KORWIN: The Manchin-Toomey Gun Myth

Alan Korwin, visit his website GunLaws.com.

Alan Korwin, visit his website GunLaws.com.

(Editor’s note: The following was syndicated with the permission of Alan Korwin, the author of the article. Mr. Korwin is the author of 14 books, has been invited by the U.S. Supreme Court twice to observe oral arguments and runs the website GunLaws.com. He is also a friend of GunsAmerica.)

It’s one thing for progressives to push us backwards by introducing laws that are magical mystery tours of gun fantasy, proposing solutions to nonexistent problems, irrationally hoping they can quell their own internal fears. Make-believe gun-free zones, invisible x-ray-proof guns, “dum-dum” bullets that are actually safe hollow ammo police insist upon (because it’s safer). I’ll get to those, be patient.

We need to start first with the Manchin-Toomey gun-control bill Congress wisely turned down. Obama praised it (and scolded Congress) during his Jan. 7 town hall gun-control show.

It was sold as a simple, common sense, reasonable background check bill everyone could agree upon. And now—with a 90% approval rating!—the president tried selling it again. Manchin-Toomey is a check, plus a ban on gun registration. That’s a myth. Look behind the curtain.

When you find out how our laws work, you learn to your surprise that the names of the sections aren’t law, have no effect on the law, don’t count for anything really, they’re just names. This lets people making laws call them anything, to help get them passed, even if the names are deceitful. It’s done all the time:

When the FBI wanted to tap everyone’s phone from a single convenient location, they introduced it as the Telephony Privacy Improvement Act. Seriously. It was defeated. But later passed and signed by Bill Clinton.

Gun registration by the feds is a really bad thing, which I won’t delve into now (briefly, how does writing my name on a list help stop crime? It doesn’t, and you can’t list criminals because they have 5th Amendment rights against it. It’s complicated.

The Manchin-Toomey bill claims to ban the creation of a nation firearms registry, so this is a selling point. But you have to be careful with the bottom-feeding maggots who draft these things and pitch them to you, and I don’t say that lightly. The part of the bill that CREATES a national registry of guns and gun owners in the Manchin-Toomey bill is entitled: “(c) PROHIBITION OF NATIONAL GUN REGISTRY.” Seriously.

In an artful use of language and strategic omissions, this section of law empowers government to create a national gun registry. It stops nothing. Remember—the title is not law and counts for nothing. It is window dressing used by the drafters for whatever they like. These are the kinds of people we’re dealing with.

Go to this link to find the full language (and wade through it) with the cool background. If enacted, 18 USC §923 would prevent “consolidating or centralizing” one type of record only, which government hasn’t got, by only one person. Getting around that is so easy it is tactfully enabled by the narrow scope. When a bill is written to really prohibit something, expansive language gets used so nothing escapes.

Sens. Joe Manchin, left, Pat Toomey, right.  (Photo: Allison Shelley/Getty Images)

Sens. Joe Manchin, left, Pat Toomey, right. (Photo: Allison Shelley/Getty Images)

This bill should say no agency in any branch of government, nor any contractor or employee working in any capacity with the government, nor any foreign government or agency may establish a gun registry. Instead, it says the Attorney General may not. It doesn’t ban the Justice Dept., the FBI, the ATF. Officials will argue that by implication the AG includes anyone. Until it passes—when no such limit will be found, and “Attorney General” excludes her staff, obviously.

Nothing in the language even hints at preventing officials from recording, storing, collating, compiling, distributing, securing, retrieving, integrating, merging, using or backing up records forever, just no consolidating or centralizing. There’s no audit trail and no penalty for failing to comply.

The kicker: Manchin-Toomey requires you to get a background check for a private sale at a gun show, but it doesn’t require anybody to give you one. Doing a background check on someone you’re not selling a gun to is actually prohibited—a separate federal crime. Use of NICS is reserved to FFLs for prospective sales. You can’t look up your daughter’s boyfriend, or anything else, on pain of prison, fines and loss of license. Sloppy drafting? No—they’re asking us to accept myths.

About the author: Alan Korwin is an American writer, author and civil- and political-rights activist whose work serves the business, legal, news and firearms industries. In 1988, Korwin founded Bloomfield Press, which has grown into the largest publisher and distributor of gun-law books in the nation

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  • Kivaari January 22, 2016, 11:41 pm

    We wont see gun registration nationally in my lifetime. That being said, I’m old and expected to die 2 years ago. These people will force this upon us, simply because the American voter is monumentally stupid. I saw a little poll on TV today. It surveyed college graduates, that think Judge Judy is on the Supreme Court. Ask people under 50 anything about how government works, and you get blank stares. This country has never been so under-educated than it is today. A kid passing the 8th grade in 1900 knew more about history and government than ten 8th graders today.

    • Andrew Whitehill February 9, 2016, 9:48 pm

      Unfortunately, you are exactly correct. What the revisionists are counting on is the expiration of the members of the generation who fought the great war, defeated the Nazi’s and Imperialist Japanese, and paid for this countries fleeting freedom in blood. They are counting on rhe xbox crowd to not consider it relevant, and boring, that way when they herd them like cattle, to what appears to be re-education, they won’t put up a struggle. Please take care of yourself, the knowledge you have is vastly different from the revisionist ideals sold as truth to todays youth. My best wishes, Andrew Whitehill

    • Andrew Whitehill February 9, 2016, 9:49 pm

      Unfortunately, you are exactly correct. What the revisionists are counting on is the expiration of the members of the generation who fought the great war, defeated the Nazi’s and Imperialist Japanese, and paid for this countries fleeting freedom in blood. They are counting on rhe xbox crowd to not consider it relevant, and boring, that way when they herd them like cattle, to what appears to be re-education, they won’t put up a struggle. Please take care of yourself, the knowledge you have is vastly different from the revisionist ideals sold as truth to todays youth. My best wishes, Andrew Whitehill

  • Jason Blankovich January 22, 2016, 11:43 am

    First, let’s call those who want more and more restrictions on our God given right to self defense by any means what they are: authoritarians, Marxists, Leninists, communists. They need us defenseless against their jack booted thugs to force their utopia down our throats.
    All I, and most of the rest of you, can do is vote for the strongest 2nd Amendment advocates possible and be loud (not strident), reasonable and responsible gun owners and representatives of the 2nd Amendment.

    In addition to the above I am working very, very hard to learn the machining techniques available to any of us in our garages to produce serviceable receivers for both AR’s and 1911’s. I would rather have the ability to finish the milling on a Sig double stack, but a 1911 can get the job done. When they come for my guns after they finally get their registry (I’m actually a pessimist on this and believe they will eventually get this done, many Americans are asleep on this issue) I will have a good stock of firearms that aren’t on the list. Now, I’m not ignorant to the fact that the NSA is sucking ALL data that passes through the internet and this means that they can dig out the fact that I have bought X numbers of 80% lowers and they’ll want to know where they are. Unfortunately, I have no idea where they are.

  • Fred January 22, 2016, 11:20 am

    After reading this I feel sick.These people who swear to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America are the lowest form of life on the planet. They smile and tell us all kinds of lies to get elected then turn around and stab us in the back. No wonder other countries hate us. Our “leaders” treat us this way just imagine the crap they feed to other peoples. I have to ask why? Why do these poor examples of citizens turn on us this way? Is it for profit? Greed? Power? Most of them already have more money than the people who put them in office. I just don’t get it! The anti’s can’t really believe these laws will stop the mass killings. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that criminals don’t obey laws. We have “gun free zones” and all of the mass murders happen in them. I just can’t for the life of me figure out why these elected officials think they need to pull this crap.
    Thanks for letting me rant. I’m done now.

    • Chris January 24, 2016, 8:20 pm

      Please don’t ever feel that you should be done. This to is your God given right. If someone does not want to read what you haveto say they can skip to the next comment. Keep up the good work.

  • John Wood January 22, 2016, 10:45 am

    The problem is PRIOR RESTRAINT, which is government action that prohibits a fundamental right before it can take place. Prior restraints are strongly disfavored in American law and are generally unconstitutional.

  • js January 22, 2016, 10:11 am

    As a former gun shop employee, I can tell you they already have a gun registry in the manner of 4473’s. All the ATF would need to do is pick up all the FFL’s forms and collate them into a database, which is not required at present. It would be a little time consuming at first, but what the hell, they are bureaucrats, and that is what they love to do. It will never cover the private sales, trades, and lost weapons though, and that is the only loophole that is important to them. Slowly but surely they will close it as well, unless…..we stand together against the “machine” of the left.

    • Cleophus January 22, 2016, 1:52 pm

      It doesn’t matter what happens, as long as we retain the right to buy and sell firearms PRIVATELY. As long as this right exists, even if the president’s A hole lap dogs at the BATFE decide to collect all the 4473’s in order to attempt registry or confiscation, all you have to say is, “man, I traded those guns off a long time ago. I can’t for the life of me remember who I swapped them to.” If we ever lose the right of private transfer, then it’s all over. They will then know who has what and will slowly hem us in with the law until our right to own firearms is gone forever.

      Hell, if you think about it, we’re only one Supreme Court Justice away from losing our 2nd Amendment rights forever. Remember the Heller case was a paper thin 5-4 decision. That means that FOUR Justice’s of the Supreme Court believe that the Second Amendment CONFERS NO INDIVIDUAL RIGHT to keep or bear a firearm. Let that sink in a minute, and then think hard about who you decide to elect as president come November. The next President will possibly get to nominate up to THREE Supreme Court Justices. We must choose a man for President that will take these nominations seriously, and we must hold Congress’s feet to the fire during the confirmation hearings to make sure that we NEVER again allow a Stephens or a Ginsberg or a Sotomayor to sully the robes of the Supreme Court. The next eight years are going to set the tone for firearms rights for generations, so be extremely sure of your candidate before you vote all of our rights into his hands.

      • Rick January 23, 2016, 11:56 am

        I would like to comment on: ‘”Telling ATF that you traded the guns and do not remember who you traded them to” I listened to a speaker who emigrated from Holland after WWII. He was Dutch, not Jewish. When the Germans invaded Holland, the first place they went was to the courthouse to seize the gun ownership records. This speaker quoted this: “The Germans went door-door and ordered us to produce the guns, tell them where they were OR, they were shot down in the street”. Makes the decision to sign like a canary pretty easy, particularly after the first few were shot. This eye-witness’s message: “Never, Never allow your guns to be registered.”

  • Jonathon Tuttle January 22, 2016, 8:27 am

    So, it’s like the Credit Card Reform Act that Obama signed that now allows firearms in National Parks? Sometimes the language works IN our favor.

  • Rollin Shultz January 22, 2016, 7:38 am

    We’ve come a long way from the days when people had working cannons in their front yards. To go forward, we need to take a few steps backward.

  • Alan January 22, 2016, 7:35 am

    And the pity of it isn’t JUST the disingenuousness of our lying elected officials, it’s the trusting stupidity of the American people themselves.
    In our land of freedom and education, the willing stupidity of the masses is astounding. And it will only get worse.
    It would funny if it weren’t so tragic in how so many people live in the best system ever developed, only to piss away those freedoms for what they foolishly discern as safety.
    And when one reads of the warnings of this very same thing by our Founding Fathers so long ago, it boggles the mind that they were so perceptive, and that modern generations have become so clueless.

  • Chief January 22, 2016, 7:32 am

    So the government is lying to us again ,whats new .They all take the oath of office and most all break it . The left hates the 2A and they hate you for loving it and freedom .All of this is about registration leading to confiscation and they will lie ,cheat and steal to get their agenda done .It is so blatantly obvious anyone should be able to see what they want in the end. Our complete subjugation along with the rest of our freedoms .What our founders left we live in now .

  • Rob January 22, 2016, 6:38 am

    Senator Joe Manchin is called “One term Joe” here in West Virginia due to his “Fatal Attraction” to the POTUS. At least we have Senator Capito to balance him out. Sorry America.

    • Tim Robinson January 22, 2016, 1:51 pm

      Amen to that. Once I saw the video of him trying to weasel his way out of accepting money from Bloomberg “to counter the lies told about our campaign” (paraphrase) I lost all respect for the man. Funny how he started the “common sense gun control” rhetoric after the money from Bloomy rolled in.

  • Allen D. Benge January 22, 2016, 6:12 am

    As a 2A activist and a retired, disabled LEO, I wish to receive permission to post this article to my facebook page, as I feel this needs even more distribution, to fight the Bloomberg/Obama/Clinton machine. Thank you, Mr. Korwin, whether I am granted this request or not. You are telling the truth, and I want to help spread the word..

    • TheBinky January 22, 2016, 11:02 am

      Pro Tip: You don’t need anyone’s permission to post a link to an internet article to your Facebook.

  • Brian January 22, 2016, 4:08 am

    Toomey is a huge RINO and has close ties to some very big unions in Pennsylvania. I will not be voting for him ever again and he lied the first time when I did vote for him.
    Too bad Toomey is such a waste and I hope someone comes forward to challenge him.
    God Bless the USA and Springfield Armory!

    • Derek Hannan January 22, 2016, 8:30 am

      You know that Springfield handguns are made in Croatia, right?

      • Jake January 22, 2016, 10:15 am

        It depends on the gun sir. Their XD line is Croatian made. Some of the 1911 frames are made in Brazil and others are made in Genesio, Illinois. All of their firearms are assembled in Genesio and all of their custom shop guns are made right here in the good ole USA.

  • Jose January 21, 2016, 1:16 pm

    Cool. As a registered gun owner at a gun show under the Toomey law you can have the power to quickly background check the person interested in purchasing something from your arsenal. Manchin-Toomey requires you to get a background check for a private sale at a gun show, but it doesn’t require anybody to give you one- not cool. At the end of the day the gun show advocate can go and purchase an unlimited arsenal for his personal taste and re sell it as he sees fit, but under Obama’s law it must be his business to do so. Idealistically the person who deals in the purchase and selling of firearms should have a registry to do so in order to file for taxes and keep a record of every person he sells to and be subjugated to regular visits from the ATF where the ATF can have access to their gun sale records as routine to make sure business is going well and no laws are being broken and to make sure firearms are not being distributed illegally in any part of the United States. Be it the South the Inner Cities or anywhere. This will help keep a record of how many guns are in the U.S. and keep track of where the guns are going. Crack down on where the guns are, have an extended presence of gun control officers there, and implement harsher punishment for the possession of an illegal firearm. Logic.

    • Dave Hamilton January 22, 2016, 6:54 am

      Logic? Just what are you saying? Are you being sarcastic? Serious? Career politician? You sound like the guys who wrote the bill. Dressing your rhetoric up in a new set of clothes does not make it smell better. And you can crack down where YOUR ‘arsenal’ is going but where my property is going is none of your damn concern as long as I’m not a felon, selling to a felon or selling firearms as a business, all of which are actions covered by existing laws. There is no need to inact yet another, redundant law to cover those aspects. Trying to classify anyone who sells any firearm as a dealer is a thinly veiled ruse. And the part about the ATF checking to make sure the ‘business’ is going well? Right…… You sir, have a future as a stand up comic.

      One last thought, if backround checks were that effective at enhancing safety, and ‘safety’ is the real purpose behind them, the feds would open the NICS program to the public at large instead of having to stand in line to pay a dealer to do it. Maybe safety ISN’T the driving force or motivation?

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