Bloomberg has cultivated some pet Congresscritters

I like to make fun of Bloomberg’s movement’s irrelevance (and more recently here), but I should admit that they have managed to domesticate (and perhaps even housebreak) a few members of Congress. These include Carolyn “I don’t know what a barrel shroud is, but I demand we ban them” McCarthy (D-NY), Peter “too many mosques” King (R-NY), and (what would gun prohibitionist movement would be complete without an Illinois politician?) Mark (don’t have a catchy name for him yet) Kirk (R-IL). Mark, in fact, put out a press release yesterday, to mark the occasion of his becoming a minion of mayors.

Following an ad hoc congressional hearing on illegal guns in Washington, U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk, local and law enforcement officials today called for federal action to combat the rise of illegal gun trafficking in the Chicago area.

Following Bloomberg’s script perfectly, Mark explains the four laws that must be inflicted on the entire country, in order to stop Chicago gang-bangers from shooting each other.

• Close the gun show loophole. Unlicensed individual gun sellers and “occasional sellers” are not required to perform background checks on gun purchasers. The weapons used in the Columbine school shootings were purchased at a gun show without background checks;
• Require gun dealers to perform criminal background checks on all gun-handling employees;
• Close the fire sale loophole that allows dealers whose licenses have been revoked to continue to sell their inventory without conducting background checks; and
• Close the “terror gap” that leaves those on the terrorist no-fly list off the list of prohibited purchasers of firearms.

Let’s look at these one at a time, shall we?

1) Close the gun show loophole

Perhaps it would be instructive to look at a Department of Justice study report, Firearm Use by Offenders, showing what percentage of “crime guns” were purchased at gun shows:

Purchased from a retail store 8.3 percent
Purchased at a pawn shop 3.8
Purchased at a flea market 1.0
Purchased in a gun show 0.7
Obtained from friends or family 39.6
Got on the street/illegal source 39.2

Let’s be generous, and lump flea markets in with gun shows. That gives us a whopping 1.7%. Yep–that sounds like the key to stopping the violence. But wait–I thought gun shows were “arms bazaars for criminals.” Actually, a convicted gun trafficker explained why he assiduously avoided the private vendors.

They all knew that in Virginia, they could avoid the background checks if they purchased secondhand guns from private sellers – either at gun shows or through the classifieds.

But, Headlam said: “We never bought from any of them. That one-on-one stuff gets too complicated. People want to have a conversation. They get all skeptical. For real, it was less hassle at a gun shop. Show your two forms of ID, fill out the forms and that’s it. No questions asked. Besides, new guns were my thing. They were more in demand on the other end.”

But why let the non-existence of a problem stop us from passing a law to solve it?

2) Require gun dealers to perform criminal background checks on all gun-handling employees

What’s a “gun-handling employee,” I wonder? Does that include people who handle packaged firearms? If so, we need to force shipping companies to screen their employees, as well.

By the way, is there a big problem on the national level of gun shop employees trafficking firearms?

3) Close the “fire sale loophole” that allows dealers whose licenses have been revoked to continue to sell their inventory without conducting background checks

If a gun dealer’s license is revoked, he no longer is a dealer–he is a private gun owner, trying to sell some unneeded guns. If the real goal here is, as it appears to be, ending private sales altogether, then come out and say so–even the Brady Campaign is honest enough to do that.

Actually, if “fire sales,” by former dealers whose licenses have been revoked, are such a problem (and I’d love to see some numbers on that), maybe it would be a good idea for the BATFE to stop its jihad against dealers, systematically eliminating almost 80% of them since 1994. A good first step in addressing this problem is H.R. 4900, the “BATFE Modernization and Reform Act.” Currently, the BATFE has two approaches for dealing with dealers who (almost always accidentally) violate the rules–warnings, or license revocation. H.R. 4900, besides bringing some desperately needed accountability to the agency, would give them some regulatory tools in between those two extremes.

And then, my favorite–

4) Close the “terror gap” that leaves those on the terrorist no-fly list off the list of prohibited purchasers of firearms

I’ve talked about this before–to give the Attorney General (not even an elected official) the power to unilaterally deprive citizens of their Constitutionally guaranteed fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms, without a conviction, without an indictment, without even an arrest, is to abjectly surrender our system of justice based on the precept of the presumption of innocence pending proof of guilt. Besides, the grotesquely bloated “terrorist watch list” doesn’t exactly inspire confidence

Congratulations, Mayor Bloomberg–your pet Congressman is well trained.

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