By Kerry Sloan
There has been no shortage of discussion, recently and over the last decade, about the need for “universal background checks.” While we see pithy, eloquent responses to UBC proposals such as, “All gun laws are unconstitutional,” “Shall not be infringed!” and “Background checks only prevent law abiding citizens from exercising their Second Amendment rights” ad nauseam in social media, comment sections, and proclaimed in speeches at Second Amendment rallies, many still fail to fully understand the serious implications of enacting such legislation.
Those among us who support any form of expanded, enhanced, focused, targeted, tailored (choose your adjective) background checks or changes to address the “Charleston loophole” (giving the FBI another seven business days to complete NICS checks) are only playing into the hands of those who would eliminate civilian gun rights entirely. All while further endangering those who need the option of armed self defense to protect themselves.
In the last year alone, we have seen domestic violence and sexual assault perpetrators…many with long histories of violent crime arrests and convictions, being released after being arrested for domestic violence. We have witnessed rapists released on their own recognizance. We have read about individuals returning to attack their victims time and again, all while law enforcement in many jurisdictions is being defunded.
Because of these preventable crimes, many Americans are increasingly turning to firearms for their own self-defense and peace of mind. In April, 2021 alone, the NSSF reported almost 1.7 million adjusted background checks were processed through the FBI’s NICS system. With that kind of continued demand for firearms, challenges and delays with both the NICS and state-run background check systems are, in essence, de facto waiting periods or denials for the fundamental right to keep and bear arms.
While these dilemmas are certainly frustrating for anyone who wants to provide for their own protection or that of their family, imagine being a woman who has just been beaten by her spouse. She calls 911 and hides while waiting for help to arrive…praying that law enforcement get to her before her attacker returns. When police finally arrive, the abuser is taken away and swears he’s going to kill her for putting him in jail.
Out of fear, she decides to buy a firearm to protect herself and her children, only to discover she can’t immediately take possession of the firearm because of an often backlogged background check process. As a result, she’s left helpless, hoping her background check is completed before her abuser is released from jail. A judge’s restraining order won’t be much of a barrier to further assaults.
Now consider what will happen if this already broken system is required to run universal/expanded/enhanced checks as some “2A defenders” as well as those in the gun control industry have described them. The additional volume and red tape that will inevitably create even longer delays associated with this dangerous law will put more victims at even greater risk of injury or even death.
If you think I’m exaggerating, ask Carol Bowne’s family about her horrendous murder at the hands of a former boyfriend while waiting for the Government’s permission to exercise her inalienable right to keep and bear arms.
The shortsightedness from those advocating for universal background checks and increasing time limits for the FBI’s NICS system to do its job is not only ignorant, it’s potentially deadly, especially for domestic violence victims. We already have an uphill battle in the defense of our rights. Adding more weak compromises will only complicate defending the right to keep and bear arms down the road.
When will we finally realize that those who support any further infringements on our natural right of self-defense only enable more restrictions in the future? When will we hold those responsible for giving in to “common sense measures” as complicit in the resulting increased crime and violence?
Hopefully, those who are in favor of a “common sense” compromise on background checks will think about the countless women who will become victims as a result of these laws. Rather than continuing to repeat the same useless talking points that clearly aren’t being heard, they should be talking about how these laws will result in the victimization women who will be prevented from adequately defending themselves.
Those who truly believe we should be more proactive about arming women and giving them the best, most effective tools to protect themselves should be pushing that message, not one one of compromise with those who would only further erode all of our Second Amendment rights.