Most Gun Owners Say the NRA Is Off Target | Mother Jones:
A new survey of gun owners finds widespread support for universal background checks and provides new details on who does and doesn't support the National Rifle Association.But I do support the NRA, and I consider Mother Jones is anathema. (THOSE people have their collective heads firmly entrenched in their personal nether regions.)
It's all about definitions.I like background checks, but it has to be under MY terms, not Mother Jones'! (What a horrible website name! I gave up mothering when I learned to drink from a bottle! Preferably, a smooth Rye Whiskey.)
Here are my terms for a reasonable definition of "Universal Background Checks":
(1) The Federal Government is NOT a part of it!Oh, sure, they should be a resource of information ... for my convenience, as an taxpayer. But they should not be interfering in any lawful commercial exchange between two CITIZENS! I don't want the Feds to be using any of their 'arbitrary rules-of-the-day' to decide whether or not I should be selling my guns. I don't care how they view the person I'm dealing with. I'm not a Licensed Dealer, and all of my private transactions are PRIVATE!
You may say that this would result in a lack of control over firearms.
That's what I'm talking about. It's part of that whole "Shall Not Be Infringed" thingie. I'm not selling firearms for personal gain. I determine from time to time that I own guns which are no longer important to me, and I just want to find them a good home.
(Bear that in mind; exceptions follow!)
(2) All transactions should be processed through the NICS database.Notice what I did there? The word "SHOULD" is a lot better than "MUST". It's not what Uncle Sam's Idiot Minions require; it's what *_I_* require! (Exceptions noted below.)
I want to know that the person who intends to buy my "cast-off" guns is not a crook, a felon, a terrorist or a Really Bad Guy! If the potential buyer doesn't meet MY personal perquisites, then I'm not going to sell him the gun.
That's MY decision .. it's my gun.
So the Feds have set up this really convenient NICS (National Instant Check System) database where anyone can go to it with the name and address and SSN and stuff, and find out if that potential buyer is legally entitled to own a firearm.
The exceptions are conviction of a felony, and .. uh .. who knows what else.
But the problems are two-fold:
(A) it costs money to do the NICS check, and I'm living on Social Security so I can't afford to pay the fees (no, I don't know if there is a fee attached; I just wanted to get that disclaimer in before some crank accuses me of being cheap. Which I am, but that's a matter of circumstances, not a character flaw.) And why should the Buyer expect to pay another $x for a background check? That's your problem, not ours.
If he (the buyer) has a choice of buying a gun from someone who requires a background check, and someone who does not ... if the background check costs him money, he'll go for the irresponsible gun owner every time.
(B) the NICS check is not currently available to Private Citizens!Why Not? If we private citizens are required to vet purchasers of our guns, they why should we be required to depend on someone else to do that for us? They may lie to us, and then we (private sellers) are responsible for the consequences!
No, if the Feds want firearms transfers to be based on their records (which they do) and they want to hold sellers responsible (which they do) then they need to give us the ability to vet our buyers.
Note the word 'give' in the preceding sentence. That's right; don't charge us for this, fellas, 'cause it's your idea. Not mine.
(If you can't afford to staff your call center, then cut the pay of Congress-critters by 10% and cut the budget for their staff by 70%. Those folks are only sucking on the federal tit anyway, and 90% of the laws they pass are not necessary. They're the ones who are proposing laws to infringe on our constitutional rights, anyway. Maybe if they don't get paid so much or staffed so deeply, they'll be less inclined to make new laws to mess up their constituents. It's a Win/Win deal!)
(3) The Government Should Not Be Involved ...
... other than their duty to respond promptly to requests for verification (via NICS) that a prospective buyer is not a felon or otherwise ineligible to purchase a firearm.
They should just give the information, and whatever warnings which may seem appropriate.
This seems ... odd to you?
Keep in mind that only law-abiding citizens are going to use this facility. Folks who don't care if they're selling guns to a felon are not going to bother accessing the legal check system.
Folks who DO use the system, need the information to guide them in their determination to only sell to people who are legal firearms owners. (Even if they don't have a firearm the, they are legal firearms owners if they are not mentally ill or a felon. Or perhaps if they're on the "Terrorist Watch List", or whatever other mode de jure the Feds are using to to identify 'bad guys without guns'.)
(4) The Firearm Will Not Be Identified ...
... because when that occurs it constitutes REGISTRATION of firearms, which is NOT constitutionally acceptable because "abridged". See Rule Two.
When a firearms transaction is contemplated, the only criteria is whether the receiver is legally 'permitted' by law to purchase a gun. It doesn't matter what gun, it only matters what person. I don't want Washington to know what guns I own, because Federal Oversight is just another term for 'infringement' of my rights. I have a right to own the gun, and as personal private property I have a right to sell it. Just like a car .. except that a car must be licensed because its ownership is not Constitutionally protected.
If the feds have information about the FIREARM, they will record and track that. NOT the purpose of the process. The NICS was not (theoretically) established to track firearms transfers; it was established to keep the firearms out of the hands of felons.
Nobody who goes to the effort of checking with NICS is trying to sell 'crime guns'. (Yes, I might be willing to discuss a 'different' set of rules for Firearms Dealers; we already know they're regulated to death, but they're in the business and have already accepted the regulations. If they want to set up their own set of rules, fine; these are MY rules for PRIVATE transactions of PERSONAL property. They and The Feds can hash it out between them. Just don't step on my rights as a private citizen, okay?)
(5) THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT MUST IMMEDIATELY FOLLOW UP ..
on any proposed transaction which fails to certify the prospective purchaser from buying a firearms.
They must do that in person, by sending a law-enforcement officer to the residence and/or place of business of the rejected purchaser.
(As the seller, it's not my job to enforce the law; I need only tell the purchaser that his application to purchase a firearm has been denied, and I'm out of it. I don't know why 'denied', nor do I care. The only issue is if the purchaser decides to take it out on me because I won't complete the sale. Let The Seller Beware!)
The Federal Government has the following obligations:
The (rejected) purchaser, having already provided proof of identity to the seller, should be advised of his/her rights, and a thorough review of the reasons WHY the purchase was denied must be reviewed. The purchaser will be advised of his/her rights and provided the opportunity to contest the denial, in a court of law. If necessary, if the purchaser cannot afford an attorney, one shall be provided.
This whole business of arbitrary alienation and abridgement of Constitutional Rights stops right there.
If the investigation disproves of the reasons why the purchase is contravened, then any records which indicate that future purchases will be denied will be expunged.
No, I don't care if the Feds have been 'watching' him/her for months. If the government makes an accusation, it must show just cause .. if necessary, in a court of law.
No, I don't care if he/she is a 'suspected terrorist'. Unless and until the matter has been adjudicated, the constitutional rights of the individual apply until they have been formally rescinded and the purchaser has been duly informed.
If the federal government cannot allow the transaction to go through, then the purchaser should be arrested and charged with a crime.
If the abridgement is contested by the purchaser, he/she has the right to a speedy hearing and either arrested, or the transaction allowed to go through.
If a trial before a magistrate must be effected to determine the status of the purchaser, then it should be 'speedy' as the Constitution requires. The trial/hearing should take priority over any other cases before the local court, except for any cases which involve Constitutional Rights, or may result in the prosecution and arrest of the other cases before that court. (If another court can be assigned the case, then that is an acceptable alternative compared to denying a citizen of his rights; non-citizens may not be afforded the same protections.)