

d) 10 year grandfathered registration period for previously owned firearms. No tax is assessed until firearm is transferred. Possession of regulated firearms after that period would be subject to penalty and registration. No confiscation without other crime being involved would be permitted.

e) All private transfers of the regulated firearms would be required to be conducted through FFL holder. The FFL will provide this service at no cost to either seller or buyer.

f) Private transfers of non-regulated firearms would not be required to be conducted through FFL but should be able to have the seller conduct a free NICS check on the buyer . The buyer must be able to present valid photo ID to the seller.
g) All firearms owners must own some form of locking container for the weapons safe storage when not being used. Normal gun safes, as currently sold, with combination locks are sufficient but need to be required. All thefts must be reported to the police within 8 hours of discovery. In the case of weapons that are stolen because they were not locked up or where the their theft was not reported the police and are later used in criminal activities needs to leave the owner liable for criminal penalty.

h) All high schools will be required to teach a mandatory firearms safety class of at least 40 class hours in length. It would be advisable that this course be rolled into the Hunter Safety classes that many states and schools already offer.

You will notice there is no mention of high capacity magazines, as such, in these proposals. To my eye, the magazines are a red herring. All the high capacity magazines in the world will do nothing without a rifle to use them. Combine this with the fact that there are just too many of them in existence. I don't believe that regulating the magazines is anywhere near as important as regulating the rifles and pistols that use them. Once you have taken the time and effort to get a tax stamp for your pistol or rifle, you should be able to buy additional mags as you do now. That's true for current Class III as well and provides the legislative model.

Of course, this presupposes that there is sufficient political will to pass such an act; to accomplish something real rather than the feel good but worthless measures of the AWB of 1994.

If the current press for change fails, and realistically it's 90% probable that it will fail, then the Democratic party needs to make it a centerpiece of campaigns to change the majority in the House in the 2014 mid-term election and to use the same level of GOTV as in the last general election. If that were able to be successful, then actions such as these would be possible.

We are at a crossroads in our history as a nation and as a culture. The last time we faced a challenge such as this one with regard to our nation's gun culture we successfully responded with the National Firearms Act of 1934. An amendment to that act, reflecting today's reality, is our best possible way to move forward in a way that recognizes our nation's unique history and does not wrongfully obstruct the rights of those who wish to responsibly engage in the use of firearms for all legitimate uses – be that for sporting uses, hunting or the defense of their self or their loved ones.

Thank you for your time and consideration in this matter,

William Barnett-Lewis
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Re: My Letter to Vice President Joe Biden

#2 Post by DCG » Thu Dec 20, 2012 12:24 pm

Good letter. I agree with most of what you stated in it. I contact my representatives and the White House all the time. It is proper citizenship. I do fear it does little good as votes are bought and I send only letters and thoughts...but no money.
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Re: My Letter to Vice President Joe Biden

#3 Post by SenileDavid » Thu Dec 20, 2012 8:04 pm

Very well written:

I believe the key issue is to keep firearms out of the hands of the mentality ill and unstable. However as we all know HIPAA prohibits release of medical records and documentation without patient's written consent.

Why not have it obligatory for any firearm purchase a written consent form be signed along with the NICS form to research medical or prescription records for 'red flags'?

If one isnt mentally unstable he/she have nothing to worry about.
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Re: My Letter to Vice President Joe Biden

#4 Post by LibShooter » Thu Dec 20, 2012 9:18 pm

Good letter, Wlewisiii. I, too, agree with most of what you proposed. I also liked SenileDavid's remarks, as well.

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Re: My Letter to Vice President Joe Biden

#5 Post by irishman » Thu Dec 20, 2012 10:12 pm

well stated ! I hope it falls in the right hands..........

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Re: My Letter to Vice President Joe Biden

#6 Post by Inquisitor » Thu Dec 20, 2012 10:18 pm

SenileDavid wrote:Very well written:

I believe the key issue is to keep firearms out of the hands of the mentality ill and unstable. However as we all know HIPAA prohibits release of medical records and documentation without patient's written consent.

Why not have it obligatory for any firearm purchase a written consent form be signed along with the NICS form to research medical or prescription records for 'red flags'?

If one isnt mentally unstable he/she have nothing to worry about.
There are already law enforcement exceptions.

http://www.ndaa.org/ncpca_update_v16_no4.html

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Re: My Letter to Vice President Joe Biden

#7 Post by Ultravox » Thu Dec 20, 2012 10:47 pm

Very well written and I like the majority of your suggestions.

The only quibble I have is with e. I don't think requiring the FFLs to do transfers for free is a good idea.
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Re: My Letter to Vice President Joe Biden

#8 Post by wlewisiii » Thu Dec 20, 2012 11:17 pm

I put that in due to memory of serious price gouging in Madison. The cheapst transfer I found was $50. Other places charged as much as $100. If it becomes a requirement they the FFL will find other things (ammo, accessories, etc.) to sell to make up for his time.
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Re: My Letter to Vice President Joe Biden

#9 Post by chevalier » Fri Dec 21, 2012 8:25 am

Quote...[I believe the key issue is to keep firearms out of the hands of the mentality ill and unstable. However as we all know HIPAA prohibits release of medical records and documentation without patient's written consent. ]...Quote

HIPPA prohibits release of MEDICAL RECORDS which wouldn't have to be done to put someone with mental health issues on the NICS list. It would just take a manadatory report to a court by a doctor, mental health worker, minister/priest/rabbi, etc. A court review to protect the person's right and ascertain his or her mental condition allowing testimony by the defendent's medical witness should be mandatory first though.

I like most of the letter except for not mentioning some sort of requirement for mentally disturbed persons to be placed on the NICS list per above, and I think banning anything over 10 round mags is a crock of shit. Make it anything over 15. Most of these shootings were with like 30 round mags and assault weapons. You can't write ex post facto law and use it against anyone already legimitely owning a 15 round mag. And to register any handgun that has a "hi-cap mag"- I have like six 9 mm pistols that could take 15 round mags and I have more than that number of 15 round mags. These are all FN/Browning high quality steel guns, mostly Hi-Powers or HP-DA models. I only keep 15 round mags in my home defense guns. Even the BDM I carry in the car (yes I have concealed carry) only carries a 10 round mag for legal reasons. The law could specify only that hi-cap mags can't be carried on the street even with a concealed carry permit. As far as registering them, no way should the federal gummint get in on this. That's a state/local issue.

Last, you can't make any federal law forcing anyone to keep all their guns in a safe at home. If anyone thinks I'm going to go to the basement and open my safe when I hear someone trying to get into the house in the middle of the night- we need to be real on this one. Someone posted that some other caountry has a law prohibiting anyone with a criminal or mentally disturbed person in their home from owning a weapon as long as that person lived there. This would be better. Would someone who read that post please tell us what country has that law?

Other than these personal quibblings which I feel are based on reason the letter was very well written and spoke to the relevant laws .
Bill in Ohio

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Re: My Letter to Vice President Joe Biden

#10 Post by wlewisiii » Fri Dec 21, 2012 9:23 am

A safe is a safe is a safe. Nothing says you can't have a second one on your night stand that opens biometrically. Someone who only owns one pistol would only need that.

The question is keeping weapons secure. Both Oregon and CT, among other incidents, were perpetrated with stolen weapons.

I don't know medicine, so I don't go into mental health. Frankly until we get single payer like a civilized nation, it won't much matter.
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Re: My Letter to Vice President Joe Biden

#11 Post by Ultravox » Fri Dec 21, 2012 1:50 pm

I stole your letter, changed a couple of things and put it on my blog...

http://timf.anansi-web.com/wp/gun-regul ... ggestions/
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Re: My Letter to Vice President Joe Biden

#12 Post by Fukshot » Fri Dec 21, 2012 1:55 pm

In CA, the state limits how much over actual fees an FFL can charge for a PPT. Not hard to do.

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Re: My Letter to Vice President Joe Biden

#13 Post by wlewisiii » Fri Dec 21, 2012 2:02 pm

Ultravox wrote:I stole your letter, changed a couple of things and put it on my blog...

http://timf.anansi-web.com/wp/gun-regul ... ggestions/
Cool. Anyone who wants to, please feel free. It would be good if these ideas got some attention.

FS, the other thing is to prevent Anti-gun people from coming up with tarrifs that would be more than the cost of the firearm. I have little trust for the states - in either direction - in these matters.
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Re: My Letter to Vice President Joe Biden

#14 Post by Fukshot » Fri Dec 21, 2012 2:21 pm

wlewisiii wrote:
Ultravox wrote:I stole your letter, changed a couple of things and put it on my blog...

http://timf.anansi-web.com/wp/gun-regul ... ggestions/
Cool. Anyone who wants to, please feel free. It would be good if these ideas got some attention.

FS, the other thing is to prevent Anti-gun people from coming up with tarrifs that would be more than the cost of the firearm. I have little trust for the states - in either direction - in these matters.
I agree. I just think we should (or could) mandate that FFL holders provide free services.

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Re: My Letter to Vice President Joe Biden

#15 Post by MetalSlugIV » Thu Dec 27, 2012 5:01 pm

I was thinking much of this to myself as of late. Regulation is coming like it or not and the least damaging to legal gun owners is to amend the NFA but BAN NOTHING! Allow transfers between citizens free of charge (no $200 tax stamp bullshit).

Bake that in stone.

The reason most gun owners fear any legislation is the possibility of future revisions restricting things further. Gun owners keep their weapons and anti's get satisfied. A special class for semi-auto weapons over 10 rounds is a much better alternative to a complete ban due to a re-instated AWB. Hell even add any magazine over 30 (standard capacity) to the Class III list like suppressors, SBRs, SBSs and AOWs.

Now before any critiques (or attacks) on me, do I want this to happen? No. Personally I'm on the side of mental health and social change. I don't want any more gun legislation. I feel like the anti-gunners are going to use the same tactics that the forced birth crowed are doing. Gradually chip away at a right using bunk science to further an agenda. (See the horrible attempts in KS and VA to eliminate abortions in their respective states).
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Re: My Letter to Vice President Joe Biden

#16 Post by DispositionMatrix » Wed Jan 09, 2013 2:14 pm

I'm sure he gave your letter a lot of thought.

USA Today:
Biden: Obama may take 'executive action' on gun control
http://www.usatoday.com/story/home/2013 ... s/1820393/
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Re: My Letter to Vice President Joe Biden

#17 Post by gendoikari » Wed Jan 09, 2013 2:24 pm

Excellent proposal but i'd have the tax money generated earmarked for mental health.
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Re: My Letter to Vice President Joe Biden

#18 Post by Carphunter » Fri Jan 11, 2013 9:49 pm

Not sure how I feel about the entirety of your letter, but I'd make a comment.

Not sure I'd ever refer to that CLEO sign-off stuff. At this point in time, it would seem from nfa banter on the interewebz that most people opt to be doing their nfa stuff via trusts so local CLEO's don't get a say.

just mentioning it...

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Re: My Letter to Vice President Joe Biden

#19 Post by gunzo » Fri Jan 11, 2013 11:43 pm

Here's my guess as to what "plugs" Biden will reply: TL;DR. Thanks for supporting my efforts to take dangerous guns off the streets.
We'll know America is truly free when we read in the press a glowing account of a married gay couple having defended their legal pot plants with a legal sub-machinegun. What we have until then mocks liberty.

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