Thursday, August 11, 2016

A Devolution Toward Increasing Gun Nuttery (Evolving Willis #3)

The Libertarian blogger Willis Hart is clearly a gun nut. In that he has nutty views about guns. He says he doesn't own any (or, not a "great many" at least), but I'm not sure I believe him. But even if he owns zero firearms, I STILL say he's a gun nut [1].

Due to his devolution toward increasing gun nuttery (agreeing with gun nut talking points). In this case it's him going from supporting the universal background check (UBC) to saying such a law would be pointless, in that enacting a UBC would have no effect at all. This we know because we essentially already have the UBC. And becsuse the gun show loophole is a "myth".

Willis Hart comments that show his devolution over time (2012 to 2016).

Very Strong Support

Willis Hart: ...the fact that people can still buy guns at gun shows without background checks is appalling. (6/30/2012 AT 6:46am).

Willis Hart: I think that getting rid of the gun-show loophole is the key here. No, not a lot of criminals buy their guns there (less than 1%, I believe) but I suspect that a lot of the straw purchasers do and if we can at least slow that down a little, I'm game. (1/25/2013 AT 8:12pm).

Willis Hart: You were totally right about him, Russ, and he [Dervish Sanders] is one of the main reason why I now fully support universal background checks. (2/13/2013 AT 8:35pm).

Strong Support

Willis Hart: yes, I am now strongly in favor of background checks. (3/4/2013 AT 9:35am)

Moderate Support

Willis Hart: I'm not necessarily saying here that I'm opposed to background checks, just that they're probably much more for for solace than they are preventative and that we really shouldn't be expecting much once they're instituted. (6/2/2014 AT 8:25pm).

Weak Support

Willis Hart: I'm not wedded to the number [limiting magazine capacities] or even the concept [background checks], just that something along those lines would probably be where I would be willing to compromise (4/22/2015).


Willis Hart: Yet one more leftist anti-gun talking-point bites the dust... (4/21/2015 at 8:20 PM). [Note: this PDF "proves" that the gun show loophole is a "myth"].

Strong Opposition
To the point of ridiculing president Obama for pushing for the UBC.

Willis Hart: On President Obama's Push for Universal Background Checks (Which for All Intents and Purposes Already Exist but I Digress)... Only if they include al Qaeda and the Saudi royal family... (2/4/2016 AT 10:00pm).

Yes, it looks like the Harster went from opposing the UBC to weakly supporting it, back to opposing it (said he'd compromise on the UBC on 4/22/2015 after he said it was 100% unnecessary on 4/22/2015). But what do you expect, he's a gun nut.

Case in point, that PDF that Willis posted a link to (in his 4/21/2015 comment), is a "fact sheet" from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (a national trade association for the firearms industry) that is pure propaganda. In that it utilizes a mixture of facts, half truths and outright lies the purpose of which is to deceive gullible people like Willis Hart.

Following is an excerpt from "The Myth of the Gun Show Loophole". This would be the document WTNPH says causes a "leftist anti-gun talking-point" to "bite the dust".

Claim: The law allows unlicensed dealers to sell guns at gun shows.

Fact: Unlicensed dealers are criminals. It is true that a background check and other regulations do not apply if you are an individual that wishes to occasionally sell a firearm from your personal collection in a private transaction. ...all vendors leasing space at a show, including private parties, must agree to run background checks, regardless of whether they hold federal licenses or not. The vast majority of guns sold at gun shows go through federal background checks.

Yes, licensed gun dealers who possess a Federal Firearms License (FFL) must perform BCs when selling a weapon. The gun show loophole isn't a reference to these sales (as the propaganda from the NSSF tries to make readers think). The gun show loophole refers to private sales at gun shows. The section highlighted in red (above) is false.

Private sellers at gun shows are not required to run a BC, record the sale, or even ask for ID (source). And these legal sales do contribute to gun crime.

According to a 1999 report by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) commissioned by President Bill Clinton, these legal transactions contribute to illegal activities, such as arms trafficking, purchases of firearms by prohibited buyers, and straw purchases. (Wikipedia/Gun Show Loophole).

It is also important to note that licensed dealers may sell firearms without doing a background check under the following condition. [is] legal for FFL holders to make private sales, provided the firearm was transferred to the licensee's personal collection at least one year prior to the sale. Hence, when a personal firearm is sold by an FFL holder, no background check or Form 4473 is required by federal law. (Wikipedia/Gun Show Loophole).

Obviously the loophole isn't a "myth", nor did Willis' linking to this NSSF "fact sheet" cause any "leftist anti-gun talking-point" to "bite the dust". According to the first video below, 1/4 to 1/2 of all gun show sellers are private sellers who do not have to conduct a BC [2]. So we're talking about a lot of guns here. Many of which *do* end up in the hands of criminals according to the ATF.

There is also the fact that (outside of gun shows), when one person sells (or gives) a gun to another there is no BC. According to PolitiFact "professors at Northeastern and Harvard universities conducted a gun survey in 2015... [and] found that 22% of the people who purchased guns - at gun shows, stores or elsewhere - underwent no background check".

So that's another ding to the Hartster's claim that "universal background checks... for all intents and purposes already exist" bullshit. A ding that brings the total for no BC up to 22% in regards to all gun transfers. Or, all gun transfers that could potentially be subjected to BC (not counting illegal sales and transfers, but there are already laws against doing that).

(Note: this commentary is the 3rd published under the "Evolving Willis" label. "Evolving Willis" being a series in which I document the political 180s of Willis Hart. AKA reasons he may view himself with suspicion).

Video1: Hidden camera video from gun show. Making it easy for criminals to buy guns [2] (3:30).

Video2: Undercover sting shows 19 out of 30 sellers broke the law. Under the law private sellers can sell firearms without a BC, but only if they have no reason to believe the buyer would not pass a BC. In this video the buyers specifically say they "probably couldn't pass a background check" (1:59).

[1] A gun nut (according to Wikipedia) is a term that "has been used to describe firearms enthusiasts who are deeply involved with the gun culture". I acknowledge that if you don't own a gun, then, under this definition, you are not a gun nut. However, as I wrote in SWTD #134, IMO the term "applies if said individual opposes reasonable legislation such as universal background checks". Also if they parrot pro-gun and NRA talking points. As Willis Hart does.
[2] Laws differ from state to state. That a quarter to one half of all sales at gun shows are via private sellers (and not subjected to BCs) is according to a report from WLWT, which serves the Ohio/Oklahoma area. Obviously these stats vary from state to state depending on state law.

OST #169. See also SWTD #279.


  1. Forgive me for saying so but, your fixation on Will is really becoming eerie.

    Will is really a VERY small and inconsequential guppy in a big sea of MUCH bigger fish.

  2. In 2012 Willis thought that that gun show loophole existing was "appalling" and that closing it was "key".

    Today he thinks universal background checks "for all intents and purposes already exist" and that the gun show loophole is a myth and a "Left-wing talking point".

    You don't think that's weird?

    Honestly, I find Willis Hart fascinating. I'll probably keep reading his blog as long as he keeps publishing posts. This blog is another matter. I plan on continuing to publish for now, but that might change.

  3. Yes, their is certainly a glaring inconsistency.

    Will is a strange dude, I'll give you that.


Comment moderation is not currently in effect.