Sure, the first thing that comes to mind when you read the title of this article is, who cares? Martin O’Malley has the same chance of being the Democrat nominee as Bill Cosby has of being the next president of the National Organization of Women. True enough, but Hillary Clinton, Feel The Bern Sanders and possibly Joe Biden will have to release their own and these folks all dip into the same well. So with that in mind, it might be worth taking a look at O’Malley’s fresh of the presses document and pick out some of the more laugh-out-loud moments.
It starts of with what is an admittedly laudable (if likely impossible) goal: cutting deaths from gun violence – homicides, suicides and accidents – in half within 10 years. And how does he plan to do this? By trotting out a group of completely debunked talking points and then proposing new laws which fail to address most of the problems he’s talking about. Right out of the gate he hits the one you likely would have guessed. Yep… it’s background checks.
Federally licensed firearms dealers are already required to conduct background checks in order to keep firearms out of the hands of people who have committed violent felonies or domestic abuse. While this requirement has effectively prevented more than 2.4 million prohibited people from acquiring guns, large loopholes allow others to easily purchase firearms.
The biggest and most dangerous loophole is that unlicensed sellers, who account for roughly 40 percent of all firearm sales, are not required to run background checks. Closing this loophole has been proven to save lives: In the 18 states that already require a criminal background check, the number of police officers shot and killed while on duty, the number of people who commit suicides with guns, and the number of women shot to death by their partners is nearly 50 percent lower than in other states.
The next set of bullet points all fall out from that intro and, of course, it’s all based on one stunning “fact.” Did you know that 40% of all firearm sales in the United States take place without a background check through “unlicensed sellers” every year? What… you didn’t? That’s probably because it’s complete malarkey. Most of the Democrats draw this figure from some liberal web sites such as this one. Sadly for them it has been long since debunked by everyone from the mainstream media to the ATF. FactCheck actually did a great job of laying out the history of this blatant lie, but the short version of the story is that the number was generated from a private survey done more than 20 years ago of 251 people in a country of 350 million offering them choices which most had no idea how to answer. No serious person is standing by that figure and even the government acknowledges that the figure is vastly lower. Legal private sellers have to get an NICS check for sales. Now if O’Malley is talking about black market sales between criminals, the number is far higher than we would like, but those aren’t people who pay attention to new background check laws before setting up to commit their next murder.
O’Malley goes on to say he will mandate fingerprint licensing, vastly more expensive gun safes for private owners to have in their homes, and force microstamping regimens on manufacturers. After that he decides to really up the ante and declares that he will end immunity for manufacturers if somebody uses one of their guns in a crime and will use the federal procurement system to deny contracts to weapons manufacturers unless they comply with his various directives, including microstamping. (Not just for what they sell to the government and the military… to all their customers.) I would have to write a novel to shoot down all of those wild schemes and most of you know them for what they are anyway, but there is one more promise he makes which is worthy of note. Check this one out.
Establish a national firearms registry. Although firearm registration helps advance public safety, federal law actually prohibits creation of a national system for registering firearms. This makes tracing guns back to their sale a slow, cumbersome, or even impossible process. O’Malley will push to revise federal law to establish a comprehensive, centralized firearm registration system, where records would be maintained electronically and indefinitely. All firearms purchases would be recorded and registered at sale, and re-registered when they are resold or transferred.
Yep, you read that correctly. He’s promising to institute a national gun registry while acknowledging that he’s aware that doing so would be a violation of federal law. Keep your eye on that one when you look over the plans which are later rolled out by the rest of the Democrats. They love this idea, but it’s such an incredible loser in the polls that most of them won’t dare say it aloud. But now that O’Malley has thrown down the gauntlet (and likely will do so again in the debates) they may be tempted to go for it.