Letters to the Editor

Senate firearm bill costly, ineffective | Letters


I am concerned after reading Senate Bill 374. I found it to have very mixed messages. After all we want people to be law abiding, so I agree with the National Instant Criminal Background Check System and  its reason for being. However, are we going to publicly ridicule and/or hold back funds for a state that does not put as many people on the NICS list as the next, or as many as the attorney general thinks they should have?

One section revises the periods during which the attorney general may withhold Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant funds from states that do not provide specified percentages of required records. It eliminates the attorney general’s authority to waive such withholding if a state provides evidence it is making a reasonable effort to comply.

It requires the attorney general to publish and make available on a publicly accessible website an annual report that ranks states by the ratio of number of records submitted by each state under the NICS Act to the estimated total number of available records of the state.

I am not against a background check nor do I believe we should sell a firearm to a person who has been deemed unworthy. First and foremost this appears to be establishing a registry of ownership.

Secondly I would have no problem checking the validity of a person I want to sell a weapon to. If he/she wants to buy it they would consent to this and I would make the call to the NICS myself. No dealer or fee required.

Title II Sec 202 part 1 says “upon taking possession, complies with all firearms requirements as if transferring the firearm from the licensee’s inventory to the unlicensed transferee. “

Part 2 says “requiring a transaction record of any transfer that occurs between an unlicensed transferor and unlicensed transferee.

The possession of the firearm is also a very grey area. So if the firearm is in possession of the dealer or so called licensee when a ban is instituted does that weapon still fall under a pre-ban status? Can I have my weapon back? If the sale falls through as it did with Mark Kelly’s trying to make a straw purchase, can I get my weapon back? Why should I have to pay a fee to sell my private property?

It also “authorizes the attorney general to implement this section with regulations that shall include provisions: (1) setting a maximum fee that may be charged by licensees for services provided, and (2) requiring a transaction record of any transfer that occurs between an unlicensed transferor and unlicensed transferee.”

I understand what the author is trying to do here. Keep it legal/constitutional with the commerce clause catch all. Let us be real here! If my weapon is stolen and I am a law abiding citizen I am going to report that as soon as possible regardless of a law or rule saying that I have to do so. If I am not a law abiding citizen I will do whatever I want regardless of what this law/rule says! This law serves no purpose other than to criminalise current law abiding people based on the AG’s determination of discovery.

Section 203 “makes it unlawful for any person who lawfully possesses or owns a firearm that has been shipped transported, or possessed in interstate or foreign commerce to fail to report the theft or loss of the firearm to the Attorney General and the appropriate local authorities within 24 hours of discovering it.”

This bill will fix nothing, and yet cost much. I am a law abiding person. I have been in the military and serving my country in some fashion since I was a sea cadet in high school.

I know the feeling of wanting to do something to make myself feel better or look as if I were doing something constructive. I have felt that way on many occasions. What I have found though is being hasty and doing things based on a feeling rather than fact has usually not worked out. We are making it harder and harder (not just with S 374) to be lawful people in this great nation. It costs more and more almost daily to stay within the law.

The average American like me can no longer afford to be lawful, so by no fault of the people the government has created and entire society of good people who can’t possibly live within the boundaries of all these laws, rules and regulations.

Timothy S Hazelo
Oak Harbor


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