Universal Background Checks – A Corollary of the 2A.
We oppose “universal background checks” for many reasons. One is that they can be used to create a list of gun owners, which is a backdoor way to registration, and that can be used later for confiscation. In addition to the strength of the argument laid out in the 2nd Amendment, the 4th Amendment also protects citizens’ rights to have, acquire, and dispose of their private property without government interference. The private transfer of firearms, like the private transfer of knives or baseball bats is prohibited without probable cause. Also, we agree with the following points quoted from Reason magazine:
- Expanding the background check requirement makes no sense as a response to mass shootings (even though that is how it has been presented), because the perpetrators of these crimes typically either have actually passed background checks or could do so because they do not have disqualifying criminal or psychiatric records.
- Expanding the background check requirement makes little sense as a response to more common forms of gun violence, since criminals with felony records can always obtain weapons on the black market, through buyers with clean records, or by theft.
- Expanding the background check requirement, especially if it is coupled with “improved” databases, compounds the injustice of disarming millions of people who pose no threat to others but are nevertheless forbidden to own guns because they use illegal drugs, overstay a visa, were once subjected to court-ordered psychiatric treatment, or have felony records, even if they have never committed a violent crime.
- Expanding the background check requirement is not the same as actually compelling people to perform background checks for private gun transfers. Many gun owners will balk at the inconvenience and expense of finding and paying a licensed dealer who is willing to facilitate a transaction. Oregon, which expanded its background-check requirement, has some local law enforcement officials who have publicly stated they do not plan to enforce the new rule, either because they do not have the resources or because they view it as an unconstitutional intrusion. The Oregonian notes that “there is no centralized registry of guns in Oregon…that could be used to track a gun found in a criminal’s possession.” The federal government has no such registry either, so how can it possibly hope to track transfers and make sure background checks are performed? Even with hefty criminal penalties, widespread noncompliance is a certainty. Consider: Does the theoretical prospect of a 10-year prison sentence deter gun owners from smoking pot or pot smokers from owning guns?