To highlight how important the war on gun ownership is to their party, Congressional Democrats this week introduced a bill to require background checks on every transfer of a firearm. The bill hopefully has no chance of being signed into law, given the fact that Republicans still control the Senate, but you can’t be too sure. It’s yet another example of a piece of legislation that makes ignorant people feel good about themselves but that imposes a cost on innocent people and does nothing to stop crime.
The bill would require every transfer of a firearm to go through a licensed dealer, importer, or manufacturer. No longer will gun owners be able to sell to friends or family who live in-state, now all those purchases will be subject to background checks, fees, and delays. Nor will federally licensed collectors be able to continue collecting firearms as they do now.
Proponents of the bill like to claim that background checks are quick and easy, taking only a few minutes. But that assumes that governments process the checks quickly and efficiently. Once background checks become a universal requirement, liberal state governments can reduce the resources going towards background checks, making the “instant” background check a thing of the past. If you have to get a background check to buy a gun and the government stops doing background checks, you’ve just eliminated the ability to purchase a gun.
Under existing law those who experience delayed background checks are allowed to take possession of their firearms, if the dealer decides to go through with it, after three business days have passed even if an approval has not come through. Democrats have taken issue with that, claiming that it has allowed criminals to purchase firearms. Expect that provision of federal law to change, meaning that gun owners could also end up being “delayed” indefinitely. A right delayed is a right denied.
Universal background checks would have done nothing to stop any of the mass shootings that the bill’s proponents say they want to end. Every single one, from Las Vegas to Parkland to Virginia Tech, was perpetrated with guns either legally purchased by the shooter or guns legally purchased by someone else and stolen by the shooter. Not one life will be saved by this piece of legislation.
It’s important to remember that legislation should never be judged by what its proponents intend, nor by what they say will or won’t happen if it’s passed. Imagine it in the hands of your worst enemy and see if it’s still something you support. And don’t be swayed by emotional arguments about how passing a bill will result in fewer grieving mothers, etc. That’s how the Democrats attempt to persuade the ignorant and gullible who don’t bother looking at the details of consequences of bad legislation.