Let’s start with the law currently on the books. Federally, meaning everybody in whatever state you live in, if you buy a firearm from a Federal Firearms Licensed dealer ...
You may have seen a push lately - again - for Universal Background Checks. You see it in those Facebook and Twitter ads from TOMS shoes who are donating $5 million to “end gun violence”, and lately you’ve even seen typically pro gun country music artists calling for it, stating “90% of Americans want Universal Background Checks.”
But what really is a Universal Background Check?
Let’s start with the law currently on the books. Federally, meaning everybody in whatever state you live in, if you buy a firearm from a Federal Firearms Licensed dealer (a gun store or a person who’s business it is to sell guns), you have to submit to a background check. If you’re at a gun show, same rules apply - if you’re buying from a dealer, you go through a background check. This law is known as the Brady Handgun Violence Protection Act of 1993, otherwise known as the Brady Bill. It created the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS, which “theoretically” would instantly tell a dealer if someone who’s buying a gun from them is prohibited from doing so... that is if the prohibited person was actually IN the system. More on this later.
What the Brady Bill doesn’t cover is private sales. If you want to buy a gun from your buddy, like a free f’ing liberty loving American, you buy it. Some states, like California, have prohibited and criminalized private party transfers unless conducted through a dealer, whereby requiring you to go through a background check. Back in the day... well, still to this day even in California where it’s already a law but they still keep calling for it... this is what gun controllers called “closing the gun show loophole”. What this had to do with gun shows I couldn’t tell you honestly, but maybe in a free state private individuals who weren’t in the business of selling firearms could conceivably sell a firearm at a gun show, but I’m just speculating.
So gun controllers have changed their nomenclature of “gun show loophole” to Universal Background Checks, but what it really means is they want to prohibit and criminalize private party transfers nationally, and require anyone who buys a gun from their buddy to do it through a dealer where they will go through a background check, or be criminally prosecuted.
“Why would anybody have a problem with this? Do you want criminals buying guns from gun stores so they can go on mass shootings?! YOU JUST WANT PEOPLE TO DIE!!!”
That’s all well and great, except for the fact that NICS is a complete and total failure as it was “theoretically” intended, and background checks don’t stop anyone from getting a gun... except for those honest people who went in to buy one and we’re falsely flagged as prohibited. Let me explain.
Besides being the antithesis to due process, as with background checks you’re presumed to be a guilty, prohibited person unless you pay the government to prove you’re innocent before you exercise your right and liberty to purchase a firearm for personal defense, NICS has always had multiple fatal flaws.
First, if an arrest or criminal record isn’t sent to NICS, a known criminal will pass a background check. That bowl-haircut mass shooter of the black church in South Carolina had committed a crime which should have flagged him in NICS when he bought his gun, but he wasn’t flagged because his arrest record wasn’t sent to NICS. When the victims’ families sued the government for liability for failing to notify NICS, they learned a hard lesson in Government Accountability 101 when the judge didn’t rule in their favor - the Brady Bill SPECIFICALLY exempts the government from any liability! Read all about it here:
The same thing happened with the Texas church mass shooter (who was shot by another man armed with an AR15, in case anyone forgot that part of the story). He should have been flagged by NICS when he bought his gun, but the Air Force failed to transmit his criminal record.
Second, if a person has never committed a crime (or if their crimes were ignored), they’re obviously not going to be in NICS. The Las Vegas shooter, the Parkland school shooter, the Thousand Oaks country bar shooter, the Santa Barbara sex-crazed virgin shooter, the Colorado movie theater shooter, the Gabby Gifford shooter, the Virginia Tech shooter - all of them weren’t prohibited persons when they passed their background checks. Obviously, anyone who isn’t a prosecuted criminal or hasn’t been adjudicated mentally incompetent won’t be in the system. And let’s be honest, if you think about it, every person without a criminal record who owns any one of the 350 million guns in America COULD at ANYTIME take their gun into a crowded “gun free zone” and start shooting. *GASP*
Gun controllers will say, “See! See! This is why all guns need to be banned! Everybody is a law abiding citizen until they aren’t! Everybody is a potential mass murderer! Ban all guuuuuuunz!” Not gonna lie, liberty can be dangerous, because free people CAN do anything. What’s more dangerous is giving in to those who want to enforce disarmament... with government guns. History shows this doesn’t turn out well.
Third, if you’re a completely innocent person and you are falsely flagged as prohibited, the FBI won’t process your claim against them to clear your name unless you hire an attorney and sue them. You, as an innocent person, will be denied your right to armed self defense as if you were a convicted felon. Imagine actually needing a firearm to protect yourself, being denied because of a government mistake, and the government not allowing for the correction of their mistake when you’re in desperate need to protect yourself. Our friends Stephen Stamboulieh and Alan Beck are representing numerous people from around the country who have been denied their 2A rights in the lawsuit Umbert v. Sessions:
Fourth, the latest gun control stat is that 1.3 million NICS denials have been made since its inception, so they like to claim that 1.3 million criminals tried to buy a gun but were denied. It’s also a crime for a prohibited person to try to buy a gun. So, naturally you’d think there were 1.3 million prosecutions of these “criminal” denials, right? Not if the denials weren’t actually prohibited persons. The real number of criminal prosecutions for NICS denial equate to about 32 PER YEAR. So either all these denials are false positives, or they’re doing a piss poor job at prosecuting known criminals trying to buy guns. Or both. It IS government after all.
Fifth, anyone can build their own gun at home for personal use without going through a background check (we have an entire website dedicated to it at firearmsunknown.com), anyone can 3D print a gun or receiver without going through a background check, AND anyone can obtain a gun illegally by whatever means anyway - again without going through a background check. There is no “closing the obtaining a gun illegally loophole”. Therefore, all gun laws that control or prohibit ownership or transfers are completely and utterly useless.
So what’s the answer? Gun controllers say they just haven’t enacted enough gun control yet. They just need to pass another law to “Fix NICS”, to add more prohibiting factors to the background check, to criminalize everyday liberties like private transfers or home builds, to dig into your social media for anything you may have said that they arbitrarily determine to be “wrong think” like a New York lawmaker is proposing. They’re always one law away from utopia, until the next shooting when the next law will bring utopia.
What’s my answer? Nix NICS. Get rid of it. Repeal the Brady Bill. Legalize liberty. Universal Background Checks provide nothing more than a false sense of security that denies and criminalizes basic liberty. The act of buying a firearm, or a knife, or a match book, or anything else is victimless. Can they be used criminally, to shoot, stab, or commit arson? Yes, and only then can and should anyone be deprived of their liberty - that’s the whole point of the Fifth Amendment’s due process protections. You cannot prevent crime by turning more liberties into crimes. The only way to prevent crime is to keep those who have proven themselves to be victimizers locked up longer so they’re not out in society committing more violent crimes.
As for stopping those who want commit their first act of violence, I suggest you personally exercise your right and liberty to armed self defense. Buy a personal defense weapon, get trained, and carry daily should you ever be unfortunate enough to be confronted by violence. Your innocent life deserves to be defended - never let any person or politician require you to be a disarmed victim.
Your faith in government at keeping you safe is misplaced. Universal Background Checks are not the answer.