Sunday, July 27, 2008

Above and Beyond

Not all that long ago, there were a couple changes in policy at work. First, IDs absolutely have to match the address you write on the form. Second, we stopped selling handguns without a proceed from the state and delayed long guns without either a proceed or such a long wait as to make it ridiculous to expect one.

The first requirement might make sense if it weren't for the ability to change the address attached to your license via phone or computer. The state says it's official if you write the new address on the back, but we send these people to go get new driver's licenses (and they'll have to pay the corresponding fee--I'll bet the state loves it). What's great about this policy is that anyone aware of it will think nothing of lying about their address, I'm sure. If the goal of the feds is to have a proper address for these gun buyers, this policy doesn't align very well.

As for the requirement that we get a definitive proceed...well, the state imposes a five-business-day waiting period on those who don't have CPLs. If we have faxed the paperwork to the correct agency and they haven't responded in that time frame, we can legally hand over the gun. As a CYA move, we won't sell the gun until we have a definite response. I don't know if others have had better luck with police agencies than I have, but they sometimes don't like to get around to things. And they sometimes lose things.

My coworkers don't seem to understand why I'm upset that these customers are being forced to wait. They'll throw things out like the fact that they don't want to go to jail. That's all well and good, but how far do we have to crawl, trembling in fear of repercussions, no less, before we stop and rise?

I'd love to sell guns without paperwork at all, just as it should be, but companies keep helping the government get farther from that. If we get customers used to it, they won't even notice when the law changes to what we've been doing. On the other hand, if dealers follow the exact minimums, they won't get shut down and customers won't become accustomed to anything more severe.

Maybe I see a slippery slope that doesn't exist, but every extra step or restriction also makes it harder for citizens to arm themselves, so each restriction is wrong in and of itself, too.

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