Despite the defeat of new gun control laws on the federal level, the antis are still running around proclaiming “nine out of 10 American favor universal background checks.” The stat-based kvetch reminds me of nothing so much as that old advertising tag-line “four out of five dentists recommended sugarless gum for their patients who chew gum.” Like the Trident gum come-on, the UBC claim is an attempt to reframe gun control as a socially acceptable, indeed desirable practice. It most assuredly is not. Americans have a natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. Any law—any law—that infringes on that right is wrong and should be resisted. Anyway, what the hell is a Universal Background Check when it’s at home? Well . . .
I tried to explain the concept and its dangers in a post entitled Universal Background Checks for Dummies. [Click here to read.] Bottom line: under a UBC system the federal government would be involved in the sale or transfer of any gun from any citizen to any citizen. You don’t have to read Gun Control in the Third Reich to know that’s insane. (Review on its way.) In fact, given the dangers of civilian disarmament, the federal government shouldn’t be involved in the sale of transfer of ANY firearm, period.
But that’s not the way the National Shooting Sport Foundation (NSSF) sees it. The NSSF has conceded that ground when it comes to new gun sales, all of which require an FBI background check and a permanent paper record of the buyer’s name, address, ethnicity, driver’s license and social security number. So when the industry lobby group (NSSF) lobbies against UBC it has to thread the needle. Like this . . .
“A vast majority of guns sold at gun shows are sold by licensed dealers who are required by federal law to conduct background checks before guns are sold. Do you believe additional federal laws like universal background checks are necessary for gun show sales?”
That’s the way the NSSF phrased a survey question to “prove” that Americans don’t really support Universal Background Checks. What it’s actually saying: private firearms sales between individuals at gun shows are statistically insignificant. So who needs them? The result?
Only four out of ten Americans support so-called “universal background checks” at gun shows after being informed that the vast majority of firearms sales at these shows are transacted by licensed retailers that already conduct such checks through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) as required by federal law.
That’s 53 percent [as above] for those of you keeping score. And for those of you who aren’t, how do you define “vast.” Would the response to that question have been the same if it asserted that “four of ten gun sales at gun shows don’t require a federal background check”? No one knows the exact percentage of private vs. dealer sales at guns shows, but it seems pretty clear that the NSSF is stacking the deck in a “pay no attention to those private sales behind the curtain kinda way.”
My thought: celebrate those private, under-the-federal-radar firearms sales! They protect against government confiscation of privately held firearms (if Uncle Sam doesn’t know where they are, it’s a lot harder to take them away). They are a bulwark against tyranny. Again, that’s not how the NSSF sees it. In fact, they want to strengthen the current federal background check system.
The  Americans polled also said by a combined 74 percent margin that conducting background checks against an incomplete database was not effective . . . The poll also discovered that 92 percent of Americans agree that the states should submit all records of persons federally prohibited from owning a firearm to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check Systems (NICS), passing legislation if needed.
Thanks, NSSF. We now know that nine out of ten Americans want to “improve” the system that already puts all Americans at risk of firearms confiscation. Does the NSSF not know (or care) that the federal government could easily change those criteria for prohibition either through legislation or (worst case) executive fiat? Can it not imagine the consequences? Apparently not.
The poll also found that Americans want a National Instant Criminal Background Check System with a dependable and accurate database, which supports the goal of the FixNICS initiative we launched in 2013 and will continue in 2014.”
The general public has come to believe that laws can stop criminals and crazies from purchasing, keeping or bearing arms. It’s simply not true. Truth be told, the current background check system only pretends to keep Americans safe while putting them in grave danger of unimaginable horrors. Anyone who promotes this dangerous fiction—even if they’re doing to to prevent increased gun control—is making a Faustian bargain. Regardless of its popular or firearms industry support.