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Is it legal to have an unregistered off-the-grid (no birth certificate) baby in the USA?I was actually roommates with someone in College whose parents decided to have him “off-grid”. Let me just say this: Stop even entertaining the idea of having a baby off-grid. It really makes your child’s life unnecessarily hard and your kid will forever resent you for putting that pain on them.I’ll get into the details in a moment, but first let me address the question proposed above. Yes, technically speaking it is not a crime to have your baby off-the-grid in the U.S.A. However, a lot of details surrounding the event would be illegal. First of all, any licensed midwife or doctor is required by law to file a birth certificate or they actually risk losing their license and getting a misdemeanor. If you forced them or threatened them to not file the birth certificate that would make you a likely accomplice and would not go over well with the authorities.But let’s ignore that for a moment and just assume you know how to birth a child on your own and can do it in your basement without any professional medical physician there to oversee you (which would be the only way you could pull this off). In this case you wouldn’t get thrown in jail for failing to get a birth certificate and no crime would have been committed. However you just set up a very difficult life for your child.These are some of the things I was told from by my roommate who didn’t have a social security number until he was 20 years old.No, he could not get a (legal) jobQuite literally he didn’t qualify to get even a job at McDonalds. If you remember the last job you got no matter how prestigious or demeaning it was, you had to fill out a bunch of paperwork. Most of these forms require you to have a SSN (social security number) to properly fill them out. However the important one is the form labeled I-9. This form is required to be submitted by every employer after hiring a new employee. This form serves only one purpose, to determine that you are eligible to work in the United States. Your child (and my roommate) would not be able to complete this form which every employer must get filled out before starting employment with a new employee. Your child will not be able to get a job because of this.Yes, he can evade paying taxes.Okay, so this sounds like a perk I guess. But my roommate did not have to pay taxes. The government basically didn’t know he existed, so they never knew he was not paying. But then again he didn’t have a job. So would you rather have a job and pay some taxes or not ever be able to work except under the table for below minimum wage? Given that choice, taxes sound pretty awesome! Keep in mind that this also means your child is not eligible for any tax benefits or credits such as those that students get while going to college.No, You as the parent can not claim him as a dependent on your taxesYou’re already dealing with a child, wouldn’t it be great to get that child tax credit? Every year you'll basically be paying out of pocket for deciding not to get them a SSN.Yes, he can attend public school through 12th gradeHe would be able to attend school through high school without a social security number.No, he can not attend collegeWhile high school and lower education is okay, your child will never be able to attend collegeYes, he can go to the doctorThe doctor will still see your child and provide him his shots. However…No, he will not be covered under your family insurance (or qualify for Medicare/Medicaid)So you’ll need to plan on paying for all doctor appointments out of pocket.No, he can not travel abroad (even to Canada)You’d best hope none of your child’s friends decide to go to Cancun for spring break. Your child will not be eligible to leave the country or return to the US if he manages to leave (unless he plans to climb Trump’s wall)No, he will not be able to drive a carOkay, well nothing is stopping him from physically driving a car, but he would not be able to get a driver’s license and thus, can not LEGALLY drive. Hope he doesn’t get pulled over.No, he will not be able to voteOnce old enough he will not be able to register to vote.Yes, he can avoid the draftWell the good news is that like taxes, he can skirt the requirement to join the draft when he turns 18.No, he can’t get a loanThis means no credit cards, no car loan, no home, nothing. I’m sure plenty of people will claim these are all evil anyway, but these have powerful impacts on someone’s life. There might be times he needs it. (and when used properly none of these are bad things).No, he will not have a credit scoreThis goes with the above one, but he will not be able to work on this which affects your entire life/future. This also will disqualify him from renting most homes or apartments he is looking at.Basically your child will be treated as an illegal immigrant. Why put them through this when they are entitled to the benefits that the United States provides its citizens? There are people in other countries dying to get what your child is entitled to and you are (considering) denying your child those abilities? It just doesn’t make sense.Get them a SSN and if your child decides at 20 that he wants to live off-the-grid than he can burn his Social Security Card and go in the woods and hide from the government. But don’t be selfish enough to make that decision for them.My roommate resents his parents for not giving him a SSN. While all his friends in high school were driving, he couldn’t. While his friends go to Cancun for spring break, he had golden handcuffs in the U.S. and can’t leave. And worst of all he said was that while all his friends were earning money from jobs in high school, he couldn’t get a job.The job part was the hardest for him. He couldn’t leave the house or move out when he turned 18. He was stuck at home.Him working on getting a social security number was difficult and took him two years. He started when he turned 18 to get one once he realized he couldn’t go to college, he couldn’t get a job, he couldn’t rent an apartment, and thus will never really be able to be independent from his parents. It took two years and then at 20 he was able to get one and start working and going to school.He forever resented his parents. Don’t be those parents…
I am terrified of single-payer systems as implemented in socialist countries. Can this happen in the US? Was Obama trying to give everyone healthcare all along?Edit: This story about Aetna being successfully sued for 25M USD only happens in America and is, in my view the main argument why being scared of “single payer systems” is ill advised.Lets start by making sure we have the same understanding of things:Single payer = where one entity (usually a government entity) uses a pool of funds paid into by the whole community/country to pay the health care providers (doctors/nurses/pharma) for the services they provide to the community.Socialism = a political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.Socialist country = as defined above would be countries like Mainland China, the former soviet union, cuba, vietnam, depending on how you look at it North Korea…Socialism (bis): Often used by political parties who propose a society where the richer pay a larger tax in order to support infrastructure and policies that also support the lower income portion of the population.Although to a lesser extent than most advanced nations, the US is a Socialist(bis) nation. Less so than most countries in Europe, but you do have medicaid and host of services offered by the government.My first question to you is which of the two definitions are you using?For the sake of the argument I am going to assume you are using definition (bis) which includes countries like Denmark, Finland, Australia, Japan, France, Italy, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Greece, Canada.Within Single Payer there are many ways to do it and two levels:Reference: List of countries with universal health care - WikipediaFree Health care: Free health care refers to a publicly funded health care that provides primary services free of charge or a nominal fee to all its citizens, with no exclusions based on income or wealth.Universal Health Care: Universal health care, sometimes referred to as universal health coverage, universal coverage, or universal care, usually refers to a health care system that provides healthcare and financial protection to more than 90% of the citizens of a particular country.There are 118 countries who provide both Free and universal health care.These include: All of the countries I listed above as examples of “socialist (Bis)” countries, as well as other countries such as Vanuatu, Palau, Uruguay, Chile etc etc.There are 43 countries that provide neither of these. ie if you are sick you are on your own or at the mercy of the free market.These include Iran, Iraq, China (a socialist country in the real sense of the word), Turkmenistan etc … with two exceptions, all poor countries who are behind in their development. Exception 1 is China…(although one can debate as to exactly how advanced it is). Exception 2 is the United States of America.So only 25% of countries provide neither universal nor free healthcare… And with the exception of the US, they are all poor countries (if one thinks a majority of Chinese people are still in poverty)Over 50% of countries provide both. Do you see mass demonstrations in the news about health care being bad in 50% of the world?The fact that 50% of the world (including a large number of democracies) are voting for policies and to keep single payer systems alone is an indication. Now please go on the net, and do some research, and tell me what percentage of the world outside of the US is looking at the US health care system and saying “maybe we should do like them”… (ie the perception the US system is better than the one they have now). While you will for sure find many many pages about how they wish their system to be improved, I challenge you to find information on a country in which people are voting for law makers who propose to change to the “multi payer “ system the US has… In fact I challenge you to find a law maker outside of the US who is even suggesting (never mind pushing for policy) their country should move from single payer to multi payer. Does that tell you anything? Do you think their might be a reason for that?Now lets look at the results. The point of the health care system is to keep you alive and healthy so lets look at track records:I don’t know about you but I think children are important. So what is better to help children: Single payer or not? According to your logic (ie single payer is bad), countries with single payer should have a higher mortality rate and those without should have a lower mortality rate for children. Here is how the CDC (US organisation) ranks infant mortality rates in the world: US… 27!!!!! BEHIND Poland Hungary and Slovakia, all of which are signNowly less wealthy countries than the US. Please also note that EVERY SINGLE country ranked above the US on that list has both free and universal health care / single payer. (https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nv...)But maybe infants/children are not important to you. Lets look at life expectancy:The US is 31 !!… behind countries like Slovenia, Chile and Costa Rica… not exactly known for being paradise of wealth and health on earth (with all due respect to these countries which I happen to like)List of countries by life expectancy - WikipediaMaybe you say, I’m not interested in living long. OK lets go to how does the World Health Organisation rank national health care systems ? Keep in mind the WHO (as it is known) incurs strong influence from he US.US Ranking : 37… BEHIND Morocco (Single Payer, Universal) and Colombia (Single Payer, Universal and Free)!!!World Health Organization's Ranking of the World's Health SystemsI challenge you to find one … 1… one ranking where the US health care system (or lack therein of) comes in the top 10 for positive outcomes for the population at large.So, I’m sorry but what is scaring you exactly?Please tell us so we can look at it.Thank youEdit: Let me add the economic side to it.“The U.S. spent $8,233 on health per person in 2010. Norway, the Netherlands and Switzerland are the next highest spenders, but in the same year, they all spent at least $3,000 less per person. The average spending on health care among the other 33 developed OECD countries was $3,268 per person”Health Costs: How the U.S. Compares With Other CountriesSo look at this way: not only is multi payer system inferior to single payer at keeping you alive longer and keeping children healthy and alive longer, it also costs about TWO TIMES MORE per person than Switzerland (ranked 20) , Netherlands (ranked 17) and Norway (ranked 11). Which implies the top ten countries pay less than half what the US pays per person to be in top 10 except the US is 37 out of 200 countries…So lets put it this way: Your multi payer health care system actually performs in such a way you spend twice as much as #11,17,and 20, and nearly 3 times over the global average to make it to #37 BEHIND THIRD WORLD COUNTRIES, as shown by the infant mortality rate and life expectancy rate. Think about it this way: if you spent the same as the rest of the world, you would be #80 something…with every one of these countries having single payer…. And by the way, in the case of Single payer, when we say “costing them”, the government pays, so people are not going bankrupt because of health issues. In your case, it is YOU… paying and when you have cancer, diabetes, or some form of heart disease, it is you who will be paying much MORE than 8,000 dollars, where a single payer patient would be paying probably around $500 if you average out across the different systems (ie, the govt pays most of the bill and the individual is left with 10~30% depending on which country it is, a bit like a deductible if you like)…. So not only do you not seem to like to live long, and not seem to think it is important to give your kids the medical care they need to prevent them from dying at a higher rate, you also seem to like paying 12 times (when comparing what is paid by the patient) more for the privilege of not getting what people in other countries do get. So you are terrified of what?EDIT: This is one of many perfect examples of why single payer works much better:Girl has words for Aetna after brain surgery deniedThis ONLY happens in the US on a very very REGULAR basis. I might add when I was living in the US, my insurance denied a trip to the hospital for my then wife who was complaining about acute stomach pain. “wait till tomorrow” they said We went anyway. She was operated on immediately. She had peritonitis. She ran the risk of dying because I had to choose between paying thousands of dollars (I was billed 6,000 for the ambulance) or wait till the next day. A company who has a financial interest in making sure you don’t get treatment should not be allowed to make decisions on whether you need it or not.EDIT 2: Here is a graphic that says something: Notice less advanced and far less rich countries than the US have it too, and notice non of them are “Socialist” as defined in the dictionary and executed in the USSR or China.
What would have been the best way for Walter White to keep the 100 Million?There’s a reason drug dealers store cash in storage units and paint buckets, because it’s not easy laundering money. What could Walter have done? Let’s go through his options one by one:Option 1: Although the The Bank Secrecy Act (1970) requires banks to report transactions above $10,000, Walter could have employed Smurfs (drug mules, but for cash) to make thousands of tiny deposits, which would draw less attention from authorities.Problem: Walter did not have a criminal organization to carry this out. What’s he going to do if a smurf runs off with his money, send Jesse after him with a bong?Option 2: Buy high-ticket items such as vintage comic books or supercars and sell them later.Problem: Similar to the Bank Secrecy Act, businesses have to file a Form 8300, “Report of Cash Payments Over $10,000 Received in a Trade or Business”. Even if those reports don’t alarm the IRS, the large transfers from other people who he would sell the goods would raise red flags, and he’s back to square one.Option 3: Get the money out of the country through casinos or smuggling diamonds.Problem: Even if Walter succeeds in laundering the money while overseas (gamble at a casino and cash out the chips in Macau, for example), he still needs to deposit the clean money at a foreign bank. Unfortunately for Walt, the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (2010) requires Americans living outside the U.S. to file yearly reports on their non-U.S. financial accounts to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FINCEN). Banks outside the U.S. are required to fill out a “Know Your Customer” form when you open an account – someone like Walter would immediately raise concerns. This is why many banks in Europe won’t even let Americans open a bank account.Option 4: Invest in the stock market as the OP suggests.Problem: Same thing, any brokerage firm would be obligated to file a Suspicious activity report (SAR) if Walter were to make large deposits that is not commensurate with his income as a high school chemistry teacher.Option 5: Hire a “professional” to do the money laundering, there must be a smart guy who knows how to set up “offshore” bank accounts and stuff.Problem: Money Laundering Control Act (1986) makes money laundering a crime in itself instead of just an element of another crime, so even Saul Goodman would think twice about getting involved with money laundering. And as for finding an export, in 1996, Harvard-educated economist Franklin Jurado was sentenced to 7 1/2 years in prison for laundering $36m for a Colombian cartel.Conclusion: Money laundering was always an afterthought for Walter – he was too busy dealing with the day-to-day stuff of manufacturing and distributing drugs. Walter might have been able to launder that $100m if he had devoted more time and resources into the project, but ultimately, the results might not necessarily be better than burying the money in the desert. His goal was to provide for his family, and barrels of money in the desert does exactly that.—————Edit 1: A few comments have mentioned smuggling the cash (or converted to gold) out to to other countries. I think somehow the idea of the “open sea” implies lawlessness, but it doesn’t. The U.S. Custom and Border Protection has strict Reporting Requirements for pleasure boats, not to mention inspections. If that weren’t the case, people would be smuggling drugs willy-nilly across U.S. borders. However, I’m reminded of the 2001 Movie Heist, starring Gene Hackman as a con-artist. At the very end of the movie, spoiler alert, he took the elicit gold bars, melt them into yacht rails and painted over them, thus avoiding detection.Edit 2: Remi Alaiti pointed out that Saul Goodman did offer to help them launder the money through nail salons (as we know now he got the idea from his Jimmy McGill days), so I stand corrected. However, like the car wash, the nail salon would be too small potatoes to make a signNow dent laundering the $80m.Edit 3: As for Bitcoins, it’s less secure than burying money in the desert. See Jonathan Chen's answer to Should I invest in Bitcoin? for details.*I maintain that Walter original purpose for manufacturing was to provide for his family, thus the money would’ve had to stay in the country. In time, if his wife and son were on board, they could’ve opened more car washes, nail salons, and other cash-heavy businesses, say, Los Pollos Hermanos franchises, to slowly launder the money.
How do you file an RTI?It is amazing how information can be used to wield power the sharpest of swords and the bloodiest of guns are incapable of exercising. It is perhaps for the same reason that those in control of this bloodless weapon keep it close to their chest. The wind changed in 2005 when the Central Government passed a monumental legislation: the Right to Information Act. It took the power of information from those seeking dominance over it and empowered those in legitimate need of it.Every information innately possesses the power to arouse passion. Those in power know this far too well.Who Can File?Any citizen of India can seek information under the Act. There are no legal disabilities for those below 18 years. Guardians of such minors can file an RTI on their behalf. Whom to File?The Act holds accountable “public authorities” to preserve and furnish on demand information in its control. Every such authority designates persons to act as Public Information Officers (PIO) or Assistant Public Information Officers (APIO). You can find the names of such officers on the website of the concerned. In case names are unavailable, an application may be made to the PIO of any public authority (whether related to the relevant authority or not) for seeking information. It behoves such authority to transfer the application to the relevant authority within 5 days of receiving it.How to File?An RTI application simply indicates the desire to obtain information from the requisite PIO. So the first step in obtaining information is to draft an application. A simple application on a plain sheet of paper simply expressing the desire to obtain information may suffice. No explanation for the need/utility/purpose of such information is necessary. An application should ideally not exceed 500 words (excluding annexure).The application may be written in English, Hindi or the official language of that area. It is always preferable to compose the language in formal and lucid termsYou may demand inspection of documents, information in a CD, photocopies of documents or simple information in a written form. It is thus important to specify what you desire in the application. It is also important to mention the name of the PIO/APIO to indicate the addressee.As regards documents, you may attach documents to your application that are necessary for the PIO/APIO to find and supply the demanded information, e.x, for seeking your answer scripts using RTI, it would help the PIO/APIO if you attach your college identity card, admission card, marksheet, etc. In any case, you must attach the postal order with the RTI.I Have Written the Application, What Next?The next step involves paying for the RTI application. You pay for information at two stages. Firstly, at the initial stage, a standard payment of Rs. 10 is made in favour of the public authority. The PIO/APIO receives the application, inspects it and replies to the applicant indicating the cost of providing the information.Secondly, on receiving intimation from the authority of the cost, the applicant must pay the demanded fee. For photocopies made of A4 sheets, the RTI Rules stipulate payment of Rs. 2 per page. For pages of other sizes, the applicant is required to bear the cost of photocopies. For purposes of inspection, the first hour is free for the applicant and Rs. 5 is charged for each subsequent hour.An applicant may make the payment in cash to the public authority or by means of cheques, demand drafts or Indian Postal Orders (payable to the Accounts Officer). You can pay postal orders online at https://www.epostoffice.gov.in.I Have the Postal Order, What Now?Post the application along with the fee at the designated address of the PIO/APIO. Once done, wait for their reply asking for the fee for providing the information. Pay accordingly. The public authority is by law mandated to reply satisfactorily within 30 days of receipt of request.30 Days Have Elapsed But I am Yet to Receive a Response, Can I File an Appeal?If 30 days have elapsed without any response, the information is deemed to be refused by the PIO/APIO. You can appeal against their decision within 30 days to the officer senior in rank to the PIO. The first appeal has to be disposed of within 30 days. A second appeal can further be filed within 90 days against the decision of the second appellate authority with the Chief Information Commission whose decision is final and binding.What is the Easiest Way of Getting the Job Done?If you don’t wish to be harrowed by the serpentine queues at the Post Office, you could file online at:https://rtionline.gov.in/. The website is maintained by the Govt. of India and may come helpful in seeking information from Central/State Authorities/Ministries. I have personally sought information using the website and the process is a breeze. The user is required to click on “Submit Request”, Agree to the Guidelines and fill the Request Form. Users can pay the requisite fee of Rs. 10 through Internet Banking and Debit/Credit Cards.Though not maintained by the Government of India, Online RTI also assists applicants in filing RTIs. It is an excellent website that offers predefined formats of RTIs. The site has template RTIs that only need to be fed with the personal information of the candidate. The fee at Online RTIis nearly Rs. 150 and includes governmental fees, printing charges and charges for mailing by registered post. It also takes care of drafting the RTI in an appropriate format and finding the correct PIO. Edit: As suggested in a comment, RTIwala.in too offers a similar serviceSee Also:A helpful guide to filing RTIs: http://rti.gov.in/RTICorner/Guid... A video explaining the process: A step-by-step process to filing RTIs online: http://www.governancenow.com/new...An online community of RTI activists: http://www.rtiindia.org/
My retained and paid attorney failed to show up in court (on my behalf), Now he is ignoring me. His law firm apologized but the damage is done. What should I do?Write a letter to the lawyer and managing partner at the firm describing in detail:when you retained them,what you paid them and when (enclose a copy of the engagement letter if you have one - many states require written agreements - if you don’t have one, mention that no written engagement letter was provided. Also enclose a copy of any receipt for payment),what services he was supposed to provide,what he failed to do,when the hearing he missed took place and what the hearing was for,what happened as a result of his failure to appear,how you were damaged as a result of his failure to appear,stating the fact that he apologized and how (phone, email - if email enclose a copy) and whenrequesting full refund of the retainer,and advising that you are reporting the attorney and the firm to the State Bar Association.Show that a “cc” of the letter including enclosures is going to the State Bar.Be sure to date your letter, include your full name and contact information, and to keep a copy of the letter and all other documents you are enclosing for yourself.Contact your State Bar Association and tell them you want to report this incident. They may have a form for you to fill out. If so, get it, complete it, and submit it with a copy of your letter to the attorney and all enclosures. If not, send them a letter telling them you are filing a grievance and enclosing a copy of the letter to the attorney and enclosures.A Bar representative may call you after you file your grievance for more information.If you suffered signNow damage beyond the loss of fees paid, contact an attorney who handles legal malpractice cases to see whether you have a viable claim. Most attorneys will meet with you for free initially to evaluate your case.
What is the best thing you've looked forward to in your life?Getting my medical license.The process is so painful that sometimes I feel like stabbing myself in the heart and gouging my eye out, and jumping off a bridge at the same time. And the most frustrating part of it is that there’s not a single thing I can do to speed things up.The website isn’t very user friendly.They request way too many documents. Like, you need to submit 6 different things to prove your citizenship. Can’t it be assumed that if the Federal Government gave me a passport, they know that it’s because I’m a citizen? Can’t it also safely be assumed that if I graduated from a residency program, I must have graduated from a medical school at some point?The website doesn’t tell you everything you need to send. After you’ve filled out the application online, there is a PDF you’re supposed to find somewhere. The PDF was the old application form. You’d fill it out by hand or by editing the PDF. If you did that, you’d see an number of appendices that told you what other documentation you were supposed to supply. But if you apply online, there’s nothing to let you know what you’re missing. So, you have to call them. When you do, they tell you that you need a bunch of stuff you’d never have guessed: a background check, forms you’re supposed to submit to your residency programs, etc. Why not put that in the online application?Then, after you do all that, you might wonder if your file is complete. So, you call. They’ll tell you that your application hasn’t been processed yet. How long till it gets processed? 3 to 4 weeks! So, they won’t even look at your file for 3 to 4 weeks. And, 3 to 4, of course, means 4. Then, when they look at your file, it might even be week 5 by the time they respond to you. At that point, they’ll tell your that your file is missing some stuff.You ask for clarification about the missing stuff, because you’re pretty sure you’ve already sent it. You hear nothing back for a week. You call them, only to hear that they thought they’d emailed you what you were supposed to fill out… You submit what they’re asking for, having wasted another week waiting. Then, they tell you that your file has been submitted for final approval. YAY!Then you’re told that, since you used to be a nurse, you should also submit a nursing license verification. Okay, no biggie, you think. You did a similar thing for Iowa a few years back. You’ll just go online and have the state of Michigan send the state of Tennessee some information about the nursing license that expired 6 years ago.You get on the Michigan website, and things are so disorganized that you can’t for the life of you figure out how to submit the verification request. Oh, and the process has changed. In 2015, you could use the Nursys verification site. But Michigan has pulled out of this process, because… just because. Now, you have to call during business hours, realize that you’re supposed to download and fill out a form, attach a money order (you can’t pay online anymore), and mail it to a P.O. Box.You do that, sending it by express mail. You call the next day to see if it’s been received. Now you’re told that if you want to send things by express mail, there’s another address you should have sent it to, an address that was never communicated to you when you talked to the Michigan people on the phone. You learn that sending mail to the P.O. Box means that it will sit there for a week, after which it will be processed by the Cashier’s office/Finance office/Treasury office, then slowly make its way to the Bureau of Licensing… this process might take 2 weeks. At this point, you’ve sent your initial application 8 weeks before. You wonder why it is that the process couldn’t be more streamlined. Why couldn’t they be a uniform process for all states? Why couldn’t they at least be a central database where healthcare providers could send their documentation, so that whenever they apply for licensing in a new state, that state can immediately receive all the relevant documentation. You’re powerless. You try to think of other things you might do.You remember that Iowa must have a copy of your nursing verification license. You wonder if you could talk to them and see if they’d share it with you. You’re told that they will emphatically not release the document to you. Why? Who knows. Anyway, they might consider releasing it to the Tennessee people if they are contacted directly by their Medical Board. You sheepishly ask the people in Tennessee if they’d be willing to contact Iowa, giving them a phone number, email, and fax number, knowing full well that it will be to no avail.You decide that maybe, if you were to track down the cashier’s office in Michigan, you could fly there and make the payment in person, in a bid to speed up the processing of your license verification request. It’s after hours now, so you can’t be sure. There’s a plane early in the morning. You could fly to Detroit, rent a car, drive to Lansing, and give it a shot. But… what if it doesn’t work? You decide to wait until the morning and call the office to see if getting there in person would make a difference. You are told that it is impossible to make a payment in person, because… rules. There’s literally not a damn thing you can do.And that, my friends, is the story of my life right now. The most frustrating part of this saga is that not only can I not work, but I’m sort of homeless right now. Let me explain. A while back, I bid on a house. I used what is called a physician loan. What my lender did not tell me is that you need an active medical license. So, we were a week from the closing date before I learned this. At this point, I had three options:Walk away from the home purchase and rent. This wouldn’t have been a terrible idea.Prolong my temporary lease at the place I was renting. I would not do this because I hated, hated, hated them with their nickle-and-diming tactics.Wait for my license.I opted for number 3, because I thought it couldn’t take much longer until I’d get my license. My belongings are currently in storage. I’m staying with my sister in Florida. It’s not the worst thing that’s ever happened to anyone in human life, but it’s still really frustrating. The only bright spot is that I get to spend time with my family. I have a nephew and two nieces here that I hadn’t seen in 9 months. They’re growing so very fast. I am constantly peppering them with mental math questions, but they seem to love me for some reason. So, all in all, things could be worse.
How can we fight against the NRA regarding gun control?Are you sure that the NRA is the problem?Oh, I know that the media and the talking heads are all making them out to be some 500 lb gorilla and the reason psychos shoot up school yards, but have you ever bothered to look into the matter beyond the headlines?I’ll give you an example. In 2017, the push was for a “Universal Background Check”. The idea was to be sure that people buying guns were not criminals. Believe it or not, the NRA wholly supports this and in fact was involved with creating the current NICS (National Instant Check System) that is used.But the bill that was proposed was not what you heard in the media. First, it would not plug any “Gunshow Loophole” because there is no such thing. The only sales at a gun show that the bill covered was private sales. Of course, private sales can occur anywhere, not just gun shows.But the bill didn’t make the NICS easier for private sales. They just required all private sales to be conducted through a licensed dealer. Had this actually passed, a gun show would be an ideal location for such sales as there would be access to many dealer. In effect, you would greatly increase the number of private sales at a gun show by this law.So, what is involved with a sale through a dealer? Well, the dealer would have to do the following:1) Record the transfer in their bound book. This is a book where all the transactions of a firearm is recorded via that dealer. The book is auditable by the BATF and many dealers have faced fines for poorly kept records, so many dealers go to great pains to keep their book neat and accurate.2) Fill out the federal form 4473. This is required by all dealer sales of both new and used guns. It asks for the buyer’s name, address, the make and model of the gun, serial number, and then asks a bunch of questions. The dealer can get fined if the person fills out the form wrong. For example, answering a question with “Y” or “N” instead of “Yes” or “No” is a BATF violation. So the dealer has to carefully examine the form for errors and have the person fill out another if errors are found.3) The dealer then calls into the NICS. NICS can come back with a “Proceed”, “Denied” or “Delay”. A delay can take up to 3 days. Typically this is a name that appears similar to a Prohibited Person and requires some research. If this happens, the transfer is on hold. The dealer has no idea when the result of the research is likely to finish. If you are at a gun show, the show could be over before the approval is made.4) All this paperwork, verification, etc takes time. Time is money. So dealers charge for this service. It is typical for a dealer to charge $25-$40 per gun, but sometimes multiple guns get a discount because the dealer can process up to 4 on a single form, but when more than one gun is transferred, the dealer has to fill out Form 3310 which is supposed to help with gun trafficking.All of this is well and good if you are buying a gun from someone you don’t know and many people will require sales be conducted at a dealer for the piece of mind such protections provide. But friends and family typically do not bother with the hassle and expense.One thing you need to realize is that to get a gun dealer license is not an easy process. Since the federal government cracked down on so called “kitchen table” dealers back in the 1980’s, you now must show a commercially zoned storefront with posted business hours to qualify. Many communities don’t want gun shops, and use zoning laws to make them difficult or unattractive. For example the city of Boston does not have any dealers. In fact, the nearest dealer is 3 towns away. Many rural areas don’t have the traffic to keep a dealer in business and you’ll find they are typically only open in the evening or on a Saturday as they work another full time job. Keep this in mind as we get into the next issue.But the bill didn’t stop at sales. It stated that ALL transfers had to be done in this manner. No exceptions. So, two friends out on a hunt would need to go through the whole process listed above just to swap guns for the afternoon. Oh, and they would have to do it all again to give the gun back. It is very common on a range to try out other people’s guns - such a thing would also require the full transfer and back process. Demo guns at a national event by manufacturers? Same thing.Basically any time a gun were to swap hands, the law would apply. There are private shooting clubs where guns are treated like library books and members take whatever they want. Families regularly swap guns. Heck, some shooting courses provide guns for students to use. All of these events would have been impacted by these new transfer requirements.The NRA balked at this. Essentially the rule would curtail many of the traditions and practices that are very common and virtually never result in any kind of criminal activity. In essence it would criminalize things that simply are not crimes.Not only would it create criminals where no criminal intent existed, but the cost to manage the volume of temporary transfers, the staffing needed to take the calls and do the checks would have cost millions each year. All money that would not go toward actually dealing with criminals.When the issue was brought up, many members of Congress agreed the requirements were too restrictive and the whole bill failed to pass. The supporters of the bill did not even attempt to listen to the complaints and work out a manageable fix.Did you hear any of that in the media?But what about catching criminals?Well, the bill didn’t change anything in regards to enforcing the rules to make sure the people who should not own guns were properly entered into NICS. In fact, other than maybe getting fired, there is NO PENALTY for failing to report a person. We have laws that will jail a teacher or coach that fail to report bullies. We have laws that put priests in prison who fail to report potential inappropriate behaviors in other clergy. But we do not have any laws that punish law enforcement agents that fail to do their job and make sure that dangerous people are reported to the background system. And this bill made no effort to change that.NICS is not open to anyone but federally licensed gun dealers. The left are so worried that the system might be used to check people for things other than guns that they refuse to create a means to allow people to verify someone they are selling a gun to. It would be easy to create an app that takes a photo of the buyer and seller’s ID (or just their faces and type in some data) and then return a simple “Proceed” or “Deny” with no other details. You’d have plenty of information to audit for illegal use. And if someone didn’t have an ID, they could then use a dealer. Heck, you can’t file taxes on-line without submitting some kind of ID, so this isn’t anything unique.And yet, the bill did nothing to address the issue of accessing the NICS for easier private sales.Here is the thing. We have 20,000 gun laws in this country. On the federal side, a prohibited person touching a gun could see them in prison for a minimum of 5 years. And yet, we still see cities with high violent crime rates that have virtually no federal cases. Why isn’t law enforcement using those stiff federal laws to get the violent people off the streets? Such a program called “Project Exile” worked wonders in Richmond, VA to reduce violent crime dramatically.OK, back to the “Universal Background Check” bill.I spent a lot of words above explaining what the bill would have required of people and why the situation would have been a nightmare. You never saw any of this in the news and the media pretty much ignored the issue.When the bill was defeated, it was never reported that a “terrible bill that would have cost millions and made criminals out of the innocent was defeated”, instead, all you ever heard was“The NRA used its influence to defeat the Universal Background Check bill that would have closed the gunshow loophole”Almost everything about that statement is false.So, be careful what you want to “Fight Against”. I suspect that most of what you think about the NRA is highly biased due to the way the organization is treated in the media. When you look at the actual facts, many times their concerns are quite valid. And, they have a lot of rank and file law enforcement on their side which helps them represent real world situations. I’ve found their positions in many cases very well presented. Most of the arguments you get on TV news are highly edited and taken out of context to promote an agenda, not facilitate a debate.Make sure you know what you are fighting for. You might be surprised.
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