In early September two items of interest caught my eye related to the US Government and subtle actions which relate to Americans’ 2nd Amendment rights.
Because of the internet, and with no help from the mainstream media, a frantic outraged cry went up from firearms owners and supporters of 2nd Amendment rights when an Italian company named Chiappa Firearms sent out a press release, of course in Italian, announcing that it will soon be putting inside each firearm it manufactures a Radio Frequency Identification Device (RFID) meant to track quality control, inventory, and shipping. American gun owners shared the news with fellow gun owners fearful that the government and anti-gun organizations could enlarge the use of RFID chips to track firearms.
Putting aside any benefit to the manufacturer related to quality control, inventory, and shipping, the panic created by the very thought of planting a tracking device within a firearm generated furious claims, argument, and even some intelligent discussion. Beyond the obvious reaction to potential personal tracking, the points made ranged from talk about 2nd Amendment rights, causing one blogger to say, “I can see gun owners being treated like child molesters because they exercise their constitutional rights”. Others weighed in wanting to discuss how RFID’s operate and operating distance limitations, always with the caveat – at least at the moment. A few bloggers even talked about the advantages an RFID chip could provide, such as locating a weapon tied to a crime, or in reverse, gun control advocates tracking you as a means of harassment.
I thought my father-in-law, who is an authority on German World War II firearms, summed it up best when he said, “Probably not much to be concerned about from foreign manufacturers of arms at this stage, but if this starts in the US, beware. The BATFE can easily require the manufacturers to provide the signals to ping the chips that they insert. They could also require the chips to be inserted in a place or manner that would inhibit removal. Removal could also be prohibited by law. I am sure that [NY Senator Charles] Schumer [Dem] already has staff working on this. The Brady group is probably having orgasms just thinking about the mischief that this technology can generate.”
My father-in-law’s statement – “The BATFE can easily require ….” appeared in my email inbox the day before I read Mr. Bruce Tinsley’s September 16, 200 Mallard Fillmore Cartoon pictured below.
King Features Syndicate who represents the Mallard Fillmore series and Mr. Tinsley agreed to allow me to use this particular edition as part of this article noting that it went directly to the heart of concerns about units of Government acting on their own with little or no real oversight. If you follow the Mallard Fillmore series, and I would recommend you do on the internet if your newspaper won’t include it, you will soon notice the strip often chides the media for ignoring news that would not support their opinions. You can find the strip online here: Mallard Fillmore.
Departments under the Executive Branch of government, at both the national and state level, can and do take actions inspired by their politically appointed top leadership using the old theory that “It can work until we are caught and told not to do it! … and we may never get caught!” So, that thought combined with the comment about any potential BATFE involvement with RFID chips and the Mallard Fillmore cartoon made me wonder; Are we, or have we been, overlooking subtle but devastating alternative forms of gun control?
Former President Clinton took the direct approach to gun control by limiting magazine capacity, adding purchase restrictions and importation for certain types of firearms and adding other “qualification” requirements as impediments to guns sales. We also know the Democrats in his own party were mad as hornets over some of the things he did by Executive Order. We all have to remember there are millions of voting Democrats who hunt, shoot, and collect firearms and some of those are even elected to public office. So, it was no surprise when even a Democratically controlled Congress let the Clinton Executive Orders die when they would have had to be renewed by the legislative branch of government.
When Barak Obama was elected President of the United States, there was a huge rush to buy firearms by people convinced that he would immediately outlaw the sale of some types of guns, using Clinton style Executive Orders. Public fear was so great that at the time I suggested President Obama should be named the NRA Man of the Year, as he had done more to promote gun sales than anyone in years. And yet, no orders were announced. Months went by and then years where he always voiced the same reply when the “Looney Left” gun control fanatics press him on what he is going to do about gun control. He simply replies, “We are working on it!”
He never has announced anything! He has never made a proposal to Congress, even when he enjoyed total control of the Capital by Democrats. Yet, you can find many clips of him responding to gun control advocates saying, “We are working on it!” Note the choice of an active word – not “we will” – not “we need” – not “we plan to” but, “we ARE”!
So what ARE The President and his Executive Branch of the Government doing? It is obvious that the Obama administration isn’t talking to the legislative branch, nor are they announcing Clinton-era-style Executive Orders knowing that they have a limited life span before needing to be re-affirmed by the legislature. So, I ask again, will we, or are we, overlooking subtle but devastating alternative forms of gun control?
There have been some actions taken by departments within Obama’s Executive Branch that have made been noted in the press, albeit because they had already become common public knowledge. One of the best examples is BATFE’s now-infamous Fast and Furious operation noted by Mr. Tinsley in his cartoon strip. Even the very anti-gun mainstream media was forced to publish negative articles about BATFE’s role when guns released as part of Fast and Furious started turning up at murder scenes in both Mexico and the US. The mainstream media did also take notice when BATFE announced a program to mandate collection of firearm purchase records and data in the border states with Mexico under the guise of Homeland Security and Border Control. Would the latter unilateral action by BATFE have been noted by the media had it not come during the outrage over Fast and Furious? Most likely not.
Then there was the discussion about the US turning all of their firearms-related records over to the United Nations in the name of international security, knowing that the UN and its member countries are not bound by the same disclosure laws as the US itself. The press ridiculed the idea noting the UN issue as rumor and no facts could be found to support the claim. But, Government floats lots of ideas prior to action just to see where the opposition will come from and its potential strength.
All of this made me ask myself, what else could Executive Branch units like BATFE require that would, in essence, create gun control without directly taking on the legislative branch of government, the guns or sales of guns? One consideration that several of my fellow NRA Instructors and friends in the shooting world discuss is controlling the supply of ammunition or the components to make ammunition.
I have a good friend and avid shooter that served our country as a former member of the 3rd Infantry Division, U.S. Army. I asked if she minded I using her email statements from the RFID internet debates in this article about subtle forms of gun control. Her reply was, “Go right ahead. People need to know that they can expect MUCH more of this stuff in the very near future. Already, our own powder manufacturers are “marking” every lot of reloading propellant with little pieces of metal that identify EACH BOTTLE of powder. Though the Blount Corporation (for whom I’ve worked quite a bit) denies it, you can find them in EVERY batch of powder you buy. Don’t believe me? Get yourself a decent 10-20X magnifier and see for yourself. I ask you this: WHY are you having to “sign” to buy powder now? (at least here in Michigan).”
In our new post- 9-11 world there is always that delicate balance between needing to provide security for our homeland by making the purchase of explosive materials, ammunition, reloading equipment, and supplies a law enforcement issue. Yet simply because you shoot and need the ammunition required, that should not trump an individual’s 2nd Amendment rights or make your purchase a source of public information – in the name of national safety.
If for example, you purchase 36 pounds of gun powder, as many Clay Target shooters do, are you a bomb-making terrorist? I suppose that could be one theory advanced by the gun control side. But, many of my fellow clays shooters simply use the slower off-season to prepare for the following year’s shooting events. Are they potential criminals for having hundreds of rounds stored away? Hardly, if you factor in that clays events are usually 100 to 200 target events and in one 5 day event you can shoot over 1500 targets. Besides, we all know it only takes one round of any ammo to become a criminal.
So, is having to sign for gun powder in Michigan a bad idea? Wouldn’t it depend on what happens to that information and how it is used? Information in and of itself isn’t the problem, it is who has access to the information and what they chose to do with it! Think about that statement! Sounds a lot like, “It isn’t guns that kill, it is the person holding the gun!” And, yet the people advancing gun control never seem to see the irony in their focused attack on the firearm, while saying “Trust me with the information about your ownership, purchases, etc!”
The media has certainly been guilty of breaking any trust obtained if it advances their opinions, sells their product or ups their ratings. Personal advancement at the expense of others seems to always be in the playbook for both the press and politicians. So, why should letting either group convince the Executive Branches of Government that it’s a good idea to store personal information? It will always be safely stored, right! Even the Government can’t protect itself from an individual within its ranks who are convinced they have a personal mission. One needs only to consider the WikiLeaks publications to see that truth born out.
My blogging friend and former member of the 3rd Infantry Division suggested that I point out the little special interest amendments Congress attaches to legislation they know will be voted into law. I agree with her that those attachments, which often produce much of the “pork”, can be a problem. We are dealing with such addition that found its way into law here in Indiana, which could force thousands of taxpayer dollars to be wasted. But I am less concerned with such attachments because they can be seen, albeit requiring after passage corrections. The NRA has done a masterful job of monitoring and fighting those types of backdoor laws as they relate to gun control.
What I remain more concerned about is the “rules” and “requirements” that agencies of government implement that often go unnoticed and are not subject to consistent review and oversight. Hence my question – Are we, or have we been, overlooking subtle but devastating alternative forms of gun control from the Executive Branches of the Government?