NRA Explore
APPEARS IN Legal & Legislation

Alert: Universal Background Checks Explained

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

DATE:   February 5, 2013
TO:      USF & NRA Members and Friends
FROM:  Marion P. Hammer
            USF Executive Director 
            NRA Past President

President Obama is saying that 70% of NRA members support "universal background checks."  I assure you, that simply is not true!

It appears he is citing a poll question from one of NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg's phony polls of people who "self-identify" as NRA members. 

The question was whether they would support "A proposal requiring all gun sellers at gun shows to conduct criminal background checks of the people buying guns." 

People could easily have assumed that "all sellers" meant licensed dealers at gun shows.  Clearly, that question is not about "universal background checks." 

Below is an article I wrote explaining universal background checks. I hope it clears up any confusion.  For a pdf copy click here. -- MPH

"Universal Background Checks" – Absolutely Not

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, for livelihood and profit, without having a 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 for any private person 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, alcohol abuser or drug abuser is 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 system 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



Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Appropriations Act Signed Into Law With Important Pro-Second Amendment Provisions

On Wednesday, November 25, the President signed S. 1356, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 into law. Included in the bill were some very important pro-gun provisions that represent the culmination of long-term efforts by ...

Gun Laws  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered ...


Friday, May 15, 2015

Obama Administration Opposes CMP Handgun Sales

The House of Representatives has approved Congressman Mike D. Rogers’ amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, which—if accepted in ...


Friday, November 20, 2015

“F” Stands for Fail: Gun Turn-in Event Nets a Stack of Paper Pledges and Some Surplus Sporting Goods

Recently, we reported on Hillary Clinton’s praise for local firearm “buyback” events and her view that forcing Americans to participate ...


Friday, November 20, 2015

Anti-gun Politicians, Media Exploit Paris Attacks in “Terrorist Gap” Rehash

The Paris terrorist attacks were not easily pinned on America’s supposedly lax gun laws or the NRA, but ...


Friday, November 20, 2015

Brussels Pushes Gun Control in Wake of Paris Attacks

On November 18, the European Commission expedited a plan to overhaul the European Union’s already restrictive gun control laws. The ...

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Michigan: Governor Snyder Signs Firearm Inheritance Protection Act

Today, November 24, Governor Rick Snyder (R) signed Senate Bills 225 and 226.


Friday, November 27, 2015

President Obama Signs NRA-Backed Measures into Law

President Barack Obama signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). It includes several NRA-backed provisions -- expanding gun rights on stateside military bases; prohibiting the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from banning traditional ammunition; and saving taxpayer dollars ...

Washington Times  

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

White House to GOP: Worry about gun control

The White House said Monday that Republicans concerned about Syrian refugees waging terrorist attacks in the U.S. should focus their energy instead on banning guns sales to people on the government’s terrorist watch list.


Friday, November 20, 2015

Overwhelming 81 Percent of Current and Former Military have Unfavorable View of Clinton

More bad news for Hillary Clinton. Coming off the heels of survey results that found the former Secretary ...


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.