Is it reasonable?
As many know, I am a strong believer and supporter of the words found in the 2nd Amendment, in particular “Shall Not Be Infringed”. I will concede that these words were written in a different society at a completely different time… but so was the 1st amendment, the 3rd, the 4th, the 5th, and so on and so forth.
We consistently hear the anti-gun lobby talk about reasonable restrictions. The issue here is that they don’t have the slightest clue as to how firearms work or what laws are already on the books. In order to have a discussion on what is or isn’t reasonable for any subject, subject matter experts (SME) are required. Without them being involved in the discussion, nothing reasonable can come out of said discussions.
For no other topic do we rely as much on the opinions on non-experts as we do with firearms. Think about it… when was the last time the government sought the opinion of a plumber on if the D.o.D budget was sound in logic?
This all said, this begins the series on TacCat of “Is it reasonable?” In this part I will be diving into background checks!
Before I begin, I want to clarify it again, I am a full supporter of “Shall Not Be Infringed” and 100%, unequivocally agree with the deregulation of all arms.
We live in a very, very different society than we did in 1776, some would say it’s more civilized, others would strongly disagree. I am among the latter. In 1776 murder was illegal, yes, but murderers were never let free. Rapists were never let free.
In today’s society, violent criminals have more rights than they deserve, and non-violent criminals have less than they deserve. Every day we see rapists and pedophiles doing a fraction of their sentences. Meanwhile the stupid teenager is doing all 5 years on a marijuana possession charge. In a society where this is a norm, a dangerous society grows.
The evil people in the world have the understanding that they can continue to do bad things and are given the ability to learn from the mistakes of their last crime. I know I am in the majority when I say that rapists, child molesters, and murderers can never, ever be rehabilitated… which to my knowledge was the original intent of the prison system.
The prison system was created in the hopes of rehabilitating individuals who broke the law so that they could re-enter society as a productive member. Those who were beyond rehabilitation were either killed or remained locked-up in one way or another. Now…we have people sitting on death row for 25 years. We have the un-fixable walking the streets and the unsavory preying upon the weak from every corner.
If the prison systems worked the way they were supposed to and were not abused as they are… I would say that background checks were unreasonable. The prison systems and quite frankly the government do no work the way they were intended, so to that end I would say background checks are reasonable.
For those that are new to, or are getting into the firearms debate, background checks have been a requirement for purchasing new firearms from any licensed dealer since 1998. The legislation was enacted in 1993 via the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993, but the FBI didn’t have the system up and running until 1998.
The NICS system is what came from this act. For those that have never bought a new firearm, I will be posting the form (4473) that you have to fill out for every gun purchase from a licensed dealer. This background check does a local, state wide, and national check on the individual who wishes to purchase the firearm.
Several states do require their own background check on-top of the NICS background check. Some states don’t require the background check to be completed (approved by the FBI/ATF) if the buyer has a valid carry license in the state.
Do they prevent anything from happening? Extremely arguable. Whereas the background check for obtaining a firearm (4473) is one of the most thorough background checks in the country I would say it does not prevent anything from happening. Why do they prevent nothing?
First let’s hit on the government’s failures. You have cases where an individual’s violent background is never reported. You have cases where the FBI has failed to investigate “at risk” individuals that they were warned about; sometimes more than twice. There are other similar occurrences happening every day. All of these individuals are able to clear the 4473 due to an incompetent government.
*As a small highlight to the above, you also have the case of Operation Fast and Furious which is a failed BATF operation. The ATF allowed 2,000 guns to be sold illegally by licensed dealers between 2006 and 2011. As of 2012, only ~710 of them were retrieved… after crimes were committed with them.
Second, you have straw purchases. What’s a straw purchase? Glad you asked. A straw purchase is when someone that is 18 years old buys cigarettes for an individual that’s 16 years old. Now to switch it to guns. An individual who can pass a 4473 goes in, buys the gun, passes the background check, and then gives the gun to a non-eligible individual.
Yes, these happen often. Yes people have died because of them. Here is an article where law enforcement officers were killed because of a straw purchased firearm.
Third, you have theft. Criminals steal an estimated 200,000 firearms a year. Thieves have existed for forever, there is no way that you are going to end thievery. Since you will never end thievery, thieves will always gain access in some way.
Fourth, you have private sales. Many states allow the private sale of a firearm without the need for a background check. Gun owners are typically extremely cautious about who they sell firearms to. Despite this, like with NICS, a bad egg slips through every now and again.
*For an example. Here in Indiana I haven’t ran into anyone that will sell a firearm to an individual who doesn’t have a state issued carry permit and driver’s license. The driver’s license ensures that they are a resident and the carry permit is the only way a seller can know they aren’t a known felon.
For further reading, The Truth About Guns posted an interesting article citing three different studies (done in 2018) that showed background checks don’t prevent anything.
You may be asking yourself… why not just require every firearm purchase to have a background check? Well, there are a couple of points to hit on here.
The first one is, how? How are you going to ensure that every transaction involving a gun has a background check done? At the end of the day, it becomes an “added charge” to a pre-existing (probably violent) charge, so it prevented…? Absolutely nothing.
Second one is…again, how? Not every gun store will do transfers between private parties, all of them will also charge for their time having to perform the 4473 check. FFL (Federal Firearm’s License) holders are the only ones with access to the system.
Unless the NICS system or something similar becomes available for everyone to use, requiring a background check for every private party transaction is unreasonable. Even then, how are you going to enforce it?
Background checks, are they reasonable? Unreasonable? Or a mixture? I have mixed opinions. There is absolutely no guidance in the Constitution for them and the system wrongfully restricts people with similar names (think No-Fly list). The system also stalls/prevents those who previously held security clearances. Background checks have also failed to show any measurable difference in violent crime.
On the opposite end with how society has changed, how prison sentences aren’t being finished off, etc. … I can see where the rationale is behind wanting them. So overall, I’m going to say it’s a mixture.
Yes, with how society and the legal system are today background checks aren’t unreasonable.But they have shown to be less than ineffective (ineffective implies it does something). To that end they are unreasonable.
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