At least once a week, someone asks me about background checks for gun purchases. Usually, the question goes something like this: “Isn’t a background check a good idea if it can keep a crazy from buying a gun?” Or sometimes it’s, “Why don’t we just give in on the background check thing and focus on keeping our rights to own guns?”
Well, there are several reasons why extending background checks for gun purchases is a bad idea. First of all, those background checks will do very little, if any, good. Right now, approximately 80 percent of gun purchases are made in scenarios where there can’t be a background check. Half of those purchases are made on the street, and the other half are made from friends and family members.
So, right there you see how easy it would be for criminals to buy guns without background checks, even if very strict background checks were in place. A vast majority of the people who would have to go through an inconvenience to purchase a gun if more extensive background checks were in place would be those who are law-abiding citizens.
Secondly, background checks are not merely background checks. They are a significant step toward something that gun control advocates have wanted for a long time – a universal gun registry. This type of registry would let the government know exactly which homes have legally-purchased guns and how many, and would enable them to come right to your door to remove your guns if they wanted to.
Don’t think that would ever happen in America? Well, I’m sorry to disillusion you, but it just happened eight years ago following Hurricane Katrina. Law enforcement officials went door to door confiscating guns from law-abiding citizens who had purchased them in a legal fashion. And the same thing will happen next time there’s an emergency.
A recent poll showed that approximately one-half of Americans believe that stricter background checks for gun purchases would lead to what is now an illegal universal gun registry, thanks to the 1986 passage of the Firearm Owners Protection Act. I’m guessing that percentage would be even higher if more people understood the real intent of those seeking extensions of background checks.
How about you? Do you think that extending background checks will keep guns out of the hands of lunatics? Do you think that extending background checks will result in less gun violence? Do you believe that extending background checks is another step toward creating a universal gun registry? I’d love to hear what you have to say about this very important topic.