Sebastian made a comment while reading the Toomey language for his gun amendment that, while there are flaws, it appeared that it was written by someone with more gun knowledge than your average congressional staffer. Turns out that Alan Gottlieb is officially taking credit for having his staff help write the amendment based on this video.
I have some issues with this recording for a couple of reasons.
One, he misrepresents the ability to buy guns across state lines. At 3:03, Gottlieb says, “Another important one, you cannot now legally buy a handgun in a state that you don’t live in. If you’re not a resident of that state, you can’t buy a handgun. Under the so-called background check bill, you’ll be able to buy a handgun in all 50 states. As long as you buy from a licensed dealer, you can buy it from anywhere you want.” He adds more later, claiming that with “a gun license of any kind from any state, under the Toomey-Manchin proposal, there is no background check.”
Two, he promises that none of the 4473s on concealed carry licensees from FFLs will go to the government. Gottlieb says, “you have to fill out the 4473 form, it stays in the dealer’s file and never even gets called into the government.”
These two statements are just false. In fact, on the registry/4473 point, Dave Kopel’s initial review of the Toomey-Manchin amendment points out that the registry ban doesn’t include records from FFLs who close down and therefore must send their 4473s to the federal government for storage.
Beyond the actual policies in dispute, there’s a question of the strategy of this speech. Gottlieb asks dinner attendees to back this amendment specifically to advance their partisan agenda. I’m all for political reality and dealing with the fact that some people are willing to trade away our freedoms, but I truly do view defending the Bill of Rights as a non-partisan fight. I don’t want any party sitting comfortably thinking the Second Amendment is just something to take advantage of when it fits their agenda.
Gottlieb also tells the audience that these are all “secrets” to the bill – including a promise that a restoration of rights amendment is going to be presented and already has the votes – that he doesn’t want any gun control proponents to know about until after the amendment is official. So, then, help me understand why that would be announced in a room full of people while a video camera is going. (Clearly, this isn’t a hidden camera. It appears to be right in front of him, even if handheld.) That doesn’t seem very strategic to me. If CNN runs this video on repeat, those votes have likely disappeared.
My outrage moment, though, happened when Gottlieb told the crowd that every day, at every gun show, men who can’t speak English go in and purposefully load up with guns without showing ID and without ever undergoing background checks. Gee, thanks, Alan. As many gun shows as I have attended running a table, I have never witnessed anything like that happening. In fact, I have seen far more gun sellers refuse sales that they just don’t feel comfortable with than I have seen even a normal, ID-showing private sale.
Look, I get why some think that pro-gun folks should have been involved in the process of writing this amendment to try and keep innocent gun owners out of jail. That’s a reasonable argument to me. But, that’s very different from calling the Toomey-Manchin amendment a “Godsend” and misrepresenting what it does in order to lobby for grassroots support.
I would ask, if the Toomey-Manchin language goes through as presented, is the Second Amendment Foundation going to fund an Alan Gura defense for the first arrested gun owner who was just confused by the new rules about when processing through an FFL is required?
h/t to Misfires & Light Strikes for sharing this video and opening the discussion.
UPDATE: Interesting that the video is now starting to disappear from the internet. I found another copy of it. It’s the exact same video because the timing marks to my quotes line up.