Talkin’ Liberty is the segment of Liberty Nation Radio where Tim and I focus on a few of the week’s stories affecting our liberty that deserve a little more focus or may have been overlooked in part or whole. Here is the latest episode:
Tim: Let’s start with the machine gun issue because you wrote about this on LibertyNation.com this week, and it’s as if the mainstream media or the establishment or elite or legacy media, depending on what you want to call it, is allowing the narrative to advance that many people think that these type of weapons that were used by Stephen Paddock are common and widely available and easily obtainable. What’s the truth about the legality and availability of these kind of weapons?
Scott: A true machine gun is highly restricted. Their possession by civilians was restricted significantly over 80 years ago, and then their availability within those restriction was ratcheted down even tighter under Reagan in 1986. No new products have come on the market since 1986, and for many generations, in order to possess one of these things legally, you have to put forth a significant application, which takes over, up to a year, in some cases, over a year with the federal government ATF and FBI having both your fingerprints, passport photos, all your documentation, birth certificate, etc., so that you can be fully vetted in order to possess these.
Tim: Do you have to show a good or reasonable cause for possessing one?
Scott: No, you do not. As long as you are willing to undergo these burdensome application process and submit the $200 federal tax stamp, then you’re good to go if you meet all those burdens. Now, we’re hearing a lot about bump stocks, too, in the news, and that’s because the photos that have leaked and are presumably real from the hotel room that show some of these rifles on the ground indicate that he had bump stocks on the gun. Bump fire stocks or bump stocks have been around for a long time, and they are used by most people … They’re actually sometimes used by handicapped people I guess to help them shoot, but I don’t think that’s the bulk of the market.
The bulk of the market is machine guns are fun, and guys want machine guns, but they don’t have $15,000 to spend on a gun, which is about what it costs to get a nice machine gun, and they don’t have a year to wait and all that paperwork to fill out. What do they do? They buy the next best thing, which is often something like these bump stocks. I’ve purchased and used not a bump stock per se, but a device that’s used to approximate automatic fire, and I found it to be unreliable and, really, I just used it once and then put it back in the drawer basically.
Tim: When people think about-
Scott: It’s not a-
Tim: If people think about machine guns, they’re thinking about Al Capone or Jimmy Cagney playing Al Capone in the old movies, but machine guns per se were outlawed in 1934 and there have been maybe three federal crimes that were actually committed with machine guns.
Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics
Scott: They’re exceedingly rare. The guns themselves are exceedingly rare and any crime that could be committed them with is so rare it’s even silly to call it rare. You said, I think the other day, two that you knew about, but the statistics I read were three, which is to say that three legally possessed machine guns were used then in crimes. We just don’t have a problem and there are also, Tim, we have sound suppressors or, as the media likes to say, silencers in the news this week. Again, another firearm accessory that can be demonized by the gun grabbers and portrayed by Hollywood to aid in crime, but there’s no real life, real world application in terms of we’re not seeing the crime there.
These mass shootings are fantastic, but the overall body count for them is actually pretty low. We’re talking about two long Chicago weekends here basically or maybe three, and that’s where the bulk of murders in the United States happen. They happen in the inner cities and, typically, they happen with small, cheap handguns.
Tim: Let’s be honest. Let’s complete that thought with pure honesty. Roughly 90% of those are black on black crimes that are committed in by gangs or similarly violent, violence-prone individuals.
Scott: Certainly. That’s actually a very relevant point, Tim, and one of the reasons why it’s relevant or, excuse me, the reason why it’s relevant is because, and I forget who it was who said that one of the things that the left does is … Maybe it was Orwell. As far as to destroy language before they take over, one of the ways they have destroyed language is that the way they talk about mass shootings. It used to be mass shootings were what we saw in Las Vegas. Some guy, ordinary guy, goes into the Bell Tower and starts popping off rounds. Now, they define mass shootings as any time, I think it’s either three or four people that are unrelated or involved in a gunfight. What that means is the drug corner shootout in west Philadelphia or north Philadelphia or the south side of Chicago becomes a mass shooting, and that allows them to significantly bump up the mass shooting statistics, when, in fact, people reading those statistics are now effectively being lied to because that’s not their understanding of what that means.
Tim: Well, you want to talk about language, of course, the most classic example is how they have characterized so many weapons that they’re trying to ban as assault weapons-
Tim: When they’re really not. This goes back two, three decades.
Scott: The Clintons were the artists in this misinformation area, for sure. I think there’s a strong desire to do something. This is something I’ve heard. I think it was Stephen Colbert or Jimmy Kimmel, saying “Let’s just do something.” Well, what if –
Tim: We can signal our virtue by saying, “We must do all we can to stop gun violence,” but they have no answers. They have no answers with anything –
Scott: I would just ask anybody who demands action, “Let’s take a look at the action you’re demanding and say, ‘Would this have stopped this particular mass shooting?'”
Scott: “Would it stop some significant other universe of mass shooters? If not, and it’s an imposition on liberty, then why should we enact it? Just to feel good about it? I think that’s ridiculous.”
Suppressors ≠ Silencers
All right. Let’s return quickly to the suppressor thing. Suppressors reduce the sound of, excuse me, of the report of a firearm firing to levels that are still very loud. It’s not a whisper quiet situation, but a gunshot is so very loud that shooters wish to oftentimes use them, both for their own hearing protection, and here’s a big thing, Tim, too, especially in areas that are not too far from where we sit, where people are in an area that is sufficiently countrified or rural so that they’re permitted to shoot on their own property, but, yet, close enough to neighbors to where the gun report might induce a legal charge of constructive eviction or just out of politeness. They would prefer not to disturb their neighbors quiet and calm with gunshots. That’s why people want suppressors often.
Those are currently regulated in a similar fashion to machine guns, which is to say you can’t go to a gun shop and buy a suppressor and install and use it. You have to go and you fill out the paperwork. You fill it, you give your licenses. You give photographs like you would be for a passport. You give fingerprints, and you wait a year after they have your money.
Tim: Now, let’s go back to bump stock for a minute because earlier in the week, all the focus, including some wild statement by Hillary Clinton who knows nothing about guns-
Scott: Oh, my God.
Tim: Who said that, “Imagine if Stephen Paddock had had a silencer or a suppressor.” I’m not sure which term she used.
Scott: They always use silencer because it’s more scary-
Tim: They use silencer, and it sounds like it’s, again, out of a Cagney movie-
Scott: And inaccurate, by the way.
Tim: And inaccurate. Of course, it is because she said it, but the big … The big emphasis earlier in the week was on these suppressors. Now it’s moved to bump stock, which you described earlier, and now what’s more surprising than anything I think is that the NRA is now calling for more regulations on bump stock.
Scott: Yes, the NRA issued a statement yesterday that called for an ATF review of the bump stocks to see if they are, in fact, consistent with the current law. Now, of course, the ATF has already reviewed them and said that they are consistent with current law in that they are not, in fact, machine guns and, therefore, they’re legal for sale. Excuse me. The NRA also said that they want more regulation in this area. They’re saying, “Let’s see more regulations here,” which people have speculated that they’re arguing for, instead of massive gun controls, that they’ll ask to have, give an inch on this one area. I think it’s the camel’s nose under the tent. I think that it’s … People are demanding some action because of this horrible, massive tragedy.
Tim: It’s this sense of we’ve got to do something, anything, and the point is that what is the any can do, from that we really can do, but let me take this back a level to the average person who has no skin in the game when it comes to guns. They’re not a gun control activist. They’re not a gun rights activist.
Tim: They look at this and they see that Mr. Paddock was able to essentially transform a semiautomatic weapon into an automatic weapon by using-
Scott: It seems so.
Tim: By using a bump stock, so they look at it and they say, “Okay, well, we should ban bump stocks then.” What do you say to that average person? Why would we not want to ban something-
Tim: That allowed this man to kill probably a lot more people than he would have been able to kill without the bump stock?
Scott: The reason why, Tim, is because there will be no safety benefit yield to such a ban. He would still be able to, using traditional firearms, actually kill just as many people. It just made it a little bit more convenient for him, but there are other technologies, including just a regular semi-auto, you can just move your finger and hand in a way that, and there’s three dozen YouTube videos that’ll show you how to do it. What happens is then you have an imposition on freedom, which will yield, I believe, when it doesn’t stop the next mass shooter another imposition on freedom and then another and another.
It’s like, “Well, why can’t we just stop comments on articles that are disgusting comments?” Well, the reason why is because in a year, they’re going to come after you for your comment, and that’s the thing. We need practical access to weaponry for self defense. That’s what we’re guaranteed under the Second Amendment.
Tim: Let me ask you one question as we close here. Is your opposition to more regulation of bump stocks because it’s not necessary or imprudent or is it because it is the camel’s nose under the tent?
Scott: Both, Tim, both, and even more than that, I think it’s inappropriate to … I think it’s an inappropriate imposition on the right to practical self-defense guaranteed by the Second Amendment.
Tim: Well, we’ll leave it right there.
Scott: Thank you, Tim.
Tim: Thanks for bringing us up to speed on a bunch of stuff that people think they know about, but in reality don’t, though they’ve learned a lot this week.