Friday, April 12, 2013

Universal Background Check Legislation... a bad omen

From the mailbag...

----- Original Message -----
From: Politics Alabama
To: link removed
Sent: Friday, April 12, 2013 1:15 AM
Subject: Politics Alabama - Problems With "Universal Background Check" Bill

"This provision is far too draconian and punitive, and will criminalize innocent people. Needlessly!"
by Politics Alabama

So the "Universal Background Check" bill is scheduled for a vote this morning, and we are being bombarded with poll results showing "overwhelming support" for universal background checks. Okay, supporters of the bill say, since a majority of voters back the concept, it's obvious the bill should pass. If that's the only criteria, then ObamaCare should never have been passed... after all, it has been opposed by a majority of voters since before it was passed. But that's another topic.

The problem with the argument, however, is that the bill does more than it's supporters admit. First, it makes felons out of homeowners who lose a gun and don't report it within 24-hours. Second, it doesn't only require background checks for sales, but for any "transfer" of a weapon.... including lending a gun to a friend. Let's look at these.

The bill includes a provision that says if a gun-owner loses a gun or has one stolen and doesn't report it within 24-hours, then the gun-owner is guilty of a FELONY crime worthy of five years in prison. Some might think this reasonable, but consider this: the bill requires more than just contacting the local sheriff and telling them about the loss, the gun-owner must also notify the United States Attorney General! Now I ask you, what reasonable person would realize this is a requirement? And knowledge that the act of not-reporting is a crime is NOT required in the bill... intent isn't needed. So if a person, in all ignorance, fails to notify the police AND the USAG of a loss within 24-hours, no matter the reason, he is guilty of a felony. What about somebody on a hunting trip way up in Alaska? No cell phones, days away from the nearest phone... if a gun tumbles down a cliff or sinks into a lake, that hunter is almost automatically a felon. I mean, he has no chance NOT to be... but the law wouldn't care.

This provision is far too draconian and punitive, and will criminalize innocent people. Needlessly!

On to the next topic. The bill doesn't simply require a background check for all sales, even private sales, but also for each "transfer" of a gun. That means just what it sounds like. Say I have a friend who is thinking of buying a gun and wants to borrow mine to try it out and see how she likes it... things like this happen all the time. Once she takes that firearm and leaves my house/presence, a transfer has occurred. And if I didn't go to a licensed firearms dealer to run an NICS background check, then I am guilty of a felony.

At firearms safety classes, the person running the class often brings several guns for students to use if they don't bring their own. That action, if not preceded by an NICS background check performed for each student by a licensed gun dealer, would also be a felony.

Or what about lending a rifle to a friend who wants to hunt and doesn't own his own rifle? Each with his own rifle, the individuals head to separate hunting blinds... and that transfer of a firearm makes both of them felons.

Some "transfers" within a family are okay without an NICS background check, but others would require one to avoid suddenly acquiring felony status.

As you can see, this bill goes FAR beyond what most people think of when they hear the term "universal background checks", and these details were not provided to poll respondents before asking them if they support the bill. I think support would be vastly reduced if such details were known.

This bill is NOT a good one, and would result in many innocent people going to jail. No matter what people think about the general idea, this particular bill is badly written and would have unfortunate consequences.

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