There's some vague wording in existing laws about firearms, specifically about when/if a person selling a gun has to carry out a background check on the buyer before allowing the purchase to proceed. President Obama has taken executive action to tighten up that loophole, and the NRA has had a full seizure. Can we please talk about this?:
I have cropped out the text, which is a variant of the well-worn meme "When they came for the llamas, I didn't protest because I'm not a llama. When they came for the baboons..."
The twin lightning bolts on the sleeve in the foreground have been rather crudely 'Shopped out, leaving what looks like the head of an Imperial stormtrooper, or maybe R2D2, but the hat on one of the people in the background is unmistakably that of a Nazi officer. The armband needs no explanation. These are Obama stormtroopers, come to drag hapless citizens away to FEMA concentration camps at the nearest Wal-Mart, and the citizens are helpless because Obama took their guns away. Just like the Nazis did in Germany.
But the Nazis Didn't. Except for Jews.
"This year will go down in history. For the first time, a civilized nation has full gun registration. Our streets will be safer, our police more efficient, and the world will follow our lead into the future." A. Hitler 1935
After World War I, the Treaty of Versailles included very harsh surrender terms. The Weimar Republic passed a law in 1919, Regulations on Weapon Ownership, that effectively banned private ownership of firearms and confiscated guns that were already in circulation. The Weimar 1928 Law on Firearms and Ammunition loosened the 1919 law by permitting gun ownership through a strictly regulated system of permits. Gypsies were explicitly denied the right to own firearms. The Weapons Law of March 18, 1938 (we're talking Third Reich, now) made the following changes to the 1928 law:
- completely de-regulated the "acquisition and transfer" of rifles, shotguns, and ammunition;
- enlarged the scope of classes of people who could own handguns without a permit, such as all members of the Nazi party;
- except Jews and Gypsies.
The Regulations Against Jew's Possession of Weapons of November 11, 1938 forbade Jews from owning not just anything that shot bullets but also stabbing and clubbing weapons. The intention to apply the Endlösung, the final solution, was already there; disarming the Jews made it easier to round them up.
There was no firearms legislation in Germany in 1935 for Hitler to crow about, especially not legislation that created regulation of guns. You'll see that quote all over the place where gun laws are being hated on, but it's apocryphal. It didn't happen.
Dry Factual Stuff Here
The Obama administration is not, repeat, NOT seeking to confiscate weapons or create a minority subject to persecution on the model of the Jews; that is extreme and misleading hyperbole. The executive actions taken by the president are intended to close a loophole in an ALREADY EXISTING law.
In the words of Parsons and Gerney, "federal law requires that any person who is "engage[d] in the business" of "dealing in firearms" obtain a federal firearms license from ATF and become a licensed gun dealer. Such licensed dealers are the only individuals mandated by federal law to conduct background checks prior to completing any gun sale. The statute goes on to define the term as follows:
A person who devotes time, attention, and labor to dealing in firearms as a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit through the repetitive purchase and resale of firearms, but such term shall not include a person who makes occasional sales, exchanges, or purchases of firearms for the enhancement of a personal collection or for a hobby, or who sells all or part of his personal collection of firearms.
The current ATF administrative regulation that provides additional definition and clarification regarding a number of statutory provisions related to ATF, found in section 478.11 of title 27 of the Code of Federal Regulations, offers an identical definition of the term and does not provide any further guidance about how to assess what constitutes "occasional sales" or how to determine whether a person's retail activity is undertaken "with the principal objective of livelihood and profit." " [emphasis mine]
That's the loophole that makes it possible for Joe (or Jane) Schmoe to rent a booth at a gun show in any state, and sell guns to anybody with the money, off the counter. That is the thing the president is fixing. Joe can still sell his guns, but he'll have to run a backgroud check. And if he sells more than a certain number of guns in a 12-month period, he'll have to get himself licensed. And probably pay sales tax. Oh, the humanity.
I bought a gun, once, in 2002, as a gift for my brother. I bought it through the internet from a private dealer in a different state, who carried out the sale through a licensed middleman in this state. The background check took an extra couple of days because I have an extremely common name, but in the end my brother got a nice customized Ruger .45 for his birthday. I have shot rifles at clay pigeons, but have no experience with handguns; they frighten me, to be honest. But if you live in the back country, there can be practical uses for a gun or rifle. I completely fail to see why the idea of registered weapons frightens gun owners.
Two videos to round off this peroration. One is a video of undercover work by New York City, and the other is a very pro-gun overview of a gun show, filmed by a patriotic survivalist.
"The Hitler Gun Control Lie" by Alex Seitz-Wald. Jan 11, 2013
"On Gun Registration, the NRA, Adolf Hitler, and Nazi Gun Laws: Exploding the Gun Culture Wars (A Call to Historians)", Bernard E. Harcourt (Professor of Law, University of Chicago). Fordham Law Review, Volume 73, Issue 2, 2004.
"Executive Action to Strengthen Background Checks by Addressing High-Volume Gun Sellers" by Chelsea Parsons and Arkadi Gerney. October, 2015.