Q&A – Universal Background Checks

Today’s note comes from Richard: 

I disagree with you on universal background checks. There are background checks at gun shows. IF a dealer sells a gun at a gun show, there is a background check. I have bought guns without background checks from other people at gun shows, who were not dealers at gun shows. Each time, they wanted to see my drivers license & CCW card. But more importantly, how would a universal background check work? How would it be enforced? Will criminals on the street comply with the universal background check? 

The universal background check is never going to prevent any crimes, it will only hinder good people and cost them money and time.

Bottom Line:   I’m happy to address the questions and concerns, even if we’ll likely end up disagreeing with one another on the issue. 

IF a dealer sells a gun at a gun show, there is a background check.

True, but if there’s a private sale there isn’t. This is a disadvantage to dealers at gun shows and an incentive to private sellers to attract buyers at shows. ATF estimates 40% of all gun sales are unlicensed. What’s the point of having background checks at all if nearly half of all transactions aren’t subjected to checks? I believe that given the increase of unlicensed sales we should either drop background checks or add them universally. That also includes private sellers at gun shows, but that’s a personal decision of theirs and would be subjective from seller to seller.

How would a universal background check work? 

Current federal law for dealer sales mandates that background check records are destroyed within 24 hours. However, the sales records are recorded with the details of both the dealer and buyer. This is considered “traced” sales accessible by the ATF. I would be leery of anything approaching a national database or expansion beyond this system. My thought would be that all sales would have to be similarly recorded as part of even a private sale or there would be an illegal transfer of that firearm by both the seller and buyer. It would be a similar but different process to selling a car and transferring title and registration. 

Will criminals on the street comply with the universal background check?

Rhetorical right? It would crack down on the ease with which they would be able to obtain weapons. 

Some universal background check bills would not allow me to hand a gun to my wife who is a CCW and let her shoot it without a background check. 

I’ve wondered the same thing. Definitely, a detail to watch in any bill that’d be considered.

The universal background check is never going to prevent any crimes, it will only hinder good people and cost them money and time.

Here’s where we disagree. According to federal records, 22% of all guns owned in the US took place through private sales. However, 80% of all guns confiscated from criminal acts were obtained in private sales. Guns purchased through private purchases are nearly four times more likely to be used in a crime. As an owner and strong supporter of the 2nd amendment, I hear you. But, I’ve always said I go where the facts take me. That’s why I’m supportive. It wouldn’t save the world but there’s evidence that it would make a statistically significant dent in criminal activity. 

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Email: brianmudd@iheartmedia.com

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