Under the present system, individuals can easily avoid a background check by purchasing guns from private, unlicensed sellers at gun shows, over the internet, and basically anywhere else outside of a gun dealer. Criminals know this, and they don’t hesitate to take advantage. We know that roughly 40 percent of gun transfers are not subject to a background check under federal law. This means that for these private sales no one is checking the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, an archive of mental health and criminal records that has successfully prevented felons, domestic abusers, and the seriously mentally ill from getting their hands on guns.
This hazardous loophole in our gun laws allows dangerous people to obtain weapons without any obstacles whatsoever.
Why even give them the chance?
Here in California, every gun sold is subject to a background check. All you have to do is go to a gun dealer and they will conduct the check for you. This model works and should be expanded nationally.
No law-abiding gun owner should oppose background checks, which nationally take approximately 90 seconds to complete and pose no threat to those of us who enjoy the use of firearms for recreational purposes and personal safety.
After a long career as an engineer and businessman, I founded the Capital Gun Club in Roseville, California to provide the opportunity for members to enjoy the sport of shooting in a safe and controlled environment. We believe that every member who plans to shoot at our facility should take part in a background check and be “live scanned” before they can participate in the club. We do not sell fear at our establishment, nor do we need to – we can guarantee there is no criminal element within our group.
Our club has become stronger because of our procedures, and we have become a real community. The notion of letting an outsider take part without following our rules would be ridiculous to everyone, and this is how it should be nationwide. Gun ownership is the right of all law-abiding citizens of age in our country, and the Second Amendment is a fundamental building block of American society. But it was not intended to shield those who choose to break our laws, hurt our citizens, and endanger our families.
Throughout the ongoing debate over guns since the tragedy in Newtown, many law-abiding gun owners have unfortunately tuned out much of the conversation because threatening to ban certain types of guns because they look scary has only led to frustration throughout our community.
But gun owners are rational people, which is why the great majority of us support something as sensible as mandatory background checks. Despite what those on the extreme fringe of this issue say, concerns about the government amassing a “national registry” of gun owners are completely unfounded. Federal law explicitly bans the creation of such a registry.
Currently, when you buy a gun from a gun dealer paper records of gun sales are kept through a highly decentralized system of some 60,000 individual gun dealers across the country. This helps law enforcement trace guns found at crime scenes back to the first purchaser. There is no federal registry now and the same would be true if we required all gun transfers go through a gun dealer. In California, where I hold a concealed carry weapons permit, the state maintains a gun registry without the slightest infringement upon the rights of gun owners.
Perhaps the strongest evidence for universal background checks is that nearly everyone believes they are a good idea. Nearly 90 percent of Americans – including 82 percent of gun owners – support a background check requirement for all gun sales. As an adamant supporter of gun rights with a professional stake in the game, I could not agree more with the American people.
Our politicians should also agree. As policymakers in Washington debate legislation that would mandate background checks, they must keep in mind this fact: Background checks help keep bad people from getting guns – period.
While 33 Americans are being murdered with guns every day, I can’t think of a more ridiculous thing in this world to squabble over. It’s in the interest of good, honest American gun owners for our lawmakers to support this commonsense measure.
Deaser is the owner of Capital Gun Club in Roseville, California and a member of the NRA.