Intro: Humans fear what they do not understand; it is an entirely natural biological reaction. Knowledge conquers fear. Sadly, there is a lot of misunderstanding when it comes to firearms. Guns are given human like qualities, and ascribed mythical totem-like abilities to absorb and perpetuate evil. They are a source of misplaced blame, and feared, hated and persecuted. Some individuals and groups hold extreme opinions that have nearly no basis in reality. It seems the entertainment industry might be to blame for this, as it is where the uninformed get most of their information.
1. The Gun show loophole myth.
There is NO gun show loophole. None. A loophole is an ambiguity in a law that generally allows activity that violates the spirit of the law without violating the letter of the law. There is no ambiguity in the current law. If you buy a gun from a licensed dealer, such as Liberty Tree Guns you must pass a background check though NICS. If you buy a gun from a licensed dealer across state lines you must have your gun shipped to a licensed dealer, like Liberty Tree, in your state, and usually pay a fee called an FFL transfer fee, before you can take possession. What is generally understood as the “gun show loophole” is individual peer to peer sales. But this is not a loophole at all because this is not prohibited. When the uninformed are asked if they are in favor of “closing the gun show loophole” it frames the conversation in such a way that it sounds totally reasonable. But asking the same people, “are you in favor of prohibiting private legal sales of firearms between adults”, would result in a different answer.
As an individual you may buy or sell a firearm unless you know or have reason to believe that it is an illegal sale. As an individual, and without getting down into the weeds, if it seems fishy it probably is. But if you really like collecting and trading guns, and you aren’t running it as a business, are not buying guns expressly to sell them for profit; you may buy and sell as you wish person to person. But that is not a loophole. It is not a loophole any more than selling a private automobile without a dealer’s license is a loophole.
There are several ways to avoid the inherent risks of peer to peer sales. One is to create a system where buyers all must be federally pre-approved, this is generally felt to be a bad idea. Another idea is to always have to go to a dealer to complete the tranfer. Dealers will not, and should not, do this for free and so it will make peer to peer sales both less desirable from a bureaucratic and a financial standpoint. The third is to open up the NICS system for private users, but this would seem to do little, as it would still require voluntary use. However, as an individual I would like that option.
Unfortunately, sometimes there are risks associated with living in a freedom oriented society.
The idea of transferring a firearm to someone who does not have the right to own one is as troublesome to me as to anyone else, but the proposed solutions to the issue are more troublesome. As a practical matter there are ways to help ensure that you do not sell a firearm to someone who should not have one. (Disclaimer: this is not legal advice and should not be taken as such) First, if it feels sketchy, it probably is: listen to your gut. Considering recording the other party’s name and address , or a driver’s license number, for your records. Other options are to only do transactions with individuals you know or to only transact with persons who have a CCW permit. These are all good practices.
Guns will always be bought and sold by criminals. Always. Forever. According to a Department of Justice study, about 70% of felons obtained their firearms by stealing them or buying them illegally. In many many cases perpetrators of violent crime are already felons and incapable of legally purchasing firearms, yet they get them. The only thing further obstacles to firearm purchasing and ownership will do is prevent law abiding people from enjoying their civil liberties.
2. The you don’t have to aim a shotgun myth.
Physics is a real bummer, it prevents certain things from happening; that is unless you are in Hollywood. A rifle or handgun bullet is like a rock. It can be propelled towards a target. Whether or not it hits that target has to do with aim. One projectile thrown gives us less room for error in our aim. If the object we are aiming at is small, or moving, hitting it is more difficult. To increase our chances slightly we need more projectiles. Physics intervenes again and limits the mass of each individual projectile, otherwise the resulting reaction from the launch would over power the shooter. A shotgun can be extremely effective within its more limited, as compared to a rifle, range. However, it is not an area affect weapon (like a grenade). Firing a shotgun in the general vague direction of a target does not guarantee any sort of good result. At self defense distances, and depending on the shotgun, and load used, the pattern is probably a little smaller than a softball and will rapidly increase in size and decrease in power the farther out it gets. In across-the-room distances the shot dispersal may only be about the size of a golfball. To put it another way, we can use a generalized rule that shot will spread about one inch for every yard distance. That gives you a handbreadth of spread at across the bedroom distance. That is a wider area of margin than with a 9mm but as you should clearly see, aiming is definitely necessary with a shotgun.
3. The shuck-shuck noise of a shotgun Myth
Many people have said this one. “The sound of a shotgun being racked will scare off the bad guys!” Supposedly, the sound of a shotgun action being pumped will make the bad guy wet his pants, surrender, repent of his sins and have a conversion experience while while waitng for the constabulary to come and rescue him from the triumphant homeowner. Think about it though, an intruder has entered your occupied home in the middle of night and is creeping down the hall, looking for victims. Do you really think a dangerous, aggressive person who is probably in a chemically altered mental state and most likely armed, will give up because he hears a shotgun pumping? Or have you just given away your position and valuable information regarding your defensive capability? Why wasn’t that firearm loaded anyway? If it was already ready to go (as it should be) then you have also just decreased your capability by 1. I would prefer that the last sound the bad guy hears is the loud boom. I would really rather a potential bad guy not know where I am during a fight, I’d really prefer he not know we were in a fight at all. Sure, the good guy in every TV show or movie will rack his pump, or his semi auto (making the same sound) in every scene that calls for a gun, just to make that cool noise. But in reality, it’s nothing more than that, a cool noise best suited to Hollywood.
4. The 2nd Amendment Hunting Myth
Whenever gun control becomes a topic of interest in the national discourse for the weekend, pundits are quick to point out that no one is coming after the 2nd Amendment and that hunters should have the right to hunt deer all they want. This is a derailment of the issue and weak salve on our consciences. This simply lulls those who do not understand what the Second Amendment was intended for. The point of the 2nd Amendment is not to protect hunting. The founders would have thought the very idea preposterous. No, the purpose of the 2A is to protect the people from evil doers. It is an extension to our inalienable right to life, and was included as a last final guarantee of our other inalienable rights. That is, our nation was founded on the rather radical idea that our rights do not come from Kings or Governments, but instead that human rights are laws of nature or the Creator and cannot be taken away (inalienable). Humans have a natural right to self defense. The founders believed that Governments were created to protect the people from outside aggression and to enforce law and order within; they believed that the citizens needed to be able to be protected from the Government and other forms of coercive force because they had seen and lived through what out of control governments do. Another important point to make is that the Constitution doesn’t give us our rights, it simply lists our rights. All of humanity has these rights, but our Constitution is unique in guaranteeing them, where many other nations’ founding documents attempt to remove or limit them. Most goverments limit what the people can do, ours began by limiting what the government could do.
Also, even the Founders knew when malfeasants and rapscallions were up to mischief, and when seconds counted, the minutemen were, uh, minutes away. That is the reason for the 2nd Amendment. Any other discussion, or scoffing, at why we have the 2nd Amendment is counter productive, and will inevitably lead to the same discussions about the 1st, 5th, or 14th Amendments.
Stay Safe, Stay Free