Have you noticed the new mantra for the good sheep? It’s a blend between “common-sense” and some form of the word/phrase “gun control” or “gun legislation” or some such. Does this ring a bell? I’ve read this phrase and its variants literally hundreds of times now. Why such a unified phraseology? Do people normally come up with such odd and exacting phrases on their own, in the wild?
I did some research and found that by using Google, the following results were returned:
- “common sense gun laws” yields 16,700,000 results
- “common sense gun control bill” yields 28,700,000 results
- “common sense gun control” yields 30,000,000 results
- “common sense gun control measures” yields 37,100,000 results
- “common sense gun” yields 55,700,000 results
Clearly, the broadcast mantra is restrictive gun laws are “common sense”, no? Millions and millions of already-published works populate the Internet, as evidenced by my searching. Does anyone find this strange? Newspeak, anyone?
In the case of Colorado, I’ll debunk some of our “common sense” laws, recently signed into law by governor Hickenlooper. Here are the bills signed into law (so far):
- HB 1224: Limits ammunition magazines to 15 rounds
- HB 1228: Charges gun buyers for the cost of the checks
- HB 1229: Expands background checks for gun purchases
The first problem I’ll address here is that there is no available mechanism for a private seller to perform a state-sanctioned background check on anyone else. This effectively shuts down all private sales of guns—at least in the short-term. Some people argue that’s OK, since perhaps it doesn’t affect them, but it’s a serious blow to the common liberties we’ve enjoyed up to this point. If the state of Colorado truly wanted to perform background checks for private sales—instead of shutting down sales—they would have provided a web-based site to perform such a thing (or a similar equivalent). People could pay by credit card, do a check, print a certification of that check, etc.
My argument is that because no service is available, the true intent of this law was to shut down private sales entirely, rather than perform criminal background checks. Besides, a criminal is willing to use other means get firearms for their crimes by jumping the border to make a legal purchase, stealing them, etc. This law will hardly affect criminals.
You might argue that background checks are done currently at gun stores, but again, the overhead/infrastructure to set that up is ambiguous, and there are no guarantees that a private citizen/seller can ever have access to such things. Besides, these checks—at gun shops—were taking almost a week only a couple of months ago.
And then there is the magazine limit law. “Who really needs more than 15 rounds for a magazine?” they say. Or sometimes this is likened to how bad a shot one must be to hunt with such a large magazine—and miss. (Never mind that hunting already has laws that govern magazine capacities, for sportsmanship reasons.) So the issue is often argued on the basis of proven need. Out of every possible item a person can own, the issue of demonstrated need is now thrown in and applied only in the realm of firearms. A genuine oversight, I’m sure. Wanna start doing that with large-sized sugary beverages, too? (Oh, that’s been tried. And repealed.) Seriously, how does anyone even reconcile a need-based purchase, when this is done nowhere else in the market? Who could have come up with this as a unique qualification for ownership rights? Sounds like the “common-sense” mantra that was spoon-fed to the media outlets to propagate throughout the nation, but not an original (or merit-based) idea. But back to the magazine limit law…
This limit on magazines is silly because it won’t actually accomplish what it sets out to do. And supposedly, that is to “curb gun violence”. It will not and cannot do that, as I’ll demonstrate.
First, criminals don’t abide by laws—definitionally—so this only hits those who do abide by laws and therefore those who wouldn’t have been a gun-violence problem anyway. Second, larger-capacity magazines are easily (and legally) available outside Colorado. Third, and most ridiculous, is there’s no way to enforce this law—making it utterly nonviable—because there is no way for law enforcement to determine whether the magazine someone possesses was owned before the ban or after. This fact alone (which was known by all who voted for it, as well as by the governor who signed it into law) should have stopped the law in its tracks. No law should ever be enacted that 1) cannot clearly demonstrate its ability to accomplish its stated purpose, and 2) cannot even be enforced.
Worst of all, the arbitrary number of 15 rounds doesn’t fit most standard hardware. Got a Glock? Too bad, many Glock magazines are no longer legal to obtain after this law goes into effect. This is a problem with laws, in general—they don’t conform to the realities of the existing landscape very well. Manufacturers attempt to apply the best mix of number of rounds to the particular firearm for its purpose—not trying to hit an arbitrarily-reached number by a clueless legislature (clueless being demonstrated above, in passing an unenforceable law).
Perhaps the governor and his Democrat minions “feel good” about committing this form of political suicide with utterly unenforceable (but “common sense”) legislation. Or maybe they simply don’t remember what happened after a Democrat-led majority passed similar laws back in 1994. Or perhaps—and this would make the most sense to me—somebody made Hickenlooper an offer he couldn’t refuse and he’ll rise again another day, leaving the ashes of Colorado to smolder for greener pastures with a federal post.