Debunking gun control – universal background checks / “gun show loophole”

First, read this.

Now, here’s another socialist gun control argument that you’ve probably heard:

  • (Extremist American) “My right to own and buy guns shall not be infringed!!”
  • (Anti-American Socialist) “No one is talking about taking YOUR guns away.  But since we all agree that criminals shouldn’t have guns, let’s close the ‘gun show loophole.’  No one should be able to buy a gun without a background check.”

We hear the argument about gun shows a lot these days.  I’ve even heard the nonsense that 40% of all gun sales that happen at gun shows are private sales and none of them need background checks.  Wrong.

Here’s the truth:

  • Just like every other event you’ve ever been to at your local community center or public auditorium, people who either have something to sell or want to persuade you of something get a booth.
  • In theory, anyone there can get a booth.  However, in this case, unless you’re a private citizen with TONS of guns to sell (which I’ve never seen), the booths are purchased by local gun stores.
  • So walking into a large gun show is nearly exactly the same as visiting miniature versions of hundreds of actual gun stores.  So if you have Jeff’s Awesome Gun Store (who wouldn’t shop there??), you can get some good exposure by purchasing a booth at your local gun show.
  • So in you go, into a feeding frenzy of reloaded ammo, Hoppes #9, and that strangely addictive new-Beretta smell.  (And yes, we know a guy who is actually addicted to the smell of new Berettas.  And no, I didn’t ask, I just backed away slowly.)
  • Assuming that the gun stores actually have guns in stock these days, which maybe is a reach, you’ll be able to shop around, hold many different kinds, and finally pick out the one calling your name from the booth run by Jeff’s Awesome Gun Store.
  • BUT, when you do, the process is exactly the same as it would be if you had parked the parking lot at Jeff’s Awesome Gun Store, found the exact same gun, and decided to purchase it from my actual store.  I’d need to verify your identity, you’d submit to a background check, and assuming the government approved your application, you would then pay for the gun and then walk out as happy as can be.
  • Did you catch that?  Nothing changed!!

Ok, ok, but what about all those private sales that happen at gun shows?

There is no scientific data supporting or rejecting the claims about the number of private sales that happen at events like this (or anywhere, for that matter), because, well, they’re frikkin’ private.  Private, as in, no one else should know about it.

But I will detail some of my personal experiences.  I’ve been to many gun shows.  My Dad bought me my first shotgun at a gun show in Austin, Texas at the Austin City Auditorium (is that place even still there?) back in the 80s (a beautiful Remington 1100 28-gauge which he’s holding on to for “safe keeping”).  I’ve been to dozens (or more) since.  I’ve dragged my wife to more than a few.  My son, who is 5, has been to at least 2 or 3.

Have I seen private sales take place at gun shows?  Yes.  In total, probably 4 or 5.  Total.  And I’ve been going to these things since I was a kid.  So saying that private sales are the majority of the gun sales at gun shows is just plain ridiculous.  In fact, it’s probably not even statistically measurable.  But let’s just assume for a second that private gun sales account for 10% of all sales at gun shows.

But now we agree that for the 90% of gun sales that happen through a normal FFL dealer (your normal gun store), everything is fine the way it is, right?  Ok, then, let’s worry about the last 10%… which is a bizarre concept even on the surface, but work with me.

So the socialists now want to insert themselves into all private sales of guns, which is a minuscule percentage even by the most incredulous standards.  Let’s focus on that.

  1. Since private sale are, well, private, there’s no way to know that Steve sold a gun to Bob today.  Steve and Bob’s business isn’t anyone else’s business.  (quick aside: if we called a private gun sale a civil union, would the government still care what I did in my private time, from the privacy of my own house??)
  2. So this idea of forcing background checks on private sales is completely unenforcable.  Unless…
  3. We either need to incentivize people to follow the law, or we make the penalty extremely harsh (thereby getting the power at the point of a gun)

If you sell a gun privately today, or you inherit a gun, or if you’re given a gun as a gift, how will you prove it?  Heck, what if you buy a gun legally through a FFL dealer?  Could you prove it then?  What if you have no proof of a background check?  Do any of you have ANY proof of ownership today?  Really?  Do you still have the receipt from when you bought the gun, and if you do, does it have the gun’s serial number along with your full name and the date of purchase?  No?  Huh.  Interesting.

So fast-forward a few months or years.  Something happens, someone in law enforcement comes across one of your guns, then they ask the logical first question: “can you prove that you purchased this gun in accordance with the legal requirement to have a background check?”  When you can’t prove that, then what?  Is the officer now supposed to just take your word that you’re a good guy and that you always follow the law?  (and if that were the case, why would we need the police at all??)

Here’s the point: universal background checks are completely and totally unenforceable… until they decide to enforce it.  

(I’ll let that sink in for a second)

The only way that requirement becomes enforceable is when they come out and say “Because of some legal ambiguity, we’ve clarified the law in regards to universal background checks.  For your safety, and so you can prove that you’re a law-abiding citizen, everyone must now register every gun they own, regardless of how the gun was obtained.  Don’t worry, we’ll never confiscate them, this is just to help law enforcement keep track of who the good guys are.  [and then in very small print] Failure to comply with this ‘clarification’ [it won’t be a new law] will be dealt with severely, to include forfeiture of your right to own any guns at all.”

Then without passing anything new, we’ve made it to 100% gun registration when you were asleep – and all in the name of public safety and clarifying the law.  Then from there, anything is possible.

Go ahead, call me a crazy conspiracy theorist.  But then tell me this: what good is being done with this law?  What’s the point?  Why does the government care so much?  If it’s about saving our children, then why not start by banning swimming pools or all cars?  Then when you’re on your way to your police station to register your guns, you’ll think “damn, maybe that crazy Jeff guy was right.  Oh well, I’m sure this will keep my kids safe.”

Have you heard of the Normalcy Bias?


5 comments on “Debunking gun control – universal background checks / “gun show loophole”

  1. Your points are well taken. If we look into the future and figure this situation persists, is there something we might do today to help in the future? If I should decided to sell all my guns and ammo today, should I get a reciept notorized down at my bank?

  2. Well, actually, that’s a very simple question (and a great one) without any good answers. Ideally, yes – if you have signed receipts (signed by both the buyer and seller) for any transactions you’ve been involved with that include firearms, you should be better off than the rest of us. But you see the problem here – 99.9999% of us *won’t* have that stuff, and even if we did, we may still have to prove that background checks were performed in accordance with the law, which we probably still won’t have even if you have your bank notarize the sale receipt.

    So really, there aren’t many good answers for any of this stuff. Unfortunately, once you start down the path toward registration, it’s nearly impossible to reverse course.

    But maybe the bigger question here would be “why on earth would you want to sell guns or ammo now?” 🙂

  3. lwk2431 says:

    There is a Supreme Court case which basically says that you can’t prosecute a criminal for failing to register a firearm (where perhaps state law requires that). The defense is that it would violate their right against self incrimination. Therefore if you have a law that requires gun registration you can only punish a non-criminal for violating it.

    So now with these background checks, if a criminal attempts to sell or buy a gun from another person without a background check – in violation of the law if enacted – then you probably couldn’t convict him either. Calling in a background check on a criminal, i.e., a convicted felon, would be a violation of their right to not incriminate themself?


  4. Excellent point and that adds a wrinkle to this whole thing. Do you know which court case that was? I’ll take that info and get with my attorney and dig through it. Thanks!

  5. […] save your life, how background checks won’t work, how there’s no such thing as a “gun show loophole,” yada yada yada… but they’ll come back with “you’re a dangerous […]

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