By Sam Hoober, Alien Gear Holsters
The House of Representatives recently passed HR 8, a gun control bill titled the “Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019.” The title is a gross exaggeration; according to NPR, only 8 Republican members of the house voted for it.
It’s sort of like how people think of a Toyota as being a “Japanese” brand, when Toyota – in point of fact – makes build more pickup trucks here than Dodge does. They make more cars in America than Buick and Chrysler.
Similarly, the bill is kind of bipartisan but when you measure it – it isn’t really, is it? But one digresses.
The newly-elected Democrat majority could have affected a more meaningful reform of our background check system (such as strengthening mandatory reporting requirements, data sharing between federal and state agencies, etc.) that would actually make a difference. If there is an aspect of our gun laws that could actually have a positive impact in terms of gun crime, the background check system is it.
Instead, they took the gun they so desperately want to ban and shot themselves in the foot with it.
HR 8 is a limp-wristed bill that A) probably won’t pass the Senate, B) faces a purported veto from the president if so and C) won’t do a darn thing even if it makes it into law.
What does this bill propose to do?
It would enact universal background checks at the federal level. All sales of a gun, anywhere in the US, would require a background check. This would close the “gun show loophole.” However, there are exceptions for transfers between close relatives and certain temporary transfers such as lending a friend a gun for hunting, letting them try yours at the range, etc.
It also does away with the three-day loophole, so any background check not completed within 72 hours does not release the gun to the transferee. Currently, if you fill out a 4473, your information is sent to one of a number of databases (mostly the federal NICS, but some states have their own system) for a background check. Most of the time, the check takes a few minutes, but sometimes there are delays. The transfer can be delayed up to 72 hours at present; unless the check comes back saying approved or denied in that time, you take the gun home anyway.
Universal background checks, on paper, seem like a good idea. A person wants to buy a gun, check to see if they’re a violent criminal or crazy person because some people just shouldn’t have guns. Makes a certain amount of sense, doesn’t it?
The problem of course is criminals don’t follow the law. Career criminals also don’t get guns from gun stores and they don’t get them from gun shows. Instead, what’s most common is they get them from a relative or friend or through the black market.
It’s undeniable that the background check system needs reform. People that shouldn’t have passed a background check have been getting guns and using them for evil ends, such as the Aurora, IL., shooter several weeks ago and the Nov. 17 Sunderland Springs shooting in Texas. Neither of the shooters should have passed a background check; had the shooter’s information been shared between federal and state agencies, neither would have been sold a firearm.
Had the state of Virginia reported Seung Hui-Cho’s court-ordered psychiatric assessment and care, he probably wouldn’t have been able to buy the guns he carried out the VA Tech massacre with.
So, we have a gun control bill that won’t actually do anything about gun crime, but will make buying and selling guns for the private citizen (in other words, the people that actually follow the law) more inconvenient.
Few, very few, proposed gun control laws have anything to do with gun crime. Most of them have to do with taking guns away from law-abiding citizens or making it harder for the law-abiding citizen to buy. At a certain point, one begins to suspect that may not be an accident.
Sam Hoober is Contributing Editor for AlienGearHolsters.com, a subsidiary of Hayden, ID, based Tedder Industries, where he writes about gun accessories, gun safety, open and concealed carry tips. Click here to visit aliengearholsters.com.