All “Gun Control” efforts are a really bad idea. There is no escaping the facts when you understand what the impact of 50 years of misguided efforts have taken us.
The core issues are:
- Personal responsibility
- Unintended consequences
- The impact of propaganda lies published by an agenda fueled media
- Complete failure to stop crime
There are really two separate groups of “Gun Owners”. The first accepts personal responsibility for their actions in society, follows the law and owns and uses firearms safely. The other simply does not. They are not responsible members of society, regularly ignore and violate the law and use firearms to harm other people.
For a law to be effective, it must be possible to enforce the law, and responsible citizens must choose to comply with the law. Furthermore, prosecutors must commit to actually prosecute violations of the law and bear this cost including the impact on the judicial and corrections systems.
You don’t simply pass another law and expect it to be immediately effective and solve the problem being addressed. Passing a law that is impossible to follow, or that can never be enforced creates more problems that often can never be resolved. This is the first core nature of “Gun Control”.
“Universal Background Checks” are an example of a law that can never be effectively enforced without turning to one of history’s most abused “Gun Control” tools – “Central Gun Registration”. Sure, a law that requires all firearms acquisition and transfer to only take place after a central check of a buyer’s background sounds useful until you peel the onion back a bit. In fact, “Background Check” systems never work to stop crime, greatly inconvenience police agencies with seemingly useless paperwork and often delay or completely stop a misidentified individual from exercising their Constitutional right to own a firearm and defend themselves and their families.
The “loophole” often complained about by “Gun Control” advocates that are heavily quoted and covered in the agenda fueled press is that “Private Transfers” at “Gun Shows” currently escape this background check under Federal law. Surely passing a law that requires lawful people to get evidence of clearing a buyer’s background before the sale will solve “The Problem”, right? But what is “The Problem”? And what is the actual effect of a “Universal Background Check” law?
A remarkably small percentage of firearms is transferred between strangers that do not know the buyer’s background already. Many gun owners will not voluntarily sell a gun to someone that they do not know, or that they cannot verify as lawful because that act itself is against the law, and would subject the seller to criminal prosecution and civil penalties. Selling a gun to a prohibited person is illegal, so lawful private individuals just don’t take the chance.
The “40% of Gun Sales are Private Transfers” lie most often quoted by the media and “Gun Control” groups comes from a 1994 survey and 1996 “Study” done before background checks existed. The authors of the study subsequently acknowledged intentional errors of omission and changed their estimate to between 14% and 22%. This study involves responsed from 251 respondents 24 years ago.
40% Private Gun Sales is a Lie
The very idea of extrapolating the results of a 251 person study done 24 years ago to apply to the private acquisition of today’s roughly 300,000,000 firearms and claim that 40% of them were acquired without useless “Background Checks” is absurd to the point of irresponsibility. This alone makes it clear that the media and politicians that support “Gun Control” are operating with an unvoiced agenda against lawful gun owners. It is a lie. A very false lie.
First, gun sellers would have to decide to remain lawful in private transactions for the law to have any impact. In spite of the lies told by the media and “Gun Control” advocates, a very small percentage of gun transfers and sales take place privately without the involvement of a Federal Firearms Licensed dealer or collector. Many responsible people resent the interference of government in the sale of personal property. This is especially so when the transfer takes place between close friends or family members, or as a result of inheritance.
Next, the system must be accurate. The “NICS” instant check system was analyzed recently and found to report “False Positives” (prohibiting lawful people from acquiring firearms) in the mid to high 90% range:
Error rate of NICS Background Checks
“Background Check” systems have practically no impact on violent crime. About 3 percent of violent crimes may actually committed with a legally obtained firearm.
Violent Crimes linked to 3% of legal Firearm Purchases
2% of Crime Guns come from Gun Shows
So it’s clear that background check systems already don’t apply to 97%-98% of the crimes actually committed with firearms by criminals, psychopaths and terrorists. Such a system is effectively useless, and involves the gross waste of resources.
Furthermore, the extremely small number of correct prohibitions always involve a violation of Federal law. To get to the point of a background check, the buyer must sign a form 4473 stating under penalty of law that they can legally buy a gun. In a seven year period through 2015, out of more than half a million background check denials only 254 were even considered for prosecution. Further investigation found that every one of those was a violation of law that should have been prosecuted, but prosecutions dropped substantially after 2012 due to Justice Department policy.
In the face of the almost non-existent incidence of prosecuting violators of these laws, is it any wonder that police agencies (primarily concerned with stopping and investigating crime) put little resource into the mammoth laborious task of maintaining and updating these records. They know “Background Check” systems do not work to stop or even interfere with criminals that violate gun laws. After all the work, the only people impacted are the vast majority who’s lawful rights have been interfered with.
Background Check Prosecution Falls to New Low
Only lawful people will ever submit to a “Background Check” when acquiring a firearm. The criminals, psychopaths and terrorists with criminal or prohibiting mental health backgrounds will simply get their guns somewhere else – principally through theft or alternately through the illegal black market. Some criminals use straw buyers with clean backgrounds who then commit two crimes: acquiring a gun for someone else and transferring it to a prohibited person.
Finally, the only possible way to really enforce these laws is to register all existing firearms in a central database system that keeps long term track of ownership and possession. This registration will require every firearm in private hands to be brought to a police or other government agency and physically examined prior to registration. There is no other way to regulate and enforce private transfers. This is both a herculean effort and one that has the repeatedly proven risk of unintended consequences.
First, no illegally owned firearm will ever be submitted to the registry by the criminal, psychopath or terrorist with a criminal or prohibiting mental health record. Period. They will simply not comply with these laws.
Next, the task of registering lawfully owned firearms will be laborious, unfairly impact people without the means to travel to registration centers, or require costly teams of survey technicians to comb the nation’s urban neighborhoods and rural areas. Even with these costly resources, not every firearm will be located or even voluntarily brought in by normally lawful people. In some cases, civil resistance will drive even less respect for law and order.
Why is central registration necessary? There is no other way to prove that a firearm has been transferred privately. If we don’t intend to do that, why pass the law in first place, or one that we know we cannot enforce? This is the core of the folly of “Comprehensive Background Checks”.
After all the effort to register guns, at best an incomplete registry would be the basis for enforcing “Comprehensive Background Checks”. The unintended consequence of the very existence of this registry is the most dangerous one way slope in history.
Registration opens the door to misuse by those that acquire power in government, and has always lead to tyranny. In fact, the tyranny is of the basest and most grotesque possible kind, often identifying targets for prejudicial actions to disarm specific groups of undesirable people. In Germany, it started with gypsies and lead to Kristallnacht and the Holocaust slaughter of millions of innocent disarmed people.
Similar prohibitions against Catholics and Protestants in 17th century England informed American’s 18th century colonists, who where then subjected to disarmament by the British. This trigger lead to the American Revolution. The founders of our nation wrote the Constitution thinking that every citizen would inherently understand the importance of self defense.
It was only upon reflection a few years later that they felt it had to be codified in the Bill of Right’s Second Amendment. That calls for well trained citizens that had the individual right to keep, carry and lawfully use firearms for self-defense, defense of the nation, hunting and sporting activities that help train marksmen and keep them in practice.
Firearm ownership requires responsible citizens. The unintended consequences of misguided irresponsible “Gun Control” efforts can only erode a society of responsible free citizens. Police agencies that are focused on stopping and investigating crime hate wasting what little resources they have on useless bueraucratic activities. “Background Check” systems represent an ineffective and expensive waste of scarce resources that can never be justified as stopping crime.