The federal and state firearms purchase background check systems are a clear infringement on Americans’ right to keep and bear arms. Do we require a background check for voting? Free speech? Due process? We do not, for the same reason we shouldn’t allow background checks for firearms purchases: they’re unconstitutional.
What’s more, the process is nothing more or less than security theater. I could point to the stats revealing the paltry number of Americans caught trying to purchase a firearm illegally using the system. And compare those numbers to the inhibitory effect of the background check systems’ implementation (noting that 1 in 10 Americans are convicted felons). So what?
As set forth by our Founding Fathers, the right to keep and bear arms without government infringement is subject to neither the democratic process nor arguments about social utility. Just like freedom of speech, assembly, religion and due process.
Be that as it is, the vast majority of Americans would consider any suggestion that we should dismantle the FBI NICS process and its state equivalents like suggesting we should hand criminals, crazies and terrorists firearms. They would oppose this “gun control “liberalization” deeply and completely. So why bring it up? Because we’re fighting a losing battle against “universal background checks.”
You and I know “universal background checks” degrade and destroy our firearms freedom, They make all private firearms sales and transfers subject to government approval and registration (the ATF form 4473 is for life). Not to mention the financial and temporal burden added to each and every firearms sale and transfer.
Nothing new there? True. “Universal background checks” don’t redefine the dangers posed by the existing NICS and state background check systems. They simply extend these dangers and, by doing so, highlight them. For example . . .
Uncle Sam could add to the FBI’s prohibited persons list to include suspected terrorists, people taking antidepressants (some 40m Americans) or some other disqualifying caveat easily enough. They’re working on the former right now. By putting all firearms sales and transfers under the federal umbrella, “universal background checks” magnify — not create — the threat to our firearms freedom.
The argument that the Feds should “fix NICS” to make it more efficient before extending it — as is the current NRA and NSSF position — is devoid of logical consistency. If you accept the bogus premise that firearms purchase background checks are both constitutional and [even somewhat] effective, why not extend them?
The “fix NICS” argument is entirely transparent political appeasement, designed to “hold the line” against further infringement. We all know how that turns-out. If not, World War II. More to the point, some states (e.g., Washington and California under its upcoming regs) already make it a crime for an American citizen to loan or sell a gun to another American citizen without a background check.
Not to put too fine a point on it, the current NICS and state background checks processes have already put us on the slippery slope to firearms registration, gun confiscation and the death of our gun rights. We’re already slipping. As the Gun Owners of America rightly assert.
Public ignorance of the true effects of “universal background checks” is complete. As the anti-gun rights pols and prevaricators like to point out, more than 90 percent of Americans — including NRA members — support “universal background checks.” Nothing we can say against the idea will reach gun-averse or gun-ignorant voters. It’s too damn late.
Declaring our desire to roll back all gun control laws — from background checks to magazine capacity limits to the prohibition against modern machine guns — as the Gun Owners of America do — no doubt shocks the body politic. No question: it gives our enemies ammunition to declare us “gun nuts” and “extremists” and “proto-insurrectionists” and “terrorist sympathizers.” Again, so what?
You may say Second Amendment absolutism pours gas on the pyre of our gun rights. And you might be right. But I say if we cannot make the case to restore the original intent and meaning of the Second Amendment for all Americans, we’ve abandoned the principles underlying it.
Someone once said give me liberty or give me death. I hope and pray it doesn’t come to that (again). But before we consider the unfathomable horror of that position, we should at least be clear what we mean by liberty. No gun control laws or any type, kind or description. You with me?