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4 Reasons 'Universal Background Checks' for Gun Buyers Are a Bad Idea

An expanded requirement would be ineffective, unjust, and unenforceable.

Center for American ProgressCenter for American ProgressSenate Democrats plan to ingratiate themselves with voters by introducing a new package of gun controls. In a letter to fellow Democrats, Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) said they hope gun control advocacy "will be a rallying point for a public that is eager for congressional action and will be the basis for future legislation that we will demand," although there is zero chance that such legislation will actually pass. Schumer and Stabenow's wish list includes a requirement that everyone who acquires a firearm, whether from a private seller or a federally licensed dealer, undergo a background check. That particular change, unlike stricter gun control in general, does indeed poll well, but that does not mean it's a good idea. Here are four major problems with requiring background checks for private gun transfers as a policy, as opposed to a political stunt:

1. Expanding the background check requirement makes no sense as a response to mass shootings (even though that is how it has been presented), because the perpetrators of these crimes, including last week's massacre in Oregon, typically either have actually passed background checks or could do so because they do not have disqualifying criminal or psychiatric records.

2. Expanding the background check requirement makes little sense as a response to more common forms of gun violence, since criminals with felony records can always obtain weapons on the black market, through buyers with clean records, or by theft.

3. Expanding the background check requirement, especially if it is coupled with "improved" databases, compounds the injustice of disarming millions of people who pose no threat to others but are nevertheless forbidden to own guns because they use illegal drugs, overstay a visa, were once subjected to court-ordered psychiatric treatment, or have felony records, even if they have never committed a violent crime.

4. Expanding the background check requirement is not the same as actually compelling people to perform background checks for private gun transfers. Many gun owners will balk at the inconvenience and expense of finding and paying a licensed dealer who is willing to faciliate a transaction. In Oregon, which expanded its background-check requirement in August, some local law enforcement officials have publicly stated they do not plan to enforce the new rule, either because they do not have the resources or because they view it as an unconstitutional intrusion. The Oregonian notes that "there is no centralized registry of guns in Oregon...that could be used to track a gun found in a criminal's possession." The federal government has no such registry either, so how can it possibly hope to track transfers and make sure background checks are performed? Even with hefty criminal penalties, widespread noncompliance is a certainty. Consider: Does the theoretical prospect of a 10-year prison sentence deter gun owners from smoking pot or pot smokers from owning guns?

[Thanks to CharlesWT for the tip.]

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  • OldMexican||

    I have one reason:

    It's none of your Goddamned business why I want to buy a gun. There are laws against crimes already in the books. Why do you assume I harbor sinister intentions just because I am buying a gun?

  • ||

    Why do you assume I harbor sinister intentions just because I am buying a gun?

    Because no peace-loving normal person wants to own an icky gun! You are a MONSTER!

  • Tionico||

    hah hah. I am a normal moral and ethical law abiding citizen (my most recent traffic ticket was in 1994..... and that is my most recent run in with the law anywhere. And I've driven at least a quarter million miles in cars and trucks and anout 75 000 miles on a bicycle since then. And of my house burned dowm and the fire guys were to inspect it they'd report that I "have an arsenal" inside it. So I'm a monster? Fine... I'm OK with that. But I WILL continue to be armed against a REAL monster who will try and harm me or any innocents nearby.

  • GregMax||

    I remember when Schumer was a congressman. He and Mel Lewis (? some black congressman from Illinois) were just shitting all over a woman at a hearing because - having survived the Lube's shooting in Texas - she said that if she'd been allowed in the store with her firearm she could have stopped the shooter before he killed more people. They just were so snarky, demeaning and dismissive of her testimony. It made me sick.
    Subsequently the Mel dude was kicked out of congress because he'd been banging an underage girl on the low-down.
    They are all scum.

  • ||

    Suzanna Hupp. She's a rockstar.

  • Mainer2||

    From wikipedia:

    Melvin "Mel" Reynolds is a former Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives from Illinois. He resigned from Congress in 1995 after a conviction for statutory rape.

    I knew a guy that went to college with Mel Reynolds. He said later, when he heard of Mel Reynolds the congressman, he thought it can't be the same guy. The Mel Reynolds he went to school with was a complete loser who fucked off and shot hoops all day. Of course it was the same guy. Top. Men.

  • GregMax||

    Apologies to whoever Mel Lewis is :(

  • WuzYoungOnceToo||

    Apologies to whoever Mel Lewis is :(

    Jerry's funnier brother?

  • Chimo||

    Exactly. Free people do not need permission...or to prove that they are law-abiding...to exercise their basic human rights. Period.

    Considering that our government kills more innocent people each year than all the criminals combined, perhaps we need to start requiring background checks and daily polygraphs for the politicians and bureaucrats.

  • Sevo||

    "4 Reasons 'Universal Background Checks' for Gun Buyers Are a Bad Idea"
    1) The government.
    2) The government.
    3) The government.
    4) The government.

  • Scarecrow & WoodChipper Repair||

    Or:
    1)The federal government.
    2) State governments.
    3) City governments.
    4) All other governments.

  • Tionico||

    you already mentioined all governments, so how aobut drop thelast one and replace it with the anti gun idiots? I ;ove to see them squirm at the thought that someone, somewhere, MIGHT happen to have a firearm in his posession, know how to use it, and enjoy the pure fun of just shooting to improve his skill. Or, that an attractive woman jusst might happen to have a handgun on her person and, when assaultd by a would be rapist, takes out her Nine mm Rape Whistle and USES IT against the creep.

  • Tejicano||

    A lady who posts on one of the gun chat boards shuts down every prog she runs into face-to-face, if they question why she carries a gun, with the statement - "because I will never be raped AGAIN"

  • sarcasmic||

    But, but, but... We've got to do something! I mean, otherwise we're doing nothing! Besides, if you haven't done anything wrong then you don't have anything to worry about! Think of the children! If you don't have any desire to purchase any guns, then it doesn't affect you! Did I mention the children?

  • Tundra, well-chilled.||

    Did I mention the children?

    Oh, thanks for the reminder. I gotta stop and pick up more .22 for my daughter.

  • Mrs. Premise||

    Frank Burns:We can't just wait! We've gotta do something! Anything!
    Hawkeye:I agree with Frank. I think we should do anything.

  • WuzYoungOnceToo||

    Did I mention the children?

    Yes, but you neglected to mention that if we don't do something, the terrorists win.

  • Tejicano||

    Yeah, I've got something they can do. They can fuck off.

    If they pull that "for the children" line I'll pull out photos of my two little boys and tell them that is exactly why I carry .

  • ||

    Not a single one of those arguments maters to a gun grabber. They just don't care. Their ultimate goal is no guns, expect in the hands of the ever-trustworthy police and the military.

  • Florida Man||

    Black lives matter!

    Only the police should have guns!

    Wait wut...

  • ||

    Yep. Similar to the "Kids are too fat! They need to get out more!" and "Kids are in danger! Keep them locked inside!" arguments.

    Cops are hateful, violent racists!
    Cops should be the only ones with guns!

  • Akira||

    Don't forget:

    "Asking for an ID to vote is a racist plot to prevent black people from voting!"

    vs.

    "Anyone who wants to buy a gun should have to pass a background check, a full psychiatric examination, and get a sign-off from their local police chief!"

    Somehow, it's magically non-racist when it comes to guns.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    Hey smartypants, name me one time the police have ever not been trustworthy. Probably can't do that, can you? Plus, the police have been trained to be proficient with firearms.

  • Long Woodchippers||

    and no one else has ever been trained to be proficient with forearms? It ain't rocket science, it doesn't require a Master's Degree

  • Florida Man||

    Only pop-eye should have forearms!

  • SimonJester||

    +1 Canned Spinnich

  • Some Engineer||

    +1 Olive Oil

  • Brendan||

    That's one of the arguments they love to toss out against concealed carry - the police are "well trained" and even they missed the suspect and hit innocent people, just imagine what would happen if everyone carried.

    The response always has to peel apart all the fallacies, assumptions, etc. in those responses and since they rarely respond, it only serves to sharpen my typing skills and sentences variation abilities.

  • ||

    *looks through reason archives*

    Nope, you're right - can't find a daggone thing!

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    Dear god, I hope that was sarcasm.

  • Idle Hands||

    Well duh the only way for the police and military to be held accountable for their longstanding issues with minorities is giving them an even larger monopoly on violence, duh.

  • Florida Man||

    I think the reason more gun control is a losing position is most Americans go "Well it's already illegal to mass kill people, what's another law going to do?".

  • Jima||

    ^This times 100.

  • sarcasmic||

    "... what's another law going to do?"

    Make it more difficult for people with bad intentions to get a gun. So what if it makes it difficult for people who don't have bad intentions? They're just crazy gun-nuts anyway. Fuck 'm. Who cares about bitter-clingers who voted for Bush?

  • Florida Man||

    Warning anecdote: I friends with some normal people who aren't raving gun/anti-gun nuts and most people don't think adding more laws will do anything to stop murder.

  • Drake||

    Yes - That what we want a massive federal law enforcement program to do - slightly inconvenience mass killers.

  • Akira||

    "We'll triple the prison sentence for anyone who commits a suicidal rampage on school grounds! That'll stop 'em!"

    /statist

  • Tejicano||

    ...and double that if they try to evade punishment by killing themselves!

  • sarcasmic||

    Many gun owners will balk at the inconvenience and expense of finding and paying a licensed dealer who is willing to faciliate a transaction.

    Exactly. Here's where I shop for guns.

  • Florida Man||

    $2 a round for .32? He's crazy.

  • sarcasmic||

    Lots of the sellers on there are crazy. They never seem to learn that their ads remain on there forever and no one buys the stuff because they are asking too much money. They know what the stuff is worth, and fuck anyone who isn't willing to pay. Idiots. But there are some deals on there. You just have to do your homework.

  • Florida Man||

    Seller: But it's vintage! You give me all your money!

    Me: yeah, no. I'll go buy some modern ammo thanks.

  • Free Society||

    You only need one retard to make that transaction happen. I think that's the seller's play.

  • Zeb||

    It is a lot, but it looks like something that no one manufactures anymore, so that could conceivably be the right price.

  • Mock-star||

    .32 RIMFIRE (emphasis mine) is most certainly worth that.

  • Florida Man||

    Don't you shine a light on me!

  • sarcasmic||

    There's a lot of people on there selling .22L for more than I would pay at the gun store up the road.

  • Zeb||

    The larger rimfire calibers haven't been widely manufactured for like 60 years.

  • steve walsh||

    As Obama admitted, it's not about fixing a problem, aka: ending gun violence and mass murder, its about politics. As such I predict this will be quite successful.

    Another thought: it is obvious this won't change anything and law enforcement has said they are unlikely or unable to enforce it, so why not go along and take advantage of the politics? A good Republican or Libertarian could say, "This law will have zero effect on mass murders, will do nothing to end gun violence, and will have no negative effect on gun ownership by law abiding citizens, but I'm voting for it because it is popular with the people.".

  • sarcasmic||

    Laws that appear unlikely to be enforced still remain on the books to be used later in a selective manner against the politically unfavorable.

  • steve walsh||

    Fair enough. Then the Repubs should prepare for the backlash but fully use the issue in the general election.

  • ace_m82||

    Does anyone here see why Justice must be repayment to the victim?

    If you don't, then carefully explain to me how anything else you could possibly do (imprison the aggressor, house arrest, parole, ban them from owning firearms, etc) can be accomplished without violating NAP in some way. After all, I cannot think of too many people who would be willing to imprison someone for life by paying for it voluntarily through the market... which leaves taxation as the only way to pay for it, which is a violation of NAP itself.

    Comments welcome.

  • Florida Man||

    I think people would voluntarily pay for prison if it meant keeping dangerous people off the street. Of course the prison population would be much smaller because only the really dangerous would be locked away.

  • ace_m82||

    If they want to do it through the market (no uses of force against those who would foot the bill), then fine, do it. I highly doubt many would actually be willing to do so, however.

    Do you want to pay $20 a month to keep some mass murderer alive?

  • Florida Man||

    Sure, if it's part of my monthly private police/prison contract fee. I much prefer that to being involuntarily taxed to put speeders in jail and letting them die slowly.

  • ace_m82||

    I'll take the private police without the prison, thank you very much.

    That being said, more power to you if that's how you want to go about it. Either way ends in more Justice and Liberty for all involved ...except the aggressors, of course.

  • Free Society||

    It's not a violation of the NAP to lock up a person who has forfeited their right to liberty by way of their own violation of the NAP. That's not to say the guy who steals a candy bar should be locked up, that's disproportional. But I think we can all agree that child murderers don't have a right to life and/or liberty once they've gone through due process and been convicted.

    Secondly, insurance companies and reinsurance companies would be paying to lock these people up on behalf of their customers who would be paying it as part of their insurance premiums. Moreover, where imprisonment doen't work, old fashioned outlawry would be a possible option as well, which is a fate far worse than imprisonment.

  • ace_m82||

    It's not a violation of the NAP to lock up a person who has forfeited their right to liberty by way of their own violation of the NAP.

    True. Now pay for it without violating NAP. You'd need volunteers to pay for it. (This is my point.)

    Secondly, insurance companies and reinsurance companies would be paying to lock these people up on behalf of their customers who would be paying it as part of their insurance premiums.

    That's not the cheapest method available. The cheapest is to make them repay a tooth for a tooth, a beating for a beating, a life for a life. Pain is a great teacher.

    Any insurance company who told you they'd pay for such a thing would charge much more than any competitor would, and would go out of business.

  • SimonJester||

    " monthly private police/prison contract fee"

    Please say more. You have my full attention.

  • Florida Man||

    Alas, tis only fantasy SJ.

  • ||

    Do you want to pay $20 a month to keep some mass murderer alive?

    By mandating the ACA and greatly increasing my cost, the state already requires that I pay much more than $20 a month.

  • ace_m82||

    Not defending the state, I'm attacking it because taxation is a violation of NAP (even if done for the most noble of purposes).

    Of course, a state actually enforcing NAP (other than the required taxation) would be better than what we have. It would be even better to say "heck with NAP violations" altogether and let the market decide what to do, allowing you to pay to keep your prisoner and me to... well... not pay to keep the prisoner.

  • john donkey||

    No, but I'd gladly donate a bullet to make some mass murder dead.

  • ||

    That's an interesting contention. Prison is actually counterproductive because they'll never earn enough from a prison job to meaningfully repay a victim (including the family of murdered victims).

  • Florida Man||

    unless the killer is already wealthy I doubt there is anyway to pay reparations in murder.

  • Free Society||

    Sometimes justice itself is viewed as a reparation. If a rich guy raped and murdered your child, would you consider it unethical to have him imprisoned? Would you be satisfied with financial compensation? I'm not so sure it would be unethical to give that sort of person a particularly torturous death as long as the degree of certainty in the conviction were high enough.

  • ace_m82||

    True, although once a conviction has been made, no third party really has (or should have) say over what the victim's representatives do to the guilty party, up to complete justice (life for life, eye for an eye).

    If you are willing to take $1 billion because a rich man murdered your kid, that's between you and him. If, however, you are like me and would rather see him die, that's up to the victim's representatives...

  • ||

    Prison is actually counterproductive because they'll never earn enough from a prison job to meaningfully repay a victim (including the family of murdered victims).

    Especially now that some on the left are defining prison jobs as slave labor and attempting to eliminate the jobs or have the company that owns and operates the prison be unable to use the profit to offset costs for the inmate's care.

    Minimum wage for prison workers!

  • The Late P Brooks||

    they hope gun control advocacy "will be a rallying point for a public that is eager for congressional action

    They live in their own little fantasy world, completely untethered from reaity.

  • LarryA||

    "Gun owners are a small and shrinking minority of old white men."

    "90% of everybody wants universal background checks, including 63% of gun owners."

    "We need to pass gun safety laws to stem the rising tide of gun violence."

    "All the other countries have gun control and no gun crimes."

    "Members of Congress who vote against gun control are cowards afraid of the NRA."

    Sure, these beliefs conflict with each other, but that's what fantasy is for.

  • ||

    We constantly hear that requiring a government ID in order to vote is, somehow, onerous for poor people. Wouldn't requiring ID to buy guns also be onerous? Oh, wait, progs can't imagine anyone wanting to buy a gun.

  • Long Woodchippers||

    The only acceptable form of ID when voting should be someone's gun registration permit.

  • LarryA||

    If you need a gun registration permit, you're voting wrong.

  • Zeb||

    I don't think voting works that way.

    But if you need one of those, something is very wrong. No one I haven't told personally knows how many guns I have and that is as it should be.

  • Long Woodchippers||

    I just say that to get the proggie's blood boiling.

    But we can do it the other way around - if someone is registered to vote, they're allowed to have a gun.

  • junyo||

    Expanding the background check requirement is not the same as actually compelling people to perform background checks for private gun transfers.

    That's beside the point. The point of the whole argument is to nudge the argument towards prohibition. Despite the fact that noone can name a mass shooting that would have been substantively impeded by universal background checks (Columbine gets thrown out on that one, but IIRC the shooters got guns from a private transfer via a 3rd party who was a non-prohibited person, so even with UBC the transaction would have gone through). So if they get 'universal background checks' the argument after the next shooting will be: 'Close the private ownership loophole. I don't know why the NRA/gun lobby/you bitter clinging nitwits won't support this sort of simple, common sense gun law.'

  • The Late P Brooks||

    I was reading a story the other day abut why gun shops are "reluctant" to take on private sale background checks. What happens when neither the buyer nor the seller passes?

    If the transfer falls through, the seller must undergo a check before getting the gun back.

  • Bubba Jones||

    Um, what? Why on earth would the seller undergo a check? I have never heard of such a thing.

  • ||

    Incremental prohibition. Duh.

  • bassjoe||

    I run regulatory compliance for a small company. As part of our compliance regime, we've signed up for services that offer background searches and identity verification.

    From personal experience, I know those services are imperfect. Oftentimes, people simply fail to show up at all in these checks or the checks return inaccurate data (both of which could result in a denial of services). And people, justifiably, get pissed.

    Universal background checks sound cool. But it is absolutely impossible to keep an accurate database on every single person in the country -- citizens, permanent residents, tourists, and the undocumented.

  • Will Nonya||

    The problem with universal background checks is that they will eventually become universal. Both in the gun control realm and without.

  • Zeb||

    But it is absolutely impossible to keep an accurate database on every single person in the country

    And if it were possible, that would be even scarier.

    I have a friend who used to work for a company that did background checks. What he did was drive around to courthouses and other places with public records and search through physical files looking for names on a list. It's comforting that it isn't any easier than that to look up all of the information that various government agencies collect on people. Sometimes government inefficiency is a good thing.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    Sadly, it is all too possible to keep a wldly INaccurate database on everyone in the country. And that is what we will get of we don't tell the political class to stop screwing around with issues they have no real talent for solving and stick to something they might actually be able to do. Mend the goddamned roads. Deliver the freaking mail. Fingerpaint. Something.

  • bassjoe||

    An inaccurate inefficient database can be horrible, to: people being denied services without knowing why, unable to fix whatever error is in the database, etc.

    It's like being on the TSA's no-fly list but with even less recourse to fix things. At least people can try to sue the TSA to figure out what's going on. What are you going to do if LexisNexis thinks you don't actually exist?

  • Will Nonya||

    What's all this fuss about? Surely no one who loves freedom can balk at being punished for a crime before they've committed it....oh. Never mind.

    Maybe the next step will be adding gun ownership as an endorsement on our federal ids along with travel and driving permissions. I imagine the requirements for freely speaking will be malleable to adjust for the political winds. At least these common sense licensing guidelines will protect the people though...

  • GregMax||

    I wouldn't have a huge problem with federal background checks if the federal government was responsible for establishing their own data-base of 1) People adjudicated mentally ill and a danger to others, and 2) people convicted of violent felonies. PERIOD.
    The present system requires a citizen to give testimony to exercise their right to provide for their own self-defense, and the questions they demand answers to have nothing to do with preventing harm to others. How many liberals claim that even illegal immigrants have "civil rights"? And yet, if you are not a citizen you can't exercise your right to provide for your self-defense.
    What they should do - as a somewhat acceptable compromise - is issue citizens a plastic card like a credit card that you get filling out ONE form about who you are one time, and then in the event that the data base includes you at some point - the background swipe will reject your purchase subject to protest. No gun specifics, no forced testimony under oath, and no record of the sale.
    But don't hold your breath for the NRA to push that.

  • ||

    if the federal government was responsible for establishing their own data-base

    Unpossible.

  • Akira||

    "1) People adjudicated mentally ill and a danger to others, and 2) people convicted of violent felonies. PERIOD."

    The problem is that we all know that these categories could be expanded to include just about anyone, especially "mentally ill".

    You're upset about something you went through over in Iraq? No guns for you!

    Your wife of 40 years just left you and you're depressed? Let's just take those firearms away, for your own good!

    You don't have many friends and enjoy playing video games? Obviously, you're an isolated, sociopathic maniac just like Adam Lanza!

  • Tejicano||

    Don't forget -

    "A relationship you were in went south and your crazy ex now falsely claims that you were violent"

    Oh wait, we already have that...

  • GregMax||

    The premise or justification for federal background checks rises from the (bogus) claim that because handguns contributed 80% of gun deaths, there was a compelling public interest to regulate firearm transfers. But the Constitutional authority (again bogus) is the commerce clause. The federal government has NO authority to regulate intra-state transfers, and relies on the commerce clause to justify federal inter-state transfers. So they can't just legislate intra-state transfer requirements without another bullshit judicial stamp of approval. That is the dilemma for the gun haters. So, in CA the state requires transfer checks for ALL transfers even within the family - grandpa dies and leave Judy his 45 and CA will confiscate the gun if it ever comes to light that Judy didn't get the proper approval. Or she'd guilty of a felony.
    Bottom line, there's enough dumbass voters in this country who are happy to be serfs as long as their iPhones are new and we finally get a female president.

  • Galactic Chipper Cdr Lytton||

    Unfollowed laws are great because it's one more hammer that can be used when you fall under the microscope of the police or a prosecutor. Didn't get a background check when you bought that gun from a friend and now used it (lawfully) to defend yourself? Hey, it's felony time!

    Here in Oregon, the gun show "loophole" excuse was used to pass background check requirement for all sales at gun shows about 15 years ago including from non-dealer private sellers and those parking lot sales (you know where you see some carrying around a nice rifle with a for sale sign and decide to adopt another firearm).

    Last session, thanks to Bloomberg's endless money, bluer mix of state legislators, and a defection of a longtime pro gun rights Dem, the legislature closed the private sales "loophole" with exceptions for family transfers and temporary transfers. Next time it will be closing the family "loophole" or the loan "loophole".

    Three legislators were targeted for recall and when it failed, the gun grabbers called it another victory. After those wins and Umpqua, I fully expect Bloomberg and his puppets to ram through even more restrictions in a state which has mostly been gun friendly for a long time.

  • Mainer2||

    I'm sure we could have some kind of accurate national database. Get the guys who wrote the code for the Oregan health insurance exchange.

  • Bubba Jones||

    I would think that you could trace a gun from one owner to the next. There is, or should be, a record of transfer at each step. From manf to FFL. From FFL to buyer. When you sell a gun, you should record the ID of the person who bought it, even if you don't do a background check.

    When you get to the person who said, "gee, I dunno." you probably have someone who deserves to be arrested for outstanding warrants.

    This allows you to trace weapons recovered from a crime scene, but it doesn't allow you to round up all the gun owners.

  • SimonJester||

    Who is managing this database? How much will it cost?

    There are problems with a system that requires citizens to keep track of these things:

    I sold my gun to Tom, but he got robbed.

    I sold my gun to a guy, but my house burned down and I lost the records.

    I sold my gun to a guy, and here is his info. Oh, it was a fake ID? Well, too bad.

    I sold my gun to a guy, and here is his info. Oh, you mean there was identity theft? Oops.

    I bought my gun from Gramps, but he died, and I dunno where he got it.

    I bought my gun from , [insert above all previous problems.]

    My gun was stolen/lost/broken/misplaced/whatever.

    And what happens with the records aren't kept to government specification?

  • Tejicano||

    So just because the system has a glitch and doesn't record a transfer some innocent man has to get locked up?

    Couldn't happen you say. But the much smaller full-on registration system - maintained by the same BATFE - for machine-guns, silencers, etc has been proven to have these exact same glitches.

  • Fat Hubie||

    The notion of "tracing guns" is ludicrous.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    The notion of "tracing guns" is ludicrous.

    They do it all the time, on my teevee.

  • geo1113||

  • ||

    Another discussion worth having: Gun grabbers don't care about crime. None of their measures are designed for any end other than disarming the law abiding population.

  • SimonJester||

    I was having this conversation just after Columbine. I was in High School at the time, and many people were all up-in-arms (ironically) about people having guns.

    I said that I didn't care what people had, and a person has the right to own whatever weapon they want. "So, you think it is okay for a person to own cruise missiles and nuclear weapons?!!!" said he. Said I, "Do you think that the sort of person who wants cruise missiles and nukes will care if they are legal?"

    There was no further conversation. It isn't about crime, it never is, it is about control.

  • Zeb||

    If you are in a position to obtain and use a nuclear bomb, I think you (effectively) get to decide what is legal and what is not.

  • SimonJester||

    Right, that was kind of my point. It was as if getting a shotgun was as easy as getting a nuke, and the only reason that the Columbine attackers used guns and not WMD was because they were not legally available.

  • BigT||

    Background checks will discriminate against poor, black or brown people - that's why all those progs are against them, just like voter ID laws.

    Oh, wait....

  • Zeb||

    Black people having more access to guns doesn't help them keep single party control in big cities.

  • ranrod||

    Obama offers 'crazy list' as silver bullet to gun massacres..
    Mental health as a weapon against the people is communist in origin, and the social sciences..

    Like the bumper sticker says, a gun’s only serious enemies are rust and politicians. At least rust has principles. Of course, nothing inspires shameless partisan ambition in politicians like an awful human tragedy. So, in a spasm of deceitful grandstanding, President Obama immediately sprang into the spotlight of last week’s terrible shooting in Oregon to peddle some of the worn, broken and rejected political wares he’s never been able to offload on anyone before. As with every traveling snake oil salesman, Mr. Obama knows how to take advantage of a crowd

  • Akira||

    "Like the bumper sticker says, a gun’s only serious enemies are rust and politicians."

    At least with rust (if you catch it early enough) you can wipe it off with some Hoppes No. 9, re-oil the area, and you're good to go.

    Scouring away bad politicians is much harder.

  • ranrod||

    And what, exactly, is crazy? You take anxiety meds? Sleeping pills? Been to a therapist? Or, perhaps, you go to church five nights a week? Or, did you serve in a combat zone of a foreign war? Mr. Obama will never be able to adequately answer any of these thorny questions about his crazy list that will cause even the zaniest of left-wingers to cringe. That is because his real goal is confiscation and outlawing of virtually all guns that Americans use everyday for self-defense, sport shooting, hunting and just to prove we love freedom. If you don’t believe me, just ask him. “We know that other countries, in response to one mass shooting, have been able to craft laws that almost eliminate mass shootings. Friends of ours, allies of ours — Great Britain, Australia, countries like ours.”
    washingtonntimes

  • Shootist||

    Is there any reason to believe a President Hillary could persuade the House and Senate to approve such draconian citizen control laws?

  • gunfacts||

    Good piece, but we need to keep in mind that at a minimum 40% of crime guns come from source that will never participate in background checks, and this number could be as high as 78%.

    http://www.gunfacts.info/blog/universal-isnt/

    In terms of efficacy, "universal" background checks are inane.

  • Sorgfelt||

    Number 1 is not true. Almost if not every one of the mass shooters has been on psychiatric drugs. No one on psychiatric drugs should be anywhere near a gun. Refusal to allow those people to own guns could reduce mass shootings by as much as 50%.

    If you don't like it, we could repeal the second amendment. It would make as much sense as repealing Obama/RomneyCare.

  • Millard Fillmore||

    Your kid took ADHD pills in first grade? No Constitutional rights for him. All you just accomplished was making the use of phsychiatric drugs a ridiculous choice in terms of cost-benefit, so you'll just end up with plenty of people who need mess refusing to take them. That'll help solve shootings!

    Fuck off slaver.

  • Chimo||

    There is one simple reply to people who advocate background checks...

    FREE PEOPLE DON'T NEED PERMISSION

  • Allballz||

    I'm getting a little tired of seeing these articles "debunking" gun control measures and explaining why they won't work. These people KNOW that won't work. And they don't care. It's not their agenda to enact gun control measures that work because that would mean we still had guns.

    That's the REAL agenda. They know they can't openly confiscate people's guns so they look to the power òf the regulation to do it slowly and with subtlety so we don't notice were all now without our guns.

  • WillR||

    "The federal government has no such registry either"

    Not only does such a registry not exist, but it is illegal for one to exist under 18 USC 922 (t)(2)(c). Creating one would violate the compromise struck when the Brady Bill was originally passed. The government is only allowed to keep metadata of sales, while the FFL keeps the actual record of the buyer's information. If NICS were expanded to allow private citizens usage of it, a burden of permanent record keeping would be put on individuals as well.

    18 U.S. Code § 922
    (t)(2) If receipt of a firearm would not violate subsection (g) or (n) or State law, the system shall—
    (A) assign a unique identification number to the transfer;
    (B) provide the licensee with the number; and
    (C) destroy all records of the system with respect to the call (other than the identifying number and the date the number was assigned) and all records of the system relating to the person or the transfer.

  • TLE-NC||

    According to the Justice Dept., expanding background checks simply increases the number of straw purchases.

  • john donkey||

    A better solution would be to limit "prohibited persons" to violent felons and then make it a strict liability crime to transfer a gun to one. This way folks wouldn't have to worry about a background check for family and friends (but they better know them well!) but smart people would err on the side of caution and go through an FFL when selling to strangers.

    This would make it a lot easier to convict straw purchasers as well.

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