ABC’s Latest Misleading Gun Poll

ABC has released the results of another gun poll claiming that support for background checks at gun shows has “vast public support.” But neither the poll nor ABC’s report notes that background checks already routinely occur at gun shows.

The poll focused on the various gun control bills currently coursing through Congress with one question asking whether or not respondents support “requiring background checks on people buying guns at gun shows.”

Pointing out that Congress is considering a bill (S. 436) that would expand background checks, ABC reports that “a nearly unanimous 91 percent favor mandatory background checks on gun show sales.”

This question pertains to the so-called “gun show loophole” and misleads people into imagining that background checks are not required at gun shows simply because they are gun shows. The fact is, though, that every licensed gun dealer is required to perform background checks on every gun sale whether he sells his wares at a gun show or from his own shop.

In other words, the gun show itself has nothing to do with this issue.

What Congress is considering is making background checks mandatory on all gun sales, even those between individual citizens. Currently, a private gun owner may sell his gun to any other private citizen without performing a background check. This is what Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer’s bill is meant to address.

Few sellers at gun shows sell guns without background checks and when they do it has nothing to do with where they are selling it but instead has to do with who is doing the selling. ABC failed to note this important point.

Shortlink:

Posted by on March 18, 2013.
Filed under 2nd Amendment, Constitutional Issues, corruption, Culture Of Corruption, Democrats, Gun control, Liberals, Media.
Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago-based freelance writer, has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and is featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart's BigGovernment.com and BigJournalism.com, RightWingNews.com, CanadaFreePress.com, RightPundits.com, StoptheACLU.com, Human Events Magazine, among many, many others. Additionally, he has been a frequent guest on talk-radio programs to discuss his opinion editorials and current events.He has also written for several history magazines and appears in the new book "Americans on Politics, Policy and Pop Culture" which can be purchased on amazon.com. He is also the owner and operator of PubliusForum.com. Feel free to contact him with any comments or questions, EMAIL Warner Todd Huston: igcolonel .at. hotmail.com"The only end of writing is to enable the reader better to enjoy life, or better to endure it." --Samuel Johnson

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  • jim_m

    It’s just the MSM manufacturing the news that they believe in. They could report on how guns are used legally to stop crime or that the vast majority of gun owners never commit a crime, but that wouldn’t fit the narrative.

  • Commander_Chico

    OK, I’m curious. Is it true that licensed federal firearms dealers selling at gun shows have to do a background check (whatever that is), but that private individuals who are not licensed firearms dealers can sell to anyone at a gun show without a background check? And that “private individuals” can sell as many guns as they want, travelling from gun show to gun show as a business/hobby?

    I just want some clarity here.

    • MartinLandauCalrissian

      From what I can tell, it is not true, no. A private owner may sell some or all of his privately held guns to others without performing background checks at a gun show or anywhere else, but if he is seen to be buying guns just to flip them he is in violation of the law (I think it would be called “straw purchases”). They cannot do it as a business or a hobby.

      • Commander_Chico

        It appears “from what you can tell” is WRONG, at least as far as federal law is concerned. Some states may prohibit flipping guns.

        I don’t see any limitations on the purchase and sale of firearms by private individuals, as long as they are both from the same state:

        http://www.atf.gov/firearms/faq/unlicensed-persons.html

        There are also no records required for these sales.

        You can be for or against these sales, but let’s not hide the facts.

        • Vagabond661

          How would you handle a father giving his son his gun or rifle?

          • http://www.rustedsky.net JLawson

            Summary execution, of course!

          • Jwb10001

            It’s the libertarian way!

          • http://www.rustedsky.net JLawson

            Summary execution with mimes!

            (Blame JWH for the mime meme.)

          • Commander_Chico

            I don’t care about that, I’m actually happy I can buy guns with no government record of it.

          • Vagabond661

            If a gun is in a government database, and a dad gives his son his AR-15, does he need to notify the government that he no longer has the AR-15?

        • Conservachef

          Straw purchases are illegal, but I don’t think that’s what you’re referring to, Chico- is it? Straw purchases are someone buying a gun for someone who can’t pass a background check.

          Dealers at gun shows have to comply with the background checks, even if they aren’t at their store- it goes with being a licensed dealer. Individuals don’t, because in this regard, gun shows aren’t any different than other private transactions.

          It’s anecdotal, but I’ve been to a bunch of gun shows since I was a child, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen any individual-to-individual sales. I’ve seen plenty of sales, trades, & purchases with dealers though.

          • http://www.rustedsky.net JLawson

            Locally at gun shows I’ve seen a few guys carrying rifles (I assume they’re personally owned) who have signs stating what they’ve got and what price they want.

            Seeing I usually go late on Sundays (better deals in the afternoon of the second day, folks are looking to make some sort of profit before they leave and prices are often marked down some) I can only figure that these individuals aren’t having much luck in getting what they want.

          • Conservachef

            JLawson,

            I’ve seen where folks bring rifles, and wind up trading them. In fact, I’ve known folks that have taken guns, hoping to catch a good trade for something else.

            I can’t recall ever seeing something like what you mention. That’s interesting though.

          • Commander_Chico

            You’re evading the question: if I go to a gun show as a private individual with 10 AR-15s, I can sell them all without having to perform a background check or having to do any documentation at all of the sale, right?

          • Conservachef

            Chico,

            I said this:

            Dealers at gun shows have to comply with the background checks, even if
            they aren’t at their store- it goes with being a licensed dealer.
            Individuals don’t, because in this regard, gun shows aren’t any
            different than other private transactions.
            (emphasis added)

            Not avoiding any question. You can sell them the same at a gun show as you can in any other situation. I thought I stated it fairly clearly.

          • Commander_Chico

            OK, so what I said is correct: I can go to a gunshow with 10 AR-15s and sell them to anyone with no record.

            Look, liberals also have their blinders to the reality of welfare programs and the various set-asides for minorities and women.

            If you want to talk about something, it has to be talked about truthfully.

            That does not mean I’m not happy I can go to a gun show and buy 10 AR-15s with no record of the purchase being given to the government.

          • jim_m

            Take out the gun show part and you are still correct. The question is whether the government ought to have control over every single transaction between two individuals.

            Extend this to its limit and you have a government that demands that every garage sale transaction be recorded and taxed. Frankly, I think that the government would like that.

          • Conservachef

            Chico,

            I think this is just where we may disagree. I don’t think it’s any of Uncle Sam’s business, and you seem concerned with the safety of such transactions.

            Again, this is anecdotal, but in my experience with gun shows, there is enough law-enforcement present (officially, as well as off-the-clock enthusiasts) to make one reconsider doing anything naughty. If you were to try and open “Chico’s Unlicensed Gun Dealership” at the gun show, there would be lots of eyes watching- eyes that you’d rather not have on you. And you could still run afoul of the “strawman” purchase problem, if you go in and buy a gun, then turn around & sell it.

            Interestingly enough, I (briefly) browsed the atf website, and I couldn’t find anything defining a threshold for requiring a license, like if you sold your 10 AR’s (as opposed to 9). Considering the size of some firearm collections, I guess that shouldn’t be a surprise. However, to give you a nice long, legal mumbo-jumbo answer to your “can they sell them” question, here is the link:

            http://www.atf.gov/firearms/faq/unlicensed-persons.html#private-record-keeping

          • Commander_Chico

            I am not sure we disagree, but the facts we are both talking about were kind of obfuscated in Warner’s piece; Warner being a serial bullshitter.

            Let’s consider the full implications of unlicensed people selling to others without a record: there is obviously a downside to that which law enforcement does not like.

          • herddog505

            And we MUST do what “law enforcement” likes, eh?

            Incidentally, the “full implications of unlicensed people selling to others” include:

            1. Liberty (and libertarianism; an interesting concept that you’ve apparently never heard of);

            2. The history of the freakin’ human race. I’m not sure when the default for conducting commerce, especially between private individuals, became “you have to have a license from the government”, but I’m all for going back to the thrilling days of yesteryear when that WASN’T required.

            What’s next? Licences for little children to operate lemonade stands?

            Oh, wait…

            http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2011/07/16/georgia-cops-shut-down-girls-lemonade-stand-for-lack-of-business-license/

            Further, why is it is problem if John Q. Public gets his hands on ten AR-15′s and sells them privately? How many of these allegedly eeeeeevil rifles are sold in our country every day… and how many of them are actually used in crimes? How is he responsible for the criminal use of something he sells? Is the local car dealer responsible if some drunk buys a used Chevy, gets a load on, and slams into a school bus full of orphans?

            Finally, IF one of those totally eeeeeeevil rifles IS used for a crime, shouldn’t our focus be on catching, trying, convicting and punishing (dare I say it?) the criminal?

            Or should we start giving sporting goods stores extra scrutiny for selling eeeeeeevil baseball bats, or kitchen stores for selling eeeeevil chefs knives?

          • Commander_Chico

            All valid points, but why does Warner mislead about the background checks in a piece about a so-called “misleading” poll?

            Obviously he was uncomfortable with the real situation.

            If I were seeking to obtain firearms for criminal purposes, I would head to a gun show to look for a private seller who would sell me what I wanted no questions asked.

          • herddog505

            If you were a criminal, you would head to a gun show, where:

            — There are police officers standing at the door;

            — The place is jammed with potential witnesses, many of them off-duty police officers, military types, or people interested in buying a gun to shoot people like you;

            — The seller is unknown to you, and therefore you have no idea whether he’s going to tell the cops about you (assuming he’s not an undercover officer himself), and;

            — You’re going to pay “full price” for a firearm? If you’ve got that kind of jack, why are you a crook in the first place???

            Further, you’re going to comb the floor looking for the seller who won’t ask questions. THAT would be interesting: “Hey, man: how much do you want for that AR-47? Now, you’re not going to make me go through a background check, right? ‘cuz I really don’t want to… Hey, where are you going? Why are you walking over to that cop?”

            There’s a reason that a tiny fraction (less than 2%, I believe) of guns used in crimes come from gun shows.

            Finally, despite the hand-wringing and propaganda about eeeevil assault weapons, they are used in a tiny fraction of crimes for the simple fact that they are harder to transport and conceal than a pistol, which is the weapon of choice of the vast majority of crooks.

            If *I* was a crook looking to get a gun, I would steal it (certain newspapers have been making it easy for me to find out where I can do this) or buy it cheap from one of my fellow crooks. Unlike a seller at a show, he has every reason NOT to go to the cops with my description.

          • Vagabond661

            This is SOOOOOOO true.

          • Commander_Chico

            “Crooks” are not the only people looking for weapons for criminal purposes. Suppose you just want to kill someone.

            You can get a gun at a show, you can discreetly observe who to buy from, there’s no record of you purchasing it, you can keep it, do the dirty deed and toss the gun.

            Also, what gave you the idea that guns bought on the street are less expensive than from dealers?

          • http://www.rustedsky.net JLawson

            ” Suppose you just want to kill someone.”

            Road flare. Gallon of gas.

            Even if you don’t manage the job, you’ve made it damned expensive for ‘em to repair the damage.

          • herddog505

            Kitchen knife from the local department store.

            Baseball bat. Ditto.

            Rat poison. Ditto.

            Rope or wire garotte. Ditto.

            Plastic bag around the head. Ditto.

            Candlestick. Ditto.

            Lead pipe. Probably the dept. store, but certainly the local home improvement store.

            ANFO bomb. Ditto.

            Man, what a source for mayhem the local big box store or DIY store is, eh? Better start regulating them because, if somebody wants to commit murder, there’s really no better place to go to get a deadly weapon.

            Need I remind you, by the way, that two of the most heinous mass murders in recent history – 9-11 and the OKC bombing – were done with, respectively, box cutters and fertilizer?

            And WE’RE the paranoid ones…

          • http://www.rustedsky.net JLawson

            Okay, I’ve got to object to the candlestick… unless you use it on Col. Mustard in the library.

            (And really, have you looked at candlesticks these days? Flimsy things – more likely to wrap around a head than put a dent in it.)

            But your point is well taken. There’s plenty of stuff at Home Depot that could be used for torture or murder.

            (Proving, I suppose, the old adage that there are no dangerous weapons – only dangerous people.)

          • herddog505

            Exactly. This is what lefties refuse (or are flat unable to) grasp: banning this inanimate object or that really does nothing to stop the determined criminal or madman. Witness the violent crime rate in Britain: they banned guns, and the hoodlums either used illegally-obtained guns or else knives and clubs.

          • Commander_Chico

            All true, but then why have firearms at all?

            Suppose you don’t want to get close? Suppose you don’t have the body strength to garotte someone? Suppose you don’t want to take the chance the guy is going to be able to grab the baseball bat after you take a swing?

            Buying quantities of NH4NO3 attracts the attention of the authorities, too.

            http://www.dhs.gov/ammonium-nitrate-security-statutes-and-regulations

            Plus, without getting too technical, you need an HE detonator to set the ANFO off, don’t you? Not easy to get.

            What is the most effective tool for killing person-to-person?

            Nothing like a 5.56 or 7.62 at a safe and effective bit of range. Or, if you have some machinist skills, a sound-suppressed handgun.

            Buy the gun in a “private” sale, there’s no record, no easy bit of evidence tying that round in your enemy’s head to the caliber of the gun you bought a month ago.

          • http://www.rustedsky.net JLawson

            “What is the most effective tool …”

            And there you go. A tool is pretty much useless without the will to use it – and (as my son has amply demonstrated over the years) just because you don’t have the optimal tool for the job doesn’t mean you can’t get the job done.

            (Amazon’s got some NICE screw extractors…)

            If you’re so determined to murder someone that you’ll go to extreme lengths to ‘acquire’ a firearm, you’re more likely to use other methods, like a baseball bat (which is also untraceable), which is much more available and doesn’t require ammunition.

            All in all, it really seems you’ve kinda pushed this well beyond the range of “what if” and “hypothetically” into the absurd. What’s next?

            “If I put out a hat for donations and play a guitar outside a gun show, can I find someone who’ll exchange what I gather for some sort of handgun I can untraceably use to murder a wino under a bridge so I can take his bottle, break it, and use it to slash the throat of my real enemy?”

          • herddog505

            Oh, for pity’s sake! What’s your point? That guns can be used to kill people? We all know that. However, there is scant evidence that American killers are flocking to gun shows to purchase murder weapons. Frankly, your posts on this subject are beginning to sound desperate: “IF you really wanted to commit premeditated murder and IF you didn’t have the strength to use a blunt instrument and IF you wanted to be a few hundred yards away when you did the deed and IF you had the money to buy a good rifle and IF you didn’t mind going to a gun show where there’s a significant police presence and thousands of potential witnesses to your efforts to get a gat without a background check, then – WOO-HOO! – gun shows are the place for you!”

            May I also say that, in light of this grasping at straws, your protestations that you’re soooo happy that you can buy a gun without a record ring a bit hollow?

            FInally, for your consideration:

            1. While you may prefer (hypothetically!) using a rifle to deal with somebody who annoys you from long range, the majority of Americans murdered with a gun are victims of handguns, for reasons that I mention above;

            2. I’d say that most Americans would have a better chance of killing somebody with a baseball bat than with a rifle, rifle marksmanship being a lamentably rare skill;

            3. Why an “assault rifle” for the would-be sniper? Why not a more pedestrian deer rifle?

            The facts are really against you on this. I realize that you, like most lefties, have had lurid ideas pounded into your head about crooks strolling into gun shows and walking out with machineguns and nobody the wiser, but this simply doesn’t happen. If we are interested in reducing murder in our country, it really isn’t helpful to focus on (frankly) silly hypothetical situations that the data indicate are quite rare.

          • herddog505

            If a person wants to kill somebody (I mean SERIOUSLY wants to kill him), then, in my mind, that makes him a “crook”.

            As for the price of guns on the street, I really have no idea. However, if I’ve got a “hot” gun that I stole (which cost me nothing but a little time and risk to get), then ANYTHING I get for it is profit. Further, it’s off my hands in case the police nick me. So, it’s not in my interests to “sit” on it, hoping for the best possible price.

            Further, my clientele are other crooks: as I wrote above, if they’ve got huge wads of cash to pay full price for guns, they probably don’t need to be crooks in the first place.

          • Conservachef

            Chico, a gun show is the LAST place I’d go to illegally buy a gun. The place is literally crawling with on- and off-duty law enforcement.

            Plus, everything herddog505 said.

          • Commander_Chico

            I am not talking about an “illegal” purchase. I am talking about a legal purchase without a record tracing it to the buyer.

          • Conservachef

            Chico, Ok I see what you’re saying. I personally still wouldn’t go there to (legally) buy a gun with criminal intent, but maybe that’s just me.

            It just seems like you are picking out gun shows as a target for private transactions. You keep saying you can go to a show and figure out how to privately purchase a gun, as if you couldn’t do that anywhere else. You can. And that’s where the obfuscation comes in from the original article- polls like to vaguely ask if we should “close the gun show loophole” or “require background checks on all sales at gun shows” or some such. They ignore the fact that most of the sales taking place at gun shows are checked (because they are done by dealers), and the few that might happen between individuals aren’t checked because it’s a perfectly legal transaction- the gun show isn’t “background check amnesty” or something.

            In reality- a private sale between law abiding individuals at a gun show is no different than a private sale between neighbors done in their living room.

          • Commander_Chico

            You are right about that obfuscation involving the implications on private sales and a government database.

            As I said, I am happy that I can buy a gun with no record. I just hope someone who really really does not like me does not think about this issue in the way I have posed it.

          • Conservachef

            Chico,

            I may have skimmed over any obfuscation in the original piece, so no harm done.

            I agree that there can be a downside to private individuals selling these things to others, without any sort of check on the buyer. I think there are several unfortunate problems with this issue. (1) It is a shame that crooks use this method to get guns. As a seller, I’d want to be sure that I knew the buyer (and their legitimacy), but there are folks that aren’t that scrupulous. (2) There are some huge problems with instituting and enforcing universal background checks. Just think about it- the government forcing you to do a background check on this person before you sell them your private property. How will Uncle Sam know you sold it? The government will have to know that you have it in the first place (Out in Washington state, I believe, they tried to legislate yearly warrantless sheriff “checks” on your “assault weapons.”), and then will have to have a way to know that you no longer have it. That’s some scary government intrusion on a Constitutionally protected right.

            I believe that the fact is, trying to institute universal background checks would be a big failure. Why? The crooks that purchase illegal guns will continue to act in an illegal manner. Incidentally, I think this is why “gun free zones” do nothing but make you “feel” safe, up until the point when a psycho comes to the “gun free” mall, theater, or school and starts target practice.

          • Vagabond661

            That was my point about the father giving his son his guns. It’s none of the government’s business.

          • Conservachef

            “None of the government’s business” seems to be a fading idea in too many circles…

          • retired.military

            a person can sell 10 cars to psychos without background checks. cars kill more people in the US than guns do.

  • Stanley Hill

    The anti-gun people like Bloomberg buy the poll results! all gun dealers do a background check at a gun show. None license people can only sell a small number before they have to get a license. The gun show loophole is a scam by the anti-gun people, they are referring to one selling his private gun to another and usually doesn’t take place at a gun show mostly person to person. There are a lot of inaccuracies perpetrated by the anti-gun agenda. Do your own research, you can’t believe the news like you could 50 years ago.

  • Par4Course

    The only way to have truly universal, mandatory background checks is to establish a federal registry of all guns. When we have extra money in the public treasury, we can pay for such totalitarian nonsense, but when were $900 billion or more in the whole each year, let’s use the funds for more productive expenditures, like keeping our armed forces strong.

    • GarandFan

      Canada did it. They spent MILLIONS, and over the 10 year life of the law, the RCMP stated that it accomplished NOTHING.

  • herddog505

    Let’s hear it for law enforcement! Hurrah!

    New Jersey police and Dept. of Children and Families officials raided the home of a firearms instructor and demanded to see his guns after he posted a Facebook photo of his 11-year-old son holding a rifle.

    The horror! Well, it IS New Jersey… Can somebody remind me how the hell we lost to these people???

    But wait! It gets even better!

    “Someone called family services about the photo,” said Evan Nappen, an attorney representing Shawn Moore. “It led to an incredible, heavy-handed raid on his house. They wanted to see his gun safe, his guns and search his house. They even threatened to take his kids.”

    But they had a warrant, right? Um, no:

    The family’s trouble started Saturday night when Moore received an urgent text message from his wife. The Carneys Point Police Dept. and the New Jersey Dept. of Children and Families had raided their home.

    Moore immediately called Nappen and rushed home to find officers demanding to check his guns and his gun safe.

    Instead, he handed the cell phone to one of the officers – so they could speak with Nappen.

    “If you have a warrant, you’re coming in,” Nappen told the officers. “If you don’t, then you’re not. That’s what privacy is all about.”

    With his attorney on speaker phone, Moore instructed the officers to leave his home.

    “I was told I was being unreasonable and that I was acting suspicious because I wouldn’t open my safe,” Moore wrote on the Delaware Open Carry website. “They told me they were going to get a search warrant. I told them to go ahead.”*

    The cops never came back.

    THIS is what libs want when they talk about “sensible” gun laws: your home may be invaded by the police at any time without a warrant, you may be treated as a criminal – a child abuser – for merely possessing an eeeeevil firearm, your family may be terrorized, your children may be taken from you.

    Resist we much.

    ====

    (*) http://radio.foxnews.com/toddstarnes/top-stories/familys-home-raided-over-facebook-photo-of-childs-rifle.html

    via
    http://patterico.com/2013/03/20/facebook-photo-of-child-holding-gun-leads-to-a-law-enforcement-knock-on-the-door/

    • Conservachef

      I just read that article. Kind of the new and updated version of SWATTing someone? One that really gets to the heart of the gun-grabbers view- that guns are dangerous, horrible, need to be locked in bank-vault secure safes, and represent a direct, credible threat to the safety of children. Hence the DHS/Child Protective Services angle. Plus, they have to investigate every report.

      • jim_m

        This just demonstrates the need to remove the protection of sovereign immunity from government officials and the police. These people need to be 100% answerable for violations of people’s civil rights. And not just the police here but the entire DHS/Child protective services apparatus needs to be civilly liable for their actions. Start slapping these people with multi million dollar lawsuits and watch how fast they start paying attention to constitutional rights.

        • Conservachef

          I believe that the article said they were considering a lawsuit against the city.

          • jim_m

            That means little. People need to be held personally responsible. It isn’t some faceless bureaucracy making these decisions. These decisions are made by real people with real names and they need to be held personally responsible for their actions.

            Fining the government is making the tax payer pay for the transgressions of government thugs.

          • Conservachef

            Jim, I don’t know. If it’s policy that the DHS follow up on EVERY report, then you need to go after the policy, not the poor sap that said “yeah this is bogus but go check it out.”

            Now, when you get an overzealous employee acting outside of policy, then I agree. But I think they have to be able to do the job they are (legally) required to do.

          • jim_m

            There have been lots of instances of state Dept’s of Family Services coming to people’s homes and conducting warrentless searches based on all sorts of reports. Sometimes the reports are that people are engaged in legal activity that someone dislikes (ie homeschooling). Children have even been unlawfully seized in these cases.

            My point is that there is no downside for government workers to violate the civil rights of citizens. They function like school teachers idiotically suspending children for eating a pop tart into the shape of a gun. There is no negative consequence for the violation of people’s rights. The problem with a lot of govenrment workers is that they see something which is obviously not a problem, but they treat the citizen like a criminal never the less.

          • Conservachef

            I mentioned the poptart incident to my wife (teacher). She wasn’t too surprised, considering the length zero-tolerance policies go. So again, it’s a policy problem.

            My point is that you have to look at the situation (like the DHS/ Family services having to investigate all reports, regardless of how stupid they are), and see if it’s a policy issue or an overzealous employee. If it’s the former, then DHS is at fault. If it’s the latter, then definitely, the employee is at fault.

            I just don’t know that opening up all gov employees to liability is a good idea. If they were acting improperly, or even illegally, then yes hit ‘em hard. But if they were following the rules and doing what they were required to do, why should they be sued?

          • jim_m

            Because there is no incentive to make rational rules. If the state pays out a few bucks for ruining someone’s life it is no big deal to them. They don’t care if next week they are doing exactly the same thing to someone else. They sure as hell will change their stupid rules if you make them personally accountable.

            Even if you put a ceiling on that accountability, just to make them personally accountable will eliminate a lot of bureaucratic crap. It will also provide incentive for the necessary change so that government does not victimize people.

            If a teacher lost a grand every time they suspended a kid for pointing his finger and saying, “Bang”, I bet that the zero-tolerance policy would get revised pretty quick. I’ll wager that if your family were tagged like that, you would be very aggressive at making sure it didn’t happen again.

          • Conservachef

            Sorry, Jim, but I just don’t agree. If I’m following the rules, then it’s not MY fault that someone got suspended or whatever. It just isn’t. Plain and simple.Blame the source of the problem- the rule.

            I for one don’t want to work at a job where, if I’m following policy and doing what I’m supposed to, you can sue me because your kid got sent home. That’s just plain silly.

            Your problem is still in the rule-making. Does going after the peon that has to obey the rules actually sound like a good idea to you?

            *EDIT* to add: I’d suggest you make it so that those who crafted the rule be liable. I still see no reason to go after the ones following the rules.

          • herddog505

            I can see it from both sides.

            On the one hand, police officers and social workers have a job to do, and they are bound to uphold the law even if it is plainly stupid.

            On the other hand, “I vas chust vollowing orters” is a phrase that has rightly earned a certain amount of infamy.

          • jim_m

            Even a soldier is not responsible for following an illegal order. Government employees are not exempt from using their common sense to avoid violating the civil rights of citizens. I know that you aren’t intending to argue that government employees have carte blanche to violate people’s rights but that is effectively what you ask for.

          • Conservachef

            Jim, don’t put words in my mouth. I never advocated to allow anyone the freedom to violate anyone’s rights. I said go after the ones that make the policy, not the peon that has to obey the policy! In addition, I ALSO said that if someone is acting outside of the policy- doing something that they obviously shouldn’t be doing- I think you should be able to go after them.

            You’re saying that a teacher that follows school policy and punishes a child for something that is obviously absurd (but still clearly defined in the policy book), should be sued. It’s the school board that sets the policy- I say go after those schmucks.

            I just don’t understand how you can advocate suing someone for doing their job.You’re opening up a huge can of worms with that idea. “Do I get fired for not doing my job, or do I get sued for doing my job?”

            And again, just to be clear, let me repeat myself. If someone- social worker, policeman, teacher, whoever- is violating the law, acting overzealously, outside of established policy, or (as you said) violating someone’s civil rights, then go after them. But when they are acting correctly, following the law, policy, and guidelines established for their job, then NO.

          • jim_m

            I’m not putting words in your mouth, I say go after them both. If you think that you should be exempt from enforcing policies that infringe upon the rights of citizens then welcome to a dictatorship.

            I work for a large corporation that does business around the world. If my boss tells me that I should do something illegal or unethical I am going to lose my job or go to jail. Why is it that government workers should be held to a different standard of accountability?

            And yes, if my boss wants me to break the law I could get fired for it. There is a compliance mechanism to protect employees from such things, but what you advocate is that employees should have to blindly obey their orders and have no accountability.

            A soldier ordered to commit a war crime is just as responsible for the crime as an officer issuing the order. That is what the law says. You are claiming that a teacher or social services worker should be allowed to violate people’s rights simply because someone tells them to and that they should be immune from having to use their own common sense to not violate people’s rights.

            I’m sorry, but that is the fast track to fascist dictatorship. Passing the buck for oppression is not the right way to stop oppression.

          • Conservachef

            Wow, Jim. Now I’m going down the slippery slope to dictatorship?

            You said, I work for a large corporation that does business around the world. If
            my boss tells me that I should do something illegal or unethical I am
            going to lose my job or go to jail. Why is it that government workers
            should be held to a different standard of accountability?

            I never said that someone acting illegally or unethically shouldn’t be punished. How many times to I have to repeat that?

            Look, I see where we fall on the spectrum. You want to open it up so that any (government) employee can be civilly liable for acting improperly. I realize that, I’m ok with it when they are violating law, etc. But you can’t just have a system where you can frivolously sue every teacher or social worker for some imagined slight. They have to be protected when acting properly and within the boundaries/guidelines/laws/policies set for them.

          • jim_m

            I think where we differ is that I am saying that they should operate within the law and you are adding that extra legal bureaucratic policies (such as the stupid zero-tolerance rules in schools) should give people the same protections. You have also argued that instructions from superiors should offer protection.

            I have argued that anything outside the law does not deserve any protection and that when sovereign immunity is protecting people in ways that promote abusive rules and policies we have a problem.

            My argument is that sovereign immunity is too broad and protects people when they violate our rights. Your argument is that if there is an illegal policy, or someone gets an order form a superior that they should be protected. There is no such protection from violating the law in the private sector, there should be none in the public sector either.

          • Conservachef

            Jim, I think we’re getting closer here (and maybe clearer- in my head anyway).

            First,
            I haven’t argued that the boss walking by and saying “go do that
            illegal thing” should protect anyone. I kept it to policy and
            established guidelines. Are there government (let’s keep it narrow, and
            look at social services and teachers- both subjects we’ve already
            addressed) policies that are illegal?

            I have also (and for some
            reason we seem to be arguing the same point to each other) said that
            anything outside the law does not deserve any
            protection,
            as you agreed. Why do you keep thinking that I
            want illegal acts protected?

            Earlier I suggested changing this
            sovereign immunity, so that the policy makers can be liable. I’d rather
            sue the school board that made the stupid zero-tolerance policy, than
            the underpaid, overstressed teacher forced to follow it (while acting
            within the law). Zero tolerance policies may be stupid, but if they’re
            legal, then the teacher doesn’t deserve that liability.

          • jim_m

            So the difference is that you believe the policy makers should be liable whereas I believe that those who implement an illegal policy should be liable as well. I believe that the more accountability the better. I think that if you let the front line staff off the hook you won’t get the impetus to change those rules that are wrong.

            Zero-tolerance walks the line on illegal suppression of rights. the implementation of that policy is what matters. exempting the worker from responsibility on how the rule is implemented means that there could be no one responsible.

            If the rule itself is legal, but the worker implements it in a way that violates someone’s rights then according to your formula that person is protected from any repercussions.

          • Conservachef

            Ok Jim, please, one more time.

            I DO NOT WANT TO PROTECT ANYONE IMPLEMENTING OR INSTITUTING AN ILLEGAL POLICY.

            I said that three times in my last comment alone.

          • Conservachef

            I will just reply to this, even though I think you edited it to add some stuff and I already replied once (when your comment was just the first paragraph).

            You said,

            If the rule itself is legal, but the worker implements it in a way that violates someone’s rights then according to your formula that person is protected from any repercussions.

            I see what you’re saying. But to quote from my 8:21am comment:

            And again, just to be clear, let me repeat myself. If someone- social worker, policeman, teacher, whoever- is violating the law, acting overzealously, outside of established policy, or (as you said) violating someone’s civil rights, then go after them. (Bold for emphasis)

            And furthermore, it seems that according to your formula, when a person implements and follows a legal rule- acting properly and without violating any rights- they are still open targets for frivolous lawsuits.

          • jim_m

            it seems that according to your formula, when a person implements and follows a legal rule- acting properly and without violating any rights- they are still open targets for frivolous lawsuits.

            Congrats, you just stumbled upon why we need tort reform

          • Conservachef

            Congrats, you just stumbled upon why we need tort reform

            I’ve felt that way for some time. No stumbling required. (maybe I did that stumbling long ago- ha!)

          • jim_m

            But when they are acting correctly, following the law, policy, and guidelines established for their job, then NO.

            We are not talking about acting legally. We are talking about violating people’s civil rights. Are you now claiming that violating someone’s rights is not illegal? because something is policy does not mean that it is legal.

          • Conservachef

            Jim, read what I wrote and don’t just quote half of it.

            If someone- social worker, policeman, teacher, whoever- is violating the
            law, acting overzealously, outside of established policy, or (as you
            said) violating someone’s civil rights, then go after them.

          • jim_m

            I was not talking about someone following the law. Policy and other extra legal rules are not protected.

      • herddog505

        And there’s no legal recourse against people who make false reports.

        Abigail Williams rides again!

        Say… does anybody else remember when lefties were all against McCarthy-like tactics, against condemning people merely on an accusation, of freedom of thought and expression?

        Man, was THAT a long time ago!

    • http://www.rustedsky.net JLawson

      Moral of the story is – have a lawyer as a friend you can call when stuff like this happens.

      • herddog505

        Assuming you’re not face down, handcuffed alongside your wife and kids with your dead dogs laying a few feet away by the time you realize you need to call.

        • http://www.rustedsky.net JLawson

          There is that…

          Unfortunately, the SWAT teams seem to be spring-loaded to max response, when a lot of the time it’s not needed.

          Of course, they don’t know that up front… so by their training it makes sense to go all-out on every response.

          We need a way to dial ‘em back from 11 to maybe 4 or 5.

          • herddog505

            When all you’ve got is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail.

            I would also rant about how the War on Drugs has driven conviction-hungry police departments and prosecutors to go to these extreme lengths to ensure the “evidence isn’t destroyed!”, but I’ll refrain.

          • http://www.rustedsky.net JLawson

            I admire your restraint. ;-)