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Top 9 Reasons House Democrats’ Latest Gun Control Bill Is A Terrible Idea

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Shortly after taking back control of the U.S. House of Representatives, Democrats are making a significant push to enact major gun control legislation.

House Democrats are set to pass a bill requiring so-called “universal background checks” at the federal level, which would effectively outlaw private sales throughout the country. That bill—H.R. 8, or the “Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019”—would require that all transfers of firearm possession occur only after a federal background check has been conducted. On its face, this may seem like a reasonable idea, but on closer examination, none of the claims from gun control proponents backing this bill holds water.

Detailed below are the top nine reasons this latest piece of gun control legislation is a bad idea. Federally mandated universal background checks won’t end gun violence or stop the criminal misuse of firearms, but they will significantly increase the burden of millions of law-abiding Americans who wish only to exercise their Second Amendment right to self-defense.

1. Gun Dealers Already Conduct Background Checks

Federal law, promulgated via Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) rules, already requires all gun dealers to ensure that a customer has satisfied the background check requirements prior to allowing the customer to have possession of a firearm.

Under current federal law, gun dealers are required to confirm, prior to any and all sales, that a customer has passed a background check. If you head into a gun store to purchase a new firearm, that dealer must confirm that you have passed a background check before you can take possession of that new gun and take it home. This is the case regardless of where you live. And if you’re traveling across state lines and see a gun in another state that you’d like to purchase, you must pass a background check before you can purchase and possess the gun.

Nearly two dozen states place additional requirements beyond federal law on firearm transfers and already either require a background check to be conducted for every firearm transfer (even between private same-state resident individuals, like the Universal Background Check bill proposes) or a valid firearm possession license that is issued contingent upon a background check.

See more about the efficacy of these extra background check requirements below.

2. In-State Commerce Is a State Issue

Under current law, only firearms transactions between private, non-dealer residents who reside in the same state are exempt from federal background check requirements. That is because the federal firearm licensing system and background check requirements apply only to interstate commerce.

This is not because the federal government doesn’t want more power (since when has that happened?). Instead, it is a valid constitutional restriction on what types of activities and commerce the federal government may control.

As noted above, many states have placed additional restrictions on firearm possession above and beyond what the federal government already requires. These purely in-state transactions between private residents of those states should continue to be handled at the state level, as different states have different challenges that are best addressed with local solutions implemented by local representatives.

Furthermore, each state should retain the authority to decide whether it is willing to incur the additional costs and burdens that will arise from new gun control restrictions.

3. Demands For New Gun Control Are An Admission That Gun Control Doesn’t Work

Background checks are used to ensure that a potential firearm possessor is not one of a class of “prohibited persons” who are prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition under federal law. This class includes felons, fugitives, those subject to certain restraining orders, those convicted of crimes of domestic violence, and more.

This means gun control legislation already makes it illegal for these people to possess a firearm. Requiring more background checks is an admission that the current law prohibiting these people from possessing firearms is not enough to prevent their possession. This is true for all gun-control laws, because if we know one thing about criminals, it’s that they do not care if they break the law.

Every mass killing is caused by one thing: an evil person intent on killing many innocent people. The tool, whether it be an airplane, a pressure cooker, or a firearm, can change. Making even more laws restricting access to the tool will not stop mass killings, but it will make it more difficult for law-abiding citizens to defend themselves from potential violence. By definition, criminals don’t obey the law.

The horrific mass shooting at a school in Newtown, Connecticut, was not prevented by banning murder, banning guns on schools, banning the theft of firearms, nor requiring so-called universal background checks for every gun sale (Connecticut is one of the states that requires this). Adding yet another law on top of dozens of other laws that failed to prevent mass gun violence is an admission that these laws simply don’t work.

4. There Is No ‘Gun-Show Loophole’

One of the biggest claims I’ve heard as a reason for needing more background checks is the so-called “gun-show loophole.” There’s one big problem with that claim: there is no “gun-show loophole” in federal law. It is a myth.

As covered above, federal law requires that all sales from firearm dealers, or sales between residents of different states, must satisfy the background check requirements, regardless of whether those sales happen in a gun shop, at a gun show, or out of the back of somebody’s trunk in a parking lot. Many states also require background checks for individual sales.

There is simply no law anywhere that says if a gun is bought at a gun show, then the buyer doesn’t have to undergo a background check. In fact, gun shows are generally full of ATF agents on the prowl for potential violations of federal law. A dealer who tries to sell a gun at a gun show without confirming that the buyer has passed a background check will get in big trouble in short order.

Furthermore, federal law also prevents sales to anyone the seller believes to be a “prohibited person” (e.g., a convicted felon). As a result, gun dealers regularly turn away potential customers if they think they are not legally allowed to purchase or possess a firearm. There is no special exemption or “loophole” in federal law that allows gun show sales to occur without background checks.

5. There Is No ‘Online Gun Sales Loophole’

Another common call for universal background checks is based on a so-called “online gun sale loophole.” Similar to the “gun show loophole” above, it doesn’t exist. Firearms can be legally purchased online as long as the purchaser is not a “prohibited person,” the firearm is legal to possess in the purchaser’s state of residence, and the state otherwise allows the sale.

But here’s the rub: the process for online gun sales requires that the firearm be shipped to a federally licensed dealer in the purchaser’s home state, where the purchaser must fill out the required federal paperwork and satisfy the background check requirements prior to possession. Just because you click “BUY” on a website that sells guns doesn’t mean you’ll have it shipped to your door without having to process the transaction through a federal gun dealer, who is required to confirm that you have passed a background check before you take possession of that new gun.

6. Universal Background Checks Won’t Stop Criminals From Getting Guns

A potential firearm purchaser is either a person with a clean criminal record and therefore not a “prohibited person,” or someone who is already legally prohibited from purchasing a firearm. Even under a legal regime that requires universal background checks, the person who is banned by law from owning a gun will continue to get a gun the same way criminals do today: by stealing it, having someone else by it for him or her, or purchasing it in the black market. A federal background check requirement will do nothing to prevent that already illegal sale.

Thinking this will stop the criminal misuse of firearms is like insisting upon a background check before someone can purchase crystal meth. Users of crystal meth, much like criminals with guns, act contrary to the law. If they can’t legally buy it, they’ll do it illegally. And the people in the business of illegally selling aren’t about to start complying with laws that require them to conduct their black market sales in a particular way.

Remember, it’s already illegal for a prohibited person to possess a firearm. If that law doesn’t stop them, requiring background checks in more types of transactions won’t either.

There’s also a real problem with “straw purchases” of firearms, wherein someone with a clean record buys a gun from a gun store for someone who can’t legally purchase it on his or her own. This is already illegal and our nation’s gun dealers are the front line of defense against these illegal transactions. However, despite the current background check requirements for gun dealers, straw purchases still happen, and illegal straw purchases will only become more popular and more difficult to discern if H.R. 8 becomes law.

7. Background Checks Won’t Stop Mass Shootings

Demands for more gun control always seem to follow mass shootings. It makes sense that we want to do something—these mass shootings are horrific, and we should do what we can to stop them. However, universal background checks will not end mass shootings or gun violence.

For example, universal background checks would not have stopped the deadliest mass shootings following the enactment of federal background check requirements in 1994:

Las Vegas 2017: Shooter purchased his firearms from a gun dealer (where background checks are already required).

Orlando 2016: Shooter purchased his firearms from a gun dealer.

Virginia Tech 2007: Shooter purchased his firearms from a gun dealer.

Sandy Hook 2012: Shooter stole his firearms.

Sutherland Springs 2017: Shooter purchased his firearm from a gun dealer. He had a criminal record and the background check system failed to stop him (the same system that would be used for private transfers).

Parkland 2018: Shooter purchased firearm from a gun dealer.

San Bernardino 2017: Shooters’ firearms were “straw-purchased” by someone else.

Fort Hood 2009: Shooter purchased firearm from a gun dealer.

Columbine 1999: Shooters’ guns were straw-purchased for them by someone else.

Thousand Oaks 2018: Shooter purchased firearm legally with a background check.

Navy Yard 2013: Shooter purchased firearm from a gun dealer.

Aurora 2012: Shooter purchased firearms from a gun dealer.

8. Universal Background Checks Are Too Burdensome

The current National Instant Criminal Check System (NICS) used for firearm background checks can only be used by federally licensed gun dealers or government entities. This restriction by the FBI on their system is due to them not being able to handle the burden of additional checks.

Opening the background check system, which already experiences significant backlogs and delays, will introduce an extra burden on the government, and on those who wish to exercise their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. The universal background check bill will amount to a delay and a tax on the exercise of a fundamental right.

First, a seller and buyer must find, and travel to, a local gun store during the store’s hours and wait for paperwork and a background check to be processed. Second, unless the federal government intends to force dealers into servitude, the dealer will charge a fee for their services conducting the background check. This fee, typically around $25-50, will be, in effect, an additional tax on every sale of a firearm.

There will also be a burden on gun dealers. Most gun dealers are small business owners who are focused on keeping their businesses running. This extra burden will take their time away from customers and other business duties. It will also significantly increase their ATF compliance burden, as they are liable for every piece of paperwork and transfer that takes place.

9. This Creates a De Facto Federal Gun Registry

It is currently illegal for the federal government to maintain a database of ownership of standard firearms (not including silencers, machine guns, etc.). There is a good reason for this ban on a federal gun registry: the government can only confiscate firearms if it first knows where they are all located.

The natural conclusion to this law’s enforcement would be the creation of a database tracking the lawful transfers, and therefore current possessors, of all firearms in this country.

Although a registry is not mentioned in the bill, it is a logical conclusion. After all, how could such a universal background check law ever be enforced absent a national gun registry showing who passed a background check, when, and for which particular firearms?

For law enforcement to prove that a firearm was purchased in a private transaction, they would need to know who was the most recent lawful possessor. Of course, someone with a lawfully possessed firearm could have a receipt from a gun store, but that could be lost or faked.

The natural conclusion to this law’s enforcement would be the creation of a database tracking the lawful transfers, and therefore current possessors, of all firearms in this country. It would be bad enough if the government were to maintain and use such a list, but what if hackers stole that list (just as they stole the personnel records of millions of federal employees)? Suddenly, violent criminals in search of weapons would have a perfect map showing which homes to ransack when nobody’s home.

Mass shootings and gun violence are horrible, and we should try to stop them. However, demands for more gun control only make plain the truth that gun control cannot stop violence.

Current gun control isn’t enough. The latest gun control proposal is no different. It would do nothing to end gun violence, but it would drastically increase the burdens on law-abiding citizens who only wish to defend themselves and their families from the violent criminals who don’t care whether something is against the law or not.

Ryan Cleckner is a former special operations sniper and a current firearms attorney, university lecturer, entrepreneur, and best-selling author of the Long Range Shooting Handbook. His most recent projects include online training to help people get an FFL and providing an app and training as school safety solutions.

via thefederalist

19 COMMENTS

    • Great idea, Jerry………………..its coming sooner or later for sure….I work at a sporting goods store and guns and ammo is flying out the door almost faster than we can re-stock it…apparently some people thinks something big is about to happen…..

      • I thought sales were down, due to the “Trump slump?” (I heard that after Trump was elected, sales slumped enough that Remington filed chapter 11.) So, this is no longer true? The threat of more gun control has always meant great business for gun and ammo manufacturers.

  1. Gun control has never been about gun safety or keeping guns out of the hands of criminals. Gun control is just hat control. One of Obama’s cabinet members Cass Sunstein often restated two quotes from the Chinese dictator Moa. “First you nudge people, then you shove them.” and “Real power comes out of the barrel of a gun.”

    TheDem0craticpartylost the 2016 presidential bid because of arrogance and stupidity. They have lost power which if they had won in 2016 we would have a signal party government. Thus you have the push for more gun control and then you have the Green New Deal. This is being shoved down your throat. They have nudged the people to this cabal of global warming changing to climate change for the past 30 years. now it is time to shove them into it. But first we must know where the guns are because this will be the one thing that will stop this doctorial rule.

    • I SMELL CORDITE !

      NO Mao stated ~ ~ ~

      ” The absolute power of all free people will always come from the barrel of a smoking GUN, Therefor we must remove all guns from the people or we will never have absolute unquestioned power ! ”

  2. Democrats are out of control and should not be allowed to create laws unless their constituents, who they’re supposed to represent, approves of their idea. What we have today is a repeat of history: “Taxation withOUT representation.” Will this be another Revolution against our own government?

  3. None of these so called new gun laws will not stop any mass shootings. In the states where most of the previous mass shooting occurred thoes states already had strict background checks.
    When did any of these criminals care about any gun law.

  4. Virginia,

    I do not even think of the JACK ASS PARTY as any part of the Government because of all the laws they have Squat ~ Piled & used Named law papers of the Constitution & other Federal Laws to wipe off with. I addition laws they have passed are 180 degrees around from our constitutional rights to us. They have not provided for the Defence of America since day 1! Yet Welfare always is over fat, it is 1.75x more than the military gets in the 6Th year of OBamYa it was $3,215,937,550,000.oo, Moon Beam Brown of California got $978,575,000,000,000.oo of that & of that $719,745,192,000.oo went to Illegal Latinos, Michigan also got $755,985,375,000.oo of that $479,672,725,000.oo went to Illegal Muslims all of them via WELFARE, Food Stamps, Child Care, Wick, Win, Medicaid, Medicare, Section #8 Housing, Section #202 Housing, Section #232 Housing, Rubbs ( that’s cooking gas, heating gas, heating oil, water, trash pick up, the O’BamYa phones & Electrical power) now think about that just by not sending the federal money used for Illegals of the 2 states (think what it will be with adding NY, Mass, Minn, Wash, and Org) POTUS ” T ” would have $1,199,417,917,000,000.oo ($1 Trillion 199 Billion 917 Million approved by the JACK ASS PARTY in the Sin~I~Can’s & Con~U~InTo~Griefs under O’BamYa for the ILLEGALS in just 2 states) That’s 239.9834 x more than what he asked for all most 240 x more to do what the law states that he is to do vs what lawmakers are NOT ALLOWED TO DO . . .

  5. Every Commie Run Nation, and/or Dictatorship, on this Planet uses the Word Democratic or Democrat, in it’s official name! THAT Alone should tell you something! The Peoples Democratic Republic of—!!

    • I don’t know of a single communist in the Democratic party. Americans don’t elect such people. However, there are socialists in the Democratic party, but they are different from communists.

  6. Gun Crabbers

    People that have not been a victim of gun violence, or never owned or shot a gun have no idea of the true meaning of the Second Amendment, and when they listen to the lies of the democrats and the lying media, I can understand how they feel. But it is their responsibility to understand the Second Amendment. The Second Amendment or the NRA doesn’t kill people neither one promotes gun violence, neither one what’s criminals to have weapons. The Second Amendment and the NRA are in existence to protect law abiding citizens. We have over 20 thousand gun laws on the books and not one of those laws or any new law will stop mass shootings. The democrats always politicize any type of gun violence. Their true agenda is gun confiscation, they are the true villains. Now if they achieve gun confiscation how will they get the guns from criminals and gang baggers? They won’t criminals don’t obey laws so they would be the only ones with guns. So now how would you protect yourself , your family, your property and from a tyrannical government? I’m going to give one great example, that the democrats and the lying media lie about and that is the 1996 gun confiscation of Australia. They all said it worked but that is not true. I have a letter from a senator from Australia that said America don’t let your government take your guns. Our gun confiscation did not work, the criminals still had their guns and crime has gone up by 60%. Criminals started doing home invasions in broad daylight because the criminals know now that the people no longer had a way to protect themselves. So who is to blame for gun violence?

    “Since the dawn of creation there has been both good & evil in the hearts of men and women. We all contain the seeds of kindness or the seeds of violence. “The first recorded act of violence was when Cain slew his brother Abel out in the field. The villain was not the club he used.. Neither was it the NCA, the National Club Association. The true killer was Cain, and the reason for the murder could only be found in Cain’s heart. In the days of any mass shooting, I was amazed at how quickly fingers began to be pointed at the Second Amendment and the NRA by the democrats and the lying media. I must point out that the NRA is a organization that is made up of law abiding citizens to help preserve our Second Amendment rights. I’m here today to declare that mass shootings are not just a tragedy, they are a spiritual event that should be forcing us to look at where the real blame lies! Much of the blame lies on our politicians, much of the blame lies behind the pointing fingers of the accusers themselves and most to blame is our society today.

    I grew up with guns. But you know what? My parents never supported any bad behavior from me. I was terrified of doing something bad at school, as I would have not had a life until I corrected the problem and straightened my ass out. My parents invaded my life. They knew where I was all the time. They made me have a curfew. They made me wake them up when I got home. They made me respect their rules. They had full control of their house, and at any time could and would go through every inch of my bedroom, backpack, pockets, anything! Parents it’s time to step up! Be the parent that actually gives a crap! Be the annoying mom that pries and knows what your kid is doing. Stop being their friend. They have enough “friends” at school. Be their parent. Being the “cool mom” means not a damn thing when either your kid is dead or your kid kills other people because they were allowed to have their space and privacy in your home. I’ll say it again. My home was filled with guns growing up. For God’s sake, my dad was Marine who fought in three wars serving our country. But you know what? I never dreamed of shooting anyone with his guns. I never dreamed of taking one! I was taught respect for human life, compassion, rules, common decency, and most of all, I was taught that until I moved out, my life and bedroom wasn’t mine…it was theirs. And they were going to know what was happening because they loved me and wanted the best for me.

    Men and women are three-part beings. We all consist of body, mind, and spirit. When we refuse to acknowledge a third part of our make-up, we create a void that allows evil, prejudice, and hatred to rush in and wreak havoc. Spiritual presences were present within our educational systems for most of our nation’s history. Many of our major colleges began as theological seminaries. This is a historical fact. What has happened to us as a nation? We have refused to honor God, and in so doing, we open the doors to hatred and violence. And when something as terrible as mass shootings occurs politicians immediately look for a scapegoat such as the NRA, the Second Amendment, and Law abiding citizens that own guns. Remember gun control laws only affect law abiding citizens, criminals don/t obey laws. They immediately seek to pass more restrictive laws that contribute to erode away our personal and private liberties. We do not need more restrictive laws.

    Look to our inner cities like Detroit, Chicago, Oakland, Los Angeles, and many more all run by democrats for years. Chicago has the strictest gun laws in the country, yet they are the murder capital of America. Look at the overall education system today students are turning to socialism, and communism because of the brain washing of our teachers and professors.

    There is a city in the state of Georgia call Kennesaw that has a law that every law abiding citizen must own a gun. This law has been in effect for fifteen years and in all that time they have had only one murder and other crimes are almost nonexistent. Gun free zones have more crime than others, that’s a fact regardless what the democrats or the lying media says.

    So in closing I hope non gun owners will do the research and learn about the true history of the NRA and our Second Amendment these two things protect all our other rights as Americans. No gun law is going to stop mass shootings or from criminals committing crime, gun laws only affect law abiding citizens.

  7. I don’t know a single “gun grabber.” Nor do I know of any lying Democrats or lying media, except of course for Fox News and Sean Hannity.

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