Background Checks

Nearly every article one finds on the Internet is about the debate over requiring gun buyers to have a background check done before the purchase of a weapon can be made.  While the idea is good and may prevent a handful of criminals from getting their hands on weapons, it won’t solve the problem of gun violence in any major way.

Why not?  There are several reasons.  First, and most significantly, it is estimated there are already anywhere from 270 million to 310 million privately owned guns in the United States.  That’s close to one weapon for every man, woman, and child in this country!  If someone with bad intentions wants to buy a handgun, for instance, he probably doesn’t need to go to a gun show to acquire one.  It is impossible to even guess how many private sales of firearms take place in this country every year.  The point is there are already too many firearms out there to ever effectively control who has them.

Second, to suggest that legislation banning the ownership of certain types of firearms in this country can be done is absurd.  How would ATF agents go about collecting millions and millions of privately owned weapons?  Well, they can’t, and all legislation to ban the sale or ownership of specific weapon types would just push the sale and ownership of weapons underground and create a black market for gun trafficking.

Third, what’s to prevent people with clean background records from buying a weapon at a gun show and then selling it to someone with a record of felony convictions?  How difficult would it be for convicted felons to find people who have never been convicted of anything but a traffic offense and pay them to go to gun shows for them and turn right around and buy the weapon?

Fourth, we know that the instant background checking services are often incomplete and inaccurate.  So, the chances of a convicted felon’s name showing up at a gun show background check are really pretty small.

Fifth, if someone from another country wants to bring a store of weapons from, let’s say, Canada, bearing in mind that our border with Canada is well over 5,000 miles long, how difficult would it be to find a spot that’s unguarded where crossing the border would be relatively easy?

Ultimately, the problem of keeping guns out of the hands of criminals can never really be eliminated by legislation because there are already too many weapons of all types already out there and they’re too easy to acquire through private transactions.

Limiting the sale of firearms may be a noble effort, but it seems to me it’s bound to fail.