“To make sure those who would commit acts of violence cannot get access to guns,” President Barack Obama said in January, Congress should mandate background checks not just for sales by federally licensed firearms dealers, as current law requires, but for all gun transfers except those between relatives. Yet as Senior Editor Jacob Sullum explains, “universal background checks” are unlikely to stop mass shootings, and enforcing them would require the sort of surveillance that has long been anathema to defenders of the Second Amendment, exposing millions of peaceful people to the threat of gun confiscation and criminal prosecution.
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