The Universal Notebook: Gun owners need to support gun controls

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Question 3, the universal background check referendum, failed on Nov. 8 despite the fact that most Mainers and most Americans favor background checks.

Why? Because the proposed universal background check regulations were poorly written.

Why? Because they were not written by Maine people and they were not written by gun owners.

What killed this latest chance for meaningful background checks was the overreach of the regulations promulgated by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety organization.

By including “transfers” as well as “sales” in the background check requirements the law would have made it difficult to loan firearms among friends, something that commonly happens among hunters in Maine.

Law enforcement in the state was split between urban police chiefs who favored universal background checks and rural sheriffs who opposed them, both I assume because sheriffs are popularly elected and because they understood that the law would have been unenforceable.

Without a firearms registry, there is no way to prove who owns a gun or to prove who sold or transferred a gun to another person. And the fear of registration was the largely unspoken reason many gun owners were opposed to Question 3.

To many of us, it may just seem like common sense to treat firearms like automobiles – get instruction, pass a test, get a license, register your guns. But many gun owners fear registration of firearms because they don’t want the government to know what they own and because they fear registration will lead to confiscation. Gun dealers must maintain gun sale records indefinitely, but federal law prohibits the government from maintaining a central gun registry.

Personally, I do not understand this fear of registration and confiscation, but I do understand that some gun owners believe the government wants to disarm them. With 300 million guns already in circulation, I can’t imagine how Americans could ever be disarmed, but I can imagine the bloodshed that would take place if anyone ever tried.

If we are ever to have truly meaningful gun control, it will require the collaboration of gun owners, both because they know what would work and because they have to be on board to get controls passed. I have come to believe that many social problems such as gun violence resist solutions because the nation is so polarized that people with opposing views are unable to cooperate, collaborate and compromise.

But there may be ways to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people that gun owners could support.

One of those methods might be what has been called unilateral background checks, or the blind identification system. The existing background check system, called the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, operates by having licensed gun dealers call to check all potential firearms purchasers against an FBI data base. The BIDS method would have the FBI provide gun dealers with direct access to the list of prohibited persons so they could check themselves if a potential purchaser was on it, rather than go through the government.

My buddy John, a firearms instructor and something of an authority on gun laws, showed me an even simpler way for private citizens to perform background checks. He suggests just taking a picture on a smartphone of a potential buyer holding up his or her Maine driver’s license (since Maine people can only legally sell guns to Maine residents) and sending the picture to local police. If the police can’t run the check and respond in a timely fashion, the sale can go forward, and if it turns out the purchaser fails the background check the police would know who to contact.

John also proposed that gun owners who pass a rigorous background check be indemnified against prosecution if a gun they sell or transfer ends up in the wrong hands. In return for immunity from prosecution, responsible gun owners would have to identify the purchaser of a gun. Of course, I’m not sure how this would work without the central gun registry that is anathema to Second Amendment advocates.

My point again, however, is that gun owners need to help craft gun control measures that are effective, enforceable and constitutional. Just opposing everything proposed is simply not responsible gun ownership.

If the 25 percent of Americans who own guns don’t want the 75 percent of Americans who don’t making the rules for them, they need to propose some rules themselves.

Freelance journalist Edgar Allen Beem lives in Brunswick. The Universal Notebook is his personal, weekly look at the world around him.

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  • Anonymous

    Or, and I strongly prefer this to the above, we can continue to vote our rights and bury gun control, one election at a time!

    • Frdmftr

      Don’t get too complacent. We are heading for a serious conflict. I believe there will come a day in the very near future, possibly before the end of the year, in which carefully-controlled events conspire to give apparent justification to the loss of all our rights “in the interests of public safety.” Think “Second Bolshevik Revolution” — and recognize the fact it is not OUR ‘revolution;’ it is theirs: To the extent we oppose it with whatever it takes to be effective, we will be the counter-revolutionaries with the full backing of the U.S. Constitution and 18USC2383 “Rebellion and Insurrection” and associated statutes. It is THEIR gun control, THEIR gun confiscations (one day soon), etc., etc., that constitutes rebellion and insurrection against our Constitution, which is the only lawful authority available to the federal government. We are fully justified in defending ourselves and our Constitution, but we cannot and should not start it. We have to prepare for it, but wait for them to start it. And we must not sit around and wait for it to blow over, because no matter what happens, it will never return to a nation of liberty our Declaration of Independence and Constitution, as amended, was founded to preserve and protect unless we make it so.

  • Kyle Hendricks

    “To many of us, it may just seem like common sense to treat firearms like
    automobiles – get instruction, pass a test, get a license, register
    your guns.” ——–Sorry, driving is a privilege, NOT A RIGHT.

  • PuntGun

    “…despite the fact that most Mainers and most Americans favor background checks.” § And thank God the Founding Fathers designed our country in such a way to protect the Rights of the individual, and minorities, from the desires of the majority! State-wide referendums are contrary to this concept, making the Rights of the individual vulnerable to “majority rules.” And if you favor “majority rules,” then all same-sex marriages in Ohio are hereby dissolved – the majority of Ohioans voted 2-to-1 (61.71% in favor to 38.29% opposed) for defining marriage as being between “one man – one woman” in 2004.

    “To many of us, it may just seem like common sense to treat firearms like automobiles…” § Can you imagine California allowing me to carry my concealed weapon in the borders of California because I have a license from Ohio, or New York allowing me to hunt with my AR-15 and 30-round magazines and a “silencer?” No, I don’t think you really believe guns should be treated like automobiles!

    “If the 25 percent of Americans who own guns don’t want the 75 percent of Americans who don’t making the rules for them, they need to propose some rules themselves.” § We have a rule. It’s called “The Second Amendment.”

    • EABeem

      As you say, the 2nd Amendment is subject to a great many restrictions.

      • PuntGun

        Nice try. Let’s see what Scalia actually wrote, shall we?

        Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose: For example, concealed weapons prohibitions have been upheld under the Amendment or state analogues. The Court’s opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms. Miller’s holding that the sorts of weapons protected are those “in common use at the time” finds support in the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons. (District of Columbia v. Heller – 07-290 (2008). Pp. 54-56.) (Case citations removed for readability)

        • truther

          Scalia was talking out of his rear end. The quote you cut and pasted was his attempt to walk back from the logical conclusions of his own absurd reasoning. Notice he just says all this; no cites, no legal reasoning. It’s just his way of saying “don’t take what I write too seriously.”

          I mean, if the purpose of the Second Amendment is to protect individuals from an oppressive government, or whatever it is you people believe, then why in the world would it prohibit taking weapons into “sensitive places” like government institutions? That seems precisely where, after your home, that your Second Amendment right would be most important.

          • R T Deco

            I mean, if the purpose of the Second Amendment is to protect individuals from an oppressive government, or whatever it is you people believe, then why in the world would it prohibit taking weapons into “sensitive places” like government institutions?

            Is this a trick question?

            If you’re taking a weapon into a government building to protest against an oppressive government then you are in armed rebellion and you don’t care what the laws are. Duh!

            But you will never get that far if the government doesn’t ensure that you can keep and bear arms as a personal right. A disarmed populace is a helpless populace.

        • Frdmftr

          Which was in error, and he learned of his error shortly before his death. The right to keep and bear arms is a RIGHT, not a revocable government-issue privilege. States have the Police Power authority to regulate the USE of arms in the interests of public safety, but no government at any level has the authority to regulate (infringe) upon the peaceful exercise of any right that does not, by its simple exercise, interfere with or infringe upon the rights of anyone else. Read Article VI Clause 2, which brings the Constitution and Bill of Rights to binding upon the States in spite of their long history of claiming the Constitution and ROR only applies to the federal government.

  • R T Deco

    A couple of points …

    Personally, I do not understand this fear of registration and confiscation, …

    Please take a look at what happened in Australia. Suddenly, one year, they decided to ban most types of firearms and make the rest difficult to own. You need a license to own a BB-gun, for goodness sake! You need to demonstrate a “special need” to have an old-fashioned muzzleloading gun — you know, the kind that requires a ramrod. (Think about that the next time someone tells you that the Second Amendment only applies to eighteenth-century muskets.)

    Fortunately, Australia did not have an effective registration system at the time, so they couldn’t just go door-to-door and confiscate all of the guns. Instead they did a “buy back” program (a euphemism for confiscation). Although the confiscation program claimed and destroyed hundreds of thousands of firearms, many Aussies decided to tell the government to stuff it and kept their firearms illegally.

    Australia’s gun control policy has been a dismal failure — with a large supply of illegal guns on the black market and more being smuggled in every year. Thus, they’re perpetually doing “gun amnesties,” where people are allowed to hand in their guns for a time, no questions asked. They have another one planned for next year, because the rate of guns being used in crimes has been increasing.

    Yes, registration and confiscation are real possibilities. We have plenty of examples of it worldwide.

    To many of us, it may just seem like common sense to treat firearms like automobiles — get instruction, pass a test, get a license, register your guns.

    You don’t need a license and you don’t need to pass a test to own an automobile or to drive an automobile. Registration and licensing is required only to drive an automobile on public roads. You can drive whatever you want on your own private property. Similarly, most places in the US have severe restrictions on carrying any firearm (especially a concealed firearm) in public. Usually, these restrictions include some sort of training, a background check, and a license (and in many places fingerprints being placed on file with the police).

    But firearms are not treated like automobiles in many other ways. For example, convicted felons are not prohibited from driving automobiles, but they are prohibited from possessing firearms. I’ve never heard of a case in which the sentence of a convicted bank robber was increased because he used a getaway car, but most crimes can be punished more severely if a firearm is involved. It’s really apples and oranges.

    There are some good ideas being put into action. For example, Virginia recently passed a law that requires the State Police to be present at all gun shows to conduct background checks on purchasers. This is provided as a convenience for sellers (hobbyists, collectors, and whatnot) who are not licensed gun dealers (licensed dealers are required to do background checks on every sale already). Although making use of this service is voluntary, the law provides an incentive to do the check by providing immunity from liability to any person who sells or transfers a firearm to a person after receiving a determination from the State Police that the person is not prohibited from possessing a firearm.

    This law was a compromise that was worked out between the gun-control and gun-rights groups in the state. Frankly, I would like to see other states adopt this policy, but I understand it doesn’t go far enough for groups whose ultimate purpose is the outlawing and extreme regulation of all firearms, Australia style.

    • FrancisKing

      “Australia’s gun control policy has been a dismal failure”

      I disagree. Everyone knew from the start that criminals wouldn’t obey the law – that’s what makes them criminals. Once the gun control system is in place, you’re got to go looking for the criminals.

      The USA has failed to create an effective gun control system – the background checks system is computer-based, and is only as good as the data put into it. The USA has failed to effectively control the criminals. Then people say, “Gun control doesn’t work”. Well, I think you’ve actually got to do it first, before you can assess it.

      “But firearms are not treated like automobiles in many other ways. For example, convicted felons are not prohibited from driving automobiles, but they are prohibited from possessing firearms.”

      It is in the UK. A criminal has zero chance of getting the compulsory insurance, and anyone guilty of a serious crime also has zero chance of getting a gun. Legitimately, anyway – see above.

      • R T Deco

        Once the gun control system is in place, you’re got to go looking for the criminals.

        But the problem is that the “gun control system” is all about making criminals out of ordinary, law-abiding citizens. It’s flawed reasoning from the very beginning.

        … the background checks system is computer-based, and is only as good as the data put into it.

        So what are you suggesting to replace it? Psychics?!

        Perhaps we could waterboard each potential buyer into confessing his past crimes, and if he doesn’t break, we let him have the gun. Waddaya think?

        The USA has failed to effectively control the criminals.

        If you feel that way then, rather than proposing new gun laws, why don’t you insist that the laws currently in place be rigorously enforced. Do you know how many people were prosecuted in the US last year for trying to buy a gun and failing the background check? It’s almost nil. Why talk about “universal background checks” when the current checks are not even being enforced?

        Making more “criminals” that you’re not going to “effectively control” has to be one of the stupidest plans of all time.

        It is in the UK.

        Well, the UK is silly enough to still have a queen, so I don’t give much weight to their opinion. Besides, the UK has been going through an epidemic of knife violence in the last couple of decades, so pick your poison.

        I don’t live in the UK. I live in the US. I’m not debating gun laws in the UK. But even the UK’s strict gun laws are not enough to prevent a random taxi driver from going on a mass killing spree with guns he that owned legally.

        You still haven’t explained why Australia’s gun laws are not a dismal failure. I’ve just pointed out that the regularly occurring “amnesties” are evidence that there are still plenty of guns in Australia. If the goal was to get rid of guns, it failed. Do you disagree with that conclusion?

        • FrancisKing

          “But the problem is that the “gun control system” is all about making criminals out of ordinary, law-abiding citizens. It’s flawed reasoning from the very beginning.”

          No, gun control is about making sure that only decent people have guns. Criminals and untrustworthy people do not get guns. It’s about sorting the sheep from the goats.

          “So what are you suggesting to replace it? Psychics?!”

          No. In addition to looking at the computer screen, a police office can go to talk to them in their home – this is standard UK practice. There was a man called Thomas Hamilton in the UK. A man without a criminal record. Your kind of gun owner, apparently. He applied for a re-issue of a gun license, which has to be done every five years.

          He was visited by a police officer, who was appalled by his attitude and behaviour. The police officer wrote a memo which strongly advocated that his application should be rejected, and his guns confiscated.

          The senior officer rejected this on the basis that the computer said he was law-abiding – in effect, the US system. What the computer did not know was that just along the corridor, another police team was investigating Mr. Hamilton for paedophilia.

          When the net tightened, this ‘law-abiding man’ took his guns into the local primary school in Dunblane and shot the children.

          This is the closest comparison we have between the British and US gun control systems. (Another one is Michael Ryan). The US system sucks.

          “Do you know how many people were prosecuted in the US last year for trying to buy a gun and failing the background check? It’s almost nil.”

          Most rejections are overturned on appeal.

          “Besides, the UK has been going through an epidemic of knife violence in the last couple of decades, so pick your poison.”

          I live here, and you don’t. I do not arm myself before leaving the house, and I don’t feel I need to.

          “I don’t live in the UK. I live in the US. I’m not debating gun laws in the UK. But even the UK’s strict gun laws are not enough to prevent a random taxi driver from going on a mass killing spree with guns he that owned legally.”

          Guns that he wouldn’t have had if the police had followed the laws already in place. In the UK mass shootings happen when the police don’t follow the rules. In the US, they happen anyway.

          You may not be debating UK guns laws, but many do, and would profit from a sincere and technically accurate debate. What we get too often is Ginny Simone and the like sucking up to criminals like Tony Martin.

          “If the goal was to get rid of guns, it failed. Do you disagree with that conclusion?”

          Yes. People acquire guns that they no longer need, and amnesties are a way to get them off the street. People also inherit guns which they shouldn’t have.

          • R T Deco

            No, gun control is about making sure that only decent people have guns. Criminals and untrustworthy people do not get guns.

            When a law is passed that outlaws a certain type of gun or a certain type of magazine that formerly had been legal, the only accomplishment is to make criminals out of law-abiding “decent” citizens.

            No. In addition to looking at the computer screen, a police office can go to talk to them in their home – this is standard UK practice.

            But this kind of practice is prohibited by the highest law of the land, the US Constitution. Simply put, Americans don’t believe in having to grovel before the police or the courts to ask, “Please, sir, may I have a gun?”

            Thirty years ago, a person in most of the US needed to present a “valid reason” to the court in order to obtain a permit that allowed one to carry a concealed handgun in public. (Say you had to transport cash as part of your job or you feared that someone was out to get you.) Authorities in some parts of the country (particularly cites run by Liberals) would simply deny any request.

            Since then the trend has been for states to move from being “may issue” (i.e., the permit is allowed if the authority feels like it) to “shall issue” (i.e., the permit must be issued unless there’s a darned good reason not to), and guess what? Crime, including gun violence, has significantly decreased over that 30 year time period.

            You are welcome to your opinion, but the clear facts are that access to guns, including concealed guns in public, is not directly correlated with gun violence in the US. Other factors are far more important.

            “Do you know how many people were prosecuted in the US last year for trying to buy a gun and failing the background check? It’s almost nil.” Most rejections are overturned on appeal.

            Many are, but it’s far from being all. Why aren’t convicted felons being prosecuted for trying to buy a gun? That is an illegal act, after all.

            “Besides, the UK has been going through an epidemic of knife violence in the last couple of decades, so pick your poison.” I live here, and you don’t. I do not arm myself before leaving the house, and I don’t feel I need to.

            I don’t feel in danger living in the US. What’s more, I don’t fear home invasion, because I know that some (not most, not many perhaps, but enough) of my neighbors have firearms in their homes, which is a substantial disincentive for would-be burglars and other thieves. This is even more important in rural areas, where the closest law enforcement officer might by 30 minutes or more away from one’s home.

            “But even the UK’s strict gun laws are not enough to prevent a random taxi driver from going on a mass killing spree with guns he that owned legally.” Guns that he wouldn’t have had if the police had followed the laws already in place.

            Really? Which law did the police not follow? The UK police have said that all three of his firearms were lawfully owned. You’re just making stuff up.

            “If the goal was to get rid of guns, it failed. Do you disagree with that conclusion?” Yes. People acquire guns that they no longer need, and amnesties are a way to get them off the street.

            You mean acquire illegal guns? In Australia, before you can have a legal gun you have had to have acquired a license for it. If you no longer need that gun, you should sell it to a licensed dealer or surrender it to the police, right? If you legally own it, why wouldn’t you?

            Amnesties are for illegal guns, and if people are just “acquiring” illegal guns that they don’t need, then that is a failure of gun control, right? After all, it was you who said, “gun control is about making sure that only decent people have guns.”

            People also inherit guns which they shouldn’t have.

            They shouldn’t be able to inherit them without a valid license, right? Without a permit, such guns must be surrendered to the police.

          • FrancisKing

            “When a law is passed that outlaws a certain type of gun or a certain type of magazine that formerly had been legal, the only accomplishment is to make criminals out of law-abiding “decent” citizens.”

            No it doesn’t. Under US law the old guns are grandfathered. People can’t buy the new guns, but that doesn’t make anyone a criminal.

            “But this kind of practice is prohibited by the highest law of the land, the US Constitution.”

            Not it is not. Please see Heller vs DC. The states and the Federal Government have the right to regulate gun ownership (as long as they don’t regulate the guns out of existence, as DC tried to do).

            “Really? Which law did the police not follow? The UK police have said that all three of his firearms were lawfully owned. You’re just making stuff up.”

            Derek Bird was convicted of a Category 2 offence – handling stolen goods. A Category 2 offence means that his guns should have been removed. However, the sentence was suspended, and the police didn’t ask, they guessed, and guessed wrong. From my perspective, and that of the law, only decent people get guns under UK law, and he was convicted of stealing.

            “Amnesties are for illegal guns…”

            And legal ones. An Amish child found a shotgun in a barn, with inevitable consequences. Getting guns off the streets is a good idea, in general.

          • R T Deco

            No it doesn’t. Under US law the old guns are grandfathered. People can’t buy the new guns, but that doesn’t make anyone a criminal.

            Often there is a grandfather clause, but not always. For example, when the city of Los Angles decided to outlaw “high-capacity magazines,” they were outlawed. Period. There was no grandfather clause. People had 60 days to get rid of them or they were criminals.

            Not it is not. Please see Heller vs DC. The states and the Federal Government have the right to regulate gun ownership (as long as they don’t regulate the guns out of existence, as DC tried to do).

            Right. Having the police stop by and interrogate owners or potential owners in their homes is going to be a violation of the Second and Fourth Amendments. You need to learn how things work in the US. We have protected rights.

            Derek Bird was convicted of a Category 2 offence – handling stolen goods. A Category 2 offence means that his guns should have been removed. However, the sentence was suspended, and the police didn’t ask, they guessed, and guessed wrong. From my perspective, and that of the law, only decent people get guns under UK law, and he was convicted of stealing.

            Your perspective does not agree with UK law. You’re welcome to your opinion, however, even when you’re wrong. According to an independent review, Bird legally owned those guns and the police did nothing wrong.

            “Amnesties are for illegal guns…” And legal ones.

            No. A legal gun can be surrendered at any time — no amnesty necessary. The entire purpose of an amnesty is to suspend the law for a time so that illegal guns can be surrendered without consequences.

            Maybe you don’t know the definition of amnesty?

            An Amish child found a shotgun in a barn, with inevitable consequences. Getting guns off the streets is a good idea, in general.

            I have no idea what this has to do with what was being discussed, but are you now saying that a barn is a street?

          • FrancisKing

            “Often there is a grandfather clause, but not always. For example, when the city of Los Angles decided to outlaw “high-capacity magazines,” they were outlawed. Period. There was no grandfather clause. People had 60 days to get rid of them or they were criminals.”

            But not guns. That’s why when people think there’s going to be further restrictions, the gun sales go up. Barack Obama and Dianne Feinstein between them have sold more guns than anyone else.

            “Right. Having the police stop by and interrogate owners or potential owners in their homes is going to be a violation of the Second and Fourth Amendments. You need to learn how things work in the US. We have protected rights.”

            Protected rights or not, if someone wants to gain trusted status, e.g. working for the federal government, they are interviewed to establish their character. That’s just good sense, otherwise you don’t know who you’re employing. That’s not a violation of the 4th amendment, which protects against seizure of goods and searches of the home. They knock on the front door – you decide whether to let them in or not, depending on how badly you want the job.

            Under UK law, we apply the same approach to gun ownership. We consider it to be a question of trust and good character. Therefore, the applicant is interviewed in their home.

            Therefore, interviewing people for gun ownership in their home, with the consent of the home owner neither violates the 2nd not the 4th amendment – and is just good sense.

            “Your perspective does not agree with UK law. You’re welcome to your opinion, however, even when you’re wrong. According to an independent review, Bird legally owned those guns and the police did nothing wrong.”

            My opinion does accord with UK law. If the firearm is a Section 2 firearm, a shotgun, the police have to be able to justify their position in a court of law – it’s the closest thing we have to a 2nd amendment. However, the licensing of a Section 1 firearm was and is entirely a matter for their own judgement. In this case, they judged wrong. Since the sentence was suspended they did not have to remove his guns, but arguably they should have done.

            Three examples show the tough nature of UK gun law – against which their decision here can be seen to be wrong.

            A man buys a smoothbore musket. The first police office gives him a shotgun license for it. The second police officer decides that the musket is more like a caplock rifle, which requires a firearms license. That required a specialist lawyer to resolve. Likely outcome if had not been acquitted – 5yrs imprisonment, for owning an unlicensed gun. (Which is why sensible gun owners are members of BASC, the UK’s NRA in effect).

            A man, from a shooting business, leads a shooting party, but finds nothing to shoot in the authorised area. He moves across the boundary line into a nature reserve, is apprehended for armed trespass, and sent to prison.

            If you apply for a Section 2 license, and act petulantly or aggressively, you would be denied the license, on the grounds on not having an intemperate disposition.

            In contrast, not removing the license of a convicted thief is a bit lenient, isn’t it?

          • Frdmftr

            Not true. First of all, Scalia’s claim in dicta (not in the ruling itself) that States had the authority to regulate gun ownership was in error, and he found that out shortly before his untimely death and I have to wonder if his sudden awareness had anything to do with his death.
            No government at any level has any authority to “regulate” the peaceful exercise of a right that does not, by its peaceful exercise, infringe upon the rights of anyone else.
            What Scalia found out was that States (not the feds) have the Police Power with which they may regulate the USE of arms in the interests of public safety, but the RIGHT to keep and bear arms, like all rights, is beyond the reach of government.
            This whole argument that government has the power to regulate THE EXERCISE OF RIGHTS is bogus from the gitgo, and its perpetuation by Fascist & Marxist apparatchiks and their ‘useful idiots’ is why we are arguing these issues instead of getting on with perfect our nation of liberty.
            You have to realize that liberty has a lot of enemies in the world, and they are determined to rule. They sucker us into giving permission by promising to be good rulers, but they intend to rule. These spinning-wheels-in-the-muck arguments are encouraged by those adam henries because they prevent us from advancing our liberties.

          • Kevin McCarthy

            What a load of crap.

          • Frdmftr

            So why do we grovel before almighty government and submit to a compelled self-examination under penalty of perjury and submit to a search in violation of our 4th Amendment, submit to loss of our right to due process in violation of our 5th Amendment, submit to loss of our long-standing and 9th Amendment right to be secure from having to give up a right in order to exercise a right, and submit to loss of our 10th amendment right to be secure from federal exercise of authority not delegated to the federal government every time we purchase a firearm from a dealer?
            If Bloomberg’s subversive Universal Background Check had passed we would be submitting to loss of our right to be secure from State authority prohibited by the U.S. Constitution as amended.
            The federal government doesn’t even have the lawful authority to license firearm dealers, people. It doesn’t have the authority to rob the public treasury to pay for an illegal, unconstitutional agency like the BATFE, and it certainly has no federal authority to convey to BATFE agents as LEOs.
            When the American people stop putting up with this illegal federal crap we will start getting our liberties back.

          • Frdmftr

            The above back-and-forth about the statistical effectiveness or lack thereof of gun control in the U.S. and other countries misses the point entirely. As one who lived in Australia during the communist Labor government rule 1970-1974, I can tell you the rights of the Australian people are chimera. Like every other nation besides America, they have privileges as long as they don’t make waves. Their situation is irrelevant to both the situation in and the founding principles of the United States. We are the first nation in the history of the planet to establish private individual rights as superior to the arbitrary whim of kings and princes and neighborhood warlords every time, no exceptions, no excuses. And for the last hundred years or more, in accelerating fashion, we have frittered these rights away in exchange for the illusion of government beneficence and protection. We have allowed our government to be overtaken by the same bankster cartels who owned Great Britain when we fought our War for Independence, and those world players have been on the verge of declaring their regained control over “their colonies” for the last three administrations. Obama, followed by Hillary, was supposed to be execution of their plan. It didn’t work out that way thanks to the people and the brilliance of our Founders in creating the Electoral College. But it ain’t over until the Fat Lady Sings.
            If we want to keep this nation of Divinely-Inspired Liberty, we’d best stop spinning our wheels discussing which form of tyranny is safer than others and start exercising our rights and demanding government honor them.

          • Chew H Bird

            And the fundamental fallacy of gun control is: “No, gun control is about making sure that only decent people have guns. Criminals and untrustworthy people do not get guns. It’s about sorting the sheep from the goats.”

            Last time I checked people drank during prohibition. People break automobile laws on a minute by minute basis. How many people break some sort of law on a daily basis? The point is criminals will always be able to obtain guns through illegal sources.

            Placing controls and regulations on regular people who do their best to legally comply with our regulations will have virtually no impact on the tragedies that happen in our country. Sometimes stuff happens to good people that pushes them over the edge… A healthy law abiding person at age 30 with a few guns, legally obtained, may have a mental breakdown at age 48, (for example), and go on a spree. No background check will fix that problem. No background check will sober up a person who drank too much one night and used a gun to cause harm to others.

          • EABeem

            So are you in favor of getting rid of all background checks and letting anyone at all buy a gun? That seems to be what you are saying.

          • Chew H Bird

            What I am trying to say is what is currently in place is, from a common sense and realistic point of view, appropriate for our state. If someone wants to do harm to others, there is an endless matrix of illegal ways to obtain a wide variety of dastardly items.

          • EABeem

            So we do agree that background checks make sense. I am just suggesting that background checks on private sales (not transfers) would be a logical extension of the regulations we have now. As you can see from some of comments, however, there are people who do not seem to recognize that the 2nd Amendment already has a great many constitutional limitations on who may legally own firearms and what firearms they may own.

          • Chew H Bird

            In my opinion, the only category of people who would benefit from requiring background checks on private sales are lawyers. Requiring background checks on private sales makes no sense to me, however it does create one more way for the state to reach into the wallet of regular people and creates one more useless infraction to be added to a traffic stop during hunting season.

          • FrancisKing

            No, the fundamental fallacy about gun control is that it only applies to law-abiding gun owners.

            Gun control comes in three parts.

            1. Determine who is fit to own guns. Stop criminals and others from owning guns. Optionally: restrict certain categories of guns, and remove others.

            2. Understand that criminals are going to get guns anyway. Go out there and get the guns off them. Imprison people who have guns that they shouldn’t have.

            3. Deal effectively with suicides, and in particular gun-related suicides.

            That is what gun control should look like, and if it doesn’t look like that in your neighbourhood, you need to contact your representative and demand changes.

            Some notes:

            Parliament is sovereign, and can remove or restrict guns. However, it would be nice if there was some justification for the choices. It’s also in the best interests of politicians to get it right. Is the regulation of barrel shrouds important? Given that there are no magazine size regulations for British AR-15s, why are there regulations for US AR-15s? Etc.

            Dealing with criminals and guns appears to be difficult for US politicians. For example, there is a US system called ‘Ceasefire’. In one experiment, the number of gangster homicides went down from 50/yr to 20/yr, and then 5/yr. A 90% reduction. Then they killed the funding. Then from 5/yr, to 20/yr, to 50/yr.

            “Sometimes stuff happens to good people that pushes them over the edge… A healthy law abiding person at age 30 with a few guns, legally obtained, may have a mental breakdown at age 48, (for example), and go on a spree. No background check will fix that problem. No background check will sober up a person who drank too much one night and used a gun to cause harm to others.”

            True. That’s why the UK system uses other measures. Gun owners belong to gun clubs, and shoot in the same places alongside the same other people each week. If there is a change in behaviour, it can be spotted and reported to the police. As for general behaviour, such as drunkenness, this is picked up up the license interview.

            The UK system is far from perfect. It is a cobbling together or different laws, with omissions (e.g. what category does a smoothbore musket belong to?), and oddities (e.g they kept caplock pistols, like a Colt Navy 1851, but removed the specialised pistols required by the Olympic team).

            Even so, isn’t it strange that for all the general waving in the direction of the UK by Barack Obama, nobody has seriously studied what the UK has done?

      • tom2

        Please look at my reply above, intended to supplement R T Deco’s post. And please consider the fact that Australia is again toughening its gun control laws. There’s only one end to such oppression and it’s very ugly indeed. Don’t push it.

    • tom2

      Please take a look at what happened in Australia? OK, let’s do that. How well did Australia’s gun buy-back confiscation program work? The results are just now coming in. Here are some facts. Australia is an island nation about 84 percent of the size of the U.S. but populated by less than the number living in Texas. Additionally, 65% live in large cities and 85% live within 30 miles of the coast, placing it among the most urbanized nations in the world. It is also one the very few nations in the “free world” that does not have a formal Bill of Rights. Most notably, it does not recognize a right to bear arms. Most so-called “gun deaths” in the U.S. were suicides and as most would conclude, suicide will take the path of least pain. But the fact is the U.S. suicide rate is only slightly higher than Australia’s (1.25 times), about the same as our slightly higher overall crime rates (1.19 times). Doubtlessly, a reason for differences lies with population density which is 12.1 times higher in the United States, a statistic that often is quoted by sociologists as a causative factor in suicide rates, crime rates and quality of life. Notably, America enjoys a slightly higher quality of life (1.13 times). The disconnection between firearms and suicides is best exemplified by Japan that allows almost no personal firearms ownership. In 2014, Japan’s suicide rate was almost double the US rate. They simply use other methods. That said, one also needs to consider compliance. The Sporting Shooters’ Association of Australia estimates compliance with the “buy back” of self-loading long guns, and pump shotguns at 19 percent. For corroboration, other independent groups estimate that only about 20% of all banned self-loading rifles have been surrendered.

      Since 1990, Australia’s homicide rate has decreased by nine percent compared to a decline in the U.S. by 39.4 percent. Since 2001, Australia’s armed robberies declined by one-third compared to 18.5 percent in the U.S. I used these periods because they’re the ones cherry picked by leftists interested only in making their point. For example, since 1990, robberies in the U.S. have declined by 46 percent, a figure never cited by leftist media. And they never mention the fact that firearm sales tripled simultaneous with a significant decline in all the recorded crime categories. The undeniable downside to Australia’s confiscation effort is during the past 10 years, recorded assaults increased 40 percent compared to a U.S. decline of 16 percent. And during the same period, sexual assaults in Australia increased 20 percent compared to a 15 percent decline in the U.S. Said another way, mass murders by any means reveal as many as in the 10 years after Australia’s colossal confiscation as there were in the 10 previous years. A direct comparison of murder rates isn’t meaningful because according to the GAO, illegal aliens commit 5,639 murders annually in the U.S. while the number of illegal aliens are negligible in Australia.

      By now, a majority know America has a small problem with mental health treatment and institutionalization. But it’s “a” problem, not “the” problem. Fact is “the” problem is vanishing. Both nations need to start dealing with the real problem — not gun murders — just murders. Of 218 nations, the U.S. ranks 98th. Stated another way, your chances of being murdered in the U.S. are 38 thousandths of a percent (.000038). In Australia, your chances are 11 thousandths of a percent (.000011). That’s a difference of 27 thousandths of a percent, a very small number any way you look at it. Leftists say your chances of being murdered in the U.S. are more than three times as great as they are in Australia. But three times almost nothing is still almost nothing. A statistician’s trick perhaps. Factoring out murders by illegal aliens would place the U.S. among the safest one third in the world, 2.1 per hundred thousand compared to Australia’s 1.1 per hundred thousand.

      Demonizing the U.S. “gun death” rate is popular but recent data indicates 19,392 use firearms to take their own lives annually. That’s about 49.1% of the total suicides and 58.9% of the total deaths by firearm. That leaves about 13,537 for gangs, other murderers, law enforcement and of course those who defend themselves. Perhaps most egregiously, leftists never, ever clarify the claimed “gun death” number with the unknown number murdered by illegal aliens. Regardless, that leaves about 9,537 as the internationally comparable number, changing the U.S. rank and public opinion generally. In view of the Syrian refugee and amnesty program now erasing the U.S. southern border, that number seems significant. Because that data claims murders in the U.S. totaled 14,827 last year, a significant number must have been committed by means other than firearms. Closer to reality, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime now puts total U.S. murders at 12,253.

      If firearms somehow were denied to the deranged segment, suicides would continue by drugs and other methods. And murders would continue with stabbing, cutting and striking implements, fists, feet and hands, autos, drugs, drowning, drops, pushes and suffocations. Law officers would continue to shoot those who attack them leaving the rest to accidents and a small number for self-defense. I’d add that firearms are used more than a million times annually by lawful citizens defending themselves with about 86 percent never firing a shot. That self-defense number might change but only if criminals stop committing crimes merely because they have no firearms and are forced to use other implements.

      Comparing Australia’s gun control experience has become fashionable and one writer said “…it took a brave prime minister to face the rage….” But I’d add it took much more. John Howard was a career politician unfettered by a 2nd Amendment. On the other hand, America suffers with many freedoms because it has a strong Constitution. Over the years, many other nations surrendered their freedoms because they had no constitution or failed to defend it. Many of those nations have been protected for decades by the U.S. precisely because the U.S. vigorously defends its 2nd Amendment. Most nations didn’t or never had a 2nd Amendment. Leftists often point to Australia’s gun control success because “gun deaths” down under are rare. Well of course they’re rare. If they’d confiscated all the rope, deaths by hanging would be rare. Most notably, Australia’s disarmament project was a compulsory buyback of almost a million firearms, funded by taxpayers. More simply, it was government confiscation more brazen than what occurred in prewar Germany.

      In other words, to duplicate this “success,” the U.S. government would have to repeal the 2nd Amendment and purchase 350 million firearms, costing about $175 billion. In view of results in New York and Connecticut where compliance was only about four percent and 10 percent respectively, litigation would be overwhelming and perhaps followed by colossal violence not seen since the Civil War. Besides, a Sydney University study found in 2013 that 1,055,082 firearms had been legally imported into Australia since the 1997 buyback — about the same number as had been collected under that program, a later buyback of handguns as well as numerous gun amnesties, court-ordered seizures and voluntary returns of weapons since 1988. It seems pretty clear that there is no link between the number of guns in a country and the frequency of mass shootings. Incidentally, Australia was one of the nations the U.S. helped protect from the Imperial Japanese Navy that was poised to attack early in 1942.

      As a footnote, one U.S. statistic stands out. Over the past 40 years, the number of fatal gun accidents involving children aged 0-14 declined 90 percent while the supply of firearms tripled. Firearms exist in large numbers in the U.S. precisely because Americans believe in the natural right to self-defense, particularly against the kind of oppressive government under which they now struggle. Additionally, recent terror attacks have hardened the public’s position against gun control. More than a million now overtly refuse to obey gun registration and confiscation laws in just two states. Adjusting to public opinion, New York stopped comparing death certificates to permits and taking firearms from widows. On the other hand, it kept the $100,000 arsenal seized from a man heard arguing with his son inside their home. In the U.S., self-defense struggles against gun control. In Australia, where the struggle has been extinguished, more than 30 asylum seekers released into the community have been charged with crimes ranging from smuggling to pedophilia to murder. For example, Kazem Payam, a jealous 35 year old Iranian boat alien, was granted a protection visa in 2010. Payam met with the new boyfriend and resolved the dispute by stabbing him repeatedly in the chest. Nobody helped the victim and several nearby stores locked their doors.

      Comparisons are terribly complex because our respective problems are unique. And in spite of unique problems in only the United States, according to the FBI, violent crime and homicide rates are at record lows. And it occurs simultaneous with record numbers of gun owners, more guns in citizen hands and more good people carrying concealed firearms for protection outside the home. And record low crime rates have occurred simultaneous with the point in time when all 50 states have at least some sort of concealed-carry system. The point is gun control is not crime control. And America’s crime rates are about in the middle of worldwide data. By the way, over the past 20 years, the Australian government has spent about $540 million on management of its program and thus far, it has not produced as promised. Certainly both nations hope to instill fear in the minds of violent thugs before they commit crimes. Their respective struggles won’t end and only time will judge their collective wisdom.

      • R T Deco

        Well … there are a couple more points. Well put.
        I haven’t had the chance to check all of the figures in your post, but the ones that I am familiar with are fairly accurate.

      • Frdmftr

        And if the Democrat-controlled gun-controlled major metropolitan centers were factored out of the statistics of violent crime, America would come out the safest nation on the planet.

        • tom2

          Spot on and obviously true. Leftists would neither finance nor believe the results of such a major study. It’s a spectacular idea and hopefully John Lott is listening.

  • Chew H Bird

    Legislating law abiding citizens into criminal status is always a bad idea.

  • FrancisKing

    “If the 25 percent of Americans who own guns don’t want the 75 percent of Americans who don’t making the rules for them, they need to propose some rules themselves.”

    Yes. This is the essential point. One gentleman in Scotland, UK, was agitating to tighten the rules on air rifles (which are unregulated, and can cause a nuisance). The BASC, effectively the UK’s version of the USA’s NRA, said nothing, over about a decade. When the legislation was put up for consideration in parliament, the BASC heroically leapt into life – way too late, as it happens.

    Arguably, the BASC should have advanced their own, moderate, position, well before the legislation was completed. Saying ‘no’ doesn’t work, nor does a studied silence.

  • tom2

    Most Mainers and most Americans favor background checks?! Pure propaganda. Leftists often quote a highly biased “push poll” commissioned by Bloomberg that claims most NRA members favor universal background checks. But the questions were loaded and respondents were offered no background information on the question. The NRA countered Bloomberg’s “push poll” and produced opposite results, clearly proving NRA members are massively opposed to universal checks. It’s clear that leftists are interested in the lawful working citizens they need as voters and they need these citizens to be dependent on them. Felons and the entitlement class already are dependent on them but they desperately need to “control” the normal, everyday, middle class workers who actually earn money. By the way, that’s us. And that’s the money they use to create the dependency that keeps them in power.

    Proof of the real leftist agenda came spilling out in 2013 during heated debate over a bipartisan bill proposed by Senators Begich, Flake, Graham and Pryor, and supported by the NRA, that would reform the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). Its focus was to clarify when a person loses the right to possess due to mental illness. Its justification was based on the well documented “Alice Boland” case. She threatened Bush 43 and told the Secret Service she’d shoot him and the entire U.S. Congress if she had a gun. In 2005, she was tried and found not guilty by reason of insanity. In 2013, she passed a NICS test, bought a sidearm, entered a private school and tried to kill two staff members. Fortunately, the gun failed. The bill would have accurately defined those who should be barred from firearm possession, particularly those like Boland. GUN CONTROL ZEALOTS REFUSED TO SUPPORT THE BILL AND IT FAILED. Notably, Senator Blumenthal co-sponsored the bill but three weeks later withdrew his support. Remember Blumenthal? He’s the U.S. Senator from Connecticut who claimed Marine Corps combat service in Vietnam but actually did his service in the Toys for Tots program. He also claimed to have been captain of the Harvard swim team, but Harvard has no record of it. Just part of the flimflam.

    What’s missing from leftists is the data necessary to convince us that these laws will be effective. Instead of blindly accepting what leftists feed us, we need to start dealing with the real problem — not gun murders — just murders. Gun homicides are just part of the total reported murders per 100,000 population. In 1993 the number was seven. That number was reduced to 3.8 per 100,000 by 2013. Of 218 nations measured, the U.S. now ranks 98th, about in the middle. Stated another way, your chances of being murdered in the U.S. are 38 thousandths of a percent (.000038). In the U.K., your chances are .8 thousandths of a percent (.000008). That’s a difference of 30 thousandths of a percent, a very small number any way you look at it. Leftists often say your chances of being murdered in the U.S. are almost five times as great as in the U.K. But five times almost nothing is still almost nothing. By the way, over the last 20 years, crime among African-American youth has fallen by 47 percent. That should surprise no one because the vast majority of Americans live in open carry states where all categories of crime are at record lows. In other words this is a non-issue.

    When considering nations with lower murder rates, one also must consider the large number of murders by illegal aliens, a major factor in the U.S. and in no other place on earth. Factoring out the GAO’s latest estimate of 5,639 annual murders by illegal aliens, the U.S. murders per 100,000 would be reduced to 2.1. That number would place the U.S. well within the safest one-third of the world. Someone should tell the leftists that tinkering with a system that works may make matters worse.

    Voters are beginning to realize the scale here. The down side is far more than an inconvenience to some of our friends. Fact is it’s a colossal intimidation of an entire state population, particularly current firearms owners. Some even see our nation’s headlong gallop toward political leftism, aka socialism. They’re beginning to realize it’s a flimflam. Obviously, leftist forces in this nation have absolutely no interest in nuts, felons or even terrorists. Universal registration is their goal and they see it as their path to wealth and power. Voters seem to be catching on to the fact that registration is a long way beyond universal background checks.

    These leftists are charlatans and what they really want is to keep tabs on transfers between mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, uncles, cousins, friends, and neighbors. They’re after inheritances, bequeathals and gifts. They’re also after the sales of inherited collections, however small they are. New York, California, et al., already have begun by comparing death certificates to permits and taking guns from widows. Clearly, they don’t give a hoot about nuts and felons. They want us because we’re the source of THEIR money. But Blackstone nailed the bottom line when he affirmed, “The natural right of resistance and self-preservation, when the sanctions of society and laws are found insufficient to restrain the violence of oppression.”

    The ideological chasm is widening because owners of firearms no longer trust the many organizations largely funded by Bloomberg to orchestrate more restrictive government regulation. Owners no longer trust the government to not stretch and parse the legislative intent to abuse peaceable, lawful armed citizens. Owners no longer trust gun control activists, inside and outside of government, to use the system fairly and expeditiously, within 72 hours when possible. The pinnacle of this problem is owners know from experience that these leftists will return soon howling for additional or more restrictive laws. And at the end, even a blind baboon knows access cannot be controlled without universal background checks. And universal background checks cannot be enforced without a universal registry. Reasonable people can learn this but not if they follow the leftist path. And at the end, this isn’t how we want our law enforcement officers to spend their time.

  • Ernie Goncalves

    dont give them one inch!!! this is just an incremental process in which one day you will wake up and your rights are gone!

  • areyoukiddingme

    EA Beem,
    I think you have been more than fair personally to at least listen to the issues from gun owners on the subject of Q3, especially given your normal political bent. What is needed is a simple, inexpensive way for gun sellers to do a background check. I think most gun owners would do so and if you also gave them legal protection its a win win. The problem is how to accomplish that. The NICS is organized as an FFL based system and the FBI has no interest in having individuals be able to use it. In addition running guns through an FFL is truly registration so that has its own issue. The best design I can see is that the State provides a way for a person to obtain a good to go card that means that they have passed a NICS “type” check and can then use it to give the person selling the gun. Since this ‘card’ is not tied to an FFL or any specific gun everyone should be happy.

    • Frdmftr

      What is needed is for the whole concept of revocable government permission to exercise our fundamental natural right to be abolished with all of its trappings. It is a tyranny, and it is designed to incrementally create a greater tyranny and then an absolute irrevocable tyranny. It serves no legitimate purpose, does not prevent crime, does not reduce the crime rate, does not prevent active criminals or wannabes from obtaining weapons. All it does is justify registering all gun owners and eventually rendering them defenseless. And in the process, it suckers law-abiding gun owners/purchasers into waiving every right they have in exchange for government permission to exercise a right government has no lawful authority to issue or deny.

  • gunsandrockets

    Anyone who wants a preview of what the gun-control advocates have in mind for Maine, need only look at California today.

    Forewarned is forearmed.

  • Alex Grundy

    We already have Background checks. This is for expanded Background checks. Mind telling us what is the difference between expanded background checks, the current system and what specific events they would have prevented if they were in place? You can’t and will not because these are all bits and pieces fitting together with registries and outright bans. Your agenda is pathetic.

  • funfundvierzig

    Readers are delighted. Mr. Beem is back. Back so soon, only days after traumatically suffering a loss so profound and intractable, he proclaimed its severity amounted to a death in his family.

    Yes, his idol whom he adored and glorified lost an election he was convinced she could not possibly lose, given the “stupid people” as he called them graciously were in such a minority, supporting the other contender. Well, folks, the increasingly haggard and unhealthy Hillary did indeed and in fact go down in a dramatic defeat.

    By 10:00 PM on Nov. 8, 2016, she melted away faster than Margaret Hamilton in the Wizard of Oz. But take heart, historically she did not break the glass ceiling, but she did break the crass ceiling. No candidate in two centuries running for the White House has been as corrupt and deceptive, or as venal and venomous.

    Carry on, Mr. Beem. Good to see you on the job, penning provocative and always interesting columns for your readers.

    …funfun..

  • Charles Martel

    Liberal logic (an oxymoron of course): unilateral background checks for guns but no ID to vote.

    “The war zone-like statistics are not new. As WBEZ reports, while some 2,000 U.S. troops have been killed in Afghanistan since 2001, more than 5,000 people have been killed by gun fire in Chicago during that time, based on Department of Defense and FBI data.”

  • Frdmftr

    Mr. Beem seems to focus on our right to keep and bear arms he would like to see permanently turned into a revocable government-issued privilege, while ignoring the violence his thesis does to our 4th Amendment right to be secure from search (and seizure) in the absence of probable cause of criminal conduct, and the violence his thesis does to our 5th Amendment right to be secure from our rights being taken without due process (defined as conviction of criminal conduct by Court of Law), and the violence his thesis does to our 9th Amendment right to be secure from being compelled to give up a right in order to exercise a right, and the violence his thesis does to our 10th Amendment right to be secure from the federal exercise of authority not delegated and State authority prohibited by the U.S. Constitution.
    Neither the federal, nor the State government, nor the people, have the lawful authority to require anyone to give up their right to keep and bear arms in exchange for revocable government permission to do so, nor does any of these entities have the lawful authority to scam the people out of their 2nd, 4th, 5th, 9th, and 10th Amendment rights in order to receive revocable government permission to exercise our right to keep and bear arms.
    Now that Bloomberg’s subversive referendum designed to destroy all the rights of the people has been defeated in Maine, Mainers should now immediately mount a major effort to prohibit the aforementioned violation of rights as a precondition to exercising our rights.
    One last point Mainers had better get through their heads if they don’t want to lose all their rights: The subject under discussion is RIGHTS, not government-issued privielges. Rights are beyond government reach. States have the Police Power to regulate the USE of arms in the interests of public safety; neither the States nor the feds have the authority to regulate the keeping or bearing of arms.

  • keithrt

    Not sure what’s going on here, but this is the second article Beem has written recently with which I mostly agree (Okay, the one about losing his dog was easy.).

    The Question 3 article failed because its New York sponsors considered Mainers recalcitrant children who needed the wise and benevolent supervision of their betters. One had only to look at the donor lists published by the Press Herald prior to the election to see that the vast majority of donors in support of Question 3 were from New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts, which Mainers rightfully resented.

    I voted against Question 3 for all of the reasons Beem outlined, though I actually agreed with the principle behind it. Had Question 3 been restricted to permanent transfers of firearms between private citizens, I might have accepted it. But the left, never satisfied and with their typical overreach, attempted to criminalize all transfers, even loans between friends, with a few exceptions. Without this provision, Question 3 might have passed easily. I might have supported it myself.

    Beem is also correct that the gun owners’ groups in Maine should get together and write a proposal for legislation implementing background checks for private, permanent transfers and present it to the legislature for consideration. Gun dealers, who would be burdened with conducting the background checks, could make the requirement more palatable by keeping fees for such transfers reasonable. Any gun owner who transfers a gun through the NICS background system at a gun dealer should be indemnified if the transfer is approved and the gun is later used in a crime. This indemnification would be a incentive for gun owners to utilize the system, rather than look for ways around it.

    Finally, regarding gun registration, gun owners have plenty of reasons to view registration with suspicion. Comparing gun registration with auto registration is a false equivalency. No one has ever proposed confiscating autos and in any case auto registration is done for tax purposes, not crime prevention.

    The left has never made a secret of its ultimate goal of total gun confiscation, despite their denials. Hillary Clinton, while assuring gun owners she respected their Second Amendment rights, was telling donor groups that Australia’s total gun confiscation program was “worth looking at.” In Clinton’s case even Beem, with his head in its usual position, had to have known Clinton was lying; her lips were moving.