View Full Version : Back-door Gun Control

Tom Servo
April 29, 2009, 10:14 PM
If we can use a capital infusion to a bank as an opportunity to control executive compensation and to limit use of private planes, why can't the government use its weight as the largest purchaser of guns from major manufacturers to reward companies that work to keep their products out of criminals' hands? Put another way, if it is too difficult to outlaw bad conduct through statutes, why not pay for good conduct? Why not require vendors to change their behavior if they want our tax dollars?
--Elliot Spitzer (http://www.slate.com/id/2217117/), writing for Slate

I don't think this'd work. Still, it gives me pause.

I'm not worried about another blanket ban. What scares me is a sort of scheme like this, which would stand up to post-Heller scrutiny.

The jury's still out as to whether it was intentional or not, but OSHA's attempt at revising 1910.109 (http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=9755) last year proved that it's possible to stifle or kill the gun industry without passing a single law.

You can bet this is the stuff I'd be brainstorming if I was in their shoes. Here's what we need to watch for:

import bans
controls on manufacture and distribution of raw materials
controls on the flow of commerce.

The 1989 ban was bad enough, but an executive order could easily stall production on such brands as Glock, Sig and Springfield. It could severely affect the availability of replacement parts for existing guns. In any case, it would drive prices through the roof.

Of course, the affected companies could simply open plants here, but that's assuming that they're issued the appropriate manufacturing licenses and given zoning to open said facilities.

Then there's the question of raw materials. We could see a tax on nitrocellulose or "environmental" controls on lead. Want your gun reblued? Sorry, but hot bluing got declared a respiratory hazard in 2011. Right now, manufacture in the industry is slowed because of a shortage of 4130 and 4150 steel. That could be regulated into a permanent shortage.

Lastly, we have the idea of staunching commerce. The BATFE could simply decide to stop renewing FFL's. Or they could be ordered to audit records once a week, with a full stop on any FFL that has so much as a misplaced abbreviation in their books. Fines for simple violations could be raised to $100,000 per typo.

Remember, it's for the children.

None of this requires an act of Congress. It would be very hard to challenge the Constitutionality of such measures against the Bill of Rights. Worst of all, we might not see it coming until it's too late.

(Let's not let this denigrate into comments on Mr. Spitzer's...troubles. Likewise, please don't bring up S&W's deal with the Clinton administration. They are a different company now, and have no intention of honoring the old deal.)

April 29, 2009, 10:55 PM
Or, we could use our purchasing power just as Spitzer suggested. Very interesting.

April 30, 2009, 06:31 AM
I think the backdoor policies to limit firearms are on thier minds in some way. Particularily i am curious about the EPA looking into the environmental impacts of lead, being a viable reason to curtail firearms in national parks, and what ramifications that might have for national forests, and of course...elsewhere. International treaties(see CIFTA, Harold Koh, etc) and EPA rulings as US guidelines regarding small arms, ammunition, etc seem to be the modus operandi. Stock of ammo being ruled as explosive material or needing regulation seems to have been justified in Arizona after Katrina, by Gov Napolitano to implement legislation providing for the supervision and movement of same...for the public safety. Also wouldn't omit National Healthcare Database having a possible effect on privacy and/or gun ownership further down the road.

Overall...i get just a kooky feeling about the justifications, disinformation, and methods/logic of the folks currently minding the store. I mean, if the last 100 days are any guideline, i fully expect congress to inform us that the color blue has been deemed to cause 90% of the eye cancer in fruit flies so it can't be worn openly.:rolleyes: Maybe I'm too cynical, but it's like watching the teletubbies lately.

Rationalize, then nationalize, that's my mantra. As far as Elliot Spitzer and that quote goes, i think he wants someone to legislate prostitution so he won't be responsible for his own actions, and maybe even provide bailouts? Frankly the problem of the first part "difficult to outlaw bad conduct through statutes" doesn't jive with the solution of the second "require vendors to change their behavior?" It's just more teletubby la-la, unless oversight is his proposed answer. *see mantra.

if it is too difficult to outlaw bad conduct through statutes, why not pay for good conduct? Why not require vendors to change their behavior if they want our tax dollars?

April 30, 2009, 06:52 AM
I think Heller has confirmed for everyone that the backdoor is exactly where any type of gun control will come from. In fact, even before Heller you have ammo serialization schemes and micro stamping that are all designed to inflate the cost of ammo and firearms. A higher price point creates gun control by exclusion.

April 30, 2009, 07:18 AM
In fact, even before Heller you have ammo serialization schemes and micro stamping that are all designed to inflate the cost of ammo and firearms.

Can't speak for microstamping of firing pins, but remember boys and girls, ammo serialization was proposed and designed by a commercial outfit that patented the process. They were/are trying to change the law so SOMEONE will buy their product! If the law does not stipulate ammo serialization, they will never make a dime. Pretty poor business model if you ask me and they deserve to go out of business. So far, no state legislature in their mind has seen fit to oblige them.

I suspect none ever will, the cost to the ammo industry and to our attempts to fight a war ever again will be too great. Non-serialized ammo will always make it to the public and if the ammunition manufacturers lose the US market for surplus and peacetime sales, they'll charge to Government a fortune or sell the surplus to Mexico and Hugo Chaves. And it apparently slows the process of making ammunition down to snails pace. Oh, and it doesn't solve crimes because stolen ammo is untraceable. It is just a stupid idea from every angle. So far, the Democrats have not gotten that stupid.

April 30, 2009, 07:36 AM
So far, no state legislature in their mind has seen fit to oblige them.

Them...no. But isnt the Maryland Case an inexpensive, less radical, baby step in that direction?

April 30, 2009, 09:09 AM
So far, no state legislature in their mind has seen fit to oblige them.

Although it has been proposed in 18 states by the antis, thankfully without any support. And while it might be a process created to make money for a 3rd party company, the anti's certainly understand the implications of ammo serialization.

April 30, 2009, 09:15 AM
This sounds like coming up from the cellar instead of the back door. It has always bugged me when non-elected 'officials' somehow can create law and even enforce it.

April 30, 2009, 12:10 PM
Eliot Spitzer, a former governor of the state of New York, and NYC attorney Peter Pope recently co-authored an article in The Slate titled “Gun Control Without Gun Laws.” It appeared in Spitzer’s online column, click here (http://www.slate.com/id/2217117/)to visit.

Spitzer’s argument focuses on finding a solution to the long-standing 2nd Amendment dilemma: restricting the illegal flow of firearms through otherwise legal channels. He and Pope propose non-statutory answer, specifically a government procurement and acquisition policy answer, to reward firearms manufacturers that “control their product distribution” in such a way as to limit sales to dealers that “[sell] a disproportionate number of ‘crime guns’.” As they indicate, the government buys guns “by the crate.” (Of course, they mean local, state, and federal level sales to law enforcement agencies and the military.)

As an example, they highlight the predicament of the NYPD in the ‘80s and ‘90s. Police increasingly found that their service revolvers were no match for the 9mm semiautos the drug dealers and criminals wielded, compelling the NYPD to upgrade their sidearms. Spitzer and Pope suggest that drug dealers “pioneered” the use of more effective firearms with the tacit support of firearms manufacturers and crooked dealers.

This example prompts Spitzer and Pope to ask: “Why do we buy guns from companies that permit their products to be sold to bad guys?”

They propose a variety of government acquisition policy changes for firearms procurement, positing that the sheer quantity of government sales would cause firearms manufacturers to change the way they sell and distribute. But let’s analyze those procurement policy changes. I won’t list them all here, but they’re worth taking a look at. How would these changes affect firearms manufacturers if they were implemented? Are they feasible? More importantly, would they serve their intended purpose of “keep[ing] [firearms] out of criminals' hands?”

Alyssa Rosenberg, a federal workforce blogger with Government Executive magazine, is doubtful that the policies could even be implemented with a degree of consistency. She also challenges the notion that procurement policy should be used to achieve social or political goals. Rosenberg’s article can be read here (http://blogs.govexec.com/fedblog/2009/04/procurement_gun_control.php).

At the core of Spitzer and Pope’s case is the assumption that guns need to be “controlled.” In the theoretical sense, in order to promote responsible firearm ownership they must be kept out of the hands of (unsupervised) children and criminals. But is their solution a good one? And what implication might these procurement policies have on the average citizen? Cynical as it may seem, these proposed policies might only serve to choke manufacturers and dealers in complicated purchasing “red tape.”

Bartholomew Roberts
April 30, 2009, 01:09 PM
This example prompts Spitzer and Pope to ask: “Why do we buy guns from companies that permit their products to be sold to bad guys?”

Why do we buy cars from companies that permit their products to be sold to alcoholics?

Talk about weak, pathetic reasoning. I don't know if I am more amazed at the idiocy of the underlying idea or that someone who had a law degree, was an Attorney General for NY, and then Governor thinks we are all stupid enough to buy it.

However, the idea is still flawed. The government simply can't subsidize enough manufacturers to make the program effective. The best they can do is make such firearms cost more and thus create a niche market ruled by manufacturers who have zero obligation to the government and likely resent the government for the favoritism they show competitors. Personally, I don't think gun control people are going to be happy with what happens there; but I think it will work OK for me.

ETA: Same subject being discussed in this thread:

Personally, the most effective way I could see to do it would be for the banks that lend money to businesses to impose conditions on the manufacture and distribution of firearms that were a condition of receiving credit. Since Uncle Sam already owns the banks now, that shouldn't be too hard.

Even with that though, there is enough capital out there that is free of such restrictions that it would be a temporary solution at best - and they would end up making groups like the NRA even more powerful if they stepped in to fil the gap in credit.

April 30, 2009, 01:53 PM
What Change (tm) is this op-ed proposing?

The ATF already (tries to) identify FFLs with disproportionate numbers of crime gun sales that are later traced back to a crime. Some of those FFLs get shut down, some don't.

The problem is the chain of responsibility. Just because guns from manufacturer X go through FFL (retailer) Y and end up being used in a crime by felon Z doesn't mean Y is culpable. But this proposal is to make X culpable as well?

If government firearms acquisitions are tied to a requirement that the gun manufacturer doesn't supply any FFL with more than x% guns later traced back to a crime, that's a lawsuit waiting to happen.

Gun manufacturers do not have access to the ATF's trace data on guns used in crimes, so how could they even begin to know which FFLs might be shady?

Not only that, but one large gun store robbery could effectively put that FFL out of business. (The guns start getting used in crimes, the gun manufacturers get notified that that FFL (a robbery victim) is a crime gun supplier, and the manufacturers either give up on government sales or they stop supplying that FFL).

It sounds like some liberals are getting their panties in a wad about the aforementioned chain of responsibility, and want to punish FFLs for things that are not provably within their control. They can't do it legally because if they could they would. So they're resorting to economic arm-twisting. Disgusting.

How is it that antis manage to come up with so many incredibly bad ideas?

Al Norris
April 30, 2009, 06:45 PM
Threads merged.

Tom Servo
April 30, 2009, 09:23 PM
What Change (tm) is this op-ed proposing?
I think the idea runs along these lines:

"If we're going to buy Acme Brand CAR-15's for a contract, we want them to stop producing semiautomatic versions of these rifles for civilians. Everyone knows they're the choice of drug dealers everywhere."


"Acme's 9mm pistols have been used in crimes. Well, at least one. In any case, we demand that they stop producing them if they want to keep their military contracts."

I don't think it'd fly, but my point was to keep an eye out for sneaky stuff like this.