If there is one new gun law which everyone seems to agree we should enact, it’s the law which would require a background check every time that anyone transfers a gun. Right now, according to our friends at Giffords, roughly half the American population resides in states where some kind of background check beyond the initial over-the-counter check takes place. But even in the states where some kind of additional background check occurs after the gun has been sold for the first time, there’s no consistency and the process varies from state to state.
As for states which require no kind of background check when a gun owner sells or transfers his gun to someone else, most of those states happen to be the same states where a majority of the residents own guns. And don’t think for one minute that it’s only a coincidence that states with lots of gun owners usually have fewer gun laws.
I have no problem with universal background checks for guns if I thought for one second that this procedure might result in less violence caused by guns. After all, right now we Americans own somewhere between 260 and 350 million guns and gun researchers have been telling us forever and ever Amen that we suffer from an extraordinarily-high rate of gun violence, precisely because we have too many guns floating around and they can easily move from ‘good’ to ‘bad’ hands. So if we instituted universal background checks, so the argument goes, we wouldn’t have less guns but at least they wouldn’t so easily end up in the wrong hands.
This sounds like a very logical and reasonable proposition, which is why Gun-control Nation has gotten behind universal background checks (UBC) because the process is, after all, reasonable, which happens to be a favorite gun-control word. And UBC wouldn’t be a threat to 2nd Amendment ‘rights’ because everyone, even the nuttiest of the gun nuts agrees that only law-abiding citizens should be able to own guns.
Mike the Gun Guy doesn’t agree. Mike the Gun Guy™ actually believes that deciding whether or not to institute UBC shouldn’t be considered in terms of reasonableness or 2nd Amendment ‘rights’ at all. In fact, Mike the Gun Guy™ (that’s right, it’s trademarked) would feel much more sanguine about the whole background check issue if his friends in Gun-control Nation would stop proclaiming the virtues of UBC and try to understand what the term ‘universal’ as in Universal Background Checks really means.
What it means is that a lot of time, energy, paperwork and money is going to be spent making sure that a lot of guns which have absolutely nothing to do with gun violence end up being regulated simply because such items meet the legal definition of the word ‘gun.’ When our friends at The Trace published a list of more than 9,000 guns that were confiscated by more than 1,000 police agencies between 2010 and 2016, I ran the entire batch through a word search using the words Remington, Winchester, Savage, Marlin, Browning and H&R to see how many times these words came up.
These six words happen to be the names of gun companies who together probably manufactured and sold 100 million hunting rifles and shotguns over the past hundred years; most of those guns, believe it or not, are still in private hands. Know how many times these words appeared in the list of more than 9,000 ‘crime’ guns? Exactly six times and in every, single case, those guns were confiscated because the owner didn’t have a gun license – that was the big, serious crime.
If we believe that background checks will reduce gun violence, why do most background checks involve guns that aren’t connected to gun violence? Sorry, but the idea that I have to drive forty miles round trip to a gun shop to run a background check on my son before I give him my old, single-shot Sears Roebuck bird gun just doesn’t make any sense at all.