NRA Explore

"Universal Background Checks" – Absolutely Not

Friday, January 25, 2013

By Marion P. Hammer

Imagine a grandfather who wants to give a family shotgun to his 12-year-old grandson having to do a background check on his grandson before giving him the shotgun.

Or a friend having to do a background check on his lifetime best buddy before lending him a hunting rifle.

Or, if your mother had a prowler at her home, having to do a background check on your own mom before you could give her one of your guns for protection.

That's what "universal background checks" do.  They turn traditional innocent conduct into a criminal offense.  They target you, law-abiding gun owners.

Universal background checks are background checks on EVERY transfer, sale, purchase, trade, gift, rental, and loan of a firearm between any and all individuals. 

All background checks must be conducted through a federally licensed dealer.  Universal background checks have nothing to do with gun shows – they are about you.

It is ALREADY a federal felony to be engaged in the business of buying and selling firearms and ammunition without having federal firearm dealers license.

It is ALREADY a crime for a federally licensed dealer to sell a gun without doing a background check – that's all dealers, everywhere, including at retail stores, gun shows, flea markets or anywhere else.

Further, it is ALREADY a federal felony to sell, trade, give, lend,  rent or transfer a gun to a person you know or should have known is not legally allowed to own, purchase or possess a firearm.

The penalty for selling a gun to a person who is a criminal, mentally ill, mentally incompetent, or an alcohol or drug abuser is a 10-year federal felony.  That's now, today, with no changes to the law.

It is even a federal felony to submit false information on a background check form for the purpose of purchasing a firearm. 

Even so, according to a 2012 report to the Department of Justice, more than 72,000 people were turned down on a gun purchase in 2010 because they didn't pass the background check.  Yet, only 44 of those cases were prosecuted.  Why, when criminals are caught in act of lying on the form to illegally  purchase a firearm, are they not prosecuted?

On Thursday, January 10, 2013, in the White House meeting of President Obama's Gun Agenda Task Force, Vice President Joe Biden answered that question, telling NRA's Director of Federal Affairs, James Baker, that the Obama administration didn't have time to prosecute people for lying on the federal background check form. 

In an article in The Daily Caller (1/18/2013) Biden said, "And to your point, Mr. Baker, regarding the lack of prosecutions on lying on Form 4473s, we simply don't have the time or manpower to prosecute everybody who lies on a form, that checks a wrong box, that answers a question inaccurately."

If the Obama Administration currently doesn't have the time or manpower to prosecute those who lie on background check forms, then why do they want more background checks, more paperwork and more forms? It's backdoor gun registration.

Universal background check system legislation that we have previously seen, allows the government to keep a computerized government registry of gun owners. 

In addition to the absurdity of having to do background checks on people you know are not criminals, would you like to pay up to $100 or more just to give your grandson a shotgun, or lend a hunting rifle to your best friend, or give your mom a gun for protection?

Transfer fees alone could run from $50 up.  Firearms dealers, like other businesses, charge as much as they can get away with.  Background check fees for a federally mandated program can be any amount they decide.

The Obama administration's gun ban agenda and universal background check proposal are unconstitutional regulatory schemes to gut the Second Amendment. These proposals, which mandate the government collection of data on lawful gun buyers and sellers, amount to universal gun registration and gun owner licensing.

This agenda focuses on peaceable citizens, not violent criminals who obtain guns on the black market to carry out unspeakable crimes already prohibited under federal and state laws.  Instead of stopping crime and eliminating criminal conduct, they are creating more criminals--they are targeting you.

That's why NRA members and the nation's 100 million firearms owners will stand in solidarity and fight against these misguided and diabolical proposals that have nothing whatsoever to do with curbing criminal violence but everything to do with stripping us of our guaranteed civil rights and our freedom.

Marion P. Hammer is past President of the National Rifle Association and is Executive Director of Unified Sportsmen of Florida



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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.