Short of national gun confiscation a la Australia, the anti-gun lobby has one consuming goal: instituting universal background checks in order to create a national firearm database.
They deny it, of course. “Mandating a background check on each and every gun exchange won’t lead to gun registration,” they say, “because, well, just trust us on this one.”
There are lots of reasons universal background checks are a bad idea, but two stand out. I’ve already mentioned the first. Universal background checks would allow the government to create a national firearms database, which would give the feds free rein to implement national gun confiscation. It’s a lot easier to confiscate firearms if you know which Americans own which guns.
Universal background checks, then, are a potential danger to the Second Amendment itself. Given the right legislators, judges, and president, a national firearms database could be the tool that destroys the right to keep and bear arms.
But there is a second, somewhat more practical reason universal background checks are a bad idea: they don’t really work.
As The Hill reports, a federally-funded study titled “Firearm Use by Offenders” noted that “nearly 40 percent of all crime guns are acquired from street level dealers, who are criminals in the black market business of peddling stolen and recycled guns.”
Criminals, it turns out, don’t obey background check laws anyway.
A prime example of this fact appeared yesterday in The Wichita Eagle. Michael Andrew Ryan of Manhattan, Ks., pleaded guilty on Monday to using a hidden internet marketplace, in a section known as the “dark web,” to purchase and export firearms illegally.
“With a computer and an internet connection, Ryan hosted an international arms trafficking business on the dark web, peddling firearms and ammunition throughout the world,” U.S. Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell said in a news release.
Ryan, according to the Eagle, “sold a variety of guns including Uzis, Berettas and Glocks, many of which had their serial numbers removed, along with hundreds of rounds of ammunition.” He shipped these guns to England, Scotland, Ireland, and Australia.
A universal background check system wouldn’t keep men like Ryan from purchasing guns on the black market. It wouldn’t keep criminals from stealing guns and selling them on the street from the back of their cars.
It would, however, keep law-abiding citizens from borrowing or selling a gun to a family member without making a trip to a local FFL. It would let the federal government know precisely who owns which firearms. And it would give Washington, D.C., a tool to confiscate guns from these law-abiding citizens.
The negatives seem to outweigh the positives here, unless you—like the anti-gun lobby—think a disarmed America is a safer America. I, for one, do not.