Trump’s Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Background Check ‘Idea’

Bad Idea

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Yesterday, a purported “idea” document reportedly being circulated among Republican senators and congressmen was leaked to the media. The document, entitled “Idea for New Unlicensed-Commercial-Sale Background Checks”, is both frighteningly vague and callous in its disregard for the Second and Fourth Amendments, as well as the federalist principles that animate the Commerce Clause.

The document suggests that “many commercial sales are conducted outside of FFLs without any background check or record-keeping requirements.” This is either incorrect or uses a definition of “commercial sale” beyond the scope of common understanding. Present law requires anyone “engaged in the business” of selling firearms to acquire a Federal Firearms License. Incidental, intrastate transactions between private individuals are regulated by the states.

This discussion of “commercial sales” not requiring a background check means the document is referring either to conduct that is already forbidden by federal law, or is referring to intrastate transactions between private individuals who are not “engaged in the business” of selling firearms.

The document proceeds that “[c]onsistent with the Manchin-Toomey draft legislation, a background-check requirement would be extended to all advertised commercial sales, including sales at gun shows.” It proceeds to explain that the background checks on these “advertised commercial sales,” of which the definition remains unclear, would be required, and have to be performed either by an FFL or a “newly-created class of licensed transfer agents.” Put simply, this new class of transfer agents would be FFLs who did not carry firearm inventory.

The “idea sheet” also suggests imposing recordkeeping requirements on sellers. Under the document, any seller who “does not want an FFL or transfer agent to retain a Form 4473” must maintain a “chain of title” with records of the sale, including the identities of all parties, as well as a certification from an FFL or transfer agent memorializing a successful background check.

This type of recordkeeping has never been imposed on private individuals, and could not be constitutionally imposed on intrastate private sales consistent with the Commerce Clause. The invocation of “chain of title” is also problematic, as it suggests a legitimate government interest in maintaining searchable records of all firearm transactions. In other words: a universal registry masquerading as a background check system.

Another novel, concerning issue posed by the document is a suggestion that, should a buyer fail a background check, a referral would immediately be made to law enforcement. This is hugely problematic given NICS’ notoriously prevalent false denials. (See, e.g., Alan Korwin, “Class Action for Wrongful NICS Denials Gaining Momentum,” AmmoLand (Dec. 21, 2017).) Increasing tense interactions between nonviolent gun owners and often overzealous law enforcement puts human life in jeopardy without public benefit.

In short, the “idea sheet” seems to impose the same losses to the right to keep and bear arms and privacy rights of the Manchin-Toomey bill without the benefit of relaxed interstate firearm transactions. Further, the suggestion is completely devoid of utility as it focuses solely on a class of firearm transactions that produce virtually no crime guns, completely ignoring that “straw purchases” through FFL dealers produce exponentially more crime guns, and the suggestion would have no impact whatsoever on that already-unlawful conduct.

For more on this issue, please see FPC’s Policy Memo on this subject at FPCPolicy.org. For more on “Universal Background Checks” generally please see FPC’s Policy Brief, “Universal Background Checks” & Burdening Access to Human Rights at FPCPolicy.org.

comments

  1. avatar Freebird says:

    Trump is obsessed with making a ” deal ” , no matter how bad he caves to the radical left.

    Everyone said bump stock illegal ban was a fluke , a one off thing , now we see it was the canary in the coal mine !

    Fuck that guy if he does any more of this crap !
    He got one Free Pass , that’s it.

    1. avatar Cloud says:

      Oh calm down Nancy. He hasn’t done a thing yet. Talking about ideas isn’t passed legislation.

      1. avatar Spring Tide says:

        So why aren’t a couple of the ideas anything that would actually make sense and be a positive for gun owners and the second amendment? Like getting rid of the “Gun Free Zones” or National Reciprocity”?

      2. avatar Sam says:

        He banned bumpstocks. He DID do something. Not even Obama banned a single piece of physical hardware. Whether one “likes” bumpstocks or not, what Trump did was significant and directly affected people.

        1. avatar Freebird says:

          This — It’s truly amazing how people have blind loyalty for people that screw them over.
          Same people that defend NRA fraud + theft.

        2. avatar Ivan Smirnoffski says:

          “Not even Obama banned a single piece of physical hardware.”

          Except for:

          -7N6 ammunition imports (banned as armor peircing handgun ammunition. (A simular attempt was made to ban m855 but failed.))

          -All rifle imports from Russia (banned via sanctions)

          -Blocked the reimportation of lend lease M1 Garands and M1 carbines from South Korea. (Obama argued such weapons could be used by gangs.)

          While Obama banned nothing outright by name like Trump has, Obama, true to his style, banned things indirectly through government beauracracy. And Obama has still banned more than Trump. Nevertheless, the bump stock ban and this “idea” document are still bad and Trump should not pursue them.

      3. avatar enuf says:

        He lied to you, that’s what Trump did first. Before he was even elected and non-stop in his every waking moment.

        Also, Bump Stocks. Trump saw a personal political advantage and ordered an anti-gun rule making.

        1. avatar Cloud says:

          LOL so let’s stay home and help elect a band of communists who want to take all the guns away.

          Great strategy REEEEEEEEEE

        2. avatar John in Ohio says:

          “LOL so let’s stay home and help elect a band of communists who want to take all the guns away.

          Great strategy REEEEEEEEEE”

          Or, actively vote for them and even pussies will have to fight if they want to remain free.

          Trump! MAGA! REEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

          Fucking cult of personality.

        3. avatar LarryinTX says:

          Please advise what lies Trump has told which even approach “If you like your doctor … yada-yada …PERIOD!” or “It was all about a protest over a video”, either one. Ant the total reason for those lies was to combine with weaponization of entire government agencies to gain undeserved reelection. And evidence is undeniable that both he and that other POS posing as his Sec of State knew beyond any doubt that they were lying, and that they could not expect to hide those lies for more than a few weeks, but by that time the nation was fucked, no way out.

  2. avatar Imayeti says:

    DDSS. The people least knowledgeable about the subject are trying to fix some non- existent problem. In the famous words of Gomez Adams: “Just because it’s wrong doesn’t mean it wont be a good time!”

  3. avatar Dude says:

    I’ve seen private firearm sales from non FFLs at gun shows and swap meets. So this would put an end to that? Would it put an end to private sales advertised in the classified section? Does this mean that you could still sell to someone without advertising and avoid any extra paperwork?

    1. avatar Nigel the expat says:

      Yeah, I’m confused as well.

      If I do a private sale of my personal property, it is not a ‘commercial’ sale. Something is weird here, or the definition of commercial is being changed, or they are referring to a smaller subset that does not include private sales. Weirdness.

      1. avatar GomeznSA says:

        definition has changed – there is the crux of the matter – that is EXACTLY what was done with “bump stocks”. IF this additional abomination goes thru there will be NO stopping the gun grabbers.

    2. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Seems pretty clear to me. Look, there are guys who buy firearms from others with no BC, no paperwork, strictly an exchange for either cash or drugs. Then, they store the guns in the trunk of their car until after dark when they reach the retail areas of town, probably under a bridge somewhere, and offer them to others at a small profit. This is a commercial operation which is not required to be licensed, do background checks, keep records, or even check names. Sometimes referred to (undoubtedly by racists) as the “black” market, this is what the “idea” refers to, making such transactions illegal. I can see some advantages, although I’m not sure what a yoot is supposed to do with his collection of guns he has stolen from his neighbors. Still, if you are not engaged in such shenanigans, none of this applies to you, just go about your business and ignore it since there is no way to enforce it. Unless you have been stupid enough to allow your firearms to be listed in a legal registry (illegal registry can’t be used as evidence against you), in which case you’re screwed.

  4. avatar Jay in Florida says:

    I agree less the language used. No way am I doing a background check on friends or family. Let alone keeping a record of it. Even though at this point I did become aware of a friend who did lie to me. Then dropped dead and I cant locate the guns. So yes I might be a good example of why we do need some form of verification for private sales.

  5. avatar Cloud says:

    This sounds a lot like the UBC in Colorado. There is no back door registration there. All records are kept at an FFL.

    1. avatar GluteusMaximus says:

      If they can prove you bought a gun and can track every single sale it is a backdoor registration. As it stands now, they may be able to show i bought a gun but can’t track if i still have it. If they knock on your door and you don’t have the gun, you are now in trouble.

      1. avatar GS650G says:

        Where is it stated or required for a person to either still have a gun the know you bought or prove where it is? Does the 4473 state it? Not trying to stir it up but proving you bought something is possible, requiring you to produce it or lead them to it falls out of scope.

        1. avatar GluteusMaximus says:

          If you can’t sell it without a trackable background check that’s the rub. As it now stands there is no requirement

  6. avatar Truckman says:

    Well this morning on cbs news they were pissed because he was not going to change the background check laws so who knows whats going on

  7. avatar pwrserge says:

    If this is the best they can push, I’m not worried, the DNC controlled house will never even bring it to the floor. Quite frankly, I’d love to see the final bill that comes out of the Senate, it should be interesting what we can tack on to this thing.

    1. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

      I think you nailed it.

  8. avatar Rusty - Die Ruthie Die - Chains says:

    TTAG has been losing my comments lately.

    1. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

      Some of mine as well…

      1. avatar Guesty McGuesterson says:

        I had two of mine disappear today alone, and ‘jwm’ was having trouble, too. I noticed that they’ve added some new ‘ban block’ words to their filter, including the names of two former commenters, so maybe there are other words we’re using that are sending some of our comments into oblivion. Wish we knew what those were.

  9. avatar Ed Schrade says:

    It seems that this set of recommendations is not agreeable to anyone, wonder if that was the idea all along. Don’t like it either.

  10. avatar Darkman says:

    I simple No Longer Care about any of this Hyperbole. Constantly wringing ones hands and complaining about who says what and who wants what. Is a waste of time and energy. If you support Our 2A Rights. This entire scenario must be treated as if it is going to become a war. Prepare accordingly. Arm up Now/Stock up now if You haven’t already. Continue to pressure Politicians and educate as many citizens as possible on Their Rights and the purpose of those Rights. Up to and until something Truly happens one way or another. Prepare for the worst case scenario. Just remember this fight has been going on for decades and to Liberals and the Anti 2A Left. They have no problem with a protracted fight. It has been a part of their strategy since the 60’s. The slow transformation of Our nation through the indoctrination of the youth. Much in the same way the Nazi’s transformed Germany in the 30’s and 40’s with the Hitler Youth. In the end regardless of the out come of their attempts. It may well fall on those of Us who still believe in the Constitution and Bill of Rights. To end this war. With Bloodshed if need be. Keep Your Powder Dry.

  11. avatar Amir says:

    I’m starting to think Trump is alien, cuz no human can be that stupid!
    تجهیزات شبکه

    1. avatar Guesty McGuesterson says:

      How about you actually join in the conversation with a relevant bit of info or opinion like everyone else for once? Can you do that, instead of repeatedly posting bland, neutral statements with your storefront link?

    2. avatar neiowa says:

      What is all the scribbly crap. Some moooooosle shit? GO AWAY

  12. avatar Patrick H says:

    This man has no core principles.

  13. avatar Ark says:

    Unsurprisingly, Trump reveals himself to be a gigantic dumb-dumb who doesn’t have the slightest clue what the law is CURRENTLY.

    1. avatar pwrserge says:

      The “idea sheet” has been disavowed by the White House and isn’t even on White House letterhead. The only thing we have saying that it came from the PotUS is a bunch of left-wing media troll who claim there’s a “leak”… (As if they hadn’t been caught straight up inventing “sources” before.)

  14. avatar Helms Deep says:

    Constantly playing defense is not working. Just stopping new bad laws is not enough.
    Gun owners must push GOP + POTUS to restore lost gun rights.

    Sit this one out N.R.A. …. WE will handle it.
    Your ” help ” has done enough damage.

  15. avatar JR Pollock says:

    As I recall, we already have FFLs who don’t carry inventory. They’re referred to as “kitchen table dealers”.

    I have no problem with restoring the number/percentage of KTFFLs to the level they were before Clinton, Reno, and Holder decimated their ranks.

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      I have used kitchen table FFLs before, but it was a LONG time ago. I was under the impression that somebody (thinking it was Bill Clinton) changed the licensing rules and prices so as to drive all of them out of business. Maybe Dyspeptic Gunsmith could clarify.

      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        But I have a problem with generating/supporting a whole class of people who exist only to charge me for a BC on a private sale. Not a big problem, since I will never do it, but still a problem.

  16. avatar Buck cuz I liked to says:

    I think those are chips in my keyboard rattling around , but I’m not sure, maybe some fingernails? TRUMP FOREVER !!!!!!

  17. avatar Philip Twiss says:

    What the Hell happened to “Ending the war on the 2nd amendment”? This is all about restricting law abiding citizens and absolutely nothing to do with criminal (Straw Purchases)

  18. avatar Kyle says:

    Gun Control

    0 (zero) to do with the guns, 100% to do with control.

  19. avatar JoinGOA,FPC,SAF says:

    Stop the gun registration plan & all gun Control with a 2 clicks letters written for u but, a personal msg will look better.

    Contact Congress 202-225-3121
    https://gunowners.org/alert082119/
    https://gunowners.org/alert090419/

  20. avatar Vlad Tepes says:

    Get used to universal back ground checks. Trump is a one term President and he is out that is a certainty and if Moscow Mitch McConnell gets his corrupt ass thrown out as well there are a majority of Republicans that will link arms with the Democrats to pass a universal back ground check and it will happen.

    1. avatar Vlad Tepes says:

      And the cops will stop being mean to me and putting the hand cuffs on to tight and my daddy will stop crying his eyes out on my birthday every year and my mommy will stop telling people she never had any kids.

  21. avatar Ing says:

    See? What did I tell you a few days ago? The worst of both worlds.

    If this is indeed Trump’s proposal, there are only two possibilities in play:
    1. He thinks we’re stupid.
    2. He’s stupid.

    President Trump is not your friend. He’s just another guy in a position of power doing what’s best for *him,* as they all almost always do. We have to hold his feet to the fire to continually remind him that he doesn’t get what’s best for him without *us*.

    1. avatar John in Ohio says:

      It could be both. He might be stupid and think we are also.

      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        And it could be, and most likely is, nothing to do with Trump at all, and you guys are making fools of yourselves as a result of a troll.

  22. avatar Aaron says:

    Would it be worth while for the US to adopt a personal federal firearms license system which would act as an instant “background check ” when you present it at stores and private sales, proving buyers are not prohibited from arm’s ownership to everyone’s satisfaction with no need for a papertrail or waiting times? Or would this be too much of a compromise of the 2nd amendment?

    1. avatar John in Ohio says:

      Absolutely not!

      There is no need to compromise until they repeal the 2A. Accepting compromise can only weaken the authority of the Constitution over government. If we don’t back down and don’t blink, government will shrivel. IMHO, we still have enough power and there might be enough time. Compromise is the last thing any free individuals that value their liberty ought to be doing at this moment.

  23. avatar Defiant Deity says:

    So if they create a new class of licensed transfer agents would that mean anyone who is an “agent” would potentially be able to have guns shipped directly to them just like an FFL? Or if it granted the ability to order and poses class 3 weapons? Seeing how we have functioning retards posing as elected officials it isn’t too farfetched for them to make a screw up like this, or for someone who does know the law to sneak it in the bill. I know it would probably never happen but just saying it would be funny if it did.

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