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Matt Gaetz – The ATF’s Best Friend.

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              I never thought I would ever agree with any legislative proposal promoted by Matt Gaetz, particularly anything having to do with guns. This is because when he was a State Senator in Florida, he introduced a bill that would allow someone shot in a public space that was declared to be a gun-free zone, to sue for damages against the individual who owned that space. The bill went nowhere, by the way.

              But this week Gaetz got back into the gun thing big time by introducing a bill that would abolish the ATF. And while his reason for wanting to do away with the federal agency which regulates the gun industry is a nonsensical response to an ATF proposal which actually makes a lot of sense, I wouldn’t mind seeing the baby flushed out with the bathwater and the ATF be put to bed.

              The problem with what the ATF does or doesn’t do can only be understood if we first examine what regulating the American gun industry is all about.  The United States is the only country with a regulatory system covering guns which focuses on the behavior of people who own guns, as opposed to the design and use of the guns themselves.

              As a result, a law-abiding individual can buy and usually carry around any kind of gun as long as it doesn’t fire in full-caliber mode. To own what is called a machine gun, you have to go through a long, detailed police check, which is why the last time someone killed someone else using a machine gun in a criminal event was 1947 or maybe 1948.

              On the other hand, anyone who thinks that a semi-automatic gun is much less lethal than a full-auto gun, doesn’t know very much about guns. The kid who killed 25 children and 5 adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School committed all this carnage in maybe 3 minutes or less. And the rule being developed by the ATF which has provoked the wrath of dumb-ass Gaetz, would make these semi-automatic guns even more lethal than the gun used at Sandy Hook.

              The ATF has its eye on something called a pistol ‘stabilizing brace’ which attaches to the grip of a handgun and turns it into a rifle because now the gun can be balanced against the shooter’s shoulder which means less recoil and more control. But if the barrel of this stabilized gun remains 4 or 5 inches in length, then the gun is being used as a rifle except it’s still, legally speaking, a handgun.

              Under federal law, a rifle must have a barrel at least 16 inches long. But the whole point of attaching a stabilizing brace to a handgun is to give the gun the aiming and shooting characteristics of a long gun so – voila! – all of a sudden someone has taken a Glock pistol and turned it into an assault rifle.

              Despite what some of the media has been saying, the ATF isn’t saying you can’t buy or own a stabilizing brace. They are saying that a stabilizing brace should be considered like a machine gun, which can be purchased only after a long and very detailed background check.

              On the other hand, what would be what Grandpa would call the ‘gefailach’ (read: big deal) if we got rid of the ATF? Most of their work consists of going into gun shops and conducting inspections which invariably turn up a couple of guns for which the paperwork is either missing or incomplete.

              The last time the ATF inspected my gun shop they found more than 500 documents which contained errors that were all defined as ‘threats’ to community safety and needed to be immediately corrected in order to make sure that we were operating the shop on the up and up.

              Know what the error was? It was that in the space on the 4473 form where you list the buyer’s home county, the kid running the shop put a two-letter abbreviation for the county instead of spelling it out. Oh…my…God!

              When the ATF inspectors began noticing this mistake, you could see the gleam in their eyes. Now they could justify the fact that they went out each day during the audit and treated themselves to a nice lunch for which I’m sure they were reimbursed.

              It’s very simple. All we need to do to get rid of gun violence and all the crimes committed with guns is to stop making and selling the types of guns that are used in violence and crimes. I’m talking about semi-automatic, bottom loading pistols and rifles which are chambered for military-grade ammunition like 9mm or .223 rounds.

              Those guns and that ammunition were designed specifically for military use, and I don’t know a single military action which has anything to do with hunting or sport.

              Too bad that a bill to eliminate the ATF is the brainchild of a schmuck like Matt Gaetz. Nobody’s going to take him seriously which makes him the best friend the ATF ever had.

Fly The Friendly Skies With Your Gun.

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Last week the Transportation Safety Administration celebrated its return to normalcy with the publication of an annual report on how many guns were picked up at the airports where TSA staff monitor security check-ins prior to flights. The report was issued the day after a Republican member of Congress, Matt Gaetz, may have made the single, dumbest, brain-dead comment ever made by anyone who has ever held a Congressional seat, when he told the parents of two children killed at Parkland that their concerns about protecting the country from gun violence didn’t come close to his concern about protecting the country from all those terrorists and criminals who come from Mexico because we don’t have a wall.

The TSA report, on the other hand, doesn’t represent a loony opinion on threats to public safety, rather, it’s a compilation of hard data on how many guns were taken from passengers who were in the process of boarding commercial flights anywhere within the United States. Next time you go through a TSA security checkpoint, count the number of times you see a sign telling you not to be in possession of a gun. Maybe three times? Maybe four? And yet in 2018, more than 4,200 passengers attempted to board aircraft holding carry-on bags that contained guns, of which 80% of the guns were loaded as well.

You have to be as dumb as a rock, maybe even as dumb as Matt Gaetz, to bring a gun onto a plane in a carry-on bag. Want to have a gun with you when you fly to Florida to visit Grandma in a nursing home? Pay the extra bucks, check a piece of luggage, declare that your suitcase contains a gun and you’re good to go. When you land in Miami or wherever the old lady has been stashed, an airline employee will even come up to you and hand-deliver your suitcase.

Of course the whole point of carrying a gun is to be ready, at an instant’s notice, to defend yourself and everyone else from one of those ‘street thugs’ who endlessly prowl around. There’s always a member of MS-13 just about to steal your car or break into your home. You can never tell when ISIS may choose to land an invasion force on the streets of your suburban town. The threats to life, liberty and the pursuit of a gallon of gasoline which costs less than two bucks are all around.

On a plane? Remember back in 2008 when David Sedaris had to choose between chicken versus dog-shit with cut glass as the entree for his in-flight meal? I’m sure our friend David ended up with the chicken, but what if the cabin attendant had screwed up and handed him the dog-shit with cut glass? Wouldn’t that have represented a clear threat to David’s life and limb which could only have been thwarted by the use of a gun?

Now let’s not go overboard about this problem, because the same group of TSA inspectors who found 4,239 guns at airport check-in lines also waved through more than 800 million passengers and crew who weren’t carrying guns. That’s an awful lot of people flying the friendly skies who didn’t need to have a gun in their carry-on bags.

The question I have, however, is this: If I have a gun in my carry-on and the gun is discovered and taken away prior to my flight, isn’t this a violation of my 2nd-Amendment ‘rights?’ After all, the Constitution doesn’t say anything about my gun-rights being abridged just because airplanes didn’t exist in 1788. So why should I ever find myself in a life-threatening circumstance just because some noodle-head bureaucrat in some federal agency thinks that I shouldn’t be able to protect myself on a flight?

Know what? I’m going to write a letter to Matt Gaetz and tell him to put together legislation, get it co-sponsored by the Freedom Caucus, that will definitively extend my Constitutional ‘right’ to protect myself with a gun to any and all commercial flights. And if he wants, I’ll go to the trouble of putting up a Facebook group which we’ll call ‘Americans for Freedom in the Skies.’

I mean, what else should I be doing since right now it’s too cold and wet to play golf?

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