“Universal background checks” are the Holy Grail of the civilian disarmament movement. No surprise there. Under the system, all private firearm sales and transfers must go through an FBI background check from a federally licensed firearm (FFL) dealer. The government then has a paper record of every firearm sale between private individuals and those initiated by FFL dealers, including the firearm type and the buyer’s and seller’s name, address and ethnic identity.

Which is why UBC opponents call UBC’s “universal gun registration” — enabling as they do the possibility of government gun confiscation/prohibition. Even if you reject that slippery slope argument, there’s no question that UBC’s add extra time and expense to private firearms sales.

For the gun control crowd that’s a feature not a bug. For anyone who values their right to keep and bear arms, it’s government infringement.

On October 27, the Missoula, Montana City Council enacted an ordinance mandating “universal background checks.” As abcfoxmontana.com reports, the people at the sharp end are none too happy with the new law.

Here’s how it works:

If a gun owner wants to sell a gun, he must bring that gun to a federally licensed firearm dealer. The dealer then essentially takes ownership of the gun while he does a background check on the buyer. If that buyer fails the background check, the dealer now has to do a background check on the gun owner in order to return the gun to him. If the owner fails the background check, now the dealer is left with a gun he doesn’t want and he’s out all the time he invested in getting the background checks.

That’s why many gun shops are saying they are choosing not to participate.

“We run into a major logistical nightmare. And it’s not good business sense. We’re going to tie up more time and energy into the entire situation then we could deem even charging a fee to do that for the public. So just from a business standpoint, it does not make good sense for us,” says Bob Burton, manager of Grizzly Gold & Silver.

According to the fine-print of the ordinance, guns shops are allowed to choose to opt in or out.

So what if all of Missoula’s federally-licensed gun stores and FFLs in the surrounding areas opt out? One can only assume that private sellers and buyers will ignore the law and conduct their transactions illegally — which they may do even if there’s a willing FFL to save time, money and government oversight.

Again, gun control advocates consider the criminalization of “unauthorized” private firearms sales a feature not a bug. Not only do UBC’s inhibit private firearms sales and increase the government’s power over firearms ownership, they make otherwise law-abiding gun owners into criminals — especially those UBC’s that require an FBI background check for sharing/loaning firearms. How great is that?

Burton says not only is it bad for the gun businesses, but it isn’t going to work. He joins several other people who have said the ordinance is unenforceable since the proposal hit city council last year.

Missoula City Police previously said specifics would be outlined once the ordinance is in effect. As that day is now here, they say it’s not really enforceable unless people report it.

MPD Sergeant Travis Welsh says it is a “complaint driven” process. If somebody reports an incident where an illegal transaction is happening, police will investigate, but they are not actively patrolling the streets looking for it. Citizens have to be the eyes and ears for the police if they want to see enforcement. It will be treated like any city ordinance.

If offenders are caught, it is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $500 on the first offense. Multiple offenses could include more fines and even jail time up to 6 months.

So Missoula police are relying on snitches to enforce a law which will have no appreciable effect on the criminal use of firearms, that turns law-abiding citizens into criminals. Welcome to 1984. In Montana no less.

67 Responses to Missoula, Montana Highlights the Inanity of “Universal Background Checks”

  1. The FBI can’t do it’s regular job, let’s not bother it with another one.

    It’s like ITAR.
    W H Y
    . . .does a U.S. weapon manufacturer have to pay (cost passed down to you the consumer) a minimum $2,250 annual registration fee to the U.S. State Department’s ITAR Office so that the State Department can protect FOREIGN NATIONALS FROM us (by providing the weapon manufacturer’s information to Foreign governmental bodies and persons submitting informational requests through the UN’s UNODA body)? When the State Department cannot even protect its own ambassadors?

    W H Y ? I’ll tell you why, the State Department is applying their lube for the UN’s “SUSTAINABILITY AGENDA 2030”.https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/21252030%20Agenda%20for%20Sustainable%20Development%20web.pdf.

    THE UN CAN’T DO ITS OWN VERSION OF THE VERY POPULAR GOVERNING SYSTEM OF
    C O M M U N I S M
    IF THERE’S NATIONALISM, RTKABA, ANTI-ABORTION, NATIONAL BORDERS, NON-SINGLE-PAYER HEALTHCARE SYSTEMS, ANTI-GLOBAL-WARMING, etc., etc., etc.

    • Technically a correct use of the word because the law is inane. It lacks substance, is vapid, pointless and stupid.

  2. “Under the system, all private firearm sales and transfers must go through an FBI background check from a federally licensed firearm (FFL) dealer.”

    Or what? Says who? What if I was to say “kiss my ass, I will not comply.”? WTF are you going to *DO* about it? Divert resources from investigations of white slavery and drug trafficking in order to prosecute me for selling a gun to a man thoroughly vetted by ATF before they hired him? He has a carveout but I do not?

    • It strips the meaning/definition of “arms” from the definition of “personal property”, which you can (mostly) freely transfer. And if you can’t buy a gun from anyone but an ATF&E FFL, then all they have to do is shut the FFls down and your ability to exercise your RTKABA will eventually sunset.

      Again, read the UN’s Sustainability Agenda 2030 [it’s only 42 pgs] and you will see what they’re after and that FREE SPEECH, Nationalism, and the RTKABA, and borders, and National Language, non-globalism, anti global-warming-idiots, prevents them. Then you’ll get your Representatives to kick the UN out of the U.S., and it won’t survive one year in a foreign birth, and if it does it’ll be an even worse cesspool of corrupted $$$ grab, rape-and-pillage-crew.

  3. It didn’t work here in Colorado. Nor did the mag bans.

    These laws require two key things: a generally compliant citizenry and a police force motivated to enforce the law(s). If either of those things is lacking they fail. Both are lacking in Colorado, so they failed.

    • However, such laws only encourage a greater contempt for the rule of law, which is arguably as much or more damaging than anything the law itself does (or outweighs any benefits from the law if you happen to be an anti).

      It’s in the same general category as always being prepared to have your bluff called.

      • I don’t necessarily disagree but people have been ignoring stupid laws for a long, long time. I don’t know if adding more of them necessarily degrades the respect for “the law” because the majority of people have never had respect for stupid laws.

        When the post a speed limit at a ludicrously low number no one pays attention unless the cops camp it out.

      • Nothing new in that. Remember the 55 mph national speed limit? It was widely ignored. I remember the Florida Highway Patrol ignoring 70 mph traffic on Interstate 75. The law raised a question in the minds of many private citizens: Who is the bigger fool? A politician who enacts an unreasonable law or a citizen who obeys it unquestioningly? A rich road racer and all around car guy from Oklahoma printed a bunch of bumper stickers which read, “Repeal 55. Vote with your right foot.”

        • That law also caused the FCC to abandon CB licenses because they couldn’t handle the requests for licenses or all the illegal CB use in convoys.

          It also created great music. (And terrible music videos.)

        • I’ve heard that sleeveless yellow jumpsuits with fuchsia highlights are back in this season.

    • Voters got their recreational pot in exchange for ridiculous gun laws in CO. Maybe they all think it was a good trade.

      • Not at all. The issues are completely separate.

        It’s odd that the state when libertarian on one issue and statist on the other, but that’s the way it worked out.

        Effectively the gun laws don’t exist because they’re not enforced or obeyed. No one cares what the technicalities of the law are on that issue.

        • Maybe not so odd. It just means that a lot of the same people who really like their recreational herbs also think guns are icky. Principles don’t enter into it.

        • What about the magazine limit law? Do people disobey that? I am guessing you’d have to go outside of Colorado to get a 30 rounder…?

        • KYLE: “What about the magazine limit law? Do people disobey that? I am guessing you’d have to go outside of Colorado to get a 30 rounder…?”
          The retailers beat that one. They took the parts that make a 30-round magazine and put them in a plastic bag and called it a kit. The kit isn’t covered by the law.

  4. WTF! A background check to get your own gun back. Sounds like a lunatic pawn shop scheme. They’ve never heard of Gunbroker or Armslist?

    • There was a legal opinion put out about the background check system in Oregon or Washington, I don’t remember which.

      It came to this conclusion: Imagine you and I are out hunting and need to cross a fence. Technically under the law if you hand me your rifle, cross the fence, then I hand you both rifles, cross the fence and you hand me back my rifle such action would require four background checks, one for each time a gun changes hands because we are not related to each other.

      The point wasn’t that the law would be interpreted this way but that under a strict reading of the language of the law it could be interpreted that way.

      So in that instance we would both need background checks to get our own guns back even though we just handed them to each other for a moment.

      • And if neither of you could pass the background check for some reason, I guess you’d just leave them leaning against the fence and hope whoever found them did a background check on himself…

    • I could see the next step (evolution of the law) would be if the gun was received from a person not able to own a gun it is then an “illegal gun”. It can not be sold or returned to it’s owner. But it must be turned into the feds so that it can be properly turned into scrap metal and sent to China to build more Buick SUV.

    • Their end goal is to abolish self defense as a right. Self defense prevents progressives from letting violent criminals go with just a slap on the wrist. See the reaction when you tell a gun grabber that, if he gets his way, you will fight off a home invader by shooting him in the gut with a hunting arrow or by splitting his skull with a baseball bat.

  5. So what happens if you drive a few miles down to Lolo and make the transaction? Exactly nothing. Missoula law doesn’t apply outside of the city limits.

    • That was what I was thinking the whole story. Seems pretty easy to just find a spot outside of town and do the transaction. Basically this law is just going to irritate gun owners and possibly make them and the FFLs move out of town and lose that tax money.

    • Yep, just pull the car over 50 feet past the city limits sign and conduct the transaction right there on the side of the road. That’ll piss ’em off.

  6. “So what if all of Missoula’s federally-licensed gun stores and FFLs in the surrounding areas opt out”
    It does not matter for FFL’s in the surrounding area because the UBC only applies inside Missoula city limits. Out side of Missoula city limits you don’t need a background check to buy your friends GP100.

  7. Drive 2ft outside of the city limits.

    Why you DON”T want a “modern” institution of “higher learnin” in your community. Once Missoula was a nice and normal town.

    • Its a big state, one of the biggest, and Missoula isn’t all that big. Sprawls a bit, but still, not that big. So, you just drive outside the city limits to do the deal. Just hope that the Missualans don’t get together with a couple of other liberal enclaves and try to impose this sort of nonsense state wide. Right now, MT gun laws aren’t that bad – concealed carry outside city limits w/o a permit, and permits aren’t that hard to get. If you have a permit from another state that requires training, they will accept that as the required training, and you don’t really have to prove 6 months residency, but rather just have to claim it.

  8. This is all for show. All Missoula residents have to do is do private transactions outside the jurisdiction.

  9. The Missoula ordinance is patently illegal. It directly conflicts with the Montana pre-emption clause on firearms. No town or city in Montana can enact stricter firearm laws than the State has on its books. I sincerely hope that MT Attorney General Tim Fox (R) wins his re-election bid and after the election issues a cease-and-desist order to the idiots on the Missoula City Council for their illegal ordinance.

  10. The article says it all. The point is not to inhibit crime at all, but (in Montanna? Didn’t know they were suffering californication) to make gun ownership too difficult to be attractive. Theoretically stopping gun transfers between private citizens would mean those guns would either be destroyed by current owners, or later confiscated by authorities upon the death of the owner. Win, win, win. And if the law actually accomplishes nothing, the good citizens of Missoula “did something about rampant gun violence by law abiding citizens”.

  11. Apparently, the Missoula City Council had a meeting where they decided how to make this ordinance not only unenforceable, but hilariously stupid…you really CAN’T make this stuff up.

      • MAYBE it was actually intended as satirical theater to ridicule the futility of UBC’s, and therefore, deliberately constructed to be as ludicrous as possible…Yeah! that HAS to be it!

  12. State pre-emption laws are toothless and unenforceable unless they contain strong PERSONAL and individual criminal and financial penalties against those SPECIFIC local politicians violating the State pre-emption–as Florida State law was recently amended to provide. DMD

  13. “If the owner fails the background check, now the dealer is left with a gun he doesn’t want and he’s out all the time he invested in getting the background checks.

    That’s why many gun shops are saying they are choosing not to participate.”

    I live in upstate NY, where our totalitarian progressive downstate government has already mandated “universal background checks”. I bought a handgun from a friend a while back, it took us a long time to find an FFL that would perform the transfer/sale. At the time I couldn’t figure out why so many gun stores would be averse to it, but now it makes sense.

  14. Of all the stupid gun control laws in the world, the stupidest kind are local laws that can be avoided simply by traveling beyond the city limits.

    • Laws are not always about laws. In this instance, the town can brag that they did something about gun violence. The don’t really care if you follow the law, or avoid it by transferring ownership outside the city limit. It’s all about bragging rights at the alter of “caring”.

  15. One of the places I thought about for retirement was western Montana. The winters would be cold but I like the mountains and the low population density. For a while after the national speed limit was repealed, the daytime Montana highway limit was “reasonable and prudent.” To the disgust of the Highway Patrol, some county judges felt 100 mph wasn’t unreasonable if you were driving well.

    To get a feel for the Missoula area, I read the on line edition of the local newspaper. I quickly realized that the place was a clone of Berkeley, California. At one point, a chain of stores (not Walmart) planned to build a new one in Missoula. The city council imposed an extensive list of “socially responsible” regulations, including their idea of a living wage, in return for approval of permits. The chain abandoned the project.

    • I live thirty miles outside Missoula and I know people who will drive 100 miles in the opposite direction to do their shopping just so they can avoid the town. Myself, I still shop their but I always OC when I do it.

  16. This is in direct violation of Montana law and the State Constitution. It won’t stand, and the council knows it won’t stand. It’s “making a point”, but at the expense of tax dollars apparently.

    • If it’s anything like PA, they will push the case until they know they have a judge who will comply with the law, then they drop the case to avoid a ruling. It costs them nothing but other peoples’ money, but you have to pony up your own to fight the charges. Plus the possibility of a night (or more) in jail, having to fight to get your property back, and having your name smeared in your community. As others have said, preemption without real teeth only works when your local/county gov is law-abiding.

  17. Why do they need to do 2 background checks?
    Why does the FFL have to take ownership of the firearm?
    It seems to me that the FFL only has to do a check on the buyer
    If the buyer fails the check, the current owner just does not transfer it to the buyer

  18. “MPD Sergeant Travis Welsh says it is a “complaint driven” process.”

    Um, aren’t all laws a “complaint driven” process?

  19. “That’s why many gun shops are saying they are choosing not to participate.”

    I gotta raise the bullshit flag on this.

    First, why would an FFL have to take ownership of the gun before performing the background check on the buyer?

    Second, do they REALLY think there would be an abundance of cases where both the buyer AND the seller would fail the background checks? THAT’s why the dealers don’t want to participate?

  20. First, there is the issue of state preemption which makes the ordinance illegal at the outset. Of course, that case will still have to go through the expense of the court system. However that is entirely a straw man because the entirely misses the point of the law, which is my second issue.

    The second issue is that this law wasn’t passes for the citizens of missoula today. It was passed for the citizens of the next generation. Ask yourself, “What are children in public school being taught about guns?” There will almost certainly be plenty of citizens willing to be “the eyes and ears of the police,” for this law. On the off chance some prosecutor does push a case and the law gets thrown out, then they wait for the kids to grow up and try again in 15-20 years with the next generation. It’s the model of how Progressivism works.

    The only way we will fight this and win – really win – is to take control back of the education system in this country.

  21. Election Day comes up in Missoula on 8 November doesn’t it. Given that it does, the voters of Missoula might, on that day tell members of their city council who voted for this foolishness to “take a hike”, assuming that they do not approve of this stupidity.

  22. The problem is the largest gun show in the state is held on the campus of the U of M. This will reduce the number of “private sales” drasticly.
    The fact that the U of M is in Missoula explains a lot about the liberal, anti-2A attitude of the city council.

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