I Am Going To Have to Disagree on This One
I normally agree with Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, but he lost me on this one.
Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner is calling Sen. Ron Johnson’s lawsuit against the Obama Administration “frivolous” and “an unfortunate political stunt.” Sen. Ron Johnson brought a lawsuit against the administration to stop the Federal government from paying part of the cost of going on to the Obamacare exchanges for members of Congress and their staffers.
Mr Sensenbrenner says that the additional cost of insurance would drive many staffers to look for other jobs, creating a “brain drain” and making Congress members staff their offices with younger and less experienced people.
I actually don’t have that big a problem with the staffers getting the money, it is a benefit most Federal workers receive, and as a benefit to an employee, it is not unreasonable. We have been paying it for a long time anyways.
Where my problem lies it that it’s illegal according to the ACA, but the administration just said “forget it, we’ll do it anyways.” President Obama has been doing way too much of this, and it’s time that someone calls him on it. A president simply does not have the right to rewrite the law any way he sees fit, but that is what this president has done repeatedly.
On a local talk show, Mr Sensenbrenner said that the piece of the law that prevents the contribution was “not well drafted” and not debated on the floor. Who cares? I can’t simply ignore the law because it is “not well drafted.”
The administration’s habit of ignoring the law, and simply giving others “permission” to ignore the law.
What’s more, it should be a fairly safe fight politically. A lot of Americans don’t want to see Congress receive what they see as special privileges, and Sen. Johnson’s suit certainly does not benefit him personally, since he would also be receiving the additional credit, and is actually suing to not receive that money.
So while this may not be the ideal issue to pick the fight over, it is a fight that needs to be fought, and shame on Mr Sensenbrenner for trying to prevent it.
1. All guns must have a serial numebr, and a copy of the # must be embedded inside the metal of the gun too so scratching it off won’t make it impossible to identify the gun.2. Handguns must be test fired once by the manufacturer and the bullet stored to create a database of ballistics profiles.3. Guns must be purchased with a $10,000 insurance policy that will be paid to any unjustified victim of the gun. Should the policy have to be paid out (say your kid takes the gun and injurs the neighbors kids), the owner either has to trash the gun or buy a new policy for $100,000 of coverage.4. Gun sales and transfers will go thru dealers via instant background checks. The insurance policy goes with the gun so if you sell your gun on the black market and five years later it turns up in a crime you’re on the hook for illegal sales and have to buy the $100,000 policy on future gun purchases.5. Guns without serial numebrs, untracked guns etc. would be a serious crime.On the other side:1. No gun databases. The firearm dealer checks the background and provides proof of transfer of the gun but the information will not be saved so you cannot create a database of who has what guns in their homes. You can only prove that the guns found inside a home are legal or illegal. Sort of like how cigarettes or booze has a tax stamp. That proves it was purchased legally but the gov’t doesn’t know you’re buying a little or a lot of the stuff.2. Background pre-clearing’. Register who you are and get a #, unless you get convicted of a violent crime or something like that you can use that # for quick clearing of your purchases or transfers at a reduced or no cost.3. Anti-gun laws voided cross the country. States can decide about concealed carry but cannot make it illegal to have guns in your house provided you followed 1-5 above.4. Assalt weapons, mega-clips etc. can be legalized provided one carries the $100,000 coverage on them.Would it have prevented the Newtown shooting? Probably not, the mother was quite well off and could have easily afforded the insurance and neither her nor the kid had any history that would have caused them to fail a background check. But it would almost certainly frustrate some rampage killings and limit a lot of more mundance gun crime an accidents. I suspect the insurance policies would not cost very much given that most guns almost never end up in crimes or accidents but those who establish a habit of letting their guns get into wrong places the premiums would become steeper (which they should given they would be by definition less responsible gun owners).I don’t get volokh’s concern about costs to lower income gun owners. Look, a gun is a material thing, material things cost money. The nature of money is that the more of it you have, the easier it is to get more material things. Guns aren’t cheap, even the lowest end oens cost a few hundred dollars. If you can’t afford that then you can’t afford a gun. Get a better job or cut back on other spending.