Non-citizens owning guns is not a “loophole”, background checks STILL don't work, Illinois pulls millions in funding from firearms licensing program, Northam threatens “Consequences” for 2A Sanctuaries, Philadelphia’s big bedroom sweep turns up dust.

Matthew Larosiere is the Director of Legal Policy at Firearms Policy Coalition. You can connect with him on Twitter @MattLaAtLaw.

Non-citizens owning guns is not a “loophole”

Last Friday saw a Saudi aviator in training murder 3 and injure more at a naval base in Pensacola, FL. Federal law provides that many non-citizens can buy and possess firearms provided they have a valid state hunting license. The horrific event has caused many to call for an end to what they are calling the “hunting license loophole.” This is far from a loophole, and also would not solve anything.

For one, we have to remember that bases are by and large “gun free zones,” and two shootings recently happening inside bases have caused some to question that policy. Rightly so, as any blanket prohibition of carrying necessarily endangers human life.

Another point of nuance is lost on many calling for an end to this “loophole.” Florida’s governor DeSantis himself urged change, saying "I’m a big supporter of the Second Amendment, but the Second Amendment applies so that we, the American people, can keep and bear arms, it does not apply to Saudi Arabians."

We have to remember a couple things. One, not everything is a “loophole.” A “loophole” is something left between the gaps, something usually unintended by law. Federal law specifically provides for non-citizens to own firearms. Two, the founders knew the distinction between citizens and non-citizens. “Citizen” was, and is, a term of art. The Constitution uses the word “citizen” eleven times in the Constitution itself, and zero times in the bill of rights. There is a reason the framers specified “Citizens” in terms of elected office, and “the people” in terms of our rights. 

Jersey City Shooting

Four people were murdered in Jersey City, NJ on Tuesday. Details surrounding the case are still unclear – the first victim, a police officer, was killed by the suspects during an encounter in a cemetery, after which they traveled to a deli where they murdered three more people, but no explanation has been given as to why the slain officer came into contact with the two at the beginning of the chain of events. What is readily apparent is that the suspects specifically targeted a Jewish deli, and the FBI is currently investigating the incident as a domestic terror attack.

As information on the situation was still being released, gun-grabbing types were lighting up social media with posts pushing for more gun control, which would have had no impact whatsoever on this tragedy. New Jersey already has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation, and despite the burdens placed on garden state gun owners, law enforcement reported that at least two lawfully acquired firearms were recovered at the scene. This serves to inform us once again of three things: 

  1. Background checks don’t work, and never will, since only people who expect to pass a background check submit to one. Those who suggest possible connection to hate groups should foreclose gun purchases must understand that the only way a “background check” system could have had any bearing on this situation would be in an Orwellian/Minority report hellscape where the government establishes some sort of “social credit” system, or unless the system were to impose additional unconstitutional burdens on gun purchases such as extensive checks into their social media and private interactions. 
  2. Even if such impositions were to be incorporated into the process of firearms purchases, they won’t work on anyone who became radicalized or joined a hate group after purchasing a firearm. Guns last a long time. 
  3. We continue to see minority communities in oppressive states like New Jersey made into soft targets for criminals. If we care about our communities, we need to respect, foster, and encourage the exercise of the right to keep and bear arms.

Illinois pulls millions in funding from firearms licensing program

A recently uncovered letter sent by the Illinois State Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability indicates that over the last five years, $29,528,778 were pulled from the Firearm Services Fund, Operations Assistance Fund, and Services Fund, all of which are tied to licensing programs such as the Firearms Owner Identification Card and concealed carry permitting.  The Illinois State Rifle Association, working in conjunction with Representative Keith Wheeler (R) of the Illinois General Assembly, conducted an inquiry into the funding practices of the Illinois State Police, which refused to provide further clarification regarding the impact of the transfers to the General Fund and other wholly unrelated funds such as the Workers’ Compensation Revolving Fund.

The total impact of these interfund transfers is unknown but the behavior itself is suspect, considering the state legislature’s recent push for a five-fold increase in the cost for FOID card applications, and it is uncertain whether the legislature has any intention of reimbursing these funds as they may be legally required under the state’s current laws. Given the government’s general hostility toward law-abiding state residents, and its chronic inability to address its budget deficit woes, the concern is that funds intended to serve gun owners will continue to be misappropriated.

Northam threatens “Consequences” for 2A Sanctuaries

Following the flip of Virginia’s Legislature, a number of localities in the state have tried to rebuff the litany of pre-filed legislation brought to the state house by new legislators, declaring themselves Second Amendment Sanctuaries. We’ve talked about these before, and most leave us wanting. Still, in response, Northam said: "If we have constitutional laws on the books and law enforcement officers are not enforcing those laws on the books, then there are going to be consequences, but I'll cross that bridge if and when we get to it." 

The governor isn’t the only government official calling for “consequences” – Democrats in legislature have gone so far as to imply that they will use the force of the state national guard against those who resist enforcement of these unconstitutional new laws. Mix wholesale disrespect for the passionately held rights of the people with disregard for the competing wills of the people, sprinkle in some threats of violence. What could possibly go wrong?

Philadelphia’s big bedroom sweep turns up dust

After encouraging parents to invade the bedrooms of their children to look for guns that probably weren’t there in the first place, the City of Philadelphia was proud to announce that on the first day of its gun surrendering program, a grand total of six firearms were turned in. Six firearms, in a city of 1.6 million people. Of the firearms turned in, the organizers received a 1911, revolver, and a lever-action carbine, which we assume was not used in any drive-by shootings. The city has another two collection days scheduled which we expect to be similarly inutile.