The media has heightened our focus on firearms in American society, fixating on the actions of a deranged few as justification to restrict access for all. A number of proposals have been put forth under the guise of ‘common sense’ legislation, that no reasonable person could possibly object to.
Most claim they don’t want to take away anyone’s guns, but the proposals indicate otherwise.
The most commonly touted cure for firearms violence is ‘Universal Background Checks’, otherwise known as the elimination of private firearm sales. Currently, all federally licensed dealers must perform a background check regardless of location – be it their regular place of business or at a gun show. Non-dealers can sell personal firearms as long as they are not ‘engaging in the business’, meaning buying and selling guns as an unlicensed dealer for profit. While anti-gun factions call this the ‘gun show loophole’, this more frequently takes the form of guns sold at yard sales, between acquaintances, gifts between relatives, or bulletin board ‘for sale’ ads at the local gun range.
All sales through a dealer with a background check maintain a paper form at the dealer with the buyer’s relevant information as well as that of the firearm(s) purchased. These records can be used by law enforcement at any time and are required to be maintained by the dealer for the life of their business. After that they must be sent to ATF headquarters. There is also an electronic record that is kept for a number of months ‘for statistical purposes. Neither of these records may be used to compile a searchable database or registry under current law.
Universal background checks would mandate a record be created for every transfer, regardless of license status. Private sales would be eliminated. Once in place, it would be a very short step to making those electronic records permanent and searchable, i.e. a centralized gun registry that identifies the owner and location of every firearm in the country. This is not paranoid fiction – there have been attempts to permanently keep the FBI NICS electronic data or extend the retention period since it was implemented in 1995.
A ‘blind check’ universal background check system would protect against the abuses made possible by a central registry. This is a system where once a check is made, no record is retained, and no record of the firearm type or other identifying information is kept. This system protects the buyer of the firearm and still accomplishes what the regulation crowd claims to want. Resistance to a blind system would be significantly lower than the UBC system proposed, yet the anti-gun crowd only pushes for the system that can be later used for the next phase in their plan.
Because of this lack of support for a ‘blind check’ system, I do not believe the altruistic motives claimed by the gun control movement. Every jurisdiction that has attempted to ban firearms has failed in the absence of a central registry. New York, Connecticut, New Zealand have all face mass non-compliance by gun owners who collectively flipped off their governments and refused to comply. Understanding this, the gun control movement needs a centralized registry to move forward. Universal background checks accomplish this.
Pass the law, hold the data. Boom, done.
Once the registry is in place, we add to the already long list of ‘unapproved persons’ to minimize the portion of the population that can legally pass a background check. Misdemeanor crimes will be added to the felony disqualifications, but the newest way to confiscate will come in the form of the ‘Red Flag’ laws or Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPO).
ERPO’s can be filed by anyone who claims a subject is a threat to anyone or themselves. Once filed, the police will be required to remove any firearms or other weapons from that person’s domicile. No due process, hearing, or proof is needed to execute an ERPO. Just the word of any individual who is concerned, has an agenda or has an axe to grind. This system is ripe for abuse and will turn many divorce proceedings and other civil disputes into a nightmare scenario where one may ultimately get killed in the process (this has already happened). Those people who flag your posts on Facebook? They can now ‘Red Flag’ you at will. The penalty for not complying with an ERPO is a felony, whereas making a false claim is only a misdemeanor if you are even found to have acted maliciously.
You may or may not be able to get your firearms back, and if you can they may not be in the condition they left. Depending on the jurisdiction they are frequently destroyed upon receipt, or ‘lost’ or ‘accidentally’ sent to the scrapper. If you wish to regain your property you will need to hire an attorney and appear before the court.
There are already mechanisms in place to file for a High-Risk Protective Order to remove weapons from those deemed a danger.
Family members or domestic partners can report an issue to law enforcement or mental health resource, who can then petition a judge for a temporary restraining order or warrant to secure any weapons. A hearing is scheduled to determine if the information sworn in the warrant was valid and if the order needs to be extended.
Despite these protections already in place, several mass shooters had been reported to law enforcement who chose not to act on the information provided. The Parkland shooter was known to local, state and federal law enforcement for months, yet he was able to pass a background check and purchase a gun. The same can be said for many of the perpetrators of mass shootings in recent memory who not only were a known risk but also passed a NICS check to acquire their firearms.
Because you can already alert authorities for a HRPO, and that background checks failed to stop 100% of mass shooters in the last 10 years, I don’t believe those advocating for these laws are truthful when they claim Universal Background Checks and Red Flag laws are reasonable and common-sense ways to prevent violence. Because they haven’t worked so far, so why would they now?
Assault Weapons? Texting kills 12 times more people than all long guns combined, and assault weapons are in the minority. Perhaps we need ERPO laws for cell phones.
Gun free school zones? These have only been used to prosecute otherwise law-abiding gun owners who forgot they had their gun on or in the car. Not one school shooting has been prevented by these.
I don’t believe the gun-sense crowd when they promote these useless laws.
What I do believe is that these laws are a step-by-step process to develop a firearms registry that will then be used to remove as many guns from American society as possible. Non-compliance will not be a non-violent option.
American gun culture is already being demonized in the media, social media, and in our schools. Banks are encouraged to sever ties with the gun industry, and the Democrats want to remove protections against frivolous lawsuits meant only to bankrupt manufacturers. Children are suspended from school for posting a picture of themselves at the range with their parents or scout group on their personal social media pages. An Us vs. Them line is being drawn by those who want American Gun Culture to disappear.
We see the game you’re playing and the way you are recruiting the many victims of your propaganda who take you at your word. So, forgive us if we don’t sign on to your ‘common-sense’ proposals and take them at face value.