Making Criminals Out Of Law Abiding Citizens Or Why Don’t We Punish The User Not The Innocent Gun Owner?

It seems like after every recent mass shooting (how do you really define those) that a certain political party starts demanding some type of “gun control”. This gun control is always a nebulous term, never being well defined, and is usually constructed to affect people who are law abiding gun owners not convicted felons, violent criminals or the mentally deranged. Why wouldn’t laws aimed at preventing mass shootings be constructed to address the types of people who usually commit these crimes?

One misguided idea promoted by anti-gun forces is the “Universal Background Check”. Ask someone advocating this and they almost never can define what it is. What is a Universal Background Check” (UBA)? When you buy a gun from a Federal Firearms Dealer you undergo an extensive background check. A UBA would require you to go to a licensed dealer to sell a gun to another private individual. If you wanted to sell a gun to another party including friends, neighbors, coworkers or whomever you would have to go to a Federal Firearms License holder (gun dealer) and have them do a transfer. The problem with that is the FFL holder will have to do paperwork and thus charge a fee. Usually the minimum fee for a “transfer” of a firearm is $25.00 but some dealers charge $40.00 or more. Thus the cost of the gun has increased that much. In Tennessee there is a $10.00 background check fee. Some dealers include it in the cost of the transfer while others add it on. So the cost of a, for example, $500.00 gun has just increased by ten percent. This is current practice. If a federal law is passed that private citizens have to do a transfer through a dealer to sell a gun to another individual then some dealers may raise the price as the individual will not be able to legally transfer the gun without a background check. Who can do the background check? The dealer can. Is this making it harder to transfer guns a big part of the “liberal” agenda? I will let the reader decide for them self.

What gun haters or anti-gun people don’t acknowledge is that background checks were performed on many of the deranged individuals who committed almost all of the high profile high casualty shootings in the last decade or so. While there were some mistakes made in at least two of these incidents (one where a felony conviction was not entered on the computer databank as the person was in the military and another where the felony conviction was somehow overlooked). The killer (I will not use the names of these cowardly scum and give them more infamy) who shot up a concert in Las Vegas in 2017, the Marjorie Douglas Stoneman High School shooter, the crazed killer who shot up a theater crowd in Aurora Colorado in 2012 , and the shooters who committed recent mass killings in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas had all passed background checks to legally obtain the weapons they used in their murderous attacks.

I feel that if there is going to be any real use to a new or enhanced background check that it would have to have a mental health component not just a criminal background history. This type of enhanced check, while it could be tremendously useful, will face opposition by conservatives and liberals alike I’m sure. Conservatives will likely say it can be misused to deny certain people (for example veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) the ability to buy a gun while others may claim it violates the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) which sets standards for the use and disclosure of individuals’ health information. I do not know exactly how this information could be put in a database or the legalities of it. Perhaps the individual would agree to the release of information as a condition of buying a weapon. If this is ever proposed there will be legal issues to be overcome I am sure. Regular background checks don’t weed out the mentally ill. It appears that what is needed is an enhanced type of background check which would include disqualifying mental health issues. Again would this stop all attacks by crazed people? No, but it is a possible useful measure to help prevent some attacks.

Recently Kirsten Gillebrand (a Democratic candidate for President of the United States) said that she would be in favor of “mandatory” gun buyback programs. Gun buybacks are voluntary programs often administered by Police Departments to “buy back” guns from people. Ostensibly this is to get guns off the street and out of the hands of people who do not need them. What kind of 1984ish doublespeak is this? Mandatory according to Webster’s Dictionary is defined as “containing or constituting a command”. So these buybacks that are usually voluntary in the United States would be mandatory. It would be required. Also why are they called “buybacks’? A city government or state law enforcement agency is usually administering the program. The owners of these guns did not buy them from a city, county or state agency. Thus they are not being “bought back”. Where did this misnomer come from?

There are problems already with gun “buybacks”. It has been proven that most guns bought at these government sponsored gun buying events are junk guns being of very poor quality or being broken. If the seller has a $100 dollar gun that would cost $50.00 or more to repair then why not sell it for $50.00 to $100 dollars to an agency doing a “gun buyback”? Most guns “sold back” are very cheap guns, so called Saturday Night Specials”, which have little to no value. The sellers feel like they are coming out ahead. And they are.

If the government demands you surrender your guns so that they can buy them back or “reimburse” you then it is obviously confiscation. Call it what you will. Using confusing language or doublespeak to camouflage what the government is doing does not change the outcome. If a citizen is forced to give up something (protected by the Second Amendment, by the way) then that is illegal, unconstitutional and should not be endured or allowed.

What is the answer to controlling guns without making law-abiding citizens criminals? I wish I knew.

More parental monitoring and guidance as well as spending time with children would seem to be helpful. Perhaps Enhanced Background Checks not Universal Background Checks would be much more useful. Methods for detecting people with this type of desire to commit violent acts should be researched. Teachers, counselors, parents, School Resource Officers and others must be encouraged to report abnormal behaviors in young people so that hopefully they can be prevented from committing mass shootings or other violent mass attacks. It is important to not trample millions of people’s rights in a knee jerk effort to make people feel good by implementing an illegal, unconstitutional edict which will not address the situation realistically.

Think about your Constitutional rights.

– Mark Haskins