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Opening Arguments

Gun control, big and little

Juxtaposition of the day. First up, the vice president on gun control:

“And so the kinds of things that there’s an emerging set of recommendations, not coming from me but coming from the groups we’ve met with,” said Biden today, before a closed door meeting on gun control. “And I’m going to focus on the ones that relate primarily to gun ownership and the type of weapons can be owned. And one is, there is a surprising — so far — a surprising recurrence of suggestions that we have universal background checks. Not just close the gun show loophole but total, universal background checks, including private sales.”

And thoughts on Obama choosing someone to his left for defense secretary instead of using the pick to move to the center, as most presidents have done:

Hagel called the Pentagon "bloated," and needing "to be pared down." Just the man you'd want to carry out a U.S. disarmament that will shrink America to what Obama thinks is its proper size on the world stage, i.e., smaller.

[. . .]

The rest of the world can see coming the Pentagon downsizing — and the inevitable, commensurate decline of U.S. power.

Defenseless on the world stage and in our own homes! Quite the twin goals, huh?

Speaking of those "gun show loopholes" -- may we discuss the secret that there's no such thing?

I''m a gun rights advocate and a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, for reasons we've gone over here many times, but I'm not an actual gun owner, so there are things I don't think much about, like gun show loopholes, that those in the gun culture are absolutely obssessed about. My brother Larry and I were on the phone yesterday, and I casually mentioned the coming Biden recommendations on gun control, and Larry got sort of apoplectic. He and his fellow gun enthusiasts in Texas are agitated about the "loophole" because the advocates for closing it don't know what they're talking about, not uncommon in the gun control crowd.

If you buy a gun from a federally licensed dealer, whether it's at his own storefront or a gun show or anyplace else, you have to meet exactly the same background-check requirements. But gun shows attract lots of people who like guns, so they're good places for the one-time seller:

But there are also other folks there who may only have a few – or even one – gun for sale. Some of them are collectors who are getting rid of their collections. Others may simply no longer have a need for their old hunting rifle and could use the cash. And they largely don’t have access to the system for doing an instant background check. That’s why the so called “loophole” exists. It isn’t a gun show loophole, it’s a private seller loophole.

You want to buy a gun from your next-door neighbor or sell one to your cousin or leave your collection to your children in your will? That's what we're really talking about, which is a little bit different that the picture conjured up by loophole polemicists of "forums where criminals, the deranged and the idle rich can wander in off the streets, plop down a fistful of cash and walk out with every weapon known to man with no background check." At least Biden is honest about the real goal. If you have no problem with every private sale being regulated, well, there you go.

Oh, gotta close with this snark: Petition to the White House, with more than 20,000 signatures: Eliminate armed guards for the President, Vice President, and their families, and establish Gun Free Zones around them:

Gun Free Zones are supposed to protect our children, and some politicians wish to strip us of our right to keep and bear arms. Those same politicians and their families are currently under the protection of armed Secret Service agents. If Gun Free Zones are sufficient protection for our children, then Gun Free Zones should be good enough for politicians.