Saturday, 13 April 2013

Do you want a background check with that?

This battle for 'common-sense' gun control laws pits emotion and passion against logic and reason. All too often in such a contest, logic loses. So, expect more meaningless, if not harmful, 'gun control' legislation. Good news - if you're a crook. -- Larry Elder

Up to now I've been keeping out of the gun control debate because I know how much it has polarized people's opinions.  Personally I abhor guns and would never touch one, much less have one in my home.  However a comment I read this morning on a CNN article concerning the NRA's resistance to background checks struck me as being right on the money.  Here it is:

"As both a gun owner and an NRA member (there are actual benefits to being a member), I 100% support universal background checks. I think the level of paranoia some gun owners show is absurd! I have a hard time drawing a connection between universal background checks to gun confiscation! I have no problem with the background checks because I have nothing to hide...

Due to an overwhelming response to my original comment, I'm adding in a few (well, more than a few) additional comments in order to address some of the most common threads.

1) To the trolls who have nothing to say other than short, one liner little absurd comments: get a life, get a job, and get out of your mother's basement. You want to have a discussion, we can have a discussion. I'm open to the idea that I'm wrong, but how about discussing/debating it instead of the stupid "you're a liar", "I would rave you a thousand times if I could", etc. Also... spelling helps.

2) The notion that universal background checks ultimately leads to a gun registry because it would not be enforceable seems a bit... short-sighted... maybe narrow-minded... to me. Is it not possible to come up with some sort of a system where, when I sell a firearm privately, that I can't check the person out first to at least have a warm fuzzy that this person isn't going to go off killing a bunch of people with the firearm I just sold them? Instead of just going off the handle on how it can't happen, why not offer up alternative solutions? One I liked was the gun license. You want to own a weapon? You have to have a gun license. That provides the background check and gives us gun owners some sense of "yeah, this guy is ok to sell to".

3) I like when people bring up the 4th and 5th Amendments. Basically saying that somehow this will lead to giving up the 4th and 5th Amendment rights. I'm pretty sure the 4th Amendment includes the words "probable cause" and the 5th Amendment includes the words "due process". For my weapons to be confiscated, the process of law still has to be adhered to. Are there corrupt law officials and politicians? You bet... but guess what... there are corrupt gun owners too.

This law doesn't all of a sudden give law enforcement the blanket right to search the home of a gun owner without a warrant and without probable cause. It also doesn't allow law enforcement to confiscate without due process. We wouldn't be throwing out the 4th and 5th Amendments just by making background checks a requirement before the purchase of a firearm.

4) I love all the "What If" scenarios that everyone has been putting out. What if this happens or what if that happens. If we try to come up with laws that cover every possible scenario, every possible outcome, we would never get anything done. Oh wait... we don't get anything done now because we try to make everyone happy and cover every possible scenario/consequence.

Here's a "What If" scenario right back at you. What if you are going to a gun show with your AR-15 with the intent of selling it. Before you walk into the gun show, a person approaches you and says "Hey buddy, how much you want for your AR?". You tell this person your price and they produce a wad of cash. No big deal, you sell him the AR, take your cash and go home happy. The next day, you're watching the news and they tell you a story about a person who walked into their place of business and summarily shot a bunch of people before taking their own life. You figure out that it's the same person you bumped into at the show and the weapon they used was the AR you just sold them...

I know that is a stretch... but honestly it's less of a stretch than some of the other "what ifs" I've heard. I can tell you honestly that I'm not ok with this situation. For one thing, it wouldn't happen to me because I absolutely do not sell a firearm to someone I don't know. However, what I described about purchases at gun shows DOES happen... all the time!

Look, no system is going to be perfect. We live in an imperfect system and it was, in part, designed that way. We aren't going to prevent every crime and we aren't going to all of a sudden eradicate evil with a few laws. But, I think we need to have a more sensible approach to how firearms are purchased and transferred. If universal background checks is a step in that direction, I'm all for it. If you guys can come up with a better solution, I'm all ears!"

The only thing I can add is that there should be a licencing system in place. If anyone wants to own and use a gun they should be required to obtain a licence.  After all, we need licences to drive a vehicle, marry, and practise certain professions.  It makes sense for gun ownership too.

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