With the Obama administration’s push for universal background checks, Second Amendment advocates have been screaming “gun registration” at the top of their lungs. To counter, gun control advocates are using this is as “proof” that gun rights advocates are nuts. After all, they argue, no one is wanting to register guns. They just want to make sure people buying guns are legally able to do so. Too bad they don’t understand that what they’re asking really is gun registration.
The idea of universal background checks is gaining some traction in Congress because it’s hard to argue against, on the surface. After all, who doesn’t want to keep guns out of the hands of the next Adam Lanza or Jared Loughner? However, the gun community is concerned because they all understand the full process of purchasing a firearm under current law.
When you purchase a firearm through a federal firearms license holder, even if they’re just handling a transfer from another individual (which happens when the gun is shipped – a common occurrence in the days of the internet), the appropriate paperwork is filled out and filed. There is a record created of who you are and what you purchased.
This, folks, is a form of de facto registration. Gun owners accept it well enough, but that’s also because they know there are also weapons that aren’t entered in a registry. Also, they accept it. I didn’t say they like it, especially when they see that it actually is a form of registration.
Which brings us back to universal background checks. Now, you’re taking these rules and applying them to all legal firearm purchases. In addition to the increased cost of these transfers (FFL holders charge $20 per transfer), there is the fact that now there is a paper trail that exists for each and every gun.
Now, you may ask why this is a big deal. My question is, how can you think it’s not?
Currently, these records are filed with the FFL holder. When they go out of business, the records are sent to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. In theory at least, BATFE just holds onto those records. Now, how hard would it be to require all of that paperwork to be sent to BATFE for entry into a central database? After all, law enforcement might argue, it will help them solve all kinds of crime. Can we really trust Congress to protect our rights when they can look “tough on crime”? Of course we can’t.
Frankly, universal background checks are a back door to universal gun registration. If it ever comes to gun confiscation, having that paperwork available just makes their job easy. That’s something that can not be allowed to stand, and we must work toward killing as we would any other vicious predator who threatened our family.