Special operations veteran and firearms trainer Pat McNamara doesn’t see a problem with universal background checks nor mandatory 3-day waiting periods.
In an interview with Comedy Central’s Jordan Klepper, for the special “Jordan Klepper Solves Guns,” McNamara was asked point black about both measures that are really the bread and butter of the anti-gun movement because of their ostensible “common sense” appeal. You can see the exchange in the video below. It starts around 3:50 in. I’ve also paraphrased it:
Klepper: What do you think of universal background checks?
McNamara: I don’t see any issue with it.
Klepper: What about mandatory 3-day waiting periods, is that too long?
McNamara: Nope, it’s not.
Okay, now there is going to be a non-trivial sum of people who are going to call for boycotting and blacklisting McNamara because his responses aren’t in lockstep with NRA dogma. To those people, I say, “Relax.” Not everyone is a hard-line purist. We do ourselves no favors by ostracizing pillars of our community because they think differently about an issue. Instead of attacking them, we need to educate them. We need to help them see what they’re missing.
I’ll do this as quickly as I can. In reverse order. The problem with waiting periods is twofold. First, there is no evidence to suggest that they reduce gun violence. It’s why in recent years states have repealed antiquated “waiting period” laws.
Secondly, if anything, waiting periods delay good guys or gals from getting firearms they may desperately need. So, for example, your cousin who lives in California just broke up with her violent boyfriend. The guy is a bit of a head case. She goes to buy a gun for self-defense because she doesn’t know how he is going to respond to getting the ax. Instead of walking out with the gun that day, she has to wait three whole days to receive it. That’s three whole days that she is unarmed and unprotected. Not good.
As for universal background checks, there are many reasons to oppose em. The NRA narrative is that UBCs will lead to registration which will inevitably lead to confiscation. Whether UBCs ultimately lead to confiscation can be debated but what can’t be is that a universal background check scheme is dependent on registration for it to be effective. Think about it, unless I notify the government, how will it know if I transferred a firearm to my neighbor if there’s not a registration system? Answer: It won’t.
Ultimately, UBC bills that do not contain a registration system are relying on good people to do the right thing, to self-report private transfers. Well, guess what, we don’t need laws that target the law-abiding. We’re not selling firearms to prohibited persons because (a) it’s against the law (b) we don’t want bad people to have guns and (c) it’s antithetical to our goal of protecting, preserving the 2A.
Now, the stats back us up on that. Most criminals do not obtain firearms from legal channels. They get them on the black market, use straw purchasers, steal them and/or borrow them from their fellow criminals. Universal background checks do nothing to stop the criminal flow of firearms.
The last reason to oppose UBCs is it increases the cost of gun ownership. By making every firearm sold, gifted, borrowed, etc., in this country subject to an FFL transfer fee we are chilling the right to keep and bear arms. Gun ownership is costly enough. I mean, why should my hunting buddy have to pay a $25 to $50 fee to borrow my scattergun to go on his whitetail hunt?
What it boils down to is that when all transfers are essentially taxed we can only expect participation in 2A activities to decrease. For the long term health and well being of the gun community, we want more people hunting, plinking, 3-Gunning — not fewer. As it’s been said, if you don’ use it, you’ll lose it.
The truth is that I can go on and on about arguing against mandatory waiting periods and universal background checks. But for now, this should hopefully provide a little more context as to why many of us oppose those measures. Maybe Mr. McNamara will see the light, maybe he won’t. Either way, let’s continue the conversation in a polite and respectful manner because we’ll catch more flies with honey than we will with vinegar.
UPDATE 6:37 PM, 6/9/17: Mr. McNamara addresses the comments in the following podcast. H/T to Steve Bui for the link.