Boulder, CO

This will federally prohibit you from owning a gun

David Heitz

(Heather Mount/Unsplash)

VP Kamala Harris appeared on CBS This Morning and said gun rights advocates were advancing “false choices” that Democrats want to take their guns.

But in the same interview she admitted President Biden is ready to take executive action that would implement some gun control laws without the blessing of the Congress and Senate.

I immediately got a ping from an old journalism colleague on Facebook. He suggested I write something on the current federal regulations surrounding firearm ownership. “We gun owners feel frustrated because most of the anti-gunners have never bought a gun and don’t realize all the hoops you have to go through to get one legally,” he wrote. “Not to say you can’t get them illegally. Same as drugs and anything else.”

What’s known as a federal firearm transaction record must be completed for every gun purchase in this country. The form asks for several pieces of information that can disqualify you from owning a gun, including:

· Whether you ever have been committed to a mental institution. It doesn’t seem logical knowing this group is prohibited from owning firearms that someone with a documented mental health history would try to obtain a firearm legally. But that's exactly what happened in Boulder, Colo., where mass shooter Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa gunned down 10 people at a supermarket.

According to the Associated Press, "Alissa was prone to sudden rage and was convicted of misdemeanor assault and sentenced to probation for attacking a high school classmate, law enforcement officials and former associates said."

The above form must be completed for every firearm purchase in the U.S.

The form also asks:

· Whether you have been convicted of a felony. Again, this prohibition is well known; it’s doubtful a felon will check the box “Yes.”

· Whether you are a fugitive from justice. It goes without saying that buying a gun legally may not be the smartest move for a fugitive from justice.

· Whether you consume marijuana unlawfully. The regulation comes with a warning: “The use or possession of marijuana remains unlawful under Federal law regardless of whether it has been legalized or decriminalized for medicinal or recreational purposes in the state where you reside.”

The above list shows the criteria for which you can be disqualified from owning a gun in the U.S. State laws vary.

To gun rights advocates, an obsession over marijuana use seems laughable as now more than half the states have made cannabis legal. In the meantime, victims of domestic violence who smoke weed for PTSD cannot obtain a firearm to defend themselves with, gun rights advocates like my journalism colleague note.

Other questions on the form include:

· Have you ever been dishonorably discharged from the military?

· “Are you subject to a court order, including a Military Protection Order issued by a military judge or magistrate, restraining you from harassing, stalking, or threatening your child or an intimate partner or child of such partner?”

· “Have you ever been convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence, or are you or have you ever been a member of the military and been convicted of a crime that included, as an element, the use of force against a person as identified in the instructions?”

· Some questions seem downright bizarre. Does the government think it’s going to get honest answers to, “Have you ever renounced your U.S. citizenship?” If so, you can’t legally own a gun.

· Are you an illegal alien? This is asked a few different ways. It seems unlikely someone here illegally would try to obtain a gun legally.

That’s the biggest gripe people who endorse responsible gun ownership have: The existing laws are written in such ways they are difficult to enforce. Illegal gun sales need more police resources directed at them, responsible gun owners say

Reuters reported, “President Biden indicated he ‘sees it as vital’ to take steps via executive actions and legislation to promote gun control, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Wednesday, in the wake of two deadly shootings in Colorado and Georgia.”

Some gun control measures are ready for approval in Congress, but their chances of passage in the Senate are dim.

In the meantime, gun rights advocates maintain the old adage that "guns don't kill people, people kill people."

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I have been in the news business more than 30 years, spending much of my career at some of the best local newspapers in the country. Today, I report on Denver City Hall, homelessness and other topics for NewsBreak, much like I did in my twenties covering Newport Beach, Calif. for the Daily Pilot. I consider myself a lucky guy to still be doing what I love after so many years.

Denver, CO

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