By: Teresa Mull
House Democrats have unveiled a bill to further regulate the purchase of a firearm by requiring onerous background checks on nearly all gun sales, thus creating a universal gun registration.
ABC News reports:
The measure, introduced Tuesday with [former Rep. Gabby] Giffords and gun control advocates at the Capitol, would require background checks on the sale of any firearm and expand existing background checks to cover anyone attempting to buy firearms online, commercially, or at gun shows, while providing exceptions for law enforcement and the transfer of guns between friends and family members.
“With the anti-gun Democrat majority, the threat of Universal Gun Registration passing the House is very real,” the National Association for Gun Rights (NAGR) said in a release.
NAGR reports H.B. 8, if passed, will:
*** OUTRIGHT BAN all private firearms sales -- requiring every gun purchase to be pre-approved by the federal government at YOUR expense.
*** MAKE IT ILLEGAL to let your friend or even family member borrow your firearm on a hunting trip.
*** FORCE all firearm purchases to be registered through the Brady-NICS registration system.
Gun Registration --> Gun Confiscation
Ted Patterson explained to Gunpowder Magazine last year how gun registries quickly lead to gun confication on a huge scale:
Background checks are nothing more than a firearms registration system, which has historically been a precursor to full-fledged firearms confiscation. Many point to Nazi Germany as one of the best examples of what comes of gun registration. Most people probably do not know that it was not the Nazis nor Hitler who initiated gun registration. It actually was the preexisting Weimar government’s initiative put into law because of their fears of the Communists and Nazis. The Weimar government implemented laws that the Nazis would later use to oppress the German people, namely, German Jews.
Although Hitler rapidly expanded upon what the Weimar government had instituted, this historical event reminds us that well-intentional laws passed by good people can be used by the next round of political operatives to devastating effect. This is why it is so important to stop any hint of universal background checks: such a measure could open the door to a disastrous future.
Closing the So-Called ‘Gun Show Loophole’
This most recent federal gun control bill would close the so-called “gun show loophole” gun control advocates often point to in an attempt to make gun owners and sellers sound as if they’re lawless gun runners.
James Bardwell, in-house attorney for the National Association for Gun Rights, explained to GPM why “gun show loophole” is a fraudulent phrase Democrats deliberately use to deceive voters for political gain:
A gun show is an event where people who like firearms meet up to buy and sell firearms. People who attend the show who are in the business of firearms sales have to conduct background checks on sales they make at the show, just as they would if the buyer had come to their shop. People who just want to sell a firearm they happen to own do not have to get a background check performed on their buyers. They can just hand the firearm to the buyer in exchange for another firearm, or money, or perhaps a combination of both.
So, proponents of gun control call the fact that federal law does not require a background check on sales by persons who are not licensed as dealers a ‘gun show loophole.’ In reality, the ‘loophole’ refers to sales by unlicensed sellers anywhere they are conducted, whether at a gun show or elsewhere.
In other words, liberals claim the absence of government interference between private firearm sales is a “loophole.”
Now, they want to do away with the “loophole” by requiring private gun sellers to conduct a background check, asserting that such a mandate will make Americans safer, despite dozens of scientific studies that prove the opposite is true.
Gun Shows Are Not the Problem
Jacob Sullum, writing for Reason in 2013, noted that “sales blocked by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) rarely result in a federal investigation, let alone prosecution.”
Even if NICS did work and caught criminals before they shot people, Sullum points out the effectiveness of NICS doesn’t matter, because “Criminals generally do not buy their weapons in gun stores.”
Do most criminals turn to flea markets and gun shows, thus taking advantage of the so-called “loophole” to acquire their weapons? Would requiring private gun sellers to conduct background checks end gun violence once and for all?
No. Typically, they steal them, get friends or family to buy them, or purchase them on the black market.
In a 2004 inmate survey, less than 2 percent of respondents said they had bought weapons at gun shows or flea markets.
Three sources accounted for almost nine out of 10 crime guns: "friends or family" (40 percent), "the street" (38 percent), and theft (10 percent).
Similarly, Professor C.D. Michel from Chapman University School of Law reported for The Hill in 2013:
“In a report titled ‘Firearm Use by Offenders’, our own Federal Government noted that nearly 40 percent of all crime guns are acquired from street level dealers, who are criminals in the black market business of peddling stolen and recycled guns. Standing alone, this shows that ‘universal’ background checks would have an incomplete effect on guns used in crimes.”
“As usual with gun control, the attempt to enforce such a requirement would impose costs and uncertain legal risks on law-abiding gun owners while leaving criminals free to go about their business,” Sullum concludes.
‘Ineffective, Unconstitutional, and Dangerous’
Gun Owners of America (GOA) declares background checks to be “ineffective, unconstitutional, and dangerous.”
We already have a background check system in place, and of the firearm sale denials NICS comes up with, GOA reports, approximately 95 percent are “false positives,” meaning “…people who are being denied are not the people that want to hold up the neighborhood grocery store.”
The U.S. Constitution protects citizens’ unalienable rights, and forcing law-abiding Americans to get permission to exercise these rights is a violation of the Constitution. Background checks, the Ron Paul Institute has noted, are a “violation of several parts of the bill of rights,” including the First, Fifth, and Tenth Amendments.
Not only do the background checks we have in place not work to prevent mass shootings (most of the most infamous shooters, including the man who shot Giffords, passed background checks), they also disarm good people who deserve the right to self-defense.
Defenseless citizens become sitting ducks for criminals. GOA reports:
Forcing law-abiding citizens to get “permission” to exercise a constitutionally-protected right can result in harmful delays -- and even death. Consider Carol Bowne of New Jersey, who tried to get a gun for protection … was forced to wait several weeks during the screening process … and was ultimately stabbed to death by the man she wanted to defend herself against.
Dr. John Lott, Ph.D., President of the Crime Prevention Research Center, reports that not only do background checks not make people safer, they actually make matters worse:
“States with these background checks experienced an increase of 15 percent in per capita rates of mass public shooting fatalities. They also saw a 38 percent increase in the rate of injury. Nor is there evidence that expanded background checks reduce rates of any type of violent crime, including mass public shootings, suicide, murder of police officers, and domestic violence against women. Other academic research by economists and criminologists consistently confirms this.”
Likewise, a study published last fall found, “Comprehensive background checks have not affected California’s homicide and suicide rates over the past decade.”
Background Checks Won’t Work
Promoting background checks is a ruse liberal politicians and bureaucrats use to gain power and control in the name of “public safety.”
But background checks haven’t worked, and increasing them will only result in the loss of more innocent life.
The majority of mass shooters in recent days were not criminals until they carried out their heinous crimes. They obtained their firearms legally, and background checks did not stop them.
In the event criminals are unable to pass a background check, they will not be deterred. They will find other means of procuring a gun, and statistics show they do, indeed, turn to theft, straw purchases, or the black market to get their hands on a weapon.
What we’re left with is a terribly defective, unconstitutional system of vetting would-be gun owners that, when it denies people their right to self-defense, gets it wrong an astounding 95 percent of the time. Law-abiding citizens are left unarmed and vulnerable, and violent crime rates soar.
And the Democrats want more of it.
Teresa Mull is editor of Gunpowder Magazine. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.