Yesterday, Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) floated an idea for how private party purchases could work in a way that alleviates some of the fears people had about privacy issues, mandatory fees and other intolerable side effects of the Manchin-Toomey background check compromise. In fact, Coburn’s idea is the exact same one that I’ve had floating around in my head since this debate started and actually makes sense. Naturally, since this is a concrete proposal that involves actual common sense, gun control advocates hate it. So, what are the details? . . .
Here’s how Coburn’s idea works. A prospective buyer logs into a website run by the FBI’s NICS division and enters the information you would put on a standard ATF form 4473. The NICS database then does a background check, and returns either a “proceed” or “denied” result along with a unique code. That code, combined with the buyer’s name, can be used by the seller to verify the authenticity of the “proceed” from the background check.
Once the buyer has his background check completed, he can purchase a firearm within 30 days. No word on whether this is a one time use thing, but I’m guessing it would be good for multiple purchases.
That’s it. No required fees. No increased call volume to the already overloaded NICS call centers. No required trip to the FFL. And, most importantly for those concerned about privacy, no record of what gun was purchased or any of the other details. In fact, there’s no proof that a gun was purchased at all. Just like with normal NICS checks.
Honestly, it sounds like the best proposal we’ve heard yet. Universal background checks are a popular idea, and if implemented would give the gun control advocates much less ammunition with which to attack the second amendment (what with their abhorrence of the “gun show loophole” and all). If we have to implement them, this is actually the most agreeable method of doing so I’ve heard to date. And one that I came up with myself, so seeing that someone else had the same idea means that it might actually be “common sense.”
Before Coburn’s proposal, no “universal” background check system even came close to the level of privacy protection and convenience that this one offers. And that’s why gun control advocates don’t like it. They want their records, and they want their national gun registry. From the USA Today article, here’s Gabby Giffords’ husband:
“When there’s a crime committed, a police agency can go to a manufacturer and ask, ‘Hey, where did this gun go?'” said Mark Kelly, who founded Americans for Responsible Solutions with his wife, former Rep. Gabby Giffords. The manufacturer can point to a federally licensed dealer, who would have a paper record of the sale, “and then they can help them solve some crimes,” Kelly said.
Make no mistake: a universal gun registry is what they really want. “Universal” background checks are just the means to the end for them, the stepping stone in that direction. And Coburn’s proposal gives the public what they want while denying the gun control advocates their registry. And it’s pissing them off.