Free Markets, Free People

Question of the day: how do you enforce “universal background checks?”

A part of the legislative gun control package and executive orders President Obama has set in motion includes this:

Mr. Obama would require background checks for private sales between individuals, including those at gun shows and via the Internet. Expanding the checks is the “single most important thing we can do,” a senior administration official said.

Sounds reasonable on the surface, right?

But then the deeper question – how would this have to be accomplished?

Well, let’s see – there’s no way to track how well this law is being followed unless you are able to identify all the guns that this requirement would cover.  And, of course, it would cover every existing gun out there now, right?  Isn’t that what “universal” means?

So what is required?

Ah, gun registration.  Every single, solitary gun that is legally held by the public would have to be registered so the Fed could then track sales and ensure that “proper background checks” were executed.  If not, then we have a new crime with which to prosecute citizens and populate our jails.

Oh, and the crimnals?  Yeah, they’ll play along, won’t they?

Can’t wait to watch the gang-bangers in Chicago line up to register their guns and do background checks before selling them.

Absurd.  And useless.


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81 Responses to Question of the day: how do you enforce “universal background checks?”

  • A capsule of the 23…
    Pres. Fast & Furious offers old stuff as new, agreement with NRA on “crazy stuff”, more Big Brother, and vacant chin-music.
    But mostly vacant chin music.
    I did LOVE the straw-purchases comment from Pres. Fast & Furious.  Precious irony.

    • Yeah, he mostly backed off on all the threatened executive powers he was going to wield.  He HAD to do something though because he’d backed himself into the corner with all the tough talking he did, so he, and the media, are dong their best to dress all this kabuki up as ‘tough’.
      But McQ’s point is taken,    Doesn’t matter, it’s not going to happen, and not a damn thing they can do about it, except selectively terrorize.   Because they’re trying to protect me from terrorists and loons, nudge nudge, wink wink.

      • I think the whole deal is being revealed to be a deflection from the debt issue.

        • And Nuclear Iran, Islamist Egypt, hostages in Algeria, China in the South China Sea, unemployment, Taxes, Eric Holder, Chuck Hagel.   Spin Spin Spin Spin.
          As gun owners we’re just as focused on gun shenanigans as anyone, and just as distracted from the vast plethora of other issues that ARE the Obanana Republic

          • Okay, strike the Hostages in Algeria issue, apparently Algeria has a Soviet-Russian like way of dealing with hostage situations.

  • Useless except for the ability to selectively enforce and prosecute…..

    • Which…as the incident of the acknowledged gun criminal David Gregory shows…is already very, very much a problem.
      More the Obamabanana Republic every day.

  • I’ve tried to get to your conclusion that checks = registration as a necessity, but can’t, McQ.
    Care to elucidate…???
    On the other hand, there is no evidence whatsoever that private sales of guns to legitimate buyers hurts society at all.

    • I see it, not that they can do it.
      There’s a bunch of ways for this – for examples –  the way I’d do is to ‘remind you’ that any time you sell or give a gun to someone else you are required to go down to some FFL dealer and for a fee they will process your exchange background check and at the same time, identify and register the weapon.  This would screen the recipient (and you) AND register a possibly unregistered weapon on the data base.
      They send LEO’s of Federal Stripe around to gun show organizers, and ‘offer’ a service at the show that will do the mandatory background checks for privates purchases between individuals selling guns at the show.  They will insist on some kind of registration thingie when you bring a weapon into the show, and insist you either show the weapon again when you leave or a receipt from the ‘service’ showing you background checked it when you sold it  (and I’ve already thought of 6 ways to get around that….).   They strong arm the gun show with the usual forms of government thuggery and threats if they wise off.
      Knowing that no system will ever net them ALL the guns they don’t currently have record of, they’ll settle for some number of those guns.  Hell man, it’s your tax dollars they’re going to use to take away YOUR guns, you think they’re worried about how much of your money they spend to get you to give up your weapons?
      And some number of good citizens WILL comply just as numbers of them do when they have these $100 gun exchanges incities where they use money the citizens paid in taxes to buy the guns from the self same citizens for ‘destruction’.
      I would imagine they’re regretting some of that registration shit when the weapons they walked across the border for Fast and Furious turn up at crime scenes where LEO’s and ‘important people’ like beauty queens, are killed.

      • But I can readily design a system that requires background checks for private exchanges, but never mentions WHAT is being exchanged, must less mandates that it be registered.
        This, of course, ignores the fact that any such system would be objectively worthless as a crime deterrent.
        It also ignores the fact that it would seem to be unconstitutional…at least IMNHO.

        • Many of the big dogs in this aren’t worried about deterring crime no matter what they say they’re doing.    Biden?  Obama?  Feinstein?  Cuomo?  Emmanuel?  Bloomberg?  No…they’re not really worried about reducing crime, if they were they wouldn’t be focusing on guns because all the actual stats show a decrease in violent crimes nationwide (well, except maybe in the places where they’ve got great laws in place against guns…). Some of them aren’t even worried about armed rebellion.  They’re just doing this to make themselves look tough and capable for their bases, because they get whiny letters from people demanding they make them feel safer.
          And Constitutionality didn’t worry the people who passed the laws overturned by DC vs Heller.   Look at Bloomberg, Obama, Holden…the Constitution is a rag these little tyrants wipe their noses with.

        • Rags,

          The thing is, if there isn’t registration you can always transfer under the table. The reason the average person will go to the effort to transfer according to the governemtn rules is because they are on the hook for the firearm in question.

          Simply requiring transfers to go through an FFL might minimize Craigs List or other publically announced transfers, but it will do nothing to discourage private face to face transfers.

          To close the “gun show loophole” requires massive government intervention into our lives. And even then, it won’t close it 100% (see Mexico for an example), and will likely create a larger underground market for firearms.

          Of course, the people pushign it don’t really care about the criminal market in firearms, it is just a means of gaining more control over law abiding citizens.

          • Guys, I DO get it.  I understand the arguments.
            I also understand how each speculates that some LAW will be passed to the effect that all private transfers be subjected to a full-tilt GUN SPECIFIC background check, etc.  This would be a HUGE shift in current policy.
            I do not see that as at all likely.  Rest VERY ASSURED I will do all I can to oppose any such law.
            AND I will not comply.

        • “But I can readily design a system…”
          Sure, me too, but we aren’t politicians or bureaucrats. They will want to grab all the information they can whenever they can. It will be kept strictly confidential, of course.

      • After the feds stomped on the local LEO-s in regard to illegal aliens, how does anybody expect them to work with the feds.

    • Backdoor way to registration – Most likely type and serial number of weapon plus owner would be included. Data base built.

      • Ah…I see.  “Most likely…”  Not, as you said, “required”.
        Does “most likely” have a snowball’s chance?  I think “most likely” not.

        • “Does “most likely” have a snowball’s chance?”
          Heck, yes. I have a social security card with “Not to be used for identification” printed on the front. In red. It is there because folks objected to the possibility of a national identification number, and were solemnly assured their social security number was private and would never be used for ID. purposes. You may note that the statement is no longer printed on SS cards.

          • We’ve made note of your complaint, could you give me the last 4 digits of your social and your zip code for verification of your identity?

        • I think it is a fait accompli with a “universal” requirement.

          •   Gentlemen,
              First and foremost, let me state that I will not be complying with ANY registration scheme. Nor will I be turning in ANY of my weapons they might try to ban. That said, all of this is getting us into a lather about what they “might” do, and what they “could” do, none of which is going to solve the central problem they claim to be addressing. Of course this is a distraction from much larger issues that we absolutely need to remain focused on, and also very much a move toward greater government control and meddling in the lives of we the people. What I haven’t heard from anyone is a viable, workable solution to the real problem – violent criminals possessing and using weapons in viloent crimes. I think we all agree on this.
              Well, I would like to offer one. I think we could adopt just two laws regarding weapons, that would allow for the repeal of every other weapon related law on the books. Here they are:
            1. If you commit a crime with a weapon in your possession, you go to prison for life. No parole. No time off for good behavior. Life, Period.
            2. If you injure, wound, maim, or kill someone in the commission of that crime, you get the death penalty. Period.
            An overwhelming number of violent crimes in our country are committed by prior convicted violent felons. With my two laws, the proposition is that if you decide to use a weapon during a crime, you get permanently removed from society for having crossed that line. There will no longer be “repeat” violent offenders among us. In addition to this, I imagine more than a few will figure out some other way to be a nuisance to society.
              The best thing (I think) about my proposal is that it deals with CRIMINALS, and CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR, as opposed to a debate over how much violence we should do to the rights and freedoms of the law abiding citizens of this country. Benjamin Franklin said “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither.” When faced with a problem of criminality, the obvious answer is to deal with the CRIMINALS. This is a no brainer to me.
              After that, the only thing left for the lawyers to haggle about is the definition of “weapon”.  🙂

          • While I like your general approach, your suggestion shows how carefully laws have to be written.
            What you said would result in petty crime by normally law-abiding people being punished with life in prison.  You pocket knife is a weapon.
            If you accidentally hurt someone while fishing out of season, you could be executed.

  • I think you’re thinking too hard, Bruce. 

    I suspect they’re just trying to make private gun sales so encumbered, that private market for guns and even gifting or inhereting guns is ended.  Step two would then be to go after retailers and makers with regulations and taxes. 

    The end run around the Constitution and fodder for propaganda is to still allow it to be possible to own a gun.  Just not pracitcal to own one.  That’s how you errode rights in the US. 

    • Kind of like liberals citing the laws that Hitler had that still allowed gun ownership, without pointing out how that can be very very selective.  Easy to point at a law and say “you can” and disregard the fact that they’re about to play a version of Jim Crow with it that will never be recorded for history.
      With respect to ‘not practical to own one’…
      I personally will NEVER forget the hassle I got at age 20 when I went to the police department in Beverly Mass to get an FID, which was required to even handle a rifle, let alone own one.  We played 30 questions, all of them delivered in a thuggish threatening manner, before the nice officer who was playing the part of the storm trooper told me that they didn’t issue permits on Saturday.
      Yeah, they’ll just intimidate the snot out of people trying to exercise their remaining rights.

  • How to enforce it?  Put in a liability clause and force gun owners to buy insurance.
    Such an idea would end up being a defacto ban but that is probably the real goal here.  It has the added benefit of giving the gun banners cover as they wouldn’t actually be banning guns.  They’d just bankrupt anyone who wanted to own one.

  • Not to give anyone any ideas, but…
    such insurance would be EXTREMELY cheap if it was based on actual risk.  Consider the number of guns versus the use of guns that could trigger (HEH!) liability.  I’d take a piece of that market!

    • I doubt it would be based on actual risk.  I’d wager it would be based on potential risk and combined with enough civil suits the gun control crowd could achieve their ends.
      See the frivolous gun manufactures lawsuits.

      • But…reality.
        Several states have laws expressly prohibiting lawsuits against gun manufacturers.  There have been some Federal bills, but I don’t know where they are.
        A common defense in many civil torts is criminal acts by the tort-feasor.
        A million dollar umbrella policy for a small contractor is remarkably cheap.  The risks are comparatively huge.

        • “But…reality.”
          Shirley you geste! Among other things,  I predict lawsuits based on “willfull and wanton negligence” (already a standard in W.Va. workman’s comp. , Mandolidis)  liability standard, as decided by a jury,  against gun owners for allowing their guns to be misused.

  • This wouldn’t require registration to implement, but it would accomplish registration by degree.  CA passed its law requiring all private-party sales to be handled by an FFL (with waiting period) some 10 – 20 years ago, and the paperwork trail has steadily been building for every gun sold or re-sold within the state.
    And laws of this type aren’t aimed at criminals at all; we’ve known for 44 years that criminals cannot be compelled to nor punished for failing to register their firearms, since U.S. v Haynes in 1968.

    • First, the CA hasn’t stopped face to face sales, it has stopped people from advertising in publications like the Pennysaver. Second, CA has already registered handguns, so if you live in CA and have a registered handgun you probably want to CYA and transfer legally.

      Long arm registration in CA begins in 2014. Until then it is hard to enforce private transfers of long arms between people who know each other.

  • And in the most important news today, Imaginary Football player Girlfriends and Lance Armstrong fesses up!   Stay tuned!

  • Here’s a good, factual piece on why this is such a NOT problem…
    highlighting how Pres. Fast&Furious lied yesterday about the issue of “loopholes”…
    Share it extensively.  Especially with your Congresscritters.

  • Here’s part of your answer Rags – I read the 23 points yesterday and honestly unconsciously included this in my answer above on how they’d do it today –
    6. Publish a letter from ATF to federally licensed gun dealers providing guidance on how to run background checks for private sellers.
    Read more:

    IF Congress passes a law mandating all sales through FFL dealers, private or otherwise the base is covered.

    • That was one of the “warm bucket of spit” items, IMNHO.
      EVERY FFL holder KNOWS this already, as many of the pro-gun sites have noted.  If you don’t, you can call the ATF for a walk-through.
      Again, some of the reax around this is a bit hysterical.  If you buy a gun on-line (as I have, and as Mr. Fund points out), it goes through a FFL holder WITH a background check.

      • It’s toothless unless Congress passes a mandatory check transfer law.   He’s just setting it up.   Then we can have a “Republican Congress doesn’t care about the children’ speech when they don’t pass legislation offered by Nancy Pelosi for mandatory private purchase checking (larded up with payoff pork for all the special interests that don’t have any link to guns).

      • Speaking of that law, they’re going to trot out that ‘the majority’ of Americans want etc etc (limits on magazine sizes, better background checks, straw buying closure).

        • Did you see the piece on the group that produced a working 30 rd mag on a digital replicator…???
          Plus, eBay…!

          • Yeah – totally different than the printed receiver, much lower stresses.  Pretty neat actually if it’s all one printed piece!  These politician nitwits act like magazines are the pinnacle of technology.  It’s just a damn spring box fitted to the weapon in question. like a competent machinist couldn’t knock something that would work off in fairly short order.

  • Straw purchasing – did I miss the part where a Federal Felony (lying on the ATF form) is a ‘slap on the wrist’?  Or is a lying on the form Felony not a Felony Felony?

  • Don’t worry. Sasha, Malia and the kids of the rest of our betters will always be given every protection. So what if our kids are left to wait 20 mins for the cops to draw chalk outlines of them?
    Speaking of chalk outlines I see Obama got those American hostages killed.

  • It’s important to remember here, also, that “sale” in the description really means “transfer” – it doesn’t depend on money changing hands.
    Want to give your relative a firearm for a birthday or Christmas present? Background check … and fee.
    Want to trade your X for your buddy (who you know is not a prohibited person)’s Y? Background check and fee.
    And the black market will continue to operate without a whit of difference, since it’s already involving people committing a far more punishable set of crimes than an unlawful transfer… so plainly they’ll be deterred by a law saying they’re committing an additional crime by not calling into NICS to sell G. Dogg his gat, right?

  • I love this sentence from the link;
    “Researchers said that three surveys, two from the 1990s and one from 2004, showed that some 80% of gun offenders acquired their weapons through a private transaction of some sort, rather than from a licensed dealer.”
    “…private transaction of some sort…” .  Just off the top of my head, I would guess many of the ‘some sort’ are already illegal, and will remain so no matter how many new laws are passed. My best guess is that folks like Tony Soprano also get their weapons through private transactions.
    I have my own sentence; “”Researchers said that three surveys, two from the 1990s and one from 2004, showed that some 80% of drug offenders acquired their drugs through a private transaction of some sort, rather than from a licensed dealer.”

    • Isn’t it swell when you can use stats about criminals to prove that 80% of all gun owners will be criminals at some point in the future?

  • One of those “unintended consequences,” of the “limited” magazine laws, will be to have gun totting persons use more lethal ammunition.
    We had the story recently about the woman who defended herself and her children, pumping 5 shots into an intruder … and he lived. Next time he won’t.

  • New York apparently has removed itself from future consideration for the Winter Olympics.
    Biathlon, a Winter Olympics sport held and trained for in Lake Placid, New York, uses a specialized rifle with a unique eight-round magazine, now affected under Cuomo’s idiotic “rush to be first” lawmaking. The magazine in question holds five conventionally fed shells, plus three spares in the base of the magazine.

  • It would be easy to design a system to help lawful gun owners avoid inadvertently transfering a gun to an inappropriate person, and it wouldn’t difficult to implement. It can’t ever happen.

    Most lawful gun owners I know want to keep guns out of the wrong hands, and I assume that gun dealers by and large feel the same way. We have the ability to formulate the methods to accomplish this, but it would require trust in the Government so that it wouldn’t abuse this information.  As long as gun grabbing liberals exist that level of trust can’t exist.

    There is no way for us to keep guns out of the wrong hands because we can never trust liberals not to try to remove them from the right hands. So our hands are tied.

    How about a ‘free’ (government funded) web based app, that I can use to do a voluntary background check on someone that I am considering transfering a gun to? If such a thing existed, I would use it IF I trusted the Government to never use any data inappropriately. ***Snort***   

  • Pretty on topic…AND a scandal…
    [NRA director of federal affairs Jim] Baker, [NRA president David] Keene says, told Biden that in 2009, “77,000 people tried to get through the NICS system to illegally buy a firearm. That is a crime, and only 70 of them have been prosecuted.”
    But there wasn’t interest in changing the prosecution rates.
    “And the attorney general [Eric Holder] interrupted and said, ‘We don’t have the time or the resources to be going after these people,’” Keene recounts. But there are apparently resources, Keene remarks, “to go after innocent gun owners.”

    • There were resources to run guns to Mexico. Priorities, priorities.

      Note that Democrat politicians and their media friends didn’t have the resources to investigate gun running to Mexico. No doubt that would change if the gun runners were just US gun stores; if that’s the case it is front page news, and investigation worthy.

  • Absurd.  And useless.

    That reminds me of that old line about how the “public schools are failing”; but they’re not, they’re doing exactly what they set out to do one hundred some odd years ago: turn America’s youth into subservient dolts.
    One must assume (hint) that the purpose of gun control is to reduce crime. Well, think of a nice dove-tail with the public schools.

    • Gun control is a culture-war effort to rub middle America’s nose in the fact that the world is run by its betters. Any actual improvement in public safety is of no concern at all.

      Yep.  What other ambit of social engineering has been so long…and so exhaustively…tried and observed?  It never worked to provide public safety, not since the Sullivan Act 100+ years ago.
      What it DID do is cause MORE deaths, and strip people of their right to self-defense, as in the days of Jim Crow.

  • I’ll also note their hypocracy on the Iraq War. 60% of Dem senators (including the current VP and SoS) voted for war. 40% of Dem House members voted for war.

    Yet, when it worked for them politically, they turned on the war, attacked General “Betrayus”, and had a major hissy fit.

    Later, voting for war wasn’t such a bad thing to prevent them becoming SoS and VP under Obama.

    I could go on, but you get the point.

  • “Acting Director Jones was at the helm of ATF as many troubling problems from the fallout of Operation Fast and Furious festered,” said Issa.  “His specific decisions on a number of Fast and Furious related issues raise concerns about his judgment and ability to lead the agency.  While I continue to believe that ATF needs to have a Senate confirmed Director, President Obama has a responsibility to find a nominee who can win confirmation and is not saddled by a string of bad decisions related to the agency’s greatest recent failure,” Issa said in a statement. “Jones was first brought into the job of ATF Acting Director in the middle of the Fast and Furious scandal after Justice Department officials had falsely denied reckless conduct and allegations by his predecessor that there was an effort underway to shield the Department’s senior political appointees from the scandal.   Because of the numerous ATF mistakes during his tenure as Acting Director pertaining to Fast and Furious, his nomination is a slap in the face to the family of fallen Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, Mexican citizens whose murder has been linked to Fast and Furious weapons, and ATF whistleblowers whom he failed to support.”
    Jones is notorious within ATF for retaliating against Fast and Furious whistleblowers. In July 2012, Jones warned ATF agents not to “jump their chain of command” and said if they did there would be “consequences.” Issa sent Jones a letter the same month, warning about retaliation.

    Obama’s war on accountability continues.

  • The law would only apply to private sells after the date it was signed into law.  If they added a provision requiring firearms to be stored in a manner sufficient to prevent or detect theft and require the reporting of all loss or theft of firearms by the owners, this would put the owner on the hook for ensuring any transfer that occurred after the date the bill was signed into law had a background check completed.  Then once a firearm appeared at the scene crime committed by someone other than the owner they could not claim unknown theft or loss of the firearm without admitting to a crime. While this would have little effect on firearms privately sold before the law was enacted, those that end up in pawnshops or other licensed dealers would restart the tracking of the firearm.
    For those that are not aware FFL dealers are required to maintain all transfer records for a period of 20 years from the date of transfer.  The record contains your name, address, phone number, sex, race, etc and the make, model, caliber, and serial number of the firearm.  Dealers that retire or go out of business are required to turn their records over to the ATF.  I doubt the ATF ever destroys these.  So we already have a defacto firearms registry for any firearm purchased from a dealer.

  • I just wish Abbot would stop inviting them to Texas. just because they favor owning a fire arm doesn’t mean they’re not going vote to do all the other crazy things they do up in the Center of the Universe.

  • Over at PJ Media, I saw something that I am a lot more worried about than McQ’s speculative piece here.
    The Feds could data mine your prescription records for reasons to prohibit you having a weapon.
    Ah, the manifold tyrannies of ObamaCare…

  • I’ve come to the conclusion they are allowing people concerned to sit around and think the worst.  Talk about ‘door to door gun searches’, etc.  So that when they do come out with something its benign in comparison.
    I expect incremental path to making gun ownership more onerous and expensive.  No one change to look at and take to swing votes and say, they mean to get rid of our guns.  And in contrast to what is being imagined, a $50 fee would seem trivial.  Just that over time that $50 will will become $500 and then $5000.  But a few dollars at the time.

  • If a law isn’t 100% enforceable, then it’s useless.  What does that make most laws?  Useless?

    • Most laws are useless – they essentially set a penalty for breaking them, but don’t accomplish much else. Tell me, are there illegal guns in DC, Chicago and NY? Oh, wait, they have gun control laws.

      • Amen, human laws exist to give society an excuse to punish the behavior not currently in vogue in a non-random fashion and call it justice.
        There’s a billion of them out there, and yet most of the ‘laws’ we stick to every day could have been taught in kindergarten.   Don’t steal, don’t hit, don’t set fire to kitty, don’t shout, don’t lie (we don’t get to ‘don’t kill Susie or Johnnie’ that soon because we’re kinda hoping we don’t have to say it, we hope hitting will cover it…)   Get a little older, and we teach you how to drive in the US….on the right, don’t run stop signs, don’t drive with busted lights, or a missing wind shield….etc.
        People probably get through a day breaking twenty laws and never know it, but can navigate life successfully with a handful of the 10 commandments and hardly run afoul of anyone.
        Now, walk through the middle of downtown DC with a highly dangerous 20 round magazine, no rifle, no ammo, and NO INTENT, and well, you could be in for a heap of trouble if you’re not David Gregory.