Yesterday, the White House announced the president’s latest anti-gun executive orders:
One measure would close a loophole under which felons, those convicted of domestic violence and others banned from having guns can evade required background checks for machine guns or other weapons by registering the gun to a trust or corporation. The ATF received more than 39,000 requests last year for transfers of restricted firearms to trusts or corporations, Biden said, calling it “a very artful dodge to get around people who are not capable legally of owning weapons to be able to gain access.”
The White House adds that “felons, domestic abusers, and others prohibited from having guns can easily evade the required background check . . . by registering the weapon to a trust or corporation.”
Not so, explains John Lott:
Yes, when registered to a corporation any officer is allowed to posses the machine gun, but the point that the transfer occurs still requires a NICS check for the person actually picking up the gun.
So registering a gun to a corporation does not allow you to evade the background check. That is a lie.
The effect of this rule is that a corporation cannot register a weapon unless all of its officers are permitted to possess it, even those officers who never will. One domestic abuse charge is enough to blackball an entire company.
And why do companies need to register weapons anyway? Because the government has made them prohibitively expensive for individuals.
The second order is also dishonest:
The other measure will end a government practice that allows military weapons, sold or donated by the United States to allies, to be re-imported into the United States by private groups. The White House said the United States has approved the re-importation of 250,000 such guns since 2005; under the new policy, only museums and a few other groups such as the government will be allowed to re-import these weapons.
The weapon at issue here, what the White House calls “military grade”, is the obsolete M-1 Garand, which the United States produced in enormous quantities during World War 2. Lott explains that the M-1 is just like any civilian .30-06 hunting rifle, except that it is too heavy by modern standards. It is “military grade” in the exact same sense as a 17th-century blunderbuss: it was once used by the military. Today it is mainly sought after by collectors.
POSTSCRIPT: The media, alas, has been typically credulous in reporting the president’s anti-gun orders, taking the White House’s claims at face value. For example, NPR simply quoted the White House “fact sheet”, without doing the minimal reporting that would have shown that it wasn’t true. The Washington Post did note the bogosity of the reimportation rule, but not the registration rule.