Cousins Amy Schumer and New York Senator Chuck Schumer are embarking on their own “crusade on guns.” The two announced the #AimingForChange lobby yesterday in hopes of getting Congress to pass tighter gun laws, specifically the mythical “guns show loophole.” From the Associated Press.
It would close the loophole allowing weapons to be sold without background checks at gun shows and online; fill gaps in the background check system itself; and stop arms trafficking of weapons across state lines…
The two Schumers want Americans to call, write, tweet, post on Facebook and march to stop gun violence. They say that could create a groundswell forcing a vote early next year.
There are more than a few problems with this proposal, the first being online gun purchases. People who buy online still have to get a background check because guns bought online are sent to a licensed FFL dealer. So the notion no one gets checked is ludicrous and a complete fallacy. As for the “gun show loophole,” Jazz wrote about this in 2013 and AP earlier this month, but the argument over gun shows dates back all the way to 2000. David Kopel at Cato wrote how that loophole just doesn’t exist.
Since 1938, persons selling firearms have been required to obtain a federal firearms license. If a dealer sells a gun from a storefront, from a room in his home or from a table at a gun show, the rules are exactly the same: he can get authorization from the FBI for the sale only after the FBI runs its “instant” background check (which often takes days to complete). As a result, firearms are the most severely regulated consumer product in the United States — the only product for which FBI permission is required for every single sale.
Kopel’s piece also notes a 1997 study found only 2% of guns sold at gun shows were then used in crimes. Who did the study? It was the National Institute of Justice and put together by the Justice Department of the United States under the tenure of Janet Reno. Reno was appointed by noted Republican Bill Clinton…wait he’s a Democrat? Never mind. The point is this study wasn’t done by some group called “Guns! Guns! Guns!” or by “Bitter Clingers Anonymous,” it’s by the freaking DOJ! So why don’t more pro gun politicians or groups bring up the report? The fact it’s from 1997 is part of it, but it’s also possible they don’t know about it. It’s easier to bring up the FFL-gun show part to educate people on how the “loophole” doesn’t exist. But the key to education is messaging correctly to get someone’s attention. Tom Selleck and Charlton Heston were great on guns, but there are scores of other celebrities (with greater name value) who are adocating for gun control. Those celebrities who might be pro-gun don’t often talk because why commit career suicide. This means being able to have a better message than “the only thing which stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” Is it true? Absolutely, but people are going to have their eyes glaze over and just the Left will just say, “NRA shill!” So the solution is then explaining, in simple terms, how guns are really just a tool. They can be used to hurt people, but so can a car, a knife, a cast iron skillet, and a rope. A gun can also be used to save lives or for sport or for protection or for hunting.
Amy Schumer’s decision to start her “crusade on guns” makes sense. She’s mad and sad someone in Louisiana killed two people with a gun during a showing of her movie. There are friends of mine who are in favor of gun control because friends of theirs have been killed in mass shootings (specifically Aurora). Their anger and fear is understandable, but what they need is kindly education and not to be beaten over the heads with “GUNS ARE A CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT!!!” That fear they have about “bad guys with guns” isn’t going to go away until probably a “good guy with a gun” stops a mass shooting. Even then, it might never go away. Psychological scars run deep and their well-intentioned (and misguided) efforts to “prevent violence” get hijacked by those who actually want to keep people from getting guns. That’s what Chuck Schumer could be doing with Amy Schumer. It’s possible he’s using her shock and grief over the deaths of two people to fuel his own agenda on guns. It’s also possible Amy Schumer has always been in favor of gun control but is only now deciding to speak up because of what happened in Louisiana. She’s the only person who knows.
The fact is this: it’s not gun control which is needed, it’s gun safety. It’s teaching people how to safely operate guns, get training, and know when to use them and when not to. Gun rights should also be expanded so more people can use them. This means promoting stories like the one Kristina Ribali wrote on why she started carrying and how it saved the lives of her and her family. Unfortunately, it’s easier just to toss everything out and tell people, “Okay we fixed the problem” by disarming the populace, when the people who are committing crimes aren’t law-abiders and most of them didn’t buy guns at a store or a gun show. But the easy thing isn’t always the right thing. That’s what more people, like Amy Schumer, need to realize.