Gun Control

4 Reasons Requiring Background Checks for All Gun Sales Is a Bad Idea

The policy is very popular and a top priority for House Democrats, but it would hurt innocent people without doing much to improve public safety.

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This week, as one of their first legislative initiatives after taking control of the House, Democrats unveiled the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, which would require that almost all firearm transfers involve federally licensed dealers. The aim is to make sure that all gun buyers undergo background checks to verify that they are legally allowed to own firearms.

This policy is very popular, favored by 84 percent to 94 percent of respondents in recent national polls. It's not hard to see why: Assuming that Congress has selected fair and logical criteria for owning guns, shouldn't those rules be enforced to the fullest extent possible? Why make an exception for private transfers, thereby giving potentially dangerous people a way to complete purchases that would otherwise be blocked?

On the face of it, there is no downside to broadening the background check requirement, and it might stop would-be mass shooters and other violent criminals from arming themselves. Advocates portray a system of "universal background checks" as the epitome of "commonsense, bipartisan gun violence prevention legislation," the sort of policy that unites reasonable people across the political spectrum. It seems you'd have to be a crazy extremist to oppose the idea. Yet if you dig into the details, you will find sound reasons to be skeptical. I can think of at least four:

1. "Universal background checks" are not really universal. I am not talking about the exceptions for police, military personnel, and transfers between close relatives. I am talking about the impossibility of enforcing a requirement that all gun sales go through federally licensed dealers. Last year researchers who looked at what happened after Colorado, Delaware, and Washington imposed that requirement reported that "background check rates increased in Delaware, by 22%–34% depending on the type of firearm," but "no overall changes were observed in Washington and Colorado." It's easy to understand why the average gun owner might balk at the hassle and expense of bringing his firearm to a licensed dealer so he can legally dispose of his own property. People who knowingly sell guns to criminals are even less motivated to comply. The government may want to record all heretofore private transfers, but there is no practical way of accomplishing that goal.

2. The criteria for owning guns are not fair or logical. Federal law prohibits gun sales to millions of Americans who pose no threat to others, including anyone who uses illegal drugs, anyone who was ever subjected to involuntary psychiatric treatment, and anyone with a felony record, whether or not the offense involved violence or even a victim. Assuming that a broader background check requirement actually results in more background checks, more people will unjustly lose their Second Amendment rights because a database shows they were convicted of marijuana possession or treated for suicidal impulses. While most "unlawful users" of controlled substances probably can avoid detection, they will have to lie on the federal firearm purchase form, which is itself a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. And as the form explicitly says, unlawful users of controlled substances include people who use marijuana for medical or recreational purposes, even when it's allowed by state law.

3. Background checks won't stop mass shootings. While 70 percent of respondents in a 2018 Gallup poll thought "requiring background checks for all gun sales" would be "very effective" in "preventing mass shootings," the perpetrators of these attacks typically do not have disqualifying criminal or psychiatric records. Those who are not legally allowed to own guns can still get them from people who are, as the perpetrators of the Columbine and Sandy Hook massacres did.

4. Background checks won't stop ordinary criminals from getting guns. Violent criminals are already breaking the law by using guns to commit crimes and even by owning the guns if they have felony records. What are the chances that they or the people who sell them guns will suddenly decide to obey the law when it requires background checks for all transfers?

The Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, in short, would criminalize actions that violate no one's rights, impose burdens on innocent gun owners, and deprive harmless people of the right to armed self-defense without doing much of anything to improve public safety. No wonder it's a top priority for Democrats.

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118 responses to “4 Reasons Requiring Background Checks for All Gun Sales Is a Bad Idea

  1. Can anybody find me one mass shooting, or any shooting, that was used by a gun acquired legally without a background check. Just one, please.

    Democrats’ statistically irrational fearmongering about mass shootings and gun control are no different than Trump’s exaggerations and lies about illegal immigrants.

    1. Can anybody find me one mass shooting, or any shooting, that was used by a gun acquired legally without a background check. Just one, please.

      Does the Waffle House shooting in Tennessee count?

      1. What are the details of that one? And would the shooter have passed a background check?

        1. The Secret Service seized Reinking’s guns and revoked his IL-FOID after apprehending him in an unauthorized area outside the White House. The guns were turned over to his father. Several years later, as a resident of TN, his father ‘transferred’ his guns back to him and (6-12 mo.?) after that he shoots four people dead in a Waffle House.

          Kinda fucks all the narratives. He would’ve failed a background check, but this bill exempts transfers for direct family members.

          1. Kinda fucks all the narratives. He would’ve failed a background check, but this bill exempts transfers for direct family members.

            Also, crazy person with an semi-automatic weapon was stopped by an unarmed man.

            1. I feel amiss saying Reinking’s name and not mentioning James Shaw Jr. the guy who disarmed him barehanded by name.

            2. 2014-2017 two FBI reports analyzed ninety “active shooter incidents”.
              “The FBI defines an active shooter as one or more individuals actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area.”
              Fourteen incidents were stopped by citizens intervening.
              In seven stops unarmed citizens confronted and restrained or blocked the shooter or talked the shooter into surrender.
              In one stop a citizen with pepper spray restrained the shooter.
              In four stops citizens with firearms permits exchanged gunfire with the shooter.
              In two stops citizens with firearms permits detained the shooter at gunpoint for arrest by responding police.

              In three failed stop attempts by citizens with firearms permits where the shooter continued shooting,
              one was killed, one was wounded, and one forced the shooter to flee the original crime scene.

              Of the armed and unarmed citizens who engaged active shooters, the FBI 2016-2017 report stated: “Their selfless actions likely saved many lives.”

              Schweit, Katherine W., “Active Shooter Incidents in the United States in 2014 and 2015”, Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2016.]
              “Active Shooter Incidents in the United States in 2016 and 2017”, Federal Bureau of Investigation, April 2018.

          2. But that transfer from his father was already illegal even though it was a family member.
            Also, a year before the Waffle House shooting, in the same exact town, a black nationalist walked into a church and shot a bunch of white people, after killing a woman by shooting her in the head in the parking lot. Luckily, she’s the only one who died because an usher tackled the shooter while another went and got his gun from his car.

            Funny how that was in the news cycle for like 2 hours until they found out who the shooter was…

            1. But that transfer from his father was already illegal even though it was a family member.

              No, it wasn’t. There was discussion of prosecuting the father and they couldn’t. His son was only charged with a misdemeanor at the WH and IL whimsically revoked his FOID, which had no real bearing on a transfer from IL to TN anyway. IIRC, the worst they could get him on was, “We verbally told him hot to and he did.”

              Depending on how you want to think about “acquired legally without a background check” the Texas Church shooter qualifies as well. He had a background check that, apparently, lacked huge/significant portions of his background.

              I’m not saying the bill should pass. It shouldn’t, specifically because there are both plenty of situations where it wouldn’t apply and even in niche situations where it *should* there are plenty of caveats that will void it.

              1. Interstate transfers are illegal unless you go though an FFL (who will conduct a background check)

                The Texas shooter also doesn’t count, because as you note he had a background check. the fact that information was missing from the database would be unaffected by this bill requiring the same (faulty) background check be conducted

                1. Interstate sales of long guns aren’t necessarily illegal if conducted face-to-face; for example, a Texan goes to Oklahoma and purchases a rifle from a resident or FFL dealer of that state. AFAIK, federal law prohibits sales of handguns to out of state residents, whether by FFL or private seller..

                  1. “Interstate sales of long guns aren’t necessarily illegal if conducted face-to-face; for example, a Texan goes to Oklahoma and purchases a rifle from a resident …”

                    Nope; an ‘unlicensed person’ may not sell or gift a firearm to an unlicensed person from another state (w/o going through an FFL).

                    FFL’s can sell long guns to unlicensed persons from other states, but not handguns (or more accurately, they can sell it but not deliver it; the FFL has to transfer it to an FFL in the purchaser’s state of residence).

                    Inheritance is an exception.

              2. It would be more accurate to say the Texas church shooter illegally acquired his weapon with a background check. The check was performed, but due to poor reporting, it didn’t turn up his disqualifications. Broadening background checks to private sellers would do zip to correct this.

                1. Agreed. Part of the issue is the redundancy/oxymoron of saying ‘legally’ and ‘with/without a background check’.

          3. The transfer back to his son was not legal though, if Reinking still lived in IL it was Illegal because he did not have a FOID, and if his father transferred them back after he moved to Nashville it was illegal because they were residents of different states. This doesn’t even touch on the fact that his father knew he was prohibited, making it doubly illegal

            1. This doesn’t even touch on the fact that his father knew he was prohibited, making it doubly illegal.

              You’re incorrect at several points and half of them are because you make the same assumptions about transfers and federalism that the LEOs did. The other half are because you’ve got your own mistaken assumptions about interstate transfers. I may be partly to blame as I don’t know (and I don’t know that anyone does) the details for sure.

              Ultimately, he was only charged with a misdemeanor in DC and while the seizure of his guns and revocation of his FOID were performed, it’s not clear that these actions were, legally, linked to the crime. Basically, IL (not the FedGov) can choose to revoke or not issue an FOID for whimsical reasons (it’s gotten better, but it’s still true). In any event, as long as all of the above isn’t domestic abuse or doesn’t produce a court order preventing him from accessing firearms, TN doesn’t (and shouldn’t) care.

              The fact that Reinking’s Dad remains a free man makes me think one or more attorneys and/or judges fucked up and want to avoid highlighting the fact. Specifically, I’m pretty sure IL revoked his FOID ‘illegally’. If DC or IL had a judge issue a court order saying “No guns” then it would’ve been illegal from DC to IL to TN (still wouldn’t have prevented the transfer). But, instead, it seems like they just relied on IL’s gun laws to get enforced anywhere and everywhere Reinking may’ve gone, which is a mistake.

      2. So you DON’T know, huh mad moron?!!?

    2. BUT WE HAVE TO DO SOMETHING!! Even if it’s barely effective, it MUST BE DONE or you want more dead kids.

      1. You dolt! Do you have ANY idea of how many privately held guns there are in the U.S.? No, you don’t, and you lack everything else as regards a worthwhile comment here. You are, as are most of our idiot legislators, EMOTING hoping this will fix the problem, instead of DOING something about it. Example, I used to live in MN, and EVERY school there has a process whereby students who need to leave early can do so, but whomever is picking the kid up goes NO FURTHER than a locked entryway. The mom meets her kid OUTSIDE of the school, and has NO WAY of entering the school alone. When will people start THINKING instead of emoting their way out of problems? Probably never, as politicians know they don’t really have to FIX the problems, just emote about them.

  2. You’re also crazy if you fall for the “this is all we want” story. Making this a law won’t placate the Democrats.

    1. “Give me what I want, and I’ll go away”

      “You gave me what I wanted, now I want more”

      1. “Born in sin, come on in.”

    2. Don’t provoke an all-or-nothing contest unless you are prepared to accept nothing.

      Especially when the political tides seem to be traveling against you.

      1. LOL I’m not the one provoking the contest.

      2. “Don’t provoke an all-or-nothing contest unless you are prepared to accept nothing”

        Spoken like a fucking slaver.

        When this actually turns into “all-or-nothing contest” the political tide will flow red.

      3. You’re confused about who started this fight, Pastor Costco.

      4. In the long term it’s something or nothing. We’re not going to get all. Any compromise only takes the prohibitionists closer to their ultimate goal and makes it easier for them to accomplish, ultimately, prohibition. The only choice is to never compromise and fight every step. Only compromise if the compromise increases freedom.

  3. Why stop at those four points?

    Why not also make the point that these universal background checks that are favored by 84-94% percent of people will only be enforceable through the existence of gun registries. I’m willing to bet you won’t find 84-94% support for that. And you’ll find very low compliance.

    Why not make the point that this “gunshow loophole” is a fucking pinhole. Most of the sales at gunshows involve professional dealers who still do background checks to protect their business. This type of legislation would only expand background checks to a tiny fraction of gun sales (the gap between those that didn’t already involve a background check and those that would still be exempted).

    And, as mentioned above, history suggests that this tiny fraction isn’t really the threat that they’re trying to address.

    1. The Brady Bill is the gun control law that mandates background checks for all sales by FFLs, it left the regulation of private sales to the states. Now they’re claiming that the law that they wrote, the law they promised us would stop criminals from acquiring gun, didn’t go far enough.

      They’re saying that because the law doesn’t do something it wasn’t written to do, there’s a loophole.

      18 states, and DC, representing 48% of the population already have laws requiring some form of background checks for private sales. Illinois is one of them and it’s been really effective at stopping gun crimes in Chicago.

    2. I’ve bought a gun at a gun show, and they certainly ran a background check on me.

      1. If you have a table with multiple guns at a gun show you’d better have an FFL or you’re illegally “engaging in the business of dealing in firearms” and subject to pretty severe penalties.

        “A person who willfully engages in the business of dealing in firearms without the required license is subject to criminal prosecution, and can be sentenced to up to five years in prison, fined up to $250,000, or both.”

        I have seen people at gun shows selling guns without an FFL but they were only selling one, and that was over 20 years ago. In Illinois, that sale would require a background check today.

        1. Not quite correct. A private individual may sell more than one firearm at a time, whether at a gunshow or other arrangement, but they are not legal in doing so as a continuing practice. For example, a gun collector may be selling some of his/her collection to make room for other acquisitions on occasion but not as a business.

    3. Of course not, and democrats know it. They have to show their prog voter base they are doing something to solve the “gun violence problem”, whether it has any significant effect on that problem or not, and even if it only affects law-abiding gun owners. But who cares about them- they’re all a bunch of white supremacists, right? Their base will applaud their bold, courageous and humanitarian effort. And when it becomes perfectly clear that the bill had no effect on gun violence, they will move to the next level- total registration.

      In the meantime, the progs are attempting to ban all “assault” weapons and high-cap mags. Again, only the law-abiding citizens will abide by that law, maybe.

    4. The “gun show loophole” isn’t a pinhole, it’s a myth. The laws governing firearms sales at gun shows are exactly the same as they are anywhere else. As soon as someone mentions the “gun show loophole”, I immediately discount anything else they say, since they’re either ignorant or dishonest. If it’s really honest ignorance, I try to educate them. If it’s clearly dishonesty, I go straight to mocking derision.

      1. The “gun show loophole” is, unfortunately a widely believed myth.

        Another is the “a teenager can buy automatic weapons on the internet”.

  4. The government may want to record all heretofore private transfers, but there is no practical way of accomplishing that goal.

    Sure there is! Universal confiscation registration.

  5. Something must be done!!! /progs & soccer moms

    This is something.

  6. so very true.

    I, personally, know a person who is a low grade manic depressive.

    He goes untreated. He knows he can’t seek help for his condition. Its pretty minor, so It doesn’t cause him significant problems…yet!

    It would be nice if he could get treatment however and keep it under control.

  7. You might want to mention that the federal government has no constitutional authority to mandate background checks for private sales within a state. (See Enumerated Powers – Article 1 Section 8.)

    They can rely on the Interstate Commerce Clause to:

    A) require that FFLs (and anyone in the business of selling firearms) run background checks for all COMMERCIAL sales.
    B) prohibit all INTERSTATE sales unless they are conducted through FFLs (with background checks).

    But they certainly have no authority over NONcommerical INTRAstate private transfers. That power is reserved to the states (See 10th Amendment).

    And none of this would change even if the 2nd Amendment didn’t exist.

    1. But you see, all sales affect interstate commerce, because what appears to be an intrastate sale actually reduces (affects) interstate sales. So the feds can step in and save us from ourselves.

      1. Do you have any documentation to back it up?

        1. That is the argument that statists have used successfully in the past

          Wickard v. Filburn
          Gonzales v. Raich

          Interstate Commerce includes non commerce activities, up to and including growing things for your own personal use on your own property.

          1. Filburn got jacked.

      2. Wrong.

        “In both cases, the regulation is squarely within Congress’ commerce power because production of the commodity meant for home consumption, be it wheat or marijuana, has a substantial effect on supply and demand in the national market for that commodity.”

        Since firearms are neither being produced not consumed, an intrastate private transfer of a firearm does nothing to increase the available supply of or demand for firearms.

        1. You might be able to get away with that. In US v. Lopez, SCOTUS did take the extraordinarily rare step of declaring that there was something Congress couldn’t regulate under the Interstate Commerce Clause, namely the possession of a firearm within 1000′ feet of a school. But while merely possessing a firearm is not a commercial act, selling one clearly is. I’m far from certain the courts would overturn a background check requirement, even if the sale were purely intrastate. Even if they did, Congress might take the same approach they did after the Court slapped down the Gun Free School Zones Act in Lopez, namely amending the act to cover only firearms that have moved in interstate commerce. (Which is virtually all of them.) It’s impossible to say for sure how SCOTUS would rule on the amended version, since no challenge has reached them, but several district courts have upheld it.

  8. “You’re also crazy if you fall for the “this is all we want” story. Making this a law won’t placate the Democrats.”

    Unenforceable “universal” background checks is phase one.

    “…will only be enforceable through the existence of gun registries.”

    That is phase two of “common sense” we have to do something.

    Phase 3: Australia model of mandatory buy back, which sound just a titch better than confiscation.

    1. Bingo. Today’s “compromise” is tomorrow’s “loophole” that needs to be closed.

      1. Feature not bug.

  9. If it goes to the Senate, they should amend it to add 50 state constitutional carry, and legalize interstate handgun sales. Then kick it back to the house. When the house Dems complain, just reply “why won’t you compromise?”

    1. Add hearing protection to that; that way I won’t have to build my own suppressor from a Wix Fuel Filter and K cups.

    2. Since background checks are a panacea for gun violence, there wouldn’t be any reason to deny gun owners the right to carry, or purchase, across state lines.

      I can only imagine the frustrated noises that would come out of the left-wingnuts when confronted with their own reasoning.

  10. I believe the Constitution entitles an American to possess a reasonable firearm for self-defense in the home.

    I sense the predictable snapback against gun nuttery — absolutism and extremism — will threaten or diminish that right.

    Most gun extremists seem incapable of recognizing this point.

    1. Define reasonable, without going full Hihn.

      1. Easy

        Any and all unconstitutional prohibitions we can dream up, regardless of how difficult or expensive it makes gun ownership.

      2. All firearms, all arms, without infringement.
        Says so right here in this copy of the US Constitution.

        I you want to find out how ‘reasonable’ common sense gun control is, ask a bill of rights denier where they stand on requiring a permit for all of the bill of rights. You know, “say, do you have a first amendment permit to post on this site?” or “have you got your fourth amendment permit just in case a random cop wants to search your car and person just for the hell of it?”
        I mean, that would be equal protection under the law, right?

        1. And you will get their usual answer – “THAT’S DIFFERENT”

        2. Well, no, not any and all arms.

          Anything that contains more than a few kilos of explosive is too dangerous to allow storage in the average residential home. A small house fire could result in leveling not only that house, but a few neighbors as well! Storing large numbers of grenades, artillery shells, bombs, or warheads should require appropriate storage.

          Similarly, storing most biological weapons is too dangerous, and radioactive material is even worse. Proper storage must be required.

          That happens to be one of the few cases where other rights do override the right to keep arms.

    2. define ” a reasonable firearm”

      WHO gets to define that in law?

      for self-defense IN THE HOME? ONLY? That’s what you said…

      Didjya hear about the guy at the WalMart in Tummwater Wasnington who hijacked a car at gunpoint, beat up the owne,r took off.. then arrived at the WalMart, shot at someone else to try and take THEIR car… Dad with his two teenage sons heard the shots outside, told his sons to get back INTO the stoire, and he went toward the sounds. Saw the perp trying ti shoot at another car owner, Dad drew his own and fired.. killing the perp. Two people shot by this guy, one more shot at, two hospitalised… and here comes Dad with his own handgun, decidedl NOT “in the home”, but out IN PUBLIC. WHY? Because that is his RIGHT.

      Look up “Clackamas Town Centre Mall Shooting” Read about the identifid armed citizen who ended the shooting spree. You won’t read about MY friend, also armed, who was in a different part of the mall began to move toward the shots, but the lockdown imprisoned her so she could not.

      IN THE HOME? Are you NUTS?

      Define “gun extremist”.

    3. I believe the Constitution entitles an American to possess a reasonable firearm for self-defense in the home.

      I’m impressed at just how much wrong you were able to pack into a single sentence. First, the Constitution merely protects rights, it doesn’t “entitle” them. Such rights are universal and pre-existing. (It’s true that many governments fail to respect these rights, but that’s a problem with governments, not rights.) Second, who gets to decide what’s “reasonable”? Putting such conditions on a right cripples the exercise thereof, and is usually just a gradual way to deny it altogether. Finally, what’s this “in the home” nonsense? Rights don’t stop at the threshold. I have a right to protect myself anywhere I may legally be. (If my presence is illegal, for instance if I’m trespassing on someone else’s property, it’s reasonable to argue that I forfeit any such right.) If I have the right to defend myself, it logically follows that I have the right to possess the most effective means of doing so.

    4. The Constitution protects the right to own firearms for defense against tyranny. Read Federalist 29.

  11. >>>On the face of it, there is no downside to broadening the background check requirement, and it might stop would-be mass shooters and other violent criminals from arming themselves.

    equivocate, baby! out of my cold dead hands has meaning.

  12. The goal here isn’t public safety, it’s conditioning citizens to seek govt permission to exercise a right.
    As if that right comes from .gov, or .gov should be the arbiter of who it decides is worthy.
    Also the criteria to deny is only going to expand, ‘for your safety’.
    Free people don’t pay to apply to beg a bureaucrat for permission to exercise a right.

  13. Yes, there should be universal background checks and not just on guns.
    There should be universal background checks on what you say, write and do.
    How else are our beloved ruling elitist turds know who to send the gulag and the firing squads?

  14. I love that cops and military always get a pass on these sweeping “common sense’ measures. Completely ignoring how many of these assholes are crazed sociopaths.

    1. Completely ignoring how many of these assholes are crazed sociopaths.

      *And* how many gun owners and especially minority gun owners freely admit that this is a linchpin in ‘common sense gun reform’. The *common* sense that, if it were legally (or otherwise) impossible for police or the military to show up at your house with a gun, you wouldn’t need a gun to defend yourself from tyranny.

  15. This policy is very popular, favored by 84 percent to 94 percent of respondents in recent national polls.

    All the questions are misleading. Many, if not most of the respondents are “approving” of what current law requires.

    Try “Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer want a new federal law to make criminals out of law abiding gun owners” and watch that “74% of NRA members” disappear.

    1. The free to at most $10 BG Check fee at the gun dealer is popular.
      Virginia State Police offered a NICS check for private sales at gunshows for a fee of about $5.

      The Universal Background Checks in Washington State were reported as $55.

      Supporting NICS checks does not mean support for UBCs.

      UBC fees are not reasonable. They are not the cost of running an NICS BG check. UBC is high as a sin tax. It is not intended to see that the purchaser if background checked. It is to discourage private used gun sales period. What gets discouraged by $30 to $55 to $65 in sin taxes to do a private background check is … doing a used gun sale with a background check.

      Nationwide about 13% are sells of used guns, 3% are swaps of used guns. In Washington state only 2% of NICS checks are for private transactions. Either the sells or trades of used guns in Washington state have dried up, or they have gone underground.

  16. UBC is like TSA: “securiity” theatre.

    The Bloomberg Everytown Universal Background Check amounts to a $55 sin tax on selling/buying a used gun. The cost is set high to discourage used gun transfers. It is high enough to just discourage used gun transfer with background check.

    US Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Firearms Use by Offenders survey
    (Sample: nationwide sample of prison inmates who possessed a firearm during the offense for which they were imprisoned)

    2004 Source of firearms possessed by state prison inmates at time of offense

    11.3% Retail Purchase or trade
    7.3 – Retail store
    2.6 – Pawnshop
    0.6 – Flea market
    0.8 – Gun show

    37.4% Family or friend
    12.2 – Purchased or traded
    14.1 – Rented or borrowed
    11.1 – Other

    40.0% Street/illegal source
    7.5 – Theft or burglary
    25.2 – Drug dealer/off street
    7.4 – Fence/black market

    11.2% Other source

    I would point out that family or friend supplying guns to criminals are often criminals too. Friends selling, renting, or loaning guns to a felon are often fellow gang members.

    It will be really hard to get them and the thieves, burglars, fences, black marketeers, drug dealers, street dealers to run background checks on criminals before supplying them with guns.

    Expecting UBC for most criminal acquisition of firearms is as absurd as expecting drug dealers to ask for prescription scripts for street drugs.

    1. High background check fees also discriminate against the poor. An extra fifty bucks might not be a big deal to someone buying a collector gun worth thousands of dollars, but it’s a much bigger deal for someone buying a hundred dollar gun. Gun control schemes have a long history of targeting disfavored minorities and poor people. Just can’t trust “those people” with guns, you know.

  17. UBC is like TSA: “securiity” theatre.

    The Bloomberg Everytown Universal Background Check amounts to a $55 sin tax on selling/buying a used gun. The cost is set high to discourage used gun transfers. It is high enough to just discourage used gun transfer with background check.

    US Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Firearms Use by Offenders survey
    (Sample: nationwide sample of prison inmates who possessed a firearm during the offense for which they were imprisoned)

    2004 Source of firearms possessed by state prison inmates at time of offense

    11.3% Retail Purchase or trade
    7.3 – Retail store
    2.6 – Pawnshop
    0.6 – Flea market
    0.8 – Gun show

    37.4% Family or friend
    12.2 – Purchased or traded
    14.1 – Rented or borrowed
    11.1 – Other

    40.0% Street/illegal source
    7.5 – Theft or burglary
    25.2 – Drug dealer/off street
    7.4 – Fence/black market

    11.2% Other source

    I would point out that family or friend supplying guns to criminals are often criminals too. Friends selling, renting, or loaning guns to a felon are often fellow gang members.

    It will be really hard to get them and the thieves, burglars, fences, black marketeers, drug dealers, street dealers to run background checks on criminals before supplying them with guns.

    Expecting UBC for most criminal acquisition of firearms is as absurd as expecting drug dealers to ask for prescription scripts for street drugs.

    1. Nick Leghorn, “FBI: Washington State Gun Owners Not Complying With New Background Check Law”, The Truth About Guns, 26 Jan 2017.

      [i]”Only 2% of background checks in Washington in 2015 stemmed from “private party” sales of guns, according to data in the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check ? or NICS ? system.

      “That number is surprising to researchers Philip Cook of Duke and Jens Ludwig of the University of Chicago, who study gun violence.

      “They say that their own research ? and studies by others ? have shown that up to 40% of gun sales nationwide are between private citizens. They’re skeptical that the 2% reported to the FBI is an accurate picture of the private gun market in Washington state.

      “”I suspect?there are a lot of unreported private-market sales going on,” Ludwig said in an email to KING 5.”[/i]

      40% is from Cook and Ludwig’s reporting on the National Survey on Private Ownership and use of Firearms (1994) a sample of uninstitutionalized adults living in homes with phones.

      60% bought from commercial sources (gun shop, pawn shop, gun show, flea market)
      19% received as gifts from family or friends (birthday, father’s day, Christmas)
      13% bought used from a private party
      5% received as an inheritance
      3% swapped or traded used with another gun owner.
      19 + 13 + 5 + 3 = 40% from non commercial sources.

      1. 19% of the Cook & Ludwig 40% are gifted guns.
        Now when my son bought me a rifle for father’s day (I hate ties), he passed a BG check on the sale. I have never been denied on an NICS check for a gun sale, I have a permit to carry which means I have submitted fingerprints to TBI and FBI and have passed BG check and never been arrested. So what would be the point of us going to a gun dealer and paying the TICS fee of $30 to run a private BG check on a Father’s Day gift?

        God only knows what the Democrat National Party will tack onto their idea of a UBC. New York City fees for permit to purchase a rifle is $140 and for BG check is $96 or $236 which is chump change to Bloomgerg. And this really won’t touch criminals: UBC is like expecting drug dealers to get prescription Rx scripts from their customers.

        1. … to Bloomberg …

          1. “Bloomgerg” sounds more accurately descriptive.

  18. I think we’re nibbling at the edges here. To an outside observer the big question is – Why are US citizens so intent on killing one another compared to other western (and most non-western) countries?

    1. We’re not. In 2017 there were 17,284 homicides and 325,719,178 people. Even assuming each homicide was caused by a different person, 99.995% of Americans didn’t kill anyone.

      And our homicide rate isn’t higher than most countries, there are 89 countries with a higher rate. Despite our owning 40-50% of all the firearms on Earth.

      1. I apologize LC. I overreached with the ‘most non-western’ thing.

        I know stats are malleable and often biased to some extent, whether intentionally or not, However, here goes.

        The World Bank ‘Intentional Homicide’ figures for 2016 ranks the USA at equal 32nd at 5 per 100,000. The table is missing data for many countries so your 90th place may well be correct. The countries above the US on the table are mostly central and south American with others from Africa, Asia and SE Asia, and Russia. The closest ‘Western’ country to the US is Canada, equal 47th on 2.

        UNODC figures for 2012 claim ‘Homicides by Firearm’ for the US around 3 per 100,000 and for Canada around 0.5. If we subtract one from the other the difference pretty much disappears.

        Perhaps US citizens are not more inherently more homicidal than others and just have more lethal means on hand to settle disputes?

        1. “Perhaps US citizens are not more inherently more homicidal than others and just have more lethal means on hand to settle disputes?”

          The odd thing about that is that states with lots of access to guns (Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, for example) have among the lowest murder rates in the U.S. That seems at odds with the thesis ‘access to guns makes for more murders’.

          That’s true across nations as well: homicide/gun data sliced every which way. The summary from that page:

          “Gun Murder Rate is not correlated with firearm ownership rate in the United States, on a state by state basis. Firearm Homicide Rate is not correlated with guns per capita globally. It’s not correlated with guns per capita among peaceful countries, nor among violent countries, nor among European countries.”

        2. Concerning “more lethal means on hand to settle disputes”, consider research recently done by John Lott, Jr. He demonstrated that 54% of the counties of the United States have no recorded murders for the time period the study covered. Conversely, something like 50% of the murders happen in only 1% of the counties.

          And in those counties, the vast number of murders happen in a couple of neighborhoods. Chicago, for example, is a surprisingly safe city, despite its reputation for murder (which, ironically enough, is despite stringent Chicago gun control laws). Those neighborhoods, in turn, are violent because of intense gang activity.

          Perhaps the solution to violence, then, is to leave the vast numbers of peaceable gun owners alone, and propose strategies that would reduce gang violence.

          And considering that so-called “gun violence” is only one-third homicide (the remainder is suicide), perhaps we could reduce gun deaths (and deaths in general — because with *both* homicide and suicide, if we merely remove the tool, the perpetrators of homicide and suicide will often find a different tool to commit their grisly deeds) by finding out how we could reduce suicide as well.

          1. “Perhaps the solution to violence, then, is to leave the vast numbers of peaceable gun owners alone, and propose strategies that would reduce gang violence.”

            Amen to that statement, but good luck to those who try to reduce drug gang banger shootings for they will be called racists.

            1. So I guess our attitude is – Americans may kill one another more than those in other “developed” countries, but definitely not more than most “developing” or “failing” countries, and even if they do it’s nothing to do with the number of firearms, and even if it were it’s too hard to do anything about it, so we’ll resume complaining about Presidential executive actions.

              Regarding suicide – I assume we believe that as individuals we have the right to end our lives if we wish, so the second amendment, although it does not specifically say so, also defends our right to use this more efficient and irreversible method.

            2. Amen to that statement, but good luck to those who try to reduce drug gang banger shootings for they will be called racists.

              By whom?

        3. The U.S. is not demographically an entirely “western” country. There is a minority third-world-origin population that commits the majority of homicides. Without the homicides commited by third-world-origin population within the U.S., the U.S. homicide rate is one of the lowest in the world.

  19. ALL gun laws are unconstitutional. Period. They could all be wiped out overnight and nothing would change, except millions of disenfranchised citizens would once again be able to own guns without fear of losing their freedom.

    Any way you cut it, the United States is just another goddamned fascist shithole.

    1. You should travel more.

  20. THEY NEVER DEFINE THESE UNCONSTITUTIONAL CONFISCATION LAWS

    Background checks are essentially an undermining of our belief that a person is innocent until proven guilty. The background check assumes you are guilty and demands you prove your innocence before acquiring a gun.

    Furthermore, universal background checks are the result of failing to carry out justice on violent criminals who should have been put to death. People who engage in embezzlement or fail to pay child support or things like that don’t deserve a death penalty nor do they deserve to have their God-given right to keep and bear arms removed. Those people should be required to either pay back what they took with interest or pay what they owe. an armed society spends its time stopping evil not contemplating it.

    1. Actually, a background check is a violation of the concept that all persons are equal under the law, as well as a violation of the concept of Due Process when abridging Constitutional Rights. A background check is separating people into those who have Constitutional Rights and those who do not.

  21. The right of the People to keep and bear Arms is the only reason needed.

    All gun control is unconstitutional.

    1. It’s always the least nuanced arguments that seem to have the least supporting facts. How about that first sentence that says ‘a well REGULATED militia?’ I do not think the founding fathers would have included this if they did not think it was important. I’m sure your ‘scholars’ have spun it otherwise but wiser men would likely disagree.

      1. well regulated militia…… yes, let’s take a look at that.

        First, what is “well regulated”? buried in all manner of rules, licensings, permissions, lists, protocols?

        No. consider a clock that keeps accurate time. THAT is what “well regulated” means. Or a team of soccer players who work well together on the pitch, moving the ball easily down-pitch to score a goal. Or a unit of soldiers also working well together to identify, locate, assess, and neutralise an enemy force…… or a group of friends who train together in marksmanship so they can accurately hit a target at a thousand yards distance.

        Militia… what do YOU think that is? I’ll tell you what the Founders KNEW militia is:

        the whole people, able to bear arms, equipped and practiced so as to form an effective team, able to accomplish what needs to be done.

        READ that Second Article of Ammendment again. It clearly places the burden for “the security of a free state” upon the shoulder of.. THE PEOPLE. Nowhere else. Not government, military, police… THE PEOPLE are the ones who have the right to arms, because THE PEOPLE are the ones responsible for “the security of a free state”.

  22. I apologize LC. I overreached with the ‘most non-western’ thing.

    I know stats are malleable and often biased to some extent, whether intentionally or not, However, here goes.

    The World Bank ‘Intentional Homicide’ figures for 2016 ranks the USA at equal 32nd at 5 per 100,000. The table is missing data for many countries so your 90th place may well be correct. The countries above the US on the table are mostly central and south American with others from Africa, Asia and SE Asia, and Russia. The closest ‘Western’ country to the US is Canada on 2.

    UNODC figures for 2012 claim ‘Homicides by Firearm’ for the US around 3 per 100,000 and for Canada around 0.5. If we subtract one from the other the difference pretty much disappears.

    Perhaps US citizens are not more inherently more homicidal than others and just have more lethal means on hand to settle disputes?

    1. Or, perhaps US citizens are struggling more with poverty and social issues due to our culture and history and terrible government policy. When you have a population that are descended from ancestors who have a terrible anger at the horrible things we did to them during slaver, whose ancestors were denied education, property, suffrage, and only won rights to participate in our society equally just a few decades ago… When you have a decades-long Drug War that has demonstrably created a modern version of the horrific mafia problem arising from alcohol prohibition only a billion times worse… When you have authoritarian institutions like the School-to-Prison pipeline and criminalized truancy, privatized prisons, The Troubled Teen Industry, and five year olds being arrested in handcuffs…

      Maybe that has something to do with the violence in our society.

      1. Nope.

        Black people are the most criminal ethnic group in the world no matter WHERE they are. Europe, Africa, South America… Doesn’t matter. Always the most criminal group.

        Maybe it’s some sort of really fucked up cultural baggage from African culture that has carried through… Maybe it’s something else. But Africans in Africa who were NEVER enslaved, or even colonized, still have sky high crime rates compared to Europe/Asia.

        Also, see Asian peasants who moved into the USA/Europe. They were from objectively less advantaged backgrounds than Africans or Hispanics, yet have super low crime rates.

        The whole “blame it on white people” angle just doesn’t hold up to logic or scrutiny of any sort.

    2. 100% of the disparity in murder rates in the USA goes away by removing black and Hispanic murders. These are almost entirely gang/crime related.

      If you look at white, Jewish, or Asian murder rates in the USA, they are identical to murder rates in Europe/Asia. States like Idaho, Vermont, etc etc etc that are super white have lower murder rates than those virtually gun free countries in Europe. If we had any 90% Asian states, they’d probably be even lower still!

      Anybody who says anything different has never looked at the stats and crunched the numbers.

  23. Sorry, in the above I neglected to say that Canada ranks 47 on the World Bank table, separated by similar countries than those above the US.

  24. And…background checks don’t work at all. Only law-abiding citizens submit to them. Criminals, and not the type of criminals that become so due to technicalities and over-burdensome regulation but the dangerous ones that kill, rob and rape, generally don’t submit to a check they know they won’t pass. Even if background checks we’re required for all purchases, that would only close off a few avenues of purchase to criminals. There’s still a black market, stealing guns and straw purchases because…shocking…criminals don’t obey laws. And even if they did, a potential mass-shooter, for instance, would need to have a conviction to be denied a purchase. Many killers have no criminal convictions that would bar them from purchasing a firearm. Background checks don’t work and, therefore, should be abolished as an unnecessary and ineffective burden on law-abiding citizens exercising a natural and Constitutional right.

  25. This argument is completely idiotic. Yes, there are many issues with registering guns currently. That does not logically negate the fact that it is a fair and good idea. Old men die, and when new guns are purchased in this world of computers and data we can control who buys them and who they transfer them to with very little stress on the person who needs to comply with the law. For example, we all know who owns a car, a boat or a snowmobile and no one is crying about their rights there. It is true that there are weapons that will be hard to track currently but that does not mean that we shouldn’t do a better job of knowing who is doing what going forward.

    I would argue that we could have prevented the shooting in Aurora, Illinois with more legislation. How the hell does one completely off the deep end individual (yes, no criminal background) go ONLINE and order many automatic weapons, ammunition, items to make bombs, items to impersonate law enforcement including bulletproof vests and SWAT gear in a couple of month and that doesn’t raise any red flags? There has to be a database that says ‘this guy just started stockpiling weapons’ and the FBI should find out why. If you have an issue with that you are in the minority of people. I have a rifle and a handgun in my house, they are registered to my husband and I am happy that they are registered.

    1. How the hell does one completely off the deep end individual (yes, no criminal background) go ONLINE and order many automatic weapons, ammunition, items to make bombs, items to impersonate law enforcement including bulletproof vests and SWAT gear

      let’s start HERE.. NO ONE can “go online” and order ANY firearm without involving the whole NICS background check. Further NO ONE can, through ANY means, order “automatic weapons”….. NO ONE. So stop your lying it does not help anything. Go and learn what it takes to buy an “automatic weapon” of any type. Thousands of dollars, months, sometimes years, of bureaucratic nonsense…….

      NOW.. tell us here WHICH “legislation” being enacted would have prevented ANY of the mass public shootings in the last fifty years? Come on, describe the new law that would have prevented any of them. Background checks? Hah!!! That requirement has not prevented one of htem, nor ever could.

      1. Yup. Not to mention all that other stuff is unregistered, and impossible to control. You can make bombs from common household chemicals, stuff you can snag at home depot, etc. =

        Just another person who doesn’t know anything about the subject emoting. As is typical.

    2. Registration doesn’t work. Both Canada and Maryland, just remembering off the top of my head, had gun registries, and after ten years each, and zero usefulness in solving crime, they both abandoned the idea altogether.

      The “solution” has many problems. It’s difficult to keep the addresses up-to-date, the information they collect (particularly in Maryland, which had ballistics records) changes over time (particularly if the gun is used regularly), and criminals don’t participate in the registration process. When a police force has a gun that they suspect was used in a crime, using the registry tells them absolutely no useful information. Long-gun registries are particularly brain-dead, because they are used in such a tiny number of murders, it would be about as effective as requiring registration of bats, knives, and even hands and feet.

      Indeed, concerning felons participating in the registration process, we have a Supreme Court decision that explicitly *forbids* the State from asking felons to register their arms. Because it’s illegal for them to own guns, requiring them to register is a direct violation of the 5th Amendment prohibition of forcing someone to testify against themselves.

      People who want to ban guns really like gun registries, though: it gives the State a nice starting point for going to places to confiscate guns. It’s not perfect, mind you, but it means that we could delay going door-to-door and searching all the houses for guns.

    3. “Old men die, and when new guns are purchased in this world of computers and data we can control who buys them and who they transfer them to…”

      “There has to be a database that says ‘this guy just started stockpiling weapons’ and the FBI should find out why. ”

      That’s exactly why so-called “universal background checks” should be resolutely opposed – because there are political forces that would prohibit and confiscate all firearms. Computerized databases of firearms and their owners would enable prohibition and confiscation. If the government ever becomes tyrannical, which is a distinct possibility in the next few generations, it will be necessary to “stockpile” weapons without the government’s knowledge. It’s none of the government’s business.

      People forget that governments have murdered more people due to “good intentions” than individuals acting on their own behalf ever have. It CAN happen here, if we give the government too much power, as a large chunk of the population wants to do.

      It’s all a matter of lack of trust. There will always be those who want to prohibit firearms and impose oppression. Don’t make it easy for them.

  26. If I understand it aright, this new mostrosity of a bill not only mandates background checks for ALL gun transfers, it ALSO has the beginning stages of a national gun registry. And it is with THAT most of us who oppose this bill object.

    Look at the history of mass genocide perpetrated during the last century. EVERY ONE of those governments began with a gun registry “so we know who has what, and where the weapons are”. No one EVER explained WHY those governments had some imagimary compelling interest in knowning who has what where. As time progressed and each of those regimes insisting on a registry progressed in their evil, the people who HAD registered their guns learned WHY… too late. Government already knew who has what where. And used that information to simply nip round and take them all up, thus disarming the citizens. DUring the twnetieth century, some 120 MILLIONS of citizens were disarmed then killed by their own governments.

    1. We who have read that history are most chary of any scheme to create a gun registry. Because I intend to do something nefarious with any guns I might now possess? Certainly not. Because we have seen plainly the evil able to enter into the hearts of men, and use it for great harm. Our forefathers drew a red line in the sand when it came to THEIR guns being confiscted. THAT was the mission underway when Paul Revere and Billy Dawes rode out that Tuesday evening to warn about the raids already launched for Wednesda morning in Lexington then further up the road in Concord. That day’s raid by the British Regulars was the fourth such raid… the earlier three met with failure because the colonists either raded and got their arms back, or removed them in time, or prevented their seizure.
      Many citizens today still have that same heart. As Captain John Parker told his men as the Regulars approached “we don’t want a war, but if they mean to have one, let it begin here”. They did and it did. A few minutes later the Regulars showed up and began the war.

  27. We must have background checks. The innocent must be punished. It is the American way!

  28. Shorter version:
    1. It’s unconstitutional
    2. It’s unconstitutional
    3. It’s unconstitutional
    4. It’s unconstitutional

    1. Yep, and it’s unconstitutional, too.

      1. Yeah, but it’s also important to remember that it’s unconstitutional as well!

        1. And yet, somehow, all four of those reasons are irrelevant – – – – – –

  29. Imagine if you had to have a “background check” to exercise your freedom of speech, or even a “background check” to exercise your freedom of liberty. What if you had to have a “background check” to exercise your right to due process (actually… that one is valid. If you are a “terrorist” you have no right to due process). Well, you have a Constitutional Right to own a gun, too.

    Such “background checks” create a class of citizens who have Constitutional Rights, and a class of citizens who do not have rights. When we strip Constitutional Rights from citizens, that really needs to happen in a court, with Due Process. Not some bureaucrat with a list. Otherwise, there is no appeal when they invariably screw it up.

    NO. NO. NO. No “no fly lists”, “registered gun owner lists” and “can’t buy a gun” lists — and no lists of people who have to wear yellow stars on their shirts. There is more than adequate evidence that Russia IS trying to destabilize our government. Politicians are handing our information to Russia. If we create a list of registered gun owners then Russia knows who has guns. We have already captured a Russian spy who was cozying up to the NRA.

  30. I am sure if this law is passed illegal gun smugglers selling firearms in the back alleys of American cities to hardened criminals and gangbangers will find a way to get a licensed gun dealer to that back alley to legally enact the transactions. (sarc)

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  33. The real reason Democrats and liberals want “universal background checks” is to compile a list of firearms and their owners so as to facilitate future prohibition and confiscation if Democrats are able to control all three branches of government.

  34. As our idiot legislators are totally unaware of, FFL’s are held in the hundreds by private individuals, mostly so they can buy firearms at a better price than at a local gun store, but NOT because they can or will provide any reduction in the misuse or illegal use of firearms. Our idiot legislators want to LOOK good, not DO good, and this idea is proof positive of the same. As per the usual, government fucks everything up!

  35. Demented democrats such as feinstein, piglosi, harris and schumer only want to disarm US citizens so they have no defense against the hordes of ILLEGAL ALIEN GANG BANGERS they are letting into the US and releasing ILLEGAL ALIEN FELONS from jails to further destabilize the country. Look at what the senile old fool Brown did by releasing thousands of convicted felons from Kalifornexicos prisons many of whom have commited class A felonies within days of their release. ALL democrats should be impeached and removed from any elected positions.

  36. To play Devil’s Advocate:

    1) Paraphrasing George Carlin on proposals to execute drug dealers, they already kill each other, they’re not afraid of getting executed anyway. If you want to go after the drug trade, how about executing the bankers that help them launder them money. So same logic applies, the criminal will break the law not going through the background check process anyway, but if you go after the “lawfully abiding guy” who sold them the guns, who has something to lose, you might get different results.

    2) You’re conflating multiple points by pointing out the unfairness of the criteria used to deny people their guns. This is similar to people complaining about the sex offender registry because people arrested for prostitution will make the list. Ok, so then push to have the law changed to who makes the list. THEN argue against the list on its merits separately.

    3) We have laws against speeding, but most people speed anyway, so why bother having laws against speeding. Same concept.

  37. Article left out the lending or renting of a firearm, or temporary possession in training. Most of these proposed laws would require that.

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