Today’s loopholes that were yesterday’s compromises: A brief list

AP Photo/Andrew Selsky

It’s been less than a year since Congressional Republicans yielded to political pressure after Uvalde – a horrifying crime enabled by government incompetence – and passed more infringements on our rights. The law seemed innocuous at the surface, but it resulted in some subtle but significant changes with regard to waiting periods for 18- to 20-year-olds, and the redefinition of Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL).


What did Republicans get for yielding? More bullying and hectoring from gun control groups and President Joe Biden.

This is not the first time something like this has happened when the gun rights side, through betrayal by its elected representatives, has yielded ground to only watch more of it being taken away later. History has enough examples, and some are listed below:

The “Charleston Loophole” is the fancy theory that if there’s a denial of a prompt response from the NICS instant background check system, the default 3-day proceed period for a gun purchase is illegitimate. This default 3-day proceed originated as a compromise when instant background checks were instituted under Bill Clinton.

The “Gun Show Loophole” (or the “Private Sale Loophole”) is the theory that the in-state sales of firearms between private individuals is nefarious. The exemption of private in-state sales from the federal background check system was also a past compromise, arising out of the sheer infeasibility of implementing such checks without a federal gun owners registry and the questionable legality of the federal government wading into in-state commerce. Today, it’s a loophole.


The “Grandfathering Loophole” is when the government promises to let you keep what you already own if you compromise and let them only ban future sales of product(s), and a decade or two later, the gun control groups say that it’s not acceptable and you’re required to register or destroy what you legally owned. Look at Washington, Rhode Island, Delaware, New York, and likely Connecticut soon for examples.

The “Ammo Background Check Loophole” is the whiny complaint that while you need a background check to buy a firearm, the purchase of ammunition is “free” and because freedom is not a good thing, it must be a loophole. When gun purchase background checks were instituted as a compromise, there was no indication that those would be extended to harass ordinary gun owners picking up a couple of boxes of ammo for a weekend trip to a gun range.

The “Ghost Gun Loophole” arises from the freedom that Americans have always had since the Founding to make their own firearms at home. Clearly, that’s a no-no, and the 1968 Gun Control Act’s compromise for adding serial numbers to industry-manufactured guns was never enough. It’s under litigation but we don’t know yet if this illegitimate child of past compromises will survive or not.

The “Pistol Brace Loophole” came out of the initial compromise to limit Short-Barreled Rifles (SBRs) and Short-Barreled Shotguns (SBSs) in the National Firearms Act of 1934, and the (much) later approval by the ATF of braces for use with AR pistol builds. This loophole was “fixed” by the Biden ATF and is under litigation.


And there are various “Assault Weapon Loopholes” because the definition of “assault weapons” that came from compromise was not enough and must be expanded to include more guns with ever-changing definitions. All those compromises in the end got us bigger bans of semi-automatics, or the creation of a new licensing regime to own semi-autos as is the case in New York State. Also, don’t forget the “Boyfriend Loophole,” and if I have missed anything, add them in the comments below or reply to this article’s Bearing Arms social media post.

Giving a tantrum-throwing toddler or a bully what he wants to make him shut up and go away will get you a worse outcome in the long run. The toddler grows up into a spoiled, indisciplined brat, and in the case of a bully, you will end up becoming his total subject.

The same rule applies to compromising with gun controllers who want everything we have and are never willing to return what they have already taken. Bargaining with them is futile.

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