I think that there is a good path out of all this “Universal Background Check” stuff. A properly implemented two phase encrypted token based “Universal Background Check” system could actually be useful to people selling firearms.
That is to completely separate the firearms transaction from identifying that someone is qualified to acquire and possess a firearm.
The key is that the system may not stop criminals from acquiring and possessing firearms, but it will protect anyone that wants to sell a firearm from turning it over to a prohibited person.
That helps responsible gun owners, and potentially could reduce workload and record keeping for FFLs.
Technology today could permit construction of such a system. The key is that nothing about the transaction transferring the firearm itself needs to be known or recorded in any central place. In fact, the only record that’s needed is a legally verifiable document that the person transferring the firearm would keep. This could be used later to prove that you followed the law when handing over a gun to someone else.
What’s particularly important is that there is no central record of the transfer of a firearm. No potential gun registration point. No accumulation of records except the information used to determine that someone is prohibited.
How would such a system work?
The creation of “Real ID” (which is about to be universally used in the United States for all air travel verification of a person’s legal identity) makes a system possible that is much better and safer than the way it’s being done today.
This updated system will also help solve some of the real problems with the currently inaccurate state of NICS records.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t reduce the workload on police, court, judicial and other investigative agencies that must populate a NICS prohibited persons database. That remains an unfunded mandate from the Federal Government whether things are changed or not.
What a revised system would do would be allow every individual to privately and independently check their NICS status in advance of any firearms acquisition.
The change would make NICS a two part system. The first part would allow any citizen or green card holder to request a digital encrypted “Token” from NICS that indicates that they are not a prohibited person, and that contains details of their identity. That token could be issued with an expiration after which a new token would need to be obtained from the system.
If you are not prohibited and requested a token from NICS and it responded with a negative or wait response, you’d have time to contact the FBI / NICS administrators and request that they clear up your lawful status. This request could take place from an App on your smart phone or a Website using a browser. The response would be an encrypted QR Qualification Token (that could be image scanned, printed and scanned or even emailed).
No transfer has taken place, and nothing would be retained by the system. The only record is the token that you personally hold in your smart phone or printed on a sheet of paper.
When you want to acquire a firearm, you show your Real ID to the seller (which contains your legal address) and let them scan your QR Qualification Token using a second smart phone app, or type the token number into an online Website.
At that time, the app or the website responds with details of who the buyer is (to be matched to the Real ID) and their current Qualification status to acquire and possess a firearm. As the seller, you retain an electronic or printed copy of the “Proceed with Transfer” record issued by the NICS system.
in the future, if there is ever a question about whether or not you transferred the firearm to a prohibited person, you have legal proof that you did everything right. There is no central record of the system issuing a “Proceed”, and no record of what was transferred.
This protects private and business sellers.
It has no effect on actual criminals, but it could help police catch prohibited people that carry guns.
Such a two part system could even be used later to determine if someone in possession of a firearm remains qualified to do so. If you retain the qualification token, and were stopped by police while carrying a firearm, the code would prove then and there that you are not a prohibited person.
This could be used to establish true concealed carry reciprocity nationwide.
Such a system could even be used to qualify voters as they arrive at the polls. The code would confirm that you are who you say you are, that you are registered to vote in that precinct and that you have not voted before in that election.