“A bipartisan group of senators is on the verge of a deal that would expand background checks to all private firearms sales with limited exemptions,” washingtonpost.com reports, “but significant disagreements remain on the issue of keeping records of private gun sales.” Yes there is that. Under the Firearm Owners Protection Act, the feds must destroy any information gathered during mandatory background checks (by licensed gun dealers) within 24 hours. Congress designed the provision to stop Uncle Sam from creating a national firearm database. In reality, the ATF maintains several national firearms databases including one that contains all the customer and firearm data from ex-gun dealers’ log books. The Democrats have no problem “closing the gun show loophole” by keeping private firearms sales records into perpetuity . . .
Democrats say that keeping records of private sales is necessary to enforce any new law and because current federal law requires licensed firearm dealers to keep records. Records of private sales also would help law enforcement trace back the history of a gun used in a crime, according to Democratic aides. Republicans, however, believe that records of private sales could put an undue burden on gun owners or could be perceived by gun rights advocates as a precursor to a national gun registry.
And there you have it: two definitions of “universal background check.”
1. A system private sellers could use to make sure that people who purchase firearms privately are not prohibited persons; where the information on the sale remains private.
[NB: This version of universal background check could include a stipulation requiring the seller to maintain a receipt for the transaction for a given length of time (e.g., Illinois’ regulations re: private sales). That would open the door to laws that punish the seller if the buyer commits a crime with the gun.]
2. A system to make sure that people who purchase firearms privately are not prohibited persons, where the information remains in government hands.
This would certainly create the possibility of confiscation (i.e., the ATF, DHS, etc. would know where to collect banned “assault weapons” should a new federal AWB arise). And it would enable laws that punish gun owners should thieves steal their firearms and use them in a crime.
The first option is certainly the least bad of the two. But given government’s tendency to drive a herd of camels through the small tent opening created by any new regulation (see: ATF abuses above), I can’t see this ending well.
Or working well. Or being cost efficient. Or saving lives. But it does add a financial burden on gun owners/tax payers and increases the difficulty of completing any private sale, thereby infringing upon Americans’ Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms.
In case you didn’t know.