Do Gun-Control Background Checks Make Sense?
I would expect every politician knows though "background checks" makes a nice buzzword which is easy for both gun-fearing folks and law-abiding folks to agree with the spirit of, the bureaucratic consequences of such a program would be enormous, and few have asked the questions which demonstrate that. Here are a few.
1. What information must you provide? If you refuse, even on 5th Amendment grounds, can you therefore be summarily denied?
2. How long after application for a purchase should you have to wait? A passport takes many weeks. Must the dealer shelf his inventory while both of you wait, while the files pile up backlogged for years like the VA?
3. What is checked, and how? Who performs the background checks, and with what level of authority? Does the checker have data-subpoena power at the national level? Local warrant scan, and a denial for unpaid traffic tickets? 50-state rap-sheet scan… by mail? …by internet? …by whom? Must copies be sent to ATF? FBI? INS? NSA? CIA? ... and who else?
4. When millions submit applications, the staff needed would be like MVD or TSA. Who gets to decide what their qualifications must be, and how they would be selected and trained? Would we need a new agency of government or would we sub-contract that private information gathering permission and ability to a corporation? Fedbook, Inc?
5. Who gets to declare what criminal or medical data are grounds for denial of permission to buy a gun? A doctor? A lawyer? A bureaucrat? Your state senate? Child support payments late? Domestic violence complaint, substantiated or not? DUI? PTSD? Should a mandatory clean drug test be part of the background check?
6. If the check is to prevent criminals and the insane from getting guns, then must it not include the power to demand your medical records? If you do not provide the name of your psychiatrist, and it is decided you obtained clearance by omitting that data, could you be charged with felonious possession of the firearm, and so denied forever?
7. If your doctor refused to violate your confidentiality and answer the investigator's questions, could you be thereby denied gun permission? If you then killed somebody, could he be charged as an accessory for that refusal to submit your records? If so, would any doctor ever again refuse the government's demand for access to your mind?
8. If you are determined in a background check to be denied permission to purchase a gun, then would that mean you should also be denied permission to keep guns you already own? If you fail to pass the check, shouldn't you surrender all the guns you now have? Should the offenders and madmen the check is intended to identify and disarm just be grandfathered in with whatever armory they are known to have? If making those discoveries and taking correctional action upon them is a right objective, however, then shouldn't all persons now registered as owners of a firearm have their names submitted automatically to the check procedure? If not, why not?
9. Who pays for this? The Federal budget? On which side of the aisle? How about like the passport, you make the applicant pay for it? As with cars, might the fee be based on the price of the piece? Must you pay the fee every time you buy, or do you get a fee-renewable 2nd Amendment License you can show a dealer for immediate possession? How often must you get a rescan for permission to buy and own guns? Let Fedbook make it profitable, like privatized prison the inmates pay for.
10. What is the process for appeal of a denial? Are the results of a denied background check sent back to all of those agencies which were interrogated to make the check? If not, why not? If so, would a successful appeal ever reach all of them, so as to enable you to pass another check?
Background checks may sound like a good idea, but the bureaucratic consequences of attempting to define, legislate, conduct, and enforce the process would be a nightmare, and a draconian invasion of the citizen's privacy. Personally, as I know any gun the government knows you have belongs to them upon demand, as much as I respect the legitimate gun dealer, if he has to run me through the meat-grinder of Federal law enforcement examination to buy from him, if I wanted to obtain a firearm, I should likely always turn instead to the free market of the underground economy, through personal contact, payment in bearer money, and no records.
James Nathan Post
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