The latest gun control idea is universal background checks.
The theoretical problem is that some one like me, a legal firearm owner, may sell or give a firearm to someone else. Since I do not have a federally issued firearms license that can be taken away or subject me to criminal penalty, that transfer is unregulated. Because it is unregulated, I just might sell or give that firearm to a violent felon or crazy person and the federal government wouldn't have an opportunity to monitor and possibly prevent this.
Sounds like a good idea, doesn't it? After all, I don't want violent felons or crazy people getting firearms. You probably don't either.
This is a BAD idea.
"Why?" You are probably asking. "You are right, I don't want felons or crazy people getting guns and killing people."
As a former federal firearms license holder, I can tell you that there is only one way to accomplish universal background checks.
Lets suppose that in my will I bequest certain firearms to my children. Upon my passing, before they can legally take possession of them, the weapon must be taken to a federal firearms dealer to call in an instant background check. When the background check is completed, the ATF gives the dealer a control number for his records so everyone can confirm that the dealer obeyed the law. Without this proof, the dealer can be prosecuted for a federal crime.
To keep record of the control number, the dealer will have to enter the weapon on his federally mandated logs. Federal law requires that the dealer logs must match copies of completed form 4473 transfer documents that the dealer is federally mandated to keep. The control number is required to be recorded on the form 4473. When a dealer goes out of business, the dealer must turn in all 4473s and logs to the government or be prosecuted for a federal crime. The AFT archives all of these records to help them trace weapons.
Whenever a background check is called in to the ATF, to complete the background check, the dealer has to give the federal government all of your personal information and the type and number of weapons you are buying as well as the dealer's ID number.
What if the federal government starts storing this information in computers, assuming they don't already?
Lets suppose that my son is at the shooting range and an official stops by and wants to make sure he is not a felon in possession of a weapon. That is certainly a legitimate thing for an officer to do.
With a call to the ATF, the officer can discover what dealers have transferred weapons to my son and then find out exactly which weapons and the serial numbers on those weapons were transferred to him. If there is no record of a transfer for that particular firearm, even if he is not a felon, he can now be arrested for having a firearm without having undergone the proper background check.
Now the government knows every single person who has legally obtained a firearm, how many firearms, what types of firearm, and their serial numbers. By conducting universal background checks, the federal government has effectively accomplished universal federal gun registration. Moreover, everyone not properly registered is now a criminal.
Now, I am not saying that it would happen here in the U.S. But I am saying that every time any country anywhere in the world has had national firearm registration, they later had gun confiscation.
Universal background checks sound like a good idea until you think through how it would be accomplished.
If you care, pass this along to your members of Congress and your friends.