Rotten Olive Branch Offered after Roanoke Murders

By David Codrea

As the Great Seal of the United States shows, an olive branch can only be offered from a position of strength and determination, not as a gesture of appeasement.
AmmoLand Gun News
AmmoLand Gun News

USA – -( In my last column, we discussed a media advisory by the Independent Firearm Owners Association sent out following the Roanoke murders.

In it, the group advised against kneejerk reactions, and instead recommended enacting what it calls “useful ‘gun control’ legislation.”

I challenged the assumption that such edicts exist, and also the admonition that “public civility” is always the appropriate response to hostile subversives and useful idiots.

Those were general concepts. Let’s take a look now at the specifics being offered by IFoA.

“Let’s agree that we are united in opposition to the misuse of firearms, especially the access of guns to criminals and mentally unstable individuals,” they recommend.

Not so fast. Opposed to misuse, certainly, but as for the rest, anyone who can’t be trusted with a gun can’t be trusted without a custodian. That was demonstrated by what ostensibly enabled the top three mass murders in this country, access to box cutters, fuel oil and fertilizer, and a container of gasoline. If a violent criminal is so dangerous that he poses a physical threat to innocents, letting him wander freely among us makes as much sense as opening the cage and letting out a man-eating lion because it’s served a designated time. And the same holds true for a person with mental issues that make him a danger to himself and others.

We hear proponents of mental health gun disabilities throw out the word “adjudication,” as if that somehow makes everything all right. Just remember the Soviet Union “adjudicated” its mental patients, too. The key here is to ensure that protections equivalent to those of a jury trial are available when loss of a right is the outcome, because politically-connected anti-gun judges, politically-appointed boards, and “expert” adherents of the American Psychiatric Association’s “Position Statement on Firearm Access, Acts of Violence and the Relationship to Mental Illness and Mental Health Services” all bring strong biases to the proceedings.

Will people who could benefit be discouraged from seeking help? And come to think of it — since they could be “incriminating” themselves, why don’t medical ethics and the law demand patients who could have their rights abrogated receive the equivalent of a Miranda warning, including their right to clam up and consult legal counsel?

Also of interest – or it should be – how will rights be restored when there is no longer a compelling mental health prescription to deny them?

What universal appeal mechanism – affordable to all, not just to elites for whom money is no object – will exist to declare a person is once more “eligible” to keep and bear arms? What guarantees are there that the same biases that colored the disability ruling in the first place won’t reassert themselves in the “parole” process? And have we identified psychiatric evaluators, risk management administrators and insurers who will be willing to subject themselves to malpractice liabilities should a person deemed “fit” be misdiagnosed? Or will the pressure be to “err on the side of caution”?

“Let’s agree to enhanced penalties for straw purchasers and gun traffickers who put the public at risk by arming criminals,” IFoA suggests next. “A serious approach to gun laws requires getting serious about the consequences for violating them and backing them up with real prosecutions by the Department of Justice.”

I’m reminded of a Dr. Evil line. How about no? Again, if someone is a proven danger, what are they doing walking and stalking freely among us? And if I buy a gun from or for you, as is supposedly our right, it’s really no one’s business but ours. But that brings us to the next recommendation.

“Let’s agree to require the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) at gun shows. NRA’s Wayne LaPierre supported this to Congress back in May 1999,” IFoA offers next. “Our proposal is called the Gun Show Preservation and Protection Act …”

Let’s not. First of all, that’s not where criminals get their guns, and they won’t go through NICS, so what’s the point? How does mandating an end to private sales at gun shows comport with either the clear wording of the Second Amendment or with legitimate enumerated powers? And if we do it at gun shows, why not do it for all private sales? Or will that be what’s offered next?

If those demanding it are really interested solely in background checks, and nothing else, they’d be pushing something like BIDS, the Blind Identification Database System, instead of NICS.

Besides, if those demanding it are really interested solely in background checks, and nothing else, they’d be pushing something like BIDS, the Blind Identification Database System, instead of NICS. That would identify firearms-disabled persons without creating any kind of transaction record that could then be used for registration purposes, and without compiling records of innocent gun owners. For reasons that should be clear by now, I’m not endorsing such a system, even though it would inarguably be an improvement. I merely point to its utility as a “poison pill” to prove those who say they only want background checks would be lying if they objected to BIDS, and to note all the major gun rights groups have been aware of – and deliberately ignored – this much less intrusive alternative for years.

The suggestions go on, including “a national firearm safety awareness campaign” that seems to be offering a one-size-fits-all lock up your safety “solution,” and “giving ATF and all of law enforcement the technology tools,” without looking at the failure of existing oversight to prevent abuses against freedom committed with the tools they already have. And while “victims deserve action, not rhetoric, not sloganeering” makes for a pretty good slogan, the devil, as always, is in the details.

OK fine, I don’t agree with IFoA’s proposals. I’ve badmouthed ‘em all and called for throwing the whole legislative olive branch in the fire. So what am I offering instead?

That’ll be next column.

Also see:

David Codrea in his natural habitat.

About David Codrea:

David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating / defending the RKBA and a long-time gun rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament.

He blogs at “The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance,” and also posts on Twitter: @dcodrea and Facebook.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Seem to me that peaceable gun owners have been compromising with the prohibitionists for at least 50 years. Now that we are finally pushing back, I wonder what conspiracy theories are floating around in the controlists’ heads.

Trisha Marie

Thorough, concise and honed nicely in making legitimate points of contention, if not unblinking ridicule of the Left’s penchance for loopholes. Well done, Mr. Codrea!
Art’s grandma would approve, I’m sure.


Spot on Mr. Codrea. About 15 or so years ago we closed the “Gun Show Loophole” here in Oregon. This year, thanks to Floyd Prozanski, Val Hoyle, our unelected governor and a cast of the usual suspects, we have SB 941 as law. 941 requires that all exchanges, with certain exceptions, go through background checks. (The exceptions were added as amendments later in the process.) It was passed on party lines.

Sooner or later it will not be enough for them… again.


Everybody focus on specific inanimate objects, not taking into account that the mentally ill also use knives, cars, baseball bats. etc. The only common denominator is the metal illness. But why are they out there and not institutionalized? Well, in order to save money, Ronald Reagan relaxed the mental health laws that we used to have protecting society. Prior to that, the mentally ill were kept locked away, for their protection and ours. Afterwards though, unless they were an imminent threat to themselves or others, they couldn’t be restrained that way. Today’s treatment plan is “take two pills and call… Read more »

Grey Beard

I’d like to see some evidence that it was Reagan’s idea to relax those incarceration rules. My recollection is that the ACLU – originated as a branch of the Communist Party in the US – filed suit to release them, backed whole-heartedly by the democrat/liberal/progressive/communists at the time. I personally believe that those “adjudicated” with a serious “mentally disability” be separated from society in a facility that provides for help, including being sure they actually take their necessary meds. The real problem is WHO decides the parameters of “serious mental illness” in the US. The Government can NOT be involved… Read more »

Steve S****s

Well said, David.

Thank you.

Ryan Bibb

Definition: INSANITY: The presupposition by gun control advocates that criminals will obey the law. This same definition applies to the word Stupidity. I have found that whenever I get into a discussion about gun control with someone, using this definition shuts them up because it is the truth. I have even contemplated making t-shirts with this definition printed on the back because the gun control advocates cannot argue the fact


Let’s remember that, when ‘There must be universal background checks!’ was going around a few years ago, then-Senator Tom Coburn went to Schumer & Pelosi & Co. with a proposal: “Here’s a background check system that I think would get through. Anyone making a private sale or trade could do this, so it’s the UBC that you want, and since it doesn’t keep records of names or firearms, it could not be used for a backdoor registration system, which would answer that objection.”

They turned him down. “There MUST be records kept!” Which tells you what they really wanted.


Let’s remember that, while the ‘We have to have universal background checks!’ was going around a couple of years ago, then-Senator Tom Coburn went to Schumer and Feinstein & Co. with a proposal: “Here’s a background check system that I think can get through. It would allow for anyone selling or trading a firearm to get a background check- which you want- and since there is no record-keeping that could lead to a back-door registration, it answers that objection from gun owners.”

They turned it down, flatly. “There MUST be records kept!” Which demonstrated what they really wanted.

Steve Bach

I have been a proponent of “Bearing Arms,” for about 8 years. In that time I have felt the same way as Mr. Codrea, but never had a way to express it. Mr. Codrea’s way of articulating his/my feelings, gives me a way to communicate them.

I too, feel that if a person has “served their time,” that they should be given ALL (yes, all) their rights back. If they can’t be trusted, then why are they “out?”

Thanks so much for this article!


And the IFoA is fronting for who?

Jim T

Great thoughts as always.

Keep up the great work.


You’ve covered the bases there David.

Torin Brown

Great article Mr. Codrea. I didn’t know about BIDS. My biggest fear in this is a database with my name on it and a corrupt government entity that decides to disarm the populace forcefully.
Torin Brown