Factchecking the Brady's "Translation" of the NRA's questionaire...
In each election year the NRA sends around a questionnaire to politicians running for office asking them to specify their position on guns and gun rights. The questionnaires are important in picking who to endorse or oppose. It seems the Brady campaign isn't happy with the way the questions are worded, so they did a bit of fact-checking. Now, it's my turn to fact-check their fact check.
When the NRA says "gun sales by private citizens who are not engaged in an ongoing firearms business should not be subject to federal background check requirements," its officials mean that unlicensed sellers should be able sell dozens of guns at gun shows, at tables marked by huge banners saying "No Background Checks!," to anyone who shows up.
Has anyone seen a table like that at a gun show? I haven't.
Regardless, it's important to realize that there is no gun show loophole. Gun shows are no different than other private sales by federal law; individuals can sell guns to other individuals at a gun show and be governed by the same laws that apply to private sales generally. If someone is in the business of selling guns, rather than selling off their own private collection, they need a federal firearms license (on top of whatever state or local requirements are). Since there is usually a strong law enforcement presence at gun shows, anyone actually in the business of selling firearms without a license will probably be out of business before very long.
When the questionnaire reads "the Federal government should not ban firearms," what is meant is that no type of firearm whatsoever should be prohibited for sale, even handguns that would not be detected by airport security, or military-style AK-47s, or even machine guns. The NRA opposes the Federal machine gun ban enacted in 1986.
The 2nd Amendment does seem to preclude almost all blanket gun bans, based on the Supreme Court's ruling in Heller. Handguns that would not be detected by airport security for any reason other than TSA's incompetence are a gun banner's fantasy, not a real threat. According to the rules of the assault weapons ban, there's no functional difference between a "military-style AK-47" and a common semiautomatic hunting rifle. And of course the 1986 ban on machine guns was justified by the total number of 0 crimes committed by ordinary citizens with legally-owned machine guns since those were heavily regulated in 1934. Yes, zero.
When it asks if the candidate agrees that "ammunition magazines should not be banned," it means there should be no restrictions whatsoever on the number of rounds a gun can fire without reloading. The NRA opposed the Federal assault weapons ban, which limited ammunition magazines to 10 rounds. Now that the ban has expired, the sale of 30, 50, even more than 100 round magazines is legal again.
Because criminals can't switch magazines, right? This is just another case where restrictions on millions of law-abiding citizens are passed in the vain hope of mildly inconveniencing some criminal somewhere.
When it says "no records should be maintained on any lawful gun buyer," it means that Federal law enforcement shouldn't be allowed to retain even for 24 hours the records of anyone who successfully cleared a Federal Brady background check - even if more time is needed to see if a gun was illegally sold, or if the buyer is on a Federal terrorist watch list.
Because if they passed the check then they are not a criminal. Mechanisms are already in place to provide for a "delay" response while the purchaser's identity and criminal history can be verified if necessary. That is already a prior restraint on 2nd Amendment rights for law-abiding citizens. (I was about to say that we would never tolerate such a prior restraint upon the 1st Amendment, but I fear we already are.)
When it asks candidates if they "support legislation to restore the Second Amendment rights of DC residents," it means legislation which would go much farther than the Supreme Court's decision in D.C. v. Heller, and eliminate the District of Columbia government's authority to pass any gun laws at all.
That would be because the DC government has proven itself incapable of acting in good faith in complying with the Heller decision and respecting the 2nd Amendment rights of their residents.
UPDATE: A case study in new media versus old media.