Be wary of push for Universal Background Checks

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N0651760By Eric Noevere

WASHINGTON, D.C. There has been huge interest in President Obama’s recent Executive Orders pertaining to gun control. Specifically closing parts of the infamous “gun show loophole.”

After the dust settled, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms did produce a document titled: “Do I Need A License to Buy and Sell Firearms?

On Page 2 is a disclaimer “The guidance set forth has no regulatory effect…” It can be retrieved from the direct link at www.atf.gov/file/100871/download .


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Since I teach firearms classes and have some familiarity with federal and state firearm laws, I read all 15 pages, only to conclude that there is absolutely nothing new. In case I missed something, I did some more research online and found a quote from Steve Elliot with National Association of Arms Shows who said: “the President changed nothing.”

Also the New York Times website quoted Jennifer Baker of the “NRA lobbying arm” as saying “they’re really not doing anything.” President Obama stated over and over again he was closing the “gun show loophole” and had a big press conference, trumpets blared, the media were breathless but in the end where’s the beef?

Was this just a big stunt to shore up the Democratic base against the evil NRA and GOP? There was no shortage of coverage in the media but in the end there is really nothing, as far as new rules. It had been speculated that there would be rules saying exactly how many guns need to be sold to transform a mere seller into a dealer — this was not done. In the ATF Guidance Document, they point out that people have been prosecuted for selling as few as two guns if they were selling with the intention of profit.

Was President Obama just hoping he would scare people into having them do all firearms sales through a Federal Firearms Licensed dealer and hence require a background check, maybe? The gun rights people and GOP got loaded for bear but all that came out was the shadow of a rabbit. The Obama administration may have been afraid of a swift slap down by the courts if they actually tried to legislate from the White House, hence made a big spectacle but actually didn’t change anything.

The TV news media (including Fox) have people working for them who usually are from big cities, are not gun owners and have no clue about existing gun laws. Some people think gun shows are something like a video I saw of an open air arms bazaar in the tribal lands of Pakistan, showing people test firing full auto AK-47s in the air.

Most of the sellers at local gun shows are federally ‘firearms licensed’ who complete background checks on buyers. Private sales between individuals are made at gun shows, but these are a small minority of the transactions at the shows I’ve attended. Law enforcement is often visibly present so if I were a bad boy needing a firearm, I would think twice about trying to acquire one at a local gun show.’’

It is illegal to do a private sale between people who both do not reside in the state where the sale is made. If you want to sell a gun to someone out of state, you must use a dealer with an FFL. There are many laws federal and state that already exist and I would advise anyone who plans to make a private sale of a firearm to study these or call their local sheriff before proceeding. People who lie in order to obtain guns to resell to criminals are committing a felony, and can be prosecuted under existing laws.

The President knows that universal background checks is a back door way to create a registry of all guns that are bought or sold, that is why he and Democratic legislators are pushing as hard as they can for this. In states that have registration — such as New York when legal restrictions on semi-auto rifles and magazine capacity were made after the Sandy Hook tragedy — letters went to people who had such weapons. The owners either had to store them out of state, modify them to comply, turn them in, or face serious charges.

In Australia 20 years ago, all semiauto and pump long guns were confiscated after they had been registered. The owners had no choice! the government gave minimal financial compensation. If they didn’t surrender the guns, they went to jail. Both Obama and Hillary have praised the Australian plan. None of the guns used in recent high profile mass shootings have been acquired through private sales; at gun shows; or, on the Internet; or, between friends.

Somewhat more ominous is the attempt by Obama and his administration to make gun control a “public health problem.” This was tried during the Clinton administration and in response a law was passed so no funding can go to do research on gun violence as a health problem. Otherwise all kinds of federal entities could start regulating guns and ammunition. Obama also stated he wanted to make it easier for doctors to report someone as being potentially dangerous. This is also a slippery slope since such determinations should be done by psychiatrists — not just any medical provider.

Should any mental illness disqualify someone from owning a firearm, if someone has been treated for something like “anxiety” should they be stripped of their firearms rights? The federal government has been able to strip VA patients of their firearm rights if they have someone managing their financial affairs. There is talk of doing this with Social Security recipients as well.

Crimes of violence are rarely committed by older citizens. These same citizens are often the victims of violent crime. If someone is not managing their money it does not mean that they lack the judgement to use firearms. There needs to be scrutiny on people having their rights removed without due process.

We need to remain vigilant! A right once lost will not likely be regained. With a big election year already in progress we should support legislators who are serious about defending the Second Amendment and the rest of the Constitution.

Eric Noevere

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