At a recent work event, a colleague mentioned that they thought that we should enact some “common sense” gun laws. The usual suspects tumbled forth. Background checks on all purchases. Waiting periods. Registration. Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last 20 years, you know the list. I happened to be in front of my computer at the time attempting to check on the status of my Form 1 application. I say attempted because the image above is the error that I found upon trying to log in to my account…
As someone currently quagmired in the federal process necessary to legally own a rifle with a barrel less than sixteen inches, and with two silencers sitting at my FFL, I’m in an early access program for the world that awaits if people like Hillary Clinton had their way with federal firearms laws. And because Hillary seems to be the one leading the charge on gun related things, I pointed my browser over to her page to pull up three of her bullet (ha!) points on how she’d rid the world of crimes committed with firearms.
- Comprehensive federal background check legislation. Background checks reduce gun trafficking, reduce the lethality of domestic violence, and reduce unlawful gun transfers to dangerous individuals. It is reprehensible that bipartisan legislation supporting background checks failed in Congress after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. But Hillary is not giving up—she will continue to fight for legislation to build on the Brady Bill’s success.
- Closing the “Charleston Loophole.” Hillary will push Congress to close the loophole that allows a gun sale to proceed without a completed background check if that check has not been completed within three days. This loophole allowed the alleged Charleston shooter to purchase a gun even though he had a criminal record.
- Tightening the gun show and Internet sales loophole if Congress won’t. If Congress refuses to act, Hillary will take administrative action to require that any person attempting to sell a significant number of guns abide by the same common sense rules that apply to gun stores—including requiring background checks on gun sales.
There’s more there if you’re interested, but I won’t be linking to her page. Feel free to find it on your own. While all three points are worthy of a Leghorn or Krafft takedown, I’m really only concerned with the first two, though the third is ripe for abuse. As I’m currently in the process of gaining approval for some super special stuff, namely the ability to slap a nine inch barreled upper on an already made lower without fear of the black helicopters descending on my backyard, I thought I’d talk through what it’s like living in Hillary’s dystopian wasteland.
Because a registered short barreled rifle is illegal to manufacture without the express written consent from the ATF, I had to apply for the privilege of manufacturing one. This process is what people are referencing when they talk about filing a Form 1. This required a thorough application that can be found here if you’re so inclined. Six pages of filling out paperwork later, and after adding my additional documents, I was ready to move forward.
But no so fast slick. That’ll be $200 for the privilege. So I forked over my money and my paperwork and hit submit. I was able to do all of this from the comfort of my kitchen table because the ATF has moved into the digital era with eForms. That name might sound familiar and it’s because it has been plagued with problems from the word go.
In an effort to appear as if they’re doing “something” eForms goes offline every Wednesday for maintenance. Each week, the site is still poorly designed, slow, and painful to operate. And it has been this way since April of 2014. The lead image with an error message has been my welcome screen since Thursday [edit: eForms must have known I was saying mean things as it is back up again]. Perhaps someone should kick the hamsters on the wheels under the desk to see if it can get back online any time soon.
Which dovetails nicely into my next point. Timing. Or lack thereof. The Charleston Loophole as Hillary (For Prison 2016) so eloquently titles it isn’t so much a loophole as it is a check to limit the federal governments “spirit of the law” powers. You know, the kind where the letter of the law says “we’re good” but the spirit of the law is busy laughing and closing doors in your face. It is the reason we have the terms “may issue” and “shall issue.” The current normal firearm background check system is a shall issue system. And if it fails to yield a result within three days, the rights of the buyer are not delayed. Sorry bout ya .gov. Build a better system if you don’t like it.
As it stands now, the ATF has zero, zilch, nada in the way of incentive to process my application faster. Why would they? I’ve already paid them my money, and they’ve set the tone that I should be happy that I’ve only been waiting 123 days. Early in 2014, those times had spiked above 150 days. All this to run through my application and perform a background check no more in depth than the one required when I pick up a “normal” gun at my FFL.
My response to my coworker was to open up the eForms error page, spin my laptop around, and show them what their list of demands looks like in real world application. It means waiting times that stretch well beyond what anyone might call common sense and a federal bureaucracy that grows each day with no system in place to check its powers.
Keep in mind that I’m just trying to put together a more effective home defense rifle based on the evolving work Nick has done on the topic. If you do enough mental gymnastics, you can convince yourself that what I’m buying is a luxury item and that I should shut my mouth and deal with it. Perhaps. But perhaps I’m just a canary in a coal mine reminding the average uninformed voter that the process I’m currently a part of is the ideal system for statists like Clinton and her ilk.