I’m still amazed that some people just do not get the concept that background checks will not stop crime. Even some gun owners are saying, “What’s wrong with background checks?”
I ask you to share this article with everyone you know in order to help them understand that a “universal” background check can only be implemented with universal national firearms registration — and that is something no freedom-loving American should be willing to endure. Such a law will only prevent honest, law-abiding citizens from exercising their constitutional right to bear arms. The U.S. Concealed Carry Association supports ONLY those laws that enable responsibly armed Americans to effectively defend themselves. To that end, the best this government’s officials could be doing is working to advance National Concealed Carry Reciprocity as presented in H.R. 38.
The Misconception With Background Checks
But we are talking about background checks, so let’s get to that. Criminals, by definition, do not follow laws. So the requirement for a background check on the sale of a firearm will not stop any criminal. Let’s take this discussion all the way to its logical end.
Robbie the Robber wants a gun, but a law is in place saying he cannot have a gun unless he passes a background check. So Robbie finds Sheldon the Seller who is willing to sell Robbie a gun without doing the background check. Robbie offers Sheldon a premium to sell the gun, and Sheldon agrees. Robbie hands Sheldon the money, and Sheldon hands Robbie the gun. The sale is complete, albeit illegal.
The law did not stop Robbie from getting his gun. But he did commit a crime to get his gun. Still, why should he care about the nine-month jail term for avoiding the background check when he is willing to risk 25-to-life in prison for aggravated robbery … or something worse?
With his gun in hand, Robbie commits the robbery. The background check did NOT stop the crime — nor will it ever stop a crime, and let’s look at why. In order for background checks to work, someone must monitor the location of the firearms AFTER the sales. There must be someone who will monitor not only the sales of the guns but also the possession of the guns. That sounds a lot like a national gun registry, doesn’t it? But even THAT would not stop criminals.
Let’s say Sheldon owns five guns and, under the “universal” background check legislation, those guns are listed in the registry as belonging to Sheldon. Who will know if he chooses to sell a gun or two without going through a background check? In order for any background check system to work, the government would have to regularly check on the status and location of Sheldon’s guns. Let’s say the government requires Sheldon to file a report on the makes, models and serial numbers of his guns every year. First off, that is a violation of his Fourth Amendment rights — because he can’t be searched without reasonable suspicion that he has committed a crime — but what if he seems like the kind of guy who would lie on such a report? Who would know that he was lying — UNLESS the government did a physical inventory of his firearms? How often should Uncle Sam check on Sheldon’s guns? Once a year? Twice a year? Four times a year?
In this scenario, Sheldon and Robbie would have, at most, a full year and at least three months to commit crimes without anyone even knowing that Sheldon had sold Robbie a gun. So, the law requiring a background check would not STOP any crimes; it would just allow police to charge Robbie with another crime AFTER he has robbed someone. In reality, the law would increase the number of crimes because every robbery would also include a violation of the background check law.
A Police State
Going one step further, let’s just say we suspend that pesky Fourth Amendment on the grounds that everyone who has a gun should be suspected of a crime. Now we allow federal agents to make regular searches of gun owners’ homes to check and see if they have sold any of their guns without the background checks. Do we want that? Could we even do that? There are not enough federal agents in the country to check to see if Sheldon has all the guns he bought. Is that not the gateway to a police state? Since our judicial system operates on the idea of judicial precedent, if we can suspend Fourth Amendment protections for those who own guns, could we not suspend those protections based on a person’s possession of other items?
In order for a background check to really stop crime, police would have to check the status and location of every gun in the country daily to be completely certain no gun has been illegally transferred to someone who might commit a crime. Background checks do not stop crime. They lead to a police state … and nobody wants that.
National Concealed Carry Reciprocity Is the Solution
What would stop Robbie from robbing again? Well, if you shot Robbie right in the chest while he was robbing you, that would stop him. Robbers don’t fear the criminal justice system. They only fear getting shot by their victims. Background checks don’t do anything to stop robbers. Good people with guns stop robbers and killers and rapists. So what we really need to reduce crime are laws that allow good people to protect themselves from bad people. A good start would be a law allowing for National Concealed Carry Reciprocity. That way, good citizens could protect themselves anywhere in the country.
About Kevin Michalowski
Executive Editor of Concealed Carry Magazine Kevin Michalowski is a USCCA and NRA Certified Trainer and is a graduate of the Force Science Institute Certification Course. He has participated in training as both an instructor and a student in multiple disciplines. Kevin is also a fully certified law enforcement officer working part time for a small agency in rural Wisconsin.