December 2019

Thanks, But No Thanks

Folks who live outside Texas often think that my home state is so pro-gun that nothing resembling gun-control legislation has a chance of passing. I wish that were true. In Houston, where the Gun Tests editorial offices are located, Precinct Two Commissioner Adrian Garcia has requested that the Harris County Commission discuss and consider a resolution supporting so-called “universal background checks” (UBCs) on all firearm sales.

This hits pretty close to home, and I’ve even had some Gun Tests readers in gun-restrictive states asking why I oppose “universal background checks” because it sounds so “reasonable.”

Todd Woodard

It is not reasonable, in my view, to be forced to pay fees as high as $50 to $100 per transaction, complete extensive federal paperwork, and obtain government approval before selling or loaning my personally-owned firearms to immediate or extended family members, longtime friends, neighbors and co-workers, or fellow hunters, competitive shooters, and gun club members. 

In their worst form, these laws mandate background checks on every transfer, sale, purchase, trade, gift, rental, and loan of a firearm between any and all individuals. All such transactions would need to be conducted through a federally licensed firearms dealer (FFL) because private individuals cannot access the national instant criminal background check system (NICS). All of our Gun Tests firearms come into our various lead testers’ hands with proper paperwork, but if “universal background checks” were instituted, we couldn’t transfer firearms between testers or writers and photographers without FFL intervention for every transfer.

That’s egregious enough, but the double standard of charging law-abiding people for the privilege of sharing guns between friends and relatives and not enforcing existing laws regarding transfers is particularly galling. According to a September 2018 report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, 112,090 people were turned down for a gun purchase in FY 2017, and there were only 12 prosecutions by U.S. Attorneys Offices as of June 2018. When existing background check laws are not being enforced, why are there calls for expanding those laws to cover private firearms transactions?

This local effort to install UBCs would put the most populous county in Texas on record as supporting a California-style ban on all private firearm sales, so I will vigorously oppose it. This type of law unduly burdens law-abiding citizens and would be ignored by criminals, so, thanks, but no thanks.

Comments (11)

Not sure why but everyone who gives out the facts about the "Universal Background Check" law leaves out the gun registration part that this law requires Once UBC's become federal law and it's headed that way a central data base will have to be set as it is the only way UBC's can be enforced.
The 2nd Amendment can not coexist with Gun registration.
I live in a state (Washington) that has both UBC's (Registration) and the Red Flag Law so the government here already knows what guns to confiscate when as they become unlawful here.

Posted by: 2FINN | December 5, 2019 1:37 AM    Report this comment

Todd,

Who edits your editorials? Check out your byline - Tood Woodard. Doh! Don't worry, it happens.

We all know UBC is just one more brick on the road paved with good intentions. We also know where that road goes. I will save you a spot here in Arizona where they don't charge (yet) to exercise a basic freedom enumerated in the Bill of Rights.

Posted by: Wulfenite | December 4, 2019 8:29 PM    Report this comment

Treat it just like selling your car or truck. I dont have a problem knowing my properly bought firearm is not going to the wrong person. If you loan it to the wrong person and that person does something wrong with it you might be in real trouble. That person might be a relative or very close friend never know now days.

Posted by: class 3 4-all | December 4, 2019 1:43 AM    Report this comment

You missed the point about universal background checks, some commenters have mentioned it in a very round about way.
For UBC to work, every gun and every gun owner must be in a government database which would be the toll for confiscation just as it was in Hitler's Germany.

Posted by: KLGalloway | December 3, 2019 2:19 PM    Report this comment

The purpose of UBC laws are to deter or make it increasingly difficult for honest citizens to acquire and posses firearms, participate in shooting sports, and defend themselves. Those who promote these laws know they will not prevent crimes committed with firearms. They know that if criminals obeyed the law, they wouldn't be criminals. They know that a person bent on committing mass murder is not deterred by the fact that he didn't acquire or does not possess his weapon legally.

UBC promoters also know that those who support these proposed laws aren't critical thinkers. That's why we have restrictive gun laws. They are justified by emotion, not logic.

Emotional voters can be led to believe that restrictive gun laws will deter felonies. Logical voters know better. UBC promoters rely on the emotional votes. They don't want folks realizing that some people already own firearms, first time murderers might pass background checks, and others can easily get their weapons by other than legal means.

The reason we prosecute felons in possession of firearms is because they are in possession of firearms illegally. Logical folks realize the law didn't prevent them from carrying firearms, it only prevented them from carrying them legally. Illegal firearms are just as effective as legal firearms. Whether or not a shooter can pass a background check isn't relevant to the guy he is shooting.

Respectfully,

Jack

Richardson, Texas

Posted by: Jack Moisuk | December 3, 2019 12:46 PM    Report this comment

For the record, when CA passed their last bunch of anti-gun statutes, the law said HHS people would run the background check. But no one had told HHS and they refused to do the checks. The law had to be redone the following year (with egg on their faces). CA was then forced to set up their own background checks staff. Must have been pretty expensive, but then again, CA has lots of surplus cash. By the way, when the Democrat Govenor finally signed the corrected bill, there was no mention about their ineptitude.

Posted by: SkiTahoe99 | December 3, 2019 12:24 PM    Report this comment

How would the folks who want "universal background checks" like the same thing for cars? More people are killed in car wrecks every year in the U.S. than in all gun-related homicides (including suicides, "righteous" killings by law enforcement officers," and justifiable defense shootings by civilians). Would these people like to have to complete mountains of paperwork every time they let one of their kids drive the family car? I don't they would stand for that--and we shouldn't stand for universal background checks for firearms, either.

Crash

Posted by: Crash | December 3, 2019 11:46 AM    Report this comment

UBC is just a toe in the door, to registration of all for law abiding gun owners. Legal (BC or Not) transfers rarely lead to crime. The vast majority of crime associated guns are stolen. I suggest there is a increasing burden on gun owners to ensure their legally owned guns are secured. But that's a different issue.

Posted by: thomas.e.clark | December 3, 2019 11:06 AM    Report this comment

Registration is ALWAYS followed by confiscation, 100% of the time. UBC's = registration. QED. Better is to insist and require that current UBC databases be kept up to date by ALL states. Some states grudgingly participate, with lack of funding a reason often mentioned.

Posted by: Podkayne | December 3, 2019 10:52 AM    Report this comment

The passage of any local "universal background check" ordinance is abusive and unnecessary. We already have sufficient laws (both State & Federal) that deal with background checks. In addition, criminals will not abide with any gun restriction law and therefore, such laws significantly take away gun ownership rights from law-abiding citizens.
Gerry

Posted by: Jayalan12 | December 3, 2019 9:49 AM    Report this comment

The only way "universal background checks" can be enforced is if all firearms are registered. That alone is reason enough to oppose it.

Posted by: JamTins | December 3, 2019 9:17 AM    Report this comment

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