The Fallacy of Universal Background Checks.

In the last couple of months it has been a firestorm of proposed legislation at the state and federal levels on many things that pertain to firearms. Everything from the registration of firearms, limitations on the size of the magazine (not a clip), “universal” background checks, to the outright banning of most modern firearms.

The problem that the vast majority of the media have, and those in State and Federal legislative positions also have is that they have no clue about what the current laws are on firearms, and they have zero or very little knowledge of firearms themselves and how they operate and can be used. Shouldn’t a person at least try to learn about the topic they are trying to legislate and restrict others on?

Time and time again I see on the news or read in articles on-line about legislation that proposes something that will make no difference at all in the supposed violence and mass murderers we have recently seen. I have even read about a bill proposing something that is already illegal and part of another law or already prohibited under federal rules or code.

Let’s use the example of the “universal background checks”. I have seen at least 10 legislators on various news outlets say we need to have universal background checks. And when asked about the topic almost every single one of them talks about the “gun show loophole” (which does not exist by the way, kind of like Florida’s “Stand Your Ground Law”). They say that you do not need a background check to buy a firearm at a gun show. Well that’s a half truth.

Most gun shows I have been to, and that’s a few, and most I know of are by far made up of Federal Firearms Licensed (FFLs) dealers. A very small percentage of those selling at gun shows are private parties selling just a few firearms. So if you buy a firearm from a FFL, no matter if it’s at a gun show or at a firearms store, you MUST complete a Federal background check using NICS (National Instant Background Check System). In fact even those private sellers are required BY FEDERAL LAW not to sell a firearm to a prohibited person. You may ask how do they know if the person they are selling to is prohibited of not unless they have access to NICS. They don’t. But many private sellers will not sell to anyone unless they have a state concealed carry permit. In that case they at least know the person they are selling to at the time they got the concealed carry license was not a prohibited person.

All of the information above is actually kind of pointless when you factor in that less than 1% of felons who used firearms and went to prison got a firearm at a gun show! That according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics survey in 2004 of inmates in federal prison.

Then they almost always bring up the sale of firearms over the internet. I hate to break it to the folks on national news shows and our supposed educated legislators but the vast majority of internet sales are done by licensed FFLs and as such the buyer has to have the firearm shipped to a local FFL and guess what? Yep you got it, they have to go through a background check to receive the firearm. In addition if its a firearm bought from a private party out of state and brought into the state, the person has to have it shipped to a FFL and again they have to go through a NICS check. That’s right private sales from out of state have a background check done on them before delivery.

So you may ask what are they talking about then? Great question! They are talking about the very few sales between two parties at the local level. And those are even governed already by the same federal laws. One person selling to another is prohibited from selling to a prohibited person. So if you’re selling a firearm, you better be real sure that the person you’re selling to is not prohibited from having a firearm.

And last, I would like to point out that several of the mass murderers who used firearms as the weapon of choice passed background checks. So what is the point of “expanding” background checks? In reality nothing. It will not stop one single mass murderer or criminal from getting a firearm if they want, but will make it more expensive and more time consuming than it already is for law abiding citizens to get firearms they want and need for self defense and home protection.

So a challenge to my news media and legislative friends. If you want to propose new legislation on firearms ownership maybe you should research what it is, how it will affect the criminals and law abiding citizens first? Just a suggestion.

BJS cited above – Report on Firearm Violence 1993 – 2011″

Source and Use of Firearms Involved in Crimes: Survey of Prison Inmates, 2016