President Barack Obama has announced he will use executive order to expand gun control to end gun violence in our communities. This order will include, but is not limited to, requiring background checks for private gun sellers.
Read the full statement released from the White House here.
While our President seems to think increasing background checks will ultimately reduce crime, Executive Editor of Concealed Carry Magazine Kevin Michalowski disagrees.
Read Michalowski’s statement from a recent issue of Concealed Carry Magazine here:
Background Checks Won’t Reduce Crime
By: Kevin Michalowski, Executive Editor, Concealed Carry Magazine
FROM TIME TO TIME, the idea of universal background checks gets floated as part of gun control legislation.The goal is, I’m sure, to eventually convince people to think, “That might work. We should give up some of our freedom for the security of these background checks because they will keep bad guys from getting guns.”
Universal background checks are nothing more than a first step to firearms registration and eventual confiscation. They will not keep bad guys from getting guns. If your liberal friends ask why you are opposed to universal background checks, give them a copy of this column.
The current plan of background checks as required for transactions through Federal Firearms License holders is functional and effective when applied to firearms purchases made from dealers. That’s because dealers obtain their stock from manufacturers, maintain precise inventory records and, by virtue of their licensed dealer status, are available for closer government scrutiny. When the background check system is applied to private transactions, the effectiveness as a means of reducing crime disappears. Let me give a couple of examples. I’ll use the names Jim and Tom just to keep things straight.
In these examples, we assume a universal background check is in place.
Example 1: Jim owns a gun and decides to sell it to Tom. Following the law, Jim pays his fee and conducts the background check. Tom passes the background check but later decides to commit a crime. Result: No crime is prevented.
Example 2: Jim owns a gun and decides to sell it to Tom, knowing full well that Tom intends to commit a crime. Because both men are already intent on committing a crime, they ignore the requirement for the background check. Tom buys the gun, commits the crime and flees the scene. Police do not find him or the gun. Result: No crime is prevented. Furthermore, because Tom fled the scene and police did not find the gun, they have no idea where Tom got the gun and do not even know to check with Jim to see if Jim sold a gun to Tom.
Example 3: Jim owns a gun and decides to sell it to Tom, knowing full well that Tom intends to commit a crime. Because both men are already intent on committing a crime, they ignore the requirement for the background check. Tom buys the gun, commits the crime and drops the gun at the scene. Police do not find Tom, but do find the gun. Result: No crime is prevented, but police now have a gun. Still, unless this gun was registered (only seven states require registration and maintain records of such), they cannot connect this gun to Jim in order to prosecute him for selling the gun without a background check.
Example 4: Jim owns a gun and decides to sell it to Tom, knowing full well that Tom intends to commit a crime. Because both men are already intent on committing a crime, they ignore the requirement for the background check. Tom buys the gun, commits the crime and is arrested at the scene. Police have Tom and the gun. Result: No crime is prevented, but police now have a gun and a criminal in custody. Still, unless this gun was registered (and again, only seven states require registration), they cannot connect this gun to Jim to prosecute him for selling the gun without a background check UNLESS Tom decides to seek a plea bargain for giving up Jim. But should police let Tom plead down from a felony to arrest Jim for the misdemeanor crime of selling a gun without a background check? Even if police made selling a gun without a background check a felony, why would they want to let a violent criminal (armed robber) plead to a lesser charge and get out of jail sooner in order to arrest a non-violent offender?
Through these four examples, you can see that a universal background check will not prevent crime. Those with criminal intent will circumvent the requirement every time. The reason background checks work at the retail level is that government officials can restrict the delivery of new guns from the factory and therefore put retailers out of business if they don’t follow the law.
If you think we could “require” people to take their firearms to a retail shop to complete a sale, what would compel someone with criminal intent to go to the gun shop to sell or buy a gun? After the gun is sold from the retailer to a private citizen, we cannot force that citizen to do anything without a police officer standing by his side.
Universal background checks might effectively reduce crime if they require universal firearms registration AND include a requirement for gun owners to provide a regular inventory of firearms to law enforcement. Police could then know the location of each gun and thus seek out offenders who transferred guns without a background check. This system would still not work to prevent crime because the schedule of inventory statements would leave gaps in reporting.
If gun owners were to provide an inventory of firearms each year, that would give criminals an entire year to commit crimes before the inventory was due. If the inventory was required monthly, criminals would still have 30 days to commit crimes, but even then, are we to assume criminals would accurately log their firearms inventory? So, in order to ensure that no one illegally transferred a firearm without a background check, we would need to have law enforcement complete a physical inspection of every registered gun owner’s firearms on a regular basis and at a short interval. This would require a huge number of law enforcement officers, removal of Fourth Amendment protections and regular reporting of private lawful activity to the authorities. To me, that sounds an awful lot like a police state. No one wants that.
Stay Safe. Train hard.