Thursday, January 7, 2016

Straight razors and gun control

(Another post written using speech recognition)
As a 20 year old private first class in 1973, I had a fond affection for old-timey things. That was at least partly because of the indoctrination I had received during my first year at college, before I was invited to discontinue my enrollment.  That, plus a desire to be a contrarian, led to my purchase of a different set of shaving gear toward the end of my first full year in the army.  There were two things I wanted: a shaving brush, and a straight razor.

If I recall correctly, the shaving brush was pretty easy to obtain:  I think I just picked it up at the post exchange.  I was able to buy the soap and shaving mug at the same time.  However, they didn't carry straight razors, and there's a really good reason for that: nobody wanted them.  Fortunately though, I was a medic, and my job involved inspecting barbershops.  That made it easy for me to arrange a little side transaction was one of the barbers and I proudly left the barbershop at Patch Barracks one day as the new owner of a straight razor.  Upon arrival back at my office, at the headquarters building of Fifth General Hospital at Bad Canstatt, I showed off my new purchase to a couple of the other troops I worked with.  One of them, a new trooper named Mike, said, with some excitement,"you should've gotten a smaller one!"
" Why?" I asked, puzzled.
" In case you have to eat it!", he snickered.

Well, I never had to eat it, but after making attempts to shave with the straight razor over the next few weeks, I gave it up as a really bad idea.  I don't know if it's because the hair on my face is like steel wool, or if it's just that I never learned the proper angle, but I discovered a lot of new ways to cause  facial bleeding before I returned to the land of modern shaving technology.  Still have the brush, though, and on those very infrequent occasions when I do shave, I use that.

This really isn't a post about shaving technology, however.  Instead, it's a rather cynical reflection on the administration's latest announcements about gun control measures.  In my opinion, the president of the United States has followed Mike's advice; he selected a smaller straight razor just in case he has to eat it, or have inserted elsewhere.

The last time there were big gun control measures being voted on by the Congress, I watched the results, avidly.  There were all kinds of amendments related to gun control that were being proposed;  some of them were pretty horrible in their consequences, while others were merely bad, but not horrible.  But every single one of those amendments was defeated.  And the next day, the president gave a press conference, and said blah blah blah, whine, whine, whine;  Congress was composed of cowards, bowing to special interest groups.  It was not his finest hour.

If there is a lesson to be learned from the president's statements about his executive orders on gun control, it is that he felt that he'd must Do Something, even if that is meaningless.

And the bits that he talked about in his speech yesterday were, at best, meaningless.  I wish that every thing that he had said had risen to the level of "meaningless".  Instead, his words included at least one total misrepresentation of the facts.  That has to do with online gun purchases.

He stated that anyone can go online and purchase a firearm and not have to go through any Federal records search.  This is absolutely not the case.  Any firearms purchased online must be shipped directly to a Federal firearms license holder.  Since I am not a Federal firearms license holder, I must arrange with a local firearms dealer to have the fire on shipped directly to him.  Once he has received the firearm, I go to his place of business and complete the records search there.  This always happens; there are no exceptions to this rule; two state otherwise speaks of ignorance or willful prevarication.

The part of his speech which is meaningless has to do with the so-called "gun show loophole".  This disingenuous phrase refers to the fact that there is no requirement for me as an individual,  not engaged in the business of firearms commerce, to obtain a Federal firearms license in order to sell a gun as an individual, nor to undergo a background check to purchase a firearm from an individual who is not engaged in the business of firearms commerce.  Why is this referred two as a " gun show loophole"?  It's because sometimes these private transactions, transactions between individuals, take place at gun shows.  That's because the gun show acts as a magnet for people who are interested in the private sale of firearms that they own, EXACTLY as a car show acts as a magnet for people who are interested in the private sale of cars that they own.  If there is evidence that these private transactions having in any way contributed to firearm-related crime, then PRESENT THIS EVIDENCE TO US.  Otherwise, shut up.

Taken together, however, the president's proposals constitute a very, very small straight razor.  I believe that's intentional, because he knows he's going to have to eat it.  He has a republican controlled Congress.  He has one year left in office.  I don't think he has any favors he can do for anyone, nothing that he can barter, and he is on his own.

I just wish he wouldn't embarrass us before he goes.

1 comment:

  1. "Barney Legislation" is the term tech columnist Andy Ihnatko coined many years ago in a totally different context. The point of a "Barney Law" (named after every non toddler's least favorite purple dinosaur) is to show. that. you. are. doing. something, not to actually achieve anything.