Universal Background Checks

Universal background checks for gun sales could be done in a way that many gunowners could support.
Universal background checks for gun sales could be done in a way that many gunowners could support.

Universal background checks for firearms purchases is one of the more common mantras of the gun-control crowd. Currently almost all purchases of a firearm through a licensed dealer require a background check through the FBI. One exception, at least in Texas, is that no background check is required for holders of a Texas concealed carry permit. The problem, at least in the eyes of some, is that private sales between residents of the same state do not require any background check in many states. Note though that Federal law prohibits private sales between individuals from different states.

Reasonable people, even 2nd Amendment advocates like myself,  do have valid concerns about firearms falling into the hands of criminals and the mentally insane. But many reasonable people also have valid concerns about government overreach and they have the examples of the U.K. and Australia where mounting regulations, registration, and requirements for firearms purchases eventually led to bans and confiscation.

Is there a way to satisfy both demands? Is there a way to potentially satisfy the rational concern about unfit people legally purchasing firearms and the equally rational concern about government abuse of a Constitutional right “to keep and bear arms”?

There is.

Not all people will be totally satisfied but perhaps a majority can feel that not only are they doing something about gun violence, they are also not giving even more power to government. That government through the NSA has already shown little respect for individual privacy. That government through the IRS has shown a blatant willingness to inject political favoritism in the denying or delaying tax-exempt status to un-favored Conservative and Tea Party organizations.

So how could we accomplish this and meet demands of safety and not growing government? How about universal background checks? Create a system where everyone gets a background check whether or not they ever plan to buy a firearm. Encode the result on the driver’s license or state id.

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