Universal Background checks will not be coming to Arizona thanks to Gov. Doug Ducey (R).
Gov. Ducey signed a bill this week to block towns, cities and the state government from enacting measures that criminalize the private transfer of firearms between law-abiding citizens.
Senate Bill 1122 states, “Notwithstanding any other law, this state and a city, town or county shall not require as a condition of a private sale, gift, donation or other transfer of personal property that the owner of the personal property search or facilitate the search of any federal or state databases and shall not require that a third party be involved.”
Universal background check laws typically mandate that before a private seller transfers a firearm to a private buyer the seller must take the firearm to a local gun shop (or FFL) so that the gun shop can run an NICS background check on the purchaser. Typically, there is a fee charged by the FFL to run the background check.
The city of Tucson currently requires background checks for gun sales between private buyers and sellers. With the passage of SB 1122, the city will no longer be permitted to enforce that law.
Rep. Anthony Kern was one of the House members who supported the bill.
“If I want to sell … any of my personal property, including weapons, I should be able to do that,” Kern said during a debate on the House floor. “It is up to me as a responsible seller to make sure I know who the buyer is. It’s called America and it’s called the Second Amendment.”
Another lawmaker worried that the bill might spark a lawsuit from the city of Tucson.
“I’m afraid that with this piece of legislation we will yet find ourselves in another position where we have another lawsuit costing the state hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars and will lead us really nowhere,” Rep. Friese told AZCenteral.com.
My beef with universal background checks has always been twofold: the fee or tax charged to transfer the firearm and the notion that background checks stop criminals from purchasing firearms.
Guns and ammo are expensive enough. If I want to buy a firearm from my neighbor Bob, I shouldn’t get whacked an additional $25 to $50 for a background check. I have a CCW permit, which required a background check, and I already own several guns. Why do I need to undergo another NICS check? Like that lawmaker said, a scrupulous seller wouldn’t knowingly sell to a shady character (In fact, federal law prohibits a private seller from selling a firearm to an individual who that seller knows is a felon).
I also don’t believe that background checks stop criminals from purchasing guns. Sure, they may stop some bad guys who already have criminal records from purchasing guns at gun stores, but they don’t stop criminals from purchasing guns. As several studies have shown, most criminals buy their gun on the black market, borrow them from friends, steal them or use straw purchasers to obtain them. With all those options, background check or no background check, we’re fooling ourselves if we think we can stop bad guys from getting guns.
Kudos to Arizona for erring on the side of freedom on this issue. Too many states have bought into the anti-gun rhetoric that background checks are the panacea to stopping gun violence. They’re not. They’re a feel-good political talking point with no real teeth.