Universal Background Checks and “Common Sense” Gun Control

The Media and the Government – the Only Place Where “Common Sense” Makes No Sense at All

You often hear the mainstream media outlets calling for “universal background checks” as a “common sense” solution to acts of violence committed with firearms. However, if one applies a bit of “common sense,” the analysis does not lead to universal background checks as a viable solution. Let’s see what the call for “universal background checks” actually implies.
As it currently stands, there are three ways that firearms are commonly transferred:

  1. Individual purchase/transfer from Federal Firearm Licensed Dealer
  2. Individual purchase/transfer from another individual
  3. Black market / illegal transfers

When someone purchases a firearm from a licensed dealer, the purchaser goes through a background check, but the firearm is never “registered.” When someone purchases a firearm from another individual, there is no background check and, similarly, no registration of the firearm. Because there is no registration in either scenario, whether there is a background check or not, the government has no way to link the purchase of a particular firearm to a particular person.

The call for “universal background checks” is posed as a solution to this problem, but it is not a solution at all because there is no way to enforce universal background checks if the government does not know who has the guns in the first place. So, if the government implements “universal background checks,” they will inevitably fail, which will lead to a call for “universal registration” of firearms – making it a crime to own an unregistered firearm. This means that if you own firearms, the government would require that you actually register the firearm with the government so that the government has a database of particular individuals who own particular firearms.
Much like the problem with “universal background checks”, “universal registration” will be equally unenforceable because the government has no way to verify that every firearm has been registered. Furthermore, the only people who may actually register their firearms are people who own their firearms lawfully in the first place and who have a tendency to follow the law. Criminals will not register their firearms. Thus, the only measurable effect that “universal background checks” and “universal registration” will have is to oversee and register all firearms which were already owned lawfully by law-abiding citizens. Concealed carry permit holders are statistically more law abiding than law enforcement officers, so universal background checks and registration will have almost no effect on crime. These measures will have no effect on criminals who own firearms unlawfully, and statistically, most gun-related crimes are committed with firearms that are possessed unlawfully.
After passing two “common sense” solutions and failing to have any measurable effect on crime, the government and the media will plea to the public that further measures need to be taken. The third step is attempted confiscation. The government cannot accomplish its stated goal without complete confiscation of all firearms. Even then, the government will fail to accomplish its stated goal, and on its way to failure, the government will violate many of the Constitutional protections that we enjoy as Americans – particularly the 2nd Amendment and the 4th Amendment – all under the guise of “doing something.”
If you want to know more about the road to gun confiscation, read this book by Stephen Halbrook regarding how one government proceeded on this route: Gun Control in the Third Reich.” Ultimately, the “common sense” proposals we hear from the media and anti-gun politicians are anything but “common sense.” In fact, their proposals make no sense at all.

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