As much fun as I’m having writing about the disappearance of Donald Trump, every once in a while, something happens in the gun world which makes me return to my written roots, so to speak. And this past week what happened is that the House once again passed a bill that would require universal background checks on guns.

              This is the second time that the House has passed this bill, but this time there’s a Democratic majority in the Senate, so the odds that universal background checks will be required in every state have gone up. If we have learned one thing from the Covid-19 relief bill, it’s that the Democrats don’t need to make any deals with the GOP if they want to get something done.

              The standard argument for making every gun transfer subject to a background check is that this process keeps guns out of the wrong hands. The assumption here is that if someone can’t pass a background check, he or she is the kind of person who will use a gun to commit a crime. Sounds kind of obvious, right? Right.

              I happen to think that what the whole background check system accomplishes, more than anything else, is to give a useless bunch of government bureaucrats something to do, this useless bunch being the people who work for the compliance-inspection division of the ATF.

              These are the self-important bumpkins who wander into gun shops and make sure that all the federal laws on guns transfers are being observed. What this means is they sit there and read through the various forms that a dealer and his customers fill out in order to buy a gun. The dealer has to fill out something called the Acquisition and Disposition book (A&D) which contains information on who sent guns in to the shop and who took guns out; the buyer has to fill out the 4473 form which is then used to conduct the background check.

              The ATF inspectors like to think they are law-enforcement agents but they’re not. They are clerks who get paid $80,000 a year to go around and make sure that every piece of paperwork connected to gun commerce is filled out properly and stored in the gun shop. The last time they inspected my shop they examined over 1,200 transactions and I couldn’t find all the paperwork on exactly four guns. Boy – talk about a threat to public safety. Yea, right.

              Meanwhile, I notice that for all the sturm und drang about gun violence during the pandemic, all of a sudden nobody cares. Gun sales are still much higher than they were before the Chinese virus began to spread, every weekend there seems to be a mass shooting somewhere or other. But the passage of those the gun bills in the House made the media for 24 hours and then disappeared. What’s going on?

              I’ll tell you what’s going on. The NRA has gone back to being what it was before the advent of Donald Trump – a quiet, self-contained organization which nobody pays attention to unless they own a gun. Frankly, if it weren’t for the NRA’s loud promotion of Trump’s 2016 campaign, my friends in Gun-control Nation would have had nothing to talk about for the last four years. For that matter, the NRA also ramped up its noise machine by endlessly attacking Mike Bloomberg and his big bucks.

              Remember NRA-TV which featured appearances by Dana Loesch who told American women that they would be able to protect their families if they went out and bought a gun or the prancing around by Colion Noir as he explained why you should protect yourself with an AR-15?

              That’s all gone now. The NRA’s back to selling cigars and clothing on its website. They still claim to have 5 million members even though member dues dropped by one-third from 2018 to 2019.

              If the NRA didn’t exist, Gun-control Nation would have to invent it. That’s what these two new gun laws are all about.