Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN Legal & Legislation

Feinstein Uses Brady Bill Anniversary to Push for "Universal Checks"

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Last Saturday was the 20-year anniversary of President Bill Clinton's signing of the Brady Act into law, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) used the occasion to urge readers of the San Jose Mercury News to go along with requiring background checks on private transfers of firearms.

A "groundbreaking gun-safety law," she called the Brady Act. "Background checks on gun purchases work," she said.  Repeating a false claim that earned President Obama Three Pinocchios from the Washington Post's Fact Checker earlier this year, Feinstein said that background checks should be imposed "on the estimated 40 percent of gun transfers made between private parties."

Gun control supporters have certainly changed their tune in one respect, at least.

When the Brady Act was being debated in Congress, gun control supporters opposed the idea of a National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).  They instead insisted on a waiting period on handgun purchases from dealers.

The reason was simple. They were alarmed at the rate at which Americans were buying handguns.  In the 1970s, the Brady Campaign, then known as the National Council to Control Handguns (NCCH), breathlessly declared, "There are now 40 million handguns owned by private individuals in the United States--about one gun for every American family.  At the present rate of proliferation, the number could build to 100 million by the year 2000 (which isn't as far off as you think).  The consequences can be terrible to imagine--unless something is done." (Emphasis in the original.)

They hoped that a waiting period would slow down handgun sales, and believed that slowing down handgun sales had to occur, if they were to ever stand a chance of convincing the American people to go along with handgun registration.

In 1976, the leader of the NCCH told The New Yorker magazine that "The first problem is to slow down the increasing number of handguns being produced and sold in this country.  The second problem is to get handguns registered.  And the final problem is to make the possession of all handguns and all handgun ammunition--except for the military, policemen, licensed security guards, licensed sporting clubs, and licensed gun collectors--totally illegal."

In 1993, Congress temporarily authorized a maximum five-day waiting period on handgun purchases from dealers.  But, to gun control supporters' chagrin at the time, mandated the establishment of NICS--an instant background check--within five years.  Barring misidentification of a prospective purchaser, a firearm purchase could take no longer than a few minutes to complete!

The Brady Campaign, which fought against NICS with everything it had, adapted to its defeat, however.  It now calls NICS checks "Brady checks" and says they should be conducted on even private transfers of firearms.

Again, the reason is simple.  Once all transfers of firearms go through NICS, gun control supporters will be in position to demand that all records of approved NICS checks be retained for an extended period of time, not merely 24 hours, as provided for in current law.  The late Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) proposed legislation to extend the records retention period several years ago, in fact.  The next steps would be to retain the records permanently, and to require that the records include the make, model and serial number of all firearms transferred in conjunction with the checks.

The anti-gun "media watchdog" group Media Matters, funded by George Soros, scoffs at the idea that requiring "universal checks" would lead to registration.  A national gun registry is prohibited under federal law, they say.  The reality is, however, if gun control supporters become the majority in Congress, they could change the law at the drop of a hat.

Gun control supporters' ulterior motives aside, there are plenty of other reasons "universal checks" will not have the desired effect in reducing crime.  According to Justice Department studies, people in prison for gun crimes have mostly acquired their firearms by theft, on the black market, or from family and friends. Furthermore, criminals who are prohibited by law from possessing firearms, and who therefore cannot pass NICS checks, already defeat the system by having straw purchasers buy guns for them.  Finally, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, "universal checks" will not work without requiring gun registration.

As for slowing down handgun sales, Americans have bought about 60 millions handguns since Brady/NCCH sounded its false alarm several decades ago.  And indeed, Americans now own the 100 million handguns that NCCH predicted.

For the record, the nation's murder rate is at nearly an all-time low.

TRENDING NOW
Joe Biden: Hero Who Ended Texas Rampage Shouldn’t Have Had His Gun

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, November 17, 2017

Joe Biden: Hero Who Ended Texas Rampage Shouldn’t Have Had His Gun

Most Americans consider Stephen Willeford a hero for bravely ending the rampage of a crazed murderer at a Texas church … but not former Vice President Joe Biden. During a national television appearance on Monday, ...

Muzzleloaders Now Targeted by “Giffords” Gun Prohibition Lobby

News  

Friday, November 17, 2017

Muzzleloaders Now Targeted by “Giffords” Gun Prohibition Lobby

It didn’t take long after the events in Las Vegas, Nevada for gun control advocates to resort to their usual tactic of blaming hardware for the acts of an evil man. Numerous anti-gun bills were ...

With ‘Firearm’ Offenses up 27-percent, UK Holds National Gun Surrender

News  

Friday, November 17, 2017

With ‘Firearm’ Offenses up 27-percent, UK Holds National Gun Surrender

Anti-gun advocates like Gun Control Network Chair Gillian Marshall-Andrews tout the United Kingdom’s longstanding firearms restrictions, which include a near total ban on handguns, as the “gold standard” of gun control. In recent years, UK ...

Terry McAuliffe’s Halfway Heroism

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, November 17, 2017

Terry McAuliffe’s Halfway Heroism

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe has recently been distinguished by Governing magazine as one of its “Public Officials of the Year.” According to the magazine, Gov. McAuliffe claims his “proudest single achievement” in office has been restoring ...

Gun Controllers Choose to Ignore Cases of Good Guys with Guns

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, November 17, 2017

Gun Controllers Choose to Ignore Cases of Good Guys with Guns

Less than three hours after the tragedy at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) was looking to score political points. As is his custom, Murphy fired off a tweet admonishing his ...

When Gun Control Fails

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, July 21, 2017

When Gun Control Fails

Gun control is pushed as a strategy to keep Americans safe in their homes, schools and workplaces. It is presented as the key component in safer streets, neighborhoods and families. But what happens when gun ...

Dianne Feinstein Wants to Ban Commonly Owned Semi-Autos, Again!

News  

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Dianne Feinstein Wants to Ban Commonly Owned Semi-Autos, Again!

Senator Dianne Feinstein introduced S. 2095, which she is calling the Assault Weapons Ban of 2017. The 125-page firearm prohibition fever dream is perhaps the most far-reaching gun ban ever introduced in Congress.

This Man Did Not Write A Second (Class) Amendment

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, November 3, 2017

This Man Did Not Write A Second (Class) Amendment

Courts are telling gun owners that they must choose between their Second Amendment-protected rights and their other constitutional rights. 

News  

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Who Qualifies for the LEOSA Privilege?

Within my first week as an attorney at the National Rifle Association of America's Institute for Legislative Action I took a call on the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA). I admittedly knew nothing about ...

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

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 as legal advice or a restatement of law.

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -
NRA ILA

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.