When a Compromise Isn’t a Compromise

We typically try to keep the blog here focused on hardware and not politics, but today we will make another exception (if you’d prefer hardware, you can click over to The Firearms Blog and read my guest post there today on the development of the H&K family of rifles). It appears that this Thursday will see Feinstein introduce her new gun ban legislation to the Senate. It isn’t about protecting anyone or making any place safer; she does this every year and has simply taken advantage of the shooting at Sandy Hook to make a Hail-Mary pass at it (which is in itself rather despicable – she should be looking at what can actually make a difference rather than just using the tragedy to boost her career-long crusade against the idea of an armed populace).

Feinstein’s bill will go completely off the deep end, as you can see form the summary currently posted on her web site. It will ban the manufacture, possession, and sale of virtually all self-loading rifles, and subject those already in existence to registration under the NFA (which will have the interesting side effect of hitting NFA Branch like Hurricane Katrina, but that’s another discussion). It will require confiscation of guns upon the owners’ death, and ban tens of millions of magazines.

As such, the bill has a snowball’s chance in hell of passing. As Dolf Goldsmith pointed out to us, just the monetary cost of compensating estates for the confiscated guns will run into the billions of dollars, and it’s far too radical for even many Democratic legislators to vote for. What we fully expect to see is for it to be used as a starting point for negotiations to a “compromise” solution. Such a “compromise” typically means than gun banners ask for a bunch of new restrictions, and then settle on getting half of them passed. And that’s no compromise at all.

A true compromise means that both sides have to give ground and accept something that runs counter to their principles. So let’s talk about a REAL compromise. Let us propose that if gun laws are being overhauled, there should be changes made that will benefit the shooting and collecting community without any risk of helping criminals.

— For example, reopening the machine gun registry. How many registered machine guns have ever been used in crimes? Something like one, and that was in the hands of an off-duty cop. If they are so bent on registering guns, fine – let us register machine guns again.

— And hey, drop the transfer tax to a dollar while they’re at it. The tax was never intended to raise money, but instead to be a de facto ban by pricing machine guns out of the hands of ordinary folks.

— How about national CCW reciprocity and preemption? Criminals don’t bother with carry permits, so help give the good guys a fighting chance by upholding the Full Faith and Credit clause of the Constitution.

— Remove the Clinton-era restrictions on FFLs requiring them to have commercial businesses. Clear away the red tape and let hobbyists get licenses to deal and manufacture. All their guns will be on the bound books, so how could that make people less safe? Unless, of course, this isn’t actually about safety.

Ultimately, I am not interested in surrendering any of my rights (or yours) to that core of gun-grabbing legislators that are making political hay out of this recent and terrible event. But if they start demanding “compromise”, we should at least fight on even footing and not just accept that only their proposals are on the table.