Gottlieb: ‘Like It or Not Americans Support the term Background Check’

At SHOT Show 2015, I had a candid conversation with Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms and the founder of the Second Amendment Foundation.

Gottlieb, a native of Washington State, is coming off the heels of a devastating loss to former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, who funded — to the tune of $4 million — efforts to pass ballot Initiative 594, a draconian universal background check measure that the SAF fought tooth and nail to defeat.

I-594 was passed in November. Now Gottlieb and his legal team are challenging various provisions of the measure in court. However, it’s an uphill battle and it’s unlikely that I-594 will be repealed altogether, as Alan acknowledged in my interview.

What’s fascinating is that Gottlieb saw this day coming. He predicted that this would happen if gun owners refused to negotiate on the issue of background checks. To that end, Alan was one of the few — maybe the only — high-profile, pro-gun leader to openly support the 2013 Manchin-Toomey amendment, a federal bill that would have mandated background checks for private transfers, including those made over the Internet and at gun shows.

Unlike Bloomberg’s universal background check bills, the bipartisan Manchin-Toomey amendment contained some perks for gun owners, including, as Gottlieb noted back then, “interstate sales of handguns, veteran gun rights restoration, travel with firearms protection, civil and criminal immunity lawsuit protection, and most important of all, the guarantee that people, including federal officers, will go to federal prison for up to 15 years if they attempt to use any gun sales records to set up a gun registry.”

As we know now the Senate failed to pass the Manchin-Toomey amendment in the Spring of 2013 which then opened up the door for Bloomberg to go state by state and ram through his draconian background check agenda. Washington State was one of the first states to fall victim to the Bloomberg machine.

Since compromising no longer appears to be an option, I asked Alan what we can do to stop Bloomberg and his campaign to criminalize private transfers.

“Like it or not the American people support the term ‘background check,’ they support the concept of it even though they know it won’t work to keep guns out of the hands of criminals they figure ‘well if criminals aren’t supposed to have guns what’s the big deal about a background check,'” said Gottlieb.

“The truth is that most gun owners support that too. So, our problem is that when the other side writes these laws they write them in ways that really screw over us big time: create registration system, unnecessary fees, all kinds of regulations, red tape, really make it harder for people to use firearms for legitimate purposes,” he continued, obviously lamenting the fact that negotiated terms weren’t reached.

“I don’t have a magic bullet for this, I wish I did. But the gun rights lobby needs to be talking about this like I’ve been screaming, preaching for the last two years. We need to lead and not follow on this issue or we’re going to lose,” Gottlieb explained. “I don’t like predicting that we’re going to lose, and I know people on our side don’t like hear that, but if we don’t do something that’s going to be the bottom line result. We need to fight smart, and quite frankly, we haven’t been doing it.”

Do you agree with Alan? Do we need to go to the negotiating table and try to figure out a way to end this matter in a way that is at least somewhat favorable to gun owners?

(Below is an interview I did with Alan back in 2013, following the defeat of Manchin-Toomey, H/T

About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

{ 78 comments… add one }
  • Jim Poteet March 23, 2015, 10:21 am

    The comments by Donald L. Cline, 2/3/15 above are the entire battle. The federal gov’t. is committing illegal, unauthorized acts (crimes) against the “people” of the U.S. Unauthorized, illegal acts are “null and void” and must be considered so. Some of us, probably many of us are going to have to pay the ultimate price exactly as our forefathers did and for EXACTLY for the very same reasons. Liberty and Freedom. Tyranny by the U.S. gov’t. or a king is the same, no difference whatsoever. A “right” requires no permission from anyone! Did the patriots/forefathers, even just one of them, the very one that YOU descended from die in vain just to have you or me surrender the very thing that cost him his life? Not I. No, I refuse to be a traitor to the men who gave their very life that I may be free from the tyranny of an out of control gov’t. or king. Jim Poteet 3/23/15 10:21 A.M.

  • Mike Lowry February 21, 2015, 7:58 pm

    I believe Allen is right. It’s always better to lead, not follow, like some lead from behind

  • Jim Stone February 13, 2015, 5:40 am

    Universal background checks are simply a means to an end of no guns. If we look at the terrible events that led up to this ,all the mass murder weapons were legal and background checks were done.If controlling human behavior by passing more laws or regulation worked, we surely at this stage not need to have police .

  • Scott S February 4, 2015, 9:11 pm

    I’m stuck on the fence on this one. As an avid hunter and shooter and as a researcher in mental disease with emphasis in psychopathy and schizophrenics, I can tell you first hand you don’t want weapons in the hand of those suffering these pathologies and why you don’t want this to ever happen. The problem with legislature is that there is currently no way of identifying these to pathologies prior to gun purchase. A problem which I’m about to fix, in the next year I will be introducing a simple written test that will identify psychopaths which was designed for employment screening, but now I see broader application.. However, until the introduction and acceptance of this test, you get legislation that is all or nothing and the erosion of 2nd Amendment rights. Regardless of these upcoming events, we must accept a certain amount of carnage by those who are mentally diseased until a legal and legitimate process of identifying mental deficit can be introduced as a bulk-works against 2nd Amendment infringement. There are numerous other pathologies of mental deficit that can also lead to murderous events, many of which can never be identified prior to gun purchase due to the constructs and operation of the human mind which will just have to be accepted as as the price of gun ownership as a counter-balance to government tyranny. With proper research and science on the functionality of the mind that is now at hand, I believe that suitable compromise is possible and meaningful via prior identification testing.

  • Earl Pinkerton February 4, 2015, 1:07 pm

    NO INFRINGEMEMT— of the 2nd Amendment.

  • Bill Plemitscher February 4, 2015, 1:26 am

    Everyone discussing “universal background checks” should look at the State of Illinois’ Firearms Owner ID card. Beginning in the 1970s, IL required all gun owners to submit an application, a photo, and a fee to the state and be issued an FOID card, presumably after a background check was done. To legally own, buy, sell, borrow, or possess in any way any gun or ammunition a person in IL has to have a valid FOID card on their person. That is a “universal background check” and Illinois has had it for decades. Having an FOID does not mean that one owns a gun, or what kind, or how many, or where they are kept, only that the FOID holder is legally qualified to possess a gun. The background check is not tied to an individual purchase or transaction, so cannot be used to build a gun registry, which is why Schumer, Bloomberg, and others don’t push for a national FOID. Also, the FOID in IL has not been proven to make people safer over the last 40 years, so that makes it hard to sell. But the Illinois model would be the best way to achieve “universal background checks” if that were the goal. The true goal is gun registration, and that is why the people pushing for it choose a background check on each transaction instead of a simple, “show me your FOID, OK you’re good.”

  • mort February 3, 2015, 9:16 pm

    We give up Rights and the other side moves closer to the next step. Gottlieb is wrong to propose giving away anything to the grabbers!

  • Nick February 3, 2015, 6:08 pm

    ALL of you that are “Willing to Concede” just REFUSE to get it. WHY, I don’t know. Here it is AGAIN in plain ENGLISH. WHOEVER you give the Power to do the background checks to DECIDES EXACTLY WHO passes or fails said background check. UNDERSTAND? THEY set the RULES for PASS OR FAIL!! It’s only a matter of time before “They” decide that if you WANT a gun, you CAN’T have a gun because ANYONE that wants a gun MUST be NUTS!!!!! You GET it? Do you? HUH?

  • Scotty Gunn February 3, 2015, 5:09 pm

    I don’t mind an instant background check. I do mind delayed background checks (unless a name change,etc causes it). I DO mind registration, which most states are logging the background checks and using it as registration. It seems the government thinks the one gives them the right to the other.

  • Frank February 3, 2015, 4:52 pm

    SAF/Gottlieb’s “compromise at all costs” method remains the best way to ensure America remains a nation where you may only buy government-approved guns from government-approved dealers with government-approved ID, but only after being approved by the government to actually take delivery of the weapon, so you may in turn seek government approval of your wish to carry the weapon concealed in public.

  • Blues February 3, 2015, 4:46 pm

    I am a WA state resident and Hunter Education Instructor for Washington. I-594 included the term transfers in the background check requirement. Transfer as defined in I-594 includes any “transfer” of a firearm to another individual for any reason.

    In our hunter education training the students must demonstrate safely transferring a firearm when crossing an obstacle. This type of transfer is a criminal offence under I594 (with one exception). The Dept. Fish and Game had to get a letter from the WA state attorney general for us to teach hunter education classes as required by the department of fish and game.

    In essence the AG decided that WA Dept. of fish and game volunteer hunter education instructors were part of law enforcement (Only while teaching the Washington State Hunter Ed classes) and were therefore exempt from the I-594 transfer background checks.

    Instructors were told they could transfer firearms back and forth between the instructors and the students without breaking the law (only while conducting the hunter education training class). There is an exemption for “minors” that allows them in a learning environment to transfer firearms to other minors but not the instructor if the instructor is over 18. The letter to instructors advised that no hunter education student over the age of 18 could transfer a firearm to another person in the class EXCEPT the instructor.

    There are few exceptions to the background check requirement for “transfers” in the I-594 initiative but they are very narrowly defined. The AG office considers handing a firearm over to another person is a “transfer” and wrote u the exemption for Hunter Education Instructors. If he had not allowed the exemption Hunter Education Training would cease in WA state and the State would lose the federal money targeted for State Hunter Ed programs.

  • Asdf February 3, 2015, 4:42 pm

    the latest polls don’t indicate that. I’m a lifetime member of the SAF. I told them that I would start to give them money after they fired Gottlieb.

  • Donald L. Cline February 3, 2015, 4:15 pm

    We can beat this expanded background check but first we have to stop cooperating with the enemy and people like Alan Gottlieb needs to start pushing people to reject background checks for good and sufficient reasons (listed below) instead of acting like the public desire for background checks is insurmountable. You might as well say the public desire to reject the U.S. Constitution is insurmountable: It is not.
    The Brady handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993 is unconstitutional on its face: The federal government has no authority under the Tenth Amendment to even license gun dealers. It has no authority to issue or deny permission to exercise a right. It has no authority to compel an interrogation under threat of criminal sanctions and then a search of private papers and effects on government databases in the absence of probable cause of criminal conduct. This is a violation of the Fourth Amendment.
    Transferring possession or ownership of a firearm is not probable cause of criminal conduct.
    The federal government has no authority to deprive a citizen of a fundamental Constitutionally-guaranteed right without due process, and compelling an illegal interrogation and search is not due process. This is a violation of the Fifth Amendment.
    The hidden agenda purpose of the Brady Act background checks was to establish a tyranny so it could be entrenched more firmly later: Later is now. The purpose of background checks under the Brady Act or the expanded version has never been about reducing criminal access to firearms; it’s purpose is to destroy — completely obliterate — the Rule of Law by destroying the 2nd, 4th, 5th, and 10th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

    This is an insurrection by subversive enemy agents opposed to the fundamental liberties our nation was founded to preserve and protect. We need to stop treating them like they have a right to engage in insurrection and we need to prosecute them under Title 18 United States Code Section 2383 “Rebellion and Insurrection” against the authority of the United States government which is conveyed by the Constitution of the United States. Time for the gloves to come off, people. They have declared war on our Constitution.

  • Yadama February 3, 2015, 3:25 pm

    Hmmm. I don’t remember needing a background check to speak or organize a rally. I don’t need a permit to obtain a lawyer or not to receive cruel punishment. I don’t need a background to vote in an election. Actually, the only people who would be affected by background checks would be FORMER felons, which in my mind, if they are rehabilitated enough for the gov’t to release them, then they deserve their full rights back. If you can’t trust them with full rights, then why the hell did you release them in the first place?! I mean there are only three groups of people who shouldn’t be able to OWN guns: CURRENT felon/domestic abusers, mental incompetent persons, and kids. the first group is locked up, so background checks are worthless since they are not integrated with society. The second group is almost impossible to identify correctly, so the majority of them don’t pop up in the check, thus worthless. The last group are kids, so yea, a background check don’t really affect them since they aren’t old enough to even be in the system. Background checks can’t tell people if or when the buyer might snap or decide to be evil; this isn’t the Minority Report, we can’t stop crime before it happens. Laws can only dictate, not prevent.

  • Tom February 3, 2015, 3:14 pm

    Having worked gun shows and as a NRA Certified Instructor and Concealed Handgun Instructor I am in favor of background checks on private guns sales or transfers to third parties not related at least through the 3rd degree of affinity. While it will not keep guns out of the hands of most criminals that acquire most guns illegally it will stop some convicted felons from buying guns from unrelated third parties. I don’t sell my used guns to anyone without the gun being transferred through a FFL so that I know the buyer can legally own a gun. I’m a strong supporter of the Second Amendment but do believe we either make some compromises or lose the battle with the anti-gunners.

    • DaveGinOly February 3, 2015, 5:13 pm

      “While it will not keep guns out of the hands of most criminals that acquire most guns illegally it will stop some convicted felons from buying guns from unrelated third parties.”

      Your statement points out the impotence of universal background checks – they don’t actually prevent criminals from acquiring firearms, they merely prevent criminals from acquiring them through otherwise legitimate transfers. So of what value are background checks for private sales, if, when denied, the buyer can and will go elsewhere to get a gun? It becomes nothing but a hindrance and expense (in time, if not money) to a legitimate seller. (Who, BTW, can already be punished by the law for knowingly transferring a gun to an unqualified/disqualified person. The best a background check can do is prevent a law-abiding person from unwittingly selling a firearm to an unqualified/disqualified person. This may protect the seller, but it does not prevent the U/D person from getting his firearm elsewhere – defeating the alleged purpose of universal background checks.)

  • RSG February 3, 2015, 2:20 pm

    The Second Amendment right of American citizens to keep and bear arms is non-negotiable. No compromise, no quarter. This issue was settled more than two centuries ago. Any law or regulation that infringes upon this unalienable right must be met with total non-compliance. Those who abuse this right in the pursuit of crime must be dealt with swiftly and harshly – no plea-bargaining, no mercy. There is no such thing as a “resonable compromise” with the central planners who have their sights set on a universal gun ban through the UN. Incremental erosion of the Second Amendment ultimately leads to a boiled frog and lost liberty. We allow government to violate the Constitution at our own peril.

  • dan February 3, 2015, 1:12 pm

    Universal firearms background check = firearms registration = firearms ban. Then they come for the sharp objects. Then they fit you for your shackles (if you’re lucky).

    • DaveGinOly February 3, 2015, 4:49 pm

      Yes, but the shackles will be free (or possibly better, they may come with benefits). People will be lined up for them!

  • g. wilson February 3, 2015, 12:58 pm

    A number of people here have made the point I have been hoping the NRA would adopt and that is a more reasonable less fanatic approach to the whole gun control issue. We need to stop opposing reasonable regulations such as background checks that check for a history of mental illness and criminal backgrounds that would stop a potential sale to someone unstable. There are too many nutcases these days and it just makes sense to try to find them before we arm them.

    The perception of gun owners by non-gun owners is that we are all “gun nuts” that think everyone should have a gun no matter what and that any regulation is a step toward seizure. If we as a group were to approach this in a more moderate way we could change the perception. It’s all about being reasonable – the side that takes the high ground and supports realistic regulations (and I don’t use California as the example to follow – I live in Ca. and have to live with the damn bullet button idiocy among other stupid and over restrictive laws) then the anti-gunners would look like the crazies that some of them are and we would be the reasonable side of the argument. Bloomberg is a dangerous foe with too much money to throw at his personal agenda but we will never be able to defeat him if we continue to be equally as extreme.

    Bloomberg has money but so do we as a group. More gun owners need to donate to the NRA-ILA and other groups that fight gun control agendas. The problem is that many gun owners sit back and let the other guy make donations for a number of reasons but mostly because they think they cannot afford it. Send $20 if that all you can do because it makes a difference and it is the only way we can fight Bloomberg on his on turf. We also need to write to the NRA and try to get them to adopt a more reasonable stance in this fight. Give in on the little stuff and get realistic on things like metal illness background checks.

    • DaveGinOly February 3, 2015, 3:45 pm

      You can’t make a bad idea good by making it less bad. This is all that compromise can do.

      Background checks conducted on firearms sales by FFLs were nearly unavoidable, because at least the government has an interest in assuring that its licensees are not supplying firearms to criminals. Because FFLs are licensees, they have to abide by the requirements of specific performance imposed on them by their licensor, the state.

      Does the state have an interest in making sure that private firearms sales are not made to criminals and others who should not possess firearms? Yes, it does. And this has already been addressed by laws that make such transfers illegal. This is the best the law should be able to to – define a crime and a punishment for it, and then punish those who commit the crime. The law should not be used to compel specific performance of people who are not licensees (exercisers of privilege), especially when those people are doing what they have done by right for over two hundred years (firearms sales not just as an exercise of the right to arms, but also as a component of the right to property, which includes the right to acquire, possess, carry, and lawfully use property, as well as to give, transfer, or otherwise legally sell it). Rights cannot be converted into crimes. Those not exercising a state-granted franchise should not be compelled to specific performance, there is no quid pro quo (franchise/license/privilege for performance) and to require performance without a quid pro quo is indistinguishable from slavery. Ten of your neighbors can no more demand that you mow their lawns every week than one of them can. It does not matter how many of your neighbors and fellow citizens make the demand – they have no right to compel your performance, and less right to punish you for refusing to perform based merely upon their demand.

  • WillB February 3, 2015, 12:34 pm

    I’ve been getting background checks on guns I’ve bought as far back as the 70s. So, I couldn’t care less if I have to go thru the same process in the future.

    • DaveGinOly February 3, 2015, 3:33 pm

      Universal background checks can’t work without registration. If you don’t know who owns what, you can’t know if firearms owners are complying with the law – unregistered guns can be transferred surreptitiously. Once registration is established, in order for registration to work, periodic presentation of the firearm and re-registration (with any attendant fees) will be required in order to make sure that registered guns are not being sold surreptitiously.

      When these things come (and they will), how will you feel about it then?

  • Cowboy Emery February 3, 2015, 11:57 am

    The world today is more dangerous than ever, and every law abiding citizen should have the right to own a firearm. Maybe background checks should be performed on those five million illegals that are in our country or even on our corrupt politicians and the IRS. The problem with the abuse of firearms lies within our judicial system and too many criminals are getting off with minimal sentences. Lets start enforcing the laws on the books and giving mandatory sentences to anyone who commits a felony with a firearm. Do you really think that background checks won’t lead to a gun registry ? Wake up “America” we have a very anti-gun and corrupt administration. Put Bloomberg over in Iraq for a year on the front lines and then see about his background checks.

  • petru sova February 3, 2015, 11:56 am

    You can always count on the Federal Government to completely ignore their own laws when they do not want to obey them. They would most certainly never throw away the background check info and use it later if guns were out lawed. But then again would it make any difference. No it would not because the penalties would be so harsh it would not be worth owning a gun as they would take your house, your car and all your assets if you were caught with the banned weapons. So the next time you here some Red Neck claim he is better off buying guns that have no background check he is living in a fantasy world and not looking at the reality of what would happen if he kept any banned weapons.

  • Nick February 3, 2015, 11:51 am

    BS!!!! It’s just ANOTHER end run by a SHILL for “THEM”. WHOEVER gets the power to DO the “Background Checks” can change the CRITERIA for what EXACTLY constitutes an “Acceptable” Background to ALLOW them to own a Weapon. THIS is WHY “THEY” are currently attacking on the Mental Health front. Because they THEN can declare ANYONE THEY WANT to be Mentally UNFIT. And STOP with the BS statistics saying “Most” or “All”, NOBODY asked ME anything. MORE LIES and PROPAGANDA! DON’T fall for it OR him! Give the “Good Guys” open ownership and carry, DEPUTIZE everyone. In less than 6 months the “Crime Problem” will be SOLVED for good! We’ll ALSO clean up the Gene Pool of Dumb A $$e $ along the way.

  • Sam I Am February 3, 2015, 11:45 am

    When you look closely at what Alan is saying, all the chest-beating about “rights” really supports his contention that we are going about this all wrong. The issue is approximately 50% of the public does not accept that the 2d Ammendment is relevant to this day and age. These are likely the significant majority, actually, of the populace. We saw in Washington state that there were/are not enough people who will vote NO to restrictions on lawful use of firearms. Let’s assume all the NO votes had a single rallying cry of “Shall not be infringed!”. How successful was that effort? Remember, the anti-gun crowd are the jury pool from which we will be judged ‘reasonable’ people when faced with criminal charges for defensive gun use.

    People of the Gun need a unified, compelling, persuasive message. The gun-grabbers use emotion almost exclusively; and it works. Where is our emotional message? Where is our unassailable stance on the basic human right of self-defense? (by unassailable I mean one that is immune to petty crying of “if we save only one child”)

    Look around, all our “rights” are being converted to “privileges”. The vast society of babies in adult clothing don’t care about “rights” unless their privileges are impaired. It is time to understand that the Constitution means very little to most of our current fellow citizens.Obama declared, “We can’t let the law (Constitution) stand in the way of doing the right thing.” The majority of Americans seem to agree.

    We should be using our blogs to discuss political tactics to protect ourselves, and advance the cause of freedom. Not use these avenues as outlets for impotent bluster.


  • John Gnauck February 3, 2015, 11:31 am

    Conduct background checks on all street gang members. Do it as they are released from prison.

  • Chuck M February 3, 2015, 11:08 am

    H*ll no! Give away to get rights?! This is why I don`t support that organization.

  • Dale February 3, 2015, 10:50 am

    In CT the State has been running background checks since 1992. All of the checks have bveen entered into a permanent registry maintained by the State Police. They have even acquired transfer information from other states and from ATF 4473 records from dealer records prior to 92. When the most recent expanded assault weapons bill was passed (after Newtown), over half of the newly named AWs were not registered because owners feared confiscation. The Attorney General has asked the State Police to now begin “visiting” those who, using the registry info, failed to register their newly classified AW. Until last year there was NO requirement on personal sales of the newly listed AWs so there are going to be many unwanted and unwarranted “visits.” WORSE, the Newtown commission has now recommended that all firearms “capable of firing more than 10 rds without reloading” be banned from sale AND POSSESSION…read CONFISCATION, or forced sales out of state. Compromise on universal registrations ? You might as well simply require registration of ALL firearms and owners because THAT is exactly what it will be. Does anyone honestly believe the government is destroying NICS records after 6 months ? Is any gun owner THAT STUPID?

  • Jeffrey L. Frischkorn February 3, 2015, 10:07 am

    I happen to agree wholeheartedly with Mr. Gottlieb. For firearms owners there was more good than bad in Manchin-Toomey. Having bought from FLL dealers any number of firearms at gun shows.. I have sold some, too, both to dealers and private individuals. The background check required of the latter were no big deal and went smoothly. A suggestion for gun show producers would be to arrange with one or more FFL-licensed dealers (either at one of the show’s many tables or else totally separate near the ticket booth area) to perform the background check. Such a system could be funded individually or else the cost being absorbed into the ticket price; another $1, for example. Anyway, if firearms owners believe they can turn the tide on this subject when brought forward to the public as an iniative-driven petition, they are only deluding themselves. One by one, the states will fall on this subject, gobbling up financial resources that could go to prepping for the really much more serious subjects such as high-capacity magazines and especially the so-called “assault weapons.”

    • Tin Hip February 3, 2015, 11:22 am

      In a democracy, public opinion, even manipulated public opinion, can be a powerful enemy when it is stacked against you. The risk of the “all or nothing” approach is that you may well end up with nothing. Compromise gives you an effective tool to gain something and to continue the fight. If it develops that compromise is used by the enemy as another weapon against you, then that is the time to fight like hell for what you believe in.

  • Pseudomind February 3, 2015, 10:07 am

    Since most gun crimes are committed by criminals in possession of a gun, just what is this “background’ check going to accomplish? Is a criminal going to submit to a background check? I doubt it. what this is going to do is start a national gun registration database against the legal law abiding citizen. Next comes some worthless politician who see’s tax dollars and here it comes, annual gun registration at $5.00 per gun, (300 Million x $5.00 is $1.5 billion a year) not to mention the Gov-Mint now knows each and every type of gun a law abiding citizen has in their name. Then comes something like the social security Ponzi scheme, hell we have this exorbitant retirement pension scheme which is short on funding so lets raise the annual registration to $10.0 a gun to pay for this short fall. What’s that you say we need some infrastructure work done? Okay next year the annual fee will be $25.00 per gun.

    The criminal is not going to submit to a background check, b twill still get a gun.
    The criminal will not register a gun, but still get a gun
    Someone committed to carrying out a gun crime will still do so

  • Mark Natale February 3, 2015, 9:47 am

    I am a gun owner, hunter, reloaded, etc. and I believe that expanded background checks would be a good thing, especially at gun shows. I do not believe that all sellers at gun shows should have to be FFL holders, only that sellers would have to pay someone to perform the background check. The show would have to provide a booth or table where an FFL holder would provide paperwork and do the check at a price to the seller. Private sales would also have to go through background checks (as most sales across state lines already do because of shipping restrictions) with a limit on what an FFL holder could charge for this service. Multiple firearms could be sold with a single check. Gifts within an immediate family would not require a background check.

    • Alan February 3, 2015, 12:05 pm


      One has to look at the big picture. Where are we, where did we come from, and where are we going? This nation was founded on the principle of free, armed, men. Every man was part of the militia. Military grade weapons of every sort, up to and including artillery and naval vessels, were expected to be commonly in private hands. This is critical for the preservation of a free nation. The enemies of liberty have been trying to consolidate power out of the hands of private citizens and into the hands solely of the state, for well over a century.

      Requiring permission removes arms possession from the realm of right, and relegates it to the status of privilege. Free men have rights; servants have privileges. Our founding fathers understood this. That’s why the 2nd amendment was worded so carefully. It’s not about hunting, or sports. It’s all about power, and the consolidation of it into the hands of the state. To borrow a phrase from Gibson, “Why should I trade one tyrant, 3,000 miles away, for 3,000 tyrants, one mile away?” He’s right. As Franklin warned, a democracy is just another form of tyranny. We do not live in a nation founded on principles of democracy, but one designed to be a constitutional republic inhabited by free men.

      To borrow another Franklin quote, “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

      • DaveGinOly February 3, 2015, 3:27 pm

        Best comment, Alan!

  • John February 3, 2015, 8:55 am

    First, NIC was supposed to be a kind of background check.
    Second. Only a fool would believe that background checks on private sales would, in short order, lead to the end all private sales.
    Third. I have no doubt that “sociological /mental issues” would be reason to prohibit a sale. Now, no one wants a dangerously disturbed individual to have free access to firearms. The problem is who, and what, decides what constitutes a sociological / mental issue and at what point would the problem ban gun ownership A doctor? Look at ever changing list of new ailments by the American Psychiatric Association. A federal bureaucrat?
    Universal background checks are a Trojan Horse effectively changing the “right” of gun ownership to a privilege totally controlled by the government.

    • shooter February 3, 2015, 9:35 am

      How true! Look here in New York. Since the ‘SAFE Act’ was passed 1 1/2 years ago over 35,000 have lost their pistol permit AND gun rights on ‘mental’ grounds. Many of these cases have nothing to do with mental instability, just going to see a doctor. Contrary to the law the doctor does not have to recommend removal, just what the State Police decide to do!

  • Iceberg February 3, 2015, 8:54 am

    I don’t agree with Alan, and I don’t believe him either. I won’t until I participate in a poll that asks several million gun owners if they support background checks on private sales. Regardless, I will never support said background checks.

  • John 1776 February 3, 2015, 8:43 am

    I agree that
    1. While UNCONSTITUTional at any level, backround checks do ensure people are USA Citizens. Which vitial to the safety and security of the nation. Yet guns will be had by criminals.
    2. The federal gun registry needs to be destroyed. The government can not be allowed any record of guns and owners. That any personsons associated with any such record not get fifteen years, but hung without appeal.
    3. Any universal number be free for all and that includes mail order and online direct sales and. That firearms sales tax(s) be frozen

    Time to go on the offensive. Have pro gun people enter and undermine groups like the Brady campaign. Take them over from the inside. Go on the offensive and pass national rights for ccw and end states abilities to Seeknout gub owners from othe ststes

  • roger mason February 3, 2015, 8:16 am

    isn’t it screamingly obvious that gottlieb is a phony?
    he’s always begging for money. what a joke this guy
    is, and people can’t see it? in marxism it is said, “you
    control the opposition by leading it.” he’s a perfect
    example. shame on you for interviewing the fraud.

  • Jim Jadwin February 3, 2015, 7:53 am

    Any time the minority liberal fringe element decides they want to impose restrictions on the majority of citizens they fight for “small” concessions at first. Once these small concessions are won, their appetites are never satisfied and they push for increased concessions. It has happened time and time again.

    Recall when individuals were allowed to smoke in the work place. Then came smoking rooms with the corporate confines. Then no smoking in the buildings, then no smoking within 50 feet of the entrance. Wake up America, the same is being done with the Second Amendment as well as gay rights. Recall when all the gays wanted was “just” having equal rights as the hetero married. Then gays demanded to change the definition of the word marriage totally to include either two women, two men, one man or woman and a shrub. Soon there demands will extend to animals or aka bestiality, because after all it’s “only fair” that THEY have the same rights as hetero’s

    • davud February 3, 2015, 2:11 pm

      expansion of marriage rights is a 14th amendment issue. constitutional rights extend to all americans, even those we disagree with. to resist or attempt to change that is to adopt the mindset and tactics of the gun control advocate.

  • Greg Olson February 3, 2015, 7:53 am

    I don’t believe that New York City, Los Angeles, and Washington D.C. are in touch with reality. They would like the rest of average U.S. citizen to conform with their ideas concerning firearms. Who hunts in those cities except criminals?
    Regarding crime. I would rather prevent injury to my family than have the police figure out who did it later and then provide the criminal with three hots and a cot IF caught and convicted.

  • Alan1018 February 3, 2015, 7:47 am

    Compromise: Surrender on the installment plan!

    • John L February 3, 2015, 8:31 am

      Alan, that is great! Short and to the point. Kind of covers it all.

  • RAM 6 February 3, 2015, 7:41 am

    Typical mushy moderate. This guy is an anathema to the 2A. There is nothing in the amendment about negotiating for your right to “keep and bear arms”. The NRA and the USCCA need to shut this guy up and out. He doesn’t represent me and he shouldn’t represent any reasonable gun owner. He lost in Washington because people sort of thought the ballot proposal was reasonable because he lied about. If I want to give or loan a firearm to a friend or member of my family then that’s my RIGHT not my privilege and the government should have no say in it. Why do these people think they can negotiate away our RIGHTS!

    • RAM 6 February 3, 2015, 8:28 am

      I had to add this to my previous post. Founder of the Second Amendment Foundation? This name implies you agree with the 2nd Amendment, which he clearly does not. It’s designed to scam in true gun rights advocates money when in fact he’s really working for the other side. The fact is when you start negotiating with the government and give any concession they will want more and more and more. It is the true “slippery slope” once you agree they have a point, which in this case they DO NOT!

      • grifhunter February 3, 2015, 11:29 am

        You talk out your ought.
        The 2nd Amendment Foundation and Alan Gottleib have been more aggressive, more pro gun, more effective than the NRA. Their group has been the one to fund Alan Gura Esq who against all odds fought and won the Heller case and other groundbreaking court successes. The NRA bailed.
        Anybody who knows gun politics knows that Gottlieb has our lobbied the pantywaists at the NRA for years. This issue is different. He has taken a realistic reading of public sentiment, acknowledged that the enemy has us outnumbered on an issue and that they will inevitably win on the politics. His point is simply when its inevitable that we will lose, its better to compromise into getting something instead of nothing. Your supers tough guy attitude got us NOTHING, therefore, your position is more anti rights than you even know.

  • alex gregis February 3, 2015, 7:22 am

    never trust the government to keep it’s word.

    • MrApple February 3, 2015, 9:51 am

      Ask the Native Americans if you are ever unsure.

  • Charlie Craig February 3, 2015, 7:05 am

    I think that Alan Gottlieb is a voice of reason in the midst of extremes on both sides of the issue. I don’t trust the gun control side to accept reason and compromise in good faith and our side needs to stop strutting around with AR-15’s just to flaunt open carry. Most of us in the silent majority just want to be safe and to be able to own and enjoy the use of guns without being hassled or demonized.


    • RAM 6 February 3, 2015, 8:38 am

      Charlie, I totally agree with you regarding the morons that strut around with their ARs. It’s foolish and accomplishes nothing except for reasonable people to consider them fools and make all of us true advocates of the 2nd amendment part of their stupidity. On the other hand Alan Gottlieb is anything but “the voice of reason”. He’s the voice of the government. He advocates what would on the surface look reasonable, however why would we want to negotiate on our RIGHT “to keep and bear arms”. The government didn’t give us this right and they have absolutely no place in their effort to make any of us believe they can “negotiate” on how much of the right we should have. The Bill of Rights is not a negotiable item, it’s a list of those rights that don’t belong to the government but to the people.

      • GenEarly February 3, 2015, 12:22 pm

        ProgreSSives never, ever stop progressing “Forward”. always more to do, busy busy busy, Intruding into your lives and not just guns. They even regulate your toilet! So we all will comply or be criminals to whatever is deemed legal by the Oligarchs.
        Quislings like Gottlieb are “useful idiots”, but irrelevant. The “game” is rigged, so why even play? The Founders of this country explained the cost of freedom, demonstrated the cost of freedom, but hey; How about that Super Bowl?

      • CCC February 5, 2015, 8:11 am

        I agree with you that we shouldn’t trust the government’s intentions when our rights are stake. However, in regard to my comment about Mr. Gottlieb being a voice of reason, I think that today the court of public opinion is greatly influenced by perception.
        It is important to present your case so that you come across as reasonable rather than rigid and and closed minded with no intention of listening to and considering the other sides views. I’m not suggesting that we compromise our values and give up our rights, I’m just saying that we need to become much better at marketing our side of things than we are. We all know how twisted images of individuals and events can become when finally edited and aired. We need to be very careful in the image that we present to the public so that we don’t come across as unreasonable. We need to learn how to beat them at their own game. After all not everybody grew up in the country with the freedom of roaming the woods with a gun and being self reliant. If you grow up in an urban area where the authorities are supposed to fix all of your problems you probably don’t understand the need for the freedom of self reliance. These are the people that we have to reach in presenting our case. Gun ownership is just one part of the issue.

    • MrApple February 3, 2015, 9:50 am

      The “silent majority” will get to quietly sit on the side and watch ALL of our firearm rights be legislated away. Universal Background Checks is merely another step on the long path to the final destination of complete disarmament of the American People. When it passes and does NOTHING what will they go after next? “Assault weapons”? “High capacity magazines”? SBRs? Sniper rifles (you know any bolt action rifle with a scope)? Universal Background Checks won’t be the end that you can bet on.

  • Robert Daugherty February 3, 2015, 6:36 am

    Mr. Gottlieb is correct, we need to support background checks on all gun purchases period. Private sale items are going to be hard to control but whenever I sell a firearm(handgun or rifle) I require the buyer to have a current driver’s license and carry permit and sign a “Bill of Sale” for the weapon. Once that weapon leaves my possession it’s out of my control and I have no control on how it will be used, lawfully or unlawfully and if someone uses it in an unlawful manner you had better have a proof of transfer or it’s going to be a very long day. Whenever I go into a store or gun show and purchase a firearm I always have my DL and carry permit with me and produce it when asked without question as a responsible gun owner. I am all for “2nd Amendment Rights” but in this day and age with all the “nutcases” living in the shadows it’s hard to make a case for no “background checks” and that attitude or argument will cost all of us in the long run whether we like it or not.

    • GenEarly February 3, 2015, 12:10 pm

      It’s going to cost you your liberty with or without background checks, whether you like it or not the Feral and ProgreSSive State governments aren’t even concerned about “the Law”. It’s what they say it is, end of discussion. Or more succintly how did Maryland State Polezi obtain CC Permit info from the Florida Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Services? Now the Feds will expand the program…….no legislative appeasement even required. Welcome to the USSA, Comrade.

    • DaveGinOly February 3, 2015, 3:22 pm

      The process you described for your private transfers does nothing to fight crime or “gun violence,” the purported purpose of all background check legislation. As you stated, “Once that weapon leaves my possession…I have no control on how it will be used…” What you’re doing only covers you in so far that you create a record that you no longer possess the firearm. Once transferred, no previous owner has any control over how a firearm will be used by the new owner. Background checks don’t change that situation.

    • Don S. February 3, 2015, 10:21 pm

      No responsible gun owner wants to sell a weapon to a felon in disguise. The “idea” of background checks for private sales is a comforting placebo. The people pushing for these checks are not being honest with us (even though they say they want an open dialogue). They will never be satisfied with background checks on the honor system. They know very well that there has to be some “enforcement” mechanism. They will need to know what guns you now have in your possession to be sure you don’t transfer any illegally in the future. They have to get around to forcing you to register your guns to make this work. Background checks for private transfers = gun registration. Gun registration = the end of the Second Amendment as we now know it. Don’t believe anything else anyone tells you.

    • Mike February 4, 2015, 3:11 am

      You do realize that the Virgina Tech, Tucson, Aurora, and Isla Vista shooters all passed background checks to get their guns, right? And that Adam Lanza just stole his. Background checks are worthless yet absolutely infringe the right to keep and bear arms.

    • Dale February 5, 2015, 4:11 am

      OK – what about those states where citizens are treated as adults? I am referring to states such as Vermont and Arizona that have CONSTITUTIONAL carry. Those people don’t have “permits”, there permit to carry IS the constitution and they are able to carry concealed without BIG BROTHER having to issue a piece of plastic. If you lived in one of those states, I guess you wouldn’t sell to a law abiding constitutional carrying man or woman.

  • Charles February 3, 2015, 6:25 am

    I don’t mind – too much – a background check for the individual. Especially if a current carry permit can be used instead of an immediate check. For those without a carry permit, a multi-year purchase permit should be offered.

    I don’t mind – too much – a records check to see if the gun(s) to be transferred are currently listed as stolen. The report should be addressed “To Whom It May Concern” and be available anonymously over the Internet.

    I do mind any form – including 4473 – which attempts to relate the human to the gun.

    • Mike February 4, 2015, 3:09 am

      Would you mind a background check to exercise any other fundamental right? Perhaps we need to do background checks before someone is allowed to exercise their freedom of speech. I mean, after all, they might use their words to incite violence against someone else. How about a background check before being allowed to freely exercise your religion? Some religions advocate violence, you know.

      • Damon February 5, 2015, 3:22 pm

        Mike, that is the perfect logical argument. There is no rebuttal.

  • Antonio Contreras (aka elnonio) February 3, 2015, 6:14 am

    I agree. In fact, I have been saying as much for years, and this prompted me to dig through some posts at truthaboutguns. is the main one.

    Anyway, the point is, we only have background checks when interstate sales occur, or intrastate dealer sales. Why make it easy on criminals, or purveyors of guns for criminals, by foregoing all other types of sales?

    When the ATF opened up a proposed regulation for comments, I also agreed that we could have a background check system that does NOT involve dealers. Any seller should be able to access NICS online just as a dealer does, and the fed gov’t should be made to eat the cost.

    • KH February 3, 2015, 8:43 am

      The only people that will “eat the cost” is taxpayers.

      • Henry February 3, 2015, 2:44 pm

        And rightly so. This isn’t a “service” that benefits the seller, some value-added thing that he would have been willing to buy, it’s a requirement that the government is imposing under penalty of law. So the taxpayer damn well ought to pay for it.

  • squidload February 3, 2015, 5:19 am

    In the military they teach you that being compromised is the same as being broke (defeated). This guy Alan Gottlieb also pushed for ‘safe storage’ laws. He is a part of the problem and wants those who believe in the 2nd amendment to compromise with “shall not be infringed”. If a law says you must compromise in order to remain ‘legal’ then the only reasonable answer is to not comply.

    • DaveGinOly February 3, 2015, 3:16 pm

      Agreed. Massive non-compliance is one solution (as in Connecticut and as is apparently happening in NY State too).
      I urge everyone to educate themselves, and then their families and friends, about jury nullification. Jury nullification is the “hard place” to the “rock” of non-compliance. The two work together against all unjust laws.

  • David February 3, 2015, 4:43 am

    Unfortunately, Alan took the lead in defeating I-594 and blew it. He and his crew tried to scare the public by publishing erroneous information about I-594, trying to pass the info off as facts. There was no dialogue with the public who did not support I-594. This was a marketing assignment. Instead, Alan et al came up with a bad marketing strategy, a lot of bad tactics, and lots of chicken-little behavior, ranting at “billionaires trying to take our guns.” Sadly, it’s this kind of behavior that will continue to doom gun ownership.

    • DaveGinOly February 3, 2015, 3:13 pm

      I’d like to see some examples of what you consider “erroneous information.” I’m a WA state resident, and I am unaware that any such information was disseminated during the effort against 594.

    • Damon February 5, 2015, 3:20 pm

      I was also not exposed to the type of marketing to which you refer. I’m a resident of SeaTac, WA, and voted against both I-594 and I-591 on the grounds that adding more layers of legislation to an issue that “shall not be infringed” is just old-fashioned un-American.

  • Gary McDonald February 3, 2015, 4:39 am

    Using the phrase “background check” when you mean “outlawing private sales” is not far from lying. Always call it outlawing private sales. If you’re talking about an 800 number a private seller can use to do a background check for free, that’s universal background checks.

    • william quirk February 3, 2015, 12:27 pm

      We don’t need anymore gun laws period ! As gun owners we need to use common sense, when selling our firearms.
      When sell mine to somebody I don’t know ,I do it at a gun shop (because I don’t have the ability to call an 800 # to check on the buyer ) I pay the ( rather charge the buyer the transfer fee ) dealer to do the back ground check.
      If give a firearm to a son ,grandchild or a friend , the government can kiss my butt ,cause that’s where I draw the line ..a friend will sign a receipt ( which I will keep ) my kids will not..
      There should be these kind of exceptions ,especially when I have passed all the background checks to get the firearms in the first place !
      No More regulations Just more common sense ! Don’t elect any more Libtards, and the Sheeple will fall in line !!!!

      • exordtech February 3, 2015, 8:08 pm

        While you may be 100% committed to never transferring a gun to someone unworthy (background check for strangers, judgement call on family members), there are many who are not. Financial situations, drug and alcohol issues, mental disability, personal bias, greed and G knows what else can motivate many a bad judgement. When it comes to family you might make the right call but do you trust everyone else? It’s easy to want to project your personal approach to “common sense” onto others, but sadly it just doesn’t always work. Do you lock your car and house doors? Leave your wallet on the bar while you go to the bathroom? You would never break into a car or house or grab someones wallet, but obviously you don’t trust everybody else not to. Practically every law we have exists because of the irresponsible unworthy people who DON’T follow common sense or lack the moral character to do the right thing for its own sake. It’s the reason your favorite four wheeling spot now has a gate … because some d*bag didn’t want to pay 15 bucks to dump his trash at the landfill. Many gun accident and thefts occur because we gun owners need to improve our accountability and responsibility regarding control of our weapons. Unfortunately, I think the same might be said for the way many transfers occur.When we don’t police ourselves, the state is always ready to do it for us. I’d like to see some statistics, as long as they’re not supplied by Bloomberg.

    • william quirk February 4, 2015, 2:13 pm

      Well good to see people are reading my comments. To Gary McDonald I say how do you suggest we sell a firearm to someone we don’t know . You are against background checks ,I am interested as to how you would do it !

      • MarkPA February 5, 2015, 6:16 am

        UBCs are entirely a political issue which is ours (PotG) to lose (if we don’t play the political game smart). (We are not playing smart.) UBCs have no efficacy; it’s a waste of time talking about how they won’t work. We know they won’t work; and so does the typical voter. We either do something to appease the public appetite for BCs or we meet the public at the barricades.
        How would I do it? Cleverly. First, no-harm, no foul. It must be lawful to transfer a gun to a qualified (i.e., not prohibited) person without a BC. Second, no penalty for UN-knowingly loaning a gun to a prohibited person. If it’s a loan then it is reasonable to presume you know the borrower well-enough to expect to get your property back and know where to find the borrower. Most of the jeopardy, cost and inconvenience of “UBCs” involve loans, not sales. For sales, it should remain a felony if you knew (or had reason to believe) the buyer was a felon. If you had NO reason to believe, merely a misdemeanor. Finally, provide a “safe-harbor” when you do a BC on a buyer. A CCW should qualify as a BC. Make NICS available to gun-show operators, gun-broker web sites, sporting goods stores, ranges, gun-clubs, VFWs, notaries-public, etc. No 5573 form outside FFL BCs. (Negotiate for some give-backs, such as the 20 year 4473 retention period back to 10 years and private custodians for FFLs that go out-of-businessess.)
        My expectation is that the public will settle for this; what I’ll call an “Un-BC”. Our objective should be to satisfy the public, NOT to satisfy Bloomberg. We shouldn’t be trying to agree with Bloomberg that the ONLY kind of private-party BC is one with a 4473 form; and, then, trying to talk the public out-of Bloomberg’s UBC. We should, instead, devise our own proposal and sell it to the public in lieu of Bloomberg’s UBC. Are we PotG clever enough to play the political game? Or, will we be played by the Antis?

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