Gun Control Debate: Are Universal Background Checks Dividing the Pro-Gun Community?
Last Tuesday, former Republican congressman, and NRA School Security Task Force leader, Asa Hutchinson, appeared on Wolf Blitzer's, The Situation Room, where he announced his support for universal background checks (UBCs) for private gun sales.
BLITZER: "What I hear you saying is you’re open to expanding background checks personally."
HUTCHINSON: "Yes, absolutely. I’m open to expanding background checks if you can do it in a way that does not infringe upon an individual and make it hard for an individual to transfer to a friend or a neighbor or somebody that, here in Montana, and have a casual sale, we don’t want to infringe on those rights either."
Rightfully so, Hutchinson's remarks sparked a fury of reactions from those on both sides of the gun control debate — especially given the NRA's aggressive stance against UBC legislation. However, what most of the the press and anti-gun supporters fail to recognize, and ignore, is that Hutchinson supports a system that, "... does not infringe upon an individual and make it hard for an individual to transfer to a friend or neighbor ...."
Unfortunately, the universal background checks legislation being posed by Democrats in Congress does just this, and is why the UBC debate continues to divide D.C.
While Obama and Democrats claim an overwhelming amount of Americans — and gun owners — support UBCs, they fail to openly disclose the details within their legislation, which is the exact reason(s) why Republicans, the NRA, and multitude of informed gun owners (myself included), do not support UBCs.
Like most legislation passed by Congress, current UBC proposals are filled with fine print. This includes imposed fees/taxes per transaction, in addition to unregulated dealer fees, mandated insurance requirements (with penalties), and the ability for the ATF to log information that is strictly off limits given the Firearm Owners Protection Act. As these details emerge, Obama will be hard pressed to find support, if any, from the gun community. Gun owners, like Hutchinson, may truly support universal background checks, however, ultimately they will not support background check legislation that gives the government more power and control than they already have over the second amendment.
With that said, let's look closer at what UBC legislation really means to the Democrats:
A. Requires a private seller to use a licensed firearms dealer to complete their transaction with another private individual (i.e. run the background check of the potential buyer). This also includes a Federally imposed tax of $20. What many people, including some gun owners, do not DO NOT realize, is that dealers will charge a transaction fee for this service in addition to the tax. Does anyone truly think dealers will offer their time and services for free? Of course not - would you? And unless said legislation specifies a fee-for-service limitation, dealers are free to charge whatever they want, which may financially limit both parties from continuing with the transaction. For me personally, my local dealer charges $100 to accept a firearm I ordered online and to process my background check information. If I fail the background check, the dealer cannot give me the gun, regardless if I already paid for it. And despite what the media portrays, online gun purchases are perfectly legal as long as the weapon is shipped to my local licensed dealer, who maintains possession of the weapon until the background check is complete. Anything less is already illegal.
"A person not licensed under the GCA and not prohibited from acquiring firearms may purchase a firearm from an out-of-State source and obtain the firearm if an arrangement is made with a licensed dealer in the purchaser’s State of residence for the purchaser to obtain the firearm from the dealer."
[18 U.S.C. 922(a)(3) and 922(b)(3)]
B. Requires gun owners to maintain liability insurance or face a $10,000 penalty. Not only is this Constitutionally insane (i.e. a poll tax in disguise), but for a party that is so adamantly against voter ID laws (because they burden the poor, minorities, and women — the usual rhetoric), they surely have no issue burdening the poor when it comes to owning a gun. To seriously expect someone of limited means, who likely lives in a not-so-safe part of town (e.g. in Chicago), to afford this kind of insurance, is just crazy. If anything, someone in this situation would have good reason to keep a gun in their home, however, would be unable to do so, legally, if this were law.
C. Would allow the ATF to collect and maintain information on the firearm being sold and on those who participated in it's sale. THIS is the legislation that has the ACLU, the NRA, and most gun owners, on the offensive. Currently, the Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986 bars any state or federal agency from creating a firearms registry that maintains firearm/owner information (i.e. a trackable database). Currently, the NICS system maintains the details of a firearm transaction, from a dealer, for 24 hours. Until Congress acts to amend or repeal this very important, yet often overlooked law, new legislation to gather and maintain information on gun sales, private or not, is 100% illegal the minute it is passed, period. Unfortunately, many states, like Maryland, knowingly ignore FOPA by keeping registries that log firearm/owner information.
Not only is this legislation in violation of current laws, but there is no doubt the Federal government would use this information to confiscate firearms, should a time ever come when those in office choose to ignore the Constitution in an effort to maintain their control and power over the American people. Many people will say, "This is America, that could never happen," or, "Gun owners are paranoid and crazy," but 15 years ago, did anyone really think that a handful of guys, with box cutters, could hijack four commercial airplanes and crash them into the World Trade Centers and the Pentagon - killing thousands of people?.
Ignorance is bliss for those who choose to not arm themselves and believe those in power will never stray from their moral/ethical obligations as elected officials. But for those of us who choose to live in reality, where elected officials legally accept money from wealthy donors and large corporations, have rigged elections, received oral sex from interns, and lied under oath - Trust in our leaders is earned, and not automatically given, and is why we resist their hypocritical and elitist attempts to infringe our rights in the name of "safety."
So once again, why is it so many gun owners support UBCs? Because when asked in a "yes or no" fashion, of course most people will say yes. But in time, as the true UBC legislation comes to light (and all of its fine print), Obama's "overwhelming support," will likely be no more, just as we are seeing with Obamacare.
If Obama and the Democrats truly wanted to do what's right, they would give private sellers access to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) used by licensed dealers when they themselves sell firearms, which includes a reference number per transaction. Combined with reasonable limitations on the number of private sales per person, per year (to protect against unlicensed "dealing"), I truly think said legislation would face little resistance from the gun community, and even the NRA, so long as no other provisions were added to tax transactions and track information beyond the current NICS capabilities. This is what, "common sense" gun control would look like, however, common sense still remains a rare commodity in D.C.