We Need to Check Background Checks



[Ed: Today we are happy to welcome new contributor Christopher Eckert.]

Legal gun owners do not want people who should not have a gun to get one.

Unfortunately, if one is opposed to liberal “common sense” gun control, you are painted as a gun nut who wants anyone to be able to get a gun so that children will die.

There is a place for background checks.  However, I do have a problem with politicians and people saying their so-called “common sense” gun control such as universal background checks will make a difference. They won’t do anything to curtail gun violence nor will they keep guns out of hands that should not have them.

Here’s why: Background checks on private gun sales put the sellers and the buyers on an “honor system” to do the background check.  Federally licensed gun dealers must account for every gun that passes through their stores, and these are audited by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).  

No similar obligation can be forced on private parties, because the ATF can’t audit everyone. So If buyer and seller don’t feel like doing the background check and paying a transfer fee, they simply don’t and no one is the wiser. With private sales, the only time law enforcement is able to determine if a gun was legally purchased is after a crime has been committed.  That’s like closing the proverbial barn door after the horse is out.

Liberal lawmakers know this. When their universal background checks fail to curtail gun violence, they fight to make laws even more restrictive.  They know that gun laws have to be put in place incrementally so as not to draw too much attention. This way they can gradually approach their goal of banning firearms unless we oppose every step.

It is clear that this is their intent as we have seen after the Las Vegas massacre.  A person who purchased firearms legally after passing numerous background checks went on a killing spree.  Liberals were unable to make a case for additional background checks because all background checks were passed and did nothing to stop the killer.

The gun-banners’ solution?  Banning bump stocks, limiting magazine capacity and a host of other ineffective measures that wouldn’t have done a thing to stop a Vegas style attack s.  But stopping attacks like this really isn’t the goal.  Nancy Pelosi, after being asked if banning bump stocks would lead to a “slippery slope” of gun restrictions unapologetically stated “I certainly hope so.”

A very telling and chilling comment from the early years of the gun control movement that appeared in the article “A Reporter at Large: Handguns” in the New Yorker, July 26, 1976, put this methodology in perspective:

Nelson T. “Pete” Shields, chairman emeritus of Handgun Control, Inc. (now the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence) was quoted in the New Yorker article as saying:

“The final problem is to make the possession of all handguns and all handgun ammunition except for the military, policemen, licensed security guards, licensed sporting clubs, and licensed gun collectors—totally illegal. Yes, I’m for an outright ban on handguns. We’ll take one step at a time, and the first is necessarily—given the political realities—very modest. We’ll have to start working again to strengthen the law, and then again to strengthen the next law, and again and again. Our ultimate goal, total control of handguns, is going to take time. The first problem is to slow down production and sales. Next is to get registration. The final problem is to make possession of all handguns and ammunition with a few exceptions totally illegal.”

The anti-gun crowd has explicitly told us their plan of action.  Then they tell us that we are paranoid.  That’s like accusing someone of not yet stopping beating his wife.

I generally take people at their word.  If we don’t, it will be too late.


—Christopher Eckert is from NE Pennsylvania, retired from law enforcement and a certified firearms instructor. All his docs are gun owners and they spend more time comparing what they own than treating him.