The anti-gun people insist “improved background checks” and even “universal background checks” should not be controversial. Let me try to explain why they are both pointless and completely unacceptable to thinking people.
Pointless demonstration number 1:
The claimed purpose of background checks is to prevent “people who shouldn’t have guns” from acquiring them. That is a noble objective. It sounds so reasonable and “common sense” that I want to agree without giving it even a seconds thought. It’s an excellent idea! It’s such a great idea we should apply that to some other dangerous things. Let’s have background checks before people can purchase recreational drugs. Far too many people abuse them and destroy their lives and frequently the lives of others. Keeping recreational drugs out of the hands of people that would likely abuse them is just “common sense”. Right?
Oh! That’s right. We have something way beyond background checks in place for most recreational drugs. We have banned them not just from “people that might abuse them” but from everyone. How’s that working out? How long does it take the average high school dropout to find a way around the ban? Yeah, that’s right, Einstein. The average high school dropout can get all the recreational drugs they want within an hour anytime of the day, any day of the week. So just how effective you think a background check would be in reducing the abuse of recreational drugs?
Now apply what you know about the recreational drug issue to firearms. A background check is totally pointless.
Pointless demonstration number 2:
Universal background checks can only claim effectiveness if they can be enforced. Prostitution is illegal in most states but if a beautiful woman leaves a $100 bill on my nightstand when she leaves in the morning (yes, stretch your imagination a bit, or a lot, for purposes of illustration) how does the government enforce the “no sex for money” prohibition in this case? It was a “private transaction” between willing parties. Do you think either party has an interest in disclosing the transaction to the police? And even if they do there is a significant obstacle in that it becomes a “he said, she said” problem.
In the absence of gun and/or gun owner registration the case of the “private transaction” between gun owners boils down to the same thing. The government, and perhaps one party to the transaction, can claim no background check was done. As long as the person being prosecuted keeps their mouth shut and the transaction wasn’t recorded it is going to be impossible to prove that a background check wasn’t performed. Remember, in order to get the Brady Act (“instant” background checks for gun transactions) passed the law states that all record of passing background checks must be destroyed. Searching the records of all those authorized to perform background checks would be a violation of Fourth Amendment rights.
Pointless demonstration number 3:
Even if a background check is performed it only requires a stolen or fake ID to defeat it. The fake ID doesn’t even have to be for a real person! The check is not against a “white list” of people that are “allowed” to have guns. The check is against a “black list” of people that are disallowed from possessing guns.
If you still advocate for background checks for firearms I can only think of two possibilities:
- You have a motive other than reducing the misuse of firearms.
- You also get confused when your caretaker is reading Dr. Seuss books to you.
Now that we have it settled that background checks are completely pointless let’s proceed on to the “unacceptable” demonstrations.
Unacceptable demonstration number 1:
Background checks cost money and time. The FBI portion of them is “free” to the people doing the transaction. But really that just means the government is wasting scarce law enforcement resources using money they obtained through taxes (obtained at gunpoint–oh, the irony!). The only people authorized to do background checks are people with Federal Firearms Licenses (FFLs). Because it is time consuming they always charge a fee and you must do a face-to-face transaction. This adds more wasted time and money to the transaction. A transaction which is a specific enumerate right.
This pointless waste of time and money is unacceptable at any time but when the government is deeply in debt and the economy is doing poorly wasting precious government and private resources it is even more so.
Unacceptable demonstration number 2:
If law requiring universal background checks is passed it will only be a short time before the politicians will “discover” the “loopholes” that prevents the law from working as intended. These include the lack of gun registration and the lack of defense against fake IDs. Any attempt at gun registration in the U.S. will result in massive non-compliance on a scale that will make alcohol prohibition look like first graders failing to stay in a straight line while waiting to go on recess. Look at the non-compliance experienced in the failed long gun registration in Canada. Multiply that by three (the difference in per capita gun ownership rate), multiply that by two (U.S. citizens trust the government less than Canadian citizens), then add ten billion rounds of ammunition (annual consumption by private citizens). Or look at New York state, multiple by fifty (the citizens of other states included in the non-compliance) and multiply that by ten (the citizens of New York state have the option of moving to a freer state, with no place to escape the resistance will be more fierce), then add ten billion rounds of ammunition.
The “ID loophole” was identified years ago by the Feds and they passed a law requiring “Real ID” by the states. How’s that working out?
For the government to force this sort of situation upon the people is unacceptable.
Unacceptable demonstration number 3:
Since demonstrating that background checks are pointless the continued insistence upon forcing them upon the people this must mean that those continuing to advocate for them are either evil (option 1 above) or have the comprehension skills no better than that of an above average German Shepard (option 2 above). Despite the existence of blue dog democrats we have never elected someone so stupid as a real dog to a Federal office (Senator Patty Murray is not a counter example, she is capable of reading and comprehending most Dr. Seuss books). One can only conclude those advocating for background checks are evil or are doing so under duress.
Good people don’t knowingly and willingly cooperate with evil. It is unacceptable.
Background checks are pointless and unacceptable. We are better than this.
Even compromising with those that advocate for them is the moral equivalent of compromising with people that want “common sense” limits on the 13th Amendment or someone intending to rape your 10 year-old child. The response must be an exceedingly firm no.
Update: I almost forgot, as pointed out by Tim S. in email a few days ago, there is a form of background check almost all gun owners would accept. That is if there were an “endorsement” on your state ID card (such as drivers license) like the restriction for corrective lenses or endorsement for motorcycle or commercial drivers license. It wouldn’t be much, if any, more effective than that currently proposed by the anti-freedom people. But it would eliminate the concerns over registration and most of the expense and wasted time. If such a thing is offered as a compromise to the anti-gunners expect it to be vigorously rejected. They know it doesn’t meet their “needs” and as such will refuse to give in.
Update 2: See also the conclusions which can be drawn from this study.