Gun Control

Joe Biden's Political Posturing on Gun Background Checks and Magazine Bans

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Joe Biden

We'll have to wait until Tuesday to see the details of Vice President Joe Biden's 2016 presidential campaign platform gun control recommendations, but already we know that it's likely be heavy on pandering to the gun-averse political base, and light on anything that might leave the administration dangling in the breeze when it comes to the hard business of enforcement. (You'll note that I didn't say "effective" because, when it comes to reducing crime or violence, restrictions on firearms ownership offer little hope of being "effective.") Biden is steering well clear of anything on which compliance or the lack thereof could be easily measured, such as a ban on existing semi-automatic rifles, and jauntily touting an ethereal "emerging consensus" on "universal background checks" for gun sales, even between private parties, and a ban on the sale of new high-capacity magazines. Passing such restrictions will likely require a battle in Congress, but whether such proposals win or lose, the administration will stroke those supporters who fret over metal objects that make loud noises — and then walk away from the laws they've passed without worrying overly much about having accomplished nothing.

First, huge numbers of high-capacity magazines are already in circulation. Under the last ban, the price went up, but they were still available, and more have been made and sold since. Even if sales of existing magazines are forbidden, they'll still exist, and change hands quietly. That is, aside from the ones that people are already manufacturing on hobbyist 3D printers or in metal shops. Getting existing magazines out of circulation is a non-starter, since nobody knows where they are and most owners are unlikely to surrender them when keeping the things is essentially a risk-free enterprise.

Which is the same problem faced by the "universal background checks" Biden insists are part of the emerging consensus he perceives among the people who already agree with him. The background check brainstorm is a bone thrown to people who heard somewhere about a "gun show loophole" — not realizing that most private owners can sell free of paperwork requirements anywhere, in the majority of states, while commercial dealers have to do background checks, even at gun shows. Americans own an estimated 270 million firearms (PDF), most of them unregistered. Even records in those few states that require some sort of registration are compromised by the fact that owners move out of state, or in-state from elsewhere, and the lists become inaccurate and unreliable over time. A gun owner in New Jersey, for instance, where multiple levels of paperwork are maintained, could move to bureaucracy-free Arizona, then move back to Trenton (for reasons I could never fathom) and plausibly deny still owning any of the guns the state of New Jersey meticulously recorded.

Since the vast majority of firearms exist in private hands with the same status as chainsaws or propane torches — that is, untraceable after the point of sale — a "universal background check" law would be nothing more than a pretty-please request by politicians to expend time, effort and (probably) money running a purchase through a bureaucracy when it could more easily be settled cash-and-carry over a kitchen table. Sure, some people will comply, but that will be a voluntary matter.

But the impotence of a magazine ban and the vast non-compliance a background check law will face will be relatively quiet matters, while the passage of such laws will be like so many Ol' Roy treats tossed to the do-something-now crowd who won't know the difference.

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  1. Now he looks like he’s tweaking! How many different drugs is this maniac on?

    1. He kind of looks like the Jack Nicholson Joker. Just color the plugs orange.

      1. “Do I really look like a guy with a plan? You know what I am? I’m a dog chasing cars. I wouldn’t know what to do with one if I caught it.”

      2. Ever since the Aurora incident everyone remembers the Joker as having orange hair. His hair is and has always been green.

    2. Or is Joe becoming a caricture of the type of person he would like to exclude from firearms ownership due to mental instability?

  2. No, fuck you, cut spending

    1. Or, for a more topical spin, “No, Jack Lew, cut spending.”

  3. But the impotence of a magazine ban and the vast non-compliance a background check law will face will be relatively quiet matters

    They are not quite matters at all. They know these laws will be ignored. They want these laws to be ignored. The object is to make gun ownership outside of polite and mainstream society. You do that by making as many gun owners as possible criminals.

    1. We’re all crimninals already, unless we are congress critters or high level bureaucrats, or whoever is well connected.

      Us serfs, all criminals, some of us just don’t know that we have violated one of the googlezillion laws on the books.

      It’s just up to the powers that be who they want to selectively prosecute, but we are all guilty.

      1. See Gregory, David.

      2. It’s just up to the powers that be who they want to selectively prosecute

        Rule of man.

  4. Yeah, I would check the level of dust on those recommendations. I’m guessing they’ve been on the shelf for a while now.

  5. Whenever I think of Joe Biden, I am reminded of Rimmer’s fitness report:

    If a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.
    If it’s not worth doing at all, give it to Rimmer

  6. 270 million firearms is defiantely enough for a revolt, and that is what those fuckers fear.

    1. Nope, you need to talk to Tony. He has already let us know that if anyone tries shooting one of his adored masters with scary black guns, they will go nukular option on us. He even posted links to pics of drones and attack coptors to prove it.

      1. Where is said post? Someone, maybe you, was talking about it last night. I’d like to witness the stupid.

        1. It’s here dude, I can’t remember the post. But he was going on and on with the same crap, basically that any attempt to shoot politicians will result in the gubmint wiping out all teabaggers and bitter gun clingers in a matter of seconds.

      2. copters, can’t even spell my slang this mornin…

    2. LOL… Good luck shooting back at unheard and unseen UAV’s circling 9k feet above your head, tracking your IMEI, armed with Hellfires.

      1. It’s funny the amount of faith the grabbers have in the competency of the military to properly identify and take out targets. I wonder if it’ll change when their house gets droned because some guy threw a cell phone in their trash can.

        They probably think the dipshit in Arizona who droned ’em will actually feel bad, too.

        1. The point is that when using weaponized drones, “we” have passed the point of caring… there are no longer civilians or innocents, not even talk about collateral damage, targets just get labeled as “suspected” or “probable” collaborators, militants or whatever this month’s term of obfuscation happens to be.

          1. You mean just like the kids playing first person violent shooter games and becoming absorbed in the fantasy?

        2. The fact that anything remotely like an intended consequence happens where they are concerned is pure effing luck, believe dat.

  7. This has to be a ploy by the administration. When you know that that you have a problem that you absolutely can’t fix legislatively you put Joe on it to look stupid and say stupid things and eventually come up with a slate of non-solutions that gets you past the point where people are still as emotionally connected to the issue and voila’ you are past the sticky political issue.

    Joe Biden: Political Human Shield

    1. Pro Liberate said yesterday that Biden’s job is to send up trial balloons filled with stupid.

      1. I missed that but agree completely…and now I feel bad for not saying it just like he did.

        Shit…thanks for starting my day off right John you fucker!

      2. but, but, but stoopid is heavier than air.

    2. I don’t think so. The administration created the sticky political issue, I don’t think they want to get past it.

      1. I agree. This isn’t something they want to bury, like, say, Benghazi or Fast and Furious.

  8. I just hope the Republican party understands that caving on any new gun control laws whatsoever will alienate a big chunk of their base, and could put them well down the road to being non-viable as a major party.

    This could be the issue that fractures the party and leads to the creation of a third party that could supplant the Repubs. And don’t think Obama doesn’t know that.

    The trick will be getting a broad-based libertarianish third party out of the wreckage of the Repubs, one that can start peeling off Dem voters as well and lead to the long-awaited realignment from TEAM BE RULED into the Small Gov’t Party v. the Total State Party.

    1. If only the GOP would be the limited government party, hard stop. A lot of good things flow if the government can’t do very much.

      1. Ah c’mon Pro, they talk about how much they love limited govt all the fucking time. Don’t you believe the pretty words?

        1. It’s hard to see them with this boot grinding in my face.

    2. I just hope the Republican party understands

      Stop right there.

    3. Actually there are also a lot of Democratic Congresscritters who were elected by pro-gun voters, and who know they can be unelected.

  9. I just hope the Republican party understands that caving on any new gun control laws whatsoever will alienate a big chunk of their base, and could put them well down the road to being non-viable as a major party

    Caving has become their specialty. They’ve been doing it for decades, a little chunk at a time. They will do it again.

    Listen to what the GOP establishment are saying. Their plan is to become more like the dems and start pandering to women and minorities and the freeshitters.

    1. Its a reflex for them, I know.

      I just wonder if they understand that there is an enormous amount of pent-up anger in their base, and that caving on gun control is probably the best way to make themselves the target of that anger.

      1. The establishment clearly do not get it at all.

        The future of the GOP is either Rand Paul and Justin Amash and company or Team Blue clone.

        1. The Dems know this. That is why they are trying to get the media to bully the Republicans into gun control. It would be suicide for the Republicans. But if it happened, the Dems would get both gun control and an end to the Republican party as we know it.

          1. But if it happened, the Dems would get both gun control and an end to the Republican party as we know it.

            The Democrats fear the end of the Republican party because they NEED Team RED in order to operate. They have no positions; they only know how to be counter to what Team RED does.

    2. What did you expect? Libertarians won’t vote for them unless they agree with them on 90% of the issues, so why bother chasing votes you can’t get?

      1. Fuck 90% Tulpa. Most of us would be happy if they actually worked towards a limited government and lower spending. You know, instead of blowing farts about it.

        (This goes the same with Dems and their blowing farts about civil liberties.)

    3. Their plan is to become more like the dems and start pandering to women and minorities and the freeshitters.

      Right, because those groups will ever fail to vote democrat. The republicans are called the Stupid Party for a reason.

  10. tarran| 1.11.13 @ 10:27AM |#

    Whenever I think of Joe Biden, I am reminded of Rimmer’s fitness report:

    If a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.
    If it’s not worth doing at all, give it to Rimmer

    As a gun owner originally from Delaware, I take great comfort in Joe Biden being assigned to lead these efforts.

    Somewhere I read yesterday, it may have been on Reason, that Joe Bidden was the creepy uncle that hugged the teenage niece waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay to long and then said things at the dinner table that made everyone else want to get up from the table and leave the room. I thought is a very apt description and I have known Joe Bidden (not personally) since before he was a senator.

  11. Senator Rockefeller from WV not seeking re-election in 2014. That’s one vote in the Senate of the what, 14 dems that are up for re-election in ’14, that won’t get voted out for voting for a ban.

    They might have been expecting to lose that seat already, anyway.

    1. Everyone in the House up for re-election in ’14. No federal legislation is going to happen.

      1. I’m thinking a vote in the senate would be devastating to them, even if the house never took it up.

        I’m more concerned that they use the debt ceiling to try to ram it through. “Pass gun control, or we don’t raise the debt ceiling and blame you for dead grandmothers in the streets.”

        1. Sounds like a win win if the Republicans don’t take that deal.

        2. Yeah, I don’t see how the Dems can use the debt ceiling thing to push the GOP around. They need the GOP’s help to get what they want there, not the other way around.

    2. Assuming the Republicans don’t let the media bullying them into caving, which is a big assumption I admit, Obama has basically handed them to Senate in 2014 thanks to his gun control bender.

      1. The BAN BONER the Dems popped over Sandy Hook was half because they could demagogue the corpses of 6-year-olds, but the other half of it came from the post-election triumphalism and the particular distance between this incident and the next round of elections. They think that demographics and timing will allow them to get something now without taking as big a hit in 2014. There’s a chance they’re right about that, though I think they overestimate demographic changes due by failing to account for motivation or lack thereof.

        1. They won in 2012 mostly because they won low information voters and low motivation voters by about 30 points. The reason why the Republicans wrongly thought they were going to win was because they kept looking at voter motivation and assumed that would translate at the polls. Normally low information low motivation voters don’t vote in very large numbers. IN 2012 they did and that is why Obama won. Maybe they will again in an off year election. But if they do it will be the first time in history.

          Meanwhile, thanks to the ban boner, they just gave millions of gun owners a reason to get out and vote Republican in 2014.

          1. Has anyone done a study on how many Dems were elected to Congress in districts that went for Romney? They would be the extremely vulnerable ones along, maybe, with Republicans elected in districts that Obama easily won.

            1. I am sure that information is there. Just google it. There are certainly more than a few Senators from states that went for Romney.

          2. They also won on Republican progressivism (in spending) and idiocy in “women’s health”.

            Seriously, what a woman does with her vagina is none of my affair, unless she is using it to pick my pocket.

  12. OT but related because it’s a hopeless wanker (Biden) thread:

    You know you’re a hopeless wanker when Larry King bags on you for being a twat!

    http://tinyurl.com/athjtml

  13. Given the government’s historic love for press-ganging the private sector into enforcing their idiotic amorphous control fantasies, I would not be surprised if Biden’s genius squad comes up with a scheme to compel private gun clubs and ranges into keeping records of who brings what firearms onto their premises.

    At my local gun club, you pay your money and get a membership card and the combination to the lock on the gate. No on site staff, no “range control officer” or any of that bullshit. If they somehow manage to require all that shit, I’ll just shoot on my property. The only reason I don’t now is I don’t want to draw that sort of attention to myself.

    1. That would have zero chance of passing, and it’s going to be extremely hard to shoehorn something like that into the Commerce Clause anyway.

      1. it’s going to be extremely hard to shoehorn something like that into the Commerce Clause anyway

        Gun ranges are involved in commerce, which has an effect on interstate commerce (they often sell ammo, targets, etc. on site or some some other ridiculous justification). Or maybe they’ll just use the Penaltax Principle.

  14. NRA Gun Control Crusade Reflects Firearms Industry Financial Ties

    According to a 2012 poll conducted by GOP pollster Frank Luntz for Mayors Against Illegal Guns, 74 percent of NRA members support mandatory background checks for all gun purchases, a position that the NRA has stridently opposed.

    Sampling error sighted!

    A case in point has been the NRA’s strident rhetoric about the threat posed by President Barack Obama. The president, to the dismay of gun control advocates, failed to back new gun curbs in his first term, even though he endorsed renewing the lapsed assault weapons ban during his 2008 campaign.

    Even so, the NRA’s LaPierre fiercely opposed Obama’s reelection, warning in late 2011 of a “massive Obama conspiracy to deceive voters and hide his true intentions to destroy the Second Amendment in our country.” Interestingly, stock prices for gunmakers Sturm, Ruger and Smith & Wesson jumped in the wake of Obama’s November win.

    Interestingly, the two dishonest shitbirds fail to note WHY Sturm, Ruger, and S&W’s stock prices jumped. Instead, they leave it to the choir to assume a positive correlation (Obama is good for business!) rather than a negative correlation (people are buying guns before Obama bans their manufacture).

    1. This is the new talking point you see. “The NRA is a firearms manufacturer lobby!” OK, sure.

      1. Which is ironic considering that the Brady Bunch and Obama have done more for the gun industry than the NRA ever could.

        I wonder how much of this supposed corporate largess is from actual gun buyers when hit up at the register. Seems every time I buy something firearm related the company I buy from asks for an NRA donation or says they’ll give a percentage of the purchase price. I usually give a buck or two, so that shit has got to add up.

        So if McDonald’s donates a percentage of McShit sales to breast cancer research are there going to be articles bemoaning the “cancer research fast food lobby”?

      2. 100k new members in the past 18 days.

        Must be a new manufacturer on every corner.

      3. One interesting fact is that current ATF regulations require any imported firearm to have at least six US-made parts. All this really accomplishes is added markup to the retail price, for the benefit of companies who give heavily to the NRA. That sounds protectionist to me. I should be able to order a 100% original AK variant directly from the Izhevsk or Zastava factories.

    2. Post hoc ergo propter hoc

      jeez, these people are so un-original.

  15. Compromising with gun controllers is like compromising with someone who wants to shoot you in the face with a shotgun.

    No matter what the compromise is, you lose.

    Or, as Ayn Rand said, in any compromise with evil, evil always profits.

    1. Especially when both parties know that the compromise is doomed not to solve anything. The idea is get you to give a bit, watch that compromise fail and then demand you give more.

      1. Repeat for 100 years you get modern America…

      2. And here you have stumbled upon my second greatest objection. The uselessness of the thing. Why are we wasting time, and resources on meetings chaired by the font of derp? What a collosal waste.

        “He worked really hard granpa”
        “So do washing machines”

  16. It would be funny if Biden did run in 2016. He would almost certainly become the first VP to seek his party’s nomination and fail in 120 years, since Adlai Stevenson I got smushed by William Jennings Bryan in the 1896 Dem convention.

    Here’s the elections since 1896 in which the incumbent president didn’t run and the fate of the VP:

    Nominated and won presidency: 1908, 1928, 1988

    Nominated and lost in general: 1960, 1968, 2000

    Didn’t run: 1920, 1952, 2008

  17. Boy, I’m glad they have the whole debt thing figured out so they can focus on these Important issues.

    1. What’s a few trillion dollars compared to the theoretical death of an anonymous child?

  18. Universal background checks is de facto registration. I don’t see teh odds of that happening being real high.

    1. Well, if the ATF is breaking the law and keeping the information from the 4473 beyond the time limit, then it may as well be registration already, since the vast majority of transfers already go through FFLs.

      1. The bound books are required to be kept indefinitely, which I’m sure you knew.

  19. To the gun banners:
    You guys have got a few big meatballs on your side due to the Newton massacre, and now you think now you can ban private sales, and eventually ban private gun ownership altogether.

    Well, you got a little problem. Even if you pass a ban law, you’re gonna have to go get the guns from the owners. Problem with that is,
    1. they will hide them, or
    2. they will shoot your tyrannical ass full of holes if you storm the homefront.
    That is exactly what the 2nd amendment was about, having weapons to defend the homefront against govt tyranny. So you could try and subvert the 2nd amendment, but youre not gonna get much cooperation, and you might get yourself killed. And if you are truly against the constitution, that wouldn’t be such a bad outcome.

  20. The background check brainstorm is a bone thrown to people who heard somewhere about a “gun show loophole”

    And there’s probably no issue about which more lies have been uttered than the “gun show loophole” canard. Talking heads keep coming up with numbers that seem to have been pulled down from their hairy arses; one says 40% of all gun sales, another 20%, another invents some other bogus statistic. Still, the gun-grabbing left is fascinated and equally appalled by any demonstration of freedom shown by regular, every-day people: the eleuterophobes suffer an anaphylactic shock at the mere sight of people trading with guns in the same manner they trade any other personal property.

    1. And there’s probably no issue about which more lies have been uttered than the “gun show loophole” canard.

      Not to disagree completely, but:

      Social Security Trust Fund
      The police will protect you
      Light rail
      Assault weapons
      The war on drugs
      The war on poverty
      Wind power benefits
      Animal rights
      Immigration
      Dangers of nuclear power
      Genetically modified foods
      Taxing the rich
      Campaign finance reform
      Eminent domain for blighted areas
      Green jobs
      Minimum wage
      Dangers of same-sex marriage

      That’s enough. I’m getting depressed.

  21. Obama’s MO is to get others to do deeds for which he’d suffer. Thus, he gets Susan Rice to lie on the Sunday TV shows about Benghazi (I suspect Clinton was smart enough to refuse), but unfortunately, she was called on it by the Repubs, in a rare display of holding a government official accountable (usually they don’t, in the hopes the Dems will show the professional courtesy thieves show each other).

    Biden is one of Obama’s top picks, to go out and dangle bones to Obama’s far left constituents (so they send campaign cash to Obama) while Obama remains above the fray he creates. Many Dems won’t vote for gun control – they know they could lose their seats for it, because many Dem voters like their guns.

  22. Absolutely on the money. This is all just another dog and pony show.

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