Friday, April 5, 2013

Thoughts on Delaware's Background Check Bill - HB35

HB35 is the background check bill my State Legislators are trying to ram through right now (and are likely to pass)  It is a big ball of suck. Let’s look at how Amendment 5 defines “transfer.”

(3) “Transfer” means assigning, pledging, leasing, loaning, giving away, or otherwise disposing of, but does not include: (A) the loan of a firearm for any lawful purpose, for a period of 14 days or less, by the owner of said firearm to a person known personally to him or her; (B) a temporary transfer for any lawful purpose that occurs while in the continuous presence of the owner of the firearm, provided that such temporary transfer shall not exceed 24 hours in duration; (C) the transfer of a firearm for repair, service or modification to a licensed gunsmith or other person lawfully engaged in such activities as a regular course of trade or business; or (D) a transfer that occurs by operation of law or because of the death of a person for whom the prospective transferor is an executor or administrator of an estate or a trustee of a trust created in a will.

The provisions of this section shall not apply to:

This amendment defines the term “transfer,” and clarifies that the following are not transfers for purposes of HB 35: (1) the loan of a firearm, for any lawful purpose, to a person personally known to the owner for up to 14 days; (2) temporary transfers of up to 24 hours by an owner to a person who remains in the continuous presence of the owner (a “face-to-face exception”); (3) the transfer of a firearm for repair, service or modification to a licensed gunsmith or other person in the business of repairing, servicing or modifying firearms; (4) transfers to an administrator or executor upon the death of an owner or other transfer occurring by operation of law.

Ok, so there's the law.  Read it, then think about how moronic my legislators really are.  Here's a few scenarios I can think of off the top of my head that might occur if this law were to pass.

Let’s say you’re a Delaware resident and a gun owner. You’re a college student who lives here with a roommate. During the school year however you stay at the University of Georgetown in DC. You leave your guns at your Delaware residence since you can’t have them in DC, and you don’t come home at least every other weekend.

Great. You and your roommate have now violated HB35’s provisions.

Let’s say there’s a guy who does great work with Moly Resin. He’s a “licensed gunsmith” but doesn’t do such work “as a regular course of trade or business.” You give him your Sig to refinish. Great. You’re now both felons. Let’s assume he’s a good friend of yours instead. He’s now considered “known personally” to you per part (A) of the law, but if he gets backed up or something happens to him, his equipment breaks etc. etc. and he keeps your gun for more than 2 weeks that’s a violation of HB35 and you’re both now felons.

Heck it’d be illegal to give your Sig to someone who had taken a Sig Armorer’s course so that they could do some repairs for you. They’re competent, but they’re no gunsmith and don’t do such activities as a regular course of trade or business. Nope. Illegal transfer. You’re both felons now. Don’t you feel safe with HB35 as the law?

Let’s say you go on a skiing trip. You leave your guns at the apartment where you live with a roommate, your live-in girlfriend of 10 years, or your same-sex partner. On day 12 of the trip you break your leg and end up in the hospital for a week. You return home in 18 days. Great. You’ve now committed an illegal transfer under HB35.

Let’s say we have a blogger get together shoot here like we did in OH. Someone brings a friend / daughter / girlfriend etc. that I’ve never met who needs a gun to shoot, so I loan her a Sig to shoot for the weekend. On the 2nd day she’s there with my Sig we’re both felons because oops, the “temporary transfer” exceeded 24 hours.

Oh, and what the hell is the objective legal standard for “personally known?.” “Bob, meet Jim, Jim, meet Bob.” OK, are we now “personally known?” If you wave to someone every morning but the two of you have never been properly introduced, is that “personally known?”  Laws passed without any objective standards are dangerous as hell for the law-abiding, but great if your goal is turning good people into criminals.

There's also the enforcement angle.  How in the hell is this going to be enforced.  You loan a firearm to someone legally under HB35.  How is the State going to prove that you loaned it for a period exceeding 14 days?  Or, if, as is so often the case these days, the burden falls on you to prove your innocence, how can you prove the loan period didn't exceed 14 days?

1 comment:

Bubblehead Les. said...

The thing that's bugging me about all these "Transfer Laws" is the supposition that the State knows one has the Firearm in the First place. So if the State doesn't have Mandatory Registration, how will they find out?

The only way the State can make this work is to go Door-to-Door with a list and verify that the Firearm is there.

That should prove interesting.

Oh, about the Ohio Blogshoot Lending? Not an issue. You just take it back at the end of the day and let her borrow it tomorrow. Think of it being a "Reset."

And no one up here will give you any grief about it in the First place, Mike. It's Ohio.