“If the camel once gets his nose in the tent..”

A heated dispute over background checks erupted at the Gun Rights Policy Conference last week between Second Amendment Foundation leader Alan Gottlieb and gun activist Jeff Knox.

Knox, the son of gun rights pioneer Neal Knox, challenged Gottlieb over an initiative that Gottlieb is supporting on this year’s ballot in Washington State (I-591). The measure, which Gottlieb wrote, prohibits background checks in the state “unless a uniform national standard is required”.

As Knox pointed out at the GRPC, this language leaves the door wide open for a federal background check system. After Knox asked Gottlieb to defend this portion of the bill, Gottlieb launched into a full-scale support of background checks.

Gottlieb’s argument – which he has also made in the past – is that gun rights supporters should embrace background checks because they are inevitable. Pointing to polls stating that a majority of voters support background checks, he says that gun rights supporters are only hurting themselves by opposing them.

via Bluegrass Bruce: Battle Over Background Checks At Gun Rights Policy Conference.

I have mentioned before my disappointment with Gottlieb’s stance on Background Checks. I am a believer in compromises when they are stepping-stones and we keep moving forward, not when these compromises are suddenly set on concrete, cannot be undone and will be used as gateways for restrictions.

This Background Check thing is nothing more than the Manchin-Toomey-Schummer bill that was tried to be shoved down our throats after Sandy Hook. It is clearly the basic framework for the Universal Firearms Registration we all fear. If we compromise for the sake of compromising (we are dealing with lawyers here at SAF, they love to make deals) we are not going to get the benefit of another Sunset provision like with AWB but this law will never be undone short of setting shit on fire.

As I told somebody in the Twitterverse long ago, you want UBC? I will sign on it if GAC 68 and NFA 34 are deleted from the books and there is no compulsory registration of guns acquired prior to the enactment of the bill or registration of any new firearm other than what it is in the books now.

Only then, maybe we will talk.

15 Replies to ““If the camel once gets his nose in the tent..””

  1. This is exactly why I stopped supporting SAF. Gottlieb’s hands were on Manchin-Toomey, and now this. UBCs will be “inevitable” only if we stop resisting.




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  2. 1. So Mr. Gottlieb is, in essence, telling us to “lie back and think of England.” Nope, not gonna happen.
    2. The GRPC is on Jeff Knox’s home turf next year. Gonna be a fun one!




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  3. Forget just repealing the laws, I want to see SCOTUS give us iron-clad rulings that registration and assault weapon bans are unequivocally unconstitutional, then I’ll humor ‘universal’ background checks.




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  4. To be fair, the idea (dream really) behind UBC makes a bit of sense.

    The reality is that any kind of UBC system is unenforceable, unworkable, and impossible without a full registration of all firearms in the US, current and newly purchased.

    The thing I always ask advocates for UBC is “How will the government know whether I sold a gun to a friend, co-worker, or even some guy at a garage sale?”
    So far, I have nothing other than “You would be breaking the law if you did that without a background check.”

    In other words, UBC is 100% reliant on self reporting for enforcement.

    And, further to that…
    Even if there was a full, national registry of guns, how will the government know if I registered all my guns?
    Currently, none of the firearms I own are registered in any way. (Lucky to live in a community/state that supports gun rights.) If a national registry gets passed as law, do you really think I am going to voluntarily tell the Federal Gov. that I have guns, and give serial numbers?




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    1. They’ll never get ALL the guns registered.

      Per Haynes v. U.S., felons cannot be required to register their guns, as it would be self-incrimination for them to do so.

      This court case needs to be a prominent thorn in the side of every pro-UBC statement, everywhere. That is to say, we need to make it a prominent thorn.

      UBCs (and registries) will not ever catch the “crime guns” or “reduce gun crime” because they CANNOT ever catch the “crime guns” or “reduce gun crime”. UBCs (and registries) will only apply to law-abiding citizens; that’s all they can do.

      So if UBCs and registries won’t catch “crime guns” or “reduce gun crime”, we need to be making the people pushing them explain exactly why they’re pushing them. And they should be explaining that publicly.




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      1. I have decided, despite any great personal or professional risk, that I will never submit to a call for registration. It’s ONLY purpose is for a later confiscation. Those who support it, via a universal background check mechanism, are enemies of liberty.

        Now with Prop 594, we have to wait and see if the good people in Washington are smart or just fools and slaves.




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  5. BCG are a monstrous violation of the US Constitution. Do we require BCGs to vote? To have our person and papers free of unlawful search? To practice our religion of choice? Before we can have a jury trial? To have the right to deny the governments troops taking up residence in our homes?

    Further NO CRIMINAL is demonstrably stopped from acquiring a firearm because of any BCG system. The simplistic means by which they bypass even the existing BCG rules are too numerous to count in a blog comment.

    On any strict scrutiny standard, BCGs are nonsense.

    Begone with them.

    And, yes, that’s my legal opinion. 🙂

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense




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  6. If we compromise for the sake of compromising (we are dealing with lawyers here at SAF, they love to make deals)… In other words, they have no principles. We do.

    Observation tells me that for the last 100 years (at least) rights have been taken away by gradualism. This compromise here, that compromise there, one after another. First class III weapons have a special tax, then at the stroke of a pen, There Will Be No New Ones.

    It’s time someone had some principles and stood their ground. (And yes, I support NAGR and GOA. Lifer in the NRA. Sorry to see the JPFO go in the 2AF.)




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  7. Nope, UBC as they stand (through and FFL with the gun being recorded) is universal registration. It’ll take until all people who are 18 at the time of the bill being passed to die, but it’ll happen. If this passes in my lifetime when I die my daughter will have to go to an FFL with all my guns and have them transferred to her name.

    Nope the only UBC that I’d deal with is opening up the NICS check to EVERYBODY, and require no other paperwork but printing off a NICS slip that says X person passed a NICS check at this date.

    That means for every NICS check any number of guns can be transferred, from ZERO to huge numbers. And when I say “Zero”, I mean it. You want to borrow my car, I’m going to run a NICS, you want to date my daughter, I’m going to run a NICS. I sell you a TV, NICS. I’m sitting around drinking with buddies, we’ll all just NICS each other for giggles.

    Also if you attempt to connect to the server and fail, it should deliver an error message, that too can be printed up and serves the same as a NICS pass. That way the government can’t pull down the system and leave it on blocks to halt all legal gun transfers in the country.

    Another option that would work is make the presentation of a valid CCW, or simply showing a state ID which would be mandated by law to have a code on it (much like organ donation, or requirement to wear collective lenses) that says you are legal, or prohibited.

    That last one is the best because all the people who plea bargained a small felony charge (like getting caught with a joint, or failing to file taxes on time ect) will wake up to how easy it is in this nation to lose your rights.

    A bill like that comes up, I’ll support it fully, but nothing less, as what they want now is not UBC, but a way to force a registration nation-wide.




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  8. Manchin-Toomey-Schummer-Gottlieb bill. There, fixed it for you. Gottlieb is nothing but a snake oil salesman dressed in 2A clothes. Look what he did to RKBA after he got control. He’s going to do the same thing with JPFO.




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  9. As others have said, registration catches only the guns they know about, and after Haynes, there is no way to know about guns in the hands of criminals until they are caught.

    This is like the situation in the first Jurassic Park movie, in which the operators of the park had a sort of registration of dinosaurs, so they knew where all the dinosaurs they already knew about were, but there was a whole population of extra dinosaurs they had no system for even knowing they existed. And we know what a problem THAT caused.




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